Stuart Smith Jnr Wins 2007 World Final

Stuart Smith Jnr (390) win's the 2007 World Final.

Stuart Smith Jnr (390) win's the 2007 World Final.

Stu Smith became the new World Champion at King’s Lynn on Saturday 22nd September after winning what turned out to be a classic race. While the previous two World Finals have seen flag to flag wins, this was anything but, with the lead changing half a dozen times and almost as many different race leaders. Local boy Matt Newson led for the most laps, but he was dropped down the order in the closing stages, with a fifth place finish scant reward for such a sterling performance.

Andy Smith surged into the lead when the green dropped, and into the first turn Dave Schaap (H007) put the bumper in and sent a few cars wide. Down the back straight for the first time, it was Smith (391), from Frankie Wainman (515), Stu Smith (390), Mark Gilbank (21), Peter Falding (33), and then Schaap. Missing from the field on the first lap was John Lund (53), who hadn’t even made it over the start line after the 53 car had been squeezed up the fence coming out of turn four. The waved yellows appeared after just a couple of laps, when Dan Johnson (4) and Berry Pardenkooper (H25) tangled and Pardenkooper rolled down the home straight. The lap chart at this early stage read 391, 515, 390, 21, 33, 16, 2, H007, 218, with Lund joining at the rear. But the 53 car managed only a lap before retiring with front end damage.

On the restart, Wainman pushed Smith wide to take the lead, but this didn’t last as Smith (390) then went in on Wainman and took them both out wide, which let Gilbank through. Peter Rees (NZ10) and Tom Harris (84) crashed into the turn three fence, before Wainman put the bumper in on the 21 car as they went into turn three. Gilbank held it, but down the home straight he found himself behind backmarker Steve Bateman (AUS1). Gilbank got his bumper onto Bateman’s, but not enough to shift him, and without a moment’s hesitation Wainman reached out and planted Gilbank firmly into Bateman. Both the 21 and AUS1 cars went into the fence, and Wainman ran just wide enough for Smith (391) to dive through on the inside to take the lead.

But Smith lasted just a lap at the front before Smith (390) dumped the 391 car into the parked AUS1 machine. The 390 car went slightly wide in the process, and Matt Newson (16) went through and into the lead, while Smith (391) reversed out and rejoined the race well down the order. Lee Robinson (107) then fired Schaap into the AUS1 car, and the waved yellows came out to allow Bateman out of his car.

Race order at the restart read 16, 390, 515, 107, 288, H217, 33, 2, 218, 380, 391, H31, 180, 4. Newson made a good start and pulled a few car lengths away from Smith, while Wainman was immediately under attack from Robinson, who put the bumper in entering turn one. A much bigger hit from Robinson in turn three put both cars wide, before another one in turn four saw Robinson go past into third place. A couple of laps later and Wainman was back in third.

As the race passed the halfway mark, Smith (390) wasn’t gaining on Newson, while Wainman wasn’t gaining on Smith (390). After his earlier exit, Smith (391) now up to sixth place behind Harrison in fifth. At about three quarters distance, Harrison and Smith both went past Robinson, with Smith then bumping Harrison wide to take fourth place.

There were now about only half of the original starters still mobile, and the race settled down for about four laps. But as the race progressed, the 16 car appeared to slow slightly and Smith gradually closed the gap. With six laps remaining, Smith was on Newson’s back bumper, and as the lap boards came out the 390 car eased past into the lead. Wainman was then on Newson, and gave the 16 car a nudge going into turn one. Newson held his line, but a hit on the nerf rail by Wainman put Newson towards the outside and Wainman went by into second.

As the lap boards came out, Smith (390) had a couple of car lengths lead over Wainman, who was a similar distance ahead of Newson. Despite having Harrison on his back bumper, Smith (391) reeled in Newson, and with two laps remaining Newson was relegated to fifth when the 391 and 2 cars bumpered him aside.

Down the back straight for the last time, Smith (390) found backmarker Axel Nijs (H32) not far in front of him, and with Wainman within easy striking distance, a last bend sort-out was inevitable. Approaching the turn, Smith appeared to just ease off the power, and pointed his car straight at Nijs’. Wainman piled in with the bumper, which cannoned Smith into Nijs. All three went wide, and Smith positioned himself in front of the 515 car and powered down the straight and over the line, with Wainman about half a car length behind him. A stunning finish to what had been a sensational race.

1st 390 Stu Smith
2nd 515 Frankie Wainman
3rd 391 Andy Smith
4th 2 Paul Harrison
5th 16 Matt Newson
6th 33 Peter Falding
7th 107 Lee Robinson
8th 288 Simon Panton
9th 271 Mark Keeling
10th 105 Chris Bonner
11th H007 Dave Schaap
12th H32 Axel Nijs

Carl Hesketh.

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