Northampton – April 14th 2012 Meeting Report

Northampton’s first BriSCA F1 stock car meeting of season 2012 saw 27 cars contest a four race format on a wet and cold night at one of the spiritual homes of Big League action.

Mick Sworder 150 in practice. Photo Steve Botham

Frankie Wainman jnr 515 in practice. Photo Steve Botham

Tom Harris 84 in practice. Photo Steve Botham

Colin Goodswen 372 in practice. Photo Steve Botham

All cars present could take part in the two heat, final and GN race programme, with all 27 on track for the first event on a decidedly greasy surface. John Weldon (235) spun as soon as the green flag dropped, allowing Mike James (417) and Nigel Haarhy (45) to contest the early lead, with Ed Neachell (321) in close attendance from the blue grade. An early race suspension to rescue the stranded Gary Townsend (223) from the turn three plating, also saw Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) depart early on to the infield. 417-45-321 was race order on resumption, as the rain started to fall quite heavily giving the drivers some testing conditions to race in, with many on a dry tyre set up.

the rain started to fall quite heavily, causing some testing conditions. Photo Steve Botham

a hard charging Mick Sworder 150 soon made his way up the order. Photo Colin Casserley

Neachell quickly made his way passed the two yellow grade drivers to take up the running, but couldn’t relax as a hard charging Mick Sworder (150) came barging through the pack to take it up, however both Neachell and James fought back and an interesting tussle for top spot ensued until the 417 car was spun away into turn three by the half distance marker. As the lap boards were shown, Sworder was now clear in the lead from Dan Johnson (4) who had made a late charge, Neachell and Scott Davids (462). Danny Wainman (212) landed a hit on Micky Randell (172) going into the final lap to move up into 8th spot, but there was no stopping Sworder on his charge to the chequered flag.

Mick Sworder 150 battles Mike James 417 and Ed Neachell 321. Photo Steve Botham

23 runners for the second heat which started in spectacular style as a shunt involving Dave Plumbley (393), Colin Goodswen (372) and Ed Neachell (321) saw all three end in a heap, with the 393 machine having his aerofoil remodelled by the 372 car and Neachell retiring with a blown back outside Goodyear. Lee Fairhurst (217) and Chris Cowley (37) also missed out on the complete restart, which saw Steve Reedman (361) lead the pack away until he was helped into the turn three plating which resulted in another stoppage, and at the second time of asking, Haarhy, Paul Carter (300) and James lead them off as the green flag flew. Wainman Jnr put the disappoinment of an early retirement in the first heat behind him to place third before half distance as Craig Finnikin (55) campaigning his tarmac tilting machine tangled with Michael Scriven (12) and headed for the infield. The 515 car overcame the leading 45 as the Union Flag was shown, with Tom Harris (84) passing Carter for second spot. Into the closing stages the top three read 515 from 84 and 150 and thats how it remained until the chequered flag fell. Danny Wainman (212) exhibiting some more last lap bumperwork, this time on 45 on the final turn relegating Haarhy to 6th place.

Nigel Harrhy 45. Photo Steve Botham

The 21 car Grand Final was preceeded by an impeccably observed minutes silence for Bev Greenhalf, a stalwart of BriSCA stock car racing for many years – particularly at Northampton, who had sadly passed away earlier this year, which was a fitting tribute to a man who had built Northampton’s reputation over a long period of time and been instrumental in forging and maintaining F1 stock car racing’s links with the Netherlands.

Steve Reedman 361 with his new yellow wing. Photo Colin Casserley

Reedman (361) and Haarhy (45) lead the field away as James (417) and Neachell (321) had a look at the fence on turn four. Danny Wainman (212) had made a storming start and was up into third position in no time at all, with Sworder (150) making a similarly impressive start to place fourth. At the halfway stage, the 212 car was into second behind race leader Reedman, with Sworder also into the top three.

Daniel Wainman 212 had a good meeting. Photo Colin Casserley

Frankie Wainman jnr 515 takes another final win. Photo Colin Casserley

Wainman made his move into turn one just past half distance, but couldn’t relax as European Champion Sworder was stalking his every move, and Wainman Jnr was also looming ready to pounce in third place now. Into the lap boards and the stakes were being raised. The 150 car took a dive at 212 who connected with the turn three wall, which allowed 515 through into top spot. Sworder through himself at the new leader who withstood the attack and got clear as Harris (84) came wading in on the final lap trying to dislodge the deposed 212 from third with a last bend attack which just failed to come off. Wainman Jnr taking yet another Northampton final victory from Sworder, with Danny Wainman holding on for third.

Mick Sworder 150 shares a joke with the Wainmans. Photo Steve Botham

Final winner Frankie Wainman jnr 515 alongside Mick Sworder 150 and Daniel Wainman 212. Photo Steve Botham

The last race of the night for the F1’s the traditional Grand National Championship Qualifier saw the speeds increase on a rapidly drying track, allowing the drivers to finally get the power down after spending most of the evening struggling for traction on a greasy top. Haarhy’s race got off to a poor start as he was spun around by Plumbley on the home straight as the action commenced, allowing Carl Pickering (141) into an early lead. Further back, the star men were getting to know one another and exchanging bumpers with Sworder giving Tom Harris some attention. Pickering and Carter (300) were the one two at halfway, with Harris, perhaps awoken by the attention from Sworder, and finding the dry track more to his liking, was on a late charge through the pack, dishing out the bumper to all and sundry, with only Carter providing an obstacle that the 84 car couldn’t overcome – the 300 machine hanging on for the win from as fast closing Harris, who just simply ran out of laps to challenge.

GN winner Paul Carter 300. Photo Colin Casserley

Andre Zang

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