World Masters: Northampton – 21st Sept 2008 Report

World Masters 2008 winners

World Masters 2008 winners

A bumper turnout of cars for the World Masters meeting led to a seven race programme with seven different winners. Ed Neachell won the main event, but the best drives came from white graders Ian Brickley, Spencer Taylor, and Jessy de Bruin.

The first heat featured an early race battle between Tom Harris (84), Ed Neachell (321), and Stu Smith (390). Craig Finnikin (55) was keen with the bumper, putting Dutch visitors Theo van Lier (H57) and Peter van den Bosch (H482) away early on. Lyndon Burnley (80) led the early part of the race, but by the halfway Frankie Wainman (515) was at the front, with Finnikin not far behind. Finnikin shadowed Wainman for the rest of the race, with Wainman doing well to avoid the spinning Steve Jacklin (136) and Gerrit Zwerver (H19) a couple of laps from the end.

The second heat saw Ian Brickley (246) offer a faultless drive to take a near flag to flag win. Brickley has been getting better by the meeting of late, and the 246 car didn’t put a wheel out of place en route to a well deserved victory.

Heat 3 was restarted after Micky Randell (172) T-boned Derek Fairhurst (218) into the turn three fence, which was the start of a ten car pile up. The waved yellows were out again early into the restarted race for another turn three pile up, and when the race eventually got underway, Spencer Taylor (498) led for much of the race, with Jesse de Bruin (H399) not far behind. New World Champion Andy Smith (391) made light work of getting through the field, and took second place when de Bruin was slowed by backmarker Greg Churchill (AUS1). Smith was in the lead shortly afterwards, with Taylor relegated to third place by Mat Newson (16). Taylor was then under pressure from Ron Kroonder (H217), and with two laps left, Taylor over-cooked it out of turn two and Kroonder helped him around, leaving the 498 car a non-finisher after what had been a great drive from the newcomer.

The first Consolation saw the Steve Jacklin (136) car play a big part in the outcome, although not for the right reasons. Ian Venables (60) took the lead from Chris Cooke (460), before Carl Pickering (141) closed in and nudged the 60 car into the parked Jacklin machine on turn three. Mick Harris (8) then caught Pickering with a lap to run, and in a similar manoeuvre, planted the 141 car straight into the stranded 136 motor.

After his drive in the heat (and at Ipswich the night before), the second Consolation looked like a good opportunity for Taylor to finish in a good position. But he didn’t even complete one lap, as he tangled with Derek Wass (283) on the first bend, and the pair crashed into the pit gate and came to a stop on the next bend. This left Steve Hopkins (347) ahead, and he had an untroubled run to the flag. The overseas visitors got stuck in in this one, with Peter Bengston (NZ58) firing van den Bosch and Ian Bond (431) into Geert-Jan Keijzer (H6), with van den Bosch later getting dumped into the fence on the last lap by persons unseen.

The Final was run in rather testing conditions, as there was a large patch of oil spread around turns one and two after an F2 engine had blown up in the previous race. (This had actually produced the most entertaining F2 tarmac action for a long, long time, as half the field had piled in, but this is an F1 site so we won’t mention that).

Axel Nijs (H32) was the first to be caught out, and went hard into the fence, with Danny Wainman (212), Ivan Pritchard (434), Michael Scriven (12), and Martyn Bamford (43) all going in after him. After some waved yellows to clear the track, Brickley led them off, as Mark Helliwell (170) and Newson both lost it on the oil slick. Lenny Smith (185) span de Bruin out of second place and gradually reeled Brickley in. Smith (185) had a few attempts at passing, and eventually gave Brickley a big hit which put both cars wide and let Neachell through for the lead with about seven laps left.

Timmy Aldridge (257) then managed to hit the pit gate and roll, with the gate breaking open on impact. After a big delay to repair the gate and sweep up the various bits of the 257 car, the race resumed, with the race order reading Neachell from Smith (185), Smith (390), Wainman (515), Brickley, and Smith (391). The latter was almost immediately past Brickley, while Wainman leaned on Smtih (390) and went by, with Smith (391) then passing a lap later.

As the lap boards came out, Neachell had opened up a lead from Smith (185), who had Wainman sat on his back bumper. Four to go, and Smith (185) was wide into turn two and Wainman went up the inside. This could have been either an error by Smith, or a deliberate tactic, as into the next bend the 185 car went in very hard on Wainman, but Smith (185) succeeded only in knocking himself off line and letting the chasing Smith brothers through. Two laps left, and Smith (390) passed Smith (391) for third place. Up front, Neachell was now clear, but the 515, 390, and 391 cars were bumper to bumper as they started the last lap. Neachell took the win, as Smith (391) bumpered Smith (390) aside to take third place on the last bend.

The track was still slippery on turns one and two for the GN, with van Lier getting it sideways in the bend and Tony Smith (91) T-boning the H57 car hard into the fence, with Pickering and Evert van der Berg (H12) then piling in. After a lengthy caution period while van Lier was helped out of his car, the race resumed with Taylor and dr Bruin racing away from the rest of the pack. De Bruin bumpered Taylor wide just before the halfway. Smith (391) and Wainman (515) were dicing for fourth place, and swapped places a few times before Smith made the decisive move and hit the 515 car out wide in turn two. Smith was then past Venables for third place, and with two to go took second from Taylor. It had been another good performance from Taylor, but he lost out on the last bend when Wainman hit him wide and he finished fourth. De Bruin took his first victory on UK soil, and based on his performance over the weekend, it’s unlikely to be his last.


Carl Hesketh.

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