Northampton – June 21st 2009 Meeting Report

Murray Harrison (97) at Northampton

Murray Harrison (97) at Northampton

Northampton reverted to its more traditional sunday afternoon slot for the final F1 meeting at the South Midlands venue before staging the European Championships in July, and were rewarded with a more healthy crowd than normal taking advantage of some fine and sunny weather. A good turnout of cars had arrived to contest the latest round of the National Series Points Championship, many en route back from Ipswich the previous evening.
The first event was for the annual Harrington/Rigby trophy open to drivers who are currently, or who have held blue grade at some point throughout the season. 15 cars gridded, with Timmy Aldridge (257) surging into an early lead from Dean Whitwell (195) and Dave Hopkins (447). Aldridge was continuing his recent good form on tar, and quickly opened up a quarter lap lead over the chasing pack. The field were well spread with only Tom Harris (84) and Lee Fairhurst (217) making any ground on the front runners. As the five lap marker was shown, Aldridge looked to have the race in the bag, with Hopkins and Whitwell in pursuit. Fairhurst passed the #195 car for third down the far side, but was quickly punted into the armco on turns three/four by a hard charging Dean, who was in no mood to relinquish his podium place, the 195 car indeed placing third behind Hopkins and Aldridge.
Result 257-447-195-347-105-8-84-97-12-153.

Heat 1 proper saw 28 cars on the grid featuring 4 whites, 4 yellows, 7 blues, 10 red/ss and Lee Dimmick (459) and Dan Wainman (212) at the back who were tyre testing. As the flag dropped Dave Plumbley (393) lead the field away, as Messrs Stirk (65), Squire (311), Whitwell (195), Lund (153) and Davisdon (464) all went skating into the turn four fence on lap one. Martyn Bamford (43) also clattered the armco in turns three/four and came to a halt entering the home straight bringing out the waved yellows. On the restart, Plumbley was sent fencewards into turn one, as Micky Randell (172) and Chris Bonner (105) filled the top two slots. Randell continued to lead as the union flag was shown, with star man Harris (84) again showing well, running second, with Neil Scriven (12) close in attendance. Into the closing stages, Harris made a bid for the lead into turn three with 3 laps to go but Randell closed the door, a lap later the #84 car was not to be denied as he finally claimed the lead through turn three/four, but Randell was still close enough for an attempt on the lead car going into the last bend, Harris taking the flag from Randell and Scriven in a close finish.
Result 84-172-12-105-390-515-16-391-2-259.

26 cars on track for Heat 2 with Adam Slater (214) and Rich Masterson (103) heading the field from the off. Aldridge had again made a break from the yellow grade and placed third by lap two. FWJ was the first star man to make an impression, but at half distance it was a lower grade one-two-three with Slater still occupying lead position from Aldridge and Hopkins (347). Plumbley got out of shape through turns three/four as Slater tried to lap him, which allowed Aldridge and Hopkins through although Slater was quick to attack the 347 machine to regain second spot into turn one. Fairhurst (217) was making up ground on the leaders and was into third spot in the closing laps. As the last lap board was shown the #257 car seemed to develop a problem and ran wide into turns 1/2 which saw Hopkins take a late lead, Aldridge in his haste to regain the lead attacked on the last bend, but only succeeded in running wide and dropping more places to wind up finishing 5th. Slater finishing far lower than his drive merited however.
Result 347-217-195-447-257-4-515-84-55-214.

Heat 3 saw 26 cars take the green flag with pole starter Nick Read (209) and Adam Slater again leading the way in the early exchanges. Read had a look at the fence into turn 3 as Ryan Harrison (197) knocked Slater wide for the lead at the end of lap 1. Harrison quickly opened up a substantial gap and at half distance looked fairly comfortable with Slater and Aldridge again strongly placed. 257 passed 214 on turn 4 as the 5 lap marker was shown with Scriven and World Champion Andrew Smith (391) also making up ground on the leading pack. Into the final lap Smith was up to third place, but made little impression on the two flying yellow grade drivers, Harrison taking the win, with Aldridge placing second.
Result 197-257-391-12-390-259-172-2-467-107.

The feature final saw 27 cars on track, the grid made up of 2 whites, 6 yellows, 7 blues, 5 reds, 5 ss and 459/212 testing tyres at the back of the pack. Slater and Read were again quickly away as the flag dropped, but the green flag was soon replaced by the red flag as Hopkins (447) spun Bonner (105) into the home straight, climbed high over the 105 car ripping off the wing and almost rolling, coming to rest trapped against the armco, Squire (311) had also gone piling in so a complete restart was called for, which saw all bar 447 and 105 contest. Harrison (197) was quickly passed Slater (214) for lead position, with Aldridge also going past the 214 machine early on. Squire did likewise and was up into third, as further back Mat Newson (16) and Smith (391) were cutting a swathe through the field. Squire pulled off soon after and by half distance Harrison and Aldridge were one and two, with Smith half a straight further back. Randell was popped into the fence on turns 3/4 by Craig Finnikin (55) as Smith began taking huge chunks out of Aldridge’s advantage. Peter V/d Bosch (H482) spun in turn three and as #257 hesitated, #391 was through and set about catching the flying #197 machine. As the five lap marker was being readied Smith had eaten into Harrison’s lead and was given just enough room to pass through turns three/four. With 2 to go Newson also found a way passed Aldridge for third place, and Aldridge’s hopes of a good finish were dashed by a hard charging Tom Harris who fired the #257 car into the fence hard on the last bend to take 4th, Smith having taken the flag from Harrison a fine second, Newson third.
Result 391-197-16-84-2-4-12-515-5-390.

The Grand National saw 26 cars on track with final winner Andy Smith taking the lap handicap from the front of the grid. Slater lead away again, but then pulled off handing the advantage to Harrison (197) from Aldridge and Ian Venables (60). The yellows were waved soon after as both Richard Davies (325) and Paul Hines (259) were stationary at opposite ends of the track. On the restart the order was 197-257-H482-12-16. Newson was on a charge and was quickly up to third. He then passed Aldridge for second as Stuart Smith Jnr (390) had a run up at Lee Robinson (107) and drilled him into the fence on turns 3/4. Newson was through passed Harrison on turn four as the entered the final lap, but Harrison wasn’t finished and attacked the #16 back bumper into the last bend forcing Mat’s car wide wide wide. Harrison had also drifted wide and the momentum of the attack had allowed Michael Scriven (12), who was handily placed, to sail through to take the flag, the 197 and 16 cars clashing as they roared towards the finish line, Mat’s car bouncing the fence and Ryan holding on for second, Mat third in a quite thrilling finish to an action packed meeting.
Result 12-197-16-390-107-515-4-2-55-467.

A Zang

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