Northampton, 17th July 2016 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

45 cars were in attendance at a sunny Northampton for the second day of the 2016 European Championship weekend. Some lively racing on the Saturday night left fans looking forward to the championship races. 2015 Champion, Tom Harris, was unable to defend his title as he was across the pond competing in the Indiana Sprint Week, so a new champion was guaranteed.

The 2016 European Championship gridded with only one (official) overseas entrant in the race – Chris Weyenberg (H380). Lone white top Mark Gray (224) led them around for the start, taking the immediate lead ahead of the Webster brothers (48 & 401) in second and third. Before the race had really started, Ben Riley (422) climbed over the top of Daniel van Spijker (231), also catching out Luke Davidson (464). Van Spijker lost his wing and his championship hopes.

Meanwhile, Joff Gibson (249) got past Webster for third, as Rob Speak (318), pushed by Wainman (515), Fairhurst (217) and Sworder (150), went around in turn 4. FWJ spun behind him, while Sworder roared off after Dan Johnson (4), who was already showing impressive pace. Hines, Brad Harrison and Shevill went for a spin in turn 2. A rejoining 515 caught out the leader, who went wide, allowing 48 into the top spot, with Gibson in second and 401 in third. Mark Gray recovered to fifth.

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Paul Hines in a Newson hire car comes under pressure from Brad Harrison.

Lap traffic slowed the 48 car, allowing Gibson through to the front. Dan Johnson moved into fourth and set off after the leaders. Chaos ensued and yellow flags were called for. Junior Wainman pulled off before the restart, which was led away by 249 (who needed a push start), 48 and 4. The bumper soon came in on Webster from Johnson. Webster hit the wall on the first bend and Johnson set off after the leader.

Half distance and the Shootout Champ was out front. James Rygor (78) moved into third in the Newson hire car, with Green and Fairhurst rounding out the top five. Johnson extended his lead, while Mick Sworder, Brad Harrison and the Dutchman retired.

Five to run and Green got by Rygor for third and set his sights on Gibson, but Dan Johnson had built a healthy lead. Fairhurst went through into third on the last lap while Chris Cowley lunged at Gibson, spinning him out on the final bend. Dan Johnson took his second European Championship in dominant fashion, from Nigel Green and Lee Fairhurst. Gibson recovered to twelfth, which doesn’t quite do his impressive driving justice.

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Dan Johnson celebrates with the customary burnout

Heat 1 of the meeting proper was led away by 325 and 369, with ex-Rebels racer James Tucker (369) hitting the front and Jordan Falding (36) slotting into third. Falding planted a big hit on second-placed Davis and the yellow flags were needed to rescue the stricken white top from turn 3. The restart order was 369, 36, 401, 46 and 12. Webster (401) wasted no time in challenging for second and Michael Scriven (12) moved into fourth. Falding slid wide and tagged Utley, which held up Ben Riley, allowing 515 up the inside and into fifth. 401 successfully challenged for the lead and 12 moved into second behind him. By half distance, Scriven was in the lead, with Webster second, Wainman third and Nigel Green in fourth. Webster succumbed but 515 could not catch the 12 car. Scriven took a clear win ahead of 515 and 445.

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Mixed fortunes for Team Scriven in Heat 1.

24 cars for Heat 2, with Mark Gray and Jon Horne (19) on the front and superstars 16 and 4 at the back of the field. Webster (48) went through for second, while Stuart Shevill (518) challenged for third. Problems for Gibson forced him to retire from the race. Meanwhile Fairhurst and Johnson had worked their way into fourth and fifth respectively. Will Hunter made a move on Sworder and the 150 driver retaliated, shunting Hunter into the wall. 150 and 166 piled in behind him. The laps ticked down and 48 tried for a last bender on the long-time leader but missed. Mark Gray took his first win of the afternoon.

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The third win of the weekend for Mark Gray in Heat 2

Tucker led away the 14-car Consolation with Horne second, minus his aerofoil. The 19 soon lost out to Griffin and, at half distance, the 166 machine was closing on the leader. Griffin put the bumper in on the white top Tucker, pushed him wide and went through for the lead. Lone superstar Rob Speak had made his way to fourth before a puncture ruined his chances. With 5 to go, 78 took the lead, but Griffin was back out front the next time around. 166 took a well-deserved win, with former F2 world champ Rygor having to settle for second.

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Shale specialist Russell Cooper in the Consolation.

The Internations Cup Final got off to a lively start, with a rollover by Paul Ford requiring a full restart. Mark Gray hit the front after the restart, with Ultey claiming second when Horne slid wide. An early caution was called for to rescue Falding from turn 2. Shaun Webster got as high as third before slamming the wall on the entry to turn 3. 518 moved into third just before the halfway stage, but nobody could catch the flying white top. 224 took a flag to flag victory to claim his first F1 final, crossing the line ahead of Shevill and Hunter.

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Mark Gray takes the Bev Greenhalf trophy in the Internations Cup Final

Tucker once again took up the front running at the drop of the green in the Grand National, with Horne in second and Elwell third. Rygor was soon in amongst the leaders, taking the top spot before half race distance.

Sworder put the bumper in and wasted no time in taking second but was already about half a lap behind 78. The laps wound down and Sworder slowly reeled Rygor in. The 150 driver lunged at the 78 but missed; instead putting himself into turn 4 and riding the wall of the last bend to take second. Rygor took the last win of the weekend, showing some impressive skill in an F1.

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James Rygor celebrates a Grand National win after narrowly missing out on a victory earlier in the Consolation

Words: Rhosanna Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley

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