Northampton, European Championship 19th July 2015 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

The European Championship race saw a big push on the first bend claim Goodswen, Brad Harrison and Allen (499), with the 372 car forced up onto two wheels. Shaun Webster retired to the infield while 259, 12, 4 and 53 tangled on the fourth bend, being joined by 150, 446 and 2. Whittle (183) led as Wainman (515) put a hit in on Harris to no avail and Johnson (4) tangled again, this time with Cooke (460). Another three cars came to grief on the fourth bend car park and Fairhurst made progress towards the front. Just who was in the lead was open to debate, even the starter seemed at a loss with so many cars coming and going.

Danny Wainman, having worked hard to get his shale car into tarmac race trim, ended his race in a hard smash into the wall with 220 and 518. FWJ dived inside Fairhurst and Ed Neachell (321) appeared to hold the lead position with 202 second at the halfway stage. Hunter had the audacity to move the 321 car aside to regain the lead briefly until Neachell sent him fencewards on turn three next time around. 217 took second off Hunter, only for the 202 car to take the place back.

While all this was going on, defending European Champion, Frankie Wainman Junior, moved into second place with Harris closing fast. With just over a lap to go Harris made his move, belting 515 into 321 on the third bend and then knocking Wainman’s front wheels towards the fence as they started the last lap, leaving no chance for the Silsden man to get back on him. Fairhurst finished third from Finnikin, with Hunter an amazing fifth.

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Outgoing champion FWJ congratulates the new European Champ, Tom Harris.

Shaun Webster had a relatively untroubled run to the chequered flag in Heat One although Dan Johnson tried his damndest to close the gap on the leader, going in hard on the last bend but not connecting with the 48 car.

The yellow flags flew early on in Heat Two for Paul Carter (300) who was stuck on the home straight. Craig Finnikin was removed to the centre before the restart, which saw Goodswen the early leader until Henry Hunter took over, the 372 car clobbering the third turn wall with a flat front tyre. Hunter drove away from the field once again, crossing the line some distance ahead of second placed Neachell.

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Heat 2 saw another win for 202 Henry Hunter.

Goodswen kept the air in his tyres for all 16 laps in the twenty car Consolation to record a deserved victory from new Ben Fund champion Paul Ford (388) and new Euro Champ Harris.

Goodswen also made his mark in the twenty-lap Internations Cup final but not in a good way, the Norwich man being swept into the turn four fence in the company of 11, 14, 25 and 36, finishing on his side against the plating. After a lengthy delay to remove the 372 car and repair the fence, the restart saw Hunter (202) out in front once again as Harris spun on the pit bend whilst attempting to move slower cars. Johnson got a flyer of a start, up to fourth within a few laps and taking both second and third place cars with ease in his pursuit of Hunter, taking the lead on the third bend with a little gentle bumperwork.

Newson moved into second spot but there seemed to be oil on the track, the Johnson car hanging out the rear on every bend as he struggled to maintain a tight line. Rob Speak, ever the strategist, read the track correctly and moved to the outside line against the fence, gaining yards on 202 and 4. With two to run he took Hunter for second, then roared past Johnson as they started the last lap. Johnson stuck to the inside line, making a desperate lunge at the 318 car on the last bend. He connected with Speak but the impact spun the 4 car and 318 crossed the line for an emphatic victory. Hunter finished second with Sworder, following Speak’s lead around the outside, taking third.

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A well-deserved final win for Rob Speak.

Webster was the early leader in the Grand National until Hunter took over within a few laps to chalk up his second win and complete an amazing performance over the Euro weekend – four wins, fifth in the big race and second in the Sunday final – red paint please!

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley and Steve Botham

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