Northampton, 15th July 2017 – Meeting Report and Photos

The European Championship format had been revised for 2017 with all races up to and including Sunday’s consolation counting towards grid positions for the main race. Some drivers opted to race on the dirt at Texel rather than Northampton and it must be the first time that a clashing meeting in another country has impacted on one in the UK, with at least three possible championship contenders “going Dutch”.

The advertised start time of 5:00 had changed to 4:45 by the time I had bought a programme and racing actually commenced at 4:40 so any late arrivals probably missed at least one race – not playing fair, Incarace!

One such late arrival was Joff Gibson (249) who only just made it on track for the Trust Fund race, doubling as Heat One. Twenty-three cars set off at the green with Gibson and Chris Cowley (37) disputing the lead neck and neck until Scott Davids (462) took over, with Shaun Webster (48) and Will Hunter (220) for company.

Wesley Schaap (H77), one of only two Dutch drivers racing in the Euros, showed well early on but faded while Smith (390), Harris (84) and Johnson (4) battled between themselves. Davids won at a canter from Hunter with Nigel Green (445) third.

The line up for the Trust Fund Race

The remaining cars (24) contested Heat Two with Richard Woods (268) the early leader until Sam Wass (284) took the hot spot chased by brother Alex (283) and Jacklyn Ellis (219). Elwell (501) and Hooper (545) tangled on turn three, with Kanye Hustle (13) joining them a lap later.

A caution for the stranded Anthony Riley (323) bunched up the field with Wass first and Wass second. Which Wass would win? Not Sam, sadly, as he pulled off with a flat front tyre leaving Alex to make amends for his near miss at the last meeting by taking the flag and the Steve Froggatt memorial trophy in fine style from Shevill (518) and Ellis.

Heat 2 winner, Alex Wass

Twenty-four for the Consolation with Wass (284) to the fore and Kelvin Hassell (see, I can get it right sometimes) into second with former F2 Eurochamp Hooper third. Elwell put Hassell and Gibson into the turn three wall, joined later by Rich Pacey (513) and Collliver (468), bringing out the yellow flags. Hooper had taken the lead by now and made no mistakes over the remaining laps to take possibly his first F1 victory from Riley (422) and Scriven (12). Mat Newson could only manage fourth place, probably distracted by counting up the cost of repairs to his hire cars scattered around the track by the chequered flag.

A rare consolation appearance for Michael Scriven

Alex Wass was a non-starter in the Allan Barker Memorial Trophy Final, led by Ellis from Roger Bromiley (14) and Dean Whitwell (195). Davids moved into second as Ellis retired to the middle, while defending European champion Dan Johnson (4) made good progress, chased by Luke Davidson (464) who may just have had revenge on his mind until a flat tyre ruled him out.

In a high speed, incident-free race Whitwell led until two to run when Davids eased up the inside to take a heat and final double with Whitwell an excellent second. Johnson chalked up some important points in third as did Green in fourth.

Final top 3: 1st – Davids, 2nd – Whitwell and 3rd – Johnson

The thirty-one car Grand National saw the likes of Smith and FWJ (1) finally on the pace but was stopped early for a tangle between Green and Pacey at the end of the back straight. Pacey was clearly shaken up and was escorted back to the pits, while his wounded Newsonstock was helped to the infield. Bromiley led them away after race leader Colliver retired before the restart. Johnson was swiftly up to third place pursued by Smith as Webster held the lead.

Cowley sent Schaap fencewards on turn three but probably didn’t expect to be paid back with interest on the next bend, the Dutchman sending Cowley up the wall and onto his side, bringing out another caution. Johnson now led but these yellow flags were helping Green immensely as he moved into fourth place by the end behind Johnson, who collected the Richie Ahern Memorial Trophy, Smith and Wainman.

Wesley Schaap’s move on Chris Cowley bought out the caution

Davids emerged as top points scorer on the night ahead of Johnson, Green and Wainman but several   star names had some work to do on Sunday to improve their grid positions.

With the exception of the 37/H77 incident this was a fast but relatively quiet meeting, with the management seemingly intent on setting a new record for early finishes, so much so the sun was still shining when the meeting ended. It must have made it a very long night for those camping on the Northampton savannah. Watch out for lions in the long grass!

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley and Steve Botham

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