King’s Lynn, 22nd September 2018 – Meeting Report and Photos

After a couple of expensive weekends spectator numbers were understandably down for Shoot Out round 2, sponsored by Progress Windows, Roofline & Conservatories Ltd, a shame because the combination of F1, 2L saloons and their 1300 counterparts produced some good, close racing on the Saddlebow Road shale.

Frankie Wainman Junior, series leader, had a night to forget whereas a driver from the other end of the spectrum, Jake Harrhy, had an evening he will always remember. Starting off the front for the first time in the 16 car white, yellow and Dutch opener Harrhy (345) led until 3 to run when a little over-exuberance allowed Richard Woods (268) to sneak up the inside with Russell Cooper (415) in third, waiting for them to trip over each other. Into the final bend Jake went for the hit, pushed the 268 car wide but got out of sorts coming off turn four, allowing Woods and Cooper to close up with the first three crossing the line in a crazy finish, not one of them pointing in the right direction! Jake just got the verdict – his first ever F1 win.

Jake Harrhy taking his first ever F1 win…

Twenty-five for heat one with Karl Hawkins (175) using the 212 shale car while Danny Wainman was in his tarmac car, which he used to good effect all evening. Jake Harrhy again led as visitor Arjan Ligthart (H112) spun on turn three while Colin Nairn (280) clobbered the fence, spun and then spun again onto the infield. FWJ (515) was spun by Danny Wainman as Harrhy pulled out a half-lap lead with Bobby Griffin (166) second. Frankie JJ (555) expired in a cloud of steam and smoke on turn 4, never to re-appear but although Griffin closed a little the 345 car had a clear track ahead and would not be beaten, Jake taking the chequered flag with a fist out of the cab, tapping the wing Wainman-style.

…and his second (Photo: Mick Jenkins)

Twenty-four for heat two and the wheel fell off the series leader’s challenge on lap one, quite literally as the outside rear parted company with the 515 car entering the first bend. No doubt words were said back in the pits but even top-line NASCAR crews make this sort of mistake now and again. The restart saw Tom Harris (84) soon up to second, driving around the outside of leader Geoff Nicholls (215) before disappearing into the distance while Stuart Smith (390) hit novice driver Peter Nee (90) very hard into the road turn. Nee did well to maintain control but the 390 car began to smoke badly over the remaining laps, Mat Newson (16) nudging the gold top wide on the last bend for fourth behind Harrison (197), Bobby G coming home second again but, to complete the USA analogy, in a different zip code to the 84 car.

The caution lights stayed on for a couple of laps after the green flag in heat three which may have caused leader Harrhy to hesitate a bit entering turn three. No yellow flags so he pressed on, a bit too hard as it turns out, clobbering the pit bend fence and breaking a panhard rod. Despite the sparks and damage he struggled on in the lead until Woods passed, chased by Lighart and Ed Neachell (321). Harris dived inside 345 and 321, taking the lead soon after to notch up another win, half a lap ahead of second-placed Lee Fairhurst (217).

Harris racking up the Shootout points in the heats

No fairy tale ending for Jake in the 26 car final, the 345 car pulling off at the start with a distinct lack of forward drive. No such problems for Harris who was up to fourth in as many laps chasing down leader Joe Nicholls (242). FWJ was battling with Fairhurst as Harris passed a back-marking Harrison (197), then Wainman (515) retired with a flat front tyre.

The European Champion scorched around the track as Newson (16), Hines (259) and Nicholls (215) pulled off before the union flag, Smith forcing the other Nicholls (242) into the fence to go second. Smith closed on the 84 car as Harris’s rear tyres started to protest at the treatment they were getting but he was just not close enough to mount a challenge. Smith said afterwards that another couple of laps might just have been enough for him to repay Harris for the damage caused to his car in the European title race! Green (445) made it to third ahead of Danny Wainman, now top of the Shoot Out standings.

Final Top 3: 1st – Tom Harris; 2nd – Stuart Smith Junior; 3rd – Nigel Green

The newly watered track suited some more than others in the grand national, Neachell taking the lead with Griffin, Newson and Smith hunting him down. Newson took over at the front, keeping the place until Smith arrived on the scene, the world champion passing Griffin three laps from the end, then knocking the 16 car wide with two to go. Newson then came under fire from Griffin as the 166 pilot went in big time on the last bend, the 16 and 166 cars crossing the line almost together.

The new World Champ took the win in the Grand National

Two seconds, a GN third and a final seventh – Bobby G should have been a Shoot Out wild card!

Danny Wainman is still at the top of the standings on 106 points, two ahead of Smith with FWJ third on 98. Harris leaps up to fourth on 90 points, 4 ahead of Newson but admitted that other obligations will stop him attending every SO round.

Finally a mention for novice driver Peter Nee driving the Farnell (32) car from the Harrison Racing stable, numbered 90 for the evening. Peter hails from Brompton-on-Swale according to the programme, not so very far from Richmond, North Yorkshire (I admit I had to look that last bit up), former home town of 1968 world champion Tony Neal. After satisfying the steward that he could handle the car in his five lap pre-meeting test, Peter raced in two heats and the GN and got better and quicker each time out. As far as I can recall he handed the car back virtually undamaged, no mean feat around King’s Lynn. No points scored but an excellent performance nevertheless.

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley, unless stated

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