Coventry, 7th May 2016 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

A few cancellations brought us down to 63 F1s ready to do battle on the Brandon shale, twenty of them lining up for Heat One including Johnny Painter (481), F2 and Heritage driver from Gloucestershire in what appeared to be the ex Cayzer/Lemons car and Colin Nairn (280) who had decorated his car in Leicester City FC colours for the occasion – did they win something Colin?

Austin Moore (127) led the early laps on a rather slippery track as the top men seemed to struggle for traction but as the surface dried the likes of Speak (318) and Wainman (515) made better progress; the gold top taking the lead at the halfway stage and showing a clean pair of American Racers to Wainman at the chequered.

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Another win for the World Champion

Twenty-one cars for Heat Two including a visitor from the Netherlands (before anybody complains I know Daniel van Spijker was in Heat One but he spends more time in the UK than David Cameron). Sierd de Vries (H54) was the name. He has raced over here before but not, I think, in this car and he certainly kept my attention! Russell Cooper (415) led, from de Vries but the Dutchman found it impossible to keep a tight line on the watered track, clipping the fence on one lap them slamming hard into the parked Martin Spiers (451) car on the Coventry bend next time around, ripping a wheel off the Evesham driver’s car before nosing into the fence and out of the race. Cue yellow flags.

Cooper led the shall we/shan’t we restart from John Frost (351) and Peter Hobbs (108), two drivers not seen for a while, but Newson (16) and Johnson (4) were moving through. Cooper lost out to Dave Willis (337) but a coming together with Dennis (192) lost Willis the lead to Newson. The Norwich superstar led until two to run when a collision with Eaton (448) on the back straight saw Johnson through for the win.

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Peter Hobbs lines up for the restart

Twenty-one again for Heat Three, with a super new car for (downgraded for this month) Danny Wainman (212) amongst the reds along with newly upgraded Tom Boyer (28) and Billy Johnson (169). Steve Smith (40) led a lap or two until Ricky Wilson (502) took over, while Finnikin (55) and Smith (390) tangled on the pit bend. John Dowson Junior (94) sprinted through the field while Smith again tangled, this time with Ian Noden (306). The 390 car rejoined behind Dowson, while the 306 car hit the Coventry bend wall hard – I am told Stuart Smith was nowhere near at the time.

A dispute between Brocksopp (338) and Yarrow (22) was resolved when the yellow top delivered a massive hit on the 22 car, sending it hard into the parked Willis (287) car, bringing out a caution. Dowson’s lead at the restart lasted but a quarter lap before Sworder whacked him wide, but the Durham man was still in giant-killing mood (no pun intended 150 fans), retook the lead and powered away for victory.

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The new car from Danny Wainman, which made its debut at Coventry

Twenty-five for the Consolation, with Karl Roberts (313) making his first appearance of the evening after sorting out mechanical woes in the pits. Whatever Karl and the team did worked, as he won the race but not before de Vries had wowed the crowd with some high-speed cornering and bumperwork for lap after lap whilst out in front. Sadly, hoisted by his own petard (must look that up, probably means part of the back suspension) the flying Dutchman sailed full tilt into the parked James Clement (158) car on the Coventry bend, picking up a puncture that ended his race on the next bend.

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313 Karl Roberts made his way to the front in the Consolation event

The Final was stopped on the opening lap for a spectacular roll-over by Mark Poole (276) on the pit bend and a complete restart was ordered. A ragged start (not the first of the evening, either) saw Sworder launch Lund into the 21 car on the Coventry bend bringing out a caution for debris on the track. The Lund car suffered a shortened wheelbase and joined Green, Gilbank and Stuart Smith on the centre, all of whom had flat tyres. Moore (127) led the way this time while Speak, Wainman and Johnson traded blows, FWJ finding the pit bend fence at one end of the track and Hunter (220) and the fence at the other.

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Mark Poole’s roll-over early on in the Final led to a complete restart

Visibility was dire as the dust rose, the home straight and pit bend just a haze from the back straight terraces. Hunter delayed a fast-moving Sworder, taking him onto the infield just before the caution flags flew again for Nigel Harrhy (45) who seemed to be running a barbeque on the fourth turn infield. At least now we could see who was in front – step forward Brad Harrison (25), leading the slow roller ahead of Willis and Moore.

Sworder, Johnson and Newson had a coming together in front of the grandstand (exit the 150 car) and Willis passed Harrison for the lead with Newson up to third. Brad retook the lead but was hunted down by Newson, the superstar applying the front bumper on the pit bend to annex the top spot. Harrison tried to stay on the 16 rear bumper but Newson pulled away for the win, with 25 in second and Johnson third. Danny brought the new car home in fourth, with Frankie JJ a creditable fifth and Dowson sixth.

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Final top 3: Mat Newson, Brad Harrison and Dan Johnson

There were so many cars lined up for the Grand National that a late decision was made to run two, with twenty-one in the first effort, lead initially by Ant Lee (339), taking no part in the six car pile-up that occurred on the pit bend. Wainman (212) was putting in the bumper hard, passing well-placed Woodhull (335) but was pressured by SSJ (390) on the pit bend into slipping wide. Smith was on a mission, tearing up the track for an emphatic win.

Just seventeen for Grand National 2 and finally Sierd de Vries kept the car off the fence, off other cars and pointing in the right direction for sixteen laps to record a well-deserved victory on the Coventry shale. Crowd interest was concentrated on Speak and Wainman as they moved towards the front. The gold top had left the 515 car behind but Frankie clawed back ground as Speak took second spot and a last bender was on the cards. Wainman seemed just that too far back entering the last corner but drove in deep, connecting with Speak just enough to knock him off line and take the runner up place behind de Vries.

Another good night’s racing at Brandon, marred somewhat by the dust and some dodgy starts. The next session coincides with the third Coventry Motofest which runs over the weekend of the 4th and 5th June. No other F1 meetings that weekend so there could be a bumper turnout of cars and spectators at the stadium – get there early.

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Sierd de Vries took the last win of the night

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley and Steve Botham

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