World Final 2015 Race Report

Time trials for the overseas competitors during the afternoon saw each driver given two flying laps, with the starting order reversed for the second attempt to give each man a fair chance on first a wet track and then a drying track. Henk Jan Ronitz (H240) set the fastest lap of 16.374 with fellow countryman Pieter van der Iest (H226) second quickest on 16.761. Kwikest Kiwi was Kerry Remnant (NZ19) who had shown good form the night before but seemed to get involved in any grief going.

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Henk Jan Ronitz set the fastest lap in the Overseas Time Trials.

A decision was taken just before the start to allow Tom Maris (H161) onto the back of the World Final grid, so twelve overseas drivers joined the twenty-two UK competitors, the first of which, Rob Speak (318) entered the arena bang on 7pm to cheers and boos alike. With the grid formed, those most famous words in motor racing, “Gentlemen, start your engines” saw all bar one of the cars fire up – pole sitter Speak’s car refusing to burst into life. High drama indeed. With no outside assistance allowed (does holding a torch count as outside assistance?), Rob delved under the bonnet and behind the back panel until eventually, the Silver Machine decided to play ball and it was all Wizard Systems go.

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Some people thought it was all over for Rob Speak before the race even began. After a few tense minutes, the silver top driver was able to fix his stricken car.

Speak and Smith (390) set a very steady rolling lap but instead of a green flag on turn four they saw red – Maris (H161) had stalled on the pit bend. His car fired up and he joined the back of the grid which did another rolling lap, ramping up the excitement even more.

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Competitors ready for the (first) rolling lap.

Speak drew alongside Smith, the green flag flew and the 390 car got the drop on Speak but only as far as the first bend, the 318 car diving inside and forcing Smith into the plating. Wainman (515) edged ahead of Smith down the back straight, both drifting wide on turn three allowing Johnson (4) into second place as lap two began but behind them Smith and Green (445) were forced into the pit bend fence and into the stricken NZ19 car, leaving 445 on its side on the track and 390 in a similar position up the wall.

Other cars piled in behind and Green’s car was hit as the leaders bore down on the carnage to start lap three. A red flag was the only safe option and drivers were given 15 minutes to repair their cars for a complete restart, but the pit gate remained closed – no cars were to leave the circuit.

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Nigel Green (445) was one of the first casualties.

Attention centred around pre-race favourite Smith as the 15 minutes became 20 and still the crumpled 390 car would not start until, to the roar of a large portion of the crowd, Stuart Smith Junior rejoined the front of the grid, now missing Green and two New Zealand entries, Remnant (NZ19) and Fraser (NZ92). Speak would not get caught out again – at the green flag he employed a trick he has used in F2 World Finals, pulling to the right and forcing his fellow front row starter into the wall. Smith recovered but was sent into the turn one plating by Johnson, who moved into third behind Wainman but as they crossed the line more red flags, this time for Paul Harrison (2) who had rolled by the pit gate.

A single file restart this time, the on-track order being 318, 515, 4, 16, H228, 55, 217, 259 and 84 followed by the remaining cars. We had now lost 390 (flat tyre), Sworder and van der Iest and for reasons never explained, Ronitz (H240), lying in fourth place on track was removed to the infield. Speaky backed the field up to almost walking pace this time before sprinting off at the green, putting just a car length between himself and 515. Fairhurst and Wijbenga (H228) clashed on the pit bend, the Dutchman having a wild ride around the plating before tangling with Gilbank on the back straight, both cars crashing heavily into the marker tyres. Tom Harris (84) retired to the infield while Speak pressed on, never more than two car lengths ahead of Wainman, but a caution to attend to Wijbenga halted his progress.

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It was still Speak and Wainman out front after the restart following Paul Harrison’s roll.

Restart number whatever seemed to catch Frankie by surprise as Speak pulled several car lengths ahead, while Newson passed both 4 and 515 for second. Defending champion Finnikin attacked Johnson and Wainman dumped Newson into the parked NZ118 car of Bryce Steiner on the pit bend to reclaim second but Speaky had checked out, now the length of a straight to the good as the half distance was reached, but a couple of laps later the race was cautioned again and then stopped to allow the medics to attend Dylan Williams-Maynard (51) who had smashed into and nearly over the NZ118 car courtesy of a jammed throttle. A lengthy delay followed, understandably, as Dylan’s injury was assessed and emergency treatment given, before he was cut from his car and removed to hospital.

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Dylan Williams-Maynard’s throttle jammed, sending him flying into NZ118 and causing the 51 driver a lot of pain. We all wish Dylan a speedy recovery.

At 10:10 pm the race over the remaining 10 laps was green-flagged, with Speak having the cushion of back-marker Durk Greidanus (H29) between his back bumper and Wainman. Greidanus sportingly moved aside to let 515 through but it was too late. Wainman could not get close enough to land a blow on the Points Champion even though Speak seemed to slow over the last two laps and so it was that, at 10:15 pm Rob Speak became 2015 World Champion after the longest duration title race in stock car history.

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World Final top 3: Rob Speak, Frankie Wainman Junior and Mat Newson.

Full Result:

1st – 318 Rob Speak
2nd – 515 Frankie Wainman Junior
3rd – 16 Mat Newson
4th – 4 Dan Johnson
5th – H148 Sjeng Smidt Junior
6th – 191 Joshua Smith
7th – 338 Chris Brocksopp
8th – H27  Rutger Valk
9th – H65 Hans Baegen
10th – H29 Durk Greidanus
No other finishers.

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley

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