Kings Lynn – March 31st 2012 Meeting Report

On walking through the turnstiles at the Norfolk Arena patrons were greeted by the sight of the 150 car of Mick Sworder with the driver signing autographs for his fans. One can only think that it was an inspired decision by the promoter to make the 150 car the headline act as Sworder went on to dominate the evenings racing and produced a set of results way beyond expectation for a driver with such limited knowledge of shale racing.

the man of the meeting Mick Sworder 150. Photo Colin Casserley

First race on track was the big money Stars of Tomorrow final for whites and yellows with the starting grid based on points scored in 2011. Two new drivers debuted in this race 248 Sam Redman and 169 Billy Johnson returning to the tracks in an ex 462 car after a successful career in Mini stox and V8 stox some 20 years ago.

John Weldon 235, Tim Warwick 307 and Luke Dennis 192. Photo Colin Casserley

Fourteen cars took to the track and 307 Tim Warwick used his front row start to take up an early lead. But 307 was soon under pressure from 235 John Weldon using his revamped ex Stuart Smith Jnr car for the first time. Enthusiasm got the better of Weldon and a scuttle round the turn two plating handed the lead to 192 Luke Dennis. The 192 car was soon swallowed up by the duo of Geoff Nicholls 215 and John Lawn 441. 215 maintained a comfortable lead over 441 until 3 laps to go when 215 tangled with a wayward 248 car which allowed 441 to get close enough to make contact.

Mike Williamson 111 takes in a spin. Photo Colin Casserley

Lawn barged his way inside 215 on turn 3 and continued the aggression into turn 4, at this point the 215 car lost control and went hard into the home straight fence. 441 managed to continue and the race was then halted to rescue the damaged 215 car. With only a lap or so left to go the result was declared and 441 took the trophy.

John Lawn 441 and Geoff Nickolls 215 fight for the lead. Photo Colin Casserley

Half of the whites and yellows joined the blues and reds on track for heat two. 20 cars took the green although most eyes were following just one, and sure enough the 150 car did not disappoint and was in fourth place by lap 5. Up front 235, 422 David Riley and 415 Russell Cooper had an entertaining battle, and 415 mastered his rivals but had no answer to the 150 car which surged past at halfway.

John Weldon 235 and Russell Cooper 415

From this point the result was never in doubt as Sworder reeled off the remaining laps. The 515 car of Frankie Wainman Jnr did make its way into second but was still 10 car lengths adrift of 150 when the chequered flag was shown. A stunned Sworder took the trophy and commented “I thought shale racing was hard, obviously not”.

Dave Riley 422 clatters a marker tyre. Photo Colin Casserley

Tom Harris 84, Craig Finnikin 55 and Adam Slater 214. Photo Colin Casserley

Just 17 cars for heat three. 441 pushed his way passed 307 into an early lead but soon retired leaving rapid blue graders 321 Ed Neachell and 97 Murray Harrison to fight for top spot. 150 was already in fourth and soon swept past 321 and 97 on turn two.

Ed Neachell 321 charging forwards. Photo Colin Casserley

Neachell and Harrison continued their battle with 321 eventually getting the better of Harrison who lost time inspecting the fence on turn 4. 150 ticked off the laps at remarkable speed although a clean run to the flag was disrupted on the final lap as he got into a skirmish with a lap down 97 car. Sworder took the flag and still found time to lean on the 97 car which encouraged Harrison to make his second visit of the race to the fence.

Heat and final winner Mick Sworder 150. Photo Colin Casserley

22 on track for the final and most on the terraces thought it would need the combined efforts of 21 of them to put a stop to the flying Sworder. 235 took an early lead while 16 Matt “mad dog” Newson and Scott Davids 462 scuppered their chances with a tangle on turn two. The race was soon brought under caution as 321 Neachell shed a wheel on turn 4. Order on the restart was 235 from 111,97,415 and 150, with the rest of the stars and superstars still much further down the grid. 150 swept into the lead but finally found a rival able to take him on as the 97 car attacked and managed to reverse the places on two occasions. The battle continued past halfway until a further caution was required to remove the 235 car from the turn two fence. Order on the restart was 150,97,515 and 84 Tom Harris. Wainman slipped past 97, but then had to survive an aggressive response from Harrison. Fortunately for 515 the 97 car lost power and slipped down the order. This allowed 84 Harris into third and he soon forced is way past 515 but was still a long way from making any impression on the 150 car. The last few laps were very fast with minimal contact and the 150 car completed a hat trick of trophies.

Murray Harrison 97 and Mick Sworder 150 duke it out. Photo Colin Casserley

Just 13 survived to contest the Grand National and with 150 taking the handicap the other twelve were now possibly in with a chance of a race win. Luke Dennis led a slow start on a well watered track but was swallowed up by a rapid 97 car on lap 2. Harrison was chased by 321 and Davids 462. This trio remained in the same order until five laps to go when they were caught by 84 “hitman” Harris.

three wide - Josh Smith 191, Craig Finnikin 55 and Michael Scriven 12. Photo Colin Casserley

The 84 car passed 462 and 321 with ease and then set about chasing down the 97 car. 321 destroyed his own and Davids chance of a place spinning on turn two collecting 462. All eyes were now on Harris who pressured 97 and then forced his way past with two to go. Having missed out in the final the 97 car was in no mood to settle for second place and brought proceedings to a fitting climax attacking 84 on the last bend forcing 84 into a spin which relegated him to third behind a subdued 515.

a charging Murray Harrison 97 on his way to winning the GN. Photo Colin Casserley

Sworder had a quiet race finishing eighth. Although not many in the crowd would take a bet against the 150 car picking up more trophies when it returns to action at Coventry on Saturday.

Damian Noblett

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