King’s Lynn, 18th October 2014 – meeting report and photo gallery

44 cars gathered at the Norfolk Arena on a mild and dry evening, with main interest focused on the 10 drivers at the back who were contesting Round 7 of the National series shootout, sponsored by one of the sport’s greatest benefactors, Jamie Davidson of J Davidson Scrap Metal processors.

The regular event for white and yellow graders preceded a two heat and consolation format meeting. Sixteen lower graders took part on a dry track. No doubt no lower graders never find a race to be easy, but this race was a comfortable win for PJ Lemons (444), who seems to have learned quite quickly that control is more important than speed. Lemons soon left behind the 330 of Wagstaffe and was well clear of the chasing pack when the flag came down.

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PJ Lemons took the victory in the Whites and Yellows race.

22 entries lined up for Heat One. One would have expected an even distribution of shootout drivers but Frankie Wainman Jnr (515), who was fourth in the shootout points, must have thought Christmas had come early as he was joined by those placed sixth, seventh, ninth and tenth. Wainman failed to capitalise, getting into all sorts trouble and retiring to the infield before halfway. Richard Reagan (428) led up to halfway, when a yellow flag was required for 174 Paul Poulter, who was stranded mid track on Turn 2.

On the restart Reagan had no answer to a flying Rob Speak (318), who suddenly seemed to be motivated by the thought of a Silver roof. Speak surged into the lead and despite a little bit of pressure from Danny Wainman 212 the result was never in doubt.

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Rob Speak (318) battling hard in Heat 1.

Another 22 for Heat Two, including all other major players in the shootout. This had the makings of a classic but failed to deliver, as the shootout drivers made their way through the field but then seemed to all get rather spaced out on a dry, slick track. Dan Johnson (4) was the fastest, or luckiest, of the shootout runners taking a comfortable win from shootout leader 16 Mad Dog Newson.

26 for the consolation and a little more action with most of the reds and blues piling into each other in Turn 2. This lost them lots of time but yellow flags for 135 James Bailey allowed them to catch up to the pack. PJ lemons continued his form from race 1 and, despite two more yellow flag caution periods, he retained his lead.

On the final restart, he had 515 Frankie Wainman Jnr right behind him and a little polite pressure reversed the places. 444 did attempt to punt Wainman wide but the 515 car pulled away and looked set for the win, until the penultimate lap when a flat tyre slowed the 515 car, allowing the lucky Will Yarrow (22) to slip past and take the victory.

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After more trouble for Frankie Wainman Junior, Will Yarrow (22) claimed a win in the Consolation.

Final time and 10 shootout runners were amongst the 27 cars. All were well aware that failure to finish with good points could be the end of their chances of glory at the Shootout finale at Sheffield in November. PJ Lemons once again took the lead while Speak looked considerably quicker than his fellow shootout runners. 55 Finnikin, 150 Sworder and Wainman (515) seemed determined to ruin their chances when they tangled in Turn Two.

Yellow flags came out for the 335 car of Mark Woodhull and the race suspension saw 150 Sworder retire to the infield in stark contrast to his dominant performance at the last King’s Lynn meeting, when he had overwhelmed his rivals, albeit on a track which had offered more grip especially on the outside line.

444 led the restart while 515 lost more time in a tangle with Neachell (321) and Farmer Lund (53). More drama followed on Turn 3 as Dan Johnson went for a big hit on Tom Harris (84). These two have been jousting for several weeks, with Johnson on the receiving end of Harris punishment the previous week at Skegness, but this attempt at revenge went all Pete Tong as the cars tangled and brought out more yellow flags.

Speak was fourth on the restart and, with no other shootout runners in the top 8, looked well placed to score some decisive points. With only three cars to pass, it should have been easy but leader Neil Scothern (152) in his first outing on shale for several years had not read the script and put in some remarkably quick laps. This kept Speak at bay until lap 19, when pressure from 318 saw the 152 car drift wide on turn two allowing the former plenty of room to nip through and scoop maximum points.

Speak was delighted with his victory which threw him right back into the mix in the shootout points and if he can maintain this type of form he may well have a chance of being the first driver ever to have held the silver in both F1 and F2 stock cars. Of the remaining shootout runners only Mr Consistent Mat Newson could have been satisfied with their result, the 16 car came home fourth and thus maintained its lead in the points.

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The Final top 3: Rob Speak (318), Neil Scothern (152) and Will Yarrow (22)

32 runners for the Grand National and a little bit more chaos in this race. Russell Cooper (415) led while Harris made a mess of things and lost time in Turn 3. Legend John Lund then brought out the yellows, performing a perfect feat of parallel parking on top of the 293 car of Elliot Smith.

Speak was on a charge from the lap handicap but up front Johnson and Finninkin were in charge. With both needing points, the focus was on fast laps rather than aggressive moves. Johnson took the win while Speak made it to fifth place and will have been further encouraged in his points chase seeing that both Newson and Harris finished this race retired on the infield.

Newson still retains his lead in the shootout points, but behind him the pack was well and truly shuffled; after a great night for Speak and notably poor performances from Harris and Finnikin. The shootout moves on to tarmac next weekend, with rounds at both Birmingham and Northampton. With the points being so close amongst the top six, it is hard to pick a winner. No doubt, there will be no room for error this coming weekend for any of the contenders, with those who consider tarmac to be their best surface knowing big scores are essential if they are to take a defendable advantage to the Sheffield Finale.

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Dan Johnson won the Grand National, from Finnikin and Harrison.

Words: Damian Noblett

Photos: Colin Casserley

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