Birmingham, 27th October 2018 – Meeting Report and Photos

Unexpected afternoon rain followed by a bitter cold night made conditions challenging for drivers and fans alike which may have contributed to the lower than usual crowd for the Sapphire Glass Merchants sponsored SO Round 7, a shame because there was a good turn-out of F1, F2 and National Ministox on hand to entertain the brave souls on the terraces.

Will Hunter (220) made short work of the 27-car first heat, taking the lead from Joe Nickolls (242) well before the halfway stage to win comfortably on the greasy track, with Lee Fairhurst (217) taking second on the last lap. Stuart Shevill Junior (518) tried to remove the 217 car on the final bend but slid wide, losing third to Nickolls.

Will Hunter made short work of the first heat

Twenty-seven again for heat two with the top four in the Shoot Out looking to gain those all-important points. The track had dried somewhat but the bends could catch out anyone who went too wide – to prove the point Junior Wainman (515) sent several wide in one big hit in his pursuit of leader John Englestone (520) until Sam Wass (284) decided to park on top of Paul Carter (300) on the pit bend, bringing out a caution.

“Philo” (520) led the restart while a combined hit from Newson (16) and Harrison (2) sent both Wainman and Smith wide, the 515 car becoming mired in traffic and falling back. Karl Hawkins (175) took over at the front until Newson passed, taking the flag ahead of 175 and 2 with Smith fourth. FWJ struggled, finishing down in ninth place.

Mat Newson took the Heat 2 win

The consolation was cautioned after just a lap or two for a shemozzle on the home straight involving Ian Bond (431), Jim Bamford (302), Phoebe Wainman (211) and Rich Howarth (495) while Ben Hurdman (207) made a spectacular exit, sliding backwards at high speed off the back straight and finishing on top of the infield banking. Matt Rogers (213) found himself in the lead at the restart but at least nine cars parked on the centre would go no further. After mechanical issues in his heat, Dan Johnson (4) was well placed to capitalize on the caution, taking second off Elwell (501) at the union flag and then running down Rogers with three to go, while a long range hit from Paul Hines (259) pinched second place from the 213 car on the line.

Johnson (4) passing Elwell (501) in the Consolation

Rogers and Englestone led the field away in the final, 212 and 390 clashing on the home straight and Chris Cowley (37) sending Aaron Leach (70) hard into the turn one armco and then more than likely being the catalyst in a big pile-up on the pit bend involving several cars which brought out the red flag. Two laps done and eighteen to go as Rogers took the green flag, challenged by Elwell.

Johnson, Fairhurst and FWJ were the first of the SO men to show while further back, Newson edged by Smith but up front the orange 4 car had caught and passed 501 for the lead with Nickolls going second as Elwell retired. Dan Johnson ticked off the remaining laps to record a consolation and final double in his last meeting of 2018 and you have to wonder where he would be in the shoot out if his shale car engine hadn’t developed serious, season-ending problems.

Dan Johnson took the win, ahead of Joe Nickolls and Lee Fairhurst

A whopping 31 cars for the grand national, including John O’Brien (86) in a Newson hire car making his third appearance of the night – apologies for not giving you a mention earlier! Following the final Stuart Smith was just two points ahead of FWJ – nothing but a win would do for the gold top and he didn’t disappoint, cracking 16 and 515 aside in no uncertain terms and clearly on a mission.

Newson despatched FWJ into the pit bend armco but was still some way back as Cowley sent Ant Whorton-Eales (408) clattering into the fence with a wicked hit. FWJ had got by Newson but the 16 car struck again on the last bend, leaving Wainman back in twelfth place as Smith took the win from Fairhurst and Elwell to extend his lead to 16 points ahead of FWJ with Newson a further 5 points behind.

Stuart Smith Junior adding to his SO points total

Words: Mick Jenkins  
Photos: Colin Casserley

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