Northampton – October 23rd 2011 Meeting Report

Northampton rounded off its BriSCA F1 season 2011 fixtures by playing host to round eight of the National Series Shootout and also round four of qualifying for next seasons race for Gold.

Ex-BriSCA F1 stock car driver Roger Bromiley 14 takes a turn in the Chris Cowley 37 machine. Photo Steve Botham

the Matt Newson 16 hire car in the hands of Terry Sparks 292. Photo Paul Tully

Amongst the 20 runners in heat one were a couple of novice drivers who chose to start at the rear of the grid, at the stewards discretion, Terry Sparks 292 in the Newson hire car and Simon Heath 87 in a Tony Smith supplied machine. Derek Brown 229 surged into an early lead as the engines roared into life, whilst the going got tough for Mike Kingston 488 and Colin Goodswen 372 who got into a muddle on turn one.

BriSCA F1 stock car drivers Mike Kingston jnr 488 and Colin Goodswen 372 get in a muddle. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stock cars of Rob Cowley 73 and Neil Scriven 11 get acquainted. Photo Steve Botham

Mat Newson 16 headed for an early retirement to the infield before the waved yellows were thrown for Sparks who had impacted the fence on the far side and was stranded on the racing line. Brown continued to lead on the restart from Goodswen, Mick Sworder 150 and Lee Fairhurst 217 – but the reigning European Champion was in no mood to stand on ceremony and charged into lead position before half distance.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Lee Fairhurst 217 alongside Mark Gilbank 21. Photo Paul Tully

Fairhurst stayed within striking distance of the 150 car as further back World Champion Paul Harrison 2 moved passed fellow South Yorkshire based man Mark Gilbank 21 for third spot, and early leader Brown eagerly swapped bumpers with Paul Carter 300. Fairhurst was close enough to attack on the last bend – and Sworder anticipated this by taking a wide line into turn three, hoping to slingshot back under the 217 car, but Lee had read Mick’s intentions and held off the retaliatory attack to beat Sworder in the race for the line.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Mick Sworder 150 in his heat. Photo Steve Botham

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Frankie Wainman jnr 515 in brother Danny's 212 machine. Photo Steve Botham

Slightly fuller track for the second heat with 25 cars ready to roll, including Roger Bromiley 14 making his first appearance in an F1 stock car for some 15 years. Roger had secured the use of the Chris Cowley 37 tar car to reacquaint himself with the BriSCA Big League. Frankie Wainman Jnr 515 was also on the grid, campaigning brother Danny’s 212 tar car after picking up a problem with his own racer at Birmingham the previous night. Peter Kaulbarsch 411, Steve Reedman 361 and Bromiley all battled for the lead as the flag dropped into lap one, with Bromiley making a dream start leading into lap two. The yellow flags were required soon after as Gareth O’Beirne 412 had clobbered the fence on turn three and needed assistance.

BriSCA F1 stock car drivers Peter Kaulbarsch 411 and Gareth O' Beirne 412. Photo Paul Tully

Race order on restart was 14-447-361-422, with Dave Hopkins quickly into lead spot as the green flag flew. Mike James 417 was making progress into the top three from the blue grade before Wainman Jnr made his surge for the front securing second spot as the union flag came into view. Hopkins was looking confident at the head of the field with Wainman trying everything to close the gap and keep the rapidly chasing Dan Johnson 4 at arms length. Into the lap boards, Will Yarrow 22 span Bromiley out of sixth spot going into turn one, where the 14 car was collected by Ian Bond 431, Mark Allen 161 and Joshua Smith 191. Hopkins kept his nose clean to record a useful win from Wainman and Johnson, fellow shoootout contender Craig Finnikin 55 coming home fourth.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Ian Bond 431 in the thick of the action. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stock car Heat winner Dave Hopkins 447. Photo Paul Tully

The consolation fielded 18 cars and saw a popular win for veteran driver 41 Robert Broome who swept his way to the front of the grid and drove a very tidy race to take the flag from Ivan Pritchard 434 and Dave Riley 422.

BriSCA F1 stock car Consolation winner Robert Broome 41. Photo Steve Botham

A full field of 30 cars made it for the feature final and an explosive start saw a massive shunt into turn one resulting in 217/55/2/4 all ending up being rifled into the fence extremely hard as the train of cars went piling into the first bend. As if this wasn’t enough, Paul Hines 259 and Rob Cowley 73 had tangled on the back straight, all of which resulted in a red flag being shown and a complete restart being ordered.

BriSCA F1 stock car Shootout collision. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stock car Shootout collision. Photo Steve Botham

BriSCA F1 stock cars of Paul Hines 259 and Rob Cowley 73 tangle. Photo Steve Botham

the damaged BriSCA F1 stock car of Lee Fairhurst 217. Photo Paul Tully

The chaos continued on resumption, with Cowley involved again, this time with Michael Scriven 12 and Gilbank on turn two resulting in just a yellow flag on this occasion. White grader Bromiley lead the restart away as Brown was bundled into the fence on turn one and was hit by Colin Nairn 280 so another caution was required to clear that obstruction.

BriSCA F1 stock cars of Mark Gilbank 21 and Michael Scriven 12 come to grief. Photo Paul Tully

Restart #2 saw the 14 car away again from Broome and Riley, with cars 14 and 41 taking turns at leading before the 422 machine went through decisively to take up the running. Sworder and Wainman were carving their way through the pack to shadow the leader before the 150 car moved clear on lap eight.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Will Yarrow 22 was docked places in the final. Photo Steve Botham

Gilbank and Bromiley got together on turn two leaving the 14 car stranded against the fence momentarily before a tangle involving Scriven and Hopkins needed the yellow flags to clear – the restart reading 150-515-16-84, Sworder surged away and took what looked like another NIR final win until post race analysis from the stewards box resulted in a massive 4 cars being docked for jumping the restart (of which they were several) of which race winner Mick Sworder was one, Matt Newson, Will Yarrow and Scott Davids the others to fall foul of the officials – so race winner was declared as second place finisher on track Frankie Wainman Junior, who took maximum advantage of this shootout challengers misfortune to take all 25 points on offer.

BriSCA F1 stock car final winner Frankie Wainman jnr 515. Photo Paul Tully

Some seriously damaged race cars left the circuit on completion with the cars of Johnson and Hines looking particularly sorry for themselves – but possibly the worst to suffer was Fairhurst whose car had the ignominy of being helped off the track by two tractors for the second time this season.

the BriSCA F1 stock car of Lee Fairhurst 217 suffered serious damage. Photo Paul Tully

the damaged BriSCA f1 stock car of Dan Johnson 4. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Dan Johnson 4 got back out for the GN. Photo Paul Tully

Some quite incredible race repairs in the pits got the #4 car back out for the final race which saw a 21 car field face 16 racing laps and this time Sworder wasn’t to be denied taking a commanding victory from Gilbank who showed well in this and Johnson who drove a stormer to bring his well worn looking racer home in third spot.

BriSCA F1 stock car Grand National winner Mick Sworder 150 smokes his tyres in celebration. Photo Paul Tully

So that wrapped up a memorable year for the F1s at NIR this season, where we have seen very popular drivers carry off the World and European titles at one of BriSCA F1s spiritual homes. The 2012 fixture list is eagerly awaited to see when the Big League are back to grace the popular South Midlands tarmac venue.

Andre Zang

all BriSCA V8 and F1 stock car drivers over the weekend carried a tribute to Dan Wheldon. Photo Paul Tully

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