Sheffield – July 28th 2013 Meeting Report

Final winner Paul Harrison with the Wilf Blundell Bowl, presented by the Veteran Stock Car Association.

Final winner Paul Harrison with the Wilf Blundell Bowl, presented by the Veteran Stock Car Association.

The World Semi-Final meeting at Sheffield saw Paul Harrison take the meeting final in very demanding conditions.

Before racing got underway, a moving tribute was made to Ray Froggatt, who passed away the previous week. Ray had been part of the #2 Team for 45 years. First as a mechanic for Willie, and later Paul, Ray was a regular sight at race meetings along with his wife Mandy, daughter Lyndsey, and son Michael, who is also a #2 mechanic. He will be sadly missed. Rest in peace, Ray.

Torrential rain during the night meant that the back straight looked more like a river than a stock car track, and the meeting was delayed for an hour while the combined efforts of the fence crew, the Wainmans, and South Yorkshire Fire Brigade, pumped the water off and prepared the track.

Danny Wainman on his way to victory in Heat 1.

Danny Wainman on his way to victory in Heat 1.

Heat 1 was slow going on the sloppy track. Richard Bryan (238), Ricky Wilson (502) and Mark Poole (276) all swapped the lead a few times in the early stages before Danny Wainman, with a big gripper tyre on the outside rear, got to the front. Joe Booth (446) was a distant second until the five lap board, when he seemed to be the first to realise that the track had dried out considerably, and picked up some speed. Booth hit Wainman wide as soon as he was close enough, but on the next bend Wainman punted Booth backwards into the wires, and went on to take the win.

The next race was the first of the World Championship Semi-Finals, which turned out to be one of the more dramatic semis of recent times, and was won by Ryan Harrison. See seperate story.

The downside of the semi-final producing a high rate of attrition was that the consolation was rather down on numbers, with quite a few cars suffering serious damage. One that did manage to repair his car was Paul Ford (388), who had a fairly trouble free run to victory. Mark Poole (276) was second for much of the race, before Mark Gilbank (21) went past in his only race of the day, and Lee Fairhurst deposed Poole to fourth with a lap or two to run.

Paul Ford takes the flag in the Consolation. All the way from St Boswells in Scotland, Paul remarked that "Sheffield's nae that far".

All the way from St Boswells in Scotland, Paul remarked that “Sheffield’s nae that far”.

Semi Final winner Ryan Harrison was a non-starter for the meeting final, having loaded up with a damaged engine. Very heavy rain just before the rolling lap commenced made the track treacherous to say the least, as demonstrated by Frankie Wainman (515) and Craig Finnikin (55) both sliding into the turn one fence before the green had been dropped.

Early leader was Rich Bryan in the 238 car, but he lost it on the restart after the first caution, for Chris Clare wedged in the fence. Jamie Jackson (377) then led, but the yellows were out after another two laps for a drain cover that come loose and been dragged onto the track. Like Bryan before him, Jackson tripped up on the restart, and Paul Harrison (2) took up a lead that he would not relinquish.

Mud bath for Ricky Wilson and Russell Cooper.

Mud bath for Ricky Wilson and Russell Cooper.

An optomistic lunge by Craig Finnikin put both Paul Hines and himself in the wires in turn one, where Hines remained. Conditions were now dire, but nobody was giving up just yet. With three laps to run, an out of control Tom Harris piled into the stricken 259 car, and despite front suspension damage and an inside front wheel that was almost square, he backed out and carried on, only to do nearly the same thing again on the last lap, narrowly missing Hines this time and hitting the fence.

Frankie struggled in the Semi-Final race, but he did a lot better in the Final and the GN.

Frankie struggled in the Semi-Final race, but he did a lot better in the Final and the GN.

If the track conditions for the final were dire, they were even worse for the GN. Perhaps driving tractors around Silsden moors is ideal practise for races like these, as Frankie Wainman (515) excelled in this one, at one point passing two cars on the outside down the straight, and Danny wasn’t that far behind him the whole race, the brothers finishing first and second. A tremendous drive from the lap handicap saw Paul Harrison finish fourth, and take a massive points haul on the short trip back to Rotherham.

The May Day meeting suffered from being dusty. That wasn't a problem this time.

The May Day meeting suffered from being dusty. That wasn’t a problem this time.

Paul Harrison was top point scorer on the day, with a massive 66 points.

Paul Harrison was top point scorer on the day, with a massive 66 points.

Jamie Jackson splashing about

Jamie Jackson splashing about

The next meeting at Sheffield is the finale of the National Points Shoot Out, on Sunday 10th November.

Photos: Colin Casserley
Words: Carl Hesketh

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