Skegness – July 9th 2011 Meeting Report

Despite heavy rain and dark skies on route Skegness was bathed in sub tropical sunshine on Saturday and the spectators car park was almost full some 90 minutes before startime. The pits were also full with masses of cars all ready to do battle in what is often the best all contact weekend of the season. Sufficient F1 cars arrived for a two heat format with lower graders able to race in both heats, although some on the terraces thought a two thirds format would have made for better action on track.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Ricky Wilson 502. Photo Paul Tully

In the pits one found new metal for shale expert Ricky Wilson 502 with a very nicely presented car, formerly piloted by Carlos Perez 305. First time drivers at this meeting were 475 Aaron Cozen in the 415 Russell Cooper car, 229 Derek Brown in the ex 361 Steve Reedman car and 207 Ben Hurdman in a Team Newson hire car.

BriSCA F1 stockcar drivers Aaron Cozens 475 and Daniel Howell 317. Photo Paul Tully

Pre meeting entertainment pitched Paul Harrison, Tom Harris, Frankie Wainman Jnr and Paul Hines in a battle with four of the best from the F2 stock cars and Saloon Stockcars to see who could record the fastest lap time and fastest speed with a local PC having brought along a Vascar speed gun to take readings on the back straight. While the F2 cars came out on top in the lap times, it was Tom Harris who registered peak speed hitting 69mph.

BriSCA F1 stockcar stars Paul Hines 259 and Frankie Wainman jnr 515. Photo Paul Tully

22 cars made it on track to fight for 8 qualifying places in heat one. 235 John Weldon led them away with 246 Ian Brickley chasing while further back Mick Sworder 150 was making rapid progress in his usual extravagant style. Sworder was tracked by a rapid 217 Lee Fairhurst. World champion Andy Smith was also cutting through the pack showing no ill effects from his excursion to the Armco at the last Skegness event in May.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Mick Sworder 150 in action. Photo Paul Tully

By halfway 150 had taken the lead from Brickley with 217 third and Smith 1 in fourth. All seemed set for a quiet run to the flag but Tom “hitman” Harris decided otherwise finding some extra pace and as the five to go board was shown was all over the back of the Andy Smith car. Harris forced his way past Smith and considering this was only a heat with qualification a priority one could have expected Smith to settle for a comfortable fourth but the “teacher” was in no mood to let the “pupil” have an easy ride and attacked Harris on every bend culminating in an aggressive last lap turn 3 shunt which had Harris scraping round the Armco and just holding third onto third in a drag race to the line. Sworder meanwhile took the chequered flag and the applause from the large crowd.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Nigel Harrhy 45 alongside Sean Willis 287. Photo Paul Tully

Heat two featured 21 starters and Nigel Harrhy broke away from his fellow white tops and despite some erratic lines in the bends built up a useful lead, maintaining a comfortable margin over second placed veteran Rob Cowley 73. Luke Davidson 464 made rapid progress from the back of the grid taking second from 73 at the halfway stage. Davidson then loomed large in the 45 cars mirror and the pressure saw the 45 car spin in turn 2. Davidson cruised to the flag while last lap action was provided by Michael Scriven in the 12 car delivering a big last bend hit on 153 James Lund which was not quiet sufficient to reverse the places.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Michael Scriven 12 alongside brother Neil 11. Photo Paul Tully

Consolation time brought 18 on track and with 12 qualification places available not surprisingly a rather quiet processional race ensued. 246 Ian Brickley forced his way passed the white tops despite some resistance from 235 John Weldon. By halfway 246 led from 16 Matt Newson, behind 246 Robert Broome 41 was under attack from the 462 machine of Scott Davids. No change until 3 laps to go when 462 punched his way past 41 while a lap later Newson took the lead from 246. Newson proceeded to take the win while a last bend lunge from the 41 car saw 462 dispatched to the Armco swapping a comfortable third place for front end damage to bumper and axle.

Consolation winner Matt Newson 16 takes the lead from Ian Brickley 246. Photo Paul Tully

27 Gladiators gridded for the meeting final but we were soon down to 26 as 515 Frankie Wainman jnr retired on lap one with transmission problems. 45 took the lead but lap two saw a halt for yellow flags as a whole gang of cars tangled and went on mass to pick a fight with the back straight fence. 51 Dylan Williams-Maynard and 191 Joshua Smith were the main victims with the 191 car coming to rest on its side while the 51 car mounted the Armco and damaged the top rope of the fence.

BriSCA F1 stockcar drivers Josh Smith 191 and Dylan Williams Maynard 51 come to grief. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Lee Fairhurst 217. Photo Paul Tully

45 led the single file restart with 73 Rob Cowley and Brickley 246 while top placed star was 217 Lee Fairhurst in seventh. The front of the grid set about putting in quick laps but action was to be found further back in the pack as 84 Hitman Harris and 150 Mick Sworder ganged up on Andy Smith forcing the world champion wide, however misfortune soon also struck the 150 car as a tangle with an on form 259 Paul Hines ended his chances of a place in the points.

BriSCA F1 stockcar drivers Tom Harris 84 and Andy Smith 1 do battle. Photo Paul Tully

By halfway 217 was leading while Harris had grabbed second maintaining a comfortable margin over third place Andy Smith. Harris forced his way inside Fairhurst with 5 laps to go but the 217 car is piloted by a most determined driver and twice Harris had to survive contact from the 217 front bumper, 84 then pulled away to take the win while last lap Paul Harrison 2 sent the 73 car to the fence to grab fifth.

Grand national time brought out 29 cars on track, this volume of cars usually delivers action at Skegness and yellow flags were soon out for 191 Josh Smith and 11 Neil Scriven who tangled on the home straight. 45 Nigel Harrhy led the restart and action commenced further back in the pack with 515 Wainman Jnr exchanging hits with Andy Smith on every bend. 73 Rob Cowley moved into a short lived lead as more yellow flags were required to remove the tangled cars of 229 Derek Brown and 207 Ben Hurdman.

BriSCA F1 stockcars of Ben Hurdman 207 and Derek Brown 229 tangle. Photo Paul Tully

73 and 45 now had 217 in third on the restart and it took only 2 laps for Fairhurst to grab the lead. Fairhurst ticked off the remaining laps without coming under any pressure followed home by Rob Cowley. Further back Wainman and Smith were still jousting and were now joined in combat by Davids 462 and 197 Ryan Harrison. The 197 car races with little respect for reputation and on the last lap shunted 462,1 and 515 into turn 3 with Smith getting the worst of this contact lottery, hitting the fence and getting shuffled down the order to 8th place.

Drivers returned to the pits to repair damage in time for Sundays events or grab a well earned beer, while some were left to journey home with the knowledge that a higher level of performance will be required when they return to Skegness at the end of July for their world championship semi final.

Damian Noblett

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