Birmingham, 26th August 2017 – Meeting Report and Photos

It may be hard to believe but its Shootout time again and the Second City had the privilege of kicking off the 2017 Series, sponsored by Mintex, on the tarmac of Birmingham Wheels Raceway. Round One, co-sponsored by Trinity Diesels raised 34 cars and will be remembered for some outstanding performances by lower grade drivers.

Heat One of this two-thirds format meeting saw 22 on track with SO contenders 1, 197, 212, 217, 390 and 422 starting at the rear. Calvin Tassell (13) almost took his maiden win in one of at least six Newson cars racing tonight, leading until five to run when he was punted wide by George Elwell (501). Elwell went on to win with number 13 holding on to second spot but undoubted star of the show was Steve Malkin Junior (308). He fought for every place and took a poke at any car that passed him regardless of roof colour. His eventual 12th place finish seemed scant reward for such a spirited drive but there was more to come later.

Fairhurst was the highest SO finisher in Heat 1, crossing the line in third

Twenty-three for Heat Two with white-topper Chris Cooke (460) taking his Ford-powered car to a virtual flag to flag victory, chased all the way by that man Tassell while Malkin carried on where he left off in the first heat, testing his front bumper on any available car within striking distance until someone must have introduced him to the fence, folding back a chassis corner onto his front tyre. Joff Gibson (249) harried Hassell/Tassell/Castle (delete as appropriate) all the way to the flag in third with Shane Geary (478) fourth ahead of Elwell. Lee Fairhurst was the first shootout contender home in sixth.

BriSCA’s best known typo had a good night at Birmingham until a half-shaft went. (Photo: Mick Jenkins)

Heat Three and Scott Davids (462) appeared to be out for the third time, unless I missed something, but it was Aaron Leach (70) who set the early pace. After struggling in the earlier heats some of the shooters (must find a better word than that) came good as the race progressed, Green, Smith and FWJ faring better by the flag but my interest was taken by John Fortune (164), down to yellow and dishing out the hits to varied effect.

With around four to run Tristan Jackson (101) took the lead and resisted a last bend attack from Green to win the drag race to the line, chalking up another lower grade victory. This is de stuff, as Lenny Henry used to say on Tiswas (ask your parents, or maybe grandparents)!

The World Champ and European Champ battling in Heat 3

Thirty-one for the Final with all ten shootists (better) at the back of the grid. With nine whites and seven yellows on track a surprise win was a distinct possibility, especially as Malkin was going like a long dog out in front. Ryan Harrison and Stuart Smith both built up a head of steam (not literally) to make the best start, hunting down the top three, Malkin, Fortune and Elwell. Malkin was flying, tapping cars aside to keep ahead of Fortune as we hit the halfway stage.

Smith tried to lay Leach into Harrison on the pit bend but the move failed and with five to run, Elwell lost his third place to first a flat tyre, then to flying Ryan. Fortune passed Malkin with four to run, the 308 driver trying his best to get back at the Scotsman, but this just allowed Harrison to close the gap.

Three laps out and Harrison eased past Malkin, shaking off the inevitable whack in the rear to seek his Fortune, as it were. Smith tried a final attempt to reach the 197 car using Malkin as a cue ball but lost time in the process, settling for second while Fortune took third off Malkin on the line after delivering a hefty whack on the last bend.

Fresh from his World Cup victory in the Netherlands, Ryan Harrison took the first SO final

Twenty-five cars for the National with Ryan taking the one lap handicap. The start was a bit of a shambles, but Malkin and Hassell led until a caution for Mat Newson, stuck on turn two, brought some semblance of order. Malkin led the restart from Geary, Elwell, Randell (172), Gibson and Jackson but Green and Smith had made great progress from the back and Harrison had virtually wiped out his one lap handicap.

Sean Willis (287) spun down the home straight and Gibson charged the infield banking as Malkin stayed ahead until just after the half-way when Smith forced 308 into the wall for the lead. Malkin tried to get back at him but Smith was away and gone. Green took second from a stubborn Malkin who dropped down the order as the laps wound down. Luke Davidson (464) spun FWJ out of a good place on the pit bend to take fourth behind Smith, Green and Harrison with Malkin netting tenth by the flag.

The Shootout contenders line up for the Grand National

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley and Steve Botham

Footnote, or should that be headline? Get well soon Kelvin – stick to four wheels in the future!

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