Northampton – September 5th 2010 Meeting Report

The traditional second half of the BriSCA F1 World Championship weekend saw around 50 cars arrive at Northampton International Raceway on September 5th, including the usual healthy contingent of Dutch drivers plus AUS35 Marty Wilkinson in a Josh Smith car and NZ52 Scott Joblin and NZ58 Peter Bengston, the latter racing the Dan Fox car while Joblin was in the Lintern car. 259 Paul Hines had suffered a disappointing World Final at Coventry the night before, but here he more than made up for it by taking the title in one of the best finishes to race seen in a long time.

22 cars lined up for heat one with 51 Dylan Williams the first to strike with a hit on 85 Iain Holden as up front 428 Richard Regan passed H44 Gosse Hoekstra for the lead. It wasn’t a good start for the Cowley family as 73 Rob Cowley tangled T-bone fashion with 347 Steve Hopkins while 37 Chris Cowley was fired wide by a big shot from H6 Geert-Jan Keijzer.

BriSCA F1 stock cars Rob Cowley (73) and Steve Hopkins (347) come to grief. Photo Colin Casserley

The yellows then came out for 91 Tony Smith who had spun into the plating in exactly the spot where Chris Cowley had fired him in during the infamous incident last year. Regan led off for the restart but just a lap later the yellows flew again. Chris Cowley had fired 4 Dan Johnson into Keijzer and 464 Luke Davidson with all four going in at turn four, the European Champion riding up the plating and rolling onto his side to end his meeting early. 141 Carl Pickering had meantime passed Regan for the lead and after the clear-up led until he spun, Regan and Hoekstra crashing into him to hand defending World Masters champion 84 Tom Harris the lead. The red top stormed clear in the latter stages for a fine win to make up for the disappointment of missing out on World Final qualification, while Johnson came out on top in a good battle with Chris Cowley and 212 Daniel Wainman for second.

26 cars for the second heat which began with 372 Colin Goodswen hooking bumpers with 393 Dave Plumbley, the pair coming to a stop at turn one where they were collected by 280 Colin Nairn for a caution. 512 Michael Steward had passed 460 Chris Cooke for the early lead and they were up front for the restart until 197 Ryan Harrison pushed his way through, but Hines was clearly the man on the move from the red grade and bumpered Harrison out of the way at turn one to take the lead. Despite running wide a couple of times in the closing laps Hines held on to win from Harrison and 55 Craig Finnikin, while 429 Gareth Wildman provided the only incident of note as he crashed into the wall at turn one.

BriSCA F1 stock car Heat winner Paul Hines (259). Photo Colin Casserley

The consolation saw 24 cars on track and was somewhat quieter. Regan led the early laps until Pickering bumpered him aside, and this time the yellow top would hang on at the front all the way. Further back Wildman spun out Hoekstra and H226 Pieter van der Lest also went around, while Regan took the best result of his F1 career so far with second behind Pickering and Holden just led 217 Lee Fairhurst across the line for third.

Dutch F1 stock car Pieter van der Lest (h226). Photo Colin Casserley

32 cars gridded for the title race, with Harris the favourite of most onlookers although he would start right at the back. It was once again Regan who led the early going after pushing past 238 Richard Bryan, but Pickering would soon hit the front once again. Bengston then spun on turn two to spark a small pile-up with Rob Cowley, 462 Scott Davids and 16 Matt Newson all involved and Fairhurst also getting caught up.

New Zealand's Peter Bengston (NZ58) takes a spin. Photo Colin Casserley

The yellows came out to clear the cars and the restart began with Holden going in on turn one as H148 Danny Smidt moved up to challenge Pickering for the lead. Further back 53 John Lund lunged at a struggling 515 Junior Wainman who retired a couple of laps later, while Chris Cowley and Hines chased down Smidt to go second and third. Hines caught Pickering and bumpered past him to take the lead with the yellow top then stuffed by the very rapid Finnikin who then passed Smidt and Cowley to go second. Finnikin was really flying in the closing laps and got within striking distance of Hines on the last lap which set up an extraordinary finish. Finnikin launched a full-blooded last bend lunge and managed to connect sending Hines sideways, but the 55 car rode up onto Hines’ bonnet and the pair slid wide. It looked as though third placed Harris would get through on the inside, but Hines and Finnikin both kept their throttles nailed to the floor and crabbed across the line together in a cloud of tyre smoke. An elated Hines got the verdict by seven hundredths of a second with Harris two tenths back in third and Smidt taking the trophy for the best overseas finisher. Magic!

BriSCA F1 stock cars Paul Hines (259) and Craig Finnikin (55) battle on the last bend. Photo Colin Casserley

A good field of 29 came back for the GN with Joblin the first to spin before Keijzer and Harrison tangled up on the home straight for a stoppage, Harrison clearly not happy as he revved his engine at the passing Keijzer while under caution before pulling to the centre. Leaders Regan and Steward had spun just after the yellow flags flew but were allowed to resume their positions for the restart, which saw Finnikin still in form with a good battle with Williams and Danny Wainman crashing into the spun Newson who was having a decidedly tough day. Holden took over the lead but this time Chris Cowley was the fastest man out there once Harris had been flagged in for a trailing bumper. A midfield dice saw H247 Gary Castell into the wall as Finnikin hooked out Danny Wainman, while Chris Cowley raced home to take the win from H007 Dave Schaap who got past Holden on the last bend. The race ended on a slightly sour note as 22 Will Yarrow hit the fence and 488 Mike Kingston Jnr crashed into him, the ambulance being called onto the track but fortunately all involved were OK.

F1 stock cars Gary Castell (h247) and Frankie Wainman jnr (515). Photo Colin Casserley

Although at times the 2010 World Masters did not feel like a big championship event – the absence of the World Champion perhaps contributing to this – this was still one of the livelier tarmac meetings of 2010 with a terrific finish to the big race the clear highlight.

Dave Goddard

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