Skegness – 2010 Speedweekend; Saturday May 8th Meeting Report

Skegness lived up to its “bracing” reputation last Saturday and the coastal wind brought in several heavy cloudbursts which made for changeable and challenging track conditions.

The chance to grab some World championship qualifying points and a major title on Sunday produced the best car turnout on tarmac in 2010. Several drivers were making their 2010 debut, 22 Will Yarrow in the immaculate CS Ellis sponsored car was joined by Mark Helliwell 170, Dave “mr action” Willis 337, and National Hot Rod star Steve Thompson 385 in the borrowed Richard Earl car. Thompson was starting from a very generous white roof grade starting position and made a considerable impact on the whole weekend.

In addition to the 4 Uk 2010 debuts there was an excellent showing of 6 drivers from the Netherlands, all of whom were on a steep learning curve having little or no experience on the new for 2010 Goodyear tyres.

15 cars grided for heat one on a slightly damp track. Chris Cowley 37 who often saves his best performances for Skegness took the early lead while further back World champion Andy Smith made a charge through the field dragging Dan Johnson and Tom Harris with him. As the race reached half distance Smith moved serenely into the lead and had what appeared to be a comfortable ride to the flag. Cowley hung on for second only to be penalised two places for a jump start. The pace of the World champion left his rivals in no doubt they would need to be on top form if they were seeking trophies, made even more notable as after the flag the inside front tyre on the Smith car lost inflation and had apparently been losing pressure since half race distance.

Photo Colin Casserley

16 cars chased the 8 qualifying places in heat 2. 429 Gareth Wildman and 252 Paul Redfern diced for the lead while back in the pack a mischevious Ed Neachell 321 could not resist the chance to put Frankie Wainman 515 into a spin. Before halfway the white top leaders were swallowed up by tarmac specialist Micky Randell 172 who was flat out trying to avoid the unwanted attentions of H399 Jessy de Bruin. With 4 laps to go H399 managed to pass 172 but this only prompted aggression from Randell who snatched back a brief lead before a fast moving H247 Gary Castell sailed past and competed the remaining three laps to take the victory while the unlucky Randell retired with mechanical problems.

Photo Colin Casserley

The track looked a little more full for heat 3 as 18 emerged from the pits including Hot Rod star Steve Thompson who proceeded to show his class with a very rapid flag to flag victory. Further back 259 Paul Hines made good progress up to second with Will Yarrow in his slipstream but both were still well adrift of Thompson when the chequred flag was shown. Stuart Smith Jnr continued his diffcult start to the season as Danny Wainman 212 invited him to inspect the turn 3 armco and he crept home in a distant 10th place.

20 starters were on track for the last 8 qualifying places in the consolation race including 73 Rob “father time” Cowley having his first race on tarmac in his superb new car.After a false start the cars got away at the second attempt. At the front 429 Gareth Wildman was doing his utmost to keep some distance between himself and the front bumper of 498 Spencer Taylor, while further back the dangerous brothers Frankie and Daniel Wainman were on a charge through the pack. By halfway 498 had dispensed with Wildman but his lead lasted just 3 laps before the 515 car muscled its way past and went on to victory.

Photo Colin Casserely

A full compliment of 32 cars gridded for the final and in the early laps the action moved to a higher level with cars hitting the suddenly magnetic armco on a regular basis. 385 Steve Thompson again put his front row start to good use leading the early laps with 393 David Plumbley and Spencer Taylor riding shotgun. The extra traffic made progress more difficult for this leading trio and by halfway a very rapid 462 Scott Davids hit the front. Davids was chased by a gang of four led by Lee Fairhurst 217 who had Frankie Wainman, Luke Davidson 464 and Andrew Smith for company. As the laps ticked down Smith passed the 464 car but none of the chasers could make any impression on a jubilant Scott Davids who treated the home straight crowd to some doughnuts after the flag.

Photo Colin Casserley

29 made it out for the Grand National championship qualifier and once agian 385 set off at a rapid pace and led until halfway, while further back in the pack Stuart Smith jnr and Dan Johnson indulged in a bit of tit for tat bumper action. As the union jack signalled half distance 385 was coming under pressure from 484 Craig Utley but just 3 laps later both had lost out to Will Yarrow. The Yarrow car was flying but this was still not enough to keep Andy Smith in second and he took the lead with 4 to go,meanwhile Dave Willis and Chris Cowley picked a fight with the home straight armco which not suprisingly they lost. Andy Smith had now left the 22 car behind and cruised to the flag while brother Stuart renewed hostilities with Dan Johnson and on this occasion the 390 car was left chewing the turn 2 armco and limped back to the pits with front axle damage.

So ended a well organised and slickly presented meeting.

Damian Noblett

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