Coventry – November 5th 2011 Meeting Report

The final meeting at the mecca of BriSCA F1 stock cars saw the Coventry 2011 season bow out in fine style with fireworks a plenty, both on the track with some blistering action, and off with a spectacular display.

a spectacular fireworks display. Photo Steve Botham

BriSCA F1 stock car Grand National Championship grid. Photo Steve Botham

The night got off to a fiery start with the Grand National Championship which drew twenty three cars, to take part in a fast and furious race including tarmac’s Dylan Williams Maynard 51. A big push for the first bend saw Tom Harris 84 snatch the lead as a big shove from further down the field temporarily disposed of most of the main contenders into the first bend.

BriSCA F1 stock cars pile into the armco on the first bend of the Grand National Championship. Photo Colin Casserley

Matt Newson 16 somehow squeezed through the melee and it looked like the 16 machine would see a change of fortune as he started striding out to form a healthy lead. Frankie Wainman jnr 515 gave Neil Shenton 35 a hefty punt sending him flying to the fence with Paul Hines 259 and Chris Bonner 105 piling in soon after.

The yellows were soon shown for Ryan Harrison 197 who had come to rest at the bottom of the backstraight. Matt Newson 16 led them away from fellow competitor Dan Johnson 4 with Will Yarrow 22 and Frankie Wainman jnr 515 just behind. Johnson was very slow away at the start and pulled off, veto-ing Murray Harrison’s 97 attempt to fly by Frankie jnr. Bumper merchants Joe Booth 446, Tom Harris 84 and Mal Brown 34 set about each other, trading blows and places while Frankie Wainman jnr moved up into second by the halfway point.

Entertaining bumper merchants Mal Brown 34 and Joe Booth 446. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stock cars Frankie Wainman jnr 515 and Matt Newson 16. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stock car drivers Murray Harrison 97 and Will Yarrow 22 get in a tangle. Photo Colin Casserley

Wainman jnr set about reeling in Newson, claiming the lead for himself and pulling away. Craig Finnikin 55 was throwing himself forwards from the rear of the restart and was soon challenging Murray Harrison, sending him into a spin with Yarrow clattering the fence before recovering. Neil Shenton, back in the race started throwing out smoke which quickly turned to flames with the red flags being shown immediately with just two laps to go with Frankie Wainman jnr taking the 2011 Grand National Championship.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Neil Shenton 35 throws out some smoke. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Neil Shenton 35 throws out some flames. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA Grand National Championship top three with winner Frankie Wainman jnr 515. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stock car Whites and Yellows Championship grid. Photo Steve Botham

The Whites and Yellows Championship was next up with twenty one cars taking part. Geoff Nickolls 215 led them away from the front row with Les Spencer 98 getting right up on Nickolls from the flag. As the field flew round enmasse and headed for turn one, bumping into each other, local driver Steve Smith 40 clipped the inside marker tyre and flew up into the air. Smith came down hard, on top of Rob Tunnah 505 with Smith being passengered around the bend until Tunnah came to a halt leaving the two stranded on turn two.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Steve Smith 40 in the thick of the action. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Steve Smith 40 in the thick of the action. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stock car drivers Steve Smith 40 and Rob Tunnah 505 untangle themselves. Photo Colin Casserley

Somehow Smith managed to avoid flopping over with the two disentangling themselves as the rest of the field flew by. Geoff Nickolls was off like a shot, being doggedly followed by Spencer. Luke Dennis 192 went out wide to the fence on turn three and on getting himself back into the race was helped heavily into the fence at the opposing end by Mike Williamson 111 with neither car making the turn, neccessitating the yellow flags for Dennis.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Geoff Nickolls 215 on his way to take the Championship. Photo Colin Casserley

Geoff Nickolls reled the field away with Chris Bonner 105 getting straight down to business punting Barry Heath 343 wide before moving onto Neil Scriven 11 hoofing into him, sending him sideways before Scriven got back into it. Mark Poole 276 barged by Spencer for second with Poole going wide into the bends nearly clipping the fence, allowing Les Spencer back into contention. Bonner was striking forth and was now amongst the battling Spencer and Poole, with Bonner eventually relegating Spencer to fourth before going in for a big move on second place Mark Poole, leaning hard on Poole but as it had been all race, Poole pulled out of the corner with the greater speed and Bonner had to be content with third while upfront Geoff Nickolls charged to the flag to take the Whites and Yellows Championship.

BriSCA F1 stock car World of Shale grid. Photo Steve Botham

After two hard charging championship races, another followed with the World of Shale which saw a front row start for two of the main Shootout competitors, Frankie Wainman jnr 515 and Craig Finnikin 55. At the green Finnikin pulled ahead with a great battle for the lead taking place between the two with Dan Johnson also getting in on the action attempting to deal with Wainman jnr, slapping into his nerf. Ryan Harrison 197 did not want to be left out either, coming up behind Johnson with the top four all scrapping for the lead, trying to come out of the turns four abreast with Finnikin coming out ahead.

the BriSCA F1 stock car World of Shale battle for the lead. Photo Steve Botham

The majority of the rest of the field was charging forwards as one with newly wed Ed Neachell 321 getting the jump on his rivals. Neachell and Mike Williamson went into separate spins on turn three with the rest of the field valiently trying to avoid getting involved. Upfront, as the leaders jostled and battled, Harrison hoofed Johnson wide for the lead with Harris moving neatly up the order to second. Wainman jnr ws turned sideways and before the car could be straightened up, Mark Woodhull 335 went ploughing in. Harris had commandeered the lead but Harrison was not going to settle for second and went in on Harris but went in with him, allowing Finnikin to storm back into the lead followed by Johnson with Wainman back up the order challenging Mal Brown for fourth. Finnikin was off and flying to take the flag out front while Johnson was forced to pull to the infield letting Harrison back up the order and into second.

World of Shale BriSCA F1 stock car driver Craig Finnikin 55. Photo Steve Botham

After the excitment of three back to back championship races, the first heat of the meeting proper took place, including Dutch visitor Rob Hink H46. Russell Cooper 415 snapped into the lead while Finnikin, fresh from this World of Shale victory gave Will Yarrow something to think about. Some of the yellow graders clattered confusedly into the turn one plating including Hink, who is more used to seeing a dyke round the track edge. As they got moving again, the star graders of Finnikin, Harris and Wainman jnr tusted amongst themselves with the on fire Finnikin composedly showing them who was currently in charge.

Dutch F1 stock car visitor Rob Hink H46. Photo Colin Casserley

Mark Gilbank 21 was looming large in leader Cooper’s mirror, with Cooper gracefully giving way to the star men as Finnikin charged by hunting his second win of the night. Finnikin went in on Gilbank but initially failed to make an impression before reinforcing his point with the two tearing up the homestraight side by side with the flying Finn charging ahead. Wainman jnr was working hard to reel in second placed Gilbank but Gilbank was no slouch himself and folllowed Finnikin to the flag.

Heat two saw newcomer Rob Tunnah 505 lead the field as fellow polesitter Luke Dennis 192 again found the fence on the first bend. The following blue grades were throwing themselves three wide into the turns until Ed Neachell and Neil Scriven 11 span in the press of cars. Dan Johnson 4 was making sharp progress through the field along with rival Ryan Harrison with the duo diving up the homestraight side by side before Johnson found himself pushed out wide. Veteran John Lund 53 got in on the act, challenging Harrison with Harrison going wide to the fence, letting Johnson slip back by.

Out ahead lower grader Chris Clare 394 was showing all competitors a clean pair of heels, distancing himself from trouble and dealing with back markers in a competent fashion with Tunnah tailing him in second. Towards the end, James Clement 158 pushed Ryan Harrison out wide wth Harrison returning the favour with full interest, sending lower grader Clements bouncing up the armco and out of the race while Chris Clare went on to jubilantly take the chequered flag.

BriSCA F1 stock car drivers Ryan Harrison 197 and Neil Scriven 11. Photo Colin Casserley

Infrequent racer Steve Dodds 115 initially led the field for the consolation with the World Champion Paul Harrison 2 being the only star grader to take part. The yellow graders again came to grief on the pitlane turn with a confusion of metal from which Geoff Nickolls emerged unscathed. Leader Rob Harrod 258 was soon under pressure from Steve Malkin snr 208 and with Nickolls bearing down, Malkin snr charged at Harrod and the two went wide gifting Nickolls the lead for a minimum of effort. Malkin snr chased down Nickolls but it did not quite go to plan.

Ed Neachell was firing up the order and was clearly not in a mood to settle for second, wanting the win for himself so set about bumpering all before him aside before reeling in Nickolls and leaning heavily on him. In the press, the 215 inside rear tyre left its rim and Neachell sailed ahead. Craig Aston 440 then ran over Nickolls front end but Geoff being made of stern stuff, simply continued his race on his wheel rim, finishing further down the order but still successfully qualifying for the final.

Newly wed BriSCA F1 stock car driver Ed Neachell 321 on his way to a Consolation win. Photo Colin Casserley

The last race of the night, the final saw opening laps of sheer bedlam with all qualifiers charging at it as if it was the last race of the season. Luke Dennis 192 shot into the lead with Chris Bonner 105 firing forwards to be the first yellow grader to break clear of the brawl. Will Yarrow 22 came to grief in the early stages, spinning and taking out fellow star grader Mark Gilbank. Frankie Wainman jnr was charging forth with his fellow stars in his wake, not prepared to let him get away.

Wainman laid into Finnikin as each of the Shootout stars set about the final measuring up of their rival’s rear bumpers for next weekend’s double points Shootout finale. Cars were limping to the infield at a rate of knots while on track, bumpers flew thick and fast with it being impossible to keep up with all the action.

BriSCA F1 stock car action in the final. Photo Colin Casserley

Wainman jnr and Tom Harris were neck and neck until Harris was help up by Matt Newson 16 whose lower Shootout position showed how much bad luck he had suffered. Wainman jnr dealt ruthlessly with younger brother Danny while the cars piled in with Matt Newson 16 continuing racing with his bonnet peeled back like a tin can. Out ahead Chris Clare 394 seemed to be keeping his head while all around were losing theirs and kept dodging the bullets to keep out in front.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Danny Wainman 212 goes into a spin. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stock car first time Final winner Chris Clare 394 . Photo Colin Casserley

Even when Craig Finnikin 55 challenged Clare, sending him out into a half spin it failed to ruffle Clare’s feathers as he calmly straightened up and drove on to take his first ever final win, and the last 2011 Coventry Final in fine style with the evergreen John Lund driving a stormer to take third behind Chris Bonner. Tarmac driver Dylan Wlliams Maynard made it home in one piece, finishing just outside the top ten setting the fastest lap of the race.

a jubilant Chris Clare 394 celebrates his first BriSCA F1 stock car Final. Photo Steve Botham

Ailsa Haigh

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