World Consolation Semi Final race report

World Consolation winner Mark Poole.

World Consolation winner Mark Poole.

At pretty much bang on 5.30pm, 27 hopeful drivers emerged onto a damp track to contest the World Consolation Semi Final with the prize on offer a back row start in the World Final for both winner and runner up. In the past a back row start in the big race has been regarded as just a chance to be part of the big race atmosphere. However after last years events at Skegness where Lee Fairhurst turned a back row start into a golden future at least some if not all of the drivers on the grid hoped Hans Christian Anderson was writing the script.

Lone C grade qualifier George Heppenstall 189 took the green flag and used a clear track to build a lead. Back in the blue grade things were considerably more congested and first victim of the heavy traffic was tarmac specialist Carl Pickering 141 who was squeezed into the fence in turn 3 and retired to the infield.

Carl Pickering and Ivan Pritchard head the blue grade in front of the main straight grandstand.

Carl Pickering and Ivan Pritchard head the blue grade in front of the main straight grandstand.

The race settled down at the front with 189 leading from local favourite and long time lower grade stalwart Russell Cooper in the 415 car, who had northern shale specialist Mark Poole 276 close behind. This trio all focused on putting quick laps while back in the pack 16 Matt Newson had managed to break free from the rest of the star grade and set about closing the gap to the three leaders.

Hopes of a repeat of his epic victory in the same race back in 2009 for John Lund evaporated as the 53 car lacked pace and began to go backwards though the field.

Ron Kroonder eventually finished fourth after this mid-race assault on Ivan Pritchard.

Ron Kroonder eventually finished fourth after this mid-race assault on Ivan Pritchard.

Around halfway Cooper passed 189 to take the lead and perhaps at this stage a fairy tale victory looked possible. Further back Scott Davids 462 ended his hopes of a happy ending colliding with the fence in turn two and Chris Cowley 37 did likewise clattering the turn three plating.

The halfway flag spurred on Poole 276 who now surged forward passing 189 and then Cooper to take the lead. Poole built a comfortable lead but things looked much more precarious for Cooper as Newson 16 and 22 Will Yarrow were rapidly closing the gap to second place.

Will Yarrow about to take second place from Russell Cooper.

Will Yarrow about to take second place from Russell Cooper.

Seven or so laps to go and luck ran out for Newson as he retired to the infield with mechanical problems, leaving veteran Yarrow 22 to chase Cooper for second. For a couple of laps it looked like Cooper may just hang on for second but the the five to go lap board seemed to spur on Yarrow and with three to go the 22 car barged his way past.

With Poole 276 still having a comfortable gap between himself and Yarrow both drivers focused on avoiding any errant backmarkers and passed the final flag to grab the reward of places on the grid for the biggest race of the year.

Having sold his own car, Joe Booth raced the John Weldon / Stu Smith machine.

Having sold his own car, Joe Booth raced the John Weldon / Stu Smith machine.

Words: Damian Noblett
Photos: Colin Casserley

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