Sheffield, 1st October 2017 – Meeting Report and Photos

It was to the fast and feared wire and rope fence track of Owlerton at Sheffield for Shootout round #4, where the old adage of ‘it’s not the numbers taking part but what goes on track that really counts’ definitely applied.

First up was the whites and yellows race, on a wet and slippery track with a grid of ten cars. Early leader was 76 Aaron Cozens with 313 Karl Roberts and 337 Dave Willis in pursuit, but not for long as Cozens hit the fence with 127 Austin Moore joining him.

Up front, Willis took the lead pursued by Roberts but, with the 337 car slowing to avoid a build-up of stranded cars on turns 1/2, 313 had the advantage. Roberts fired the 337 car into the pit fence wires, leaving Willis stranded and Roberts to come home for the win in a race of attrition from Chris Brocksopp second and 293 Eliot Smith third.

Res – 313  338  293  137  415  127  502  nof.

Karl Roberts and Russell Cooper line up for the Whites & Yellows Race

Heat one proper and, with it being an all-in meeting, looked more akin to a normal final meeting with a big grid of reds and shooters. Sam Jacklin (137) was the early leader and, at half way, was still lead car from 502 Richard Wilson and Eliot Smith in third. It was Mark Gilbank though who had the lead on the star men while they squabbled for position and points further back. Gilbank took the lead position with two laps to go and hastily waved chequered and red flags – as Austin Moore and Bobby Griffin 166 ended up sideways up against the main straight fence.

Res – 21  137  502  390  446  2  16  55  515  217  259  212

Mark Gilbank dominated the Heats

Heat two saw a similar line up of star men. 445 Nigel Green came onto the track, then went off again. The gate was shut but then re-opened to allow Nigel back on again. Nigel was having various axle and half shaft issues for the meeting. Early on, Frankie Wainman JJ (555) and 220 Will Hunter hooked up on turn 2. Frankie Wainman (515) was spun by Stuart Smith, but then hooked up – with the 390 car on top of the 515 motor, but both managing to get going.

Up front, Aaron Cozens was the lead car from Russell Cooper with Gilbank now in third spot. Gilbank soon hit the front, from 55 Craig Finnikin second and Paul Harrison third.

Res – 21  55  2  445  422  217  212  259  16  25  515  169

The ongoing battle between 390 and 515 continued in Heat 2.

The final started in spectacular fashion with Nigel Green being forced infield down the back straight dislodging a marker tyre onto the turn 3 bend, it was only a matter of time before someone clobbered it and 415 Russell Cooper was the unlucky one, upending the front with Eliot Smith going in behind. Before the pack could react, Paul Harrison clattered the back of the Smith car leading to a stoppage – the Smith car now balanced precariously up against the cab of Cooper. Russell also suffered roll cage damage in the incident.

At the restart, it was Sam Jacklin leading them off. 55 Craig Finnikin made his intentions clear from the start, hammering Mark Gilbank and Paul Harrison wide on turns 3/4. A couple of laps later, Harrison met a similar fate at the opposite end of the track. Being on the front of a train of cars, he hit the turn 2 fence very hard, leading to the yellows as the damaged car was clearly not going anywhere.

The second restart and 338 Chris Brocksopp led the field from Finnikin and Gilbank in third spot. Frankie Wainman forced his way up the inside of Stuart Smith on turns 3/4  and held on but the 515 machine was tail happy in the corners and, a couple of laps later, Stuart took his chance. He went up the inside of the 515 car on turn 4, giving it a hefty right turn nudge wide, Wainman just managed to keep the car out of the wires. Though the car did glance off a couple of fence posts on the exit.

Up front, Finnikin had a healthy lead from Gilbank second, Mat Newson third and Nigel Green fourth. The Green machine was smoking badly from the back axle but managed to keep going for eventual fifth after Stuart Smith overhauled the gold top car for fourth, in what could be described as a proper race from the start to the end!

Res – 55  21  16  390  445  217  212  515  259  463  555  169

Final Top 3: 55, 21, 16

The Grand National was equally quick, with Chris Brocksopp leading the early part of the race. Yet again, the main focus of attention was the Smith versus Wainman battle. Smith had the Silsden pilot on his tail and, perhaps with the final in mind, Frankie wasted no time in firing the Rochdale machine hard into the turn 1/2  fence, bringing out the yellows with both cars stranded. The Wainman machine was undamaged but also unable to restart due to a duff starter motor.

At the restart, it was Brocksopp from Mat Newson but not for long as the Brocksopp car was fired into the fence. Finnikin was flying and had hit 5th place from starting tenth at the restart but it was not to be, the Leek driver’s osr tyre giving way. Craig continued to the end with a flat to try and salvage some points but there was no stopping Newson, who charged home for the win

Res –  16  212  422  217  446  555  169  338  55  259

A great night’s racing, with a little bit of controversy thrown in to keep the fans talking, as the shootout series continues to simmer nicely.

Stuart Smith remained in control at the top of the Shootout table

Words: Andy Armer
Photos: Dave Bastock

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