Kings Lynn BSCDA British Championship 2011 Race Report

Read the Heats report from the BSCDA British Championship 2011 HERE

The grid was formed based on points scored during the heats, which put Paul Harrison on pole with Tom Harris alongside. Stu Smith and Mark Woodhull were on row 2, with Frankie Wainman and John Lund on row 3. Defending champion Paul Hines was on the inside of row 5.

the BSCDA British Championship 2011 grid under lights. Photo Colin Casserley

After the immortal words “Gentlemen, start your engines!”, Harrison and Harris set off on one of the slowest rolling laps ever, meaning the grid was tightly bunched behind them. As they came out of turn four, the green dropped, with Harris edging into the lead. Harrison stayed within the length of the 84 car down the straight, and a big push from the chasing pack put Harris, Harrison, and Woodhull into the fence, with a few more cars coming to grief on the turn. Harris bounced off the armco and carried on, still leading, but Harrison went in backwards and rejoined further down the order.

At the start of the second lap, Harris took the outside line around the stricken 307 car in turn one, which allowed Smith (390) to take the inside, and the race lead. The stalled 307 car was clattered by the passing traffic a few times before the yellows came out.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Tim Warwick 307 suffers some damage. Photo Colin Casserley

Race order for the restart was Smith leading, from Harris, Wainman (515), Johnson, Woodhull, Lund, Harrison (2), and Wainman (212). When the green dropped, Wainman nudged Harris wide and went past, but as they came out of turn two, the cars got hooked up and slewed across the track, forcing the rest of the field to take avoiding action. When they separated, Harris retired to the infield while Wainman rejoined the race in last place.

This left Smith with a lead of a few car lengths from Johnson, who was passed by Woodhull, only for Johnson to fire the 335 car to the plating. Also going hard in the fence was Joe Booth (446), courtesy of Ivan Pritchard (434).

Paul Spooner (104) gave Chris Clare (394) a nudge down the back straight, but rode over the 394 car’s inside front wheel, and the two cars got stuck together, coming to a stop on the entrance to turn three, and right in the path of Lund. A lesser driver would have probably just piled straight into them, but Lund threw the car sideways and used his nerf rail to bounce off the 104 car and continue, having hardly lost any time.

The waved yellows brought them to a stop while the 104 and 394 cars were cleared from the track, with race order reading 390, 4, 2, 335, and 53, with Wainman (515) the thirteenth car on the grid. With the race back under way, Harrison went straight past Johnson, but it wasn’t long before the waved yellows were back out. This time it was for attention to Adam Slater (214), who had come to an abrupt stop in the turn one fence.

There were now just 13 cars left running, and the race hadn’t even reached the halfway point. Johnson moved Harrison for second place, which also let Woodhull through, but Harrison’s response was to fire first Johnson and then Woodhull out wide in quick succession.

Wainman eased past Woodhull for fourth place just before the lap boards came out, but Woodhull briefly re-took the place before Wainman pulled clear.

When the lap boards came out, Smith still had a healthy lead, but it was clear that Harrison was the faster car and the gap was getting smaller. With the passing of each lap, the number 2 car was getting nearer and nearer.

The atmosphere on the terraces was electric as the starter showed them the ‘Last Lap’ board. Harrison was still a couple of lengths in arrears at this point, but as Smith got to turn one, Harrison reached out and hit the Smith car wide. Harrison was through, but it wasn’t over yet.

BriSCA F1 stockcar drivers of Stu Smith jnr 390 and Paul Harrison 2 do battle. Photo Colin Casserley

As they went down the back straight for the final time, everybody in the stadium, including Paul Harrison, must have known what was coming. It looked like Harrison took a wider line, with Smith entering the last turn flat out. If he did make contact, it was just a glancing blow, as the 390 car carried straight on into the Armco, while a jubilant Paul Harrison took the win and the title. A thrilling end to a spectacular meeting.

the BSCDA British Championship podium. Photo Colin Casserley

Three generations of the Harrison family celebrate. Photo Colin Casserley

Paul’s victory comes 20 years to the month since his first British title, but it is his 1993 British victory at Long Eaton that is generally regarded as his career best performance. Until now.

Carl Hesketh

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