Skegness – May 15th 2011 Meeting Report

It was a tough decision to leave the Umbrella in the car on arrival at Skegness as dark clouds hovered, but the risk was worth taking and sure enough was rewarded with an action packed afternoon’s entertainment.

the BriSCA F1 stockcar of Mike Kingston 488 has a flaming good time on track. Photo Paul Tully

A wander around the pits revealed a hive of activity as those not repairing Saturdays damage were on and off the scales refining car set up or were trying to find the right combination of tyres with most of the stars and superstars opting for Goodyear tyres on all four wheels.

Despite one or two casualties from Saturdays events there was still plenty of cars for a format of four heats with each driver racing twice. The top 26 points scorers qualified for a graded start final with a further 8 places on the back of the grid from a consolation race.

Opinion was sought from various quarters but nobody seemed prepared to predict anything but a big race win for Tom “Hitman” Harris 84 who had been so dominant the night before. One poor soul did suggest that Colin Goodswen 372 in the Yarmouth Stadium sponsored car may have a chance using his white grade start but only if there were no yellow flags. However with 34 cars chasing a big trophy on the tight Skegness tarmac the chance of no yellows was highly unlikely, in fact the drivers did not see fit to wait for the final and provided fast, aggressive, incident packed racing all afternoon.

Two F1 stockcar gold roofs on track at the same time. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stockcar blue grades do battle. Photo Colin Casserley

Heat one brought 25 cars out on track led off by Goodswen 372, a clean start soon gave way to chaos as 347 Stephen Hopkins got turned round on turn 2 and was then mounted by 235 John Weldon, lots of other contact ensued as cars took avoiding action and the yellow flags came out to rescue the damaged 347 car.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver John Weldon 235 mounts Steve Hopkins 347. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver John Weldon 235 mounts Steve Hopkins 347. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Mick Sworder 150 takes a trip up the armco. Photo Paul Tully

The carnage claimed 6 cars so just 19 for their restart. 372 again started building a lead while Lee Fairhurst 217 looked to have his fellow stars in his pocket. The pace was hot and soon brought further calamity as the normally patient Paul Harrison 2 and a man who was in the wars all weekend 53 John Lund fought over the exit to turn 4, they tangled and charged the home straight fence, the Harrison car took a dislike to the top rope of the fence snapping it which brought about another stoppage.

From the restart 372 once again set about building a lead. Up to now current World Champion Andy Smith and rival 515 Frankie Wainman Jnr had been making steady progress through the field but now Wainman asserted himself and punted a subdued Smith wide. Wainman then turned his attention to catching starman Lee Robinson 107 and 217 Lee Fairhurst who were enjoying their own aggressive battle.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Lee Fairhurst 217 in action. Photo Colin Casserley

Five laps to go saw 372 still leading, while second placed H365 Joep Hendriks spun out on turn two. With four laps to go 107 grabbed third place sending 153 James Lund for a trip around the turn 4 armco. But it was too late to catch 372 or second placed 37 Chris Cowley. Thus Goodswen took the Yarmouth Stadium car to a well deserved victory.

A further 25 for heat 2 and a much quieter race ensued. 84 Tom Harris was once again pick of the field but still had to work extra hard to close down some rapid lower grade drivers. With 5 to go he passed the brand new self built Brewtech Metal Fabricators sponsored car of 141 Carl Pickering and used the remaining laps to pick off a leading trio of 126 Neil Turner, 161 Mark Allen and 393 David Plumbley. The first superstar home was Mat “ mad dog” Newson in sixth who had to survive a last bend attack from a determined 4 Dan Johnson.

BriSCA F1 stockcar drivers Dan Johnson 4 and Matt Newson 16. Photo Paul Tully

22 decided to risk a further battering in heat 3. The Stockport Truck Centre 51 car of Dylan Williams-Maynard found some extra pace in this race and made short work of getting to the front by lap 7. No time though for 51 to relax as Tom Harris 84 barged his way past Lee Robinson and set forth to hunt down the 51 car.

Further back Dan Johnson blew his chances climbing all over H46 Marcel Jansen doing nothing for the re-sale value of the borrowed 2010 Tom Harris car. Tension rose as 84 closed in on Williams-Maynard and last lap turn 4 a rather scruffy attack saw 84 nerf the 51 car aside and win a drag race to the line. Two heat wins for Harris gave him a pole position start in the red grade for the big race.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Dan Johnson 4 goes up in the air. Photo Paul Tully

the BriSCA F1 stockcar of Dan Johnson 4 about to lift off. Photo Chris Clark

BriSCA F1 stockcar Dan Johnson 4 goes up in the air. Photo Chris Clark

27 joined the grid for the last heat and another bout of seaside push and shove. 372 was by now playing a familiar role delivering quick laps and building a lead. Further back Craig Utley 484 was squeezed up onto the tyres on the home straight while new superstar 321 Ed Neachell did his best to muzzle Mad dog Newson.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Craig Utley 484 takes to the air, bouncing up on the tyres. Photo Paul Tully

At halfway a yellow flag caution period for a distressed 393 David Plumbley saw Goodswen’s lead evaporate. If the loss of his lead wasn’t enough misfortune, the sight of a second placed Mick “ no prisoners” Sworder 150 in his mirrors on the restart just made matters a whole lot worse. On the restart 150 grabbed the lead with 3 laps to go and cruised to the chequered flag.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Colin Goodswen 372 leads them away. Photo Chris Clark

A consolation race offered 8 places on the back of the big race grid. The 17 starters included Skegness specialist Paul Harrison and an off the pace 390 Stuart Smith jnr. A dutch victory looked possible for most of this race as H365 Joep Hendriks held a comfortable lead over 41 Robert Broome and only a slow puncture in the closing laps allowed 41 to close in and grab the trophy.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Robert Broome 41 overtakes Joep Hendriks H365. Photo Paul Tully

Other entertainment was provided by John Lund punting 212 Danny Wainman and the 390 car fencewards. While 462 Scott Davids, Paul Harrison and 484 Craig Utley spent the second half of the race banging metal on metal on every bend, 462 escalated the conflict on the very last bend taking both 2 and 484 wide which allowed John Lund 53 to skip through the mayhem and steal sixth place.

BriSCA F1 driver John Lund 53 steals a march on Danny Wainman 212 and Stu Smith jnr 390. Photo Colin Casserley

The sky darkened prior to the big race and cars remained on jacks as many drivers were unsure which type of tyre would be required. One non starter was the unlucky 22 Will Yarrow so 33 cars gridded. The top points scores were on pole in each grade with 372 the white grade pole man and 84 Harris leading the stars, an advantage he certainly did not need.

BriSCA F1 stockcar UK Open competitors ready to line up . Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stockcars UK Open grid from the rear. Photo Paul Tully

It was a clean start with 372 again making good headway, but a halt was soon called to remove the 488 Mike Kingston Jnr car from turn 4. On the restart Harris was already in 7th but still had the quick 51 and dangerous 150 car to pass before he could make an assault on the podium places. The restart lasted barely a couple of laps before 462 involved 53 John Lund in more trouble as they tangled and blocked the home straight which brought out more yellow flags.

BriSCA F1 stockcar UK Open line up at restart. Photo Colin Casserley

Single file restart again with 372 still at the front and Sworder fifth and 84 sixth. Fast laps saw 84 climb to second place with Andy Smith a distant 3rd before the race once again turned aggressive. 217 Lee Fairhurst attacked Smith with help from 150 and the delay to Smith also allowed 515 Wainman Jnr to sneak past.

BriSCA F1 Cecil built stockcars in the shape of Mick Sworder 150 and Andy Smith 1. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 driver Lee Fairhurst deals with Mick Sworder 150 and Andy Smith 1. Photo Colin Casserley

Then a whole train of stars and superstars went into turn two and while Smith searched for contact with Wainman the Falding Motorsport car of Dan Johnson made his move and applied enough force to Smith to send both 1 and 515 into the turn 2 armco where they came to an abrupt halt beside the 126 Neil Turner car.

BriSCA F1 Frankie Wainman jnr 515 collides into Neil Turner 126 as Andy Smith 1 joins them. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stockcars of Neil Turner 126, Frankie Wainman jnr 515 and Andy Smith 1 retire from the race. Photo Paul Tully

This impact brought out another caution yellow flag and as cars went from mega fast to slow Chris Cowley 37 found himself with nowhere to go but into the back of the Andy Smith car. Both Smith and Wainman were helped from the track along with two badly damaged cars, the applause from an appreciative crowd being their only consolation.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver John Lund 53 encounters Michael Scriven 12. Photo Colin Casserley

With 84 now second and right behind 372 on the restart only one result seemed possible and sure enough Harris took the lead, third placed 217 Lee Fairhurst also passed 372 and made contact with 84 but it was not enough to reverse the places and as the lap boards showed 5 to go Harris began to pull away.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Tom Harris 84 takes the lead from Colin Goodswen 372. Photo Paul Tully

However with just 3 laps to go disaster for Harris as mechanical failiure saw total power loss and the 84 car retired to the infield leaving a jubilant Fairhurst to complete the remaining laps to take the flag and magnificent trophy once again sponsored by the Kaleta family. An east anglian double act filled the remaining podium places with 16 in second and a superb third place for Goodswen 372.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Lee Fairhurst 217 takes the lead in the UK Open. Photo Paul Tully

So Fairhurst took the spoils reaping the benefits of a more aggressive approach while man of the weekend Harris will hopefully find some cause for optimism from his dominance over all his rivals. If the Hitman was man of the weekend then no doubt move of the weekend was Dan Johnson with an inspired removal of the Smith and Wainman duo, racing just seems to get tougher and tougher for all drivers regardless of grade or reputation.

BriSCA F1 stockcar UK Open top three podium. Photo Colin Casserley

So ended a top drawer weekend of contact racing, presented in the usual efficient and professional manner by the Skegness team.

Damian Noblett

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