With thirty-one cars in the pits, a two-thirds format was decided.
On a damp, overcast and breezy but not raining afternoon twenty-one cars came out for Heat One. Two whites, two yellows, eight blues, nine reds and superstars. Rich Masterson (103) led the field away with both yellow graders in pursuit. Matt Newson (16) and Lee Robinson (107) were the first of the reds to move though the field and as the damp track dried the speeds increased: Newson and Robinson were pushing each other onwards and faster. At the half way point racing order was 103, 464, 60, 16, 311, 107, 515, 391.
On the next lap while Masterson retired to the infield, Newson passed Ian Venables (60) to take second spot and Robinson was quick to close down on and pass Venables for third place. Behind the battle remained with Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) leading Andy Smith (391), with Smith being unable to gain any ground on FWJ. As the lap boards came out Luke Davison (464) began to make his way though the back markers (brother) Lee Davison (494) and Carl Pickering (141). Paul Harrison (2) had powered his way into sixth spot but with too much distance between himself and Andy Smith to challenge. Matt Newson was unable to catch leading Davidson and Robinson unable to catch Newson. On the final Lap, Wainman was approaching back marker Pickering and skilfully moved aside Pickering on turn one, while Smith moved Pickering aside on turn three.
Result 464 – 16 – 107 – 515 – 391 – 2 – 4 – 462 – 259 – 53.
As eighteen cars gridded up for Heat Two a BIG black cloud moved over the track but it was still breezy and dry. Lee Fairhurst (217) led while being chased by solo yellow Ian Venables (60). Tom Harris (84) and Lee Robinson (107) were the first of the red graders to meet the blues. Harris attacked back bumper of Spencer Taylor (498) going into one, sending Taylor off into the Armco where he remained. Robinson was straight onto the back bumper of Harris and both were racing against each other and moving swiftly though the field. Robinson was leading from Harris when Robinson swiftly moved aside the Scott Davids (462) car. With clear track between Robinson and second place Venables, the speed for Robinson and Harris went up a notch. Harris just clipped the Armco on the home straight under the starter but this did not seem to slow Harris in any way. At half way Fairhurst was leading by a good half a-lap on 107, 84, 434 and 321.
As the lap boards came out Robinson moved Venables in turn One, Harris moved Venables on Three and with four laps to go Fairhurst’s half lap lead looked unreachable. Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) was closing down on Fifth place Ivan Pritchard (434) while Stuart Smith Jnr (390) was sitting on FWJ’s back bumper. On the final lap FWJ moved aside Pritchard on turn two with SSJ unable to launch his own attack on Pritchard and FWJ going into the final bend with Dave Beresford (260) being on the outside line.
Result 217 – 107 – 84 – 515 – 434 – 390 – 321 – 21 – 462 – 212.
Twenty-two cars came out for the final heat to overcast skies and very light rain. Rich Masterson (103) took the lead before Lee Fairhurst (217) passed coming out of four. The blue graders all went into One at the same time with them all trying to squeeze four abreast. Matt Newson (16) benefited, getting himself in amongst the blues. On the next lap, Newson disposed of two cars; Dave Beresford (260) via a timely hit on the car of Carl Pickering (141). Tom Harris dived up the inside taking the advantage. Newson chased down Harris, with neither driver wanting to be behind the other; swapping hits and exchanging places lap after lap. Eventually, Newson managed to pull clear of Harris. Solo Yellow grader David Squire (311) remained in second place as the half way point was reached. Race Order at half way point 217, 311, 12, 185, 16, 434, 84, 53.
In the closing laps Michael Scriven (12) moved David Squire (311) and once Squire was off the racing line Newson wasted no time in securing third spot. Ivan Pritchard (434) also moved Squire in turn Two with Lund moving Squire in Three. At this point the top five cars were all evenly spaced. Andy Smith (391) then encountered the Squire car on the last lap; moving him aside on turn four and opening up a drag race for the line.
Result 217 – 12 – 16 – 434 – 53 – 21 – 391 – 311 – 2 – 84.
Apologies now for the Final ‘report’ like another stockcar journalist I too rely on my trusty notepad and pencil to make notes during the race. After finally positioning myself in a way to at least try and protect my notebook from the monsoon that had so kindly arrived just in time for the Final, I faced the biggest problem – Spray! Below is a very rough recollection of what (I think) I saw and not what MyLaps recorded!
Twenty-four cars made the Final, Three Whites, One Yellow, Eight Blues, twelve Reds and superstars.
Lee Fairhurst (217) took up the lead, Daniel Wainman (212) launched Ivan Pritchard (434) into the turn One Armco, rattling the 434 car round the turn. Lee Robinson (107) was well away and able to take the lead from Fairhurst just before the half way point was reached. Visability (for me) was about Nil from the spray from the (for the conditions) high speed of the cars. Paul Harrison (2) appeared to be a man on a mission, first moving Danny Wainman on turn One and then moving Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) on turn three for third spot. All of the cars were going sideways coming out of turn two, with the back-end coming out before grip was found (on a few occasions Lund’s and Prichard’s car failed to find that grip below the river running down the straight) and launching the car up the straight. Robinson was safely out in front of Fairhurst and despite Harrison’s best efforts, the gap was just too great to close before the chequered. Final thoughts – Great to watch, impossible (for me) to report on.
Result 107 – 217 – 2 – 515 – 212 – 21 – 16 – 4 – 464 – 434.
The Grand National saw yet another weather condition for the drivers to contend with, thirteen cars came out to find that a cloud had descended onto the track, giving a hazy, misty almost foggy wet track, with a huge drop in temperature. The grid consisted of Two White, NIL Yellows, Three Blues, Eight Reds and S/S with Robinson taking the lap handicap.
Scott Davids (462) took the lead from Lee Fairthurst (217); Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) was able to reach third spot before the half way mark, and was leading the race at the half way mark. Racing order 515, 462, 217, 2, 12, 4.
Paul Harrison (2) took third place passing Fairhurst in one, then took Second spot from Davids on four. With five laps to go Robinson was in ninth place. Daniel Wainman (212) moved John Lund (53) in turn two with Robinson gaining on the two cars. Lund retook place from Wainman, Robinson took the place from Wainman. Harrison attempted a last bend attack on leader FWJ while behind them Fairhurst forced Davids wide in the last bends and drag raced to the line.
Result 515 – 2 – 462 – 217 – 4 – 53 – 107 – 212 – 12 – 103.