Coventry – September 3rd 2011 Meeting Report

Moody skies predicted rain but the weather stayed fine and warm for Shootout round 2, the week before the BriSCA World Final which Mike Close 199 won exactly thirty four years ago today. Shootout debutants Lee Fairhurst 217 was out for his third shale meeting in his new car and Ryan Harrison 197 was present for his 100th race meeting since debuting in 2007.

Of the shootout drivers only Mick Sworder 150 was absent but there was a reappearance for the most southernly based driver, Bill Aldred 128 who was having another 2011 go on the loose stuff in a Matt Newson 16 hire car. James Waters 67 completed his five laps pre-meeting looking very composed, while the Dan Johnson team watched on.

BriSCA F1 stock car white grades, ready for the Coventry White and Yellows race. Photo Colin Casserley

The whites and yellows were first out on track with another full field of thirty cars with New Zealand World 240s superstock champion Peter Rees NZ3 also taking part. James Waters 67 started at the rear of the field with Rob Tunnah 505 leading the field away from Luke Dennis 192 last month’s winner. As per the norm, F1s flew in all directions with Barry Heath 343 clattering into turn two entangled with Colin Nairn 280. Nigel Whalley 198 stuck his bumper into Tim Farrell 467, almost taking Les Spencer’s 98 position from him at the same time. Ian Noden 306 was vying for position with John Weldon down the backstraight with the yellows soon being shown to clear the track. Tunnah led them away at the green with third placed Mike Williamson 111 in the ex-Ricky Wilson 502 car giving Mark Poole 276 a shove.

New Zealand World 240's Superstock Champion Peter Rees NZ3 . Photo Colin Casserley

Peter Rees NZ3 thumped into Barry Heath sending Heath spinning to the infield with Rees retiring with a bent front axle, his wheel sticking up at a jaunty angle. Whalley gave James Clement 158 a punt as Coventry Whites and Yellow race specialist Geoff Nickolls 215 continued to glide forward at speed. The yellows were waved again to retrieve a stranded John Weldon 235 with Tunnah again leading them off but with Williamson and Nickolls on his rear. Les Spencer clattered Mark Poole into a spin with Poole cutting across the front of Spencer on the next lap to retire to the infield. Upfront, Tunnah was under severe pressure and on the last bend went wide with both Williamson and Nickolls lunging for the gap with all three F1 stock cars fighting for the same bit of track in their quest for the flag with Nickolls just squeezing ahead, spinning over the line as the cars charged up the homestraight.

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

Heat two soon followed with the blue and red grades making their first appearance of the night. The North Eastern-based Graeme Robson 267 led them away with Andy Smith 1 being the first shootout driver to claw his way clear of the pack. Frankie Wainman jnr 515 went in on Luke Davidson 464 with Luke’s car turning sideways and the pair sliding into the turn three armco on the first bend. Newcomer James Waters also found himself in the jumble, showing that being right at the rear of the field is not always the best place to be. The yellows soon came out for Barry Heath, stranded sideways on at the top of the homestraight. Robson again led them away with Newson at the rear messing with his goggles before the green. Yarrow punted Whalley but then had an on fire Andy Smith fire him off into Steve Smith 40 as he slid passed towards the front before the halfway mark.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Graeme Robson 267 leading the field. Photo Colin Casserley

Wainman jnr found himself at the sharp end in the latter stages as Ed Neachell 321 was turned around, cut across the track and ploughed into Wainman before revolving to the infield. Paul Hines 259 gave Newson a taste of the bumper with Luke Davidson hovering in the background and it was not long before Newson got back and thumped Davidson into Hines in return. Lower graders Nigel Whalley and Mal Brown were tearing towards the front but Smith was working hard and building up a big lead, going onto take the chequered with ease. John Lund 53 also showed signs of his brilliance, fighting to take fourth.

Heat three rolled out immediately after and was a bit sparse on numbers with many of the lower graders not being able to turn it around in time to get back out. Sole white graders Bill Aldred 128 and Steve Harrison 118 led the field away with Aldred being bumped down the order to the rear. Stu Smith jnr 390 and Ryan Harrison 197 tangled together on turns one and two with star driver Mark Gilbank 21 driving in and being forced to retire. Craig Finnikin 55 shoved Josh Smith 191 aside but had Paul Harrison 2 lurking just behind waiting for an opportunity to pounce. Murray Harrison 97 took up the running at the front with his only concern being when he ploughed into a sideways Nigel Harrhy 45. Finnikin was making furious progress towards the front only to falter near the end, slow and pull off. Stu Smith jnr ploughed into Ryan Harrison driving into his inside nerf with the pair heading out to the armco. Harrison recovered and punted Stu back as the laps rolled down. Back out for another go, Peter Rees had a good run, following Paul Harrison to come home third.

Coventry Heat winner Murray Harrison 97. Photo Colin Casserley

Three Shootout drivers had failed to qualify for the final; Tom Harris, Dan Johnson and Craig Finnikin. Rob Harrod 258 led the field until overcome by Graham Wagstaff 330 with the yellows coming out for a stationary James Waters on the inside of turn four. Wagstaff took the green with Finnikin pushing Harrhy aside. Dan Johnson thumped into the flying Finn sending him out to meet Garry Fox 48. The yellows were shown once more for Luke Dennis 192, stranded at the top of the backstraight in the fence. Dan Johnson was clamouring to get to the front and reiterated to Finnikin that he wanted by, sending him out into a sideways Lee Warner 290. Tom Harris 84 was also putting down his claim for the chequered flag, bumpering Ed Neachell 321 aside to take the lead. Johnson was making fast progress but was unable to close down Tom Harris before the flag fell. Of the shootout drivers, only Finnikin failed to qualify as he had kept going but had slowed his pace dramatically, suffering again from gearbox troubles.

As the lights dimmed the F1s came out for their feature final event. Graeme Robson led them away from the front as fellow pole sitter Rob Tunnah span out. Of the shootout drivers Luke Davidson 464 was slow away as Barry Heath once more took a trip to the armco, taking Steve Harrison along with him for the ride. Up on the pitgate turn Joe Booth 446 smacked Will Yarrow into Paul Hines with Stu Smith jnr ploughing in and spinning out. Matt Newson found himself pushed out wide as Mike Williamson 111 span in the confusion on turn one but luckily was avoided as the following field fired into the bend. Andy Smith was already heading to the front at a blistering pace, working hard on the wheel. Premier Sports Camera man Richard Bryan and Mike Williamson were vying for position, bumping into each other while Paul Harrison gave Dan Squire a taste of steel. The shootout stakeholders continued their battle with Dan Johnson going neck and neck up the homestraight with Ryan Harrison, and as they entered turn one Steve Harrison gave Dan a thump for his troubles. Having dropped behind, Harrison laid into Johnson at the next nearest opportunity. Upfront Andy Smith in a storming drive to the front, got the better of leader Murray Harrison and set off creating space between himself and his main competition, the shootout drivers. Further back, Frankie Wainman jnr was trying to stick like glue to Tom Harris.

Yellow flags bunched the field up with Andy Smith heading the field with lap down brother Stu between him and Murray Harrison. The infield was completely littered with the F1 stock cars that had fallen by the wayside. John Lund found himself at the sharp end of Matt Newson’s bumper sending him out into a spinning Williamson with Newson renewing his attack with the help of Paul Harrison. Ryan Harrison nudged father Murray aside for his place with the remaining field all charging Hell for leather to the front. Andy Smith kept ahead neatly avoiding the stranded Danny Wainman 212 with the unsighted field clattering in, scrambling over the infield to get back in the race. Smith took the flag in a brutal action packed final with Tom Harris flying out of the dusty melee but being unable to make last bend contact with second placed Dan Johnson.

Coventry Heat and Final winner Andy Smith 1. Photo Colin Casserley

Another full field came out for the last race of the night, the GN. Danny Wainman 212 failed to get away so a flurry of yellow flags soon metamorphised into red flags and a complete restart. At the green chaos reigned with Ed Neachell going sideways with Scott Davids and Dan Squire thumping in. Shootout rivals Matt Newson and Ryan Harrison ploughed in while Andy Smith was bearing down on Tom Harris. Lower grader Richard Bryan recipient of the Premier sport cam, came to a grinding halt on the edge of turn four when his driveshaft gave way. Cars dived to either side with Tom Harris lamping Paul Harrison before the yellows were shown to remove Bryan to safety.

BriSCA F1 Coventry GN winner Mark Poole 276. Photo Colin Casserley

Mark Poole 276 led them away at the green as the F1 stock cars thundered round the raceway coming out of the turns three wide. Frankie Wainmann jnr and Stu Smith jnr vyed for position while Dan Johnson dealt with Chris Brocksopp 338 . A cheer rose when Harris sent Andy Smith spinning out but Smith quickly got going again to earn his five bonus points while a jubilant Mark Poole held on to take the chequered flag.

Ailsa Haigh

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