Birmingham, 18th April 2015 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

The first day of this Midlands tarmac World Qualifier weekend promised much, with good weather, car parking space at a premium, nearly 50 F1s in the pits and new machines from Stuart Smith (390), Bradley Harrison (25) and Daniel van Spijker (231) amongst others, but somehow it just didn’t hit the spot. The F2s and National Ministox provided the thrills, spills and close racing while the Big League seemed very roundy roundy by comparison.

Twenty-four for Heat One led away by Ben Riley (422) and Mark Gray (ex-24, now 224) in the former 515 tarmac car. These two disputed the lead until 422 pulled away, leaving 224 to defend second place against Dave Allen (499) in a beautifully prepared car. The field quickly became spread out, with Luke Davidson (464) and Track Champion Paul Ford (388) the first red tops through.

Riley pulled out a useful lead until the caution flags flew for Paul Poulter (174), stranded on the home straight but at the restart 422 found himself swamped as car 51 jumped into the lead. With 3 to go, 464 bumpered Dylan Williams-Maynard wide for the lead on the pit bend, joined by 388. In the race to the next corner, Ford hit the front and stayed there to the end, with Davidson second and Danny Wainman (212) making a late charge into third.

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Heat 1 winner, Paul Ford.

Twenty-one cars for Heat Two including the new 390 car which was the subject of much work in the pits all evening and Saloon man Stuart Shevill Junior (518) making the long trip down from Motherwell. Richard Davies (325) held the early lead as further back little battles developed between a number of cars until Sean Willis (287) took command, establishing a clear lead which he held to the flag.

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The distinctive new tarmac car from Stuart Smith Junior.

Ed Neachell (321) and Shaun Webster (48) made their first appearance of the evening in the 19 car Consolation, with Ben Riley again on pole and looking for that first win – he might have got it too were it not for Mickey Randell (172), starting off yellow grade in a new car, who slowly but surely reeled in the 422 car, taking the lead with just 5 to go with a well-timed shove into turn one. Riley held on for second with Neil Scriven third.

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Mickey Randell’s new car taking him to victory in the Consolation.

That man Riley was the long time leader in the thirty car Final with Allen (499) riding shotgun as minor skirmishes broke out behind them. Wainman (212) dropped to the back of the field with a distinctly smoky car while van Spijker dished out the bumper. 421, 220 and 191 tangled on the pit bend as Riley extended his lead, quickly in amongst the back markers. Willis clobbered the fence hard on turn one, coasting to a halt half-way down the back stretch and bringing out the caution – you could almost hear the words “Oh Dear” or something similar from the cab of the 422 car!

With his lead gone, Riley led away the restart with 499 and Consolation winner Randell on his back bumper and Mick Sworder lurking a bit further behind. Randell overcame Allen on turn one as the 499 car slid wide. 318 and 515 had a coming together on the pit bend, delaying them both as Randell took the lead on the back straight, picking his way through the back-markers as the laps wound down. Sworder closed on 422 with 2 to run, taking second but could not catch the flying 172 car. Riley finished an excellent third.

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Final top 3: Mickey Randell, Mick Sworder and Ben Riley

A massive 35 cars for the Grand National. You don’t need me to tell you that 422 led the early laps as a fast and furious race developed, bumpers going in on each bend. The inevitable caution came out, this time for Michael Steward (512), stuck on turn four.

With so many cars on track, the pace car caught up with the back of the grid on the rolling lap and was in serious danger of taking the lead should the green flag drop. Eventually the pace car opened up a gap and the race restarted, with Riley again the pacesetter, followed by Pauls Carter (300) and Poulter (174). Carter took the lead and 422 lost ground negotiating an errant car, but it was Sworder making up ground fast.

With four to run the race was red-flagged due to a fire under the Shevill car which had spun on the back straight. Once underway again, Sworder waited until the last corner to deliver the inevitable whack on the 300 back end and powered through for the flag, with Carter following up his fourth place in the final with a second in the National, ahead of Poulter.

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After a last bend attack on Paul Carter, Mick Sworder (150) took the Grand National.

Words: Mick Jenkins

Photos: Colin Casserley and Steve Botham

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