Sheffield, 22nd April 2018 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

31 cars ventured to Sheffield on 22nd April for the first of two visits for 2018 to the Owlerton Raceway.  The day kicked off with a parade lap of most F1 drivers. It’s always good to have a parade lap I think. If well organised and swiftly turned around, they add a lot of value to the event; particularly for new comers allowing the opportunity to put some faces to the cars.  All credit to Startrax for trying something you don’t often see these days.

The first race saw the white and yellow graders race, which attracted a field of 14 cars, doubling  up as heat 1 too. Austin Moore (127) the pole sitter led them off. Into the first bend and Bobby Griffin (166) was the first casualty; collecting a marker tyre into turn 1. Richard Woods (268) had a narrow escape when he collected the home straight fence, but managed to avoid being ploughed into by the rest of the pack. Jack France (216) was out of shape in to turn 1 eventually losing into a spin.

Mark Sargent (326) put a hit on Phoebe Wainman (211) and Kelvin Hassell (13), the 13 machine sent into a spin whilst Wainman narrowly missed the wires. Moore now in a clear lead as halfway was signalled. Meanwhile, Wainman and Hassell were getting better acquainted again and clashed in turn 1. Aaron Cozens (76) whilst running second, retired with an outside rear puncture. The 127 machine starting to now smoke in the bends, the lap boards were now out. Moore managed to nurse the car home to take a fine win ahead of Ricky Wilson (502) in second and Mark Sargent (326) in third.

Result: 127, 502, 326, 166, 348, 216, 263, 415, 211, 13, NOF

Austin Moore taking the first win of the afternoon

Heat 2 and 21 cars took to the track, with Austin Moore (127) once again starting on pole. At the green flag the red grade bunched together and, as expected, not everyone managed to escape unscathed. John Thompson (312) collided with the fence and was then duly collected by Frankie Wainman JNR (515) and Stuart Smith JNR (390). Wainman and Thompson, sustaining too much damage, retired to the infield. Paul Hopkins (278) was sent to the turn 1 fence and collected the wires, whilst Paul Hines (259) did the same on the home straight.

Ricky Wilson (502) now the leader out in front. Moore was coming under pressure from Bobby Griffin (166) and was spun around out of second place. The halfway stage was now signalled as Mark Gilbank (21) lunged in on John Dowson (94); with Dan Johnson (4) not far behind the pair, ready to strike. Chris Cowley (37) had now moved himself up to second. James Morris (463) and Ben Hurdman (207) went out to the turn 1 fence, collecting the parked Hopkins car in the process. Morris was in turn collected by Bradley Harrison (25). The waved yellows were called for Hopkins needing attention.

Thankfully after a short delay, Hopkins was out of his car; later confirmed all okay. Wilson still the leader at the restart ahead of Cowley and Griffin in second and third; as a dust cloud engulfed the arena. The lap boards were out. Griffin lunged in on Cowley and Wilson in turn 1 in an effort to snatch the lead, Wilson retaliated the next bend sending Griffin to the wires.  Cowley now leading ahead of Johnson and Gilbank. Griffin had rejoined the race but the backmarker was slowing the progress of Cowley; Cowley lunged in on Griffin and Johnson also ploughed in, Cowley sent skidding to the infield as Griffin was always sent sliding across the grass resting across turn 3. Johnson went on to take the win, Gilbank second and Cowley recovering for third.

Result: 4, 21, 37, 169, 502, 335, 390, 212, 555, 94, 25, 207

37 Chris Cowley was one of the biggest hitters in Heat 2

24 cars for the last heat of the day, which saw Aaron Cozens (76) on pole this time. Will Hunter (220) was the first casualty with a spin straight away before passing the green flag. The wet shale catching Cozens out as he went wide in to turn 3 unaided, the 76 car brushing the wires. The pack bunched together heading in to the home straight culminating in Billy Johnson (169) riding up the John Dowson (94) car in turn 1. Mark Sargent (326) came to a halt up against the fence down back straight which prompted the waved yellows.

John Wright (348) leads them off on the restart; Chris Cowley (37) in second and Luke Dennis (192) in third.  Mark Gilbank (21) put pressure on Bradley Harrison (25) after the green flag; Harrison moved wide dropped down the order. Danny Wainman (212) launched in on the 220 machine in to turn 1, both scrubbing the fence. Wright still your leader ahead of Gilbank and Cowley.

Behind them, Stuart Smith (390) passed Mat Newson (16) as Cozens went for a spin in turn 3. Johnson and Dowson were still battling further when the 169 machine put 94 out wide. Gilbank was now fighting with Wright for the lead allowing Smith and Dan Johnson (4) to close in, Cowley came off worse in this after getting caught up and a spin as a result. Gilbank held on for the win ahead of Smith and Johnson.

Result: 21, 390, 4, 16, 515, 335, 259, 212, 25, 555, 348, 192

The Feature final of the day drew a field of 24 cars. Chris Worrall (263) the man to lead them off from pole position. The red graders were tripping over one another in the home straight at the start with Mat Newson (16) coming off worse collecting a post in the home straight fence. Will Hunter (220) and Billy Johnson (169) clashed whilst Austen Moore (127) spun out of the lead; gifting the position to Luke Dennis (192). Ben Hurdman (207) was next to fall foul of the fence clipping a post in the home straight, and was duly clipped by Frankie Wainman (515) and James Morris (463) ripping out part of the 207 axle – sending a wheel bouncing down the track coming to rest in a safe area, waved yellows were called for. The top ten on the restart: 192 502 37 335 21 4 390 515 25 212…

Shortly after the restart, Worrall was left stranded across the track in the backstraight; he was soon joined by Ricky Wilson (502) who took a trip to the fence there too. Waved yellows were called and it was now Gilbank the front runner ahead of Johnson (4) and Smith (390), the number 4 machine not sounding like it was running at it’s best. Johnson (169) also suffering issues and with no power pulled off to the infield; the motor quickly changing it’s mind; the 169 machine helped with cutting the grass and re-joined on the backstraight. Mark Woodhull (335) was the next casualty collecting the home straight fence and rolling over; again more waved yellows needed and time to replace a busted fence post. The top five on the restart lined up as: 21 4 390 37 515.

On the restart it was halfway and Smith put Johnson (4) wide to take second, Smith then replicated the same move on Gilbank a few laps later in turn 1, whilst Gilbank was delayed in recovering, the number 4 machine sneaked through. The top four looking all set, but further down the order Morris, Hunter and Danny Wainman (212) were all enjoying a three way battle for the minor places as was Luke Dennis (192), Bobby Griffin (166) and Russell Cooper (415) as the lap boards were shown. Paul Hines (259) sent Cowley out to the fence in turn 3 in the final laps to take fifth, but back up front Johnson wasn’t close enough to Smith for a last bender; Cooper was well placed though and took out Griffin to round off a destructive final.

Result: 390, 4, 21, 515, 259, 463, 212, 220, 555, 192, 415

Grand National time and 17 cars made it out for the last race of the day. Stuart Smith (390) taking the lap handicap; Aaron Cozens (76) just behind in pole position; it was good to see Mark Woodhull (335) make it back out; although without a wing. Jack France (216) experiencing difficulty pulled off but quickly rejoined at the back before the green flag. After a slow, steady and controlled rolling lap; the green flag dropped- Billy Johnson (169) spun around and was collected by Woodhull; both went out to the fence.

Dan Johnson (4) was on a charge and put a great move on Chris Cowley (37) and Luke Dennis (192) to move them out in turn 1. Much of the mid race was quiet, but the final stages saw a number of changes when Mat Newson (16) caught up to the leader Mark Gilbank (21) and tried to bumper Gilbank wide. Johnson (169) attacked the back straight fence just as the lap boards came out. Backmarker Cozens held up the leader Gilbank, this allowed Newson back in for another challenge, moving them both wide in turn 3. Johnson (4) moved Gilbank wide to take second in turn 3 heading in to the final lap. Johnson went wide in turn 1 allowing Gilbank to close back in and he seized that opportunity with a last bend lunge to reclaim second.

Result: 16, 21, 4, 515, 37, 259, 220, 390, 555, 212, 335, 76

Good stuff from both the F1s and F2s helped by track preparation and re-grading throughout the day. A good day out in Sheffield and looking forward to the October meeting already.

Words: Keith Organ
Photos: Colin Casserley

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