King’s Lynn, 8th August 2015 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

Around 40 cars made the trip to Norfolk for the last chance to get some practice on the Saddlebow Road shale before the World Final in September.

The Whites and Yellows race was led away by Chris Farnell (32) and Neil Clark (311), with 506 at the back of the grid. There was also one higher-graded driver on the track, newly red Henry Hunter. Hunter was practicing on the shale but would not be included in the results.

Tony Smith (91) went for an early spin, while Sean Willis (287) came together with Russell Cooper (415). Clark was also involved, hopping over the front of 287 and ending up facing the wrong way on the back straight.

Farnell was still in the lead at half distance, with Mick Rogers (244) in second and Nigel Harrhy (45) in third. With four laps to run, Farnell hit a marker tyre going into the bend and spun, promoting 244 to the top spot. Harrhy set off after the new leader, but got stuck behind a backmarker. The order stayed the same until the flag, with Dave Willis (337) coming home third.

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The early leaders in the Whites and Yellows race.

Twenty-one cars made their way onto the shale for Heat 1, including World Champion Craig Finnikin (55) and both Wainman brothers. George Elwell (501) led the pack away and, despite an early half-spin, took up the lead. Martin Spiers (451) moved into second, ahead of Harrhy.

John Dowson (94) was in trouble early on, as was Danny Wainman (212), who dropped to the back after a scuffle with Mark Gray (224). Further forward, Finnikin got a good start and was already picking off the lower graders. Spiers fired Elwell wide to take the lead. The 45 car joined the battle, but the yellow flags came out for Josh Smith (191), who needed to be cleared from the track in turn 4.

The 14-car restart was led away by Spiers, from Harrhy and Colin Goodswen (372). Finnikin wasted no time, immediately challenging Goodswen for third, but picked up a puncture during the battle.

Back at the front, Spiers slid wide, allowing Harrhy through and into the lead just before half race distance. His lead was short-lived as Frankie Wainman Junior (515) flew up the inside. A second caution was called for to rescue Goodswen, but Wainman remained in control at the front, with Dowson second and Danny Wainman third.

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Heat 1 winner – Frankie Wainman Junior

Heat 2 was led away by Farnell and Cooper. Cooper drifted wide and into the turn 1 Armco, moving Daniel van Spijker (231) into second and Billy-Tom O’Connor (316) to third. The Dutchman was soon challenging for the lead, getting to the front just as newly blue Joff Gibson (249) and Mark Woodhull (335) became stuck in the fence together on turn 2, bringing out the yellows.

Van Spiker led at the restart, ahead of Farnell and Dave Willis. Rob Speak was quickly up to third, then second as Farnell retired to the centre. A spin from Sean Willis ended both Speak and van Spijker’s chances. Mat Newson made his way through the debris and held the lead until the end, taking the win ahead of Paul Harrison and Stuart Smith Junior.

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Yellow tops battling in Heat 2

Sean Willis was the early leader in the Consolation, with 311 through into second before hitting a marker tyre in turn 1 and spinning himself. Van Spijker’s bad luck continued as he retired in the early laps, while Sworder tangled with Gibson.

O’Connor took up the front position at half distance, with Ives in second and Willis dropping to third. Mark Woodhull managed to muscle his way into second by tapping Ives out wide. The 335 car retired from the race, which promoted Sworder to second and Goodswen to third. O’Connor held onto the lead, crossing the line way ahead of the 150 driver.

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Ollie Ives going well in the Consolation

Consolation winner, O’Connor, was the only qualifier not to make it out for the meeting Final, which was once again led away by Cooper and Willis. Mick Sworder rolled on turn 2, leading to red flags and a complete restart.

Following a lot of new tyres being brought out onto the track, they were ready for the second start, which also started with chaos. Jack France hit the wall in turn 2, while at the other end of the track, 191, 220, 51 and 463 all went in together. Yellow flags were called for to clear the cars.

Cooper led them round for the restart, but it wasn’t long before more cars – this time Riley and Farnell – ended up in the Armco. This allowed Dowson up into second, with Frankie Wainman Junior hot on his heels.

At half distance, it was 94, from 515 and 390. Smith made his move up the inside of Wainman and set off after Dowson. The caution flags were needed again; this time for the stranded Sean Willis.

At the restart, 390 quickly disposed of 94, as Newson passed 515 for third. The local man challenged for the lead but was sideswiped by 390. Newson recovered to third behind Wainman, but no-one could catch Stuart Smith Junior, who took the win. Dowson came home in 11th.

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Mick Sworder rolls at the start of the meeting final.

Twenty-two cars made it out for the last race of the night; led away by lone white top Chris Farnell. Speak flew across the middle and retired with a puncture. Farnell, unchallenged at the front, led from Noden and Harrhy.

Finnikin was the highest of the superstars in the early stages. Harrison and Morris both spun separately in turn 2. Dowson, Johnson and Sworder were soon into the top five. Once again tragedy struck for 150 and he was forced to retire.

As the lap boards came out, it was Noden in the lead, with Johnson and Dowson behind him. With 4 to go, Johnson hit the front, and Dowson moved through to second. The County Durham driver was not going to be denied another win, planting a last lap hit on Johnson, to take the GN.

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A well-deserved victory for John Dowson.

Words: Rhosanna Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley

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