The now traditional World Masters meeting was held the day after the World Final, and it was a career-first Final win for Dave Riley. Starting from yellow grade, Riley hit the front on lap six, navigating the Northampton track with levels of pace and composure not previously seen from the driver of car 422.
Just two white tops had qualified for the Masters Final; Peter Kaulbarsch and Chris Cooke, and on the green Kaulbarsch was the first away and snaked down the home straight before Cooke took the lead on the first turn. At the back of the field, Dutch entrant Gary Castell fired John Lund hard into Dan Johnson, the number 4 car spinning on impact. Ryan Harrison found himself sideways after a big hit from Lee Robinson, but up front Dave Riley had no problems in powering is way to the front, where he stayed to the chequered.
Paul Hines was the first of the red grade drivers to make an impression, and he carefully picked his way through the traffic. Cooke held second place until the halfway, when Mark Allen eased by, with the 460 car then gradually fading down the order. Hines was up to third when the lap boards came out, but it was much further down the order where the scrapping for position was taking place. Lund punted Danny Wainman wide, but this left the 53 car in line for a massive hit from Chris Cowley.
The Lund machine incurred damage to the outside front corner in the heavy impact with the fence, but undeterred, Lund raced on, only to get to turn two and find that he no longer had any brakes. This led to an even bigger collision with the unforgiving fence, and this time it was unaided. The car came to a stop in a precarious position very close to the racing line, with marshalls quick to check on the condition of the driver. Typically unfazed, Lund simply reversed the car out of the way and the race continued without interruption.
Dave Riley took the chequered to win the prestigious World Masters trophy, with Mark Allen also achieving a career best F1 result with the runner-up spot. Paul Hines was unable to close up on the leading duo and had to settle for third, while Lee Fairhurst survived a last bend hit from backmarker Chris Cowley to finish fourth.
As for the rest of the meeting, the new World Champion Paul Harrison managed only a handful of laps in his first meeting with the gold roof. As after a great start he crashed out of the first heat in a pile-up, and the resulting damage to both front and rear axles was too much to be repaired on the day.
Chris Cowley borrowed his dad’s car after damaging his own the night before, and raced to yet another Northampton victory in Heat 1, with Dan Johnson snatching second place with an audacious last bend move on Murray Harrison.
Heat Two was a lot livelier; the large grid of cars couldn’t avoid tripping over and crashing into each other in the opening laps. Luke Davidson took the chequered, with Dave Riley offering a strong performance to finish second.
The star turn in the Consolation race was Mick Sworder, who appeared to be on a mission to hit every other car on track on his way to the win. Going into every bend, the 150 car’s front bumper seemed to find something to hit, although it didn’t slow Sworder down much as he scythed his way up the order. Dave Willis was one who attempted to put up some resistance, but for his efforts he was launched into the turn three Armco and the borrowed Michael Storry car went skywards. Dave later remarked that he had a good view of the clouds!
Despite the 30+ car grid for the GN, it was a fairly quiet affair, apart from the spellbinding battle for the lead between Lee Fairhurst and eventual winner Mick Sworder. Steve Reedman and Paul Carter both led the race in the opening stages before Fairhurst hit the front just after half distance. But Sworder was right behind him, and after a bit of dicing for position, the 150 and 217 cars raced side by side for over a lap, with Sworder getting the edge towards the end.