2013 Under 25s Championship Race Report

The top three - Tom Harris (3rd), Lee Fairhurst (winner), and Dan Johnson (runner-up). In the background is race organiser Dave Leonard.

The top three – Tom Harris (3rd), Lee Fairhurst (winner), and Dan Johnson (runner-up).
In the background is race organiser Dave Leonard.

The now annual Under 25’s Championship was staged at Belle Vue on August Bank Holiday Monday, and it proved to be one of the best races in recent memory, and quite possibly the one of the most stunning of winner Lee Fairhurst’s numerous title victories.

The race offered a wide ranging prize schedule, courtesy of organiser Dave Leonard and the multitude of fans and sponsors that made donations, no doubt had some part to play in attracting a number of rare and first-time visitors to the Manchester track.

Richard Woods (268) was the first away when the green dropped, and almost immediately Rich Bryan (238), Aaron Cozens (76), and Ben Hurdman (207) came to grief in turn two. Ryan Harrison was on a charge and was quickly through the field, landing a big hit to move Chris Clare (394), but he was then half spun into the parked 238 car by John Dowson (94) and Josh Smith (191).

Ryan Harrison under pressure early in the race.

Ryan Harrison under pressure early in the race.

Waved yellows for the stranded Jason Eaton on the back straight closed them up, and on the restart Danny Wainman (212) and Tom Harris (84) tripped each other up. Harrison (197) and Smith (191) were both quickly passed Woods, with Harrison now in the lead.

Lee Fairhurst (1) took second place with a forceful shove on Smith (191) and set about catching Harrison. When the 197 car got the back end a bit too loose around the pits turn, Fairhurst gave it a smack coming out of turn two. Both cars were off line, but Harrison pulled it straight while Fairhurst almost took a fence post out.

Just before the halfway, Dan Johnson (4) arrived on the scene, and muscled past Fairhurst. The top three now looked fairly evenly matched for speed, but as the race reached the lap board Johnson had gradually reeled Harrison in.

Lee Fairhurst on his way to a hard fought Under 25s Championship.

Lee Fairhurst on his way to a hard fought Under 25s Championship.

Johnson moved past but Harrison was having none of it, and on the next bend the number 4 was put wide. However, Harrison’s reign as champion came to an abrupt end when Fairhurst fired him in on turn three, with the 197 car coming to a dead stop against a fence post.

Fairhurst was now leading with Johnson right behind, and Tom Harris (84) had closed up to them. As they started the last lap, the 1, 4, and 84 cars were almost nose to tail, and the massed terraces were on their toes as the three car train thundered down the back straight for the final time.

Johnson lunged at Fairhurst into the turn, sending both out wide, and a split second later Harris made contact with the number 4 nerf rail. Side by side, all three slid wide, with Fairhurst being the only one looking in control of his car. The world champion had the power down and was moving forwards while the other two were still finding their feet.

To a spontaneous round of applause from the terraces, Lee Fairhurst took the chequered and added the Under 25 Championship to an already impressive list of titles.

Photos: Colin Casserley
Words: Carl Hesketh

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