King’s Lynn, 23rd September 2017 – Meeting Report and Photos

A healthy count of 45 cars booked in for the late September meeting at King’s Lynn, buoyed up by a good contingent of overseas drivers from The Netherlands: H345 Boy Tesselaar, H179 Sjaak Kentie, H295 Willem Zwerver, H410 Jelle Tesselaar and H40 Mark Tesselaar, also currently UK-registered 54 Sierd de Vries. Have I missed something or is this shale racing quite popular in Holland at the moment?

As is the case with King’s Lynn, the newly-crowned World Champion 445 Nigel Green (complete with very big happy grin) had his car parked up at the entrance area and was signing prints of the car with the new Gold Wing attached (still staying with the 445 number on the wing). A very popular feature at King’s Lynn, judging by the length of the queue and children in the queue. It doesn’t take much for the promoter to put on this type of display but it certainly makes the fans feel welcome and is a great idea for getting in the future fans to the sport.

First race up was the whites and yellows race, including the Dutch entries, and it was a flag to flag victory, with a faultless drive by white top 451 Martin Spiers. 76 Aaron Cozens came in second – Aaron was gaining on the 451 machine by the end of the race – and tinterweb fan-favourite 45 Nigel Harrhy coming home third.

Result – 451 76 45 244 H40 137 H410 74 H295 372 H345 H179.

Two of the overseas entrants – H345 Boy Tesselaar and H179 Sjaak Kentie

Heat one proper saw twenty three cars including the bottom half of the shootout drivers, with Mat Newson out in the borrowed (or is it now permanent?!) Mark Sargent car.

The early leader was 137 Sam Jacklin from 74 Mark Chadwick and Harrhy third. Newson fired the H179 car of Sjaak Kentie into the turn 3 fence hard, whilst Craig Finnikin was now the lead shootout driver but not for long as Newson side-swiped the 55 car on turns 3/4. Up front, Geoff Nickolls had gained the lead from Harrhy second and H410 Tesselaar.

Sierd de Vries had come to a halt on turns 3/4 up against the fence and this brought out the yellows. At the restart (minus the water cart as the track was still quite damp) Nickolls led off from Harrhy and H410 Tesselaar. Craig Finnikin wasted no time firing Mat Newson wide and it was not long before he had hit the front. Dan Johnson gained third after pushing Newson wide on turn two, but the Finnikin car was now well ahead and remained unchallenged, with a healthy lead at the chequered flag.

Result – 55 H410 4 16 259 169 215 422 H345 H179 74 H40 – first ten to final.

Heat 1 winner, Craig Finnikin

Heat two and twenty one cars for this one, including Frankie Wainman with ‘British’ colour schemed aerofoil fitted but I’m led to believe this is Phoebe’s V8 wing from last year, newly fitted to the 515 car. Evne so, it works well with the colour scheme on the car. Leading the cars out onto the track was Nigel Green with the WF trophy, so Lynn’s/Trackstar’s regular roving mike man Matthew Black could interview Nigel prior to the race.

Early on, Paul Harrison went in sideways on turns 1/2 with Lee Fairhurst going in behind. Nigel Green and Frankie Wainman both avoiding these two, then hooking up the front bumpers big style entertaining the crowd for a lap with smoking tyres trying to separate both cars. Stuart Smith nearly came unstuck – avoiding the 244 Mick Rogers car sideways on – but managing to squeeze past. At the other end of the track, Richard Ahern 18 had come stuck with Martin Spiers and then Aaron Cozens joining the party, leading to the yellows.
At the restart, following the bowser, it was Spiers followed by Cozens (both having gone in after the yellows were waved) from John Dowson and Joff Gibson and a lap down Nigel Green. Frankie Wainman was forced to retire to the centre.

After the flag, Dowson retired to the centre with a misfiring engine, with off Gibson soon following big style with a smoking and flame spitting engine. A chat in the pits afterwards confirming a big and very costly blown engine for the team. We hope the best and that Joff is out soon again. At halfway, it was Spiers from Cozens and a fast moving Stuart Smith and it was not long before the Smith car hit the front. A lead which he extended to the end from Spiers second and Cozens third.

It was certainly a race of attrition and, in the post-race interview, Stuart after a joking comment on the use of the water bowser summed up the feeling of many with the current loss of a major shale track by commenting – “Shale racing, that’s where it is, tarmac’s for hot rodding, if anyone is out there listening buy a shale track”.

Result – 390 451 76 335 166 212 293 244 278 220 483 2 no other finishers – all twelve to the final

The World and British champion tangle in Heat 2

Consolation time and nineteen cars made it out including Frankie Wainman, Nigel Green and Lee Fairhurst of the shooters yet to qualify. Early leader was 137 Sam Jacklin from 127 Austin Moore, meanwhile Rob Cowley and Nigel Harrhy went turn 3 fence wards but got going. Martin Chadwick 74 and 372 Colin Goodswen had hooked up on the exit of turn four and this brought out the yellow flags.

Lead cars were still Jacklin from Moore with James Morris behind. The first few laps were slippery and slide-y with the drivers taking a wide line but it was not long before Morris hit the front with Wainman in pursuit, the 515 pilot then hitting the front which he held onto till the end which on the drying track was, at the end, running at a very fast pace.

Result – 515 217 463 445 137 H401 25 2 73 415 483 nof.

A consolation win for FWJ, after tangling with Nigel Green in his heat.

Thirty cars made it out for the final (including 445 after a hasty axle repair), which, early in the race, saw a huge pile up on turns 1/2. All thought it would be one of those “it’s got to be a yellow flag” type incidents but all managed to get going, with Stuart Smith, Frankie Wainman and Craig Finnikin clearing the main melee and being the lead shooters. Wainman led these three, while Dan Johnson retired to the infield with a broken half shaft.

Paul Hopkins (278) had come to a standstill on turns 1/2 and was soon clattered into by H345 Tesselaar and H179 Kentie leading to the yellows coming out. Martin Spiers (451) led off the field behind the water bowser, from Jacklin and 335 Mark Woodhull.

Stuart Smith wasted no time bumpering the Wainman car wide on the first corner with the cars taking some very wide lines till the track dried out. Finnikin’s race ended when he retired to the centre with a flat OSR tyre. Martin Spiers was going very well but got involved with the 390/515 tussle, being squeezed up against the fence which broke something on the car – something Martin did not discover till the end of the back straight, clattering the fence very hard and doing considerable damage to the car, but he gave the thumbs up and stayed there to the end. Up front, Smith had extended his lead over Wainman and held it to the flag for victory and another points haul for the shootout series.

Result – 390 515 217 16 422 212 335 137 259 445 169 40

Another final win (and valuable Shootout points) for Stuart Smith Junior

Twenty six cars were left standing for the Grand National. Craig Finnikin was the only one of the shooters not to make  it out due to carb/electrical misfire issues. Dan Johnson continued his ‘night best forgotten’, retiring to the infield on lap two, whilst Frankie Wainman was making his race intentions clear, launching the Lee Fairhurst car fence-wards at turn 1.

Up at the front, it was Nigel Harrhy leading from Jacklin and Russell Cooper third. Frankie Wainman then fired Paul Harrison and John Wright at turns 3/4, both hooking up and not managing to separate, bringing out the yellows. At the restart it was Harrhy from Jacklin and James Morris in third – Wainman was into fifth spot already whilst Stuart Smith was now 16th out of 18 running after starting with the handicap.

Within a lap of the restart, Stuart had bashed and barged his way to eighth place but then got into a tangle with Lee Fairhurst, Danny Wainman and an upended marker tyre leading to the aerofoil bolts on the near side of the cab shearing off, the car going round with the wing hanging off the off side of the car. Before the yellows came out, the wing had removed itself via the back straight catch fencing (so the yellows then came out for a loose and battered aerofoil needing removal from the track).

Restart number two and it was still Harrhy up front from James Morris and Frankie Wainman – Lee Fairhurst, Nigel Green and Mat Newson having retired to the centre. Nigel held on for a good two or three laps but, with Wainman breathing down his neck, drifted out wide letting the 515 car through for the lead to the flag from Danny Wainman second, Harrhy coming home third having just missed an optimistic last bend bumpering from Smith in fourth spot from the lap handicap.

The final winner lost his aerofoil in the Grand National – but was still able to finish.

Another great night’s racing at Lynn with a slickly run meeting and some great post-race driver interviews done by the regular infield microphone man Matthew Black that just adds to that feel good factor at the Norfolk race track.

With Stuart Smith going away with a forty point lead in the shootout from Frankie Wainman in second spot, the question is can the Rochdale pilot be stopped? We will have to wait and see.

Words: Andy Armer
Photos: Ant Jenkins

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