Sheffield – July 26th 2009 Meeting Report

Photo Colin Casserley.

Photo Colin Casserley.

Frankie Wainman had little difficulty taking a Final and GN double, with his only visible competition being from a few lower grade newcomers. Ike Parkinson continued to impress and took a heat win, and Joe Booth took the other heat and then dished out plenty of bumper in the Final.

There wasn’t a big grid for the opening Whites & Yellows race, and on paper it looked like an easy win for soon-to-be red top Joff Gibson. Gibson did in fact win, but it wasn’t quite the walkover that might have been expected. Mike Andrew (220) led for a few laps before Ike Parkinson (254) and Steve Harrison (118) went past. Parkinson led a handful of laps until Harrison eased up the inside, with Gibson following. It was now Harrison, from Gibson, and Parkinson a few lengths behind. Gibson seemed unable to close the gap, so that’s the order they stayed in until two laps remained, when Gibson finally got ahead. At the start of the last lap, Ricky Wilson (502) had a big lunge at Parkinson, putting both wide, but Parkinson came out ahead, and then smacked Harrison wide on the last bend to take second place.

Andy Ford (13) made an assertive start to the 21 car Heat 1, when he gave Dave Willis (337) a massive hit on the first bend. The early leader was Wilson, from Harrison, before Gibson was up to second place after about half a dozen laps. Making the most progress in the early stages was Mark Gilbank (21), who was in the top three before the halfway. Parkinson (254) nudged Wilson wide for the lead, with Gibson then trying to plant the 502 car into the 254 machine. But Parkinson held on, and went to take the win, with Gilbank coming home second.

Heat 2 fielded 19 cars, with Andrew (220) leading for 4 laps until Wilson edged past. But Wilson’s lead was short lived, as the fast moving Joe Booth (446)went ahead on the next lap, with Gibson taking second. Richard Bryan (238) and Mike Andrew got caught up around turn four, with Danny Wainman (212) running into them before all three crashed into the fence. Gibson took avoiding action and clipped the fence, performing a 360 degree spin down the home straight just as the yellows came out for the 238 car. Before the restart, Gibson was reinstated into second place, and Parkinson disqualified for outside assistance (he had been handed some spare goggles from the pits). When the green dropped, race order was 446,249,91,84,515,21,and 13, with Frankie Wainman firing Tom Harris wide on the first bend. Into the next bend, Tony Smith got it just slightly too wide around the turn and slowed, baulking Wainman, and Gilbank neatly span the 515 car around as he went past. Booth won comfortably, and Gilbank closed up to second placed Gibson over the last few laps, but seemed to think twice about a last bend challenge. Dan Johnson (4) had no such qualms about a last bender on Ford, although it didn’t pay off.

Parkinson was first away in the Final, with Booth again on a mission and making a quick start, although spinning Willis out cost him some time. In the opening laps the top four were Parkinson, Gibson, Smith (91), and Booth, and they raced around bumper to bumper, until Booth launched Smith into the turn one fence. Into the next bend, and the 446 front bumper was in action again, thumping Gibson and Parkinson wide with one big hit. This put Booth in the lead, but it didn’t last long, as he got it wrong coming out of the turn and was sideways going past the starter, before slewing onto the infield. This left Mal Brown up front, as the yellows came out for Smith (91). Race order for the restart was Brown, Gibson, Jacklin, then Harris, the latter coming under attack from backmarker Booth when the race resumed. The 84 and 446 cars got hooked up around turn four, where Willis and Brocksopp piled into them. Gibson span just before the halfway, leaving Brown with about a five length lead over new second placeman Wainman. Gibson restarted, only to crash into the fence with Jacklin. Wainman caught and eased past Brown just after half distance, with Johnson taking second with four to run. Johnson looked to be slowly closing in on Wainman, but couldn’t get past backmarker Booth.

Wainman declined the lap handicap for the GN, and he was soon through the pack. The 515 car was up to third place when the yellows came out for Andy Ford and Dave Willis. Willis had been reversing out of the fence when Ford smashed into him at near race speed. Parkinson led the restart, from Gibson and Wainman, and a perfectly timed nudge put the 249 car into the loose shale. It didn’t take long for Wainman to reel in Parkinson, and about halfway through the race the 515 car squeezed past around turn four. Parkinson was unlucky to clip a fence post and came to a stop sideways across the track. After that, the rest of the race passed without incident, and such was Wainman’s lead at the finish that, given the waved yellows early on, he might well have still won had he taken the lap handicap.

C Hesketh

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