Coventry – August 7th 2010 Meeting Report

Coventry’s August offering might well have been billed the World Final warm up, such is the anticipation building towards the big race at Brandon in September. Anticipation which has only been heightened further by the first airing of the brilliantly produced Gears and Tears BBC programme, which just happens to feature the two drivers on the front row of the big one, Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) and Andy Smith (1). Wainman Jnr chose this meeting to debut his long awaited new shale car, and a quite stunning looking machine it is too, whilst Smith was hoping to finalise his cars set up in order to defend the Gold Roof come September 4th.

A short, sharp shower pre-meeting left the track a little treacherous for the 25 car whites and yellows opener, with a few drivers struggling for traction, notably Tim Warwick (307) who was first to spin on turn one into the opening lap. Graham Wagstaff (330) had no such difficulties and powered into an early lead with Russell Cooper (415) quickly into second spot. As the race settled, Cooper slowly began to close down the 330 car and with a couple to run, dispatched Wagstaff into the turn three armco to take an unchallenged lead to the chequered flag, from Richard Bryan (238) and Neil Shenton (35).

RESULT : 415-238-35-13-306-158-76-73-111-351.

BriSCA F1 stock cars of Russell Cooper 415 and Graham Wagstaff 330. Photo Paul Tully

Amongst the 26 starters for heat two was the new FWJ shale car, which was the subject of great interest by the trackside photographers pre-race, and they had an early opportunity to take more shots as Frankie was spun around on turn one of lap one as the rest of the field set about catching Mike Williamson (111) who had made a great start from the white grade. By half distance, Williamson continued to lead from Ian Noden (306) and Murray Harrison (97) showing great form in the ex 231/391 car. Noden went through to lead by the time the 5 lap marker was shown, but Harrison had other ideas and attacked the 306 back bumper successfully on the last lap to take a popular win, Noden coming home second, with Stuart Smith Jnr (390) an impressive third place.

RESULT : 97-306-390-111-4-105-172-457-335-515-197-462.

BriSCA F1 Coventry Heat and Final winner Murray Harrison 97. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stock car Luke Davidson 464 at Coventry. Photo Colin Casserley

Two current title holders were making their F1 shale debuts in the 25 car third heat. Newly crowned European Champion, Luke Davidson (464) in the Steve Lewin (129) car supplied by Matt Newson (16), and UK Open Champion, Steve Thompson (385) driving the George Heppenstall (189) machine. Eight Time World Champion, John Lund (53) spun around on turn one of lap one and Matt Newson (16) quickly came to a halt on turn four as Mick Rogers (244) took up the early running. Lund spun again on turn four soon after, and it later became apparent that an inside rear suspension failiure was causing major inconvenience to the Clitheroe based superstar driver.

BriSCA F1 stock cars Andy Smith 1, Dan Squire 291 and Paul Hines 259. Photo Paul Tully

Les Spencer (98) had picked up the baton by halfway and was under pressure from Paul Hines (259) and World Champion Andy Smith (1). Hines moved through into the lead with two laps remaining, Smith unable to get close enough to challenge had to settle for second with Mark Gilbank (21) placing third at the chequered flag.

RESULT : 259-1-21-98-322-84-12-2-288-198-121-307.

BriSCA F1 stock cars Paul Hines 259, Andy Smith 1 and Les Spencer 98. Photo Colin Casserley

The consolation race gridded 24 cars, with Mark Allen (301) heading the field into 16 racing laps before Steven Cayzer (380) surged passed in the early stages. Will Yarrow (22) was storming through the field from the red grade and moved to challenge the Essex based driver as the lap boards were shown, grabbing the lead with just a couple left to run. Cayzer having to be content with second spot, Craig Finnikin (55) taking third.

RESULT : 22-380-55-16-53-463-244-48-280-191.

BriSCA F1 stock car Red Grades battle it out at Coventry. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stock cars Blue and Red Grades at Coventry. Photo Colin Casserley

The feature final saw 34 cars on track, with Tom Harris (84) heading back to the pits before the rolling lap had commenced. The new car of (515) Frankie Wainman Jnr began to issue forth blue smoke from the rear, as the field moved into the slow lap rolling start. Hines (259) and Yarrow (22) tangled on turn four at the drop of the green, as Scott Chambers (457) and Cooper (415) tussled for lead position. A fast and furious pace was being set around the shaleway and Les Spencer (98) moved into lead position shortly before the first bout of yellow flags were called, Chambers (457) was stationary against the fence on turn one, with debris also being removed from turn four. Spencer, Andy Ford (13) and Cooper led off the restart, as further back, some of the sports big names started to trade big hits. Smith (1) fired Ryan Harrison (197) into Wainman Jnr (515), which resulted in Micky Randell (172) and Nigel Whalley (198) having a look at the fence on turn four, and the Wainman car becoming stranded exiting turn four, bringing out the second caution of the race.
The race order on restart was 98-13-97-288-1-16-2. Harrison (97) and Smith (1) were carving their way to the front of the pack, not before Ford (13) had taken a dive at the No1 car forcing Smith into a half spin on the pit turn. Smith lost some ground and was on the receiving end from Paul Harrison (2) soon after who came wading in with the bumper, Smith eagerly returning the compliment the very next bend. Yarrow (22) had dumped the contents of his radiator all over the pit turn which cost Spencer (98) as he went careering into the stricken 22 car. Harrison (97) was on form again, however, and kept Smith (1) at arms length as he went on to record a fine win in the Don Round Memorial Trophy final, Smith again runner-up, with Harrison (2) taking third after a spirited drive.

RESULT : 97-1-2-390-53-12-55-98-21-111.

BriSCA F1 stock cars Simon Panton 288 and Murray Harrison 97. Photo Colin Casserley

The final race of the night, saw 31 competitors line up for the Grand National Championship Qualifier, with Williamson (111) and John Frost (351) heading the field away as Andy Ford (13) tangled with Lionel Shaw (362). Chris Brocksopp (338) soon inherited the lead as further down field, bumpers were being exchanged between Wainman Jnr (515) and Dan Johnson (4), with Smith (1) tussling first with Lund (53) then with Wainman Jnr (515). The 515 machine was eventually spun out by Harrison (2) but made up enough ground to place 6th by the time the chequered flag was shown. Brocksopp (338) going on to record a rare race win with room to spare from Hines (259) and Smith (1).

RESULT : 338-259-1-53-4-515-390-105-2-321.

Coventry Grand National winner BriSCA F1 stock car Chris Brocksopp 338. Photo Colin Casserley

So a slickly ran meeting came to an end in double quick time, the final two F1 races certainly being of very high quality, we can only hope for more of the same come World Final night. All the news surrounding the build up to the big event can be found here, first and fastest, on F1stockcars.com

Andre Zang

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