Coventry, 2nd May 2015 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

Heat 1 saw 20 starters, including superstars Frankie Wainman Junior (515), Paul Harrison (2) and Dylan Williams-Maynard (51), from his first start with flashing lights. The field was led away by Martin Spiers (451) and Steve Smith (40), with Spiers taking the early lead as Smith went for a spin in the pits bend.

Gilbank was quick off the mark, but it wasn’t long before Frankie Wainman Junior caught up with the red grader. The 515 machine tried to move up the inside on turn 3, but couldn’t make it stick. He then drove around the outside of Gilbank around the pits bend, taking fourth position. The other superstars were not so lucky, ending up in the fence between turns 1 and 2, after Harrison (2) tried to avoid a spinning Neil Scothern (152).

Spiers remained in control of the race, taking the win ahead of 238 Richard Bryan and Frankie Wainman Junior.

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Problems for Paul Harrison and Dylan Williams-Maynard in Heat 1.

Heat 2 was led away by Steve Harrison (118) and Rich Masterson (103), with Craig Finnikin (55), Rob Speak (318) and Mat Newson (16) at the back of the grid. Problems for 169 Billy Johnson saw him dropping to the back of the grid.

103 took the immediate lead, with Rob Speak the quickest of the superstar men to get going. He wasted no time in pushing John Lund (53) wide and chasing down Lee Fairhurst. King John recovered, and he and Rob Speak continued to battle throughout the race.

Steve Harrison crossed the line first, making it the second win of the night for a white grader. Harrison (118) was followed across the line by Ian Noden (306) and Finnikin.

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118 Steve Harrison – flag to flag lead in Heat 2.

Mark Harrhy (44) was out front at the drop of the green in Heat 3. It wasn’t long before the spinning started, with Jason Eaton (448) one of the first to go. Eliot Smith (293) was forced wide to avoid the turn one chaos while Mark Harrhy (44), well-placed, hit a slower car on the city bend and coasted to a halt against the fence.

Dan Johnson had made his way to the front, but was slowly being chased down by Tom Harris (84). Richard Walker (170) went for a spin on the pits bend. Then, Nigel Green (445) was spun out by Danny Wainman, but the 212 machine was forced out wide to avoid colliding with Green, which allowed 390 up the inside of both of them.

Back at the front, Harris had caught Johnson but was having trouble getting past the World Cup Champion. Then disaster struck for Johnson as, powering down the home straight with Tom Harris on his tail, his car appeared to just give up. Harris inherited the lead, while the #4 machine was forced to pull up near the pit gate.

The 84 car could not pull away from chasing Stuart Smith Junior and it wasn’t long before the lead changed again. 390 held the lead to the flag, coming home ahead of Harris and Wainman (212).

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Stuart Smith Junior (390) claimed the victory ahead of Tom Harris (84) in Heat 3.

The 24 car Consolation started with trouble as Ben Hurdman went around in turn 1, also causing problems for Chris Bonner (105) and Sean Willis (287) and scattering the rest of the yellow tops. While taking to the infield to avoid the yellow tops, 215 hit a marker tyre. The yellow flags came out for Willis, Warwick and Bonner who were still stuck in the fence on the entry to turn 1.

Steve Smith led the field away for the restart, followed by 32, 134, 311 and 44. James Neachell was the highest of the blue graders in 10th position. 51 was the highest superstar, but he was a long way behind Neachell. The ever-improving John Brown (134) challenged for second place as 448 spun and was collected by Will Hunter (220), who was in turn spun aside by the 51 machine, while Neachell continued picking off the places.

By the time the lap boards came out, Neachell was in the lead, ahead of Farnell and Paul Harrison in third.  Harrison and Brocksopp passed Farnell in the closing stages, but it was James Neachell that held on to take the win.

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Chaos at the beginning of the Consolation.

35 cars made their way on to the track for the meeting Final, which was led away by 451 and 118. The race started with some clashing between yellow and blue tops. Finnikin wasted no time, putting the bumper into Tom Harris on the second lap but Harris half-spun in front of the 55 car. Both went out wide but remained in the race. There were problems for 515 and 2 as they tangled, with 390 narrowly avoiding the incident.

Rob Speak once again made good progress through the field, finding himself ahead of Paul Hines, John Dowson and Tom Harris. Ahead of him, Gilbank was chasing down the lower graders. The caution came out for Billy Johnson, who had rolled and had Danny Wainman and Eliot Smith on top of him between turns 1 and 2.

451 was still in the lead at the restart, followed by 118 and 326. Sargent got a good restart, immediately challenging for second.  422 put 76 wide but he spun and they end up in the Coventry bend fence, followed in by 152 Neil Scothern.

Gilbank shot up the inside of 445 but it wasn’t long before Rob Speak bumpered Gilbank wide, taking the position. Sargent tried to take the lead but mistimed the move, sending himself and 451 into the turn 1 fencing, where Gilbank was already stuck, which brought out the second caution.

Leaders at the restart were: 313, 318, 445, 84 and 53. Speak wasted no time in passing Roberts, who soon also came under fire from 445 and 84. Harris went through into second and was soon gaining on Speaky. Harris made his move up the inside of Speak, the two cars circulating side by side before Harris pulled away and held the lead to the flag. King John notched up another final third.

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Final winner: Tom Harris

An impressive 34 cars for the Grand National, with Tom Harris taking the lap handicap. Once again, 451 took the early lead. There was more spinning by H414, 313 and #2. Stuart Smith Junior, after some fairly consistent driving all night, chalked up his second victory of the evening, with Finnikin second and Wainman (212) third, his points haul enough to regain the lead at the top of the Grading Points table.

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Stuart Smith Junior took the Heat and Grand National double.

Words: Rhosanna Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley and Steve Botham

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