Skegness – July 11th 2010 Meeting Report

Skegvegas did its very best on Sunday to live up to its name as temperatures soared to levels more commonly seen in the deserts of Nevada. A large crowd endured nigh on seven hours of contact action in the arid heat and did its best to consume every cold drink in the stadium. If it was tough for the fans then it was an even sterner test for the drivers encased in overalls, helmets, and sat asride an overly hot engine.

Photo Colin Casserley

Enough cars for a two thirds format survived saturday nights racing and heat one brought 21 of them out on to the tarmac. The pace from the start was indeed “scorchio” and while most cars set about recording some fast laps the early casualties were Lee Robinson 107 who retired to the infield on lap 2 while the 91 car of Tony Smith and 426 Scott Davids tangled long enough for the delay to keep them out of the results. At the front B grader Stephen Hopkins 347 was building a comfortable lead with nearest challenger Ian Venables 60 unable to get close enough to make contact. Leading Star grader was Tom Harris in the 84 car. Harris has been showing some exceptional pace on tarmac this season but as the race passed the halfway stage he could do little to chase down the leading yellow tops. With five laps to go veteran Paul Harrison found an extra gear and began to close on Harris. While Hopkins cruised to victory, Harrison got close enough to mount a last bend assault on the 84 car but it was insufficent to reverse the places.

Photo Colin Casserley

Heat 2 saw no let up in the pace on track, 22 cars took the flag and once again the lower grades stormed off into the distance. Leader this time was 488 Mike Kingston Jnr who had 195 Dean Whitwell and 372 Colin Goodswen for company. Whitwell briefly grabbed the lead but the 488 car showed no sign of capitulation and was soon back in front. 488 and 195 were now under pressure from 191 Joshua Smith. The 191 car hit the front just before halfway and built a comfortable lead from 195. Leading stars 259 Paul Hines and Lee Fairhurst enjoyed a gentle skirmish for third place over the last five laps while the final lap saw a valiant effort from 214 Adam Slater to keep East Anglian superstar 16 Matt Newson behind him, with the 16 car just sneaking by on turn four as the chequred flag dropped on the 191 car.

Photo Colin Casserley

21 cars for Heat 3 and Joshua Smith set off in a most determined manner and rapidly took the lead and looked well set to repeat his Heat 2 sucess. Fellow yellow tops Goodswen and Venables showed similar pace but could not get within striking distance of the flying 191 car. By halfway lead star man 259 Paul Hines managed to pass Venables for third place, it took another 3 laps to dispose of Goodswen and by the last lap Hines was in striking distance of the leader. As hunter and prey went down the back straight for the last time the crowd waited for an attack from Hines but the 191 car slowed dramatically on the entry to turn 3 which put the Hines car off its stride and left the triumphant Smith collecting another trophy. Youth 1 Experience 0.

Photo Colin Casserley

After more aggressive action from the F2,s and saloon stock cars 28 cars lined up for the final. Half the field were graded star or superstar but the odds still looked in favour of another lower grade triumph. Early lead went to 488 Kingston Jnr with Venables, Whitwell and Josh Smith in close formation. Lead starman was 464 Luke Davidson but the gap to the lower grades was considerable and appeared insurmontable. Some assistance for the starmen appeared as yellow flags were required for David Plumbley 393 whose ultra smart FWJ car as stranded on turn 2. On the restart it was Venables from Smith and Kingston Jnr with 464 and the Hoosier tyre shod 259 Paul Hines in 4th and 5th and now scenting victory. The starmen only had sufficent time to dispose of 488 before another yellow flag caution was called this time for Dick Gladden 445 who had tangled with 217 Fairhurst and 287 Sean Willis and susequently made contact with the turn 4 armco. So on the restart it was 60 leading 191 with 464 and 259 way to close for comfort. Both stars passed Smith with Hines then applying contact to the 464 car and grabbing second place. With 5 laps to go Hines had done enough to reel in Venables and take a decisive lead. Further back life got a whole lot more difficult for Davidson as he was now under pressure from Tom Harris and 515 Frankie Wainman Jnr, the 84 car forced its way into third followed by Wainman but the 464 car was not in any mood to surrender and on the last bend of the final lap as Wainman focused on trying to grab third from Harris an attack from Davidson forced 515 wide taking Harris even wider allowing allowing the 464 car to hold a tighter line and and sail past for a well deserved third place finish.

Photo Colin Casserley

The clock was beyond 6.30 as just 16 starters emerged for the Grand National championship qualifier and fatigue may well have been catching up with the drivers as a relatively quiet rece ensued. Young Luke Davidson still had the adrenaline pumping after his podium finish in the final and was in second place by lap 5 although still some way short of the leader Kingston Jnr. Kingston indeed held on to his lead until 5 laps to go but had no answer for the rampant 464 car and Davidson grabbed the lead and cruised to victory. The final laps were enlivened by Daniel Wainman 212 who landed a consdierable hit on the 462 Scott Davids machine.

Photo Colin Casserley

With proceedings at an end the crowd and drivers retreated to nurse their sunburn and get ready for another marathon session at the European championship.

Damian Noblett

Photo Colin Casserley

Photo Colin Casserley

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