Birmingham – April 9th 2011 Meeting Report

The BriSCA F1 tarmac season got under way at Birmingham Wheels on a warm and sunny Saturday 9th April with a superb field of around 60 cars present including no fewer than nine Dutch drivers.

Dave Schaap h007 and Jessy de Bruin h399. Photo Colin Casserley

Louw Wobbes h22. Photo Chris Clark

Plenty of new tarmac cars were in evidence with those of 55 Craig Finnikin and 515 Junior Wainman attracting the most attention, but it was 4 Dan Johnson who would inherit victory in the Final.

Final winner Dan Johnson 4 in practice. Photo Colin Casserley

With the Goodyear airship hovering coincidentally yet symbolically over the skyline of Birmingham the first heat began with 22 cars taking the green, 85 Iain Holden taking F2 graduate 422 Dave Riley for the lead as an early push among the red tops saw 12 Michael Scriven and 217 Lee Fairhurst hit the wall. 212 Danny Wainman spun H148 Danny Smidt sending 253 Rob Braithwaite wide into the Armco as a yellow flag at two thirds distance for debris and the spun H217 Ron Kroonder allowed 2 Paul Harrison onto the back bumpers of leader Holden and 60 Ian Venables and on the restart he was quickly through and away for the win. Holden and Venables were next home, the main focus in the pack a fine battle between Danny Wainman and the new car of 84 Tom Harris for fifth.

Paul Harrison 2 making his way through the field to take the first heat. Photo Chris Clark

A bigger field of 32 cars lined up for heat two which was stopped early after 321 Ed Neachell rolled it at turn four after piling into the spun 372 Colin Goodswen after he had tangled with 428 Richard Regan.

Ed Neachell 321 getting out of his car unharmed. Photo Chris Clark

Neachell was OK and his only damage was a crushed aerofoil, the restart led by 223 Garry Townsend until 51 Dylan Williams-Maynard took over followed by 322 James Neachell. Further back 150 Mick Sworder was impressing in his new Smith-built car in his trademark sideways style battling 197 Ryan Harrison and 463 James Morris. Further back the superstars seemed content to battle among themselves as James Neachell restored family pride with victory ahead of Williams-Maynard and 484 Craig Utley.

Mick Sworder 150 alongside Paul Carter 300. Photo Colin Casserley

The consolation included 412 Gareth O’Beirne who started at the back for his first ever F1 race, which was stopped early with Goodswen and 393 Dave Plumbley in the back straight wall, the damage enough to put them out for the weekend. While that was going on H22 Louw Wobbes ended up on top of 22 Will Yarrow and a separation job was required before things resumed with Morris up front until the repaired and aerofoil-less Ed Neachell took over for his family’s second win, 16 Matt Newson taking second and 434 Ivan Pritchard third.

Father and son Tony and Josh Smith line up in the consolation. Photo Chris Clark

All 32 qualifiers lined up for the Final with Townsend leading off as Newson shrugged off a near-tangle with 11 Neil Scriven to head the charge of the star names. Earlier pacesetters Holden and James Neachell were among those to find the wall first with 41 Robert Broome also caught up as another F2 graduate took the lead in the shape of 126 Neil Turner.

Neil Turner 126. Photo Chris Clark

Ron Kroonder h217 and Chris Cowley. Photo Colin Casserley

Kroonder suffered a small fire after a hit from Paul Harrison leading to a stoppage, and once the marshals had dealt with the flames it was Williams-Maynard who lunged into the lead as 429 Gareth Wildman and 161 Mark Allen bounced heavily off the home straight wall. Another stoppage was next after Smidt was sent bouncing into the turn four wall after a big shot from Utley and by this stage the red top train was near the front. Newson was first to strike at the green and he went into the lead with Junior Wainman and Johnson battling past Williams-Maynard to chase him.

FWJ 515 and Stu Smith jnr 390 battling in the final. Photo Colin Casserley

Turner’s good run ended with a spin while Williams-Maynard’s was finished when he and Paul Harrison crashed up the back straight banking. Johnson challenged Newson but the latter held on for the first win for his new tarmac car, but it all came apart for the perennially unlucky driver as he failed the post-race weight check handing Johnson the win from Ed Neachell – still without aerofoil – and 390 Stuart Smith’s shale car.

Mat Newson 16 lost out on his final win. Photo Colin Casserley

The 32-car Grand National began with a more frantic start with 91 Tony Smith and Ed Neachell sliding up the infield bank exiting turn four as Braithwaite hit the wall again along with H6 Geert-Jan Keijzer. Morris took Holden for the lead but Stuart Smith was the fastest man on track and he chased down fellow shale car pilot Morris before launching a well-timed last bend lunge to take the win on the line, Morris and Paul Harrison next.

A typically enjoyable Birmingham session, with an excellent entry and equally excellent racing in all five events.

Dave Goddard

Photo Extra

Paul Hines and Mickey Randell 172. Photo Colin Casserley

Mike Ward 360 and Gareth Wildman 429. Photo Colin Casserley

Craig Finnikin's 55 new machine. Photo Chris Clark

Craig Finnikin's 55 new machine. Photo Colin Casserley

Lee Fairhurst's 217 revamped tar car. Photo Colin Casserley

Lee Fairhurst's 217 revamped car. Photo Chris Clark

Michael Scriven 12. Photo Chris Clark

Tom Harris 84. Photo Chris Clark

The long awaited debut of f2 superstar Mick Sworder 150. Photo Chris Clark

Mick Sworder 150 going through the field. Photo Chris Clark

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