Birmingham, 16th November 2013 – meeting report

Ryan's first meeting with the silver roof. He even brought silver balloons, emulating father Murray's gold balloons at his first meeting after winning the World Final in 1999.

Ryan’s first meeting with the silver roof. He even brought silver balloons, emulating father Murray’s gold balloons at his first meeting after winning the World Final in 1999.

A long BriSCA F1 season reached its end at Birmingham Wheels Raceway and a cold but dry night drew a substantial crowd with the terraces seeing numbers of punters rarely seen at Wheels in the last two years.

One of the attractions of this meeting is the opportunity to see a few occasional racers take to the track and this year was no different with a varied selection of newcomers and golden oldies. Of those politely referred to as being experienced we had Stevie Hodgson 6 in the Team Davidson car normally piloted by Rob Speak 318. Hodgson has not raced on the BriSCA circuits for some 20 years but had enough pace to make fans hope the return may become more permanent, while 2012 World champion Lee Fairhurst 217 had somehow had a momentary lapse of reason and loaned out the car to his dad Derek 218.

Derek loaned this car out to Lee a few years ago, and never got it back until now.

Apparently, Derek loaned this car out to Lee a few years ago, and never got it back until now.

The 218 car featured the slogan “on an adventure before dementia” but the performance on track was far from forgettable as ex superstar Derek wound the clock back and produced a set of results which made one feel that the car should have had a slogan along the lines of “like father, like son”. The entry also featured F2 star Bobby Griffin 166 in a car loaned from Daz Kitson and Rebel Racer Adam Joyce 466 in a car normally piloted by Dylan Williams-Maynard, both drivers raced in an enthusiastic manor and showed enough speed to leave fans hoping that they may both become regular F1 racers.

"On an adventure before dementia!"

“On an adventure before dementia!”

Heat one was a rare event on tarmac circuits being for white and yellow grade drivers and the 20 cars on track all seemed to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere with no superstars to push them around. The race featured lots of spins and shunts without any heavy duty fencings. Terry Pearce 234 using the borrowed 141 car of Carl Pickering led from lap 2 but was gradually closed down by the 221 car of Sean Blakemore. The 221 car had an easy run to the flag while the closing stages also saw Anthony Davies 327 ease his way past Pearce to take second.

22 starters for heat two including all the reds and superstars, and the first appearance of 2013 shootout champion Ryan Harrison 197 with silver roof and silver balloons. The roof colour may have changed on the 197 car but no change in driving style as first 94 Dowson and then 321 Ed Neachell were punted wide as the 197 car set off in search of another trophy.

Great to see Rich Masterson back on track, despite his ongoing health issues.

Great to see Rich Masterson back on track, despite his ongoing health issues.

Harrison made it to second with around 5 laps to go but was still a few car lengths behind 221 Blakemore when the chequered flag came down. In truth this was a race largely devoid of incident but the last few laps were enlivened by a good scrap between golden oldies Hodsgon and Fairhurst who argued over fifth place without destroying each other.

Heat 3 dragged some 19 drivers on track including Paul Ford 388 in his first race in the recently purchased Tom Harris tarmac car. No fairytale debut for Ford as he got smacked around first by 321 Neachell and on the last lap by 2013’s most impressive newcomer Jamie Jackson 377 who put a last bend hit on the 388 car which left Ford stranded on turn four and out of the places.

Stevie Hodgson was on his way to becoming a megastar of F1 in the 1990s, but he departed the BriSCA scene to race on the American ovals.

Stevie Hodgson was on his way to becoming a megastar of F1 in the 1990s, but he departed the BriSCA scene to race on the American ovals.

Chad Evans 392 lead the early laps but Harrison 197 was once again finding speed and grip others can only dream about and the 197 car took the lead from 392 with four to go. Harrison was followed home in second by Fairhurst 218 with the 392 car hanging on for a personal best third place for Chad Evans.

25 cars for the meeting final with ex mini stox racer Alex Wass 238 leading the early laps, while further back Stevie Hodgson was squeezed wide by the pack and scuttled round the turn two Armco. Wass was building a substantial lead with Fairhurst 218 and Harrison 197 once again looking quick. The efforts of young Wass were however undone when Wainman 515 and Chris Bonner 105 tangled and went hard into the fence on turn four, yellows flags came out to aid the stranded Bonner.

Derek, Ryan, and Ed.

Derek, Ryan, and Ed.

Wass led the restart but Harrison was now much closer with the 197 car in third by halfway, Wass was also getting hassled by F2 star Bobby Griffin 166, but 197 passed both of them just before the yellow flags came back out for the 304 car which had charged the fence in turn 3 with the driver needing assistance and the fence needing repair there was a short delay before the restart. Harrison led the restart as Griffin retired with an oil leak, and Wass in second had Fairhurst 218 all over his back bumper in third. Ryan thundered off into the distance while the 218 car passed Wass to take second.

John Lund has won at least one race every year since 1976; an absolutely outstanding record, that may never be beaten.

John Lund has won at least one race every year since 1976; an absolutely outstanding record, that may never be beaten.

The 197 car remained comfortably in control for the remaining laps even having time on the last lap too slow a little allowing the 218 car sufficiently close for an optimistic last bend lunge but no contact was made. Lots of last lap contact did occur for other drivers as Blakemore 221 and Ford 388 got together and attacked the turn 4 barrier while 392 Evans and 103 Masterson finished their own private skirmish by hitting the turn 3 armco hard. Both 197 and 218 treated the home straight patrons to some doughnuts in celebration while on turn four the 392 car struck a stationary 103, which saw Masterson require attention from the medics.

The F1 meeting content closed with a Charity race for lady drivers in aid of the drivers’ benevolent fund. Seven intrepid ladies ventured out on track and veteran of several of these events Kay Fitton made her experience count with a comfortable win.

Words: Damian Noblett
Photos: Colin Casserley

The top two in the Final were very much the new kid and the veteran - Derek Fairhurst was winning finals before Ryan was born.

The top two in the Final were very much the new kid and the veteran – Derek Fairhurst was winning finals before Ryan was born.

Paul Ford with his new acquisition.

Paul Ford with his new acquisition.

Two former drivers having a go in the Davidson cars. 15 Simon Carr (previously 115), and 6 Stevie Hodgson (previously 172).

Two former drivers having a go in the Davidson cars. 15 Simon Carr (previously 115), and 6 Stevie Hodgson (previously 172).

Ryan surveys his handiwork after closing the season in fine style.

Ryan surveys his handiwork after closing the season in fine style.

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