Buxton, 14th August 2016 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

Buxton Raceway’s unique location in the High Peak can often produce a whole year’s weather in one day, leaving drivers unsure whether to fit wets, drys or snow-chains, but thankfully a warm if overcast afternoon greeted the many fans who had gathered for the second of this year’s semi-finals, which doubled as Heat One. Billy Johnson (169) had already withdrawn from the race, his place taken by Bobby Griffin (166), and James Morris (463) failed to show, putting reserve Geoff Nicholls (215) at the back on his favourite tarmac surface! Geoff received a great welcome from the crowd, befitting one of the sport’s elder statesmen.

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An all-Wainman front row for Semi-Final #2

The all Wainman front row didn’t last long, Danny getting shuffled back as Paul Harrison came through. Fairhurst went in hard but a big push from further back saw Gilbank, Booth, Wainman (555), van Spijker, Shevill and Hawkins all pile into the turn one fence, Frankie JJ’s first semi-final finishing there and then. 515 led from 217 as Harrison (2) bounced out of the pit bend armco but carried on, while Harrison (197) retired with a flat rear tyre.

Danny Wainman started his fight back up the order, taking third briefly ahead of Green and Harris before being shunted wide and back to fifth while Fairhurst wore out the mirrors on the 515 machine. You got the impression Lee was just biding his time as he closed right up on FWJ but Green was on a charge, taking second with five to run and closing on Wainman, almost pushing him around then striking on turn three with a couple of laps left. FWJ stayed with Green initially but dropped back a little on the final lap, just enough, in fact for Fairhurst to deliver a big last bender, second place decided in Wainman’s favour in the drag race to the line.

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Nigel Green (445) will join Rob Speak on the front row for the World Final at Coventry, with FWJ (515) just behind them

Non-semi-finalists, seventeen of them, lined up for Heat Two, led away by Steve Malkin Junior (308) and Mark Sargent (326), with Peter Falding (33) at the back in a superbly presented new car built for Team Mofert in the Netherlands. Steve Webster (401) took command after the 326 car failed on the back straight but blue-topped Todd Jones (186) was a man on the move, moving the 401 car wide on the top bend to take a lead he would hold until the flag. Webster lost second place when he tried to climb the turn two banking letting Craig Finnikin (55) into second with Brad Harrison (25) third.

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A rare appearance for Peter Falding in Heat 2

Paul Hines could be forgiven for thinking his luck was about to change in the sixteen car Consolation after a disastrous semi-final showing. He was lying third behind Sean Willis and Frankie JJ with three to run when 555 tried to shift the leader on turn three. Willis closed the door and the two cars locked bumpers, entering the home straight as an 8-wheeled rolling road block. Hines was forced onto the infield as the cars separated and careered into the marker tyres while Willis regained his composure and the lead, only for Frankie the Younger to try again on the last bend. This time the move was spot on, the Silsden red top taking the win from Hawkins with Webster third, while Willis scraped himself off the fence to claim fifth behind Booth.

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Frankie JJ picks up another Consolation win

Willis led the Final for the Wilf Blundell Rose Bowl, for a lap or two until Dave Allen (499) took over, an early caution for John Dowson Junior (94) bringing the race to a halt after he tested the strength of his Newson hire-car against the pit bend fence. A messy restart saw Allen again out front from Webster (401) until Jones (186) forced his way through, with a fast-moving Chris Cowley (37) into second ahead of Gibson (249). Cowley trailed Jones then squeezed by him on the back straight while FWJ took third place but clearly had problems (a lack of brakes, it transpired).

Another caution with four to run to move the stranded Utley (46) car from the top turn saw the restart order as 37, 186, 515, 388, 16, 249 and 445. Jones went for a big one on Cowley but missed putting Wainman second, so Jones had a go at him instead, putting FWJ into the pit bend armco. Ford passed the 515 car but was belted wide on the next bend as Wainman regained a place, only to fall back with one to run. Cowley was a clear winner, with Newson second and Jones third, ahead of Wainman and Harrison (2) but there was a twist in the tale. Newson and Jones were both docked two places, Newson for hanging back at the restart and Jones for jumping the gun, elevating Wainman and Harrison to second and third. Newson showed his contempt for the steward’s decision by roaring off across the centre, his crash helmet bouncing along the tarmac behind him trying in vain to keep up!

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Chris Cowley taking the flag in the Final

Twenty-one for the Grand National, racing for the Wilf Blundell Trophy, led by cars 19 and 308 behind Cowley on the lap handicap. Cowley hit the gas on turn three, a tad early I thought, and it was Malkin who led from Webster and Elwell. Webster passed Malkin for the lead as the 308 car began to struggle but FWJ, braking problems sorted, was making rapid progress through the field, though still a long way behind Webster and second placed Gibson. A tangle on the pit turn involving 183, 55 & 555 diverted the attention briefly as, with five to run, Wainman closed on the 401 car, passing on the next lap for the win ahead of Webster and Newson.

With Frankie getting second in both semi and final and a win in the national, Frankie JJ winning the consolation, Phoebe taking heat and final in the V8s and Danny placing well in all three races Team Wainman can feel pretty pleased with their day’s work.

Nigel Green won the coin toss after the semi-final and will start the World Final at Coventry on pole position. It is safe to assume that the Green Team will be “Making Plans for Nigel” over the next couple of weeks.

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The last win of the day went the way of Frankie Wainman Junior

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos : Colin Casserley

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