Northampton – October 18th 2009 Meeting Report


The second leg of Incarace’s autumn F1 weekend drew close on 50 cars to a cold but sunny Northampton International Raceway on October 18th, the entry including debutant 353 Nigel Friswell in Derek Wass’s car, a rare outing for 123 Richard Simmons and 187 Craig Smith in Liam Brown’s car after the latter took a knock at Birmingham the night before. Eight of the ten National Series Shootout drivers were present, with 16 Matt Newson and 259 Paul Hines again the only absentees, and it was 515 Frankie Wainman Jnr who took the final in a dramatic last bend scramble.

25 cars emerged from the pits for heat one including a quartet of Shootout contenders, with 295 Wesley Goodwin looking to build on his good night the previous evening as he led away. The field bunched early on with 463 James Morris hooking up with 330 Graham Wagstaff and with 54 Hayley Parkinson and 22 Will Yarrow crashing in the yellows flags flew. On the restart 212 Danny Wainman was the fastest mover and was quickly through to challenge Goodwin as 84 Tom Harris continued his lively weekend with big attacks on 2 Paul Harrison and 11 Neil Scriven. Goodwin had built a considerable lead despite momentarily being delayed by 301 Mark Allen, but Danny Wainman was flying through and caught Goodwin with two laps to go and went on for victory. Harris and Harrison filed past 55 Craig Finnikin late on and took second and third.

Result: 212-84-2-515-55-107-53-295-73-11.

Down to 21 cars for heat two which included debutant Friswell and the other four Shootout drivers. 143 Adam Bamford kicked off a lively encounter by firing in 209 Nick Read on the first turn allowing 498 Spencer Taylor into the lead as 390 Stuart Smith made another of his trademark fast starts to carve his way up the order. His brother 1 Andrew was enjoying a great scrap with 4 Dan Johnson and 462 Scott Davids with 12 Michael Scriven soon involved as well, and this quartet were soon trading hits on every turn. Stuart Smith meanwhile moved Simmons aside to take second as 258 Rob Harrad spun out and was collected by Michael Scriven and 153 James Lund, while Taylor held on until the penultimate lap when Stuart Smith took over and went on to victory. 347 Stephen Hopkins was third ahead of the battling Andrew Smith, Johnson and Davids.

Result: 390-498-347-1-4-462-21-8-41-37.

Three-Abrest at Northampton. Photo Colin Casserley

Three-Abrest at Northampton. Photo Colin Casserley

20 cars emerged for the consolation which began with 280 Colin Nairn hooking onto the back of Simmons but the former freed himself for a big hit on 308 Steve Malkin Jnr as 460 Chris Cooke led the early going. Morris’s tough weekend continued as he hit the wall following an attack on lone red top Michael Scriven, while a trackshop bend tangle saw Craig Smith mount Simmons’ bonnet for a stoppage to extricate their cars. On the restart 141 Carl Pickering was swiftly past Cooke into the lead with the white grader then coming under fire from 464 Luke Davidson and 327 Antony Davis. Lund moved past them all into second but then fell victim to a big attack from Davis taking both into the plating. Further back novice Friswell was doing well from the back until a late spin as Allen also went around, while Pickering headed home Davidson for a well received win with Michael Scriven third.

Result: 141-464-12-195-460-311-280-393-54-143

Photo Colin Casserley.

Photo Colin Casserley.

30 qualifiers contested the Final which included all eight Shootout drivers, with Cooke once again leading away as a pile-up formed on turn three, triggered by a spinning 91 Tony Smith with at least seven cars piling in. The yellows initially flew, and after consultation in Race Control a complete restart was decided upon. The restart was short lived as Tony Smith spun after tangling with Taylor, and the unfortunate 8 Mick Harris was fired wide at the wrong moment by Danny Wainman and crashed heavily into the side of the 91 car. The race was halted and a delay ensued while Harris was checked by the medics but fortunately no serious injury resulted. Goodwin led off when proceedings resumed with Stuart Smith straight back into attacking mode with a hit on Michael Scriven as Cowley battled Finnikin only to hook up with Taylor and head for the fence. Frankie Wainman was the man on the move and was up to third by half distance but Stuart Smith was soon right behind him and the anticipation rose for the big crowd over the second half of the race. Would a battle of the big guns ensue, or would they bide their time until the last turn? 393 Dave Plumbley spun as Neil Scriven briefly took over in front but Frankie Wainman and Stuart Smith were soon through into the top two places with Andrew Smith moving into third in the closing laps. It was now clear what was coming on the last turn and Stuart Smith made his lunge, but Wainman was ready for it and ran around the plating on the final bend before turning back to try to preserve his lead. The pair collided in a frantic dash for the line with Wainman getting there first to a huge roar from the crowd, while Stuart Smith went spinning over the line allowing brother Andrew through for second in a superb finish.

Result: 515-1-390-462-11-84-55-37-302-41

Stuart Smith Fires Frankie Wainman into the Armco. Photo Paul Tully.

Stuart Smith Fires Frankie Wainman into the Armco. Photo Paul Tully.

Stuart is Spun by Frankie on the exit of turn four!. Photo Paul Tully.

Stuart is Spun by Frankie on the exit of turn four!. Photo Paul Tully.

Frankie Wainman enjoying the moment on his damaged car. Photo Colin Casserley.

Frankie Wainman enjoying the moment on his damaged car. Photo Colin Casserley.

Despite the light fading following the earlier unavoidable delays 26 cars assembled for the Grand National including Wainman from the handicap. 73 Rob Cowley tangled with Pickering from the off with 302 Jim Bamford and the luckless Parkinson piling in and Danny Wainman hitting Bamford in turn, before Goodwin spun and was stranded across turn two for a stoppage. Neil Scriven was at the front of the pack for the restart as Andrew Smith and 21 Mark Gilbank got away rapidly from the rear, while Danny Wainman fired 107 Lee Robinson into 22 Will Yarrow shortly before Robinson blew up. Andrew Smith sent Harrison into Gilbank as once more the Shootout drivers battled it out among themselves, but up front there was no catching Neil Scriven, the yellow top’s brake disks glowing red hot in the gathering gloom making for a dramatic spectacle as he sped to the victory ahead of Davids, with Andrew Smith moving past 53 John Lund on the last lap for third.

Result: 1-462-1-53-84-2-41-515-4-390

A slightly drawn-out but action-filled meeting rounded off an excellent weekend in the Midlands with lots of full-bore race action, with Stuart Smith the biggest winner as he extended his Shootout lead.

Dave Goddard

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