Coventry – June 2nd 2012 Meeting Report

Coventry’s June Jubilee weekend offering saw a bumper crowd entertained by another bumper turnout at the popular Midlands shaleway.

Pre meeting consternation over the pit arrangements were put to one side when nearly 30 whites and yellows took to the track to contest the lastest round in the ever popular season long Whites and Yellows Championship. The action began as early as lap one when Steve Malkin Jnr (308) was guided into a marker tyre on turn one and leapt high, as Billy Johnson (169) made the early running. Johnson had the new car of Graham Wagstaff (330) for company as the flying yellow graders Adam Slater (214), John Weldon (235) and Chris Clare (394) made their way towards the front. Wagstaff took up the running late on, but had an on form Slater all over him going into the final lap and the all yellow 214 machine eased through to take the flag from Weldon, Clare and Wagstaff.

Lee Smith 76 hits the infield. Photo Dave Bastock

Just under mid 20s for the second heat and a couple of bouts of yellow flags to assist Craig Aston (440) and Martyn Walton (243) prior to halfway allowed the pack to bunch up behind race leader Joe Booth (446) with big hitters Ed Neachell (321), Tom Harris (84), Dan Johnson (4) and Ryan Harrison (197) in close attendance an exciting finish was anticipated. Booth was unable to hold back the tide, with points leader Harris storming through for the win, Neachell following him over the line for second.

John Lund 53 heads the restarted reds. Photo Dave Bastock

The third heat saw a similar amount of cars on track and another early stoppage after the downgraded Nigel Harrhy (45) had removed himself and several other cars on turn three,and once the ensuing chaos had cleared, Tony Smith (91) was stranded on the racing line. Ben Hurdman (207) lead them away, but all eyes were firmly focussed on the cars in 2nd, 3rd and 4th position, namely Messrs Harrison (97), Wainman (515) and Sworder (150). Sworder had a couple of shots at the 515 inside nerf rail around turns one and two as battle commenced and quickly flew passed 97 and 207 to take it up. Frankie was clearly motivated to retaliate and set about trying to reel in the flying 150 machine. Into the lap boards and the lead car made heavy weather of passing the lap down Jason Eaton (448) which gave Wainman just the impetus required to land a classic last bend shunt on the 150 car which saw the European Champion bouncing off the armco and the 515 car take the flag to a great reception from the appreciative crowd who were well entertained by some fantastic stock car racing.

25 for the consolation and big names Craig Finnikin (55) and Dan Johnson (4) were looking for a route through into the final. Johnson faired slightly better of the two by taking the race win from Dave Willis (337) and Paul Hines (259), Finnikin tangling out with Neil Scriven (11) and suffering damage which prevented him from qualifying.

The full quota of 36 cars were on track for the feature final which saw a frantic start as John Weldon (235) spun on the home straight and was collected by the onrushing pack which saw the yellow flags thrown to restore some order. Martyn Walton (243) lead away the restart as the heavy hitters from the back of the field made their progress through. Ryan Harrison (197) fresh from the disappointment of being stripped of a final win the previous week at Kings Lynn, was on a charge, as was Mick Sworder (150) and they had a coming together on the far side which saw the 150 car squeezed into the wall – then take a lunge at 197, before being helped into a spin by Mark Woodhull (335). Woodhull was flying and relieved long time leader Chris Clare (394) of top spot as further back Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) and John Lund (53) enjoyed a good tussle. The 335 car held on in a frantic finale to take the flag from Harrison (197), Wainman Jnr (515) and Lund (53) in fourth spot.

The GN was run in a full rain shower so difficult conditions met the drivers, one of whom who struggled with the track more than most was Mick Sworder (150) who performed several pirouettes, most of which were unaided, although the final one was assisted by new superstar grade driver Danny Wainman (212), which saw the 150 car end in a heap against the fence on the pit turn. Sworder’s car was recovered during a stoppage to assist Timmy Aldridge (257) making a return to F1 in a Mat Newson (16) hire car. Will Yarrow (22) had a spell as lead man, but couldn’t contain World Champion Paul Harrison (2) who was coping well in the tricky conditions and went through to take the win in the closing stages from Yarrow and Harris (84).

Next month sees the British Championship contested at Coventry, Paul Harrison will be defending his title, but a stellar line up of drivers are ready to make history and land the black and white chequered roof.

Andre Zang

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