Buxton often manages to encompass four seasons into one day and their 2nd meeting of the year was no exception. Hailstones on the journey to the High Edge raceway coupled with a temperature drop to just over seven degrees paved the wave for a mixed bag of weather as not long after brilliant sunshine warmed the earth. With a damage heavy tarmac focus from the previous weekend and being a costly time for all, it was no surprise that the booking list suffered with eighteen cars being in the pits but 422 Dave Riley did not appear to be present and his BriSCA F1 stockcar looked like part of the Tom Harris 84 entourage. Danny Wainman 212 who had missed the previous night’s WCQR at Northampton made it to Buxton on a flatbed lorry along with a tractor while brother Frankie (515) remained stood down after Skegness.
Ex-European Champion Lee Fairhurst (217) was late pulling into the pits due to the coach suffering more problems on the journey to Buxton, but with their usual dedication they made it trackside. Lee successfully bagged a hatful of points to maintain his position in the top ten of the National Points but with the emphasis being switched back to shale, the shale specialists would all be fighting to get back in the frame.
An all in format was the order of the day with all seventeen cars pulling onto the tarmac for heat one. Solo yellow grade Robert Broome (41) led the field away while solo white top Bryan Makinson (509) starting all his races from the rear of the field. Craig Finnikin (55), suffering engine problems with his new tilted car was temporarily back in his old car but got straight into Lee Fairhurst at the green as Mick Sworder (150) broke well clear of the BriSCA blues and starting tracking the out front Broome, quickly snatching the lead for himself.
Unfortunately for Mick, a fleet Tom Harris (84) was doing his best to narrow the gap and the pair were soon roaring out of turn two together going down the backstraight side by side with Tom getting ahead on turn three and never looking back. Slightly back in the order Lee Fairhurst was tapped aside by Luke Davidson (464) with Fairhurst then gaining on Broome who was being sent down the order, and attempted to nudge him wide, as Matt Newson (16) lurked behind. Fairhurst reapplied the bumper to Broome but Newson succinctly applied his own bumper to the back of Fairhurst, sending him out wide too on the last bend to snatch the places.
Heat two saw Robert Broome once again lead them away as Josh Smith (191) hoofed Paul Carter (300) out of the way to take second. The reds scrapped amongst themselves with Tom Harris knocking Lee Robinson aside as Sworder swiftly moved into second, closely followed by current European Champion Luke Davidson (464) and ex-European Champ Paul Hines (259). An early turn four incident left Robert Broome stranded across the bend and as Fairhurst came by on the outside he snicked his tyre on the Sworder machine which left him forced to retire with a flat inside front.
Luke Davidson led them away but had the super quick Tom Harris on his tail and Tom slid through to take up the running once again. Hines dropped down the order after being forced out wide by Robinson while Scott Davids (462) sent Sworder out into the bottom bend fence before tustling at both ends with Craig Utley (484). Ian Venables (60) gave Danny Wainman a punt after the chequered which Danny returned with full interest before the red flags came out to signal the end of the race.
The sixteen car final came on track with Ian Venables having loaded up after his heat two skirmish. Robert Broome led them away after he and the team had all been working hard in the pits to straighten his front axle and repair the damage. Mick Sworder soon claimed the lead hotly pursued by his fellow blue graders. Craig Finnikin laid into Craig Utley with Luke Davidson punting Danny Wainman, allowing Lee Fairhurst to rapidly take advantage gliding up the inside. Paul Carter gave Utley a taste of steel after Utley had been left behind by Finnikin who had boldly swept into second place. History maker Paul Hines’ luckless spell continued as he was forced to retire, leaving him quite a way outside of the Shootout qualification zone. Lee Robinson sent Tom Harris out into Finnikin as Danny Wainman pulled off and then back on and Finnikin sent Utley flying fencewards.
The yellows came out not long after for a stranded Bryan Makinson on the homestraight. Makinson had until then, kept himself out of trouble, taking a steady wide line. Mick Sworder saw what lead he had evaporate as once again he had Tom Harris breathing down his neck. At the green, Tom laid into Mick for the lead as Lee Robinson went side by side with Sworder before pulling ahead, relegating Sworder into third. Robinson reeled in Harris and snatched the lead with Harris giving him a hit for his troubles. Lee Fairhurst gave Sworder a smack for third as Matt Newson dished it out to Luke Davidson. In the confusion, Robinson and Harris pulled clear of the field as Sworder became embroiled in the thick of battle with Scott Davids bumpering him and then Finnikin sending Newson out to connect with the new F1 stockcar star.
Finnikin, Newson and Sworder exchanged hits and swapped places in a nice little battle as upfront Harris stalked Robinson for the remaining laps culminating in a last bend attack for the win. Harris went in on Robinson taking the two out to the fence with Robinson bouncing round the armco but managing to come out ahead, going onto take the VSCA Challege trophy win for the third year in a row.
After the final, drivers were working hard to get back on track for the Grand National with final winner Lee Robinson welding up his bumper after the big last bend fence impact in the previous race. Danny Wainman was hurriedly replacing a half shaft as the Mick Sworder team replaced a fiddly fan belt. Twelve cars made it onto track with a brief respite from the rain. Robert Broome led them off for the last race of the day with Robinson stationed just in front from his lap handicap. As the cars tore off, Paul Carter briefly got a taste of the lead before belligerent Mick Sworder muscled through before being overcome himself by the tearing Tom Harris.
Harris was soon up into lapped traffic including Lee Robinson as Matt Newson move himself steadily through the field to take third behind Sworder, before pushing passed to move into second. Newson was unable to reel in Harris before the flag as the cars became spaced out round the track with Lee Robinson successfully finishing the race in twelfth to claim his five bonus points.