King’s Lynn, 27th May 2017 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

This was just the sort of meeting to rekindle the enthusiasm for racing after the Coventry debacle – any chance the Adrian Flux Arena could be moved to leafy Warwickshire?  I’ve not been a big fan of the 1300 saloons in the past but they really stepped up to the plate (or plating) in this one, while the F1s were just superb.

A minute’s silence, led by the Hunter family, was observed in memory of the victims of the May 22 terrorist attack in Manchester before racing commenced.

A ten-lap Whites and Yellows race opened proceedings, just 14 cars but they really gave a taste of what was to come. Nigel Harrhy (45) should have won this one – he held third place behind leader Richard Woods (268) and Russell Cooper (415) until three to go when Cooper challenged for the lead, sending 268 wide. Nige went second but hooked bumpers with Woods, both cars clobbering the fence. Cooper decided he didn’t really want to win and charged a marker tyre as Harrhy and Woods clashed with each other (again) and found the fence (again). Amidst all this chaos Eliot Smith (293) found himself promoted from fifth to first in the space of one bend!

Result: 293 415 32 348 244 215 18 216 307 45 363 NOF

Yellow graders line up for the opening heat

Twenty-one for Heat One proper, with Robert Plant (364) setting the pace from France (216). Hawkins (175) gnashed the wall on turn one but it was the 84 car of Tom Harris that caught the attention, setting a blistering pace. Karl Roberts (313) spun on the pit bend, France and Harrhy tangled, drawing in Geoff Nicholls (no way to treat a pensioner!) and FWJ found the 313 car. The 216 and 45 cars recovered only to clash again by the pit gate as Hawkins took command with Plant still going well in second. On the drying track Harris took second off Plant at the half-way stage while Nige tangled again, this time with Ahern (18). Harris passed Hawkins for the lead with five to run to claim victory ahead of 175 and a recovered FWJ.

Result: 84 175 1 422 192 217 259 169 25 12 555 335

Tom Harris took a commanding win in Heat 1

Nineteen for Heat Two and a welcome return to Chris Brocksopp (338), starting on the front of the yellows while Ryan Harrison’s new 197 supercar lined up near the back. Cooper again led, from James Morris (463) and Brocksopp until 415 spun on turn three. Craig Finnikin (55) was slow away, dropping to the back of the grid as Hunter got it wrong, collecting 16, 21 and 197 in the process. Yellow tops filled the first five places, led now by Brocksopp but Morris found the fence on turn four while Gilbank and Smith (390) battled for position. Smith barged Gilbank wide, chased by Finnikin, now back on the pace. With 338 well clear, Finnikin passed Smith for second but was hampered by tangled back-markers, letting Smith back ahead. Brocksopp won by nearly half a lap while Finnikin launched a long range assault on Smith on the last bend for second.

Result: 338 55 390 21 220 445 348 16 244 197 415 463

Chris Brocksopp was the clear winner in Heat 2

Twenty of the twenty-two available cars made it on track for the Consolation with Woods setting the pace. Nige decided to tangle with Smith (293) this time, both cars hitting the fence and collecting Farnell (32) and Nicholls in the process. Harrhy restarted, only to tangle with Frankie JJ (555), Goodswen (372) and Roberts shortly afterwards as Woods continued to lead, with Ahern moving through well until he spun on the road bend and Roberts had a wild ride around the plating. Morris used the bumper to good effect, pushing 415 and 268 wide at the half-way to take the lead with Bobby Griffin (166) into second and Paul Harrison (2) third at the flag. An excellent sixth place finish for Woods ahead of Ahern with Plant netting eleventh spot from 555 for a place in the final.

Result: 463 166 2 212 335 268 18 293 207 215 364 555

Consolation winner James Morris, pictured here colliding with 364

Lee Fairhurst was the only non-starter in the Mo Jones Memorial Trophy Final so 31 cars took to the track with Woods and Plant on the front, two white tops who must be destined for a change of roof colour soon. Harris was on it from the drop of the green as Woods led from John Wright (348). Stuart Smith sent Paul Harrison and FWJ into the pit bend plating while Frankie JJ went in all by himself, for the second time.

Wright challenged for the lead, Woods resisted and both cars spun onto the centre off the back straight putting Mick Rogers (244) into the driving seat while the 390/1 battle continued. Smith got up the inside of Wainman coming off turn two and forced him into the fence. Frankie, clearly annoyed, gave Smith one hell of a crack on the next bend as Finnikin attacked the Harris back bumper successfully until a wayward marker tyre intervened – exit car 55 stage left with a flat. Chaos again ensued going into the pit bend as FWJ was forced to take avoiding action between two marker tyres – the gap just wasn’t big enough and the gold top nosed into the fence on turn three with a deflated outside front.

By the half way stage we had lost Rogers and gained Morris (463) at the front chased by Harris, Harrison (197) and Newson. Flying Ryan was gaining on the 84 car but a caution for Dennis (192) who had clobbered the spun 220 car, gave Buster the chance to damp down the track and lay the dust. Sixteen cars littered the infield as Morris, passed by Harris under the yellows was re-instated at the front of the remaining 15 cars. Harris took the lead almost immediately but fair play to Morris for coming back at him. Harrison, Newson and Smith were now behind Harris, 259 and 2 hooked up and crashed into the now stationary 463 car on the centre as, with three to run, Nigel Green entered the scene, moving Smith wide, followed by Gilbank.

Harris was throwing the car around the bends with bravado which may have been his undoing. He went wide, Ryan caught him with two to go and attacked on the road bend. Harris half spun, Ryan attacked again but both cars hooked up and were pushed down the home straight by the pack to start the final lap. Harris broke free at the start line to lead into the pit bend but Ryan was not done – he attacked Harris again taking 84 around but latched onto him, trapping Gilbank in the process by the pit gate. Green emerged as leader to take the flag from Paul Harrison and Smith – it just goes to show it ain’t over till it’s over!

Result: 445 2 390 259 338 16 175 207 84 197 212 21

Tom Harris and Ryan Harrison battling in the final

After having another action-filled night, Nigel Harrhy looked to be on for a good result in the 28 car Grand National, hitting the front early after a caution to move the stricken 364 car on the pit bend (FWJ obliged). To show no good turn goes unpunished, Frankie was spun on the restart by Woodhull as Nige pressed on, leading until Newson and Smith came by. Newson went wide allowing Smith into the lead by halfway, a position he retained to the flag. Finnikin moved into third place but poor old Nige retired with just two to run when still well-placed.

Result: 390 16 55 212 84 445 335 2 1 175 207 169

Stuart Smith Junior took control of the Grand National before half distance, remaining in control to the flag

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley

 

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