Birmingham, 22nd August 2015 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

With 56 cars in the pits, and a World Championship semi-final on the agenda, which included a whole host of hard hitting drivers, this meeting had all the ingredients for a memorable night of stock car racing. The weather gods however had other ideas and as the crowds gathered on the terraces for race 1, a torrential downpour left drivers dealing with a wet track.

Just one short of 30 for Heat One. Murray Jones (196) found his downgrading to white top exceedingly generous and put experience gained in Formula Two and Saloon Stock cars to good use, with a flag to flag victory. Jones was still several car lengths clear of Lee Fairhurst 217 at the flag.

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Murray Jones secured a flag to flag victory in Heat 1.

The track was still in a rather damp state when the cars eventually emerged from the pits for the Semi Final; the 462 car of Scott Davids only just made it on track after last minute repairs. Davids was using a car normally raced by 16 Matt Newson while 422 Ben Riley had borrowed a top tar car from 388 Paul Ford.

With Speak, Sworder, Johnson and Hitman Harris all up at the sharp end of the grid, many fans expected aggression from the green flag, but the cars entered turn one and all got round it without any mishaps or deliberate contact. Not much more deliberate contact at turn 3 but the mishaps and mistakes began as Harris (84) managed to spin, which placed him well down the order. Turn two then saw a spin for the 53 car of 8-time world champion John Lund.

Up front, the race had settled down quite quickly with Speak 318 maintaining a healthy gap to second-placed 55 Craig Finnikin. The 55 tar car is not usually known for being as quick as those piloted by other superstars but seemed well suited to the damp conditions. As the track dried a little, Finnikin was soon having to pay attention to his mirrors as Mr Aggro, Mick Sworder (150), had found a little more pace and a well-timed hit in turn 3 reversed the places.

The 55 car also had to give way to 4 Dan Johnson before the end, but with most drivers finding the wet track a handful, little else of note occurred as Speak sailed home for a popular victory. Pre-race favourite Harris failed to repeat his form that took him to the European title, needing a stellar performance after his early spin; the 84 car was quick but never threatened the leaders coming home in a distant eighth place.

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A solid drive in the semi-final saw Rob Speak add himself to the front row for King’s Lynn.

31 for the Consolation, on an almost dry track, with 390 Stuart Smith Jnr and Mark Adkins (24) having their first race of the night. A chaotic start scattered cars, with 252 Paul Redfern making a determined attack on the infield banking. Adkins led from Carl Pickering 141 and 446 Joe Booth. With yellow flags required to rescue a stalled 462 Davids from turn two the field closed up and, on the restart, Booth punted Pickering wide then barged past Adkins to cruise onwards to the flag for an easy win.

With a packed field and a few extra £ at stake, the on-track temperature rose a little for the final, with plenty of bumper action and fence scraping. Michael Steward (512) muscled his way past early leader Murray Jones and the 512 car was well clear and in control for the remaining laps.

Back in the pack, Speak showed well early on but then got in one scrape too many and failed to finish. Wainman (515) and Harris spent too much time fighting each other to threaten Steward but Harris did eventually break clear and managed to execute a perfect last bend hit on the 12 car of Michael Scriven which secured him second place, a result he would have very much preferred one race earlier.

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Final top 3: Michael Steward, Tom Harris and Michael Scriven.

With a little light drizzle still doing its best to deny fans and drivers a perfect track, 28 starters ventured out for the Grand National. Plenty to keep the crowd interested in this race as cars hit each other at every opportunity. 196 Jones and 300 Paul Carter fought over the lead until both were passed by man on a mission Ed Neachell (321).

The 321 car seemed to have victory sorted but Dan Johnson had failed to read the script.  The pressure built on the 321 car, with several hits climaxing in a hefty last bend shunt, which allowed Johnson to exit turn four in front. Neachell was not quite done for at this stage and the cars clashed again on the home straight, with 321 hitting both Johnson and the Armco.

As Johnson took the applause and the crowd headed for the exits, thoughts turned to September and the World Final at the Adrian Flux Arena, King’s Lynn. While the evening’s semi final had failed to deliver an exciting race, it had delivered a result which put a whole bevy of hard hitting talent at the sharp end of the grid. When added to the qualifiers from the Belle Vue semi final, it makes September’s event at King’s Lynn a date for every F1 fan’s diary.

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Dan Johnson took the last win of the night.

Words: Damian Noblett
Photos: Colin Casserley and Steve Botham

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