Birmingham – April 20th 2013 Meeting Report

Birmingham Wheels Raceway opened its BriSCA F1 season with a World Championship Qualifying Round which saw a field of just under 40 cars converge on a bright, sunny and dry evening which provided perfect conditions for racing.

the new tarmac car of John Lund 53. Photo Steve Botham

the new tarmac car of John Lund 53. Photo Steve Botham

All the pre-meeting excitement was provided by the début of 53 John Lund’s long awaited new tarmac car. A radical, low, offset machine, certainly created a whole lot of interest in the pits, but due to the car only being completed in the early hours, the 8 time World Champion was treating the session as a practice which enabled him to familiarize himself with his new ride.

The new tarmac car of John Lund 53. Photo Steve Botham

The new tarmac car of John Lund 53. Photo Steve Botham

19 cars on the grid for heat one, which saw a début for 274 Phil Young racing a Tony Smith 91 machine. Peter Hobbs 108, in the Pr1mo sponsored car, continued his early good form from Northampton the previous weekend and flew into an early lead, as former World Champion Robert Speak 318 got into difficulties with Ed Neachell 321 and connected with the wall which saw a premature end to his race – issues with a disconnected steering wheel may have been the cause of that particular inconvenience.

Mick Sworder 150 and Rob Speak 318. Photo Colin Casserley

Mick Sworder 150 and Rob Speak 318. Photo Colin Casserley

Back at the front, Hobbs was relieved of his early lead by a hard charging Joshua Smith 191 prior to half distance, with Carl Pickering 141 and Shaun Blakemore 221 arguing over second spot. World Champion 1 Lee Fairhurst engaged in a battle with 4 Dan Johnson and 84 Tom Harris, before leaving his fellow star men in his wake as he closed in on the top three. Pickering began to drop back in the closing stages as the Gold Top began to chase down the leading pair of Smith and Blakemore. Josh held on to take another win, which will surely see him claim superstar status next month, whilst Blakemore was relegated to third on the last bend by Fairhurst with an expertly judged piece of bumperwork.

Josh Smith 191. Photo Steve Botham

Josh Smith 191. Photo Steve Botham

20 cars accepted the challenge of the second heat. John Lund 53 at the back in his brand new car was largely treating the evening as a practice, so it was left to Colin Goodswen 372 to take up the running in the early stages after overhauling the front running C graders of Hobbs and Jamie Jackson 377. Luke Davidson 464, taking advantage of a temporary down grade to blue was able to launch a strong challenge and moved through for the lead in the closing stages and take a straight forward victory from Goodswen, 11 Neil Scriven and 107 Lee Robinson back racing in the Dutch owned and prepared Team Mofert racer.

Lee Robinson H107 leads Paul Harrison 2 and Daz Kitson 532. Photo Steve Botham

Lee Robinson H107 leads Paul Harrison 2 and Daz Kitson 532. Photo Steve Botham

Three former World Champions on the grid for the Consolation race in the shape of Lund, Speak and Junior Wainman 515, and it was Speak 318 who took possibly one of the easiest wins of his career from Neachell, Wainman and Paul Hines 259. Lund coming home 11th to claim the penultimate qualifying spot in an extremely uneventful race.

Rob Speak 318. Photo Colin Casserley

Rob Speak 318. Photo Colin Casserley

The Grand Final was anything but uneventful. The drivers displaying an aggression and appetite for use of the bumper which had previously been missing during the three qualifying events. Jamie Jackson 377 got the drop at the front of the grid, but all eyes were on the rear of the grid as the big names began to slug it out.

Ryan Harrison 197 leads a train. Photo Colin Casserley

Ryan Harrison 197 leads a train. Photo Colin Casserley

Speak landed a hit on Harris into turn three, which was returned with interest into turn one, with the 318 car speared into the armco and out of the race. The hard hitting continued with Ryan Harrison 197 unleashing a monster burial on Wainman 515 into turn three with the Silsden based driver connecting hard with the wall – taking the wind out of his sails and a stoppage ensued.

star graders fight it out. Photo Colin Casserley

star graders fight it out. Photo Colin Casserley

Jackson’s lead at the front evaporated, and on the restart was quickly overhauled by Josh Smith 191 but that was short lived until a fast charging Mat Newson 16 went bustling through as the hits continued further back with a whole gaggle of star men giving each other hefty slaps on every bend. Johnson 4, Robinson 107, Fairhurst 1, Harris 84, Harrison 2 and Harrison 197 engaged in a mammoth fight for supremacy as Newson made his escape to victory at the front. The last bend lunges saw Ryan Harrison and Dan Johnson the main benefactors as they made the podium behind race winner Newson, the Norwich based star man finally claiming a big race win after a season of mainly bad luck during 2012

Mat Newson 16 on his way to victory. Photo Colin Casserley

Mat Newson 16 on his way to victory. Photo Colin Casserley

The Grand National continued in the same vein, with the intensity and aggression turned up several notches from the earlier three races. Jackson 377 again taking the early lead from Colin Goodswen 372, who moved through to the front of the pack before half distance. From the star grade, Paul Hines 259 had an absolute pearler of a start and quickly found himself in the top three and engaged in a fine battle with yellow grader Shaun Blakemore 221 who was in no mood to surrender his second place without a fight. 259/221 exchanged hits and placed until Hines got the better of Blakemore in the closing stages. Goodswen holding on at the front to take the win from Hines, Blakemore and Mick Sworder 150.

The action moving to Hednesford Hills Raceway for the BriSCA Big League’s sole visit of 2013, more WCQR points on offer should hopefully see some more hard hitting tarmac action.

Andre Zang

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