Northampton – July 17th 2010 Meeting Report

The Saturday night build up for the European Championship saw fifty-four cars make the trip to Brafield. Unfortunately, no doubt due to this current financial climate, only three of these visitors were dutch. In the past, the Euro weekend has attracted many more drivers and fans from the Netherlands. Any dutch drivers would of course not only be paying for their trip over but would also have to buy tyres for the whole weekend, change shockers and brakes. As it was, it was good to see Joep Hendriks (h365), Geert Jan Keizer (h6) and Peter van den Bosch (h482) make the journey and race on both days. The meeting format was to be the usual twelve qualifying from the heats and eight going through to the final from the consolation.

Dylan Williams-Maynard (51) was present for only his third meeting in his beautifully presented ex-Dave Barry car, as was Dan Fox (480) in the newly acquired ex-Spencer Taylor machine. Richard Regan (428) also made the trip in his newly purchased Ryan Harrison car, with Ryan being present and on hand to help out with the car. Joe Booth (446) was driving an older Craig Utley tarmac car, no doubt with the Buxton semi final in his mind. It also saw an outing for Stu Smith jnr who was unlikely to make the National Points shootout, needing to obtain a massive points haul at the remaining meetings, included the previous Skegness speedweekend.

Twenty-three cars came out for heat one with Dylan Williams-Maynard (51) on pole alongside Adam Bamford (143). Williams-Maynard dashed into the lead and set about extending it while at the rear, Frankie Wainman jnr (515) roared straight past tyre-testing Paul Harrison (2) and James Neachell (322) before laying into UK Open winner Steve Thompson (385) with his bumper, to make his way further up the field.

Joep Hendriks h365 n Chris Cooke 460

Joep Hendriks h365 and Chris Cooke 460. Photo Colin Casserley

Chris Cowley (37) on going hard into turn one, went up over the side of yellow grader Chris Cooke (460) and following cars were unable to avoid, with Garry Fox (48) and Dave Plumbley (393) colliding and Geert Jan Keizer (h6) ending up atop Cooke’s nearside nerf and being forced to retire to the infield. Sean Willis (287) and Plumbley stayed in the fence with Willis managing to get back into the race as it neared it’s end.
Tom Harris (84) continued to make good progress through the field as Carl Pickering (141) moved into second place with five laps to go. Harris meant business and was soon accelerating upto third place Kingston jnr (488), deftly taking his place on the next lap before moving on to trying to reel in Pickering. Williams-Maynard was having a clear run upfront and looked to be the likely winner like so many of the Young Guns before him, until his outside tyre let go and he was forced to retire to the infield, gifting the lead to Pickering. Tom Harris now in second was putting in a sterling effort to get near to the leader and going into the last lap was near enough to make contact but held off until the last bend when he went in with his bumper. Pickering stood on his brakes from the entrance to three, but it wasn’t enough to prevent him from being sent wide for Tom to nip through to take the chequered flag.
84 – 141 – 464 – 488 – 515 – 105 – h365 – 37 – 2 – 322 – 459 – 385

Joep Hendriks h365 and Tom Harris 84 vie for position. Photo Paul Tully

Joep Hendriks h365 n Tom Harris 84

Tom Harris 84 gets past Joep Hendriks h365. Photo Colin Casserley

As is often the case at Brafield, the heats were a bit uneven with thirty-one cars coming out for heat two. Of the thirty-one, Dan Fox (480) and Liam Brown (90) in Josh Smith’s shale cars took up the front row with Carlos Perez (305) starting at the rear as he was back on familiar ground, testing tyres. Liam Brown nipped ahead of Fox with Mark Elsdon (401) taking up third. Unfortunately, Garry Townsend (223) got sideways on turn two and the following cars piled in creating a blockage, with the red flags being shown for a complete restart. Elsdon and Brown made up the front row this time, with Brown getting it sideways going up the homestraight, taking Elsdon with him to the infield. Fox took up the running while at the back, Iain Holden (85) spun round, as Matt Newson (16) and Andy Smith (1) momentarily became hooked up with Newson, popping a tyre, ending his race. Peter van den Bosch (h482) bumpered Robert Broome (41) aside, before on the next bend trying for Richard Regan (428). At this point, Colin Goodswen (372) who seems to take a different but effective racing line to the rest, had taken the lead.

Dan Johnson 4 and Lee Robinson 107 round Northampton. Photo Chris Clark

Further back Dan Johnson (4) was setting a good pace, getting ahead of Lee Robinson (107), Paul Hines (259) and Lee Fairhurst (217) who were all gleefully exchanging bumper hits and swapping places. Current World Champion Andy Smith was closing them down, bumpering Robinson and cruising past leaving Robinson and Fairhurst continuing to vie for position. Goodswen continued in good form with Peter van den Bosch having working himself into second place with his bumper, but was unable to close the gap on Goodswen, who cruised to victory.
372 – h482 – 4 – 1 – 259 – 390 – 217 – 41 – 212 – 11 – 17 – 305

Dan Fox 480 n Heat winner Colin Goodswen 372

Dan Fox 480 and Heat winner Colin Goodswen 372. Photo Colin Casserley

Twenty-six cars made it for the consolation with Maynard-Williams again being on pole. The race to my eyes, was nothing really to write home about, being a bit lacklustre but sometimes it happens that way. The quick Steve Hopkins (347) romped home after Williams-Maynard was again forced to retire to the infield after leading a few laps.
347 – 60 – 191 – 223 – 153 – 16 – 143 – 321 – 48 – 85

Dan Fox 480 sideways n Ed Neachell 321

Dan Fox 480 sideways t-boned by Ed Neachell 321. Photo Colin Casserley

The Final saw thirty-two cars make it out with Mike Kingston jnr and Adam Bamford being the only white tops present with over half the field possessing a red roof. At the green, Kingston jnr shot off with Ian Venables making his way purposefully into third place. Venables went in with the bumper on second place Bamford, while at the back Andy Smith hit Mat Newson who in turn thumped into Frankie Wainman jnr on turns one and two. All the reds were racing as one and all trying to push their way to the front.

BriSCA F1s in action at Northampton going into turn three. Photo Paul Tully

Lee Robinson and Luke Davidson (464) were squeezed wide coming out of turn two, got locked together hitting the armco along the back straight before coming to a halt by the pitgate. At this point down on turn three Robert Broome made contact with the infield marker tyres and flew up into the air, rolling and coming to a halt upside down as the race was brought to a complete halt.
Restart order 488 – 143 – 60 – 191 – 372 – h365 – 223 – 347 – 141 – 105 – 37 – 153 – 11 – h482 – 322 – 259 – 217 – 4 – 1 – 16 – 515 – 390 – 84 – 2 – 459 – 321 – 212 – 385 – 305

At the restart, Dan Johnson was quick away, trying to put some distance between him and the rest of the reds, and Ian Venables forced his way to the front of the field. James Neachell (322) found himself pushed out wide as Chris Cowley, Carl Pickering and Garry Townsend came together in a tangle on turn two. Tom Harris had bypassed Stu Smith (390) but Stu was not letting him get away easily and was on him as Paul Harrison lurked behind, but Harris held on. Andy Smith despatched with Joep Hendriks (h365) and Chris Cowley in one swoop on turn three as Frankie Wainman jnr began to noticeably produce smoke from the rear of his car.

Chris Cowley 37 went well in the final after the oil was dropped. Photo Colin Casserley

Joep Hendriks and Chris Cowley flew fencewards on their next lap and it initially looked like Cowley had gone in ‘too hot’ but it soon became clear that one of the cars was dropping oil on the last bend as numerous cars continued to fence themselves going into the turn, clattering round the armco. Dan Johnson and Tom Harris tustled for position as Frankie Wainman jnr assaulted Paul Hines (259) with his bumper. Stu Smith, like many before him, fenced himself and was forced to retire to the infield, while brother Andy led the field by the time the lapboards came out.

Andy Smith 1 overtakes brother Stu Smith 390. Photo Paul Tully

Due at least partially to the oil, the cars became spread out and equally paced. Chris Cowley took a slow, wide line into the bends but could not anywhere get near the Smith car. At the start it had looked like it was to be a good race where you did not know where to look until the oil went down; possibly from Wainman as he was smoking but it did not impede his progress of making it onto the podium.
1 – 37 – 515 – 105 – 84 – 4 – 322 – 2 – 153 – 217

Frankie Wainman jnr 515

Frankie Wainman jnr 515 took third in the Final. Photo Chris Clark

As the cars filtered out for the Grand National, it became clear there was an issue with the number of cars on track. Frankie Wainman jnr came down the pitlane and as one of the top three in the Final, he automatically has a place in the GN. This caused some stirring as a steward at the pitgate was signalling that the car limit had already been reached. Wainman was allowed on but in doing so, someone else had to negate their place. The nearest car was Matt Newson, who was far from impressed as he spun his car round and parked at the top of the pitlane before coming down on foot to ‘have a word’. Stu Smith was also not allowed on, then allowed on, and was spoken to by the stewards once on the track and had to leave again, parking his car in the pitlane as he was unable to bypass Newson’s car.

Deane Woods and BSCDA officials also became involved in the discussions, with Chairman Neil Scothern himself being present. Carlos Perez pulled off track onto the infield and got out of his car and it potentially looked like someone else may get to race instead. A quick glance up the pitlane showed there were several other cars out there waiting to see whether they would be allowed on or not. After some more discussion, the pitgate was reopened yet again and all the cars waiting were waved onto the track to cheers from the crowd. Stu Smith jnr, Matt Newson, Timmy Farrell, Chris Bonner, Neil Scriven, Mike Kingston jnr, Carl Pickering and Mark Elsdon all trooped on as Carlos Perez quickly sprinted over to his car on the other side of the infield and put his race helmet back on. In total, forty-two cars took the green for the most exciting tarmac race of the season.

Dylan Williams-Maynard 51

Dylan Williams-Maynard 51 lines up. Photo Chris Clark

At the green, Williams-Maynard led them away and as they completed a lap an erratic Mark Elsdon finally lost control down the backstraight; colliding with Chris Bonner, getting him sideways t-boning him in turn three with the following field piling in, resulting in yellow flags. Once the chaos was resolved and the cars lined up, they almost stretched right round the track for the restart and it looked very likely that Andy Smith would get to be in the points. Dylan Williams-Maynard still led the field, followed by Dan Fox with a lap down James Neachell sandwiched between them.
51 – 322 – 480 – 488 – 191 – 141 – 84 – 464 – 259 – 459 – 107 – h482 – 4 – 217 – 390 – 515 – 16 – 428 – 85 – 2 – 467 – 305 – 1 – 385 – 53 – 48 – 11 – 321 – 372 – h6

At the restart, I stopped making notes and just enjoyed the awesome race. Bumpers were going in at both ends with Stu Smith laying into Lee Fairhurst and getting the compliment repaid immediately after. Tom Harris made his presence felt, thumping everyone in front of him including Stu and Andy Smith. Luke Davidson (464) managed to break clear, driving well to take the win as Dylan Williams-Maynard held on to take a well earned third place in a very busy race.
At the end, Andy Smith had survived the entire race but on the last bend, became hooked up with Tim Farrell, ended up pointing the wrong way and did not manage to finish before the red flags came out. This lost him his bonus five points and a probable position but with his massive points lead of nearly two hundred points, five points must be a very small drop in the ocean.
464 – 107 – 51 – 4 – 259 – 488 – 515 – 84 – 390 – 191

Andy Smith tangles with Tim Farrell. Photo Paul Tully

Andy Smith getting damage in the GN. Photo Paul Tully

Not the greatest meeting in the world, but brought to exceptional life by the drama of the Grand National. If you weren’t there for that race, you missed a rare treat. It also appeared that after looking on the pace in practice, Frankie Wainman was starting to get to grips with car set up as (unofficially) he scored exactly the same number of points as final winner Andy Smith and the always improving Tom Harris.

Ailsa Haigh

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