Skegness, 18th April 2014 – meeting report and photo gallery

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Rob Speak won his third final in as many meetings at Skegness on Good Friday.

Good Friday at a bright but chilly Skegness Stadium turned out to be more of a Friday fright night for those named Fairhurst,Johnson,Harrison or Wainman, as the current World Champion Tom Harris delivered a hat trick of wins with a level of dominance over his rivals which suggests he will be an odds on favourite for all major titles contested on Tarmac tracks this season.

24 cars for heat one in an “all in” format. 220 Will Hunter continued his strong form from the previous weekend with controlled laps building an early lead. As 217 Lee Fairhurst departed with a flat tyre the yellow flags came out to rescue 325 Richard Davies who was stranded in turn 3. As the field slowed there was still time for Nigel Harrhy 45 to suffer a puncture and attack the infield marker tyres.

220 led the restart with a rapid Rob Speak 318 in fifth. Speak rapidly made his way into second but Tom Harris had now finished wasting time scrapping with the red tops and was closing fast on Speak. More yellow flags at this point to rescue a groggy Paul Harrison who had been well and truly nailed to the turn two fence by Ryan Harrison 197.

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Wainman 515 retired just as the cars restarted. Perhaps mindful of his reputation for aggression Harris carefully picked his moment to pass Speak and sailed away for an easy victory. The last lap saw 4 Dan Johnson go for a big hit on Ryan 197 but it was insufficient to secure fourth place.

21 cars for heat two. Hunter 220 shot off at the front as 464 Davidson and 259 Paul Hines tangled and lost loads of time. Dan Johnson 4 broke from the pack to chase down Hunter as Harris delayed himself spending time exchanging hits with Speak 318. Caution time again with 300 Paul Carter requiring rescue having been ushered into the fence by 318. Hunter led the restart from 287,4 and 1. Harris punted 4 wide on turn two only to get a portion back on the next bend from Johnson but he held on and then soon past Hunter for a second comfortable victory of the night.

Final time brought 19 on track. A similar pattern to the previous races at the front as Hunter took the lead from 287 Willis. Rob Speak 318 seemed determined to break away early and team-mate Luke 464 received no mercy getting hammered wide in turn 3. Harris looked scary fast but spent time indulging in superfluous contact with his fellow superstars which allowed Speak to get away.

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As the race reached halfway Willis 287 departed preferring the turn four fence to second place. Ivan Pritchard 434 now held second but both he and Hunter were soon swallowed up by a rapid 318. Having finished messing with his fellow superstars Harris now thundered into second looking way to fast for Speak. The 318 car was well on the limit or over it but still Harris began to close the gap. One lap to go and with Harris still not in striking range yellow flags came out for a loose wheel on the 434 car.

At the restart fortune smiled upon Speak as a lap down 94 John Dowson was between him and Hitman Harris. The slight delay passing the 94 car being sufficient to keep Speak out of range from a last bender from Harris.

16 survived for the Grand National heat with Tony Smith 91 having his first race of the night. 220 Hunter lead again with 45 Harrhy in second, but with Speak 318 having the final winners lap handicap there was little doubt about the winner, as the Harris car once again ran at a pace no others could match taking the lead with four to go to complete a dominant hat trick of wins.

Words: Damian Noblett
Photos: Colin Casserley

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