King’s Lynn, 28th May 2016 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

The May meeting at King’s Lynn was certainly a fiery night for at least one well-known driver.

First up was the regular Whites and Yellows race, on a warm and sunny evening at the Norfolk Arena, and this was won by 415 Russell Cooper, continuing his recent good shale form. Barring a spinning Ollie Ives holding him up at one stage, this was a flag to flag victory for the Cambridge driver.

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Top 3 from the Whites & Yellows race

Heat 1 gridded 18 cars, including 19 Jon Horne. Jon’s been out and about and is well-known on the tar surface but this was his first shale meeting so he was starting from the back. Russell Cooper again made a good start and had a healthy lead. By lap 4, it was Cooper from 175 Karl Hawkins, 313 Karl Roberts but it was fourth placed driver 445 Nigel Green who was really on the pace.

At halfway Cooper was still in the lead but on lap 11 overcooked the turn 1 bend, allowing Green through for the lead. With 4 laps to go, 463 James Morris fired 555 Frankie Jnr Jnr into the turn 3 fence, resulting in the 555 car remaining where it was minus the nearside rear tyre, with Morris for company. Nigel Green took the win (the car smoking from a cracked gearbox spilling oil) from Russell Cooper in second and John Lund 3rd – finishing on Cooper’s rear bumper!

Result: 445, 415, 53, 217, 244, 169, 313, 175, 372, 192 – First 8 to the final.

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The first trip to King’s Lynn for Jon Horne

Heat 2 saw a slight increase, with 20 cars making the start. Rob Speak made his intentions clear, firing 212 Danny Wainman and 2 Paul Harrison aside on turns 1/2. Mick Sworder (150) went for a spin and got delayed on the same bend. The 448 car of Jason Eaton had become stranded on turn 2 (courtesy of a hefty 318 tap) and brought out the yellows.

At the restart it was 338 Chris Brocksopp leading from 94 John Dowson, 22 Will Yarrow and Speak fourth (all following the lead vehicle water bowser). Dowson soon hit the front up the inside of Brocksopp. Two laps later, Speak did the same on Dowson for the lead. With four to go, Speak was leading from 515 Frankie Wainman 2nd and Matt Newson in third, the Speak car was smoking from the back end and appeared to be slowing but held onto the lead from Wainman and Newson.

Result: 318, 515, 16, 94, 2, 212, 235, 22, 338, 321 – First 8 to final.

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The first win of the night for the World Champ

The Consolation was perhaps the hottest race of the night – at least for one driver – with 23 cars gridding hoping to gain a place in the Final. The yellow flags were out early on for the stranded car of 25 Bradley Harrison on the exit of turn 2. At the restart, 45 Nigel Harrhy hit one of the inner marker tyres on the exit of turn 4 and was collected by 331 Peter Allin. Both managed to get going but the 45 car went sideways down the main straight; collected by a number of cars in the customary pile up.

It was a little unclear but, in a one in five hundred case incident, a car hit the outside rear of Harrhy’s car, damaging the roll cage arm. This essentially bent and ripped open the fuel tank. In an instant, the contents of the tank were dropped out and the flag marshals, having spotted this, waved the reds immediately. Harrhy though had got going again and what was left of the fuel ignited on the back straight, with Harrhy unaware. In a quick-thinking moment, 386 Joe Thompson pulled alongside the 45 car, waving the car to the centre along with one of the centre green marshals, where the fire was put out nearly as fast as Nigel exited the car.

Luck had certainly been on Harrhy’s side. Had the car stalled on the main straight and he had fired it up with the customary exhaust flares, it does not bear thinking about. The marshals and crew at Lynn have to be commended for some very fast thinking and action. It is perhaps best not to go further (I will keep my opinions to myself) but this one may be the wake up call that is needed to look further into tank location and surrounding protection at the very least.

After the excitement of this, it was 338 Chris Brocksopp who was the eventual winner, after getting past long-time leader 280 Colin Nairn with 4 laps to go.

Result: 338, 220, 463, 280, 446, 555, 231, 202, 192 – no other finishers.

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Damage to the 45 car – luckily Nigel was unharmed

The Final gridded 25 cars in total and Buster had put a slight twist on events for this one. Frankie Wainman Junior (515) had won the two previous finals at King’s Lynn in the all-new Wedge car and so they’d upped the prize money. If the 515 motor was able to do the triple in a row, the prize money would be a £1000! The converse being that perhaps a few drivers may be out to prove perhaps Frankie’s car was not as quick round the Norfolk Arena bowl as their own cars!

From the whites, 280 Colin Nairn was the early leader but the yellow flags were soon out for the stranded 244 car of Mick Rogers stationary on the turn 1/2  fence. At the restart it was Nairn from Russell Cooper and 22 Will Yarrow, with Speak down in 8th and the Wainman Wedge five cars behind him. Soon after the restart the cars of Nairn, Cooper and 231 Daniel van Spijker all decided to hook up on the inside of the turn 1 exit. By halfway the grid had changed, with a star line up of Yarrow, from Speak, Mat Newson, Paul Harrison, Frankie Wainman, Lee Fairhurst and Nigel Green.  It was Mat Newson who was on the move though; firing Rob Speak into parked cars on turns 1/2 (Speak soon getting going again) and then, a couple of laps later, moving the Will Yarrow car wide into the same turn for the lead. With 5 laps to go, the yellows were out again for the stranded cars on turns 1/2.

At the restart many were expecting the water truck to lead the cars away but unusually for Lynn the water bowser remained in the centre so the race restarted on a dry track. The grid was now Newson from Paul Harrison, Yarrow and Speak – a dry track was ideal for Paul Harrison, who went up the inside of Newson on the back straight for the lead. Rob Speak, who had already got past Yarrow, then passed Newson but Newson then undertook Speak again on the back straight. These positions remaining unchanged till the flag, with Harrison taking the win.

Result:  2, 16, 318, 515, 53, 446, 445, 220, 22, 169, 212, 192.

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Final Top 3: Paul Harrison, Mat Newson and Rob Speak

The Grand National had the usual early mayhem but Rob Speak was again on a mission and was soon in the lead. The yellows were brought out with 6 laps to go for the stranded 192 car of Luke Dennis on the turn 1 fence. The restart was under the normal fast run of the water bowser and it was Speak from Dowson, Frankie Wainman (515), 220 Will Hunter and 212 Danny Wainman. The last 5 laps saw the usual wide lines, hugging the fence under greasy conditions at Lynn. Frankie got past Dowson for second but made little ground on Speak, who crossed the line first with the 515 machine making little in-roads on the 318 car.

Result: 318, 515, 94, 212, 335, 25, 555, 2, 220, 22, 53, 169.

Another great night’s racing at King’s Lynn – has the 515 car peaked or has the opposition caught up? The twists and turns of the 2016 season continue onwards.

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The Grand National saw another victory for Speaky

Words: Andy Armer
Photos: Colin Casserley

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