Northampton, 29th July 2018 – Meeting Report and Photos

As I was saying, only the weather could put a dampener on things, but for ‘damp’ read ‘deluge’! The pile of gopher wood and the partially completed ark in the car park confirmed rain of biblical proportions had dropped overnight and the track had suffered accordingly, with a constant drizzle still falling.

Heat one for the F1s was brought forward to the first race of the afternoon to try and improve the track for the F2 European Championship race. 22 cars slipped and slid their way around on the rolling lap, reduced to 20 when Moore (127) and Woods (268) gave up and pulled out. There was absolutely no grip, the cars circulating in slow motion once the green flag flew with De Vries (54) and Zwerver (H295) out in front until a caution was thrown to move the stuck Harrison (25) car.

The slow motion racing resumed with Zwerver using the fence to keep his car pointing in the right direction but Newson (16) had found some grip, mainly by using the infield down the straights. Zwerver spun, De Vries spun, Zwerver took the lead again with Nairn second, until he spun and Frankie JJ (555) may have gained second, but he also spun.

Oudhuis (H477) was stuck firm in the mud with only Newson finding any sort of grip. Wainman (515) employed the 16 tactic of using the infield as Newson spun but Mat was so far ahead he recovered still in the lead while many drivers gave up and pulled onto the centre. Newson, I seem to recall, lapped FWJ on his way to victory – and Frankie was in second place!

Difficult track conditions in Heat 1

Two hours after heat one had started, heat two gridded with just 17 cars. Sadly there was no improvement in track conditions, with spinning cars at all points of the compass. Nige (45) followed Zwerver’s earlier example and drove the plating – it worked because he actually took the lead – until he also spun. Smith (390), meanwhile, was travelling slowly, sideways down the back straight when the yellow flags flew, but by now Roberts (313) was in the lead and Potveer (H62) was stuck fast on turn three.

The starter waved the green flag as the cars were right in front of him and Dowson (94) raced (!) up the inside for the lead but went AWOL soon after, leaving Jelle Tesselaar (H410), (also using the plating to good effect) out in front. Potveer again beached himself on turn three, Harrhy clobbered the infield banking, re-joined and took Smith and a few others into H62, in fact at one stage just three cars were actually circulating.

Smith’s efforts to batter Potveer out of the way amused factions of the crowd (but not Bruce, I suspect), with the 390 car eventually re-joining the race some laps down. Fairhurst joined the turn three mess after an earlier spin and Tesselaar continued scraping the fence. Dowson was now half a lap ahead of the Dutchman but while 94 took the flag, Tesselaar went out on the final lap in a pit bend tangle. Following a check of the charts, Fairhurst was judged to have won, despite spinning and briefly joining the Potveer party – I’m not sure if anyone actually knew who won for certain – Nigel thought he had but he was given fourth.

Following a check of the charts, Fairhurst was judged to have won Heat 2

It was clear now that some drivers were in no mood to continue and it was perhaps no surprise that the postponement of the European title race was announced to the remaining spectators. What was unforgivable was that people on social media sites knew about the postponement nearly an hour before us poor sods getting wet on the terraces.

An all-in final would be run with as many cars as possible and the 23 who made it on track are to be commended. The fact that only 7 finished shows you what sort of race it was. A narrow dry line had appeared by now and speeds had increased but stray into the wet and you were going nowhere fast. Chaos soon reigned on turn three again, with seven cars stuck but Jack France (216) was flying around, hitting everything in his way in second place, chasing after leader Scriven (11).

Hunter and Dowson lay in third and fourth until the 94 car took up the space recently vacated on turn three by Hines (259), who had been stuck there since lap one. France closed on Scriven and belted him into the popular turn three car park just as the caution came out, so 11 retained the lead but picked up a flat front tyre in the process.

The restart saw Scriven wide and France back in front until he hit the muck, handing the lead to Fairhurst, who slid onto the infield with a locked rear axle! Hunter took the lead with a couple to run with Maris (H61) second but it seems the Dutchman was actually a lap down and Billy Johnson (169) was runner up. Maris was still third, though so the infield doughnuts were not wasted.

Final Top 3: 1st Will Hunter, 2nd Billy Johnson and 3rd Koen Maris

Once the BriSCA snapperazzi had photographed the top three, just 10 cars came out for the Grand National, won by Tesselaar (H410) after early leader Scriven spun and new leader Maris popped a rear tyre with three to go. Mark Tesselaar (H40) also blew a rear tyre when second putting Hunter into the runner-up spot at the flag, amassing enough points to join the 2018 Shoot Out contenders.

Jelle Tesselaar took the last win of the weekend

The F1 European title race will now be run on 16 September as part of the World Masters meeting (keep checking the Incarace website for details). It is going to be a busy afternoon. Let’s hope Deane Wood gets the weather he deserves and the meeting goes to plan. My only concern is that the Netherlands drivers may not be tempted back for just one day of shale racing. That said, Venray held races for the dirt racers a few years ago and they looked quite at home on the hard stuff so maybe they will like Skegness?

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley

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