Semi-Final #1 2009 – Race Report

Peter Falding #33 makes his first appearance of 2009 in the Semi, and secures his place on the World Final grid. Photo Colin Casserley.

Peter Falding #33 makes his first appearance of 2009 in the Semi, and secures his place on the World Final grid. Photo Colin Casserley.

The first of this years semi-final races took place at Coventry on Saturday 1st August 2009. The semi-final was Heat Two (race six) on the race card and considering the heavy rainfall that had drenched Coventry during the day, this turned out to be a good time slot, giving the track opportunity to come good for the race.
Following a full parade lap of each driver, twenty-four cars formed the closed grid.

Andrew Smith (391) was inside pole with Mathew Newson (16) outside pole. Lee Fairhurst (217) who had already bagging the European Championship earlier on at Northampton in his debut season was hoping to get into the World Final at Kings Lynn with an inside row three start. Peter Falding (33), no stranger to World Finals was making his first appearance of 2009 and was outside row eight. White top Ricky Wilson (502) made the rear of the grid as the first reserve present, courtesy of Carl Pickering (141) who had relinquished his place on the grid.

A tight well controlled rolling lap saw all twenty-four cars on track, Craig Finnikin’s (55) car was smoking; light blue smoke. As the two leading cars were exiting turn four the green was dropped; the 55 car of Craig Finnkin didn’t get off to a good start, pulling out wide and losing many places, Newson gunned it down the home straight getting in front of Andy Smith going into turn one but on the wet shale and at such high speed the 16 car was unable to get a clean racing line with the back end swinging out. Second place Smith connected with the 16 car’s inside nerf almost T-Boning the 16 car round the turn. Finally the 16 car was spat out and fell in behind second place Paul Hines (259). Turn one also claimed 217 – 462 – 105 and 65 all spinning out from the pack pushing on into the first turn. John Lund’s (53) chances of qualifying for the World Final took a blow after he connected with the 21 car of Mark Gilbank following an attack from Murray Harrison (97). This happened while exiting turn four on the opening lap, resulting in Lund being driven into the Armco. The second lap saw Paul Hines spinning on three and four but he was quickly able to rejoin the race. Andy Smith was already having to negotiate his way though the back markers and lap down cars. Timmy Aldridge (257) had spun down the home straight and was sitting facing oncoming traffic just before the entrance into turn one.
Waved Yellows.
Restart Order: 391 – 16 – (lapdown car) – 97 – (lapdown 53) – 259 – 335 – 21 – 337 – 502 – 107.
Once the greens were shown Chris Brocksopp (338) attacked Chris Bonner (105) going into turn one. Andy Smith got away to a perfect start and was soon extending his lead. Waved Yellows were required again for Dean Whitwell (195) parked head on into the Armco at the mid-point three and four.

Only a couple of laps were completed before there was another set of waved yellows. Restart (3) order: 391 – (lapdown 338) – 97 – 16 – (lapdown 53) – 259 – (lapdown 337) – 21 – 33 – 502 – 65 – 55 – 462.
Andy Smith again got away to a perfect restart. Mark Gilbank moved the lap down car of Dave Willis on three and four allowing Peter Falding (33) to close the gap on the 21 car and launch his own attack going down the home straight. An unsighted incident saw the 97 car of Murray Harrison in the Armco and out of second place. This incident seemed to spur on Newson and Hines who increased their speeds, while Falding was knocking on the door. The 33 car launched an attack onto the rear of Hines sending him into Newson who was pushed wide losing three places, with 259 now second – 33 third – 21 fourth – 16 fifth. The last bend saw a melee of attacks from 33 – 21 – 16, with the 21 car being sent off towards the Armco and into the sludge. Andy Smith took the win unchallenged.

Andy Smith wins his Semi securing his place on the first row of the World Final grid. Photo Colin Casserley.

Andy Smith wins his Semi securing his place on the first row of the World Final grid. Photo Colin Casserley.


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