Ipswich, 16th September 2017 – Meeting Report and Photos

First race on the card was the Semi-Final Consolation, doubling as Heat One with 16 drivers hoping to make it onto the back of the grid for the World Final and with Neil Scriven (11) on pole position the result was never really in doubt.  Let’s be generous and say the lead cars “anticipated” the start which seemed to set the standard for the evening. Michael Steward (512) gave the big heave-ho to Sarge (326), Carter (300) and Armstrong (455) early on to take third behind Colin Goodswen (372) but Scriven stayed well clear of any problems to take the flag from Luke Davidson (464), getting to grips with the Harris (84) car. Davidson just escaped a last bender from Goodswen who missed and finished in the wall.

Twenty-nine for Heat Two with Netherlands drivers Pascal Spigt (H6), Gert Elzinga (H393) and Pieter van der Iest (H226) sampling the Ipswich tarmac. Another slightly dodgy start saw Aaron Leach (70) take the second flag to flag victory of the night in a high speed if incident free race. Harry Steward (126), again using the loaned Todd Jones (186) car came home a strong second ahead of Neil Hooper (545).

Pascal Spigt (H6) in Heat 2

The World Final (see separate report) followed with yet another flag to flag victory – congratulations Nigel Green, 2017 World Champion.

Two consolation races were programmed but in the event only one took place, with 35 cars on track. Shane Geary (478) and Rich Howarth (495) led them away, Chris Cooke (460) taking to the air down the back straight and collecting Sam Jacklin (137). Ben Hurdman (207) planted a big hit on Paul Harrison (2) just before the caution flags flew. At the restart, Harrison potted Frankie JJ (555) into Hurdman as Scriven (11) hit the front on his way to the flag. Nigel Harrhy (45) made it up to second before his outside rear tyre blew (as in heat one) but no-one was going to catch Scriven who chalked up his second win of the evening, with Drew Lammas (543) an excellent second and Daz Kitson (532) third.

Rich Howarth took sixth place in the consolation event

A whopping 37 cars for the Harry Smith Memorial Trophy final with Leach and Howarth leading the pack away. Once again the starter played no part in deciding when to start the race, the front runners taking off at the end of the back straight for a fast and furious opening lap. Steward (512) came close to rolling on the back stretch in a tangle with Michael Scriven (12) and Kitson, the track becoming a bit of a dustbowl. Jan Kuin (H699) had a go at outgoing champion Wainman as Leach led but fastest car on track seemed to be Davidson, first red through in around seventh place.

A caution around lap 8 for Lammas on turn four saw Leach again going long before the green flag, but he was soon passed by a flying Harry Steward. Another caution, this one for Hooper, saw the most blatant jump start yet when racing resumed. Steward took off two-thirds of the way down the back straight, eclipsing even Scott David’s attempt at the Euro weekend! The youngster was certainly flying around the track, as was the 464/84 car, up to fourth chased by Fairhurst (217), Smith and Kroonder (H217).

Davidson went second then slowed dramatically, coasting around turns three and four, putting Smith into third, then second as he disposed of Scriven hard into the fence. Kroonder made third by the flag ahead of FWJ but there was no way Steward could be allowed to get away with that restart. The meeting steward thought likewise and docked 126 two places, elevating Smith to first and Kroonder second. Harry was clearly unhappy with the decision but hopefully took some solace from Stuart Smith’s encouraging comments about him after the race.

Harry Steward missed out on a final win, after being docked for jumping the restart.

The 31 car Grand National, for the Ben Turner Memorial trophy, probably had the best-observed rolling lap all night but this time the starter or steward decided it wasn’t good enough and a complete restart was ordered. After being denied the chance to win this trophy at Coventry in the 2016 WF meeting (because he won the gold and had to retire) Frankie Wainman Junior went all out to claim it this year.

Kelvin Hassell (13) – it’s world final night so no deliberate typing errors Kelvin – led the dusty opening laps until a caution was called to remove Pascal Spigt and Chris Fort (3) from precarious positions on track. Leach took the lead on the restart chased by Hawkins (175) and Fairhurst (217) with FWJ up to fourth. Fairhurst took the lead with Wainman in hot pursuit but it looked as though the Bolton man had just enough of a gap to stay clear of the 515 bumper.

Over the last five laps Frankie turned up the wick and closed on the 217. Starting the last lap he forced Fairhurst wide to take the lead but Lee wasn’t out of it yet. On the final bend he slammed into the back of Junior’s car, sending him wide and squeezing up the inside, only to find himself trapped behind a lap down 555 who had taken a tighter inside line and passed them both. Fairhurst pushed, Junior bounced and scraped down the fence and victory, by a matter of inches, went to the man from Silsden, a most fitting and emotional end to World Final night 2017.

Problems for 126, 512 and 555 in the last race of the night

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Ant Jenkins

 

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