Northampton, 16th July 2017 – Meeting Report and Photos

The reason for Alex Wass missing the Saturday night final was apparently gearbox failure in the 283 car. Brother Sam suffered major engine problems in his 284 machine so hard work by the Wass Motorsports team saw the 284 box relocated in time for Heat One on Day Two which raised twenty-nine starters, racing under the two-thirds format. Martin Spiers (451), getting to grips with tarmac racing, led the early laps chased by Bromiley and Wass. Stuart Smith retired to the infield as Wass took the lead away from Spiers, the Evesham man sliding wide around turns three and four. Todd Jones (186) was soon up to second as Smith returned, then retired again but Wass was in command even though his lead was reduced by the chequered flag. Riley, Colliver and Ellis crossed the line three-wide to take the minor places but “Wonderful Wass wins weekend double” would be my headline.

Another day, another heat win for Alex Wass

Nigel Green followed up his heat one fourth place with a strong second in Heat Two after a spirited drive by Richard Woods (268) saw him lead until the half-way mark when Shaun Webster (48) took over the hot spot. A repaired 37 car took third from FWJ, Johnson and Harrison (197) but credit to Woods who hung on in there to claim tenth, two spots ahead of Kyle Hassellhof (13).

Bromiley led Heat Three from Wass with Riley the first of the reds to show, while the likes of 1, 4, 84, 197 and 390 were slow to get going. Bromiley kept a tidy line despite being passed by Wass who was going for three heat wins but he reckoned without Jones (186) who applied just enough bumper at the right time to take the lead in the closing stages and carry on for the win. Wass second, Bromiley third and Scott Davids taking his first points of the afternoon in fourth.

Early leader Bromiley crossed the line third in heat 3, cementing his place in the championship race.

When the weekend’s points were tallied up, Davids found himself on pole for the European Championship Final alongside Green with Johnson and Wainman (1) on row two and Wesley Schaap and Alex van der Wass on row three. Under the previous graded start system Wass could have been a real shock contender for the title but the new format did him no favours, surrounded as he was by the top names in the sport.
Davids didn’t just jump the start, he positively pole-vaulted it, crossing the line before the starter had found the green flag. Funny, I thought it was the starter who controlled the race but be that as it may, Scott led into turn one as Johnson sent Green wide but 445 held on in second until FWJ attacked, letting Johnson through for a lap before the gold top regained second place.

Green now made his move, whacking Johnson into Wainman on the pit bend, the number 1 car slamming into the fence and suffering race-ending damage to the rear corner while number 4 was terminally crocked. Green now had Davids in his sights but a caution was needed to move the stricken Wainman car. Controversially cars 37, 501 and H77 were removed from the grid for passing the pace car under caution, a kick in the teeth for Schaap in particular after making the effort to attend and the only overseas competitor in the race. Rant over – back to the action.

The line up for the European Championship race, with Scott Davids on pole

The restart saw Davids bring the field almost to a stop before he took off, again a tad early with Green and Bromiley giving chase while Johnson dropped to sixth, slowed and pulled off. Green dealt with the leading blue top decisively, a big push into turn one followed by a dig in the nerf rail to minimise any chance of payback but the caution flags flew again to sort out a menage a trois involving Frankie JJ, Whitwell and Whittle on turn four. Would Davids get a revenge hit in on the restart?

To Green’s relief the answer was no – he calmly drove away as Davids fell victim to first Webster (48) then Bromiley, Harrison, Smith, Harris and Jones. Another caution for Alex Wass, stranded on the apex of turns one and two, gave hope to the likes of 48, 197, 390 and 84 but Green was in control, staying ahead of soon to be second-placed Harrison as the race resumed. The action was taking place further back as Todd Jones repaid Stuart Smith for an earlier hit by planting 84, 217 and 390 into the pit bend fence in one brilliant move to take fourth, Harris spinning off the back straight and colliding backwards with the parked Steward (512) car. Smith limped around before retiring as Green drove a steady race, saving his tyres – this is a twenty-five lap race remember – to stay a quarter lap ahead of Harrison to record his first, but surely not his last major championship win in formula one.

Nigel Green takes the 2017 European Championship, ahead of Ryan Harrison and Shaun Webster

Jones made short work of the grand national to take the Bev Greenhalf memorial trophy from Smith and Wainman, a mid-race caution allowing Nigel Green to climb up to fourth by the flag. After coming so close to shoot-out success last year and being top world championship qualifier this year, Nigel has certainly increased his credit rating within the big league by becoming European Champion in 2017. Skegness semi-final next!

Michael Green won the F2 European earlier in the afternoon so it really was a case of “British Racing Green” at Northampton.

Spectator numbers for the main event were certainly down this year. Some of this could be due to predation by wild animals in the car park field overnight, but joking apart there was something missing from the whole Euro weekend and I don’t just mean coachloads of vociferous Dutch supporters and mountains of empty beer cans. Answers on a postcard please – Europinion counts, or would do in an ideal world.

A second win of the day for Todd Jones in the Grand National

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley and Steve Botham

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