Sheffield – May 4th 2009 Meeting Report

FWJ Final winner at Sheffield.

FWJ Final winner at Sheffield.

The rain which threatened to fall during the meeting thankfully held off, allowing Sheffield’s opening F1 session of season 2009 to be staged on a drying track which held up well which also required frequent damping down. The combination of being a World Qualifier and National Series round meant that 37 cars had arrived to contest a two heat, consolation, final and GN programme.

19 cars saw the green flag fly in heat one, but it was quickly red flagged into lap one as Dave Berresford (260) and Michael Scriven (12) clobbered the back straight fence, which resulted in Scriven rolling and sustaining what appeared major damage ruling him out from the rest of the proceedings. A complete restart was called for which saw four cars from the original line up fail to grid, Richard Wilson (502), Steven Cayzer (380), Scriven and Tom Harris (84) missing out. Richard Bryan (238) lead them away on the restart with Murray Harrison (97) moving quickly through the pack to challenge. The fence claimed it’s next victims soon after as Chris Brocksopp (338), Mike Kingston (188) and Tim Farrell (467) went piling in on the back straight bringing out the waved yellows again. Bryan lead again at the restart before a fast moving Harrison went by. The 97 car held the lead until halfway, when Stuart Smith Jnr (390) eased through to take the victory, with Mark Gilbank (21) coming home second, Harrison third.

20 cars were on track for heat two, which saw a curious start to the race as Steve Hattersley (69), Andy Ford (13) and Mick Harris (8) fail to get out of the traps as the flag dropped. One driver who had no such trouble was Joe Booth (446) who tore away from the rest of the pack to take a popular victory from World Champion Andy Smith (391) and Mark Woodhull (335)

After a couple of fairly punishing heats, 12 cars ventured out for the consolation. Steve Hattersley and Ricky Wilson were jousting for the lead early on, until Nigel Whalley (198) took up the running. Sheffield regular, Chris Brocksopp (338) moved through into second place and set about closing the gap between the lead car and second place. The two seemed evenly matched on a drying track and it looked like Whalley may hold on, but he drifted wide into turns three and four with three laps to go, allowing Brocksopp through for a rare race victory.

23 cars gridded for the final, Murray Harrison not taking his place on the grid. Early casualties in this race were John Lund (53) who pulled off with a flat tyre and Smith Jnr who appeared to have mechanical problems. Joe Booth was setting a hot pace at the front of the pack and looked the man to beat, although Smith (391) and National Series Champion Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) were ominously carving their way through the pack, hoping to mount a late challenge. In the latter stages of the race, Berresford was attracted into the fence again on the back straight directly in front of race leader Booth, who appeared to clip the stricken 260 machine as he took avoiding action. This allowed 515 and 391 to close right in, and a lap later, Booth had retired to the infield and so it looked a straight shootout between the Silver roof and Gold roof holders. Smith looked to be biding his time to mount a last bend assault on the Wainman car, but as the laps ticked away, the 515 machine was able to pull a couple of car lengths clear of the Rochdale man to hold on for victory, Smith having to be content with second, Paul Harrison (2) placing third.

The Grand National fielded 22 cars, and interestingly, final winner Wainman Jnr opted not to take the lap handicap. Brocksopp was guided into the fence on turn one by Timmy Aldridge (257) before Robert Broome (41) managed to hit several fence posts on the back straight and was left hanging off the fence in a precarious position, which brought the first caution of the race. Bryan lead the restart away as Lund and Mal Brown (34) were dinked into the fence on the first turn by Wainman Jnr. The yellows were required again soon after as Gilbank and Brown had attacked the fence on the home straight and in the ensuing chaos Booth, Woodhull and Harrison (2) also hit the fence and ended up in a heap just past the starters rostrum.
Dave Willis (337) showing good form again in the borrowed Firow sponsored car lead away the restart with Mick Harris (8), Smith and Wainman also breathing down his neck. Both Harris and Willis soon succumbed to the superstar drivers both of whom went sweeping through, although were unable to get close enough to each other to effect a last bend finish, this time Smith clear from Wainman, Paul Hines (259) third, Lund fourth.

A Zang.

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