Stoke, 26th September 2015 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

The National Points Shoot Out Series moved to Stoke for Round 3 with 42 cars in attendance. F2 man John Wright (448, now 348 in F1), new owner of the Rikki Finney car, did his five laps before the meeting began. Sadly they were the only laps he managed all night, engine maladies precluding any further involvement.
This round could be seen as a turning point for many of the SO Series drivers as fortunes ebbed and flowed over the evening, with the series leader keeping a cool head and extending his lead.

Heat One raised 22 cars with Russell Cooper (415) and George Elwell (501) on the front, but they tangled briefly going down the back straight for the first time leaving Eaton (448) in the lead. The Shoot Out contenders somehow conspired to turn Mat Newson (16) around to face the oncoming traffic, while Gibson (249) made hay out in front. Mark Gilbank (21) was quick, Tom Harris (84) was even quicker but the 84 car waved the white flag before halfway, leaving Gibson to take the flag from Cooper and Willis (337). Smith (390) tried a last bender on Wainman (515), who cannoned into Paul Hines (259), but failed to gain any advantage.

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Joff Gibson held off the Shootout contenders to take the first win of the evening.

Heat Two was a cracker of a race. Leader, Malkin Junior (308) was spun by John Brown (134) and Karl Roberts (313) took command as the caution came out for 308; stuck on the second bend with a dislocated front axle. Speak (318) had already retired and at the restart, Johnson (4) passed 313 for the lead. John Lund (53) overtook Sworder (150) to go second when the caution flags flew once again, this time for Norman Mlodecki (209) who was stuck on the first bend.

At the green, 313 clobbered the fence hard, 150 retook 53, then went after Johnson, taking the lead as the 4 car drifted wide. Sworder did similar one lap later letting Johnson and Lund by, Finnikin (55), now third, helped 53 and 4 into turn one, Sworder hooked up, Johnson lost a shocker and Finnikin charged a marker tyre, leaving King John in splendid isolation to record a very popular victory.

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John Lund (53) and Mick Sworder (150) battling hard for the top spot in Heat 2.

Dan Johnson took his repaired car to the front in the twenty-two car Consolation in a high speed, processional race with Speak second and Harris third before thirty cars lined up for the Final.

Tony Smith (91) delayed the Shoot Out guys at the back by pulling onto the infield and then back onto the track right in front of them as James Morris (463) took the lead before the caution flags flew around half-way, possibly for Willis (337) but the restart saw Gibson in pole with Speak already up to second. The dust – and Stoke’s particular brand of coal-face track lighting – made the remainder of the race hard to follow, but somewhere before the end Sworder apparently fenced FWJ big time, leaving the 515 car minus a wheel and halfshaft, while Speak disappeared onto the centre with engine problems when leading with two to go. Harris took the win ahead of Johnson and Newson, each giving their shoot out points tallies a welcome boost.

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3 Shoot Out drivers, Newson, Smith and Harris, battling in the meeting final. It was Tom Harris who prevailed.

The Grand National was a typical Stoke race, with cautions for Spiers (451), then 21 and 55 who had piled into the fence on turn one. Joff Gibson again led until passed by Johnson, SSJ launched a massive attack on three cars going into the pit bend to take the lead, but the impact must have loosened something as the 390 car slowed soon afterwards.

With around three to run the race was stopped to attend to an unconscious Lund who had apparently been heavily fenced. Gibson went to collect the flag only to find he had been docked two places, handing the win to Johnson from Fairhurst. Gibson made his feelings clear on the start line and his subsequent behaviour may result in sanctions from the steward.

When the dust had literally settled, Fairhurst had increased his SO lead to 160, with Harrison (2) now second on 131 and Speak on 129. Johnson moved into fourth and Wainman dropped to fifth.

The Shoot Out Saga, an everyday story of stock car folk, is still in its early stages. Will anybody stop Fairhurst, will Annette Lund sabotage Johnson’s car, has Stuart Smith found his teeth, will FWJ exact revenge?

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Dan Johnson picked up the GN win after Heat 1 winner, Gibson, was docked 2 places.

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley

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