Coventry – October 1st 2011 Meeting Report

Nights like this only serve to reaffirm why you fell in love with BriSCA F1 stock cars in the first place. It was not just the shootout drivers in their chase for the silver roof with Tom Harris’s 84 lead at the top being savagely cut by the end, but every single driver that took to the track was on their A game and ready for a battle.

Four Dutch visitors had made the long distance journey in the shape of Roy van Zuilen (H132), Ron Verkerk (H172), Sjaak Kentie (H179) and 2010 BriSCA top ten World Finalist Arno van Zweiten (H414). This side of the pond, BriSCA newcomer Jonny Walker (350) out in the John Frost car completed his five laps pre-meeting before being given a baptism of fire in the meeting proper.

Dutch F1 stock car driver Roy van Zuilen H132. Photo Paul Tully

Dutch F1 stock car driver Sjaak Kentie H179. Photo Colin Casserley

The now infamous Whites and Yellows race was first up and as usual had a full field, with thirty cars taking to the track. Mike Williamson 111 led them away as Rob Harrod 258 momentarily held up Rob Tunnah 505 who charged to the front to capture the lead for himself.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Rob Harrod 258 under pressure from Mike Williamson 111. Photo Steve Botham

Coventry whites and yellow specialist Geoff Nickolls 215 took a turn on the pitgate bend with cars hastily trying to avoid and clattering into each other with debutante Walker spinning out as well. In the melee Mark Poole 276 had charged forwards and was giving Tunnah something to think about with Tunnah taking various wide lines, allowing Poole to move in for the kill.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Tim Farrell 467 dukes it out with Roy van Zuilen H132. Photo Steve Botham

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Ian Noden 306 gets into Garry Townsend 223. Photo Steve Botham

Ian Noden 306 clattered Russell Cooper 415 aside and Mark Poole’s opportunity for glory vanished when he was taken to the infield with Barry Heath 343 allowing Les Spencer 98 to take command. The yellows for debris, allowed the competitors a bit of respite from the chaos before gettign back into the thick of it at the green. Spencer set off apace with the yellows soon coming out for Lee Warner 290 who had ploughed into the turn one fence plate. Spencer dutifully reled them away once more with a flurry of bumperwork taking place behind as he flew off as fast as his F1 would carry him.

BriSCA F1 stock cars of Rob Tunnah 505 and Barry Heath 343 tangle. Photo Steve Botham

BriSCA F1 stock cars of Rob Tunnah 505 and Barry Heath 343 come to rest . Photo Paul Tully

Geoff Nickolls pushed West Country’s Tim Farrell 467, sending him out to connect with the stationary Chris Clare 394 as they yellows were waved once more for Rob Tunnah who had thumped into the backstraight armco coming out of turn two along with Heath who seemed to be getting involved with as many incidents as possible. As the cars got back into order for the restart Farrell’s tyre finally popped, possibly damaged in his earlier contact with the Clare car. Spencer shot off at the green to the flag with Neil Shenton 35 duking it out with Geoff Nickolls for third place until the flag.

BriSCA F1 stock cars Geoff Nickolls 215 and Neil Shenton 35 duke it out. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Les Spencer 98 on his way to the flag. Photo Steve Botham

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Ryan Harrison 197 swaps cars. Photo Colin Casserley

Heat two took to the track with Ryan Harrison 197 appearing in Murray’s car with the Harrison hands desending to fit the wing as quickly as possible. North Eastern white top Graeme Robson 267 led them away with Richard Bryan 238 being slow out of the starting blocks with local lad Steve Smith 40 spinning right in front of the 238 machine. Mal Brown 34 used the opportunity to force his way frontwards skirting round his fellow blue graders as Dan Johnson 4 got straight down to it, thumping into Ryan Harrison.

The yellows were shown almost immediately for Josh Smith 191 as the field fell into some semblance of order minus Will Yarrow 22 and Sjaak Kentie H179 who had both retired. At the green Robson was off like a shot but the rest of the field were champing at the bit to be at the front themselves and blue and star graders were now even closer. Johnson turned Harrison to pass but had Scott Davids 462 on him with his bumper the next bend.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Matt Newson 16 finds he has his hands full with Nigel Harrhy 45. Photo Paul Tully

Ed Neachell 321 and Matt Newson 16 were racing closely alongside lap down Harrhy with Newson hoofing Harrhy out into Neachell machine, half turning him. Neachell tore back into the race sending Rob Harrod armco bound as Mal Brown attacked Luke Dennis 192 to take his position. Mark Woodhull 335 and Johnson jostled with each other with Woodhull refusing to let Johnson pass without a fight.

BriSCA F1 stock car drivers Dan Johnson 4, Scott Davids 462 and Mark Woodhull 335 fight it out. Photo Paul Tully

The yellows made a return appearance for a stranded Jonny Walker 350, closing the field once more. Robson once more took the green but had a mirror full of metal with Brown, Newson and Neachell right on his tail. Tom Harris 84 and Dan Johnson 4 got straight into battling with each other with Neachell and Newson vying for position as Robson continued to hold his own out front. Brown battered Newson as Lee Fairhurst waded into Woodhull.

Upfront, Neachell was leaning on the plucky lower grader Robson to take the lead but had Newson bearing down on him at speed. Luke Dennis and Mark Poole tangled down the backstraight with the two coming to rest half way down in a heap and before the yellows could be shown, Dan Johnson went crashing in, tipping Poole onto his side.

BriSCA F1 stock cars Luke Dennis 192 and Mark Poole 276 tangle. Photo Paul Tully

Newson led the restart away from Neachell and with hardly any cars left running, all the cars would probably qualify for the final. Robson then found himself being turned round by Ryan Harrison putting him out of the race as Newson carried on flying comfortably towards the flag with his engine glowing red hot through the side panels with Harris relegating Mal Brown down the order. An absolutely blistering heat race that could so easily be mistaken for being a final.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Matt Newson 16 on his way to winning his heat. Photo Colin Casserley

Heat three soon followed with Mike Williamson 111 charging into the lead with Rob Tunnah following until he span on turn four allowing Chris Clare 394 to take the second position. Craig Finnikin 55 zipped up the order giving Ron Verkerk H172 a taste of the bumper as Tony Smith 91 and Garry Townsend 223 tore to the infield in a tangle and Arno van Zweiten H414 retired to the infield, his race over.

Dutch F1 stock car driver Arno van Zweiten H414. Photo Colin Casserley

Mark Gilbank 21 leaned heavily on Roy van Zuilen H132 but got a touch too close and got caught up on the Dutch stock car machine, being forced to retire. Finnikin fought it out with John Lund 53 for position as Frankie Wainman jnr 515 lamped Murray Harrison 97 and renewed his assault until Harrison succumbed and let Wainman jnr go charging by. It has been a long time since Wainman jnr showed this level of aggression and he charged towards the front at a blistering pace.

Stu Smith jnr 390 was lurking just behind Wainman jnr tailing him towards the front with World Champion Paul Harrison 2 punting Murray out wide, with Murray getting straight back to it, shoving Harrison out into Smith jnr. The two Harrisons then fought amongst themselves as Wainman jnr continued to race on ahead putting distance between himself and the following field.

BriSCA F1 stock car drivers Stu Smith jnr 390 and Murray Harrison 97 do battle. Photo Paul Tully

Paul gave Stu Smith jnr a polite tap to pass, allowing both Paul and Murray Harrison through. Smith jnr was not settling for this and and got back into action, bearing down on Murray, aggressively leaning on him and neatly turning right as they came out of turn four just to make sure he had the place. Murray tore out of the mire getting on the back of Dan Squire 291, purposefully taking his place. Frankie Wainman jnr was way out ahead and went on to take the chequered flag with steely determination.

Former World Champion Andy Smith 391 had not appeared in any of the heats and failed to make the Consolation, meaning a long trip for nothing for the ex-World Champ. Rob Harrod and Graeme Robson made up the front row with Robson tearing into the lead from the outside while Harrod received attention from Williamson. Tony Smith went into a spin amongst his fellow yellow graders scattering them far and wide as they all hurriedly sought to avoid the stricken Smith machine.

Mark Poole again came to grief alongside the errant 45 machine who had found himself facing the wrong way. Steve Harrison 118 and Harrod were tustling with the duo tangling down the backstraight allowing Russell Cooper to take full advantage. Meanwhile Robson looked to be putting a healthy distance between himself and his competitors showing them all a clean pair of heels.

At the back, Mark Gilbank 21 was bulldozering his way passed Will Yarrow as Lee Fairhurst gave Paul Hines a punt. Garry Fox 48 span out on turn four with Hines clattering in leaving him in the centre of the track. Dan Johnson was on Tim Farrell’s rear and went soaring passed Farrell as he messed about with Garry Townsend. Johnson immediately turned his attention to Townsend thwacking him aside but letting Farrell back through in the process. Lee Fairhurst 217 found himself on the receiving end of a fierce Rob Cowley 73 as he fired him into the stationary Hines with Fairhurst crabbing up the homestraight hugging the armco.

Entertaining Dutch F1 stock car driver Sjaak Kentie H179. Photo Colin Casserley

Gilbank was charging towards the front, bypassing Steve Harrison before firing Sjaak Kentie H179 out into Luke Dennis. As the group jostled, Gilbank and Kentie became entangled but quickly freed themselves with Gilbank tearing off leaving Farrell and Kentie behind to tustle. It was Steve Harrison’s turn to be left stranded in the middle of the turn and Kentie took the inside line, leaving Farrell to take the slower, wider outside and lose the position. Out front Graeme Robson was flying, keeping himself out of trouble and charging flagwards, going on to take the chequered, roaring over the finish line and showing his delight with some post race doughnuts and beaming for joy on his victory lap.

BriSCA F1 stock car Consolation driver Graeme Robson 267. Photo Paul Tully

Anticipation was high for the feature final, and if it was anywhere near as good as the previous racing action it would be a fearsome affair. Consolation victor Graeme Robson 267 led them away with Barry Heath taking in a spin with blue graders Mark Woodhull 335 and Neil Scriven 11 cutting over the infield to avoid.

BriSCA F1 stock car Final action with Ed Neachell 321 and Dan Squire 291 going sideways. Photo Steve Botham

Chaotic opening laps ensued, with cars flying into battle and going out at both ends. The shootout drivers continued their aggressive assault on anything moving, knocking all before them aside, with Frankie Wainman jnr 515 punting Tom Harris 84 out wide.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver star grades charge into battle. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Frankie Wainman jnr 515 charging forwards. Photo Colin Casserley

Dan Johnson 4 got up the inside of rival Ryan Harrison as Les Spencer 98 got on the rear of van Zuilen H132 but could not rest as he had Murray Harrison 97 breathing down his neck. Johnson and Ryan Harrison vyed for position once more with Harrison getting the drop on Johnson when he clipped the backstraight armco as the two tore down the straight side by side.

BriSCA F1 stock car drivers John Lund 53, Stu Smith jnr 390 and Scott Davids 462 fight for position. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Tom Harris 84 goes up against Holland's Ron Verkerk H172. Photo Colin Casserley

Matt Newson 16 was at the front of a forceful group of battling BriSCA F1s including John Lund, Tom Harris and Craig Finnikin and found himself being turned in the press of steel. Frankie Wainman jnr thumped Johnson out into Sjaak Kentie H179 with Wainman soon being on the sharp end of Tom Harris’s attention with Harris shoving Wainman out into Paul Harrison but needing to heavily reinforce the point at the next bend. Craig Finnikin 55 got in on the act forcing Harris out into Frankie Wainman as Paul Harrison 2 retired from the fray to the relative safety of the infield.

A pile up occurred on turns three and four with cars charging in, with Wainman jnr firing John Lund 53 out into Finnikin with Finnikin getting straight back into it, returning the favour with interest firing Frankie Wainman out into Lund with Lund being turned sideways. Wainman continued his course, hammering into Rob Cowley for his place as Newson thumped Chris Brocksopp 338 out into the just ahead Harris 84. Brocksopp thumped into the armco with flames belching boisterously from his pipes with the yellows being shown as it had looked for a moment like he had caught fire.

Dutch F1 stock car driver Sjaak Kentie H179 and Tom Harris 84 tustle. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Murray Harrison 97 heads the field . Photo Colin Casserley

Murray Harrison had been fortunate not to get involved with any of the carnage and led them away from fellow blue grader Mark Woodhull. Frankie Wainman jnr was straight on top of Ryan Harrison 197 who was not quick out of the blocks with Wainman putting the bumper in as Tom Harris 84 was forced to pull of with his sustained damage. Johnson was on Woodhull’s rear, but he was making Johnson work hard for the position as Lund and Finnikin found the fence putting them out of the race. Dan Johnson thumped Woodhull wide but the delay meant he was unable to reel in the quick blue grader Murray Harrison 97 before the chequered flag fell.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Murray Harrison 97 on his way to another final win. Photo Colin Casserley

Murray Harrison 97 took up his position in front of the lower graders for the start of the Grand National with Frankie Wainman jnr giving rival Stu Smith jnr 390 a push start. Rob Tunnah 505 snapped into the lead with Neil Shenton 35 being the first yellow top to break free and set about reeling in the white top. The shootout drivers were on their mettle with Dan Johnson getting behind Ron Verkerk H172 who was up on top of Matt Newson.

Dutch F1 stock car driver Ron Verkerk H172. Photo Ron Verkerk

Newson then lamped Ryan Harrison with Frankie Wainman thumping Newson letting Johnson break free. Newson got straight back into Wainman as the fast and furious conflict continued. Sjaak Kentie H179 found the fence at the pitgate end and was soon joined there by Josh Smith 191.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Josh Smith 191 joins Sjaak Kentie H179 in the fence. Photo Colin Casserley

Dutch F1 stock car driver Sjaak Kentie H179 finds the fence. Photo Colin Casserley

Cars were pulling to the infield at a rate of knots including Dan Johnson and Ryan Harrison with the yellows being shown for Mark Woodhull 335 who was sideways on under the starter’s rostrum after getting out of shape in the melee.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Paul Harrison 2 tangles with Mark Woodhull 335. Photo Paul Tully

Wainman jnr was the closest shootout driver to the front and at the green and he got straight into Ian Noden 306 with aggressive purpose. Noden came to grief alongside Ron Verkerk H172 with Verkerk being left stranded. The duelling Tom Harris 84 and Stu Smith jnr 390 tangled heavily with Harris going sideways as they crashed out of the race.

Wainman continued charging to the front of the field and set about relentlessly reeling in leader Neil Shenton claiming the lead for himself. Newson pushed by Chris Bonner 105 to maneuver himself up into third place but was unable to reel in second placed Shenton and Wainman jnr who was on a mission taking the flag with ease. As Wainman roared round on the roll down lap, he cheekily went out wide giving his stationary shootout competitors Tom Harris 84 and Stu Smith jnr 390 a mischievous spray of loose shale to show them who exactly was in charge.

Ailsa Haigh

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