Northampton – May 15th 2010 Meeting Report

The second F1 Saturday night session of the year at Northampton drew a reasonable field of 40 cars for a World Championship qualifier, the entry including novice 488 Mike Kingston Jnr while 107 Lee Robinson and 238 Richard Bryan both had very smart new cars, the latter with an intriguing retro-style wing. The dominant forces on the night were 22 Will Yarrow and 259 Paul Hines, the latter scorching to a heat and Final double.

Photo Colin Casserley

In warm and very pleasant conditions – a marked contrast to the previous few days in the region – 23 cars lined up to contest heat one of the two-thirds format. Following a false start when 170 Mark Helliwell slowed on the rolling lap it was 252 Paul Redfern who led the first lap until 429 Gareth Wildman took over. Bryan tangled up with 97 Murray Harrison with 141 Carl Pickering crashing into them to ensure no repeat of his good results at last month’s meeting at the venue. Yarrow was soon up to second and reeling in Wildman as 55 Craig Finnikin took the recovered Bryan into the plating, while further back in the midfield 16 Matt Newson and 84 Tom Harris were dishing out the majority of hits in a good close display of racing. Yarrow eventually got the bumper in on Wildman to take over at the front, surviving a scare when Robinson spun in front of him to take the win. Harris fired Harrison in en route to second with Wildman holding onto third.
Result: 22 – 84 – 429 – 16 – 197 – 55 – 1 – 212 – 321 – 322

Photo Colin Casserley

The second heat drew 27 cars and began with 223 Garry Townsend spinning out 295 Wesley Goodwin who was collected by 191 Joshua Smith and 197 Ryan Harrison in turn. 302 Jim Bamford moved past early leader 143 Adam Bamford as 212 Daniel Wainman fired in the luckless Bryan, while Yarrow and Hines were the big movers from midfield and the former was soon challenging Jim Bamford for the lead, taking over just after half way. 172 Micky Randell spun Redfern who then took a head-on from 385 Steve Thompson as 390 Stuart Smith lost a wheel but no stoppage was needed. Yarrow made it a double ahead of the fast closing Hines with 515 Frankie Wainman third.
Result: 22 – 259 – 515 – 302 – 41 – 153 – 73 – 16 – 2 – 11

Photo Paul Tully

Photo Paul Tully

23 cars again for heat three with Goodwin making a better start to chase Wildman for the lead, while Adam Bamford was put into the fence by the pushing pack early on. 153 James Lund was also in the wars as he first got caught up with Joshua Smith before shunting with Goodwin on turn four as Wildman broke clear at the front. Further back 85 Iain Holden briefly hooked on the slowing Finnikin as Hines passed Thompson for second and set about whittling down Wildman’s lead. It did not take the flying red top long and with a few laps to go Wildman ran wide on the track shop turn and Hines didn’t need asking twice and took up the running. Further back Frankie Wainman put away 73 Rob Cowley as 1 Andrew Smith got past Thompson for second but couldn’t catch Hines who took the win.
Result: 259 – 1 – 385 – 429 – 172 – 2 – 322 – 515 – 84 – 41

Photo Paul Tully

Against the backdrop of a beautiful sunset – how many times have we been able to say that of late? – and a warm atmosphere of anticipation the 28-car Final was delayed briefly as a fuel leak was spotted from Thompson’s car and the UK Open winner was pushed to the infield. The remaining 27 set off into the gathering dusk with Wildman once again leading as Andrew Smith began a good scrap with 2 Paul Harrison and Frankie Wainman. Robinson was out of luck again as he hooked up with 11 Neil Scriven to go into the wall with Cowley and Lund crashing into them but the melee sorted itself without need for a stoppage. Daniel Wainman then joined the battle further back by firing Andrew Smith into Finnikin as 4 Dan Johnson did likewise to Harris stuffing him into Newson, but the former’s race was soon over thanks to a puncture. Wildman’s streak of bad luck then sadly returned as his car let him down and the leader was on the infield leaving 41 Robert Broome heading the pack. Andrew Smith was fighting up the order once again and fired Harris into 322 James Neachell with the former pair then combining to muscle Newson wide and nearly into the plating as the fast and furious action continued, the cars appearing to increase in speed all the time as the light faded. Hines was again the fastest mover from the red tops and moved onto the rapid Broome’s tail with three laps to run, bumpering the yellow top wide into turn one to take over for his second win having displayed excellent controlled speed and aggression all night. Yarrow came through late on for second with 464 Luke Davidson third, Broome just missing out on a podium place.
Result: 259 – 22 – 464 – 41 – 2 – 1 – 302 – 84 – 16 – 197

Photo Paul Tully

The night’s biggest grid of 28 assembled for the Grand National with the sun now sinking below the horizon and NIR’s new floodlights showing their full and impressive effect with the atmosphere seeming to heighten even further. Plenty of big hits amongst the blue tops characterised the early laps as Adam Bamford led off, but Davidson and Andrew Smith had made stunning starts from towards the back and the former took the lead entering the third lap. Yarrow took up the chase but was powerless this time to avoid the World Champion’s attack, while further back Hines soon latched onto the main pack from his handicap and piled Holden into Broome as he began to chase double points but would not quite crack the top ten by flagfall. Davidson was ahead at half distance but Andrew Smith was right on his tail, while the latter’s brother was out of luck once again as he dropped out with a flat tyre, the silver top’s season of struggle showing little sign of improvement. On lap nine Andrew Smith took over the lead and carved deftly through the backmarker traffic over the remaining laps for a dominant win, Yarrow taking Davidson for second to complete an excellent night for the blue top and Paul Harrison winning a scrap with Harris for fourth.
Result: 1 – 22 – 464 – 2 – 84 – 107 – 515 – 385 – 55 – 197

Photo Colin Casserley

Dave Goddard

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