Coventry, 7th November 2015 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

Coventry’s final meeting was not only the last session on the 2015 fixture (the Birmingham Gala Night not withstanding) but also the 500th F1 meeting to be held on the Brandon shale. An ambitious programme of F1s, National Ministox and Rebels was planned with additional races for the Whites and Yellows Final and the Track Championship, but before all that we had the Allstars Challenge, a celebration of John Lund’s 40th anniversary in the sport.

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John Lund celebrating 40 years in a BriSCA F1.

Past and present drivers lined up for a 12 lap dash on a track in surprisingly good shape considering the amount of rain in the preceding week. John Gibson (R249) looked a good bet for the win until a caution for two cars in the home straight fence, followed by another for Mel Morris (R444), the victim of some over-enthusiastic racing by others and sent clattering into the pit bend fence, saw Mick Harris (ex-8) in the 231 car lead the remaining laps while Lund and Speak provided the entertainment.

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Frankie Wainman Senior on track in the Allstars Race

The Whites and Yellows Championship Final saw Nigel Harrhy (45) on pole and from the green he powered away to lead the first lap before being nailed by Ben Hurdman (207) on the pit bend. Mick Rogers (244) took over with Geoff Nicholls (215) second, then they changed positions at the halfway until, with just a few to run, the Kidderminster man tangled with Thomas Stevenson (75) in front of the grandstand, losing a rear wheel in the process. Nicholls disputed the lead with Hurdman and Bryan (238) at the restart until on the last lap Hurdman applied the bumper, Nicholls half spun and Bryan took to the infield leaving the 207 car to surge to victory.

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Drivers lined up for the Whites and Yellows Championship race

The Track Championship Final saw Rob Speak on pole alongside Dan Johnson (4) and it was the number 4 car that led into turn one until drifting wide on the wet shale and getting a side-swipe from the World Champion. Johnson clipped the armco down the back straight as Danny Wainman (212) took second with FWJ (515) third and Gilbank (21) and Scothern (152) had a coming together, the caution flags being shown for Scothern who was facing the oncoming traffic. Johnson was re-instated to second place at the restart and from the green flag it was really only a matter of time.

Johnson nibbled at the 318 car on each bend, drawing alongside at times before Lund, after a tangle with Finnikin on the pit bend, rejoined right in front of Speak, slowing the gold top enough for Johnson to sweep by and pull away on a drying track to take the win. Amazingly this was to be the new Shoot Out champion’s only race finish of the night.

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New Shootout Champion, Dan Johnson, took victory in the Coventry Track Championship

After three F1 races already, no-one could complain about the two heat format and Heat One, sponsored by D & R Blinds and Awnings, fielded 32 cars including Jack Masterson (193), a real Boy’s Own adventurer name if ever I heard one, driving Rich’s 103 car, Eddy Roberts (343) – ex 28 possibly and overseas visitors in the shape of Jak Tesselar (H440), Pieter van der Iest (H226), Oscar Lliohan (H250 ) and Robert Jan Schutter (H370).

After Russell Cooper (415) had led the early laps Craig Finnikin (55) scythed his way through the inevitable spins, crashes and fence bashing to take command with Frankie Wainman Junior Junior (555) riding shotgun. FWJJ got close but lost time on the back straight and the 55 car was away and gone, so far gone in fact that the starter gave the chequered flag to Frankie JJ, immediately raising and then dashing the hopes of many fans waiting for his first win.

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217 and 212 colliding in Heat 1

Twenty-nine for Heat Two including another overseas visitor in the very welcome shape of Henk Jan Ronitz (H240). After an early caution, Martin Spiers (451) led from Geoff Nicholls (215) until Nigel Green (445) took over. Another caution for a car parked on the back straight saw Green lead the remaining laps but the interest lay further back as Sworder (150) set about Speak, the gold top left backwards in the fence coming off turn two while Sworder’s efforts came to nought, tangling with Gibson (249). Bill Fenwick (57) gave the pit bend fence a damn good thrashing with four to go but carried on, while Frankie Wainman Junior (515), fought back to third by the flag behind Green and Newson (16).

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Heat 2 saw the first win of the night for Nigel Green

The thirty-two car Consolation saw another early caution, this time for Billy-Tom O’Connor (316) who was turned sideways on lap one and shoved into the fence. Pete Allin (331) led the restart until he spun, handing the lead to Hurry Up Harrhy with Sworder in hot pursuit. Nige half spun on the pit bend letting Sworder and Hunter (202) through but with two to go the 150 car clipped a spun car exiting turn four and executed a spectacular roll for the grandstand patrons. The race was stopped and Hunter declared the winner from Harrhy and Willis (337).

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The Consolation was red flagged after Mick Sworder’s rollover

The back story to this meeting was the battle for the all season Grading Points. After the heats, FWJ led on 1067, Speak was on 1062 and Fairhurst on 1046 but it was another Wainman (555), young Frank as I shall now call him, who led the thirty-one car Final for lap after lap, in what was only his second shale meeting. Speak was making good progress, moving into second with Fairhurst third while FWJ struggled to stay in touch then, with around eight to run, disaster for young Wainman as he spun on the pit bend.

Hines passed Speak and paid the price on the next bend, then Fairhurst launched an attack on the 318 car from which there was no coming back, sending him hard into the turn three fence, Speak limping around the track with both outside tyres flat. Fairhurst went on to win from Hines and Newson but the Hinckley man was later taken out of the results.

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Final top 3: Fairhurst, Hines and Newson

Fairhurst’s win put him on double points for the Grand National, the last official race of the year. He was just ten points adrift of Wainman and his clinical disposal of Speak in the final meant the Manchester man could not overhaul FWJ, even if he won. Once again it was the 555 car that made all the running until Green (445), after retiring from the final whilst in second place, took his second win of the night. Young Frank held second until the last bend when a bit of a wobble saw Speak pass. Newson finished fourth from Lund and FWJ. Fairhurst tangled with an errant Dutchman early on and try as he may, just couldn’t make up the handicap, finishing out of the points.

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Final winner Lee Fairhurst tangles with Dutchman Jak Tesselar

Frankie Wainman Junior finished the season on 1090 points to claim the “Points Championship that dare not speak its name” and was clearly overjoyed to notch up his sixteenth overall points title. The powers that be may not officially recognize the achievement, but to a certain family in Silsden, not to mention a lot of the “more mature” fans, the 515 wing will have a tinge of silver to it next season.

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Frankie Wainman Junior was clearly happy with finishing top of the overall 2015 grading points.

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley and Steve Botham

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