Birmingham Gala Night, 17th November 2018 – Report and Photos

A packed house for the annual BriSCA Gala Night. Bitter cold it may have been but there was plenty to interest the hardy souls on the terraces with races for F1, F2 and V8 Stock Cars, the latter concluding their season-long points championship but the less said about that the better!

The big event for the evening was the F1 Under25 Championship, often a lively race given the varying levels of driver age and experience in cars begged, borrowed or hired for the occasion. Spare a thought for Mat Newson – seven, or was it eight, hire cars to maintain throughout the night with three stock saloon drivers and a hot rod star among his customers?

Thirty-two cars on track, the first start aborted, the second one better and Jay Hewitt (546) the first casualty on turn two. Tristan Jackson (101) led from Joe Nickolls (242) but an early caution for Aaron Leach (70) in the wall on the home straight stopped proceedings. Defending champion Lee Fairhurst (217) survived a combined attack from Hawkins (175) and England (346) on turn one to move quickly into fourth place, aided by another caution, this one for Hannah Chappell (387) stuck on turn four. Nickolls led the restart but within a lap Fairhurst was up to second, taking the lead away from 242 just after the halfway to notch up his third U25 title.

Lee Fairhurst taking another Under 25s Championship

Heat one saw 31 gridded up and raring to go with some unfamiliar names behind the wheels of some familiar cars – how about Jessica Smith (391) in the 422 car, Mick Brassey (428) in the 464 car and Gordon Moodie (F2 Gold & Silver) in the 229 machine. Throw in saloonatics Diggy Smith (116) and Dean Mayes (530), add a touch of hot rod class with John Christie (62) and stir in the new F1 Shoot Out champion Frankie Wainman Junior and you had a field that showcased oval racing in the UK.

A heap of cars on the start line shortly after the green flag cleared themselves, avoiding a caution, leaving Matt Rogers (213) in the lead until yellow flags flew for rare visitor Steve Reedman (361), stationery on the back straight. Nigel Harrhy (45) entertained on the home straight, colliding with other cars on the restart and loosening his teeth over the rumble strips around turn one as Brassey and Rogers squabbled over the lead. Former U25 champ Danny Wainman (212) moved first 213 and then 428 to take the lead with a couple of laps to go, taking the flag ahead of a very impressive Brassey.

A new silver roof for National Points Shootout Champ, FWJ

Twenty-six for Heat two, cautioned early on for a collision between Dan Parker (548) and Steve Whittle (183). Ben Howard (544), F2 driver and Williams GP team member led them away in the former Hines/Sarge car and stayed out in front for several laps until Harry Steward (126) swept by. Another caution, this time for Ollie Skeels (121) saw Steward take off a tad early (sure I wrote that earlier in the year too), chased by Howard and Fairhurst. Another caution (Sophie Maynard (154)) saw Harry again pre-empt the starter, but such things tend to go un-noticed on Gala night and Steward took the victory from 217 and 544.

Around thirty cars for the consolation, led in fine style by Smith (391) as Harrhy again entertained the home straight patrons, driving up and down the infield banking. Smith gained in confidence with every lap, but the more experienced Nickolls was chipping away at her lead, hitting the front just as a caution came out for a Maynard/Kitson (533) tangle. Nickolls got a perfect start while further back Kyle Gray (124) and Jim Bamford (302) exchanged blows battling over fourth place. Micky Randell (172) eased by Smith for second but was too far back to challenge Joe for the lead.

391 – Jessica Smith

The final for the Dave Leonard Memorial trophy saw Ben Howard do a Lewis Hamilton, leading from green flag to chequered with Brassey and Smith his wing man and women until a caution for a conjoined Steward and Rogers on the exit to turn four threatened to spoil the white top party. The yellow flags looked to hand the race to new (and old) U25 champion Fairhurst but a home straight shemozzle saw the 217 car out with a flat and another likely winner, Wainman (212) out into the turn one fence with a wrecked front end.

Cue another caution, this time for Sean Willis (287) who had stopped just past the start line, must have made Howard curse but he coolly drove away from the remaining 14 cars to record an emphatic victory. Nickolls maintained his second place to the flag but Jessica Smith lost out to first Ant Whorton-Eales (408) and then Ash England right at the end but still finished fifth ahead of Moodie and Brassey.

Ben Howard (544), F2 driver and Williams GP team member , taking the meeting final

Another very interesting Gala Night but with the final being the last race of the evening there were few spectators left to applaud the top three on their victory lap. How about a Helter Skelter next year to finish off the meeting, or better yet a Dash for the Cash?

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley

Facebook Network:

What is this?

Latest Posts
Stox Personality of the Year 2018: Voting is Open
Stox Personality of the Year 2018: Voting is Open
Dec 8, 2018

Vote for your Stox Personality of the Year now!

Stox Personality of the Year 2018: Nominee #4
Stox Personality of the Year 2018: Nominee #4
Dec 7, 2018

The final nominee for Stox Personality of the Year 2018

Stox Personality of the Year 2018: Nominee #3
Stox Personality of the Year 2018: Nominee #3
Dec 6, 2018

Nominee #3 for Stox Personality of the Year!

Stox Personality of the Year 2018: Nominee #2
Stox Personality of the Year 2018: Nominee #2
Dec 5, 2018

Our second nominee is Nigel Harrhy. This is Nige’s third nomination for F1Stockcars.com Personality of the Year!

Stox Personality of the Year 2018: Nominee #1
Stox Personality of the Year 2018: Nominee #1
Dec 4, 2018

Introducing the 2018 F1Stockcars.com Stox Personality of the Year award and the first nominee, Conrad Wilson.

Birmingham Gala Night, 17th November 2018 - Report and Photos
Birmingham Gala Night, 17th November 2018 – Report and Photos
Dec 4, 2018

Report and photos from the annual Gala Night

Belle Vue, 11th November 2018 - Photo Gallery (Report to Follow)
Belle Vue, 11th November 2018 – Photo Gallery (Report to Follow)
Dec 2, 2018

Photos from the Shootout Finale at Belle Vue

Stoke, 3rd November 2018 - Meeting Report and Photos
Stoke, 3rd November 2018 – Meeting Report and Photos
Nov 11, 2018

The penultimate Shootout round saw an all-Wainman top 3 in the Final


Track Photography