Northampton – July 16th 2011 Meeting Report

Northampton’s European weekend Saturday night meeting kicked off under dry and sunny conditions which didn’t look likely judging by the amount of heavy rain falling locally pre-meeting.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Chris Cowley 37 in the damp pits. Photo Tonny Wissing

Dutch F1 stockcar driver Gert Jan Keijzer H6. Photo Tonny Wissing

29 cars lined up for the first heat with Gareth O’Beirne (412) debuting at the track heading the field away when the flag dropped as Paul Carter (300) and Tony Smith (91) rattled the home straight plating ending broadside on the racing line bringing out the waved yellows.

BriSCA F1 stockcars of Paul Carter 300 and Tony Smith 91 hit the plating. Photo Tonny Wissing

Dutch F1 stockcar driver Marcel Jansen 46 in the ex-Tom Harris 84 car. Photo Steve Botham

Nigel Harrhy (45), who had snuck into the lead prior to the stoppage, lead away the restart from Dean Whitwell (195), O’Beirne and Marcel Jansen (46), with Whitwell quickly into lead position on lap 2. Craig Finnikin (55) climbed all over Lee Pearce (233) on turn two – Pearce having an outing in the Mat Newson (16) hire car from blue grade – followed by Dave Schaap (H007) clobbering the stranded Finnikin car and spinning into the fence on the exit of turn two.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Dylan Williams Maynard 51. Photo Tonny Wissing

Whitwell extended his lead over the second place man – Dylan Williams-Maynard (51) – to half a straight at the halfway stage and held this advantage to the chequered flag. Current star of tar, Tom ‘Hurricane’ Harris (84) pulling off in the closing stages with a small fire under the car – post race diagnosis suggesting severe engine failure and a replacement unit being sought for the title meeting the following day. British Champion Paul Harrison (2) bumpered Lee Fairhurst (217) wide on the final turn to earn 8th spot.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Danny Wainman's 212 new machine. Photo Steve Botham

The second heat featured Danny Wainman’s (212) brand new tar car and Stuart Smith Jnr’s (390) newly refurbished tarmac machine. Two gold roofs on display in this race, Andy Smith (1) and Gary Castell (H247) lined up at the back of the pack as pole man Jack Coenan (H9) swept into the lead from pole position from Dave Hopkins (447) and Ian Brickley (246).

Dutch F1 stockcar driver Jack Coenan H9. Photo Tonny Wissing

BriSCA F1 stockcar drivers Dave Hopkins 447 and Ian Brickley 246. Photo Steve Botham

Brickley and Coenan tangled on turn four in the early stages and as a result of the chaos, Rob Cowley (73) found himself in first place, whilst Paul Hines (259) and Mat Newson (16) were making good progress. Ed Neachell (321) took up the running as the lap boards were shown and went on to record a comfortable win from Newson with a rapid Wainman third. Coenan’s eventful race ended when he took a trip onto the infield with Ivan Pritchard (434).

BriSCA F1 stockcar drivers Ed Neachell 321 and Danny Wainman 212 during the race. Photo Steve Botham

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Danny Wainman 212 on the rear of Ed Neachell 321. Photo Tonny Wissing

The last chance qualifier saw 27 runners and a big pile up on turns three/four as the flag dropped with Gert Jan Keijzer (H6) flying over the top of Neil Turner (126) and ending in a heap with Paul Hermkens (H36) as Joep Hendriks (H365), Cowley (73), Carter (300) and Colin Nairn (280) joined in, bringing about a caution to clear the track.

Northampton F1 stockcars getting in a tangle. Photo Steve Botham

Dutch F1 stockcar driver Gert Jan Keijzer H6 in the thick of the action. Photo Steve Botham

O’Beirne briefly lead the restart until a much improved Harrhy (45) went by in turn four. Pritchard briefly took another trip onto the infield with Schaap from the far side as Nairn turned it around on the exit to turn four and had an excellent view of the race. Harrhy continued to lead past halfway and was looking composed as Iain Holden (85) attacked the 45 car into turn four just as the lap boards came into play. Brickley also found a way passed the white grade driver, when the race was brought to a halt with just over a lap remaining as Ian Bond (431) had connected heavily with the parked Peter Van Den Bosch (H482) car on turn three and required assistance. The restart amounting to a one lap dash saw Holden retain his lead with no further dramas, Finnikin took second spot from Brickley and Harrhy who deserved a good result after a confident drive, saw his bad luck continue as he lost all drive on the restart and coasted round to finish out of the placings.

Dutch F1 stockcar European weekend competitor Paul Hermkens H36. Photo Tonny Wissing

Dutch F1 stockcar visitor Danny Smidts H148 alongside Dave Riley 422. Photo Tonny Wissing

Ron Kroonder H217 in front of Lee Fairhurst 217. Photo Tonny Wissing

Dutch visitor Joep Hendriks H365 in the thick of the action. Photo Tonny Wissing

The 32 car final saw no white graders qualify so Brickley and Holden made up the front row of the grid, and they lead the field away into 20 racing laps as Neachell (321) and Smith (390) had a look at the fence on turn four resulting in the former World and British champion retiring with an outside front flat tyre. Holden, Whitwell and Brickley argued over lead position, with 85 and 195 taking turns at the front. World Champion Smith (1) was spun around on turn two as Craig Utley (484) and Schaap clobbered the fence on the exit to turn two.

the F1 stockcars of Dave Schaap H007 and Craig Utley 484 clobber the fence. Photo Tonny Wissing

Wainman (212) was finding his new car very much to his liking and he helped Neil Scriven (11) into the fence on the old pit turn just before the waved yellows were called to remove the stranded 484 car from the outside of turn two. Dave Hopkins (447) found himself in lead position on resumption from Holden, Brickley – Mick Sworder (150) the first of the red grade drivers to show.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Mick Sworder 150. Photo Tonny Wissing

A fast moving Scott Davids (462) was up to second place soon after and challenged for the lead successfully just after half way. Finnikin moved into third as a good battle ensued between Dan Johnson (4), Lee Fairhurst (217), Sworder, Newson and Luke Davidson (464). Into the lap boards and Wainman made his way into third spot – Davids taking a fine win from Finnikin, Wainman surviving a last bend assault from Hopkins to place third as the flag dropped. Post race checks suggested that Finnikin’s car wasn’t compliant so he was removed from the results – Wainman and Hopkins now occupying the podium places.

The 30 car GN got off to an explosive start as Bond was shoved hard into the turn three fence with Smith Jnr, Maynard and Neachell (322) – the 431 car performing a wall of death manouvre around the fence and ending on its side so another stoppage was required.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Ian Bond 431 rides the wall of death. Photo Tonny Wissing

Smith (1) making his was back into the pits taking himself out of the restart. Harrhy, O’Beirne, Brickley and Carl Pickering (141) lead away the restart as Carter (300) had a go at Newson (16) into turn one. Pearce (233) and Finnikin tangled exiting turn four and Smith Jnr’s (390) night of bad luck continued as he coasted onto the infield before halfway. As the Union Flag was shown Holden, Brickley and Newson made up the 1-2-3, Newson appearing to be hungry for the win and he closed down the 85 car dramatically in the latter part of the race going through to the lead on turn four with just three to run to take another NIR race win. However, post race infringements regarding the cars weight resulted in Newson being stripped of the win, second man home Iain Holden (85) picking up the spoils of victory.

With the big race still up for grabs and Tom Harris experiencing problems, its anybody’s title. Who will be crowned 2011 European Champion? Find out here on F1 Stockcars.com

Andre Zang

Dutch F1 stockcar driver Ron Kroonder H217 alongside British Champion Paul Harrison 2. Photo Steve Botham

Top Dutch F1 stockcar driver Ron Kroonder H217. Photo Tonny Wissing

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