Sheffield, 7th October 2018 – Meeting Report and Photos

Round 4 of the Shootout series and it was to the fast and fence-hungry Owlerton track at Sheffield on the 7th October for an afternoon of racing on the loose stuff.

Leading the Shootout going in to the round was Frankie Wainman, from brother Danny in second spot and Stuart Smith in third, with Mat Newson close behind. Tom Harris, who had got a great points haul and moved up to fifth place, was not racing due to a ten-day stand down after being knocked out at the previous week’s Buxton meeting. This was a pity as his flat out, broadside approach seen at King’s Lynn would have been a treat to see at Sheffield, but rules are rules – and the stand down ruling is there for a reason.

Absent also was Dan Johnson with major engine issues on shale (engine away for repairs) and also John Dowson, again with power/running issues on the engine.

First race up was the whites and yellows race, with 13 cars gridded up. John Wright (348) took the early lead from 345 Jake Harrhy; whilst 268 Richard Woods went sideways down the main straight, collecting Aaron Cozens and Geoff Nickolls. All three managed to get going, while Russell Cooper was now going up to third spot.

Neil Scothern (152) drifted wide going into the pit bend, forcing James Bailey (135) wide with the Bailey car hitting the turn 4 fence very hard where he then remained till the end. Up front, Wright extended his lead to the chequered flag with Jake Harrhy coming in second spot.

At the end, after all had slowed, Bailey drove out of the fence as though nothing had happened but judging by the very bent fence post and fence repairs, it must have been a very hard hit. Unfortunately for John Wright, the car did not go to the scales after the win so the eventual win was given to Jake Harrhy.

Result – 345  152  313  415  216  364  242  338  127  nof.

The Whites & Yellows winner was Jake Harrhy

Heat one proper was next up and, with 33 cars in attendance on the day, the meeting was run on a two thirds format with 3 heats. The track was graded with the loose shale dragged to the inside (now a regular feature at Sheffield and it really has made a huge difference to the quality of racing at Owlerton) but oddly not watered.

On the start, the 390 car of Stuart Smith essentially conked out, leading to red flags. Despite attempts by Neil Scothern to push the car into life, the 390 car refused to start and ended up on the centre green. Early leader was 345 Jake Harrhy from John Wright but Phoebe Wainman had hit the pit gate fence hard and couldn’t get going, leading to the yellows coming out to get the stranded 211 car to safety.

At the restart it was Harrhy from Scothern and Wright third, with the 220 car of Will Hunter retiring soon with a flat osr tyre. It’s uncertain what Will uses on the osr but it appears to be a much weaker American Racer tyre than everyone else or just plain bad luck judging by how many the team get through.

Up front, the lead was taken by Scothern from Harrhy with 242 Joe Nickolls third – but not for long, as the Nickolls car was piled into the fence hard by the train of charging cars behind (Gilbank, Newson, Fairhurst and Mal Brown (welcome back, 34)). The eventual winner was Scothern, unchallenged at the front, from Gilbank and Newson third.

Result –  152  21  16  217  345  166  555  463  34  192  313  242  127  nof.

Neil Scothern dominated Heat 1

Heat two next and whatever had caused the 390 car to expire in the first race had been fixed. The early leader was again John Wright, with Stuart Smith flying, leading the shootout drivers. Richard Woods (268) was forced wide while going down the back straight; hitting the fence, with Phoebe Wainman taking avoiding action but also going in, leading to the yellows to get the stricken cars safe. At the restart it was Wright from Scothern, further back was Ryan Harrison in front of Smith, Frankie and Danny Wainman and Mat Newson.

Stuart Smith soon forced himself up the inside of Harrison followed by Frankie Wainman but Russell Cooper hitting the turn 3 fence very hard led to the yellows just as John Wright piled into the stricken 415 car. At the restart Wright was put back to the front from Scothern second and Jack France third. Scothern soon hit the front with a good lead but, with three laps to go, the 390 car went into overdrive, reeling Scothern in. The 390 car got up the inside of Scothern on turn 4 as the 152 car drifted wide, with Stuart giving the 152 car a healthy nerfing just to make sure and then heading home for the win.

Result – 390  515  197  152  16  212  463  335  175  166  555  242.

390 and 515 battling in Heat 2

Heat three proved to be a very lively race. Jack France and Mal Brown were slipping and sliding down the main straight early on; leading to a train behind involving Karl Hawkins and Bobby Griffin collecting the turns 3/4 fence with the unfortunate Jack France. The yellows soon came out just as Frankie Wainman joined the group but he was allowed back in to the order as it was under waved yellows.

At the restart, Jake Harrhy led off from Karl Roberts and Mal Brown.  Will Hunter soon lost six places, drifting wide on turn one while the Harrhy car went into the turn three fence with Mark Woodhull. Up front Mal Brown had hit the lead from Ryan Harrison and Frankie Wainman but the 515 car was in trouble; noticeably slowing with a broken half shaft whilst Harrison went up the inside of Brown, nerfing the 34 car wide into the loose stuff. The 197 car then remained unchallenged till the chequered flag, Hunter recovering well to come in second.

Result – 197  220  212  21  259  34  217  37  175  335  192  338  515.

Ryan Harrison took the win in the last heat

Final time and 24 cars were available to run in the feature race. Ryan Harrison soon came unstuck on the watered track spinning backwards on turns 3/4, with Hunter also spinning to the centre but getting going. The early leader was Jake Harrhy from Scothern but the yellows were out on lap four (for a seemingly unknown reason until one of the track marshals removed a piece of debris from the exit of turn four).

Jake Harrhy led off the restart from Hawkins and Mal Brown, with Lee Fairhurst soon losing places drifting wide and Stuart Smith soon hitting third spot. Phoebe Wainman again had a visit to the fence with John Wright, Mal Brown and Robert Plant also joining the collection of cars leading to the yellows just as, yep,  another off side rear tyre let rip on the Will Hunter car.

Stuart Smith headed the restart from Frankie Wainman and Mat Newson third and Fairhurst fourth. Jake Harrhy, who had being going well all afternoon, hit the turn three fence hard where he remained whilst Smith at the front extended his lead at the front.  Mark Gilbank forced Fairhurst wide for fourth spot and going for a last bender on Newson for third spot drifted wide allowing Danny Wainman through for eventual fourth place.

That left the top three places as Smith from Frankie Wainman and Mat Newson, Wainman being lucky, the cars osr tyre going down on the finish, the 515 pilot sending the car back to the pits whilst he did the parade lap. Unfortunately, and this being the unlucky bit, the Wainman mechanic in his haste went past the scales and back to the transporter for a new tyre, thus falling foul of the rules and his place being removed.

Result – 390  16  212  21  217  175  37  555  166  463  242.

Final Top 3: 1st – 390; 2nd – 16; 3rd – 515. Though 515 was later removed from the order. 

Grand National time and a slightly depleted line up of 18 cars taking place. Jake Harrhy (the only white top) led them off and kept the lead, followed by Scothern (having a very good day from yellow roof spot) from Jack France. Mark Gilbank and Bobby Griffin hooked up on the turns 3/4 bend but got going leading to chaos behind. Will Hunter spun and ended up facing the wrong way up against the fence, Phoebe Wainman, avoiding a car coming from the centre green, clambered over the top of the Hunter bonnet, with Paul Hines then going under Phoebe’s. All in all an impressive achievement from the 211 pilot, who celebrated by doing a WF-style wave to the crowds on exit.

At the restart, Scothern was leading from Harrhy second and Jack France third, not for long though as the France car hit the turn 3 fence coming to standstill where the car was left. Unfortunately a car a couple or three laps later clipped the stricken 216 car removing the back bumper and the yellows coming out.

Second restart and it was still Scothern leading from Harrhy and then Newson. Harrhy held on well with some of the sports big guns behind and whilst being passed kept his lines in a very confident manner coming in eventual seventh spot, Scothern remaining unchallenged to the end for the win.

Result – 152 16  21  515  390  212  345  37  217  555  166  192.

Phoebe escapes her car

At the end of the meeting, Stuart Smith now topped the points, with Danny Wainman now in second from Newson, Frankie Wainman and Lee Fairhurst in sixth.

Words: Andy Armer
Photos: Ant Jenkins

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