Birmingham – September 12th 2009 Meeting Report

The last weekend before the World Final saw the Asphalt of Birmingham Wheels host the BriSCA F1 Stockcars for the third time of the season. Thirty-four cars filled the pits on a late Indian summers evening. A two–thirds race format was decided on meaning each driver would compete in two of the three heats.

Heat One.

Following an oil spill from the Ministox’s, two-rolling laps started the meeting for the F1’s under a warm clear blue sky. Twenty-four cars lined up for heat one with Carl Pickering (141) opening the attack, hitting Chris Cooke (460) going into turn three on the opening lap. This move sending Cooke into the rear of Rob Harrod (258) with both cars being sent wide, allowing Pickering to take second place behind Rob Bamford (143). Ed Neachell (321) took an early spin on turns three and four, recovering but losing many places. Les Spencer (98) and James Neachell (322) tangled exiting turn four, both cars skidding onto the infield. The recovering Spencer then going for a wild ride over the rumble strips/earth banking going into turn one. Chris Cooke, following the opening lap attack was now parked against the Armco exiting turn four. James Lund (153) with a few laps had passed both Pickering and Spencer to take the lead. Behind, Tony Smith (91) and Scott Davids (462) were engaging in battle; running side-by-side down the straights and Tony getting ahead of Davids going into turn three. Davids launched his attack onto the rear of Tony, sending the 91 car up-over the bonnet of Bamford.
Race order 153 – 141 – 462.
The following Red graders were bunched tightly together in a high speed train while out front Lund began making his way though back markers. With the lap boards out the leading two reds graders of Craig Finnikin (55) and Dan Johnson (4) were engaging in battle with the bumpers going in, each attempting to get ahead of the other. Lap down Malcolm Ngatai (NZ1) found himself between the two red graders and was subjected to being the firing-car following a hit from Finnikin sending Ngatai into the rear of Johnson. With one lap to go, Lund had pulled a half lap lead on second place Pickering, taking the win unchallenged. Fininkin got past Johnson to take fourth while Stuart Smith (390), David Squire (311) and Malcolm Ngatai came out of four three abreast squeezing the NZ1 car right up to the Armco as Squire and Smith battled for sixth place.
Result 153 – 141 – 462 – 55 – 4 – 311 – 390 – 12 – 97 – 391

Heat Two.

Nineteen cars gridded for the second race of the evening; now under a darkening sky with full flood lights giving the Oval it’s familiar yellow glow. Australian Brett Tobin (Aus#15) making his first appearance of 2009 in a Tony Smith car. Lee Davidson (494) leading the first lap while David Squire was sent up to the Armco following an attack from Ed Neachell with Neachell soon being under attack himself from Daniel Wainman (212). Daniel Wainman taking the place; with Ed Neachell and Dan Johnson (4) now bumper to bumper with Johnson moving Ed wide exiting turn four. At half way Ian Brickley (246) was leading the field with Daniel Wainman moving within attacking distance; Brickley giving the inside line and lead to the younger Wainman. Older brother Frankie (515) not being so lucky in passing Brickley T-Boning him exiting four. FWJ got back into to race while Brickley ended stranded in the middle of the track on turn four.
With the lap boards out 212 – 494 – 4 – 321 – 515 were the top five. A little further back, Paul Harrison (2) was on the back bumper of Lee Fairhurst (217) going into three with both cars having to drift wide exiting four to avoid the 246 car. This movement giving Stuart Smith vital seconds and the opportunity to take the inside line, coming out in front of Harrison and getting himself on the back bumper of Fairhurst. Up front, lap down Ngatai in the Ryan Harrison car was again proving difficult to pass, Johnson needing to move the NZ#1 car by way of his bumper. Going into the last lap Stuart Smith was ahead of Fairthurst; Fairhurst stuck tight, putting a well timed attack onto Smith going into three getting the 390 car off line. Fairhurst tucked in coming out of four ahead of Smith.
Result 212 – 4 – 515 – 321 – 494 – 217 – 390 – 2 – 8 – 327.

Photo Colin Casserley.

Photo Colin Casserley.

Heat Three.

Twenty-one cars gridded for the last heat race. Chris Cooke (460) got the early lead, while Lee Davidson (494) had a monster moment exiting turn two on the second lap pirouetting down the back straight before coming to a stop against the Armco going into turn three only to be hit by the 143 car of Jim Bamford at high speed. Waved Yellows were shown resulting in a full restart. Chris Cooke and Dave Plumbley (393) as the only remaining white graders went round turns one and two side-by-side; Cooke getting ahead down the back straight. Luke Davidson (464) attacked Scott Davids (462) going into three on the opening lap. With the cars jostling for position on the opening stages of the race there were hits going in all over the place. Tony Smith (91) successfully sending Luke Davison armco bound on three and four. Super Stars FWJ and Andy Smith (391) were side-by-side in a high speed race. At the half way point, white grader Chris Cooke (460) was still leading the race with the 460 car appeared to have better handling around turns three and four compared with one and two.
Craig Finnikin (55) was again leading the charge for the red grades, moving Plumbley wide and nicking the inside line and second place. Fininkin then chased down race leader Cooke passing on the inside going into turn one. Scott Davids had worked his way into third place, passing Cooke going into turn one to take second place. While behind Andy Smith and FWJ were getting ever closer to the front. A mechanical failure saw Davids being forced to retire from the race giving second place to Andy Smith; and as the race drew to a close Cooke valiantly held onto third place, coming home in front of Frankie Wainman Jnr.
Result 55 – 391 – 460 – 515 – 393 – 212 – 16 – 73 – 97 – 12.

Final.

Twenty-Four cars took to the track for the final with Rob Harrod (258) leading the first completed lap. The red grades went into the opening turns as one mass of horse power and steel with FWJ going up-and-over the bonnet of Matt Newson (16) on turns three and four. Mark Woodhull (335) and Lee Fairhurst (217) had a lucky escape after a brief tangling exiting four and weaving down the home straight amazingly avoiding the following high speed cars. Unfortunately Dave Plumbley was not so lucky; finding himself the leading car on a train going into turn one, firing the 393 car hard into the Armco. Waved yellows with the restart order being 311 – 153 – 327 – 141 – 4 – 321 – 460 – 212.
From the off, Dan Johnson and Carl Pickering were side-by-side around the turns and along both straights for two laps with neither car backing off. Johnson manages to get in in front while Ed Neachell was tucking in tight on the the rear bumper of Pickering. Pickering then attacking Johnson, and likewise Neachell attacking Pickering going into three. Neachell taking the place from Pickering and having no time to settle, coming under attack from FWJ who took him up to the Armco as the 515 fought for the inside line. Dan Johnson’s next battle was against the 390 car of Stuart Smith. Racing side-by-side for an entire lap with Stuart getting in front going into three; Johnson timing a good hit, getting the 390 car off line and under full throttle the 4 car coming out of four in front. The result is a three way battle between 391 – 4 – 390 all bumper to bumper pushing each other on at break neck speeds around the tight oval. While up front, James Lund had taken the lead from Squire with Lund manoeuvring though the back markers to take the win. Michael Scriven (12) and Daniel Wainman continuing their battle, dragging to the line for tenth place.
Result 153 – 311 – 515 – 321 – 391 – 390 – 16 – 2 – 73 – 12.

Photo Colin Casserley.

Photo Colin Casserley.

Grand National.

Sixteen cars came out for the last race of evening and the last race of the National Series rounds before the commencement of the Shoot Out. No white graders took to the track; Carl Pickering as a solo yellow grade, four blues and remainder being Reds and Superstars. Luke Davidson (464) got away to a terrible start dropping to the very rear of the pack and progressing slowly. Meanwhile Ed Neachell (321) was straight into the back of Pickering. Rob Cowley (73) moving fellow red grade Craig Fininkin. Being the smallest grid of the night led to the fastest start of the night. David Squire made heavy head-on contact with the Armco mid point of three and four resulting in waved yellows with the restart order being: 141 – 321 – 55 – 391 – 73 – 8 -212 – 515 – 2 -12 – 464.
Neachell wasted no time and was on top of the 141 car going into one coming out of two as race leader. Finnikin was the next to attack and pass Pickering. Andy Smith was the next to pick up Pickering getting him wide, with Pickering being under constant attack as Cowley stuck the bumper in to get passed. Pickering was under constant attack as Cowley attacked and passed, only for FWJ to take the place from Cowley going down the back straight. Andy Smith worked his up to second place and got onto the rear of Neachell going into turn one, 321 and 391 going into two side-by-side. 321 and 391 remained side-by-side down the back straight with Smith getting ahead round three and four. Neachell gave counter chase; attacking going into turn one, getting the inside line and retaking the lead exiting two. Smith accelerating into attacking Neachell, going into three, swapping places and coming out ahead of the 321 car exiting four. Ed, not giving up, pursued Smith down the homestraight, attacking going into turn one. This time, 321 – 391 coming out side-by-side down the back straight. While this battle for the lead had been in full flight FWJ had got himself into position, firing the 55 car of Fininkin into the 391 going into three with FWJ taking second place. Going into the last lap the order was 321 – 515 – 55 – 391 – 212. Going into the last bend, FWJ purposefully attacking race leader Neachell, while also being under attack himself from Finnikin; with all three cars going out towards the armco. With all cars fighting to recover first; Andy Smith was tucking up on the inside looking to steal the win, only for Daniel Wainman to help Smith get wide. The under control, full speed car of Daniel Wainman shot though on the inside to take the win; with the following Smith, FWJ and Neachell coming out side-by-side three abreast to drag race to the line for the runner up placings.
Result 212 – 515 -391 – 321 – 2 – 55 – 73 – 141 – 8 – 464.

Stephen Cording.

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