Belle Vue, World Consolation – report and photo gallery

The final two places on the World Championship grid were claimed by Danny Wainman and Michael Scriven in an eventful World Consolation race. In recent times, this has been held as the first race of the World Final meeting, but this year it has reverted to being a separate event.

The grid was made up initially with drivers that had failed to qualify via their semi-final, with the addition of semi-final reserves in qualifying points order at the back of the field. This gave a 22 car field, with Ricky Wilson and Neil Holcroft on the front row.

Holcroft did not even make it over the start line, as when they exited turn four, he and Wilson both went for the same line and Wilson went over Holcroft’s front wheels; the 496 car spinning out onto the infield.

Mark Poole and Dave Willis were at the front almost from the off, and within a couple of laps Willis eased past on the home straight.

Billy Johnson and John Dowson both saw their hopes of a World Final place disappear when they hooked up and slewed onto the infield.

Up front, race leader Willis was now in traffic and had several backmarkers between him and second place Scott Davids, with Danny Wainman up to third.

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Ben Hurdman’s exit from the World Consolation Semi.

The waved yellows came out after a big lunge by Ben Hurdman at Rich Bryan saw the cars tangle up and go hard into the fence, with the 207 machine going skywards and coming to rest on its side.

Race order at this point was Willis still leading, from Davids, then Wainman, but after that it was anybody’s guess as to which of the remaining cars were on the lead lap.

Davids attempted to get down the inside of Willis coming out of turn 2, but Willis was having none of this and blocked him, with Davids then coming under pressure from Wainman.

The 212 front bumper went in and Davids went wide. Further back, a 3 way battle for a lower placing had been going on for a few laps between Robert Broome, Steve Whittle, and Geoff Nickolls. This reached a climax just as Wainman caught Willis.

Wainman took the lead but was then immediately baulked by the spinning 215 car coming out of turn 2. Wainman swerved into Willis, which burst the outside rear of the 337 car.

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Danny Wainman collides with Dave Willis whilst avoiding the spinning Geoff Nickolls.

Willis retired, leaving Davids still in the frame for second place and a World Final appearance, but Chris Bonner had now arrived to challenge. When Bonner went past, Davids put the bumper in firmly, but was now visibly struggling with an increasingly ill handling car (post race, it was noted that both rear tyres were flat).

Until now, Michael Scriven had been keeping out of trouble and quietly getting on with the race, but perhaps the realisation that the difference between third place and second was a place in the World Final spurred him into action. Not generally regarded as an aggressive driver, it has to be said that Scriven’s hit on Davids was somewhat out of character. Perhaps even Michael himself was a little surprised, as he almost forgot to brake for the next bend and very nearly fenced himself.

Danny Wainman won the race without further drama, although after the race the inside rear tyre of the 212 car was flat, and Michael Scriven was runner up, and these two will line up on the penultimate row of the World Championship Final at Coventry on 20th September. The very last row will be occupied by defending champion Tom Harris.

The second heat was fast and furious, and saw Stu Smith make light work of the 22 car field. The 390 car started at the very back of the pack and had hit the front before the halfway point. The main incident of the race involved novice driver Barrie Gregory, driving a Tony Smith car. Gregory found himself in the middle of a pack of red tops going down the home straight, and a couple of hits going into the pit bend turn were enough to send the 219 car hard into the machine of Mark Adkins (24), which resulted in big damage to the borrowed Smith car.

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Dave Willis romped to victory in the meeting Consolation.

Dave Willis made some small amends for his misfortune in the World Cons with a storming drive to take the meeting Consolation.

The rain started to fall just before the Final, which led to a wet and slippery racing surface that proved challenging for almost literally the entire field. Only Lee Fairhurst and Frankie Wainman seemed able to gingerly pick their way through the general chaos, and these two were at the front after less than half a dozen laps.

Frankie shoved Lee wide to take the lead and opened up a lead. But it wasn’t quite plain sailing for the veteran driver; the 515 car came to a dead stop against the spun Rich Bryan car, and in the time it took to get going again, Fairhurst had gone passed.

But Frankie doggedly kept going and slowly reeled in the 2012 World Champion, and just before the lap boards the 217 car was in striking distance. Fairhurst was shoved hard into some back markers, and Wainman went on to record the 261st F1 Final of his career.

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Veteran driver Mike Heywood took a rare victory in the Grand National.

The rain had stopped before the GN but the track was still a little damp. There were still around 20 cars in race worthy condition, and it was long serving white top driver Mike Heywood who kept it together for the full race distance to take an all too rare race victory. Mike’s last win was at Stoke in 1993. From the lap handicap, and in a race with no stoppages, an impressive drive from FWJ put the 515 car fourth place at the chequered.

Photos: Colin Casserley
Words: Carl Hesketh

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