Coventry, 20th September – meeting report and photo gallery

The World Final meeting saw a massive entry of 103 F1 stock cars packed into the pits for a meeting that had been billed as “no frills, just pure stock car racing”.

This meant there were none of the one-time WF staples, such as skydivers, stunt shows, tyre changing competitions, monster trucks, jugglers, live bands, and the like.

And with full grids and a lot of action in every race, plus some very lively events for the National Saloons, it has to be said that it was exactly as advertised.

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Wendy Koopmans was one of two Dutch drivers to race as number H36, which no doubt caused a few issues with lap scoring.

Roughly a third of the entry was made up of drivers from overseas; the vast majority being from The Netherlands.

The opening Heat fielded 36 cars, and as soon as the green dropped they set about each other with gusto. Martin Oudhuis (H477) taking the victory.

The second heat was just as chaotic, if not more so, and while everyone else appeared to be getting a little bit over excited, the one driver who was as cool as a cucumber was Dutch legend H217 Ron Kroonder.

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Ron Kroonder about to take the lead in what would become his last ever victory in England.
Ron retires at the end of the season.

Ron is retiring from racing at the end of the year. This would be his final visit to the UK, and he certainly went out on a high note. With 29 cars on track, there was no room for error, but Kroonder picked his way through the carnage with a minimum of fuss to take a hugely popular victory.

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James Morris in the thick of it.

The third heat was the World Final, which saw Craig Finnikin take the title, and with it join the elite group of drivers to have won all three major titles. See separate story.

The first of two Consolation races saw Rich Bryan (238) put in a sterling drive to take a near flag to flag win. With just the top three qualifying, the last couple of laps saw some bumper work, with John Lund putting the bumper in on consecutive bends to secure second and a place in the final.

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Bobby Griffin making the sparks fly.

The second Consolation saw a flag to flag win for Dutch white top Willem Zwerver. The H295 driver looked utterly composed and at ease, with not a wheel out of place the entire race, and finishing almost half a lap ahead of runner-up Mick Sworder.

Sworder went one better in the meeting final, and with all manner of carnage in the opening laps, the 150 car picked a way through the melee and was at the front well before the halfway.

Former world champion Tom Harris offered a drive similar to his World Final performance and came through the field for second, but could not make any impression on Sworder, who took the flag with apparent ease.

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Steve Whittle goes flying after a coming together with Frits van Dis.

Another large entry for the Grand National, and again Zwerver (H295) set the pace from the front. In a race as action-packed as the rest of the evening, the young man from the Netherlands kept his cool on a packed track and it seemed nobody could get close.

But with the lap boards out, Zwerver found himself caught up with some backmarkers, and crashed out. This left Mat Newson, who had been a distant second until that point, in the lead, and Newson survived the remaining laps to take the win.

That brought to an end what had been one of the better World Final meetings of recent times.

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