Birmingham, 20th June 2015 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

Thankfully the rain, at times persisting down, cleared before start time and we enjoyed a warm, dry and interesting evening of F1s, V8s and Ladies Banger racing. Thirty F1s assembled in the pits and twenty-two of them turned out for Heat One in this two-thirds format meeting.

Henry Hunter (220) led them away while Chris Cowley (37) went for the big hits on those in front. Dan Johnson (4) was the first of the red tops through but his fellow star men, like Smith (390), Newson (16), Fairhurst (217) and Speak (318) were making hard work of it, struggling to make any inroads on the lead car. Johnson’s progress was delayed by a tangle with Will Hunter (220) on the home straight in which they both clobbered the fence.

The other Hunter (202) extended his lead to half a lap over second placed Rob Cowley (73), lapping back markers with confidence to take a well-earned victory. Cowley the Younger took second place off the old man but was docked two places for jumping the start, elevating Neachell (321) to third.

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The first win of the evening for Henry Hunter.

Twenty-two again for Heat Two which started with a pit bend tangle for 25, 287 and 327. They all rejoined but Hunter (202) was away and gone, oblivious to the red top battle some way behind him between 515, 217, 172 and 464. Once again, the top men seemed to struggle, only Paul Hines (259) and Tom Harris (84) getting into the top five by flag-fall. Another cool, confident win by Henry Hunter.

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None of the highest-graded drivers could keep up with the 202 car.

Twenty-one for Heat Three with the 202 car allowed out for a third heat, any available white tops being used to bulk up the grid. Hunter was swamped by the yellow tops before crossing the line, clobbering the fence in the company of car 37 but the white top maintained his lead. Skirmishes amongst the red tops saw Harris (84) forced into a spin on the pit bend, rejoining quickly at the back of the grid.

By the halfway stage Hunter had pulled out almost a half-lap lead over Johnson (4), Whittle (183) and Cowley the Elder until the latter two hooked up and formed a chicane on the back straight, collecting cars 36 and 84, while Paul Hines charged headlong into the infield earth banking. Following a caution to clear the cars, Hunter had Johnson and Speak on his back bumper at the restart, but, cool as you like, the youngster drove away from the superstars. What Speak gained on the straights he seemed to lose on the bends, likewise Johnson couldn’t gain ground on Hunter who made it three out of three.

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Rob Speak in Heat 3.

Harris and Johnson both made rapid starts in the Final, no doubt aware that Hunter was on pole and already away and gone, leading from Davies (327) and Webster (48). Speak, Finnikin, Wainman and Smith all seemed to struggle as Sean Willis spun on the pit bend, finishing with Dylan Williams-Maynard (51) sitting on top of him, bringing out the yellows once again. Hunter again set the pace at the restart, seemingly unconcerned about the 4 and 84 cars behind him, pulling out the length of a straight over Johnson and driving a tidy, tyre-saving race to lead all the way to flag, four out of four and a final to boot. Harris shifted Johnson aside on the last bend to take second spot.

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Three Heat wins weren’t enough for Hunter, who took the Final trophy too.

Carl Pickering (141) and Richard Davies (325) led the Grand National away, the only white top in the field (you know who) electing to start at the rear of the field. Johnson and Harris again began clearing a path through the cars ahead of them, the number 4 car soon up to fifth while Harris dallied with Speak. Jordan Falding (36) took the lead while Dylan Williams-Maynard decided to launch 172 and 202 into turn one, then fenced Brad Harrison (25) hard into the pit bend armco, clobbering the fence himself. Johnson slipped inside Falding with five to run, the Rotherham youngster hanging onto second ahead of Harris.

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Grand National winner, Dan Johnson.

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Steve Botham

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