Belle Vue – September 30th 2012 Meeting Report

The meeting at Belle Vue on Sunday 30th September was a historic occasion for the sport, as it was to commemorate Frankie Wainman Junior’s Silver Jubilee of F1 Stock Car Racing. This was actually the second part of the FWJ25 weekend; the first part being an Open Day at FWJ Racing the day before.

Frankie Wainman Jnr 515. Photo Colin Casserley

On display on the infield was the first 515 car, built by a 15 year old FWJ during the summer of 1987. After a guard of honour and lengthy Peter York interview with the man himself, there was the first of two special “Class Of ‘87” race. These were open to current and past drivers who Frankie raced against in 1987, either in Mini-stox or F1, and included Frankie Wainman Senior in Daniel’s car. The first race was won by Ray Witts (ex-180, in a borrowed James Neachell car) and the second was won by Stevie Hodgson (ex-172, in the Mat Newson car).

Ray Witts 180 ‘class of 87’ race winner. Photo Colin Casserley

The first heat proper had Richard Bryan (238) leading for a good number of laps before James Morris (463) took over. Bryan’s race ended in the fence with a few laps to go, with nothing to show for what had been a great drive. Morris had a decent lead over Ryan Harrison (197) and Frankie Wainman Junior (515), until he tangled with backmarker Steve Charles (410) on the penultimate lap. Harrison managed to dodge them both and snatch the win, with Wainman bumpering Morris wide to take second.

Will Yarrow 22 heads the star graders . Photo Colin Casserley

Joe Booth (446) made a determined start to Heat 2, and ran away with the victory. Behind him, Mark Gilbank (21), Mark Woodhull (335), Danny Wainman (212), and Dan Johnson (4) traded blows for the much of the first half of the race, which culminated with Woodhull stuffing Johnson into the fence. Also in this one was Dutch ace Henk-Jan Ronitz (H240), who found the short, tight, and slippery shale to be a world apart from the big wide tarmac that he excels on. Ronitz either span or bounced off the wires on most laps but pressed on regardless. Unfortunately he accidentally took race winner Booth with him to the turn three wires after the chequered. Luckily, Booth saw the funny side and appeared to gesture “Welcome to England!” in sign language at the Dutchman.

Dave Willis (337) led the consolation until he had to avoid the stalled Mat Newson (16) car and got bogged in the loose shale. It turned out to be a very lively race, with one of the highlights being a great battle between Neil Shenton (35) and Murray Harrison (97), which ended with Shenton in the fence.

John Lund 53 in action. Photo Colin Casserley

Dave Willis 337 led most of the Consolation. Photo Colin Casserley

The final saw hard-charging Morris hit the front after just one lap, with Harrison (97) storming up the order into second after about half a dozen laps. Wainman (515) made a tremendous start, but kept getting caught up with other people and losing time. Perhaps with the extra incentive of winning the final at his own meeting, Frankie appeared to be driving like a man possessed, but with rain now falling the track was unpredictable and unforgiving, leading to some self-induced spins.

Frankie Wainman Jnr 515 and Ryan Harrison 197. Photo Colin Casserley

The race had started in a lively manner, and it descended into all-out pandemonium, with cars crashing out and rejoining on most laps. Morris did well to avoid it all until just after the halfway, but when the 463 and 97 cars exited the race, your trusty scribe had no idea who was leading, and neither did the starter. Quite a few laps passed before the ‘3’ board was shown to Paul Harrison (2), and nobody passed the number 2 car before he took the chequered.

Final Winner Paul Harrison 2. Photo Colin Casserley

The GN was run in heavy rain and it was a torrid affair to say the least. Billy Johnson (169) took a near flag-to-flag win, his first ever, leading home John Lund (53) in the process. After his earlier mishaps, Ronitz (H240) kept it out of the fence and facing the right way the entire race, and came home in tenth.

Carl Hesketh

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