Northampton – European Championship July 21st 2013 Meeting Report

Ryan celebrates his European Championship victory. (SS)

Ryan celebrates his European Championship victory. (SS)

PR1MO International once again staged the European Championship; 42 cars survived the Saturday night to do battle around the Northampton Raceway.

The traditional first BriSCA F1 race of the day saw 32 cars take to the track, including 6 representatives from Holland. Tom Harris (84) would have his work cut out to defend his title, starting from the very back of the grid. Dutch duo Gerrit Zwerver (H19) and Joep Hendriks (H365) led them off and as normal with the closed grid race, the first lap saw total chaos. Zwerver getting the worst of it and was left hanging off the turn 3 plating leaving the Dutchman in a precarious position, shortly before a blue grade train went flying into the wall on turn 1.

Gerrit Zwerver tries to climb the fence. (SS)

Gerrit Zwerver tries to climb the fence. (SS)

Will Yarrow (22), Scott Davids (462) and Mark Allen (161) catching the brunt of it. The waved yellows were called for Zwerver. First lap casualties saw Matt Newson (16), Marcel Jansen (H46), Luke Davidson (464) and Frankie Wainman JNR (515) all retired to the middle. Rob Speak (318) and Ryan Harrison (197) had managed to pick their way through much of the opening carnage and both were up in to the top 10 already. Hendriks led the pack off on the restart, Harrison was quickly on the attack sending Rob Cowley (73) into the turn1 plating and had soon worked his way up to second place within a few laps. A hard charging Harris moved Speak aside in turn 1 just as Dan Johnson (4) moved Yarrow over to move into the top 5. Further down the field there was a great battle for the lower places involving; Yarrow, Lee Fairhurst (1), Mick Sworder (150) and Paul Hines (259).

The quartet of drivers exchanging bumpers and changing places lap after lap. Fairhurst who had lost a lot of time in the first lap melee, trying his utmost to improve on position sent Hines out to the fence in turn 1 just before waved yellows were called for debris on the track. Positions at the restart: 197 H365 84 4 532 318 259 1 22 150. Johnson at the green flag found a way past Harris and set after the rapid Harrison machine. Sworder attacked Yarrow into turn 1 and a lap later Hines did the same to Harris. The halfway stage was signalled and Johnson had made some ground on Harrison, but attention was on the battle between Harris and Hines. Further down the order Ed Neachell (321) knocked Michael Scriven (12) wide, who in turn collected Yarrow. Josh Smith (191) and Harmen Zwerver (H195) were also enjoying a battle amongst themselves.

Will Yarrow hogs the middle lane. (SS)

Will Yarrow hogs the middle lane. (SS)

As the laps wound down into the final stages, Sworder put a hit on the back of Fairhurst into turn 3 moving the World Champion over. Fairhurst repaid the compliment into turn 1 and both were joined by Harris. Harris moved under the World Champion for 5th. Fairhurst wasn’t having any of that and pushed Harris wide enough to slip up the inside. The next turn and Harris landed a big hit on Fairhurst as the lap boards came out. Speak and Hines were also having their own skirmish, the 318 machine fencing Hines in turn 1; but to no avail, something amiss on 318, Speak retired shortly after. Still clashing with one another, Harris put a last bend shot on Fairhurst and in a drag race to the line Fairhurst collided with backmarker John Lund (53), Fairhurst getting some air time off the outside rear of Lund, ending in a heap in the entrance to turn 1. At the chequered flag, Ryan Harrison took the win over second placed Johnson who was a few car lengths behind. Congratulations to Ryan on his first major title win in the sport.

Result: 197 4 259 84 1 150 321 212 12 22

Will Yarrow fine tunes the aerodynamics of Rob Speak's wing.(SS)

Will Yarrow fine tunes the aerodynamics of Rob Speak’s wing.(SS)

Heat 1 gridded up with 19 cars on track. Derek Brown (229) led the pack off from the white grade. Carl Pickering (141) was the first casualty taking a trip to the fence before passing the green flag. New European Champ Ryan Harrison (197) was the first to make an impression moving a train of blue graders over. Just before halfway Tom Harris (84) had moved Harrison wide and set off after the leading low graders. Chris Cowley (37) and Ed Neachell (321) were locked in a tussle with one another putting hits on each other at the halfway stage.

Chris Cowley gets a wheel on the curb. (SS)

Chris Cowley gets a wheel on the curb. (SS)

The lap boards were soon out and Mike James (417) found a way past long time leader Brown. Harris soon followed suit and moved under the white grader to take second. Neachell got a shot on Sworder moving the 150 machine out wide, costing a lot of time to Sworder and he soon dropped back. At the last bend there was a series of hits, Harris first moved James over for the win. Neachell moved Harrison over for sixth and lastly Sworder tried to move Paul Harrison (2) over, but this cost Sworder a place when Cowley (37) pipped 150 to the line.

Result: 84 417 12 229 73 321 197 2 37 150

Heat 2 rumbled out with another 20 cars, Gerrit Zwerver (H19) set the race pace from his pole position. The first retirement soon came in the form of Phil Cooper (154) with clear mechanical problems. Peter Hobbs (108) and Neil Smith (507) collided with one another into the plating of turn 1 ending their chances of a good result.

After his skirmish in the European race Zwerver was then reacquainted with the turn 3 fence. Highlight of the race saw Will Yarrow (22), Lee Robinson (H107), Paul Hines (259) and Frankie Wainman JNR (515) enjoying a bumper battle before the halfway stage. Danny Wainman (212) had got the early break and was now up to 3rd place.

Paul Ford (388) was away and clear in the lead over second place Daz Kitson (532) who then soon retired. As the laps wound down and the lap boards were out Danny Wainman was quickly catching the leader, but Ford’s lead was adequate enough that Wainman couldn’t get close enough to challenge for the win and Ford took the chequered flag.

Result: 388 212 4 259 H107 H195 515 22 H19 53 462

Consolation time; 16 cars remerged for one last chance to get in the final. Joep Hendriks (H365) started on pole and set the early race pace. At the start, Luke Davidson (464) attacked into the first turn just as Phil Cooper (154) retired. Shaun Blakemore (221) then shunted Marcel Jansen (H46) out wide in turn 3. Josh Smith (191) and Rob Speak (318) exchanged places on consecutive turns before Speak managed to get the better of Smith. Davidson put a sizeable hit on Peter Hobbs (108) sending the PR1MO sponsored machine rattling around the turn 3 fence; causing considerable damage.

The waved yellows were called for Hobbs who was in distress. Off the restart Hendriks continued to lead the pack, but the chasing top drivers were soon closing in. Fairhurst was momentarily embroiled in a bumper clattering skirmish with Carl Pickering (141) which delayed the World Champion, Fairhurst eventually got his way past and set off after Hendriks, making light work of the Dutchman Fairhurst got the lead.

Chris Cooke (460) was next to test the turn 1 plating just as Speak also found a way past Hendriks. Luke Davidson (464) was shown the black flag for reasons I’m unsure, but at the chequered Fairhurst took the win over a quickening Speak.

Result: 1 318 H365 191 412 377 221 462 H46

Peter Hobbs demonstrates his detachable air filter. (SS)

Peter Hobbs demonstrates his detachable air filter. (SS)

27 cars returned for the Final. Gerrit Zwerver (H19) and Derek Brown (229) headed the pack at the drop of the green, John Lund (53) caught the brunt of a train of red graders into turn 1 riding around the plating. The collection of red graders continues to exchange places for the next handful of laps before Ed Neachell (321) emerged as the first red grade to lead the charge. The yellow flags were waved for Rob Cowley (73) and Derek Brown (229) stuck in turn 1 fence. Neachell on the restart was straight on the attack moving Chris Cowley (37) and Paul Ford (388) over with one hit.

Rob Speak hard in the fence with Josh Smith. (SS)

Rob Speak hard in the fence with Josh Smith. (SS)

At the same time Lee Fairhurst (1), Tom Harris (84) and Mick Sworder 150 were scrapping for 9th place. Just outside the top 10 there was a monumental crash into turn 3 involving the train of Josh Smith (191), Danny Wainman (212), Shaun Blakemore and Rob Speak (318).

Wainman first into the corner was sent flying high around the top of the plating crashing back to Earth upside down, Speak got some air time too before clipping a post. Thankfully all were able to walk away ok. Naturally this prompted for yellow flags; at the restart positions were: 12 H19 321 259 37 1 84 4 150 417.

Back down to earth. (SS)

Back down to earth. (SS)

Paul Hines (259) was first to attack into the first turn just before halfway. Neachell repaid the compliment heading into turn 1; allowing Tom Harris (84) to close. Frankie Wainman JNR (515) who was having a quiet race, started to find some pace put a hit on the back of Paul Harrison (2) in an effort to move him over. At the chequered flag Michael Scriven (12) took back to back final wins after his Saturday night victory, ahead of Harris and Fairhurst.

Result: 12 84 1 259 4 H107 321 515 150 2

Will Yarrow under attack from Danny Wainman. (Steve Harris)

Will Yarrow under attack from Danny Wainman. (SH)

Grand National and 25 cars got themselves back out for one last race after a hard weekend racing. Michael Scriven (12) took the obligatory lap handicap at the front of the pack. After frantically repairing his car after the final, Josh Smith (191) didn’t last too long and soon retired to the middle. A fierce blue top train headed out towards the turn 1 fence with Phil Cooper (154) and Will Yarrow (22) catching the force of it. A quartet of Superstars including Lee Fairhurst (1), Tom Harris (84), Lee Robinson and Frankie Wainman (515) were fiercely trading places, Fairhurst making a mistake and getting hooked up halting his progress.

The front bumper man! (MH)

The front bumper man! (MH)

At the halfway stage Mike James (417 led the pack ahead of Paul Carter (300). Rob Cowley (73) once again took a ride round the turn 1 fence. With 3 laps to go Carter had found his way into the lead and this is how it remained until the flag, just as Paul Harrison (2) got the better of Ed Neachell (321) moving him aside. Robinson attacked Harris on the last bend, moving the silver machine over and letting FWJ up the inside relegating Harris from 7th to 9th.

Result: 300 417 141 150 2 321 H107 515 84 H195

Words: Keith Organ
Photos: Stu Stretton, Marvin Hall, Steve Harris

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