Kings Lynn, 21st September 2013 meeting report

Winner of the Harry Smith Memorial Trophy Mat Newson, with runner-up Mark Gilbank, and meeting sponsor Jim McGuigan of Firow Municipal Vehicle Hire.

Winner of the Harry Smith Memorial Trophy Mat Newson, with runner-up Mark Gilbank, and meeting sponsor Jim McGuigan of Firow Municipal Vehicle Hire.

The King’s Lynn pits were filled to capacity for the World Final meeting, and of the 90 F1s present, it was local boy Mat Newson that offered a stellar performance take the meeting final, and with it the prestigious Harry Smith Memorial Trophy. In front of a packed stadium, Newson then put in another sublime drive to place second in the Grand National from the lap handicap, being denied victory by outgoing champion Lee Fairhurst in his last race with the gold roof.

World Finalists in the parc ferme before the meeting.

World Finalists in the parc ferme before the meeting.

The first heat was the World Championship Consolation Semi-Final, which saw Mark Poole and Will Yarrow claim the final two places on the World Final grid. See separate story.

An impressive 32 cars, including 16 Dutch visitors, lined up for Heat 2. Tim Warwick (307) took the early lead from Colin Eardley (58) and Paul Redfern (252). An early caution was thrown for Redfern, who lost it on the back straight and was collected by the luckless Nigel Harrhy (45), while John Frost (351), not to be outdone, spun off on the home straight.

Heat 2 lines up, with the big screen in the background.

Heat 2 lines up, with the big screen in the background.

As Colin Eardley led the field around for the restart, Colin Nairn (280) pulled off and, after a second lap, Graham Wagstaff (330) had claimed the lead from 58 and James Morris (463).

Gosse Hoekstra (H44) and Robert Jan Schutter (H832), who were the highest placed Dutch competitors at the restart, tangled at the pit bend, allowing the leaders to get away from the rest of the pack. It wasn’t long before a second caution was called for, as Danny Van Spijker (H231) and Rene de Groot (H646) collided and ended up in the wall between Turns 3 and 4.

More track watering took place followed by two more rolling laps before the race resumed; with Wagstaff fending off Morris’s advances.

Danny Van Wamelen (H47) was closing on the leaders fast and after passing a troublesome Tony Smith (91), landed a big hit on Eardley to take third spot. Wagstaff lost out to Morris, tried a retaliatory strike on the 463 nerf bar but half spun, handing second place to Van Wamelen.

Despite a last lap spin for Tony Smith, James Morris made it safely to the chequered flag, taking the win.

Frits van Dis goes wide, with Pablo Brandenburg and Wendy Koopmans for company.

Frits van Dis goes wide, with Pablo Brandenburg and Wendy Koopmans for company.

Heat 3 was the World Championship Final, and the biggest prize in F1 stock car racing went to Tom Harris. See separate story.

The first of two Consolation races saw George Heppenstall the early leader, with Neil Holcroft briefly taking over when Heppenstall span out and was clattered by Sjaak Kentie (H179).

Harmen Zwerver (H195) and Nigel Harry (45) were both passed Holcroft within a lap, but just as Zwerver was starting to pull away, the waved yellows came out for Durk Griedanus (H29), who had been slammed into the plating by Steve Pribicevich (NZ15) in a New Zealand style manoeuvre.

It was Zwerver, Harrhy, and Holcroft at the front for the restart, but the 496 car dropped down the order after the green, with Mark Gilbank making the most progress through the field; the 21 car passing Harrhy for second as the lap boards appeared.

Zwerver looked to have it all sewn up as he took the last lap board, until Scott Davids and Nigel Whalley got hooked up entering turn four and went very heavily into the fence. Whalley reversed out just as Zwerver arrived, and clipped the rear of the H195 car.

Zwerver was off line and had damage to the driveline, and Gilbank, sensing he could snatch victory, dived for the inside of the now slower moving Dutch car. But Zwerver hadn’t come this far to lose out now, and blocked Gilbank’s line.

With a shower of sparks coming from the back of the H195 car, Zwerver took the narrowest of wins from Gilbank, literally inches behind him.

Ed Neachell gets cosy with Jessy de Bruyn.

Ed Neachell gets cosy with Jessy de Bruyn.

The second Consolation race had John Frost (351) lead early on, with Pablo Brandenburg in hot pursuit. But it all went wrong when the Dutchman span himself in the turn, and the H51 car was collected by a large portion of the field.

A fast moving Lee Robinson caught Frost, and nudged 351 into the pile-up to take the lead. Waved yellows to clear the track, although by the time the cars had come to a stop, the track was clear anyway.

Phil Ogle was behind Robinson when the race resumed, while further back Dan Johnson made a blinding start and passed a whole load of cars the very instant that the green dropped.

Robinson was taking fast, wide lines around the bends, and on a couple of occasions, the NZ282 car drew level before 107 edged back in front. By now Ogle appeared to have the measure of Robinson, and in one well-timed move he took the lead.

Once in front, Ogle opened up a lead and wasn’t challenged. On the last lap, he found himself behind backmarker Daniel van Spijker (H231) and approaching the turn looked like he might challenge. But perhaps wisely, Ogle held his ground and took the win, taking his UK tally to two and making him the most successful Kiwi to race on these shores since Neil McCoard a decade previously.

This collision with Frankie Wainman in the Final was enough to break the front panhard rod of Wendy Koopman's car.

This collision with Frankie Wainman in the Final was enough to break the front panhard rod of Wendy Koopman’s car.

The sound of Stock Car Racing Is Magic filled the stadium as 32 cars made their way around the track on the rolling lap of the meeting final. Graham Wagstaff (330) and the only lady racer Wendy Koopmans (H36) led the field around.

Harn Van Der Veen (H484) and Ron Kroonder (H217) were one of the first casualties when they clashed in turns 3. Just at the same time as Dylan Wililams Maynard spun in turn 1. Geoff Nicholls (215) and Russell Cooper (415) were next in trouble when they collided with each other. Josh Smith (191) was fresh out of luck and was taken round in a spin by the hard pushing red grade. Henk Jan Ronitz (H240) then attacked the back of the Frankie Wainman JNR (515) machine. Matt Newson (16) was showing a blistering turn of speed and had a break over his fellow Superstar counter parts. Dan Johnson (4) was next to mount a charge and ploughed into outgoing World Champion Lee Fairhurst (1)

Wagstaff was still managing to keep first position ahead of Koopmans in second. Ronitz was again in the thick of the action and him and Mark Woodhall (335) clashed, collecting Graeme Robson (267) in the process in turn 1. The yellow flags were called for and the field bunched up. The caution period helping Newson who had worked his way up to third. Positions on the restart: 330 H36 16 306 463 388 21 H47 215 H107.

Danny van Wamelen passes Tony Smith in Heat 2.

Danny van Wamelen passes Tony Smith in Heat 2.

At the green flag Paul Ford (388) lunged at Paul carter (300) just as Danny Van Wamelen (H47) did the same to Mark Gilbank (21). James Morris (463) lost control and spun around whilst Gilbank had shook off Wamelen and attacked Ian Noden (306) into turn 3. The halfway stage was signalled with Wagstaff still leading; but was fast coming under pressure from behind.

Kroonder and Danny Wainman (212) battled in turn 3, just as Koopmans spun herself. Newson had managed to work his past Wagstaff taking over the running of the race. Wagstaff settled behind into second and Gilbank running in third. Further down the order Craig Finnikin (55) took FWJ round into a spin in turn 1 whilst Wagstaff lost control into a spin around turn 3. Rob Speak (318) was struggling to shake off the Dutch duo of Wamelen and Lee Robinson (H107) as the trio battled it out.

As the laps started to wind down, Johnson started to reel in Gilbank and he soon worked his way past the 21 machine. Robinson retired with a flat tyre after his skirmish with Speak and Wamelen. Wamelen then came up against Danny Wainman who took no prisoners and fenced the flying Dutchman.

Gilbank and Johnson continued their quarrel allowing Newson to bridge the gap even further. At the chequered flag Newson took the sizeable lead to victory with Johnson beating Gilbank over the line. Ford only just making it over the line with a flat outside rear.

James Morris under pressure from Paul Ford.

James Morris under pressure from Paul Ford.

36 cars successfully made it out for the Grand National, but Frankie Wainman Junior (515) and Jessy de Bruin (H399) appeared to just miss out, with the pit gate closing in front of them.

After his much-deserved win the meeting final, Mat Newson (16) took up his place in front of white-graders Eardley and Frost for the lap handicap. Nigel Harrhy spun early on and was collected by several other cars, including Friday night winner, Phillip Ogle (NZ282). The yellow flags were waved to allow track clearance.

Chris Clare (394) challenged 58 for the lead on the restart. Eardley held off the yellow-grader for another lap but was forced wide as Chris Clare took the racing line into Turn 1.

Just as Will Yarrow (22) looked poised to take the lead, the caution flags were waved again.

Chris Clare held the lead for another lap, until he lost momentum negotiating errant cars in the pit bend. Yarrow and Mick Sworder (150) were quick to take advantage of this. The 22 machine stormed ahead, building quite a lead over the fast-moving Sworder, with Fairhurst now up to third.

A momentary fire on the Graeme Robson car.

A momentary fire on the Graeme Robson car.

Danny Wainman (212) collided head on with the parked H646 car of Rene de Groot on the third turn, bringing out the caution and sending first aiders rushing over to the cars. Wainman was clearly hurt and had to be helped onto the centre before racing recommenced.

Sworder quickly passed Yarrow at the restart, but the Desborough man made it clear he wasn’t going to give in easily. As Sworder increased his lead, Yarrow came under pressure from the (newly) former World Champion, Lee Fairhurst (217). Fairhurst took over second place but it looked like Sworder had the Grand National win in the bag.

As the lap boards came out, Sworder began to drop back through the field rapidly; a flat rear tyre making it impossible to retain the lead. Fairhurst swooped into first place and claimed the victory, showing that although he failed to hang on to the gold roof, he was still very much one to watch.

Photos: Colin Casserley
Words: Rhosanna Jenkins, Keith Organ, Carl Hesketh

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