World Semi #2: Skegness – 23rd Aug 2008 Report

World Championship Semi#2 winners

World Championship Semi#2 winners

The second of the World Championship Semi-Finals turned out to be one of the best races in recent memory, with the result never certain until the chequered flag. It was Andy Smith who emerged victorious, while the surprise package was Tom Harris, who looked to be easily a match for both pre-race favourites, Smith and Wainman.

Frankie Wainman (515) edged in front when the green dropped with Mark Gilbank (21) sitting on his back bumper, instantly relegating front row starter Andy Smith (391) to third place. John Lund (53) passed Michael Scriven (12), then resisted a challend from Tom Harris (84). Smith passed Gilbank, but the 21 car came back on the inside and retook second place before Smith again went past. Scriven and Tom Harris (84) both passed Lund in quick succession, as the first caution of the race came when Micky Randell (172) clipped the kerb and an infield marker and performed a spectacular rollover entering turn one.

Race order as they stopped was 515,391,23,3,84,12,53,8,105,152, and on the restart Gilbank went in on Smith but Smith held his place. Lund fired Scriven into Fort, putting both wide and passing Scriven, but Fort held his place. A lap later, and Lund was on the receiving end, as Mick Harris (8) landed a big hit on the 53 car’s back bumper that saw both cars bouncing off the armco. Up front, Smith eased his way past Wainman and Perez gained a place when he hit Fort wide. Wainman got alongside Smith and the two were side by side down the home straight. Wainman exited the turn in the lead, Smith leaned on the 515 car entering turn three and then went past on the next bend.

Meanwhile, Harris (84) had slowly been getting closer. John Lawn (441) and James Lund (153) tangled and went into the turn two fence in a big way, and not long afterwards Steve Hopkins (347) piled into the fence and the parked Neil Scothern (152) car, which had crashed out a few laps earlier. The waved yellows came out and as they lined up the order read 391,515,84,21,12,305,3,53,79,91,185,212,105. On the green, Harris (84) shoved Wainman and Smith wide and led out of the turn. But it was short-lived, as Wainman hit him wide and went by on the next bend.

Gilbank then passed Harris, who immediately went for the 21 car’s back bumper. Gordon Moodie’s hopes of qualifying disappeared when was dumped into the turn three fence with Fort, courtesy of Tony Smith (91). But all eyes were on the front, where Wainman had pulled a couple of lengths clear of the chasing pack; the 391,84,305,21,12, and 53 cars were almost bumper to bumper.

Chris Bonner (105) got it all wrong after a hit from Smith (91), and went hard into the turn three fence as Scriven attacked Perez. As the waved yellows came out for Bonner to be helped from his car, there were just 15 cars still mobile; these being, in order, 515,391,84,21,305,12,53,218,8,347,91,212,507,460, and 493. The race restarted with five laps to run, with Harris hitting Smith wide and going past. Perez nudged Gilbank wide for fourth place and Lund took sixth place from Scriven.

Down the back straight and Wainman had Harris right behind him with Smith a few lengths in arrears. As they approached the turn, Smith reached out and delivered the biggest hit of the race and planted Harris hard into Wainman. All three went wide, with Harris bouncing off the fence and spinning. Smith then hit Wainman wide in the next bend, but Wainman held his place.

With two laps to run, Smith simply drove past Wainman and then pulled away over the remaining couple of laps. Possibly Wainman had realised that if he won, he’d have Stu Smith starting the World Final behind him, but Smith ran out as winner. Scriven tried a last bend hit on Derek Fairhurst (218) but put himself wide which let Harris (8) through.

If the World Final is even half as good as this, then it will be a classic.

1st 391 Andy Smith
2nd 515 Frankie Wainman
3rd 305 Carlos Perez
4th 53 John Lund
5th 21 Mark Gilbank
6th 218 Derek Fairhurst
7th 8 Mick Harris
8th 12 Michael Scriven
9th 212 Danny Wainman
10th 507 Neil Smith

Carl Hesketh

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