Sheffield, 5th May 2014 – meeting report and photo gallery

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A stunning heat and final double for Paul Hines on May Day Monday.

The May Day Bank Holiday saw the F1s make an all-too-rare visit to Sheffield, and there were enough cars in the pits for decent grids in all races. It turned out to be one of the best meetings at the Yorkshire track in recent years, with some action packed racing. The main man on the day was Paul Hines, who won heat and final at one of those meetings were most drivers would have been happy just to make it to the finish line.

Ben Hurdman and Tony Smith led the opening briefly before Dave Willis attempted to dive past Smith on the inside. Smith tried blocking but Willis went skywards over the inside front wheel, sending Smith backwards into the wires. The tricky track surface appeared to catch a few cars out; Chris Brocksopp clattering the back straight fence and then Mark Woodhull piling in. But Hurdman was the major casualty of the race, taking a fence post completely out and then being hit side-on by Finnikin, who couldn’t avoid a heavy impact. Willis lost a big lead with the waved yellows and after a delay while the fence was put back together, second place Mal Brown was now right behind Willis for the restart.

Willis did well to fend off a big push from Brown into turn one, after which the 337 car pulled away, and Brown was passed by Dan Johnson and Tom Harris. With the lap boards out the numbers 1 and 4 cars were side by side for almost a lap, before Harris nudged Johnson wide with 3 to run. Entering the last lap and Harris was right behind Willis, who appeared to be ready for what was coming. The bumper went in and Harris got the inside line, but disaster struck for Willis as the 337 car jumped out of gear and coasted around.

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Dave Willis taking the lead the hard way – this altercation caused a bent front axle and shocker on the 337 car.

Rich Bryan led the second heat away although from the noise being made by the 238 car we wondered if he had the wrong gears in. Ricky Wilson moved ahead and he went on to win, with John Smith running third until the final couple of laps when Mark Gilbank nudged him wide. Into the last bend and Rob Speak hit Smith, with Paul Hines seizing the opportunity to hit Speak on the nerf rail and go past to take fourth.

After suffering big damage in Heat 1, both Ben Hurdman and Mark Woodhull made hasty repairs and made it back out for Heat 3. Unfortunately, after all their efforts, neither lasted more than a few laps. Hines was soon at the front and pulled away from the pack. Harris got hooked up with Wilson and hit the back straight fence, and was then hit at race speed by Dan Johnson.

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Tom Harris tangles with Ricky Wilson.

While Harris continued seemingly unscathed, the number 4 limped to the infield with extensive front end damage. The drama didn’t end there for Wilson though, as he came off the infield into the path of Bryan and suffered a massive impact. Bryan resumed the race but went into the turn three fence in a big way, possibly the crash with Wilson had killed the brakes.

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Dan Johnson did well to get his car back out after bending it in a high speed shunt with the near stationary Tom Harris car.

The track was slippery at the start of the final and Harris found himself climbing over one of the infield marker tyres. Speak was the first to put the bumper in hard, and he fired John Lund into Frankie Wainman, the result being Lund carrying on with the race and Wainman and Speak in the fence, with Speak facing the wrong way. This brought out the waved yellows, with race leader Wilson retiring to the infield.

The top three were now Josh Smith, Paul Harrison, and Paul Hines, and they were bumper to bumper for a number of laps until Harrison hit Smith wide around turn three. Hines dived up the inside of both of them, and Harrison ran out of room and clipped a fence post, spinning across the track and being clattered by Gilbank. With Harrison immobile and on the racing line, the yellows were called.

Race order for the restart read 259, 16, back marker 53, 4, 1, 21, 318, and 212. Either Johnson was slow to start or Harris was very quick, but the number 4 was still at rolling lap speed when Harris dived over the turn four kerb to pass. Johnson then gave it a boot full, only to half spin himself down the home straight and into the path of Speak, who couldn’t avoid a collision.

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Great to see Joff Gibson back on the tracks after a few years away. This is the former Jamie Jackson / Danny Wainman car.

Three laps to run and Harris passed Newson for second place. Hines had a healthy lead at this point, but then he came up to pass back marker Lund, who had gradually been slowing down with a flat outside front tyre. With not many cars left running, Lund had realised that all he had to do was keep going to be in the points. A well-timed and perfectly weighted shove by Hines was enough to punt the 53 car into the wires without losing hardly any time.

Going well in this one was Nigel Harrhy, who was in the lower places with just a few laps to run, but he got it somewhat out of shape entering turn three. He might have got away with it, had Mal Brown not been behind him. Brown does not mess about at the best of times, and he planted the 45 car straight into – and partially through – the wires.

Hines was still a good few lengths clear of Harris as he passed the last lap board but he again came across Lund approaching turn one, and this time he had the equally slow moving Billy Johnson on the outside of him. Hines barged through but it cost him just enough time for Harris to close the gap.

There was a marker tyre on the outside of the track around turns three and four, so taking the corner fast and deep wasn’t an option, and with Harris right behind, neither was taking it steady. As it was, Hines judged it perfectly and came around the corner in the centre of the track to take the chequered.

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Second in the GN was John Lund’s best result of the day.

The last race of the day was the GN, with flying white top Rich Bryan leading them off before Smith (191) took over. Smith opened up a decent lead, with the next half a dozen or so cars nose to tail, with Lund making the most progress. Speak clambered over Wainman’s front end, and was then shunted into the turn 3 fence by Harris.

Lund was second by the halfway and getting closer. Smith seemed unsure of how to deal with backmarker PJ Lemons (444), and without a moment’s hesitation Lund reached out and shoved the 191 car into the 444 machine. The bumpers briefly snagged, which was enough for Craig Finnikin to sneak through. Finnikin and Lund raced the remaining laps at exactly the same pace, until the last lap when both had a minor scare when the both clipped the spun Richard Regan car, but it wasn’t enough to affect the outcome; Finnikin taking the win with Lund second.

Photos: Colin Casserley
Words: Carl Hesketh

 

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