Sheffield, 6th August 2017 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

The first meeting of the season so far for the Coventry Stox promotion (the earlier British meeting being a re-scheduled Startrax meeting) was held at Sheffield on Sunday 6th August.

With the closure of the Coventry Stadium at the end of 2016 (although it was an ‘on-off’ situation right to the last minute), a hasty scheduling of events had to be done by the powers at be in BriSCA-land to try to accommodate some of the first Saturday of the month fixtures normally held at Coventry.

A tricky situation to be in as many of the tracks available were already booked for other domestic meetings on this traditional Saturday fixture but the best was made of the situation and this was the first proper Coventry Stox meeting of 2017.

Much has been said on the Coventry topic and it was refreshing to read Jeremy Heaver’s views on the situation in the opening pages of the programme in terms of the pitfalls, problems and issues involved with trying to find a new track to use or develop. Some of the track / site options were outlined; with the issues involved with pursuing them – which appears to be a case of treading a careful path between the various parties involved, be them friend or foe!

To be honest, you needed to read the programme, but a quick chat with Jeremy before the meeting left me in no doubt at all that the promotion are serious about finding somewhere for the future, but that it is also a frustrating and also lengthy job to get there. We wish Jeremy and the Coventry team all the best with their searches.

Anyway, back to the racing. This meeting came after two double header tar meetings and was also sandwiched right between the Skegness tar semi-final and the Stoke shale semi-final. It was always going to be a challenge but, to be fair, 28 cars turned up for the meeting and, trust me, the meeting proved to old adage (not always true though!) that you do not need huge car numbers to guarantee a fantastic afternoon’s racing.

The meeting started out with a Whites and Yellows heat, with ten cars taking part. This race was a standalone race; the meeting following consisted of two, all-in heats, final and Grand National.  The early leader was Russell Cooper from the flag. Further back, Nigel Harrhy and 216 Jack France clashed down the main straight, hitting the fence, with Harrhy having to retire.

Cooper was going well up front from 293 Eliot Smith in second but it was not to last. Luke Dennis (192) forced Cooper wide coming out of turn 4; the 415 car then clattering the fence and wrecking the OSR tyre letting Smith through for the lead which he extended further to the flag.

Result: 293 364 215 192 216 483 NOF.

Whites & Yellows Top 3

Heat one brought out 22 cars including the World Champion Frankie Wainman who, being in the Stoke semi the following weekend, decided to leave the `wedge` back at base and was driving the ex-Robert Broome car for the day. Mal Brown was out in his son’s car but as he was out in that at the Stoke semi it suggests all may not be right with the normal 34 motor.

Early leader was again Russell Cooper from Nigel Harrhy in second and Luke Davidson in third but these three were being pursued by 249 Joff Gibson and 94 John Dowson. Craig Finnikin spun on the turn 3/4 bends but got going again just in front of Cooper. Alas it was not to be again, the 415 car was forced to pull up with an OSF flat tyre, leaving Harrhy the lead car from Joff Gibson. Dowson was out of the running pulling off to the centre green, Gibson got past the car of Harrhy (who then also retired to the centre). Gibson then extended his lead to the flag with Mat Newson coming home second from Lee Fairhurst third in dry and dusty conditions by this stage.

Result: 249  16  217  212  1(515)  445  463  169  338  220  34  166.

Heat 1 winner, Joff Gibson

Heat two had a slightly depleted 20 cars starting – the attrition rate in the previous two races being quite high. The track had been well watered and this led to a slippery and quite cautious start. Mat Newson and 175 Karl Hawkins both spun on the main straight, both managing to get going before the pack caught them out. 215 Geoff Nickolls had spun into the turn 3 fence, the yellows being brought out (courtesy of Simon Bennion, the normal Coventry Stox flag marshal who was in charge of centre green duties for the day) for the 215 car and also debris on the track to be retrieved.

At the restart it was 216 Jack France in lead spot from 293 Eliot Smith and 338 Chris Brocksopp third. Smith soon got past France on turns 1/2 but France was not having it and bumpered the Smith car into the turn 3 bend. Brocksopp did the same to France, resulting in the Brocksopp car going over the font of the France car and then rolling over in a spectacular fashion (not before 55 Craig Finnikin had gone under the 338 car flattening the Finnikin aerofoil). The reds were brought out immediately for the upturned Brocksopp motor. Fortunately Chris was ok but the car suffered quite substantial damage, and the track crew took some time to clear the track.

At the second restart it was Eliot Smith leading them off from 422 Ben Riley but on the turn 3 bend Riley got over ambitious going up the inside of the Smith car, over the bonnet and leading to both cars hooking up on the bend, and bringing out more yellows.

At the third restart, 220 Will Hunter was the lead car and got a flyer, with 445 Nigel Green in second but the laps counting down. The Green car was catching Hunter and going down the back straight for the last time, Hunter, guessing what was coming, went in fast and wide but Green then planted a perfect side swipe on the 220 car, pushing Hunter out wide for the win. This also let Finnikin through for second from Newson third, with Hunter recovering to fourth.

Result: 445  55  16  220  212  34  217  169  166  215  NOF.

A huge rollover for Brocksopp in Heat 2.

Nineteen cars made it out for the all-in final and the track had been well watered prior to the off in an attempt to keep the dust down. Chaos ensued on the rolling lap with cars going off all over the place. The race was red flagged and the cars were re-gridded.

This time all went well at the green flag; but it wasn’t long before Billy Johnson (169) and James Morris (463) tangled and ended up on the infield before getting going again, whilst 364 Robert Plant made a visit to the turn 3 fence but got going. The yellows were soon out for the cars of Billy Johnson and Will Hunter who had both come to a standstill on turns 3/4.  At the restart, Joff Gibson was leading from John Dowson, Russell Copper and Nigel Green but the yellows were soon out again for 483 Wayne Marshall stranded on turn 3.

At the restart, Frankie Wainman fired both Mat Newson and Nigel Green aside but then had to retire to the centre green. The order was now: Gibson, Dowson, Newson and Green. Newson soon passed Dowson for second and was gaining on Gibson; firing the Gibson car wide for the lead but it was only for half a lap as the prop gave way on the 16 car leading to retirement.

Gibson was again now leader but with the lap boards coming out Nigel Green was gradually reeling in the 249 motor and was nibbling at the back bumper with one to go. Expecting the obvious from Green, Joff went in fast and wide on the last bend, Nigel going in fast and narrow nerfing the 249 car wide for the win, with Joff coming home second and John Dowson third.

The celebrations were short lived though, the steward docking Green two places for ‘illegal use of the infield’ (i.e. corner cutting) the top three now being 249, 94 and 445. It was a tricky one to judge, but after an appeal and re-viewing video evidence the win was given to Nigel two days later, the Green car having the inner wheels on the kerb but just those.

Result:  445  249  94  55  463  212  217  34  555  293  169  NOF.

Nigel Green was reinstated as the Final winner

The Grand National cobbled together 16 cars and was a race of increasing attrition. Early on, a train of cars ended up in the turns 1/2 fence but got going, whilst Mat Newson tangled with his customer James Morris on turns 1/2 and the yellows were out for 483, 94 and 175 stranded in the fence. At the restart it was 192 Luke Dennis leading from Newson (lap down) and Frankie Wainman.

Nigel Green was soon to retire with a flat tyre and Danny Wainman had bumpered himself into second spot chasing down the Luke Dennis car. With four to go, he was nibbling at the back bumper before the 212 pilot decided to go for it and fired the 192 car into the turn 3 fence to decide matters and held the lead to the end.

Result: 212  55  169  45  555  16  1(515)  364  – NOF.

Danny Wainman took the last win of the afternoon

A great day’s entertainment from the Coventry Stox promotion, although a lot of the normal running of the event was done by the normal Startrax crew / team. The next tour date is at King’s Lynn on 2nd September for the Coventry Stox promotion and miss that at your peril, as it’s then a two week dry patch and cold turkey before the World Final at Ipswich on the 16th September.

Words: Andy Armer
Photos: Colin Casserley and Steve Botham

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