Northampton, 20th May 2017 – Meeting Report and Photos

A rather lacklustre Northampton session, this one, not helped at all by the heavy pre-meeting rain which left the track somewhat greasy for the opening races. F1, Superstox and National Hot Rods filled the bill and with only 29 F1 cars racing a two-thirds, all-in final was the format.

Nineteen cars for Heat One and new red top Ben Hurdman (207) wasted no time in dishing out the bumper, despatching first Frankie JJ (555) and then Micky Randell (172) fence-wards. Shevill (518) and Cowley (73) were his next victims, followed by Steve Whittle (183) who was sent clattering hard into the plating. Mark Allen (301) led the early laps before Luke Davidson (464) took over, team mate Tom Harris (84) making a failed attempt at a last bender and having to settle for second place.

Jacklyn Ellis (219) led the opening lap of Heat Two with Dean Whitwell (195) for company until Frankie JJ, seemingly enjoying the greasy conditions, swept by for the lead very early on, dogged by Ben Riley (422). Riley closed right up on the 555 rear end but bided his time until the last bend. In went the bumper, both cars slewed sideways on the greasy track and both drivers floored the throttle in a drag race to the line with the young blue top just getting the verdict. Great stuff.

Frankie JJ (555) survived a last-bend attack to win Heat 2.

A drier track greeted the cars for Heat Three and this time it was Hurdman’s turn to find the fence. Stuart Smith (390) was clouted sideways as white-top Tristan Jackson (101) took the lead ahead of Ellis (219) with Harris clearly the fastest on track. Nigel Green (445) took the gold-top Number 1 car to the fence on turn three, scuppering both their chances as Jackson increased his lead to nearly half a lap by mid-distance. The flying 101 car only succumbed to the inevitable with three to run, Harris going on to win from Danny Wainman (212) and Davidson, with Jackson swamped at the end but coming home a splendid seventh, one place ahead of 390.

Heat 3 winner, Tom Harris

The all-in Final gridded 26 cars, led away by Miss Ellis and Mr Davies (325) with Mark Cooper (204) – apologies for not mentioning you earlier Mark –  bringing up the rear in another Newsonstock. Surely it must soon be time for a Mat Newson hire-car only heat? Anyway, I digress. Harris was my tip for top honours based on his earlier form but it was Ellis who led the first couple of laps before Shaun Webster (48) took over, with 101 second. Webster just got further and further ahead with Jackson second until half-way when Brad Harrison (25), borrowing the old man’s car, claimed the spot. Harris, Green and Harrison (197) had their own private feud with FWJ trying desperately to join in. Lee Fairhurst (217) moved into second with four to run but was the length of a straight behind Webster at the flag with Brad H resisting a lap bend challenge from Harris to take third. Honourable mentions for both Jackson and Ellis who finished seventh and twelfth respectively.

Webster scores his first ever final win at Northampton

Twenty for the Grand National which saw Frankie JJ again hammered into the fence, this time by the combined weight of 464 and 25. Jackson again drove a fine set of opening laps before being passed by Davidson who went on to win his second race of the night from Newson and Harris. Green and Harrison (197) finished their evening with a bit of sideways, tyre-burning show-boating over the slowing down (!) lap.

Finally, spare a thought for lower grade trier Chris Cooke (460). Making his first appearance of 2017, Chris had the sheer (or should that be shear) bad luck to suffer propshaft failure in pre-meeting practice and was forced to load up without turning a wheel in anger. He will return.

Luke Davidson came home first in the Grand National

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley

Something borrowed, something blue. Brad did OK in dad’s number 2.

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Track Photography