Coventry, 5th July 2014 – meeting report and photo gallery

“A warm welcome to stox fans from far and wide as the boys (and girls) of BriSCA return to the Coventry shale for a feast of track tourney, a cavalcade of crash and an extravaganza of extraordinary wheel handling skills that leave us all begging for more of the same”.

So might the late Charles Ochiltree have opened the programme notes back in the day and, talking of the Coventry programme, what a delight to see Stoxworld re-appear among its pages, with the sort of snippets of information that used to fill Brandon programmes of old.

Nostalgia attack over, on with 21st Century stox and a disappointing 9 or 10 non-starters from the programmed runners. At some tracks that would leave you with single figures but Coventry raised a healthy 56 cars, including Arne van Zweiten (H414) and novice John Brown (134) hoping for better luck than last month’s outing, in the 18-car first Heat. Karl Roberts (313) and Ricki Finney (435) led them away.

Steve Malkin (308) half-spun on the pit bend, cutting the corner and rejoining on the back straight. Finney wellied the 313 car, 313 retaliated and Steve Harrison (118) joined in while further back, 4, 16 and 390 were fighting it out. Steve Whittle (183) spun on the back straight as Paul Spooner (104) moved into second place behind Finney. 313 attacked 330, who was then spun aside by 308 and Murray Harrison (97) entered the fray, already up to third. 308 clobbered the back straight wall. Dan Johnson had escaped the attentions of 16 and 390 and was gradually hauling in the leaders.

With 5 to go, Murray challenged for the lead, with 4 closing fast, the Worksop driver kissing the back wall as he struggled past the 104 car. Into the last lap and the 97 car seemed to falter, allowing Johnson to land a big hit on the last bend to take victory.

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Murray Harrison (97) lost speed, allowing Dan Johnson (4) to take the victory in Heat 1.

20 cars for Heat 2; Aaron Cozens (76) having problems early on and retiring to the centre. Craig Aston (440) and Paul-Jay Lemons (444) led them away, Aston took the lead, pursued by Martin Spiers (451) with Mick Sworder (150) already looking the class act. FWJ (515) spun on the City Bend and 440 and 451 tangled at the end of the back straight, bringing out the caution as John Frost (351) took over at the front.

Within a lap of the restart, Morris (463) spun on turn 4, delaying Sworder then cut across the front of the 515 car, the Silsden superstar being spun again. 444 held the lead, Yarrow (22) helped Noden (306) into the Turn 3 fence and Sworder passed 428, 444 and new leader Woodhull (335) for the lead with 5 to go. Speak (318) gave 22 the big heave-ho to snatch third but struggled to pass 335 until the penultimate lap. Hurdman (207) mounted a big attack on 428 on the last bend, the Evesham man crossing the line sideways ahead of 515, with Mick Sworder taking the victory.

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Ben Hurdman crossing the line in style in Heat 2.

18 cars for Heat 3, including a blue-roofed John Lund (53) and F2 pilot Mark Sargent (326) in the ex-Rudi Coleano car. Sarge was a bit keen to get away at the flag as Dick Walker (170) took the lead on a slippery track. 293 and 24 tangled on the back straight and 53 delayed 1 and 217 on the third bend. Danny Wainman (212) was the first of the reds to break away, quickly up to sixth. Sarge moved into second spot some way behind 170 with Dylan Williams-Maynard (51) closing on the leaders. 212 laid 280 into 326 to take third. The 51 car annexed the lead around half distance as 170 got into trouble with Wainman now second.

As the laps ticked by, the 212 car seemed unable to close on DWM, content to just wear out the mirrors on the 51 car, until with 3 to go Danny went for the big one on the pit bend. Williams-Maynard tried to get him back on successive bends but the 212 pilot put a lapped car between himself and the 51 machine to take the flag.

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F2 man Mark Sargent (326) in the ex-Rudi Coleano car.

Consolation time with 20 cars and a complete restart called for as Jason Eaton (448) had problems getting going, several drivers seeming to ignore the yellow and red flags. At the green, Spiers (451) took the lead from 448 and Nairn (280). 451 was slowed by 134 and Nairn began to close the gap. Will Hunter (220) the lone red top, was making steady progress through the field when the caution came out for 308, 448 and 134 tangled on the back straight.

Spiers led away the 14 car restart, gaining in confidence and extending his lead with 5 to go as Hunter moved into second, closing on 451 as he was baulked by the 448 car. With 1 to go the 220 car erupted in smoke on the home straight and Spiers took an excellent, first ever win.

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Martin Spiers claimed his first ever victory.

A full 36-car grid lined up for the Final, 451 and 435 on pole. Plenty of pushing and shoving from the drop of the flag resulting in chaos on the start line, with 97, 463, 94 and 444 involved. The super smart Harrison car received extensive front end damage as it was clobbered at high speed and the yellows came out again.
With just 2 laps gone, we already had 8 cars on the middle as 451 led them away once again. 104 and 169 spun on the pit bend taking out 215 and 335 and Mick Sworder was already carving his way through the pack. Spiers still led from Finney, being joined by a lap down 197, doing his best to spoil things for the white top leader. 435 took the lead as 318, 55 and 1 battled for places. Harris went out on the City Bend with 55 and 306, and Dowson Jnr ground to a halt, bringing out the caution once again.

Green flag in the air once again, Finney resuming his place at the front, looking at home on the Coventry shale. Sworder took second on the pit bend but Finney had a clear lead as the lap boards came out. The pressure told on the Sheffield man and he spun on the pit bend handing the top spot to Sworder, which he maintained to the flag. James Neachell (322) came home second ahead of King John. Blue is the new red!

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Mick Sworder took the Final win, from James Neachell and John Lund

A big field of cars for the GN, but no 150 or 515. The race was stopped almost as soon as it began as van Zweiten clipped a marker tyre on the first bend and rolled spectacularly, with the 428 car of Richard Regan climbing over the top of the H414 car and pushing it back on all 4 wheels. Finney led off the 28 car restart as 293 spun, causing a big blockage on the pit bend and once again the yellow flags flew. Harris and SSJ retired to the infield during the stoppage and when racing commenced, 435 and 267 pulled off handing the lead to Adkins (24). Attention was focussed on the 197 and 169 cars, baulking each other down the back straight before piling into the fence. Harrison restarted, side-swiping Johnson as he did so.

Brocksopp (338) inherited the lead from Danny Wainman while the 197 car circulated at reduced speed. 169 rejoined the race as 212 gained on 338 and passed for the lead. 197 and 34 went into the pit bend fence together, both limping around turns 1 and 2. Johnson (169) was clearly suffering from steering problems (!) as he drove into the side of the 197 machine at the end of the race. Wainman won, but most eyes were on the 197 pilot as he looked to be about to repay Johnson, despite staff and mechanics on track. Persuaded out of the car, Harrison climbed on his wing, gesticulating at the 169 car in a display of petulance.

Another excellent Coventry meeting – bring on the next one!

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There was drama at the start of the Grand National for H414 and 428.

Words: Michael Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley

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