Coventry kicked off amid rumours of closure with a parade lap for Tom Harris 84 proudly displaying the Dutch Gold Cup he won at Venray. The Gold Cup was last won by a Brit back in 2006 when Frankie Wainman jnr 515 took the title. The ex-Steve Cayzer 380 machine made an appearance in the hands of newcomer Aaron Cozens 475.
New Zealander’s Joe Faram NZ1 and Andy McCabe NZ31 took in five laps practice pre-meeting alongside newcomer John Hughes 255 in a Matt Newson 16 hire car. Harry Skoyles 541 made his Coventry debut in the temptuous Whites and Yellows which saw Garry Townsend 223 streak out into the lead with James Morris 463 second until Ben Hurdman 207 climbed all over the front of his car. Townsend held onto the victory despite a bout of yellows early on with Joe Faram NZ1 acquitting himself well, coming home fourth.
Heat 2 saw the first appearance of the night of Shootout drivers with Mick Sworder 150 teaing off ahead while Tom Harris 84 from the very rear, tore past the the other three Shootout contenders. Sam Redman 248 took charge out front but a massive turn one pile up drew the yellow flags. Redman reled the field from Craig Smith 407 but star graders were soon closing in when they yellows flew again for a stranded Steve Malkin snr 208 while Mick Sworder 150 retired to the infield. Redman’s good run came to an end, tangling with Dan Johnson 4 as the other Shootout drivers piled in with Ryan Harrison 197 going on to take the win.
Heat 3 saw a fast and furious start with Richard Bryan 238 taking a commanding lead while Craig Finnikin 55 and Frankie Wainman jnr 515 got stuck in to each other at the rear of the field sending Mark Gilbank 21 out into the fence straight away. Matt Newson 16 and Ed Neachell 321 found it tough at the top too, coming to grief early on with neither completing more than a couple of laps. Finnikin found himself getting the better of Frankie Wainman jnr and went absolutely flying towards the front. Despite two potential yellow flag situations in the latter stages which could have changed the race outcome if the race had been halted, Finnikin went on to take the lead from Bryan who had succumbed to mechanical gremlins, being forced to pull off after having built up an unreachable lead. Wainman jnr and Paul Harrison 2 had a great battle for second with Wainman jnr getting the better of the 2011 World Champion.
Consolation time, and Rob Harrad 258 and Richard Bryan 238 duked it out for the lead in the early stages but the start graders were hot on their heels with Scott Davids 462 making another impressive run for the lead. Yellows were called for to retrieve New Zealander Andy McCabe NZ31. Scott Davids 462 tore off at the restart with Mick Sworder 150 quickly making his way into the runner up slot. John Lund 53, Rickard Bryan 238, Matt Newson 16 and Ed Neachell 321 fighting it out in the latter stages for position with the four tearing into the last bend together, with Ed Neachell coming out on top. Scott Davids took the well deserved victory, with Sworder and Davids having a little bit of ‘afters’ after the flag.
A frenetic start to the final saw the yellows fly immediately after Michael Scriven 12 span to the infield courtesy of Craig Finnikin 55 with Geoff Nickolls 215 and Mark Gilbank 21 tangling on the back straight sending Ryan Harrison 197 spinning to the infield. Craig Smith 407 led the field away with Mick Sworder 150 charging up the order and thumping Geoff Nickolls out to the fence while James Morris 463 comandeered the lead. A stranded Garry Townsend 223 drew the yelow flags with Morris tearing off while Finnikin and Sworder fought over third place behind Mick Rogers 244. The yellows waved again, this time for Craig Smith 407 who was positioned precariously on the homestraight. Morris dutifully reled the field away but had Finnikin and Sworder on his tail.
In the charge for the flag, Morris found himself behind Sworder and in the press of cars, Sworder found himself turned around, much to the crowd’s delight. The good run Morris hd been having came to a sharp end when he tangled with Mark Woodhull 335 and found himself riding up Woodhull’s bonnet dropping him sharply down the order. Finnikin got out into the clear air and showed his competitors a clean pair of heels, charging off to take his third Coventry final victory in as many months being followed home by impressive drives from Dan Johnson 4 and John Lund 53.
The Grand National saw Ben Hurdman 207 take up the running until Ryan Harrison 197 comandeered the lead for himself, following yellows for the fenced Neil Holcroft 496. Mick Sworder 150 had made his way into second but had John Lund 53 once more tailing his every move. It appeared that Sworder was doing his best to reel in the leader but Lund was about to make a move of his own. Going into turn three Lund squared up behind Sworder with Lund neatly planting him head on into the fence. A move that Sworder unusually had no reply too, as he skirted the armco and retired to the infield leaving Ryan Harrison to take the last victory of the night.