Northampton, 22nd June 2014 – meeting report and photo gallery

Northampton International Raceway hosted its 600th BriSCA F1 meeting on 22nd June. Initially named after the nearby village of Brafield–on–the–Green, the track was originally built in the late 1940s for the short-lived post war boom in Midget car racing. The dirt oval held Speedway meetings for a few years before holding its first stock car meeting in August 1955. The track was concreted in 1958, and is widely acknowledged to be the first hard top stock car oval in the UK.

The Stadium hosted several live TV broadcasts, most notably on ITV’s World of Sport programme in the early 1980s, and earlier this year was part of a BBC archive programme featured Pathe News footage filmed at the Raceway in the 1950s.

The 600th meeting was marked by a display of cars from the various decades, and a crowd pleasing demonstration race which was won by Dan Squire driving a replica of the 1973/74/75 World final winning car of Dave Chisholm.

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The stunning replica of the Dave Chisholm car that won the 1973, 1974, and 1975 World Finals.

Many of the competitors who had raced at the track were invited to along, among them George Ansell who raced at the track from 1959 to 1976 winning nine finals at the venue.

Northampton’s 600th BriSCA F1 meeting served up a final that will be remembered for a long time with seven different race leaders and plenty of bumper work through out the field that meant places were being swapped at every corner.

Ben Hurdman grabbed the early lead before Carl Pickering edge into the lead; Robert Broome then held the point briefly before Dan Johnson overhauled him at the halfway point. But as Pickering tried to regain the lead he was punted into the wall bringing out the caution flag.

On the ensuing restart Tom Harris barged his way into the leader before Mick Sworder nudged Harris wide allowing Lee Fairhurst to sneak by into a race winning lead. Afterwards, Lee commented

That was a great race, It was a hard hitting race but it was a great just to be involved in it. I would have said that even if I hadn’t won.

I didn’t have the fastest car today, but I was in the right place at the right time, that’s Stock car racing. After I got by Harris I expected him to come back at me, but when he didn’t I just tried to keep it smooth as the front wasn’t gripping and I just tried to keep the tyres from overheating.

Sworder managed to hold on to second with Johnson fighting back for third place. A dejected third placeman Johnson said

I didn’t need the yellow flag. It was a great battle, with some hard hits, some drivers were hitting harder than others, but the yellow flags did me

Harris, who had swapped engines overnight after suffering problem with his power plant at Ipswich, came back in strong fashion to win the Grand National after muscling his way past long time race leader Paul Carter in the closing stages.

Words and photos: Colin Casserley

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