Coventry – August 3rd 2013 Meeting Report

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In it’s 60 years of existence the Brandon Bowl has seldom seen a final as good as the one served up on Saturday night.

The Whites and Yellows race opened the night, and an action packed race it proved to be. After a pile up or two had thinned the field out a thrilling three way battle for the lead between Steve Harrison (118), Chris Clare (294) and Ben Hurdman (207) ensued right up until the trio closed the finish line, Harrison survived a last bender from Clare to take the win, with Clare holding off Hurdman in the drag race for second. Only eight of the 28 cars that started the race were running at the conclusion.

Lee Warner 290. Photo Steve Botham

Lee Warner 290. Photo Steve Botham

Lee Smith looked to have the whites and yellows race at Coventry in the bag, only to suffer an engine failure. A hole in the sump and a piston connecting rod on the sump guard as the pictures show.
Steve Botham

Lee Smith's engine woes. Photo Steve Botham

Lee Smith’s engine woes. Photo Steve Botham

Lee Smith's engine woes. Photo Steve Botham

Lee Smith’s engine woes. Photo Steve Botham

Lee Smith's engine woes. Photo Steve Botham

Lee Smith’s engine woes. Photo Steve Botham

Heat two saw a first ever F1 win for John Dowson Jr (94), the North East drive held off a determined charge from Craig Finnikin (55) to claim the victory.

Mat Newson, John Dowson Jnr and Mark Woodhull. Photo Steve Botham

Mat Newson, John Dowson Jnr and Mark Woodhull. Photo Steve Botham

John Dowson Jnr 94 gets cooled down. Photo Steve Botham

John Dowson Jnr 94 gets cooled down. Photo Steve Botham

The rapidly improving Lee Warner (290) looked to be heading for victory in heat three but he was passed in the closing stages by Mark Gilbank (21), Warner held on for an excellent second place.

Ryan Harrison and Josh Smith. Photo Steve Botham

Ryan Harrison and Josh Smith. Photo Steve Botham

Heat race no qualifiers Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) and Mick Sworder (150) failed to make it on track for the consolation which was won by Mal Brown (34), who overhauled long time leader Neil Holcroft (496) towards the end of the race.

Richard Bryan (238) held the lead in the early stages of the final before being overhauled by Ryan Harrison (197) and Paul Hines (259). Craig Finnikin and Tom Harris (84) joined the leading duo and that’s when the fun began. Bumpers going in every turn, with a new leader emerging each time it was hard to keep track of who was in the lead position! Harrison retired with a flat tyre during a yellow flag for the stricken car of Jamie Jackson (377). On the ensuing restart Finnikin held the lead and despite a last bend attempt to remove him by Harris he held on to claim the final victory.

the final grids up. Photo Steve Botham

the final grids up. Photo Steve Botham

Daniel Wainman and Mat Newson. Photo Steve Botham

Daniel Wainman and Mat Newson. Photo Steve Botham

Dan Johnson and John Dowson Jnr. Photo Steve Botham

Dan Johnson and John Dowson Jnr. Photo Steve Botham

Final winner Craig Finnikin 55. Photo Steve Botham

Final winner Craig Finnikin 55. Photo Steve Botham

Harris made amends in the Grand National by spinning long time race leader Mark Poole (276) on the last turn to snatch the victory. Many observers thought Harris was too far back to make an attempt on the 276 car, but he proved them wrong in what must be one of the biggest last bend lunges in Coventry history.

After the final Keith Barber made a presentation to John Lund to commemorate John’s 2,000th F1 meeting, which occurred at the tail end of the 2012 season. As Coventry were celebrating John’s career on Saturday night it seemed an appropriate time to make the presentation.

A great way to end a great meeting that steadily built up through the heats to an outstanding final and Grand National.

Words & Photos: Colin Casserley

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