Venray – 15th & 16th August 2015 – Meeting Reports and Photo Gallery

The annual pilgrimage to the Low Countries racing mecca that is Raceway Venray attracted eighteen UK-registered F1 teams and a vast number of travelling fans. Changes to the multimillion-Euro complex since the last Gold Cup weekend were clear to see, with a bridge now in place over the half-mile oval to allow spectators access to the short oval viewing areas and a new, small stand on the fourth bend which afforded an excellent view of the stock car track.

On the downside, the stands on the back straight had been removed completely which meant the remaining seating areas were much sought after – very much a case of getting your towel (or flag) on your chosen seat long before start time.

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Mark Sargent pictured in front of the new bridge.

Saturday 15 August

Time trials for Sunday’s big race saw Dan Johnson (4) and Rob Speak (318) qualify on row three, FWJ (515) and Lee Fairhurst (217) on row six and Mick Sworder (150) and Danny Wainman (212) on row nine, with two other UK qualifiers allotted to row 12 based on Saturday’s heat results.

Weather-wise, any thoughts of a repeat of the 104° Venray of a couple of years ago were raised as the Saturday 3pm start time arrived, with the sun beating down and knees getting sunburnt. Sadly, within an hour and a half, sunburn turned to rising damp and trench foot as the rains came and stayed for the whole weekend!

Heat 1 was led away by Gareth O’Breine (412) and Wilko van Dijk (H413), with van Dijk taking up the lead. Raymond van den Hadelkamp (H113) slid sideways into the bend and ended up facing the oncoming traffic.  Meanwhile, British drivers Steve Reedman (361) and Bobby Griffin (166) had moved into second and third. Griffin made his move on Reedman, leaving the 361 driver to defend from Paul Ford (388) and Dave Schaap (H007).

Dan Johnson (4) was soon battling for the top positions, but H413 still had a comfortable lead. Alberts Sikkema (H215) spun. Johnson slowly reeled in the H413 car, taking up the running before the lap boards. Several spinners caused the race to be red flagged with 4 laps to run, and Dan Johnson was declared the winner, ahead of Wilko van Dijk and Paul Ford.

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Before the downpour: the F1s get ready for Heat 1.

The weather changed dramatically for the start of Heat 2, and the lower graders struggled to cope with the wet conditions. Early leader, H57, soon lost out to Hendriks (H365), while Pieter van der Iest (H226) spun from third position. Chris Weyenberg (H380) moved into second and some top British names, including Wainman, Johnson and Speak, seemed unfazed by the deluge.

Weyenberg closed on Hendriks, taking advantage of lap traffic and nipping up the inside of H365 on turn 2. Behind the leaders, Wainman and Johnson traded third spot.  Weyenberg held the lead until the end of the race, with 4 and 515 both passing Hendriks to finish second and third respectively.

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A dramatic change in weather saw some drivers struggle to cope. 

More horrendous weather for the 27-car Heat 3, which was led away by H413 and Mark Adkins (24). Yellow flags were needed early on, after a pile up in turn 1 which included 464, H12, H99 and 361.

Wilko van Dijk led the field away for the restart, with H57 slotting into second. More spinners, in the form of H215 and H365, but no-one could take the lead away from H413, who crossed the line ahead of H6 and 217.

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Johan Catsburg seemed to spend the early part of most races facing the wrong way!

It was Paul Ford (388) who claimed victory in the Long Track Memorial Final, after a last bend move on H007. Schaap finished second ahead of Weyenberg, with Fairhurst and Wainman (515) rounding off the top five.

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Long Track Memorial Final winner: Paul Ford.

Sunday 16 August

Sunday’s F1 action started with the annual World Cup race. Frankie Wainman Junior proved that there is indeed nothing faster than a Wainman in the wet, taking a well-deserved victory ahead of H148 and 217. A full report of the Gold Cup race can be found here.

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Competitors for the big race, lined up behind the heritage car of Lambert Keulen (ex-104).

Twenty-nine cars for Heat One, led away by Wilko van Dijk (413) and Martin Oudhuis (477). The Schaap H77 car was now numbered 595 and driven by Sander Borst but the race lasted but a lap before the yellows were shown. Van Dijk again led the restart as cars 6 and 217 clashed but Paul Ford (388) was soon up to second behind new leader Oudhuis. Smidt Junior (148) made short work of the opposition, revelling in the appalling conditions to win easily from Robinson (107) and new champ Wainman (515).

Conditions were no better for Heat Two with Oudhuis again the early leader until passed by Patrick Hendriks (365), who was himself overhauled by Daniel van Spijker (231). Paul Ford took second while FWJ slowed, soon to retire, as did brother Danny a few laps later. Smidt closed the gap on Spijker but Roy Maessen (H400) closed on Smidt, Entering the last lap, Smidt went in with the bumper on the 231 machine, both cars tangled briefly down the back straight and Maessen was through for the win, with van Spijker second and Smidt third.

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Roy Maessen (H400) battling with Paul Ford (388).

The Final for the Bev Greenhalf Memorial Trophy raised just 22 starters, led in the early laps by Oudhuis until a number of cars went into the turn one wall with an almighty clang. Hans Baegen (65) seemed to get the worst of it but 99, 380 and 400 were also involved. After repairs to the fence, Oudhuis again took the early lead chased by 231.

Paul Ford overhauled 477 in worsening conditions, Oudhuis spinning out and rejoining at the back of the field, but Smidt was the class act, edging towards the 388 car with every lap, taking the lead on the back stretch just as the caution came out for Sikkema who had clobbered the wall hard. Danny Wainman retired with a flat tyre before the restart which saw Ford reinstated in the lead spot, but the Scotsman never got going, bringing out the reds while his car was pushed to the infield. Speaky retired with engine problems, Fairhurst seemed to have similar troubles and the race began, then stopped again as it had not officially started!

With just ten cars left, Smidt got a flyer off the front while Fairhurst warmed up the front bumper on Evert van den Berg (12) and Groenhof (205) allowing Maessen into third. Fairhurst came back at 400, three abreast down the back straight saw 217 lose out on the next bend, 107 joined in the fun as did 595 but Smidt had a half lap advantage at the flag, with Keijzer a distant second and Maessen third.

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Ford and Smidt Jnr were two of the strongest drivers throughout the whole weekend.

Tekst: Rhosanna Jenkins and Mick Jenkins
Fotos: Colin Casserley (Pers 36)

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