Birmingham – August 22nd 2009 Meeting Report

Birmingham Wheels was the venue for Saturday nights racing. On a textbook summer evening sixty-six cars were crammed into the pits (but neither Andy Ford (13) nor Steve Hopkins (347) would race). Tonight’s meeting would see the second Semi-Final race take place and on that note, a huge crowd was in attendance. Malcolm Ngatai (NZ#1) was hoping to make his début appearance as well but had been informed that Tony Smith (91) who was lending him a car, had been delayed on the M6.

Heat One
Eighteen cars gridded up for heat one. On the opening lap, Rob Harrad (258) launched an early attack onto Chris Cooke (460) and Peter Kaulbarsch (411) going into turn three. Peter Kaulbarsch chased down Rob Harrad and spun him on turns three and four on the following lap. Mike Kingston (188) on his return to racing after an incident at Coventry (at the start of the month) launched himself into the rear of Les Spencer (98); while further back Mark Gilbank (21) was making his way though the blue grades. Ryan Harrison (197) easily moved clear of the other yellows and began chasing down the leading white grades in front. Malcolm Ngatai (NZ#1) using Tony Smith’s (91) shale car had started at the rear alongside Adam Bamford (143). Malcolm was understandably struggling to get to grips with the F1 and was carrying too much speed though the turns and spinning the tyres. Lee Davidson (494) was trying to remain lead car but Ryan Harrison was able to catch and pass him easily within a few laps. Mark Gilbank was engaged in his own high speed stockcar race with Joe Booth (446) with both cars getting side-by-side down the back straight. Mat Newson (16) seeing Joe Booth involved with Gilbank got in on the act going into three forcing the Booth car wide and Mat in the 16 car got ahead.
Race leader Harrison moved though the back markers with ease and extending his lead on the following field, was able to take the win unchallenged with Newson getting ahead of Gilbank in the closing stages.
Result 197 – 16 – 59 – 494 – 446 – 153 – 21 – 460 – 411 – 105

Heat Two.
Heat two saw eight white graders take to the track that included the 1980s car of Tim Warwick (307) and another appearance for Matt Newson’s father; Robin Newson (26). Five yellow grades were present including Carl Pickering (141) following a short period away from the tracks. Blue grader Murray Harrison (97) had to start his heat at the rear of field due to his wing not being the correct colour after he had rolled onto his roof at last week’s Kings Lynn meeting. New driver Dave Waterhouse (101) also opted to start at the rear of the field for his tarmac début. This left three remaining blues in their grade with four reds behind them.
On the opening lap, Dave Plumbley (393) and Tim Warwick were sent high up towards the Armco on turns one and two and were followed by Robin Newson on the next lap allowing Nick Read (209) to take the early lead. Tony Smith (91) got into the white graders and spun Lyndon Burnley (80) exiting turn two. Dainel Wainman (212) had a quick tangle with Micky Randell (172) exiting four as Daniel was trying to get past the blue grader on the inside; both cars quickly released and continued racing. Carl Pickering (141) had swiftly moved into the lead with Nick Read (209) now in second place. Andy Smith (391) moved through the field with ease bumpering second place Nick Read out of the way with five laps to go. However, he was unable to reach the race leader and winner Carl Pickering went unchallenged at the end. On the last lap Andy was side-by-side with Dave Hopkins (447) going down the back straight; Andy braking later going into turn three and taking second place.
Result 141 – 391 – 447 – 259 – 209 – 185 – 97 – 212 – 285 – 429

Semi-Final #2 (Heat Three)

See separate Race Report.

Twenty-Nine cars came on track for the last chance to get into the final with eighteen of the field being whites and yellow grades. Tony Smith (91) opted to start at the rear of the field along with Malcolm Ngatai (NZ#1) and David Waterhouse (101). Waterhouse was unable to start his car for the rolling lap and was assisted to the infield and not long after the start was joined there by Tony Smith.
Tim Warwick and Peter Kaulbarsch had a coming together on the opening turn and Neil Shenton (35) also found himself up against the Armco on turn one. Simon Panton (288) was T-Boned exiting turn two by Les Spencer (98). Early race leader Gareth Wildman (429) was under pressure from Dave Plumbley (393). Tim Warwick opted to take a wide line, throwing the back end out on each turn and getting it very, very sideways. Tim was smoking his rear outside exiting two and four and down the entire back and home straights, thus throwing another ‘moving’ obstacle to those wanting to qualify into the meeting final. Mark Peters (231) got a little too close to the rear of the 307 car as Tim opened it up exiting four in a cloud of tyre-smoke. Peters himself overcooked the turn and skidded into the infield area though a wall of tyre smoke. Love it or hate it Tim’s antics certainly got the crowd going, and those around me on the home straight were cheering Tim on until with a ‘pop’ and an almighty roar from the crowd the outside rear finally exploded. Back to the race; Gareth Wildman (429) was still race leader with a swift Lee Fairhurst (217) now in second place. Lee was inching ever closer to Wildman, finally taking the lead and the win on the last lap.
Result 217 – 429 – 55 – 393 – 322 – 302 – 11 – 434 – 12 – 464

Tim Warwick very sideway on the Asphalt. Photo Colin Casserley.

Tim Warwick very sideway on the Asphalt. Photo Colin Casserley.

Dave Plumbley (393) from pole got away as early leader, while behind the bumpers all went in as the pack entered turn three. Gareth Wildman (429) took the lead for a few laps before Plumbley retook the lead with Chris Cooke (460) in second place. On the third lap James Neachell (322) was T-Boned by Joe Booth (446) going into turn one, where both cars remained locked for the remainer of the race. Carl Pickering (141) as the fastest yellow was challenging for the lead from about lap seven becoming race leader by around the the half way point. Stuart Smith (390) was racing hard against Frankie Wainman (515) going side-by-side down the straights and around each turn with neither driver letting off, swapping from inside to outside, lap after lap while Andy Smith (391) was sitting just behind. The T-boned Neachell car which was still locked with the 446 car; was now at the midway point of turns one and two roughly sitting in the middle of the track and cars were having to dive above or below to avoid them. Stuart Smith and Andy Smith were now in front of Frankie Wainman, who was applying pressure to the rear of the 391 car. Frankie got the breakthrough he needed when Andy was forced to take the high line on turn one; and Frankie, keeping low got out in front. In the closing stages the race was on for the leader, Carl Pickering. Frankie Wainman was inching closer to the rear of Stuart Smith with every lap, finally making contact with the 390 car going into turn one and forcing Stuart to take the high line around the blockage while Frankie nipped in front using the faster shorter inside line. Ed Neachell (321) who had driven at faultless race and was in second place looked to be in for a win if 390 and 515 continued their battle. Continue they did, with Stuart returning the move on Frankie, sending him up the high line around the blockage. Stuart Smith then past Neachell and put the 321 car between himself and Frankie.
Stuart Smith then turned his attention to race leader Carl Pickering, with Stuart forcing Carl to move off the racing line and drop out the top three. Andy Smith, needing to make up ground as the laps counted down launched a last lap attack on the 141 car exiting turn two resulting in Andy becoming T-Boned with Pickering. Andy slamed his car into reverse rejoining the race but now well out of the top five. Stuart Smith took the final win with Ed Neachell trying to survive a last bend attack from Frankie Wainman. Both cars exited the final turn side-by-side and drag raced to the line; Frankie Wainman just nosing in front to rob Ed of second place.
Result 390 – 515 – 321 – 2 – 16 – 217 – 447 – 459 – 259 – 391

Andy (391) and Stuart Smith (390) side-by-side at Birmingham. Photo Colin Casserley.

Andy (391) and Stuart Smith (390) side-by-side at Birmingham. Photo Colin Casserley.

Grand National
The last race of the night saw Malcolm Ngatai (NZ1) start at the front with the white graders. Lee Davidson (494) took an early spin exiting turn two on the opening lap. Luke Davidson (464), Micky Randell (172) and James Morris (463) all had a coming together along the home straight while over at the bottom of the back straight, Frankie Wainman Jnr made contact with the spinning car of Lenny Smith (185). The FWJ car rode up over the rear wheels of Lenny Smith becoming air-bound before slamming down and crashing into the earth banking of the infield at the entry of turn three.
Waved Yellows.
141 -172 – 185 – 259 – 307 – 391 – 456 – 459 – 463 – 464 – 494 all retired to infield.
Restart order NZ#1 – 411 – 447 – (311 lap down) – 55 – 105 – 60 – 59 – 390 – 515
The green dropped and a melee of bumpers went in, on turn one. The whole pack bunching up coming out down the back straight. Ian Venables (60) launched a huge attack onto the rear of Chris Bonner (105) going into three that saw Bonner fired into Kiwi Ngatai (NZ1), sending the NZ1 car hard into the Armco and ending the Kiwi’s race. Bonner recovered and chased after Venables. Venables was on a mission to the front, next taking Peter Kaulbarsch (411) up to the Armco on turn one.
As half way was reached the order was 55 – (lap down 311) – 390 – 515 – 2 – 217 – 434 – 60 – 212 – 105 – 153 was the top ten.
Craig Finnikin (55) made steady progress though the backmarkers moving the Dave Barry (59) car as Stuart Smith (390) was applying more and more pressure to the stuborn lap down car of David Squire (311). Once off the racing line Squire fell back and slotted in front of Paul Harrison (2); Paul having to work at getting past the 311 car.
Craig Finnikin was able to open up a slight gap between himself and second place Stuart Smith and manoeuvred his way easily though the back markers to take the win. Post race Stuart Smith (390) was docked two places.
Result 55– 515 – 2 – 390 – 217 – 434 – 212 – 60 – 105 – 153

Stephen Cording

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