Coventry – April 3rd 2010 Meeting Report

A bumper crowd was present for the first WCQR of 2010 (round 5) but they were not treated to the stockcar spectacular they deserved. After the four qualifiers run at the end of the 2009 season, Stu Smith jnr (390) was over thirty points clear of his nearest rival, brother Andy Smith (391/1) with Frankie Wainman jnr (515) lurking just a few points behind. With all Brisca meetings now counting towards the National Series there was much to play for at the 2010 World Final venue. Since the start of the season it was clear that the likes of Dan Johnson (4), Craig Finnikin (55), Mat Newson (16) and Michael Scriven (12) all fancied their chances. Unfortunately though, the much anticipated meeting was a bit of a wash out due to the terrible weather conditions that besieged the track.

Coventry has always the ideal place to catch up with friends not seen since over the winter and to view the many new and rebuilt cars that have been produced during the offseason. Some of the crew who filmed the Brisca F1s last season for the forthcoming BBC program ‘Gears and Tears’ were in the pits sans cameras. Tim Farrell (467) was present with his newly refurbished purple machine resplendent with bright orange coils and wheel rims and looking for sponsorship. The Garry Fox (48) car has a nice ‘retro-ish’ paint job and Colin Nairn (280) had a particularly stunning paintjob. Both Tom and Mick Harris were present with their cars and also a new wagon acquired from Murray Harrison. John Lund (53) had some new bumper and nerf steel work including an innovative piece which arches from the nerf to the front bumper over the inside wheel.

Photo Stephen Cording

Eighteen cars came out for the first heat, following the lap of honour by Team GB, back from their exploits where they achieved a much applauded second place in New Zealands Team Champs. It had already been raining for quite awhile creating a track that looked very slick. Frankie Wainman (515) was back in his old shale car (now painted a vibrant orange) and borrowed from newcomer Jonathon Lewis (357). Dave Muckian (416) was on pole alongside Lee Smith (76) but Muckian was unable to make the start leaving Smith to lead the field away by himself. It soon became clear that due to track conditions, it was not so much a race but a case of survival as cars spun themselves (and each other) out at both ends. Mark Gilbank seemed to get to grips with the slick track conditions and made good progress, putting down graded Steve Cayzer (380) into the armco on turn one. Experienced yellow grader Geoff Nickolls (215) made his way to the front with Wainman making his way up the order. Mike Williamson (111) span in front of Nickolls slowing him allowing Frank to close the gap, eventually taking the lead on turn three only to then be spun by Mark Poole (276) getting in a tangle. A self assured Mark Gilbank took up the lead and onto the win.

21 – 515 – 215 – 380 – 4 – 76 – 288 – 276 – 8 – 321

It was clear that the track was going to continue to be very tricky to contend with for the seventeen cars that immediately came out for heat 2. Tim Warwick (307) led them away alongside newcomer Paul Redfern (252). Tim Farrell (467) was spun on turn one by fellow yellow grader Mick Rogers (244) and turn one again became littered with cars as cars coming into the turn attempted to avoid the track blockages. Nigel Whalley (198) in his brand new FWJ built racing machine, moved upto second place whilst Andy Smith (1/391) strove to successfully pass Mat Newson (16) and Tom Harris (84). Whalley caught up with leader Warwick, went to push him wide causing both cars to spin out on turn one. Andy Smith, having got to grips with his car and the track, moved his way to the front and took the lead as a dry line was beginning to appear in the shale where he remained until the chequered flag.

1 – 322 – 84 – 16 – 338 – 12 – 244 – 291 – 330 – 198

Photo Colin Casserley

The track was re-graded before the third heat but unfortunately at this point the heavens re-opened shattering any hopes that the racing surface was beginning to appear. Twenty-one cars made their way onto track for the last heat of the night with Garry Fox (48) on pole, alongside Josh Smith (191) with James Morris (463) not making the start. Fox took the lead but it was short lived as, like many before him he spun out allowing Smith (191) to take over. WCQR point leader Stu Smith jnr (390) pulled off to the infield while Josh Smith (191) ended up off-line, scraping and banging against the Armco. This allowed Ryan Harrison (197) through to the front while John Lund who had been squeezing up the inside of all his competitiors went out of the race himself on turn one. Paul Harrison (2) was driving his way through the field and was slowly gaining on Ryan but not quick enough until Ryan, like many before him, spun himself out down on turn 4 allowing Paul to slide past and onto the win.

2 – 259 – 462 – 197 – 55 – 212 – 335 – 11 – 105 – 306

Only fourteen cars made it back out for the consolation with John Lund (53) being the sole red top. Paul Redfern (252) failed to make the start as Mike Williamson (111) led them away. The numbers were further depleted when Mark Allen (301) went out and Steve Smith (40) briefly pulled off. Williamson spun Tim Warwick (307) out as Craig Utley (484) and Chris Cowley (37) vied for the lead as Andy Ford (13) closed the gap and went past while Utley and Cowley got bogged down. Andy Ford (13) got held up by a spinning Williamson (111) allowing John Lund to steadily close the gap after slipping past the inside of lap down Steve Smith. At the halfway point, the unfortunate Mike Williamson (111) spun again in front of John Lund as Andy Ford’s lead was approximately the length of a straight. Ford had the back markers of Utley and Nigel Friswell (353) to deal with and managed to do so successfully. Neil Shenton (35) had caught up with Lund and was continually nibbling at Lund’s back bumper but obviously wary about any attempt to overtake and had to settle for finishing behind Lund. Six qualified for the final leaving only Chris Cowley (37) and Nigel Frissell (353) to miss out.

13 – 53 – 35 – 91 – 484 – 463 – 37 – 353 – nof

It was announced that due to safety reasons, the GNs would not be run tonight. As it was, only thirty-one cars came out for the Final with Neil Shenton (35) not making the start. Lee Smith (76) led the field away as the lone white top as the conditions somehow managed to deteriorate even further. Nigel Whalley (198) moved himself into second place but span himself out as the rest of the field struggled to cope. Andy Smith (391/1) was going well but like many others his goggles had obviously failed to cope and he was attempting to race with one hand up to protect his face and eyes but eventually he couldn’t go on any longer and had to pull off to the infield. Mark Gilbank muscled his way past Lund as cars repeatedly spun out all over the track. Daniel Johnson (4) maintained his ability to deal with the conditions and drove his way steadily through the surrounding carnage to take a well deserved win, followed by Mark Gilbank (21) who had also dealt with the appalling conditions in fine fashion. Final winner Dan Johnson also collected the Roger Squire memorial trophy. Frankie Wainman (515) was initially announced as eighth but has since been moved up to fourth. Credit goes to all the drivers who made the effort as well as all the track staff involved.

4 – 21 – 380 – 515 – 2 – 11 – 13 – 212 – 84 – 259

Photo Colin Casserley

Ailsa Haigh

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