Belle Vue – March 15th 2009 Report

James Neachall in action at Sundays Belle Vue meeting.

James Neachall in action at Sundays Belle Vue meeting.

BELLE VUE, Sunday 15th March 2009

Despite there not being massive amount of cars present, the first F1 meeting of the year provided some much needed stock car action after the winter break. Frankie Wainman (515) took a hat-trick of wins, but managed only a handful of laps in the main event due to mechanical problems, leaving James Neachell (322) to become the first Final winner of 2009.

Rudi Coleano (177) got off to a flying start in the first race of the season, and quickly pulled away from the rest of the pack. Behind him, James Clement (158) hit Mark Tittcomb (398) into a spin after a few laps, with Danny Wainman (212), Ed Neachell (321), and Ricky Wilson (502) tripping over each other while trying to avoid the stricken 398 car on turn three. Dave Booth (230) then piled in, and as the rest of them rejoined, Wainman (212) was left stranded on top of Neachell on the racing line. Mike Heywood (424) and Richard Bryan (238) smashed into the fence trying to avoid them, before the yellows came out. Coleano was still leading on the restart, as Scott Davids (462) dived up the inside of Frankie Wainman (515) before Wainman pulled clear. Davids then got a big hit from Clement, half-spinning the 462 car and bringing both to a stop in turn three, where James Neachell (322) couldn’t avoid them. Up front, Mark Clayton (225) was closing and went past Coleano entering the home straight. But Coleano wasn’t having this, and threw the car sideways into the pit turn and edged Clayton wide to retake the lead. But going into the next bend, Clayton went in hard and launched Coleano into the fence; the 177 car uprooting a fence post and going skywards before landing on its side. Mark Poole (276) had passed Clayton before the yellows came out, as had Wainman, and on the restart Clayton gave Wainman a firm hit that put the 276, 515, and 225 cars out wide, with Wainman then shoving Poole wide on the next bend. Poole then got another shot on the bumper from the lively Clayton. There was more bumperwork in the closing laps, when James Morris (463) smacked Andy Powell (493) wide, with Powell’s reply being swift and decisive; the 463 being put very firmly into the fence with three laps left. Neachell moved up into fourth place as the last lap started, but as they got to the last bend, Neachell went for Clayton, who had just put the bumper in on Poole, and all three lost time, with only Poole managing to hang on to his place.

A pile up at the start of the second heat took out most half the field, although most of them managed to rejoin, albeit some way behind. The waved yellows appeared to remove the 177 car from the racing line, which benefitted Wainman (515), who had lost almost a lap after getting caught up at the start. Poole was leading at the restart, with Neachell not far behind and Wilson in third. Neachell (321) and Wainman (515) were quickly up the order into fourth and fifth, and both squeezed past Wilson as the race reached the halfway. Neachell (322) slowly reeled in Poole and took over at the front as the lap boards came out. The first three were now Neachell, Poole, and Wainman, with less than a car length seperating them. Wainman eased past Poole, but before he could challenge Neachell, backmarker Mike Heywood (424) got it slightly out of shape going into turn one and Neachell got caught up with the 424 car and both crashed heavily into the turn one fence, leaving Wainman with an untroubled run to another victory.

Just 12 cars were still raceworthy for the Final, with Heywood racing away from the start. Ed Neachell (321) was the first of the top drivers to make an impression, and was up to fourth after about just three laps. Wainman (515) was on a typical charge through the field but came unstuck about lap four after he passed Wainman (212) and Davids. The 515 car looked out of sorts going into turn three and both Davids and Wainman T-boned it out of the way, after which the Wainman machine coasted to a stop. Up front, Heywood was driving out of his skin and was about a dozen lengths clear of Wilson and pulling away. Neachell (321) deposed Wilson for second at the halfway, just before Heywood exited the lead in spectacular fashion. Heywood had been racing around with levels of pace and composure not previously evident from the white top driver, but coming off turn four he got it just a bit too wide and clipped a fence post with the outside rear wheel and pirouetted down the track before coming to a stop in the middle of the home straight facing the oncoming traffic. This left Neachell (321) leading when the race resumed after the caution, from Wilson and Neachell (322). The latter then fired Wilson into the fence, and although snapping a fence post on impact, amazingly the 502 car bounced off and continued, although he was soon back in the fence after a kamikaze shot on Wainman (212). Neachell (322) inherited the lead when brother Ed’s car expired at the halfway, after which he went on to win with the remaining laps being largely uneventful.

Eleven cars for the GN, with Heywood and Bryan taking each other out on the first bend. Wilson then Davids led before Wainman (515) hit the front after about half a dozen laps. Wilson and Clayton swapped blows for a few laps, with Neachell (322) getting frustrated by novice Dave Booth (230) and eventually dumping the borrowed Berresford car into the fence. But it was a move that would quickly come back to haunt Neachell, as Booth rejoined the race in front of Neachell, and this time Neachell got hooked up and they both came to a stop in the fence. Neachell restarted and despite being a lap or two down, he went on to do a big last bend lunge on second placed Davids. Wainman had little trouble in taking his third win of the day.

Report by Carl Hesketh.

Full Race Results | Video of Heat 1

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