Coventry, 4th July 2015 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

Fifteen of the programmed cars failed to make this mid-Summer Coventry session, so the Coventry Management wisely went to a two heat format, twenty-six of the available runners gridding for Heat One. Good to see Paul Spooner (104) and James Morris (463) back in action, not to mention the debut of George Elwell (501) in a re-worked ex-Steve Reedman (361) car and very smart it looked too. Having done his mandatory five laps, George lined up at the back with another excellently turned out machine, that of Chris Farnell (32), on pole.

Early leader Colin Nairn (280) spun out in a cloud of steam and smoke on lap two handing top spot to Nigel Harrhy (45), racing under yellow for this month. A collision between Ben Riley (422) and Spooner brought out the caution flags but racing quickly resumed, Harrhy again using his James Bond style smoke screen to confuse the opposition until the yellow flags flew again, this time for Ben Hurdman (207) who had been introduced to the pit bend armco by Ian Noden (306).

Green flag in the air once again and Harrhy resisted the attentions of Scothern (152) to keep the lead spot but Mark Gilbank (21) was now up to second, taking the lead on the pit bend as Harrhy went wide around a spun car. Gilbank drove a very careful race, allowing Harrison (2), now second and Harrhy to close him down entering the last lap. The bumpers went in on the last turn, Harrison on Gilbank, Harrhy on Harrison but it was the number 2 car that crossed the line first, with Gilbank second and Harrhy an excellent third.

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George Elwell does his five laps.

Twenty-four cars for Heat Two; stopped on the opening lap when Mark Sargent (326) climbed the home straight fence and rolled, being clipped by a couple of cars whilst on his side. Thankfully Sarge was OK but the damage incurred meant an early bath for the Spalding man. A complete restart was called for, with lots of comings and goings on the pit bend first time around, none of which bothered Mark Harrhy (44) who was out in front until passed by Steve Malkin Jnr (308). Karl Hawkins (175) ran second followed by Green (445) and Johnson (4). Malkin, with a flat rear tyre was spun aside by Hunter (220) and Dan Johnson took command, remaining untroubled to the flag, with Bonner (105) second and Fairhurst (217) third.

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Sarge over and out.

Twenty-one for the Consolation and with Speak, Wainman (515) and Newson at the back it was odds on one of these would win. Not so – Malkin (308) took the lead on lap one with dad (208) in second until Woodhull (335) spun wildly down the home straight after clipping the fence and was struck by passing cars. 308 again led the restart but we lost Malkin Senior when he got things wrong on the back straight, finishing in the fence on the third bend.

The resulting chaos saw Newson delayed and Dowson (94) gain places but Speak was up to second and gaining on Malkin, while Wilson (502) climbed over Noden, both cars running into the parked 208 car. Newson tangled with 104 to put him even further behind but Speak could do nothing about Malkin Junior, who crossed the line for a very well-deserved victory. The first twelve home progressed to the final, but only eleven finished so they all went through.

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Consolation winner Steve Malkin Junior

Thirty-one for the Final and what a cracking race it was! Newson spun on the first bend, taking Harrison (2) with him, 94, 445 and 53 went into the fence on the third bend, Warwick (307) was spun by 207, who was himself spun by Roberts (313) on the fourth turn, while Malkin (308) ploughed on in front. Paul Hines (259) really had the bit between his teeth, gaining place after place while 515, 318 and 217 fought amongst themselves. Finnikin’s woes continued, tangling with 445 and 2 on the pit bend, where leader Malkin also parked up, handing the lead to Johnson while second-placed Hines was black-flagged by the starter.

The race was brought to a halt due to a fire underneath the 44 car and Hines was removed to the centre with front bumper damage. This left Johnson to lead the restart, from backmarker Riley (422), then 318, 217, 515 and 212. Riley kept wide, but not wide enough for Speaky who propelled the 422 car hard into the pit bend fence, bringing out another caution. Restart number two saw Speak launch leader Johnson into the first bend, both cars going wide and allowing Fairhurst and Wainman (515) into first and second places. Junior went for the big one on 217 on the next bend, Speak did the same to Wainman and Johnson, not to be left out, wellied 318, all four cars landing in the fence in a heap with Speaky on top of the armco.

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Speak nil, fence one

The race was stopped, Speaky dragging his car to the centre minus a front wheel and other bits, along with the 217 and 4 cars. Junior was allowed to join the back of the third restart, managing to get going without any outside assistance, and we now had just nine cars running, but we weren’t done yet. Danny Wainman (212) now had the lead from Newson and Gilbank as the dust began to rise but with five to run, the 16 car applied the bumper, handing the lead to Gilbank as both 16 and 212 drifted wide. Danny shoved the 21 car aside on the pit bend next time around but drifted out himself, allowing Newson up the inside.

The 212 and 16 cars clashed down the back straight, Wainman being forced up the armco at full chat, catching the top rope and almost rolling, before crashing back down with severe damage, his front spring bouncing along the dog track. Newson now had the lead and in what could have been a final twist of fate, blew his back tyre as he took the last bend, crossing the line just ahead of Gilbank. Mal Brown (34) avoided all the shenanigans to come home third. Phew, what a race!

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The Flying Wainman

Twenty-four cars gridded for the Grand National, including the hastily repaired number 4 car. Within a couple of laps the caution flags flew for Farnell (32) who was hit hard in the side by 335 on the back straight. Malkin (308) led, from 105, 4 and 515 but before long the yellows were out again, this time for Billy Johnson (169) who had climbed over Eliot Smith (293) and flipped onto his roof on the pit bend – this is becoming a habit Billy. Malkin suffered a flat tyre before the restart leaving Johnson, in an ill-handling car, to relieve Bonner (105) of the lead which he held to the chequered flag, Wainman launching a long range hit on Paul Harrison on the last bend to take second place on the line with Newson in fourth.

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Billy Johnson about to flip (again)

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley and Steve Botham

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