Northampton, 16th May 2015 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

34 F1 Stock Cars arrived at Northampton for the Pre-British shake down; those expecting a quiet affair would be sorely mistaken.

21 cars gridded for Heat 1; Jordan Falding (36), the sole white grader, leading them off. The race settled down in a steady rhythm early on; Superstars Tom Harris (84) and Danny Wainman (212) attacking each other tit for tat in the opening laps; allowing Mat Newson (16) to break away and start to make an impression on the lower graders.

Nigel Harrhy (45) was the first casualty; slowing and coming to a halt around the outside of turns 4. Michael Steward (512) was the early race leader in hot pursuit from Jack Aldridge (421) right on his back bumper. Aldridge made a lunge on the back of Steward into turn 3 taking them out both wide to the plating allowing Falding to slip under to reclaim the lead. Falding managing to pull a gap on the squabbling yellow graders as they exchanged bumpers behind.

All eyes on the trio of lower graders at the lap boards; Steward bundled Falding wide into the first turn taking the lead; Aldridge also getting by for second, Newson then also sent Will Hunter (220) and Chris Cowley (37) wide in turn 3 to go fifth. Steward taking victory in a good opening race, Aldridge in second and Falding holding on to third. Further down the order, Wainman hung on in a drag race to the line after a last bend assault from Harris.

Result: 512 421 36 231 16 11 220 212 84 37 51 172

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Heat 1 winner: Michael Steward

20 cars reassembled for Heat 2; Jordan Falding (36) and Bradley Harrison (25) leading the field round. Ed Neachell (321) wanted to make an impact quickly and bundled the yellow grade wide into turn 3 as Frankie Wainman Junior (515) did the same to the red graders the next bend. Mickey Randell (172) became unsettled and swerved down into the first turn; Danny Wainman (212) making sure he didn’t get caught out bundled into the 172 machine in turn 1; taking Tom Harris (84) with him to the fencing.

FWJ pulled a quick gap on the rest of the reds; moving by Neil Scriven (11) swiftly in the process; Scriven wasn’t as easily moved over next bend and Lee Fairhurst (217) found he had to work harder to pass. Josh Smith (191) felt the front bumper of Lee Davidson (464) as Smith was snookered into Will Hunter (220) into turn 3; allowing FWJ to sneak under Smith and also plant Hunter wide into turn 1; Hunter tried to return the compliment into the next bend but couldn’t quite make contact allowing Wainman pull a gap on the 220 car.

Bradley Harrison (25) moved by Jordan Falding (36) to take the lead; Falding slotted into second and Neachell closing quickly in third. At the lap boards, Neachell over powered Falding in to turn 1; Davidson would then do the same to go third the next bend. The lap boards ticked away as Harrison continued in the lead; but the threat of Neachell and Davidson bearing down not far behind. Into the last lap, Davidson shunted Neachell wide to snatch second, but they couldn’t catch Harrison who took a fine win.

Result: 25 464 321 36 2 515 217 84 220 16 191 224

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Jordan Falding going well in the heats.

23 cars gridded for Heat 3; Bradley Harrison (25) leading them away; a big gaggle of yellow graders made it round the first bend unscathed; but into turn 3 it would be different. An unsettled Rob Cowley (73) entered the turn wrong; and Mark Gray (224) got caught out on his outside catching the plating courtesy of Shaun Blakemore (221) who was also caught out.

Frankie Wainman Junior (515) was again keen to make a good start and shunted Paul Harrison (2) and Danny Wainman (212) into turn 1; Harrison coming off worse; dropping back behind 515. Danny Wainman then, a lap later, knocked Steve Whittle (183) in to the plating in turn 1. A hard charging Lee Fairhurst (217) used Ed Neachell (321) as a cue ball to move Josh Smith (191) in turn 3, both blue graders dropping back significantly as a result.

Up front, Michael Steward (512) got himself into a comfortable lead; Harrison (25) in second and Jack Aldridge (421) in third. Harrison getting held up by a back marker allowed Aldridge to close and then pass just before the lap boards. The top three remaining unchanged to the end, further back though Harrison (2) had moved by FWJ, but in the last bend Harrison was punted by Wainman to swap back position and Dylan Williams-Maynard (51) scraped by Cowley.

Result: 512 421 25 217 231 212 37 464 515 2 51 73

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A second win of the night for 512.

As the preliminary races finished; the drivers, teams and track staff gathered on the centre for a tribute to Keir Millar; after he lost his life in a tragic accident. The tribute was immaculately observed around the raceway. R.I.P.

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RIP Keir Millar

The final gridded with 31 cars led away by Jordan Falding (36); it wouldn’t be long before the action kicked off; the mass of blue graders run out of room in to the first turn and the start of a pile up began to form; collecting most of the blues and catching out some of the reds also; several cars parked on top of one another. The red flags waved.

The complete restart saw a depleted field; but it wasn’t long before the action carried on; on lap two Mark Gray (224) was bundled into the turn 3 plating thanks to Jack Aldridge (421); Chris Cowley (37) followed suit when Daniel Van Spijker (231) was trained wide; with Cowley on his outside; the plating was the destination and the 37 car rode up and over; a caution was called for. Cowley bowing to the crowd to signal all was well.

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Problems in the meeting Final.

The restart was led off by Falding; with Harrison in second and Aldridge in third. Harrison was quickly overhauled and demoted by Michael Steward (512) and Aldridge. The squabbling yellow graders exchanged bumpers for the next few bends allowing Luke Davidson (464) to close and pass to go second. The superstars formed a train entering turn 1; Paul Harrison (2) and Frankie Wainman (515) pulled out some breathing space before a lap later Danny Wainman (212) was sent careering hard in to turn 1 by Tom Harris (84). The Wainman machine got decent air time in the process; he rode around the top of the plating. Harris also ended up in the fence as a result, prompting the yellow flags.

Falding led off another restart; followed by Davidson. Davidson bundled Falding wide in the first turn before, Fairhurst offered the same treatment to Davidson into turn 3. Davidson couldn’t quite connect into the next bend allowing Fairhurst to pull out a gap.

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An airborne Danny Wainman, after a hit from Tom Harris.

FWJ worked his way by Aldridge and Steward, as Harrison followed his tracks moving by the quick yellow graders in turn. Mat Newson (16) also followed suit and bundled Aldridge into turn 3, but didn’t quite have enough to get Steward in the same move. Steward tried to reclaim back fourth though; attacking the back of Harrison, but the 2014 British Champion was unphased and raced off after FWJ. The race started settle down at this point, Fairhurst out in front, Davidson holding second and FWJ third, with Harrison closing in fourth as the lap boards were shown. Four to go saw Harrison make his move on Wainman for third; Wainman, having no answer, dropped back into fourth. The top four remaining unchanged at the flag; Fairhurst taking a commanding win; staking his claim to the British Championship which would follow two weeks after.

Result: 217 464 2 515 512 16 421 321 259 36 25 221

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Final top 3: 217, 464, 2.

The meeting at this point was declared and the Grand National cancelled due to time constraints; following a great night of action.

Words: Keith Organ
Photos: Colin Casserley

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