Coventry, 7th June 2014 – meeting report and photo gallery

19 cars made their way on to the Brandon shale for Heat 1. Peter Hobbs (108) and Ben Hurdman (207) led the pack around to the green flag, and it was Hurdman who took up the initial lead. Problems for 108 meant he fell to the back and, eventually, retired to the infield. Mick Sworder (150) made quick progress through the pack.

Ian Noden (306) tapped leader PJ Lemons (444) wide into the Coventry bend to take up the place at the front of the field. By this time, Sworder was up to fourth and closing on the leaders. Just behind the 150 machine, Tom Harris (#1) was battling hard with Lee Robinson (H107).

Sworder continued to gain places and, at half race distance, sideswiped the 306 car into the fence on the pit bend, just as Chris Bonner (105) came under fire from Ryan Harrison (197). In the hit from Harrison, Bonner lost a tyre, bringing out the caution.

The remaining cars lined up for the restart, with 150 at the helm, followed by Neil Scriven (11) and, fresh from his battle with the honorary Dutchman, #1. Hurdman spun before crossing the line and James Morris (463) hit the fence on the home straight. Scriven made a good attempt at staying with the leader but was soon caught and passed by the World Champion.

Lee Robinson and John Lund (53) tangled, with the H107 machine coming off worse; resigned to the Consolation. Sworder extended his lead over Harris until the flag, with Scriven hanging on for third ahead of Ryan Harrison.

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Josh Smith (191) and Heat 1 winner Mick Sworder (150)

As Sworder went round on the victory wagon, the cars emerged for Heat 2. The second heat of the night saw John Brown’s (134) debut in F1, racing the ex-John Weldon car. 16 cars took up the challenge, with Paul Harrison forced to return to the pits with brake problems.

Chris Brocksopp (338) went for a spin in Turn 2, which caused Karl Roberts (313) problems as he tried to avoid the stationary 338 machine. Danny Wainman (212), on the other hand, encountered few problems, quickly fighting his way up to second. However, Dan Johnson (4) wasn’t going to let him get away, clipping the 212 car as he passed.

Geoff Nicholls (215) took Wainman wide into the Coventry bend, repaying him for an earlier incident but allowing Stuart Smith Junior (390) through into second, behind Johnson. As the lap boards came out, the top four were very spread out. Johnson lost some time negotiating a back marker (280) but not enough to give 390 a look in. Johnson took the win, ahead of 390 and 212.

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Stuart Smith’s New Zealand style car spitting flames.

Aaron Cozens (76) and Martin Spiers (451) led the contenders around for Heat 3. Mark Harrhy (44) went for an early spin into the pit bend and was collected by Steve Reedman (361). Frankie Wainman Junior (515) also spun himself out early on.

By half distance, Ed Neachell (321) had made his way to the front, leaving Paul Hines (259), Rob Speak (318) and Will Yarrow (22) battling for second place. James Potter (146) and Graham Wagstaff (330) came together in Turn 2, scattering the charging pack. The race came to a close just as the heavens opened, with Neachell taking the victory.

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Heat 3 winner, Ed Neachell.

19 cars returned to the track for the Consolation, including red top Lee Robinson. Nairn pulled out for the early lead but then spun around into Turn 4. Dowson, who was forced to retire from Heat 1, had more problems with the 94 car, pulling onto the middle.

Mark Harrhy claimed the lead just as H107 pulled off. Soon, Bonner challenged for the lead, punting Harrhy into parked cars and as the lap boards came out, the 105 car had gained a comfortable lead.

The laps wound down and James Potter and Murray Harrison (97) came together on the pit bend. Harrison recovered, but was a lap down, and roared off behind Bonner. The Macclesfield driver held it together to take the win.

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Consolation winner, Chris Bonner.

Stuart Smith was unable to get the car ready for the Final. Despite lining up on track, 451 pulled off on the rolling lap, leaving 444 and 207 to lead the field around. Harrison (197) and Harris tangled on the pit bend and, next time around, Speak and Johnson went for a spin in exactly the same place. Will Hunter (220) hit the fence on Turn 4, bringing out a caution. Ryan Harrison and Geoff Nicholls retired to the infield.

PJ Lemons took the lead for the restart, ahead of 463, 428 and 321. A shunt from Frankie Wainman Junior sent a gaggle of white and yellow graders out wide, allowing him through into third place behind Neachell. Neachell saw his chance for the top spot, tapping the 444 car into the fence at Turn 3 and taking the lead. Wainman took up second place, with Mat Newson in third. Lemons recovered, but other stricken cars, such as that of James Morris, were not as lucky.

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Coventry saw Will Hunter’s (220) first time out as red grader.

Further down the pack, 150 and 318 were locked in battle. Speak forced Sworder wide, allowing Johnson to sneak up the inside. The 4 car took up the battle with Sworder, but they both lost out to World Champion Tom Harris. Harris gained another place, taking advantage of Speak’s attack on Mal Brown (34).

Back at the front, 321 hit traffic, allowing Wainman to close. Nigel Harrhy, assisted by Sworder, met the fence on the Coventry bend. The lap boards came out and Wainman was still chasing the Sutton Coldfield driver. With 1 lap to go, disaster struck for the 321 machine. Neachell went out wide into Turn 1, straight into the side of the stranded car of Neil Scriven.

Wainman clipped the front of the 321 car, momentarily slowing him and knocking him off the racing line. The Silsden superstar recovered to claim the lead but had lost his lead over second place Mat Newson. Newson knocked Wainman out wide on the entrance to the final bend. The 515 machine rode out the hit but the 16 claimed the inside line and the victory, narrowly beating Wainman to the line.

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The moment it all went wrong for Ed Neachell.

Mat Newson took up his place at the front of the Grand National for the lap handicap.  Sworder wasted no time, shunting a train of cars forward, forcing Paul Harrison (2) into a spin in front of the pit gate. Mark Poole (276) went around on the Coventry bend and was collected by four cars, including Danny Wainman, Lund and Robinson. Bonner also went for an early spin into the fence at Turn 1.

Deep in the pack, 515 was battling hard with 150. Sworder won the place, leaving Wainman to face Rob Speak.  Karl Roberts experienced problems, ending up backwards on the home straight and bringing out the caution. The tractors were also required to rescue Bonner from the pit bend fencing.

Colin Nairn took up the lead for the restart, with back markers separating him from the second place driver. 150 was sent out wide, as Paul Hines and Billy Johnson (169) went wide into the pit bend fencing.

At the opposite end of the track, 515 made a move on the World Champion, misjudged it and took himself and 335 out into the fence too. Wainman and Harris recovered, but after another tangle, the #1 machine retired to the centre.  Ryan Harrison also lost out, coming to a stop in the Turn 2 fencing. As the lap boards came out, Smith (390) claimed the lead and held off Speak and Johnson for the win.

Words: Rhosanna Jenkins

Photos: Steve Botham

 

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