Skegness, 11th June 2016 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

A top quality entry of F1 stock cars arrived at an overcast and breezy Skegness Stadium to contest the BSCDA British Championship. The large number of drivers were joined by a sizeable contingent of race fans and, with two quality support formulae also contesting their own British Championships, fans were hoping to be treated to a feast of hard-hitting, action-packed racing.

Regrettably the chosen format for the headlining F1 cars tends to encourage a safety first approach, with accumulation of qualifying points the priority, and thus fans had to wait for the F1 Final before the headline act lived up to its billing.

Seven heats gave all drivers 3 races to score points; with top points scorer taking pole position. Heat One had an extra twist with a restricted entry allowing only those racing dual-surface cars to compete. Despite a modest entry of just twelve cars, this proved to be one of the better heats of the night with plenty of ‘argy bargy’ amongst the blue grade – most of it instigated by Chris Cowley (37), aided and abetted by the evergreen Mal Brown in the 34 car. While the blue grade played, Ricky Wilson in the 502 car eased away from the unwanted attentions of George Elwell (501) for a comfortable victory.

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Victory in Heat 1 went to Ricky Wilson.

The remaining six heats were open to all cars and, with big names like Fairhurst, Newson and Johnson adopting a safety first approach and others like Craig Finnikin, Nigel Green and Stuart Smith Jnr having a night they would prefer to forget, it was left to the lower grades to scoop up all but one of the race wins. Heat Two went to Aaron Leach in the 70 car. A top notch effort for a driver in not just his first season in the big league but actually his first season in any type of short oval racing.

Two other lower graders with a few more miles on the clock scooped two wins a piece. Heats three and six went the way of Scotsman Stuart Shevill Jnr (518), with the THM car having easily its most successful meeting to date. Two wins also for Paul Carter (300) in the Team MHR car.

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Stuart Shevill Jnr (518) racked up two heat wins

With six of seven heats going to the lower grades, only one victor came from the back of the pack to break the lower grade monopoly on the trophies, with the legend Robert Speak (318) taking victory in heat four. Speak and one other big name Ryan ‘the boss’ Harrison had not read the script followed by the rest of the big names and both drivers raced hard and fast in all three of their heats.

Speak was rewarded with a front row outside start with Ryan just one place behind on row two. Most fans would have thought the title winner would come from one of these two, but Skegness is not the wide open spaces of Coventry or Ipswich and, with 30 cars on track and a prestigious title on offer, racing was never going to be predictable.

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Rob Speak was the only superstar to force his way to the front in the heats.

Things then got even harder to predict as the prayers of all at Team Wainman were answered; dark clouds gathered and a heavy rain shower soaked the track. Races for National Ministox and V8 Stockcars did manage to create a relatively dry inside line before the F1 cars emerged for a pre-race grand parade. It seemed now that form shown in the heats would count for little and, with a dry inside and soggy outside line, that those risking aggression would be doing well to avoid putting themselves into the fence.

No surprise then when the green flag came down and with 30 cars all giving it 110%, that there was carnage and casualties all around the raceway. The 197 car was almost an early victim; squeezed out by the pack and into the fence in turn two, but Ryan recovered his composure and muscled his way to the front. Ryan’s teammate Paul Carter was giving second-placed Speak a hard time while Lee Fairhurst had found a whole load of pace absent from his heats and had made it from row five to third place when yellow flags for Jon Horne in the 19 car brought the field to a halt. Dan Johnson retired the 4 car to the infield at this point, which was unfortunate as the 2014 World Cup winner looked to be well capable of closing down the leaders.

The restart had 197 followed by Carter (300) then Speak, Fairhurst and Newson. Wet tarmac lover Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) was at this point way down the field, having managed to get involved in lots of problems with spinning, crashing and out of control opponents.

Carter seemed to forget where the loud pedal was on the restart, which delayed Speak and allowed teammate Ryan to get away and Fairhurst to grab second place. The action now got more intense as Speak, Fairhurst and Ryan Harrison fought over the podium places. Speak took a severe pasting from Fairhurst which had him scraping the fence and the 318 car seemed to lose some pace after bashing the Armco.

More yellow flags for Ricky Wilson halted proceedings. Ryan led Lee Fairhurst on the restart while Speak retired his ailing car to the infield, leaving Mad dog Mat Newson in third and, perhaps a little surprisingly after his earlier troubles, Frankie Wainman Jnr in fourth.

Fairhurst attacked Ryan going into turn 3 attempting a full monty fencing of the 197 car but Ryan survived. Fairhurst also ran wide but then dived up the inside of Ryan on the home straight, giving ‘the boss’ an immediate opportunity for revenge as they entered turn two. The big hit sure enough arrived but both cars went to the fence. Fairhurst, now damaged, retired to the infield while the Harrison car remained in turn two and yellow flags were required to rescue the shaken driver.

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Heat winner Wilson gets into trouble in the championship race.

Just eleven of the thirty starters for the restart led by Newson from Danny Wainman (212), James Rygor (78) in the Newson hire car and Frankie Jnr (515) in fourth. Danny and Mat fought for the lead, swapping hits and places while Frankie Jnr bided his time in third. Rygor slipped backwards and was replaced by yet another Wainman (555) in fourth. Despite the level of attrition on other cars, it should be noted that the 555 car started dead last in the 30 car field and for a driver in only his first full season to be anywhere near the podium places was quite remarkable.

With five to go Danny (212) savaged Newson and the hit allowed Danny to lead but big brother Frankie also passed Newson and then stepped up the pace and stole the lead Danny had worked so hard for. So a Wainman 1-2 reeled off the remaining laps for a very popular win, but the action was not over as Frankie Jnr Jnr was desperate to complete a family lockout on the podium places and went for Newson big time on the last bend. It did not quite come off and the 555 car lost a few places but it was a fitting end to a race which provided entertainment with a big fat capital E.

Frankie was having an emotional evening and having already seen daughter Phoebe take a superb victory in the V8 Stockcars British, it was fair to say that his cup did indeed overflow with good fortune. Frankie never forgets it’s a team effort and on the mic was quick to thank his mechanics and engine builder Ian Whitworth for many hours of toil. His final comment to BriSCA’s top MC Richard Kaleta was “to those who say I am past it…..absolute BS” and on this performance nobody could disagree.

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British Championship Top 3: Frankie Wainman Junior, Danny Wainman and Mat Newson.

Words: Damian Noblett 
Photos: Colin Casserley

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