Coventry – November 7th 2009 Meeting Report

The last Coventry of the 2009 season drew fifty-seven stock cars into the pits on a crisp, autumnal day. After the ten exhilarating Shoot out rounds of September and October, many were looking forward to the off season for a rest. The traditional Coventry format of three heats, consolation, final and GN was employed with an extra race at the end of the night for drivers who had won a race at Coventry over the season.

Heat 1

The first race up was heat one, consisting of white and yellow graders including a return to racing for Ian Noden (306). Robin Newson (26) was on pole, with Scott Chambers (457) who in his first visit to Coventry was opting to start at the rear of the white graders. Steve Boyd (369) and Nigel Friswell (353) were opting to starting at the very rear of the grid. Newson led them away and really seemed to be getting to grips with the old black car of Steve Lewin (129); while Lewin himself was out in Mat Newson’s green 2009 shale car. Graham Wagstaff (330) obviously fancied his chances and muscled his way to the front of the field and began putting distance between himself and the melee that was going on behind him. Cars were hooking up with each other and spinning out at both ends of the track.
Russell Cooper (415) and Mark Allen (301) became en-meshed together momentarily as Colin Nairn (280) span at the other end. Lionel Shaw (362) and Steve Malkin snr (208) tangled on turn one, scraping up against the armco to avoid a wayward marker tyre sent out by Paul Thomas (356) earlier in the race. James Clement (158) span and pulled off onto the back straight infield, only for Mike Williamson (111) and Mick Rogers (244) to get entangled, try to free themselves coming out of turn two and run into the back of the stationary car. White grader Steve Harrison (118) who normally excels at Coventry, was finding things difficult as Tim Warwick (307) and then Mark Allen (301) impeded his progress allowing Wagstaff to take the chequered unhindered.
330 – 118 – 26 – 306 – 457 – 223 – 244 – 90 – 353 – 129

Heat 2

Heat two saw seventeen cars take to the track and was made up entirely of yellow and blue graders with Steve Malkin jnr (308) taking pole position and Ryan Harrison (197) and Jim Bamford (302) being the first line of blues. At the start Andy Ford (13) showed he was in the mood to take no prisoners, sticking the bumper into Geoff Nickolls (215) and Garry Fox (480). Ryan Harrison was the first blue to start making his way through the field while the spinning Adam Slater (214) held up fellow yellow grader Les Spencer (98) on the exit of turn four. Andy Ford (13) continued to show good use of the bumper and was gaining on leader Malkin jnr as the race progressed. Ryan Harrison (197) and Jim Bamford (302) were challenging each other, swapping positions until Harrison went wide on turn four allowing Bamford to take the position. Jim Bamford then became hooked on the rear of Les Spencer going into turn one. Neil Scothern (152) went in on the rear, sending Bamford into the marker tyres and into a big roll causing the yellows to be brought out. Andy Ford had obviously damaged his car trading blows with Malkin jnr for the lead as both cars headed for the infield and did not make the restart. Restart order 215 – 242 – 121 – 34 – 98 – 152 – 91 – 197.
Kevin Shinn (121) immediately stuck the bumper into Dave Nickolls (242) to take second while further down the field Mal Brown (34), Neil Scothern (152) and Les Spencer (98) tangled together on turn four. Once they got going again, Mal Brown (34) stuck the bumper in on Spencer who looked to be about to stick the bumper in on Neil Shenton (35) who was just in front. This sent Shenton and Spencer hard into the fence on turn one with Shenton going in sideways, causing the yellows to be waved once more. Tim Farrell (467) looked to be about to have radiator issues as steam began billowing out from his bonnet as they lined up for the restart. Restart order 215 – 121 – 242 – 91 – 467 – 197. At the restart, Geoff Nickolls (215) powered off in the lead as Farrell (467) and Harrison (197) became entangled as Farrell went in to the bend fast and half spun, causing Harrison to clatter in to him. Farrell eventually coming to a halt by the pit gate. Shinn was unable to get near enough to Nickolls to have a go and Geoff took the flag comfortably.
215 – 121 – 242 – 152 – 91 – 11 – 34 – 214 – 197 – nof. (Ryan Harrison docked two places for jumping the restart).

Heat 3 BSCDA Trust Fund Race

Heat three saw the remainder of the cars with the exception of Chris Cowley (37) come out for the annual BSCDA Trust Fund race, open to all drivers who have held Star grade in the season. Seventeen cars came out, six of which were graded blue. Chris Bonner (105) and Mark Woodhull (335) made up the front row with eleven reds towards the rear of the closed grid. Chris Bonner led them away as Joe Booth (446) and Chris Brocksopp (338) became entangled. Mark Gilbank (21) immediately put the bumper in on Ed Neachell (321), swiftly followed by young Tom Harris (84) also bumpering Neachell out of the way. Superstar John Lund (53) from the back was making his way forward with purpose, as was Murray Harrison (97) from red. Daniel Wainman (212) and Ed Neachell (321) became momentarily hooked up on turn two but freed themselves, with Neachell coming out in front of leader Chris Bonner. This allowed second place Murray Harrison to close the gap and take the lead going into turn three. Chris Bonner spun out; taking last year’s Trust Fund race winner Dan Squire (291) with him and creating a track blockage as cars fought to get past. Out front, Murray Harrison then put the power down and never looked like being caught.
97 – 21 – 515 – 2 – 53 – 380 – 55 – 259 – 291 – 335

Photo Colin Casserley.

Photo Colin Casserley.

Consolation

The consolation saw initially twenty-five cars take to the Brandon bowl as Dan Squire (291) and Mark Woodhull (335) came out, not realising that although it was eight qualifiers from the heats, it was the top ten from the BSCDA Trust Fund race. Twenty-three cars started, with Nigel Friswell (353) in the Derek Wass car opting to start at the very rear. Tim Warwick (307) and Russell Cooper (415) took up the front line with Cooper’s car starting to slightly steam even before the rolling lap had been started. Tim Warwick (307) led them away with Mark Allen (301) half spinning on turn four. Les Spencer (98) went for the lead and successfully took it while Tom Harris (84) was the first red to show. Garry Fox (480) put his foot down and threw his car into turn one, speeding past a fair few cars as he went. Further up, Andy Ford (13) was challenging Les Spencer (98) for the lead. A sideways Tim Farrell (467) and Mark Allen (301) became stuck together, with Colin Nairn (280) becoming embroiled causing a track blockage as cars piled in and the yellows came out. Mark Allen’s outside nerf rail was clearly completely mangled from the incident as he made his way woefully to the infield. Restart order 98 – 13 – 480 – 415 – 322.
Andy Ford (13) attacked Les Spencer (98) from the off, eventually squeezing him out to take the lead. Les Spencer (98) then found himself coming under fire from third placed Garry Fox (480) as James Neachell (322) moved ever forwards. Spencer (98) spun out on turn four as Nigel Friswell (353) spun on turn two, hindering leader Ford’s progress and letting Garry Fox who was also on a mission slip through at the half way point. Friswell remained on the exit of two with Tom Harris (84) clipping him as he motored past. Tom and Daniel Wainman (212) were having a good race amongst themselves as Ford gained on, and passed Fox as the laps wound down. Fox didn’t give up and relentlessly chased down Ford, finally getting by him with just two laps to go.
480 – 13 – 322 – 446 – 321 – 197 – 84 – 105 – 212 – 37

Photo Colin Casserley.

Photo Colin Casserley.

Final

The full complement of thirty-six cars gridded up for the final, with Scott Chambers (457) on pole and Robin Newson (26) alongside. Superstars John Lund (53), Paul Harrison (2) and Frankie Wainman jnr (515) took up position at the rear. Scott Chambers (457) led them away with Graham Wagstaff (330) initially taking up second until he was spun by a much improved Robin Newson (26). Further back, John Lund (53) was fighting to the front of the Superstars as Dan Squire (291) was the first red to show and Daniel Wainman (212) went up against Mark Gilbank (21). Trust Fund race winner Murray Harrison (97) T-boned Frankie Wainman jnr (515) on turn three as the yellows came out for Chris Bonner (105) who had been forced sideways underneath the starter’s rostrum and collected by the following blue tops with Joe Booth (446) clattering into him. Restart order 118 – 91 – 55 – 26 – 197 – 11 – 335 – 480.
At the restart, Dave Nickolls (242) was battling fiercely with Mark Gilbank (21) as Frankie Wainman jnr (515) was muscling his way through the pack. The reds were all fighting hard, with cars going down the back straight four-abreast. Unfortunately, at this point Dave Nickolls (242) became hooked up with Mark Gilbank (21) hitting the armco hard, sadly needing medical assistance. (Best wishes to Dave for a speedy recovery).
At the line up, the order was 118 – 197 – 362 – 515 – 212 – 13 – 53 – 84 – 2 – 259 – 480 – 26 – 321 – 380 – 26 with Frankie Wainman jnr (515) pulling out of line and driving back to the pits. At the restart, Ryan Harrison (197) took the lead as the reds were all bunched up in a pack. John Lund (53) made his way closer to the front as Tom Harris (84) and Andy Ford (13) tussled, until Daniel Wainman (212) got involved and put Tom Harris (84) out. As they reached the halfway point, Lund was well in the lead with now second place Andy Ford (13) trying to get near. Back marker Chris Cowley (37) who had been struggling to get to grips with his car was now in front of Lund, momentarily slowing him down but Lund was all business and short of mechanical failure was not going to be stopped. Paul Harrison (2) closed the gap on Ford and passed to take second. Ford in return tried to get to Harrison on turn one but was unable to reclaim the place. On the last lap Craig Finnikin (55) was all over Paul Hines (259) on turns one and two but Hines gamely held his ground on the last bend.
53 – 2 – 13 – 21 – 212 – 259 – 55 – 380 – 446 – 11

Photo Colin Casserley.

Photo Colin Casserley.

Grand National

Twenty-five cars made it out for the Grand National with John Lund taking the lap handicap and back on a Hoosier as opposed to the Goodyear he had used to great success in the final. Only two white tops made it out with Scott Chambers (457) leading them away as the green dropped. Daniel Wainman (212) whose engine had been smoking all night dropped to the back which was soon followed by brother Frankie Wainman jnr (515) pulling onto the infield as Chris Cowley’s (37) apparent car problems continued as he went weaving down the backstraight. Steve Lewin (129) momentarily took up the lead as Garry Fox (480) hit Russell Cooper (415) spinning him out on turn two. Mark Gilbank (21) on making his way through the field, attacked Fox as Craig Finnikin (55) followed. Neil Scothern (152), Chris Cowley (37) and Daniel Wainman (212) were battling, coming out of the turns three abreast while Lund was in the thick of it, unfortunately getting hooked up with Neil Scriven (11). Mark Gilbank (21) made it to the front with Craig Finnikin behind, trying to narrow the gap and get on Gilbank’s back bumper. Finnikin was too far back to reach him though and Gilbank took the flag unimpeded.
21 – 55 – 480 – 2 – 335 – 291 – 129 – 84 – 34 – 212

Coventry Racers’ Bonus Race

Only twelve cars made it onto the track for the Coventry £1000 Bonus race, a closed grid affair but having the least cars did certainly not mean the least action as all cars went for it from the off as there was a healthy prize fund on offer. Graham Wagstaff (330) on coming onto the track at the start gave his car a little too much gas and half spun himself by the pit gate to ironic cheers from the fans on the backstraight. Frankie Wainman jnr (515) took to the field looking a bit snug, tucked inside brother Daniel’s car. As it was a non-point scoring event, the usual rule about one car raced by one driver was waived. As the green dropped, cars jostled for position with Andy Ford (13) sticking the bumper into Ryan Harrison (197). Harrison then returned the favour, punting Ford back. John Lund (53) back on his final winning Goodyear moved himself swiftly into second and then swiftly on and into the lead. Paul Harrison (2) pulled off while Garry Fox (480) stuck the bumper in on Graham Wagstaff (330).
Further down the field, Mark Gilbank (21) attacked Frankie Wainman jnr whilst Dan Squire (291) bumpered Tom Harris (84). Second place Garry Fox (480) was trying to prevent Lund gliding away into the distance and tried to stay with him, throwing his car into the bends while Mark Gilbank and Frankie Wainman jnr continued their tussle for position. Les Spencer (98) got on the back of Ryan Harrison (197) spinning him round as Frankie Wainman jnr’s race hopes were dashed as again he had to pull off to the infield. Tom Harris (84) and Ryan Harrison (197) were battling, with Tom hitting Ryan on turn four and Ryan spinning Tom on turn one. Tom Harris gave it some gas, caught up with Ryan with Ryan taking a very wide line round turn four and Tom getting past. Lund continued to romp home to claim the £500 winner’s prize money.
53 – 480 – 291 – 330 – 98 – 91 – 21 – 197 – 84 – nof

Grade awards White – Graham Wagstaff (330), Yellow – Andy Ford (13), Blue – Steve Cayzer (380), Red – Mark Gilbank (21), Superstar – Paul Harrison (2).

Ailsa Haigh

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