Coventry, 1st August 2015 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

A two heat format was again the order of the day (night) at Coventry; 51 cars racing but around 11 drivers missing from the programmed schedule.

Twenty-five gridded for Heat One, including Henry Hunter (202) up to red and trying out the shale for the first time and Jack France (216) in a super new car. All the fours (44 and 444) led the pack away on a well-watered track, with Dan Johnson (4) and Mick Sworder (150) making rapid progress through the field. PJ Lemons (444) pulled out a straight’s lead over Johnson, as 44 ran into the Martin Spiers (451) car, parked on the third bend.

Johnson took the lead as the lap boards came out and then promptly spun himself on the Coventry bend, handing the top spot to Sworder. Johnson spun again on the pit bend and retired to the infield while Sworder took the flag, pursued by a badly smoking Mat Newson (the car, not Mat).

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Henry Hunter tries out the loose stuff.

Local man Craig Aston (440) was on pole for the twenty-six car Heat Two but it was Tim Warwick (307) who muscled his way to the front when the green flag dropped, with Nigel Harrhy (45) in second. Richard Bryan (238) launched an attack on the cars ahead of him and took the lead while a fast-charging Tom Harris (84) picked off cars one by one, moving into second with three to run and trying a last bender on the yellow top, but the Clitheroe Kid held on for a popular win.

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John Brown (134) about to lose the lead in Heat 2.

The twenty-two car Consolation was brought under caution early on for a tangle on the home straight involving Geoff Nicholls (215) and Mark Gray (224), using an ex-Andy Smith machine. Johnson (4) was baulked by Dave Willis (337) on the restart, allowing Danny Wainman (212) to slip past briefly before being nerfed aside by the Worksop man. Russell Cooper (415) was in the lead but lost out to Johnson at the half-way stage, Wainman pressured 4 as the lap boards came out, repaying the earlier move and nerfing Johnson aside for the win. Hunter (202) gained a very respectable fifth position.

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A great battle for win between Johnson (4) and Wainman (212).

A full thirty-six cars gridded for the Final; led in the early stages by 444 until the yellow flags flew for Spiers, stranded on the fourth turn. Sworder suffered a flat tyre in a contretemps with Hunter (220) on the centre green as the cars slowed for the caution.

The restart saw Johnson already up to sixth place, but Harris was the man on the move, passing cars left, right and centre in his quest for the lead. The 4 car passed 444 for the lead, with Harris in third, then second as he dived up the inside of the Sheffield driver but his pursuit of Johnson was short-lived; the European Champion pulling onto the centre and leaving Johnson in splendid isolation.

Caution flags, then red flags flew for Paul Spooner (104) who rolled on the back stretch and was hit by Mark Woodhull (335), both cars receiving severe damage – thankfully the drivers involved were unhurt. On a very dry and dusty track, Johnson maintained his lead over the remaining laps, Newson trying hard to close the gap but clipping the back straight fence on the last lap and unable to launch a last-bend attack.

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Do you think they can get it ready for the National?

All hell broke loose early on in the 31-car Grand National as cars went every which-way at the end of the back straight, shoving the big marker tyres onto the track, one of them even joining in the race around the third and fourth bends before running out of steam at the start of the home straight. A caution was called for to remove assorted cars and marker tyres from the track before John Brown (134) led them away for the restart, which lasted only seconds before the race was stopped for an incident involving Tony Smith (91) and Mark Poole (276) which left the 91 car on top of the armco and through the wires.

Fence repairs were quickly made, the track regraded and racing resumed, Paul Hines (259) taking the lead while Harris, Speak (318) and Williams-Maynard (51) disputed positions. Harris eventually got the upper hand, whittling away at Hines’ lead and knocking him wide on the pit bend with just a couple of laps to run.

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DW-M and Tom Harris traded paint in the restarted Grand National.

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley & Steve Botham 

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