Hednesford – April 22nd 2012 Meeting Report

Nearly thirty cars turned out for the second part of the Incarace WCQR double header including a car not present at Birmingham the night before, Adam Slater 214. Adam is effectively ‘living the dream’ while he can, racing at all the tracks he has not raced at, but a trip to Holland is not on the cards this year as team funds will not stretch to a steel fuel tank.

There was an appearance for Mark Gilbank 21, a fixture he seems to like as the Hednesford WCQR was one of the few world qualifiers he competed in last season. Team Fairhurst had sorted out their electrical problems and Lee was in the ex-Wes Goodwin machine while father Derek was back in the racing seat of the car damaged at NIR last season.

Derek Fairhurst 218 back in the driving seat. Photo Colin Casserley

Marcus Collins 427 was back in the Newson shale car and Paul Redfern 252 in the old Colin Goodswen 372 machine. Pre-meeting the rain came and the track was distinctly wet and slippy for the start of the meeting. An all in format was the order of the day and heat one drew all twenty eight cars.

Redfern led the field away as Mick Sworder 150 stormed into the first turn nearly fencing himself in the process, as last night’s Final winner Lee Fairhurst tasked Stu Smith jnr 390 for his place. As the cars piled into the bend Mark Gilbank lost his outside rear tyre, bringing his return trackside to an early end. Colin Goodswen 372 charged to the front and with a bit of clean air set about extending the gap between him and the rest of the field. Lee Fairhurst was neck and neck wih Smith jnr but Smith kept ahead. Tom Harris 84 was firing on all cyclinders and got stuck into Fairhurst, sending him out wide as Frankie Wainman jnr repeated the action with Lee sliding further back down the order.

Craig Finnikin 55 in action. Photo Colin Casserley

Harris was off like a shot, flying towards the yellow graders who were upfront, smoothly taking first Paul Carter’s 300 position before moving succinctly on to tackle Steve Reedman 361. Goodswen had built up an impressive lead from yellow and Harris was unable to get near him in the time left, leaving Goodswen to take the flag and the victory unimpeded. Wainman jnr was the next superstar home in fifth, speeding over the line just ahead of World Champion Paul Harrison 2.

Frankie Wainman jnr 515 and Paul Harrison 2 side by side. Photo Colin Casserley

Heat two soon followed and as the cars filtered on to track the heaven’s opened and it threw it down. Mat Newson 16 quickly left the track to change tyres but Steve Reedman 361 and Mick Sworder 150 were denied the opportunity and had to race with what they had. Hire car drivers Paul Redfern 252 and Marcus Collins wisely pulled to the infield before the race commenced as the rain continued to get heavier.

The first driver to encounter trouble was Craig Utley 484 who span into the armco at the green as the rest of the field felt their way round as gingerly as they could when in charge of a powerful steel beast. Luke Davidson 464 looked to be coping well, sticking the bumper into Neil Scriven as his brother Michael 12 was jostled down the order of star drivers. The wet didn’t appear to be impacting on 84’s driving style as once again he was off up the order with Stu Smith jnr. Goodswen was once more out at the head of the field as the yellows came out for Steve Reedman 361 who had clattered the turn one armco.

Tom Harris 84 alongside Stu Smith jnr 390. Photo Colin Casserley

The ensuing delay probably took longer to resolve than if Reedman had been allowed off track to change his tyres in the first place. Whatever lead Goodswen had was wiped out as he had Carter, Smith jnr and Harris breathing down his neck for the restart. Smith got straight into Carter as Scott Davids 462 got into Fairhurst with more care while Smith jnr reeled in Goodswen to claim the lead for himself. Harris was just behind as the yellows were waved once more for Daniel Wainman 212 who had spun out and been collected by Paul Harrison.

Wainman jnr was now on top of Goodswen to claim third while Harris pressured Smith but Smith had the extra pull off the bends from the outside to stay ahead until Harris inadvertently nudged him with his outside rear to claim the lead for himself. He was momentarily held up by the lap down Utley but it was not enough to allow Smith to get close enough for a hit. Frankie Wainman jnr was closing hard and was getting ever closer to second placed Smith as the laps rolled down. Wainman jnr went in for a last bend lunge, missing, sliding out towards the armco but showing remarkable car control to flit round and hold onto third place.

Stu Smith jnr 390 keeps ahead of Frankie Wainman jnr 515. Photo Colin Casserley

Twenty one cars contested the All in Final and a dry line had started to appear so a frantically paced affair began with the reds furiously tearing into action wih Luke Davidson 464 tangling and retiring and Tom Harris 84 spinning out of contention with Mick Sworder retiring to the infield not long after.

Star graders tear into action at the start of the final. Photo Colin Casserley

Yellow graders Carter and Goodswen vyed for the lead with Goodswen coming out on top flying ahead as solo white grader Gareth O’ Beirne 412 dropped out wide and down the order. Towards the rear Stu Smith jnr looked to be on a mission, giving Lee Fairhurst a punt to temporarily take his place in the field whie John Lund 53 shoved Derek Fairhurst 218 out into Wainman jnr. Frankie Wainman jnr clattered Craig Utley wide with Harrison sticking with Wainman thumping Utley aside for himself before moving on to take Wainman’s place from him. Lee Fairhurst was climbing up the order, steadily persued by Smith jnr all the way with Daniel Wainman in fourth until taking in another spin on turn one.

Lee Fairhurst 217 on his way to two finals in two days. Photo Colin Casserley

Scott Davids 462 and Craig Utley 484 were trading blows with each other whilst Michael Scriven and Craig Finnikin 55 jostled for position. Out at the head of the field Lee gave Goodswen a shove for the lead and was soon to lapped traffic in the shape of Mark Gilbank who usually excels at Hednesford. Stu Smith jnr gave Paul Carter a slap with Carter clipping the armco. As the laps ran out Michael Scriven took his opportunity to relegate Utley further down the order and Finnikin got the better of Davids who had a puncture and trundled round the outside coming to a halt on turn three in sight of the flag as Smith jnr punted Goodswen wide with Goodswen skilfully avoiding the stationary Davids machine and coming home in fourth behind Paul Harrison.

Paul Harrison 2 overhauls Colin Goodswen 372 while Scott Davids 462 coasts round the outside. Phoot Colin Casserley

The last race of the day, the Grand National saw twentyone cars take to the track as storm clouds loomed with a reappearance for Josh Smith 191 and Dave Riley 422 with Paul Harrison taking an f2 push start to get going. At the green Gareth O’Bierne failed to get away with Paul Redfern taking up the mantle out front until surpassed by Colin Goodswen. The reds jostled amongst themselves as Paul Carter found himself on the receiving end from Neil Scriven 11. Tom Harris was once more on a charge, catching Stu Smith jnr, sending him wide. It was not long before Harris had reeled in Goodswen claiming the lead once more while Smith jnr made his way to second and was being doggedly persued by Wainman jnr.

Smith knew Wainman was after his place and just went in a litle wider so when Wainman went in on the last bend he was a little too far away too make contact so had to settle for third. Lee Fairhurst had used his bumper to good effect to try and fight his way into a double points scoring position but he was just outside the top ten at the end but all in all a successful weekend for his world qualifying point campaign. Two finals in two days with two different cars is quite a feat.

Colin Goodswen 372 had some good results. Photo Colin Casserley

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