Venray, World Cup 2015 – Race Report

Geert Jan Keijzer (H6) and Sjeng Smidt Junior (H148) made up the front row with Chris Weyenberg (H380), double heat winner on Saturday night, on row two alongside Hans Baegen (H65). Weyenberg had seemed to revel in the wet conditions and was a definite tip for victory.

After a rolling lap behind the beautifully turned out heritage car of Lambert Keulen (ex-104) Keijzer jumped into the lead from the green flag with Smidt in wet pursuit, while van Wamelen (H47) and v/d Hadelkamp (H113) tangled before crossing the start line. 148 challenged the number 6 car down the back straight but Keijzer held on for the first lap, only to be greeted by the sight of a red flag, the race being stopped for Johan Catsburg (H99), facing the wrong way mid-track on turn four.

A ten minute repair time was granted before the grid re-formed, without H99, H580, H36 and H413 and this time Keijzer went way before the green flag was shown. Johnson (4) went into the turn one wall with Baegen but recovered quickly, while Frankie Wainman Junior had made a lightning start, already up to third and chasing 148.

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Geert Jan Keijzer and Sjeng Smidt Jnr lined up at the front of the grid

Smidt and Keijzer disputed the lead; the 6 car just ahead until Smidt squeezed by on turn four only to be sent fencewards on the next bend. The 148 car bounced off the wall, still in first place down the back straight but entered the next bend very fast, with some assistance from Keijzer. The atmosphere in the main grandstand was electric as both cars went wide on the slippery track, but Smidt came out ahead, with Wainman slipping into second and putting space between himself and Keijzer.

Pieter van der Iest (226) spun near the pit entrance as the field became spread out. FWJ closed on the green 148 car, applying the bumper on successive bends but Smidt held on, while Keijzer shortened the gap between himself and the 515 back bumper. Wainman tried again, this time moving 148 wide and taking the lead but Keijzer was not finished, landing a blow on Smidt on turn three. The 148 pilot rode the hit and began to close on Wainman as he got into traffic, with Fairhurst (217) up to fourth and setting his sights on number 6. Danny Wainman (212) took a place off Wesley Schaap (H77) as Smidt shadowed the 515 car, while Alberts Sikkema (215) clobbered the wall hard on the third bend.

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Keijzer and Smidt still out front in the early stages of the race.

FWJ picked his way carefully past slower cars, finally managing to put clear air between himself and 148, who now had Keijzer looming large in his mirrors once again. Sworder disposed of Weyenberg in normal 150 fashion as FWJ increased his lead, while the mobile chicane that was Sikkema spun on turn one with 5 to run, rejoining mid-pack. With two to run, Wainman came up behind Sikkema again, the yellow top sticking to his line around turns three and four, before spinning into the wall on turn one ahead of Wainman as he started his last lap.

FWJ went wide around the final bend, arm out of the cab as he crossed the line to record his third Gold Cup victory. Smidt finished second with Fairhurst getting the better of Keijzer on the last lap to take third. Keijzer took a bite at the 217 car as they crossed the finish line, both cars sliding gently into the turn one wall.

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World Cup Champion 2015: Frankie Wainman Junior

Frankie Wainman Junior had previously won the Gold Cup in 1999 and 2006. In a conversation back on home soil he said he thought his car was strong but added you have to be fast for 30 laps, not two. He believed that “when your time is right, your time is right and it was”.

Sjeng Smidt Junior is a relatively recent addition to the ranks of Netherlands  F1 drivers, taking over the hot seat of the Hoffmans Racing 148 car after the enforced retirement of brother Danny – readers may remember Danny’s heavy crash into the pit bend wall at the European Championship a couple of years ago. Sjeng is also an accomplished F2 driver on shale, racing with a red roof under number 218.

Lee Fairhurst is currently the UK’s leading final winner and the man to beat on tarmac. Had the weather gods not intervened, the Big Cup could easily have been heading to Bolton after the Venray weekend.

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A rather wet trophy presentation ceremony.

Full Result:

1st UK515 Frankie Wainman Junior
2nd 148 Sjeng Smidt Junior
3rd UK217 Lee Fairhurst
4th 6 H6 Geert jan Keijzer
5th UK212 Danny Wainman
6th 400 Roy Maessen
7th UK318 Rob Speak
8th UK388 Paul Ford
9th 107 Lee Robinson
10th UK464 Luke Davidson
11th UK150 Mick Sworder
12th UK36 Jordan Falding

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Words: Mick Jenkins (with extra info from Carl Hesketh)
Photos: Colin Casserley

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