Kings Lynn – April 24th 2010 Meeting Report

The last KL meeting before June’s WCQR attracted an impressive thirty-seven cars and culminated in the best race so far of the 2010 season, an eighteen car Grand National. Half of the top twenty current grading/national points scorers had made the journey, including the soon to be red tops Neil Scriven (11) and Tony Smith (91). Mick (8) and Tom Harris (84) were initially delayed owing to transporter problems and Frankie Wainman Jnr was once again using the Lewis (357) car and in Ivan Pritchard’s (434) transporter.

Photo Colin Casserley

The meeting kicked off with the Kings Lynn Whites and Yellow’s ‘Stars of tomorrow’ Championship race which saw fifteen cars make their way onto the shale way. Tim Warwick (307) was on pole alongside Garry Fox (48) and it was Garry who raced into the lead with Steve Malkin (208) momentarily being second before slowing down drastically. Warwick, who’s last race win came in a previous Kings Lynn Stars of Tomorrow race, ended this race sideways in the armco on turn 4 with John Frost (351) before pulling onto the infield. With a bit of jostling Graham Wagstaff (330) made it into third place with Jim Bamford (302) applying the pressure, the two having a great race with each other. They soon reeled in Fox; with Bamford hitting Wagstaff into Fox sending them both out wide, with neither driver being willing to relinquish the position.
John Lawn (441) meanwhile had made his way frontwards with purpose and as the others fought it out he was soon into second before going on to take the lead. Bamford, Wagstaff, Neil Scriven (11) and Mick Rogers (244) were all battling, swapping blows and places as the laps counted down. Lawn’s comfortable lead was shrinking as he was held up by backmarkers including Malkin snr (208) who appeared to be suffering some kind of engine problem. The battle for second continued but Lawn went onto take the chequered unimpeded.
441 – 330 – 302 – 244 – 48 – 215 – 191 – 308 – 351 – 252

Twenty-three cars came out for heat 1 of a two-thirds format, with Graham Wagstaff (330) pulling off before the start and having to be tractored off at the end. Ryan Harrison (197) started from the rear, while John Frost (351) took the lead from pole. Josh Smith (191) spun out father Tony (91) on the opening lap while Garry Townsend (223) spun himself out and Craig Finnikin (55) was spun by Murray Harrison (97) and Michael Scriven (12) as they came roaring out of turn 4. Mark Woodhull (335) appeared to be straight into hitting everything before him and stuck the bumper into Nigel Whalley (198) as World Champion Andy Smith (1) was making his way through the field, gliding past Simon Panton (288) and then Neil Scriven (11). Woodhull was squeezed out wide by a group of following cars allowing a quick Mick Rogers (244) to take the lead with Andy Smith now in second.
Woodhull was not taking it lying down and was soon back in the thick of it after dealing with Frost. Frost half spun shortly after with cars diving to either side of him on turns 1 and 2. At the halfway point, Smith calmly passed Rogers while Woodhull continued moving up the field, tackling Mat Newson (16) and back marker Garry Townsend (223) and moved into second. Andy Smith (1), with his superior machinery looked to be improving an unassainable lead and it looked unlikely that Woodhull would be able to reel him in. Nigel Whalley (198) and Murray Harrison (97) tangled on turn three with Whalley hitting the fence hard putting him out of the race. As time was running out, Mat Newson was re-gaining on Woodhull while Finnikin was valiently trying to come within striking distance of Scott Davids (462) back bumper. Out front, Andy Smith (1) cruised to victory only to be disqualified from the results due to no transponder being fitted, thus allowing Woodhull to take a well-deserved win.
335 – 16 – 244 – 462 – 55 – 288 – 11 – 97 – 101 – 338

Photo Colin Casserley

Heat two saw twenty two cars make it out with no white graders present. Ryan Harrison (197) was again starting at the rear and it was the first appearance of the night for Mick (8) and Tom Harris (84) with Tom being in his newly signwritten shale car. Yellow grader Steve Malkin jnr (308) led them away with Neil Scriven (11) hot on his heels. Murray Harrison (97) bumpered Paul Hines (259) while Graham Wagstaff (330) again made his way onto the infield. Geoff Nickolls (215) deftly made it into second, relegating Scriven to third. Mark Woodhull (335) continued where he left off in heat one, hitting any car that happened to be in front of him, sending John Lawn (441) rattling round the pitgate armco. The cars were a lot more tightly packed together than heat one with the yellows and blues charging down the back straight enmasse. There was obviously just not going to be enough space for them all and Jim Bamford (302) was the one to find himself squeezed intolerably by those either side and rose up, exposing the underside before ending his race in the armco with plenty of front end damage. The other cars continued and Paul Hines (259) and Mick Harris (8) were just at the front of a big group, left with nowhere to go and collided heavily with the armco on turns 3 and 4. Up ahead, Woodhull successfully dispatched with Kevin Shinn (121) and Malkin jnr to take the lead. John Lawn (441) was making his way back up the field, bumpering Shinn out of the way and moving towards leader Woodhull who had despatched him earlier on in the race.
Shinn was not settling for any of this, and was back on Lawn on turn 1 with Lawn getting sideways as Shinn t-boned him as they went round the turn. With the cars behind including Andy Smith (1) and Dan Johnson (4) pushing ever forwards, there was nowhere for either Shinn or Lawn to go and it was only a matter of time before Lawn was rolled causing Shinn to rear up above him. Cars then tried to scatter to safety on either side with Michael Scriven (12) connecting with an infield marker tyre, bouncing up and coming to rest perched atop. The yellow flags came out and it took a short while for the cars to be moved and the track returned to racing conditions. The restart order was ~
335 – 4 – 1 – 13 – 308 – 380 – 97 – 84 – 197 – 215 – 244 – 191 – 280 – 11 – 8

Photo Colin Casserley

At the green, Dan Johnson (4) was straight into Woodhull as the top three all went for the win. Johnson took the lead and was soon followed by Smith snatching second place and relegating Woodhull to third. As the laps wound down, Johnson was going wide into the bends expecting an attack from Smith. With just two to go, Harris (84) pulled back out into traffic from the backstraight infield, and pulled directly in front of Smith on the entrance to turn 3. This allowed Johnson some slight respite to keep just ahead of Smith and to go onto take the chequered flag.
4 – 1 – 13 – 97 – 335 – 197 – 11 – 280 – 191 – 8

Heat three was held under a darkening sky and nineteen cars made it out for the final heat with Dave Waterhouse (101) on pole and newcomer Paul Redfern (252) alongside. Waterhouse initially led them away with Garry Fox (48) in hot pursuit. Unfortunately for Waterhouse, he spun himself on turn 2 allowing Fox to take up the running. Mick Harris (8) and Chris Brocksopp (338) got themselves hooked up on turn 3 as they jostled with each other and as a backstraight marker tyre came slightly out of line, was then re-hit so that it was sticking out slightly onto the race track. It was only a matter of time before Graham Wagstaff (330) got involved; hitting the tyre, catapulting off it and getting hooked up with Fox on turn 3. Geoff Nickolls (215) used this disturbance to make his way to the front and a gap between the leader and the rest of the field soon began to appear, while Tom Harris (84) and Andy Ford (13) were behind him fighting each other for position. Ford attacked Harris but ended spinning himself allowing Harris to make a clean break as further down the field, Mat Newson (16) waded into Joe Booth (446) with his front bumper. It was not long before Dan Johnson (4) caught and attacked Booth as Andy Ford (13) stuck the bumper into the back of Booth and the three bumpered each other round the track. This battle ended when Booth tried to regain his place from Andy Ford but a closely following Steve Cayzer (380) nudged Booth’s rear bumper on the corner as Booth went in for the hit on Ford, spinning Booth out of contention. Geoff Nickolls was being hunted down by Tom Harris but although Harris was closing the gap, he was not near enough for an attack at the end.
215 – 84 – 198 – 55 – 16 – 288 – 4 – 13 – 380 – 48

Photo Colin Casserley

Twenty seven cars made it out for the Final, including Frankie Wainman jnr (515) who had pulled off in heat 2 when his diff blew. Both he and his team had been tirelessly working ever since and had managed to just get it sorted in time. Paul Redfern (252) was on pole alongside Garry Fox (48) and it was Fox who immediately took the lead. Colin Nairn (280) span at the beginning of the homestraight causing a big pile up as the rest of the yellows, the blues and reds all piled in with some avoiding the carnage by using the concrete infield to pass. As cars struggled to get out of it, Andy Smith (1) was taken to the infield on turn 1 after getting caught up with Jim Bamford (302). As these two were attempting to free themselves, red flags were shown meaning a complete restart was in order. Jim Bamford (302), both Josh and Tony Smith failed to make the restart, with the twenty four cars that were left being led away again by Garry Fox (48) who had Mick Rogers (244) making his way towards him at a fast pace. Steve Cayzer (380) slowed and stuck to the outside of the homestraight with a tyre going down, as Geoff Nickolls (215) spun out on turn 1 and car after car piled in, creating another large pile up. Most of the field crashed in with those on the outer edges being able to manoeuvre themselves and rejoin as the race continued. Mat Newson (16) and Andy Smith (1) continued to do battle while avoiding the stranded cars as Scott Davids (462) managed to drive himself into the mess and Murray Harrison (97) sent Paul Redfern (252) into it just before the yellow flags came out. All of the Wainman team’s hard work to get him back on track was wiped out as FWJ was deep inside the metal mayhem and had to be tractored to the infield. Some drivers, whose cars were not too badly damaged but had not managed to extricate themselves from the collision by the time the yellows were shown, tried to rejoin the back of the grid, but were all sent to the infield leaving only fourteen cars out on the track. Restart order ~
244 – 48 – 11 – 330 – 55 – 97 – 252 – 12 – 288 – 280 – 16 – 1 – 4 – 215

With the field all tightly packed, Mick Rogers (244) shot off while Craig Finnikin (55) swiftly passed Graham Wagstaff (330). Neil Scriven (11) bumpered Fox out of the way with Finnikin bearing down on them both at speed. Murray Harrison (97) closed down and passed Wagstaff, only for Michael Scriven (12) to cut past both Wagstaff and Harrison up the inside in one easy move. Andy Smith was again making quick progress, passing Wagstaff, as further up, Murray Harrison tried to attack Michael Scriven’s back bumper. Dan Johnson (4) was following Smith and trying to close the gap and as Smith caught up with Harrison and passed he was soon followed by Johnson.
Craig Finnikin had by now made his way into second with back marker Colin Nairn (280) between him and third and fourth place Neil Scriven and Garry Fox. Andy Smith reached Michael Scriven just as Scriven caught Fox. Finnikin was still trying to close the gap on leader Rogers as Smith himself moved closer having passed Michael Scriven and Garry Fox to take fourth. Neil Scriven (11) was safe and secure in third place, for the moment. Michael Scriven and Fox battled with each other with a lurking Johnson taking full advantage. As the laps counted down Michael Scriven was catching back up with Johnson and Finnikin had finally reeled in Rogers, hitting and passing on turn 4 to motor home in first place. Garry Fox missed out on taking eighth place as Murray Harrison who was still in front, had a tyre going down and Fox ended up pushed him over the line.
55 – 244 – 11 – 1 – 4 – 12 – 288 – 97 – 48 – 330

Eighteen cars made it out for the Grand National with Finnikin going from just in front of the wingless Kevin Shinn (121) who was on pole. Nigel Whalley in his new FWJ built car was straight into Neil Scriven (11) with his bumper after Shinn had took off in the lead. Geoff Nickolls (215) spun Whalley and Andy Ford (13) and it was clear that the race was going to be completed at a frantic pace. As the race unfolded it was clearly going to be impossible to follow everything that was happening as cars traded bumpers and swapped places so frequently with no-one being prepared to settle for their position. Woodhull (335) past Wagstaff (330) to take second and not long after Tom Harris (84) was up in third. Further down the field Joe Booth (446), Andy Smith (1) and the so far luckless Frankie Wainman jnr (515) were tustling for position with Johnson just ahead. Booth was sent wide as Smith slid past him while upfront, Harris was gaining ground on leader Woodhull. Shinn, relegated down the order was now trying to contend with the reds who were all fighting with each other. Johnson was now valiently trying to hold off Smith as at the opposite end Harris was gaining on Woodhull. Smith hit Johnson wide as the two swapped places. Woodhull was still successfully holding off Harris as Wainman assaulted Smith, who held him off but Johnson was also getting back involved in the continuing skirmish. Johnson passed Wainman, only for Johnson to then get it a bit sideways allowing Wainman to reclaim his place on turn 2 as Smith broke clear. Tom Harris was now in the lead having dealt with Woodhull, as further back Johnson and Wainman had swapped places again and Wainman stuck the bumper into Johnson only for Joe Booth (446) to wade into Wainman at the same time sending Johnson and Wainman heading off towards the armco. Final winner Craig Finnikin (55) had closed ground and by this time was also making his presence felt. Unfortunately, as this was happening down the field, the leader Harris had been forced to pull off onto turn 1. Mark Woodhull (335) having reclaimed the lead now had Murray Harrison (97) in his rear view mirror to contend with as Harrison was gaining ground. Joe Booth was leading the reds as the battle continued as nobody within the group was prepared to settle for their current place. Just before the end on the last bend, Dan Johnson spun, got completely tangled with Finnikin and the two of them limped slowly sideways around the bend towards the finish line until Finnikin freed himself for his valuable five points, but by this time, neither were in contention for a place. An enjoyable race to watch with Frank and Andy doing battle and the young guns of Joe Booth and Dan Johnson also showing they are not afraid to mix it up with the best of them.
335 – 97 – 1 – 446 – 515 – 121 – 16 – 288 – 12 – 198

Photo Colin Casserley

All in all an excellent evening’s racing and now all eyes are on the forthcoming Saturday night Coventry fixture to see whether Dan Johnson (4) can maintain his impressive lead in the National Points.

Ailsa Haigh

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