Hednesford, 17th April 2016 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

After the previous night’s meeting at Birmingham, the following day saw the F1s tackle the fast and furious disused reservoir bowl that is the Hednesford Raceway.

A healthy 42 cars turned up for the meeting, which is quite an improvement over the last couple of years where numbers have been in the 30(ish) figure, showing again a resurgence in the tar racing scene. As a World Qualifier, valuable points were up for grabs. A two heat and consolation format was chosen for the meeting.

Heat One gridded 20 cars, including the 56 car of Graham Moulds starting at the back. Before the green itself 401 Steve Webster was pushed to the infield with mechanical gremlins. The early flyer was the now-familiar 28 car of Thomas Boyer (starting from white), who got an early, healthy lead but it was the 55 car of Craig Finnikin that was on the pace, making rapid progress from the back of the grid.

Scott Davids retired to the centre and the yellows were out for the 24 Mark Adkins car that had come to a halt on turns 1/2 after smoking badly up to that point in the race. At the restart, it was Boyer from 501 George Elwell, followed by Finnikin and 12 Michael Scriven with Frankie Wainman behind. Finnikin soon hit the front and held the lead till the chequered; from Scriven and Wainman. Unfortunately the 55 car failed the post-race weigh in and Scriven was awarded the win

Results: 12 515 212 390 2 186 518 220 446 28 – all ten to the Final.

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Danny Wainman and Tom Boyer in Heat 1

Heat 2 gridded slightly more cars at 23, including 14 Roger Bromiley in the Ryan Harrison car which was raced by Ryan the previous night. The race was yellowed on Lap 1 for the 19 car of Jonathan Horne, that had come to a standstill on the inside corner of turn 3. The car got going again but led to a complete re-grid for the start.

Tom Harris renewed his acquaintance with Rob Speak; tapping the 318 car into the 401 Steve Webster car on turn 3 but it was Nigel Green that was making the pace in the wide and low 445 car. He was in second at halfway, from 196 Murray Jones who had a good lead at the front. Green took until 3 to go to overhaul the 196 car, with 464 Luke Davidson doing the same a lap later to finish second.

A good win for Nigel Green – also breaking the F1 lap record at 60.86 mph average, which makes one wonder just what speed the F1s are hitting down the straights at the Hednesford!

Results: 445 464 196 84 14 25 217 318 202 36 – all ten to final.

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Nigel Green and Luke Davidson finished first and second in Heat 2.

The Consolation had 18 cars taking place and hoping to qualify, including Mat Newson and the disqualified Heat 1 winner Craig Finnikin. It was again a fast and furious race and at halfway it was 372 Colin Goodswen from 70 Aaron Leach in second and Finnikin in third.

Finnikin was again on a charge but took till the 3 lap board before he could overtake Goodswen for the lead, which he held to the end. There was a tangle between 231 Daniel van Spijker and 16 Mat Newson just after the chequered but both were avoiding the 460 Chris Cooke car that had gone into the turn 1 fence very hard just before the finish.

Results: 55 372 231 16 422 45 70 300 555 183 166 249 – all 12 to final.

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Daniel van Spijker and Colin Goodswen in the Consolation.

The Final had a full grid of the 32 qualifiers and turned out to be a race to remember, with the outcome causing an almost meltdown on the Stock Car Facebook and forum pages for quite a few days. Out of the total grid of cars, 13 were yellow tops and it turned out to be a race of the yellow graders.

By lap 2 45 Nigel Harrhy had hit the front. He was in the lead with 518 Stuart Shevill, 14 Roger Bromiley and 196 Murray Jones in the mix and all exchanging blows. Shevill got past the Harrhy car on lap 6 and held the lead until lap 10 when Harrhy again hit the front, with the very quick 197 car piloted by Bromiley in second.

Further back, the 55 Finnikin car was again flying through the pack and amongst the star men. Rob Speak, Frankie Wainman and Tom Harris were exchanging blows for about 4 or 5 laps before the Harris car got clear.
The big question was would Nigel Harrhy hold onto the lead? Nigel’s had his fair share of atrocious luck at Hednesford in the past but was looking very on the pace and dialled in on the track; with the Bromiley car not really gaining. Could he do it and get his first final win?

With the laps reeling off, the car of Michael Scriven was gaining and got past Bromiley with 2 to go and was reeling in on the 45 car. Going down the back straight on the last lap the Scriven car went for an almighty lunge into turn 3 but missed the 45 car by feet; Harrhy holding on for the win to rapturous applause from the crowd followed by some tyre burning donuts to finish off. The parade lap was akin to the response normally associated with a World Final victory (or John Lund victory for that matter) with the crowd showing their appreciation to the sport’s very own open weekly blogger.

Unfortunately all was not to be. The car – after 3 weighings – was found to be 0.3% out on the inside weight rule therefore was excluded from the win – terrible luck for Nigel. Rules are rules, but it will be a while before many will forget the 45 car coming home first at the 2016 Hednesford Final.

Results: 12 14 55 196 445 84 518 446 25 2 16.

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Although the car was a little on the light side, it is hard to deny that Nigel Harrhy drove an excellent race

The Grand National was another fast and furious race but it was the 84 car of Tom Harris that was on the pace in this one. The car and driver had looked very quick all day and picked his way through the pack of cars finally hitting the front with 3 laps to car after firing the 445 car of Nigel Green wide on turn 3 for the lead and chequered flag.

Results: 84 445 55 196 16 464 14 217 446 231 390 372.

A fine day’s racing at the yearly trip to the sunken bowl – perhaps one that Nigel Harrhy and the race fans will remember for a long time.

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The stars and superstars in the Grand National

Words: Andy Armer
Photos: Colin Casserley

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