Coventry – April 6th 2013 Meeting Report

In contrast to the usual British weather so far this year, Coventry’s 2013 season opener was bathed in glorious sunshine.

Queue for scrutineering. Photo Steve Botham

Queue for scrutineering. Photo Steve Botham

Mick Sworder's engine. Photo Steve Botham

Mick Sworder’s engine. Photo Steve Botham

An impressive sixty six cars were in the pits including Dutch drivers; the Zwervers, Gerrit H19 and Harmen H195 along with a big batch of BriSCA newcomers as well as some eye-catching paintwork, especially on the luminescent Chris Clare 394 machine.

Mike Oliver. Photo Steve Botham

Mike Oliver. Photo Steve Botham

Hire car driver Mark Hobbins 266 got things started with his introductory five laps before almost thirty cars took part in the Whites and Yellows race. Karl Mosley 303 shot into the lead before a tangle of cars drew the first yellows.

Whites and Yellows race. Photo Colin Casserley

Whites and Yellows race. Photo Colin Casserley

Carl Swift and Steve Anderson. Photo Steve Botham

Carl Swift and Steve Anderson. Photo Steve Botham

Mosley reled the field from Carl Swift 245 but the more experienced stalwarts were now not far behind. A further batch of yellows depleted the field further leaving a mere ten runners, and while Steve Harrison 118 and Mark Poole 276 scrapped it out for second place Mosley composedly cruised to his first F1 stock car victory of the season.

Graeme Robson leads Mark Gilbank. Photo Colin Casserley

Graeme Robson leads Mark Gilbank. Photo Colin Casserley

Heat two saw Mark Gilbank 21 making quick progress towards the front and when the yellows came out for a trio of cars in the turn three fence, he was a mere two cars behind leader Graeme Robson 267. Craig Finnikin 55 and Mick Sworder 150 got stuck in, with Sworder knocking Murray Harrison 97 into a half spin with Finnikin giving an additional nudge to send him into a complete circle.

Craig Finnikin in action. Photo Steve Botham

Craig Finnikin in action. Photo Steve Botham

Gilbank made short work of Robson to take the lead but after scuttling round the armco, Robson recovered to maintain second. Sworder soon sliced cleanly by Robson as Gilbank took a trip towards the infield with retiree Neil Holcroft 496, allowing Sworder to close the gap.

Mick Sworder stalking Mark Gilbank. Photo Colin Casserley

Mick Sworder stalking Mark Gilbank. Photo Colin Casserley

Sworder held off and stalked Gilbank, being careful to avoid contact until the critical last lap moment when Sworder lunged, sending Gilbank round the armco. Craig Finnikin 55 was close, but Gilbank recovered well to hold onto second.

Heat three saw Ryan Harrison 197 flying up the order from the off until having to retire. Josh Smith 191 continued his excellent start to the 2013 season, climbing up the order to head the field. A stranded Mark Hobbins drew the caution flags for the second time with Josh composedly leading them off to take the chequered flag. Mat Newson 16 had a great run in his stylish brand new shale car with a set back engine to claim the second spot and the fastest lap time.

Consolation time saw a flurry of activity with Murray Harrison 97 clearly dazzled by Chris Clare’s 394 even brighter paint scheme, riding up over Clare’s front end and flopping to his side.

Murray Harrison on his side. Photo Colin Casserley

Murray Harrison on his side. Photo Colin Casserley

Ryan Harrison 197 gave a little bit of extra oomph to Ian Noden’s 306 hit on Tony Smith 91, sending Smith out to connect with novice Mark Harrhy 44 who sped into the fence and up the armco drawing the yellows. At the restart Harrison swiftly swept to the flag to take the win, while fellow star graders Paul Hines 259 and Michael Scriven 12 failed to finish after tangling on the last bend.

Final time saw no reappearance for Ryan Harrison and it was Karl Mosley 303 who set the pace once more. James Morris 463 took in a 360 degree tour of the pitgate bend with the star graders piling in as Dylan Williams Maynard 51 rolled on the homestraight. Mick Sworder showed how he felt about the current World Champion Lee Fairhurst 1/217 and ex-World Champion Paul Harrison 2 by firing them both into the fence.

Lee Fairhurst and Paul Harrison in the fence courtesy of Mick Sworder. Photo Colin Casserley

Lee Fairhurst and Paul Harrison in the fence courtesy of Mick Sworder. Photo Colin Casserley

Yellows were shown again for a stranded Neil Scriven 11 at the top of the backstraight. Mosley led them back off from Nigel Whalley 198 and Josh Smith 191. Craig Finnikin and Frankie Wainman jnr’s 515 fortunes failed as the two became embroiled with Dan Johnson 4 joining the party soon after. Finnikin unfortunately got stranded, and failed to finish.

Mat Newson and Frankie Wainman Jnr. Photo Steve Botham

Mat Newson and Frankie Wainman Jnr. Photo Steve Botham

Up front Josh Smith 191 moved into the lead while Nigel Whalley and John Dowson jnr 94 were vying for second. In his haste to get to the front, newcomer Mosley found himself on the receiving end of Sworder’s front bumper while Whalley got the better of Dowson jnr but there was no way Josh was going to be caught before the flag and he smoothly maintained his composure, going on to take victory in his second career final win.

Final winner Josh Smith. Photo Colin Casserley

Final winner Josh Smith. Photo Colin Casserley

Driver of the Month leader Nigel Whalley. Photo Colin Casserley

Driver of the Month leader Nigel Whalley. Photo Colin Casserley

Mat Newson had another storming run to gain on Sworder, but in their last lap drag to the line Sworder pulled ahead just enough to take third. After failing to qualify for the final a fired up Joe Booth 446 made sure the GN was his, moving quickly into the lead after Nigel Whalley and Mark Poole 276 held each other up.

GN winner Joe Booth. Photo Colin Casserley

GN winner Joe Booth. Photo Colin Casserley

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