Skegness, 14th April 2017 – Meeting Report and Photos

Good Friday at Skegness Stadium ushered in a whole new era as the first new Brisca F1 promoter for many years, ex-racing legend Rob Speak, staged his first F1 meeting. Fans entering the stadium will have felt comfortable in the familiar surroundings but several areas within the stadium and pits had already received attention from some heavy digging and wrecking equipment, which held the promise of some long overdue upgrades to the stadium facilities.

A quick tour of the pits revealed ample cars in attendance for a two thirds format but two heats and consolation were programmed with C-grade drivers allowed to race both heats if not qualified. All looked set for plenty of fence-bashing action but the weather intervened with rain commencing before start time and persistent heavy showers kept the track wet all evening.

21 cars for heat one. Drew Lammas and James Tucker fought for the lead but they were soon swallowed up by the 464 car of Luke Davidson. Luke held on until five laps to go when he had to give way to the 84 car of teammate Tom Harris.

Tom Harris about to take the top spot away from Davidson in Heat 1.

An even wetter track greeted the 20 cars for heat two. Ex-F2 superstar Neil Hooper chased down early leader Ben Hurdman, while Mick Sworder did his best to liven up the crowd dishing out a few indiscriminate hits. Hooper got the better of Hurdman before the lap boards were shown. Sworder made it to fourth; spending the last few laps exchanging hits with Mat Newson, Stuart Shevill and Danny Wainman.

Consolation time and yes, of course, even more rain so not so much a race as a procession as cars just circulated. Lee Fairhurst got his act together in this one and hit the front before halfway for an easy victory.

Consolation winner, Lee Fairhurst.

More cars on track for the final but still very wet so only a marginal increase in speed and action. Lammas led while local hero Mat Newson departed early with mechanical problems and 401 Steve Webster was bashed around by half the field in turn 3. Yellow flags rescued Webster and, as the race restarted, Lammas set about rebuilding his lead. Harris, Sworder and 445 Nigel Green engaged in a little bit of contact action but yellow flags soon returned to rescue 321 Ed Neachell from turn 2.

Lammas had to give way to 36 Jordan Falding on the restart, while Green 445 scrapped over third with Lee Fairhurst. Green left Fairhurst behind and took the lead from Falding with six to go. Tom Harris also moved through the field, taking second from 217 with five laps remaining. The three superstars reeled off the remaining wet laps. Harris pushed hard but was unable to get the 445 car in range for one of his trademark last bend disposals.

Final top 3: Green, Harris and Fairhurst.

23 survived for the Grand National and, surprise surprise, more rain. Having held on for an excellent seventh place in the final Lammas now built himself another commanding lead and with no yellow flags in this race, it was a lead he retained all the way to the chequered flag. Ryan Harrison (197) broke early from the red grade but was still well adrift of Lammas when the flag came down. A little bit more fighting amongst the reds and superstars in this race but after halfway it all got rather quiet as most drivers had enough today fighting the track rather than each other.

In truth not an overly inspiring opening to the Rob Speak era but not even a superhuman Speak can defy the weather gods. Hopefully Robert will have said his prayers prior to the UK Open weekend in May, when a larger compliment of cars and some bigger trophies will just need some decent dry weather to see a return of the usual intense Skegness action.

543 Drew Lammas showing continued skill in an F1.

Words: Damian Noblett
Photos: Colin Casserley

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