Skegness, 13th May 2017 – Meeting Report and Photos

The F1 roadshow made its way to the newly-owned Rob Speak Skegness track for the UK open weekend on Saturday 13th May. For those that did not make the Bank Holiday Friday meeting earlier in the season, it was a chance to see the place under the new Speak mantle. The old bar has been demolished, leaving a cordoned off area, the new bar yet to be built whilst the toilet block on turn 3 is now re-fettled , re-done and freshly painted. It is obvious Rob is planning greater things for the seaside track and with time should prove to be an even greater draw for the F1 roadshow not to mention the domestic formula at the track.

A very healthy 63 cars were booked for the night (a cap had been set at 65, when was the last time we heard a cap on F1 car numbers?) and it was obvious the drivers were out to support the place under Rob’s new ownership.

Such a healthy number allowed a shale drivers only heat 1 for, you guessed it, the shale only drivers in shale cars to take part with a grid of 16 cars.  Early leader was 268 Richard Woods from 278 Paul Hopkins, the front two soon exchanging places before being over hauled for the lead by 308 Steve Malkin Jnr with 73 Rob Cowley behind. The front two remained the same to the flag with Cowley not managing to gain on the Malkin car. Unfortunately for Steve the car failed the dreaded scales so was excluded giving  Rob Cowley the win.

Result:  73  175  166  532  278  437  13  495  280 – first 7 to final.

Russell Cooper and Richard Howarth on track in heat 1.

Heat 2 gridded 23 cars with Stuart Smith on a mission in this one. Early on he fired Frankie Wainman into the turn one fence hard, whilst Lee Fairhurst and Mat Newson exchanged blows. Leader 172 Micky Randell had 183 Steve Whittle in pursuit from 9 James Tucker in third, whilst Neil Scriven spun on the main straight but managed to get going again.

With 5 laps to go, the positions were the same with Will Hunter, Lee Fairhurst, Mat Newson and Smith behind. Stuart then decided to repeat the move used earlier on Wainman; firing Mat Newson into the turn 3 fence hard, Mat remaining there till the end. On the last bend, with Randell well in the lead from Tucker, Stuart did a cue ball finish, firing the 9 car of Tucker into the car of Fairhurst, who kept going. The car of Tucker eventually got going but finished out of the qualifiers.

Result:  172  183  217  390  220  455  207  1 (515)  H917  H380  2  3    – first 9 to the final.

Newson clattering the fence in Heat 2.

Heat 3 had a similar grid of 24 cars with Alex Wass leading them off and holding the lead till just over halfway, until 300 Paul Carter hit the front driving the old Ryan Harrison tar car. Dan Johnson was going well till he was dispatched by Tom Harris and losing places, whilst the 197 car of Ryan Harrison was now in pursuit of car of Carter, Joff Gibson in third. Nigel Green managed to get past the car of Tom Harris and both passed Joff Gibson.

Ryan soon managed to overhaul Carter for the lead, which he extended to the finish, Carter holding on to second from Green and Harris behind.

Result:  197  300  445  84  249  518  196  4  212  422  287  372 – first 9 to final.

Ryan Harrison taking his first win of the night

The consolation had a very healthy grid of 35 cars, which tends to make it action packed on the small, fast Skegness circuit. Needless to say, for the first few laps bumpers were going in everywhere, until a stoppage on lap 4 for the stranded cars of 468 Danny Colliver and 284 Samuel Wass stationary on turn 1/2 . Alex Wass (283) led the cars on the restart from James Tucker in second. Tucker soon hit the front and led from halfway until the flag for a first win in the F1s.

Result:  9  428  283  464  16  3  355  512  543  H400  186  422  – first 9 to final.

A first F1 win for James Tucker

The final started in total chaos, with the reds and superstars going early from the back, some going to the infield to avoid damage. Red flags came out and a total restart was called. At the restart, the stars at the back were battling and exchanging blows before Frankie Wainman got a small break. Up front, Tucker’s luck ran out, the 9 car colliding with Alex Wass, spinning the Tucker car and then being collected hard. The Tucker car needed removal, with some bad damage under yellow flags.

At the restart Chris Fort led the pack from 278 Paul Hopkins. Dan Johnson wasted no time firing Frankie Wainman into the turn 2 fence, the Silsden driver then retiring. Meanwhile 390 Stuart Smith pulled up to the centre with what turned out to be engine damage (possible piston damage); ruling him out of the weekend’s racing.

Tom Harris, Nigel Green and Dan Johnson had started to exchange hits till the Harris and Johnson cars hooked up on turns 3/4  (4 on the side of 84) before they both got going. Johnson soon retired with an engine miss-fire due to a failed head gasket. On the back straight, two yellow graders hooked up and the yellow flags were out again.

Ryan Harrison had already gained the lead by this point from 512 Michael Steward and Nigel Green third. This lead he held to the flag, though the Green car looked the faster, but in the post-race interview, Ryan said the car had been dropping rear diff oil, resulting in the 445 car having to take a different line and being unable to gain an advantage. Tom Harris, who had tangled earlier with Johnson, came home third after firing Michael Steward wide on the last bend.

A great win for Ryan and a great post-race interview done. It appears Ryan thinks he is at an distinct disadvantage to Tom and Nigel; these two being of such slight build compared to the 197 pilot that they must have a weight advantage. A good argument but one that tends to fall apart judging by the pace of Stuart Smith recently!

Result: 197  445  84  512  16  212  196  518  175  73  166  278.

Another final win for Ryan Harrison

The grand national had a full 36-car grid with 183 Steve Whittle coming in the winner, from Murray Jones and Scott Davids in third.

Result: 183  196  462  2  16  217  287  422  555  H77  73  H380.

Whittle taking the Grand National win

Words: Andy Armer
Photos: Colin Casserley

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