Birmingham, 14th November 2015 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

Despite a rather cold and wet night, a substantial crowd journeyed to Birmingham Wheels for the annual BMB-promoted Gala night and while the car turnout fell somewhat short of the advertised entry, there was still a varied selection of new, old and part-time drivers venturing out on track; with some cars being shared by two or three drivers over the course of the evening.

Notable F1 debutants were National Banger superstar Jack Overy driving a car loaned from Ryan Harrison and ex-Saloon Stock car World Champion Steve Webster (401) in a car last seen on track with 153 James Lund. Both drivers had steady debuts and managed fifth place in their heats, so many F1 fans will be hopeful that the Gala meeting will be just the start of more regular competition in the ultimate short oval formula.

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Saloon driver Steven Webster on track.

A hefty dose of rain pre-meeting and persistent showers all night meant all races took place on a difficult track but it was particularly damp for the first F1 race of the night, the annual juvenile crashfest more formally known as the Under 25s championship of Great Britain. This race promoted by longtime fan Dave Leonard once again offered a substantial prize fund to the nation’s young chargers and a more than respectable grid of 30 or so hopefuls gathered amongst the puddles.

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The starting grid for the Under 25s Championship.

A slow race on a wet track commenced with lots of spins and crashes early on but it was all about the Wainmans at the front, as 555 Frankie Jnr Jnr led, while Uncle Danny (212) charged through the field. Ironically, yellow flags required to rescue sister Phoebe Wainman (211) from turn 2, curtailed the lead enjoyed by the 555 car and on the restart he soon had to give way to Danny (212).

But his efforts were also damaged by a young lady as more yellow flags were required for Hannah Chappel (387). Hannah had scooped a drive in the 307 Tim Warwick car and this car never lets superstars passed without a fight and thus Hannah managed to tangle and spin 2015 points champion Dan Johnson (4).

Danny (212) led the restart and, with the field now thinned out, a quiet end to the race saw Danny take the trophy followed home by 220 Will Hunter, who topped off an exceptional debut season with second place.

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Under 25s Champion Danny Wainman

Next race on track for the F1 cars was the Jubilee trophy, a race designed to celebrate 60 years since the foundation of the BSCDA. With a high quality field in a closed grid and plenty of £ on offer, this race could have been a classic but it just didn’t happen with a rather processional race led home by Lee Fairhurst (217). Rob Speak (318) followed Fairhurst for most of the race and, ever the entertainer, Speak did go for a hugely ambitious charge on the last bend but, having missed his target, Speak connected with the fence and went from second to seventh.

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Lee Fairhurst dominated the Jubilee race.

The rest of the evening was taken up with two heats, consolation and final. Heat One did little to get the crowd buzzing, although the early laps did allow Team Wainman mechanic 28 Thomas Bowyer to show off his skills, with some quick, controlled laps. Yellow flags once again intervened and allowed team boss Danny (212) to catch and pass his spannerman to take his second win of the night.

Heat Two had the 318 car back on track but now with its third driver of the night as Dutchman Wim Peeters H124 took the THM car for a few scenic laps and managed to secure fifth place.  Race winner Nigel Green 445 took an easy win from his blue grade start slot. Rumours abound of Green making a determined assault on major honours in 2016 and if this proves to be true it’s sure to add a little bit more edge to next season’s events. Green has never been frightened to dump his rivals in the fence when big points and prizes are at stake.

While Green took it easy at the front, fans’ attention went elsewhere, with many watching Josh Smith (191) and Henry Hunter (202), who had one of those battles which starts off with a few polite taps but gradually escalated, and as the hits got harder on a slippy track, the inevitable happened and both cars took a trip to the fence. The 191 car had a whole heap of damage but it was of great credit to Josh that his response to Hunter after the race was to offer a handshake.

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Dutchman Wim Peeters in the 318 car.

The Consolation had a strange grid with about half the field novices, starting behind the superstars. Plenty of spins and low speed crashes and a Wainman at the front again as Frankie Jnr Jnr (555) led for most of the laps but pressure from Scott Davids (462) led to a tangle and this dropped the 555 car down to seventh. Davids managed to retain second but his tangle with 555 had allowed the 224 car of Mark Adkins into the lead and he held this to the flag.

More rain meant a very wet track for the Final and it was all about control and survival rather than aggression and entertainment. Thomas Bowyer once again put in lots of good work early on, but the 224 car charged up the infield banking which brought out the yellows and destroyed his lead. National points champion Dan Johnson got the break on his fellow superstars and came through for the win taking the lead before halfway. Grading points leader Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) had a brief skirmish with Nigel Green (445) in the early laps, Wainman did manage to pull away and secure second place but he was still well adrift of the number 4 car when the flag came down signalling the end of the evening’s entertainment and the 2015 season.

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Points champion Dan Johnson won the meeting final, ahead of 515 and 217.

Words: Damian Noblett
Photos: Colin Casserley

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