The 2014 British Championship – meeting report and photo gallery

22 cars took to the track for Heat 1, and were led away by lone white grader Paul Redfern (252). Paul Poulter (174) had an issue on the first lap, which unfortunately caused him to retire from the race.  Neil Scothern (152) also had problems early on, going for a spin down the home straight.

At the front, 252 had been chased down by Rob Cowley (73), while further down the order, Rob Speak (318) was battling Ryan Harrison (197). Ed Neachell (321) had fought his way to fourth and was soon on the back of third place Micky Randell (172). Dan Johnson (4) and Paul Harrison (2) were just behind, waiting to strike.

Cowley claimed the lead but Neachell was right on his bumper, meaning the 73 machine did not retain the top spot for long. Neachell took the lead and Cowley fell to fourth behind 172 and 2.  Antony Davis (327) hit the wall on the back straight, knocking a wheel out of alignment. He eventually came to a stop on the pit bend.

The lap boards came out and early leader 252 retired to the centre. Paul Harrison had taken second place and was now challenging Neachell for the lead. 2 tapped 321 out wide on the last bend to sneak up the inside and take the victory. In his typical style, Ryan Harrison, who did not feature in the results, roared round the track burning rubber after the flag.

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European Champion Ryan Harrison (197) in his only race of the night.

Prior to the start of Heat 2, Scott Davids’ (462) car was pulled off the track by a tractor. Davids was clearly unhappy, standing on the start-finish line and blocking the blues from starting the rolling lap. Heat 2 was led away by John Riley (323) and Ben Hurdman (207) in the Dylan Williams-Maynard car. At the drop of the green, Hurdman roared ahead to take the lead and Michael Steward (512) passed 323 to take up second.

John Dowson (94) and Tony Smith (91) brushed together on the back straight while fighting for position. Mal Brown (34) went for a spin on the pit bend.  Hurdman had already pulled out half a straight’s lead ahead of 512, 94, Sean Willis (287). Next, came Danny Wainman (212) and Stuart Smith (390). Frankie Wainman Junior (515) tapped Nigel Harrhy (45) out wide, chasing Stuart Smith.

512 pulled off with fan belt problems and, having passed 287 and 94, Wainman (212) inherited second position. Smith (390) and Wainman (515) weren’t far behind. Dowson slowed, losing several places just as Smith used his bumper on Danny Wainman to take second. Lapped traffic, in the form of 34, allowed Smith to extend his lead over the Wainmans but it was still Ben Hurdman who was in control of the race.  The last lap board came out just as 515 caught his younger brother, with Frankie edging ahead on the race to the start-finish line.

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Ben Hurdman stayed comfortably in control throughout Heat 2.

21 cars started Heat 3. Almost immediately, 388 jumped over the front of Johnson and Speak into Turn 3. The 4 and 388 cars tangled and spun onto the infield while exiting Turn 4. Rob Cowley once again took up the lead, followed closely by John Dowson.

A loud ‘bang’ from Josh Smith’ (191) car spelt trouble for the Leicestershire driver. Tony Smith pulled off just as Josh was nursing his car onto the middle. Meanwhile, Cowley was extending his lead; although the 94 appeared to be closing, there was a large gap back to Robert Broome (41) and Mick Sworder (150).

150 went around 41 to take up third spot, leaving Broome to deal with the chasing 321. With two laps to go, Derek Brown (229) and David Plumbley (393) had a coming together on back straight and tangled into Turn 3, but nothing was going to stop Rob Cowley from taking the win.

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Robert Broome (41) finally got his new car out on track. He’s seen here with Heat 3 winner Rob Cowley (73).

Hurdman and Nairn led the contenders away for Heat 4. Hurdman took up the lead but problems for Nairn left him dropping to the back of the grid. The 207 machine was unable to pull away as it had in Heat 2, and he was soon under fire from Colin Goodswen (372) and Chris Cowley (37).

By half distance, Goodswen had claimed the lead, with 207 dropping to third. Lower down the places, a battle was raging between Paul Hines (259)  and the Wainman brothers, which was later won by 515. Paul Harrison was, once again, sneaking to the front, soon taking second.

Harrison caught the 372 car, passing easily on the back straight and remained in control for the final laps to take his second win of the night.

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Paul Harrison taking his second win of the evening.

Heat 5 bought the rain, catching out some drivers, such as 37 and 321, who went spinning into the corners. 287 took the initial lead, but it was soon claimed by 388. Mick Sworder and Frankie Wainman Junior didn’t seem hampered by the wet conditions, making quick progress.  Sworder went up the inside of Goodswen, 515 went in the back of 2, regaining position and set off after Sworder.  As the laps ticked down (and the rain continued to fall), 150 and 515 battled on, now for second and third but there was no catching the flying Scotsman.

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Frankie Wainman Junior wasn’t fazed by the wet conditions in Heat 5.

512 quickly took the lead in Heat 6, but the race was then red flagged for Paul Poulter, who had rolled over on the pit bend. After the full restart, 512 retook the lead, making easy work of the wet conditions.

280 went around in Turn 2. Although he was able to get started again, Nairn was forced to pull off before the end of the race.  The rain got heavier as 390 and Craig Finnikin (55) caught and passed Steward. The 512 driver held on for a brilliant third place finish.

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Paul Poulter’s rollover caused a full restart during Heat 6.

It was Paul Harrison and Rob Cowley who had gained the most points throughout the night, earning themselves the front row of the grid. Behind them started John Dowson and Frankie Wainman Junior, who were followed by 390 and 150.

Paul Harrison wasted no time, claiming the lead on Lap 1. On the first corner, Smith slid wide into Frankie Wainman Junior, knocking 515’s back end out wide. 390 hopped over the top of 515, damaging his own car. Dan Johnson tangled with  172, as both were forced to take an inside line to avoid Smith (390). The 390 machine rode the wall for the next couple of laps before finding safety on the centre.

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The grid for the 2014 British Championship.

Luke Davidson (464) got loose, sliding sideways into the pit bend and Danny Wainman went for a spin courtesy of 512. Frankie Wainman Junior was still struggling after his earlier tangle with Smith, sliding wide on the bends for a few laps before retiring from the race.

323 splashed through the standing water on the home straight; making for a very dramatic looking moment. 287 pulled off and was soon followed by 512.  Tony Smith and Nigel Harrhy tangled and  41 had a coming together with 37, nearly collecting 259 and leaving Broome stuck in the pit bend.

Finnikin and Speak were tussling for position, with the 55 car finally inching ahead. 172 went for a spin on the entrance to the back straight and reversed all the way onto the middle, just making it to safety before the second place battle reached him.

Paul Harrison stayed completely in control the entire race, giving a master class in wet weather driving and took his fourth British Championship victory from second place Mat Newson and third place Paul Ford.

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2014 British Champion, Paul Harrison, with second place Mat Newson and third place Paul Ford.

Words: Rhosanna Jenkins

Photos: Steve Botham and Colin Casserley

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“I’ve won the British six times, Paul. Reckon you can beat that?” “Leave it with me, John”

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