Stoke Semi-Final – Guest Preview

Our guest previewer for the forthcoming Stoke Semi-Final is former stock car fanatic Isambard “Izzy” Eckerslyke. Izzy reckons he was there at Odsal in the fifties, back when everything was monochrome and recalls the name Gravel Gertie from that era, possibly on Jack Tipping’s stock car but it could just as easily have been the name of his land-lady. He also claims to have been at the opening meeting at Nelson in 1967 but again his memory, such as it is, could be playing tricks. This was the “Summer of Love”, remember and for a short while Huddersfield was the San Francisco of West Yorkshire. Izzy gave up his job at the local bakery (“Be sure to wear some flour in your hair!”mumbled Izzy before lapsing back into a doze.) to join a hippie commune in the hills above Holmfirth run by local guru Maharichtea Reg Turnbull, a man who believed self-fulfilment could be achieved by meditation and sweet biscuits.

Izzy spent his time smoking used tea leaves and contemplating the future of Mike Parker Promotions before he went off to find himself. His whereabouts were largely unknown, especially to Izzy himself but he has taken time out from his one-man Wetherspoons tour to take in a meeting or two and give us his views on the forthcoming Stoke Semi-final. We start with pole-sitter Dan Johnson:

Izzy: I’m glad he has found something to do after Miami Vice but I’m not sure white suits are the best thing to wear at a shale meeting.  I bet he spends more on dry-cleaning than he does on Dunlop Weathermasters. I saw him posing with his family at Skegness last weekend – I didn’t know he had so many kids! And how does he afford micro F2s for them all? Anyway, he is starting on pole so is going to win.

Next up is Danny Wainman:

I remember the name Wainman from the Telegraph and Argus last week, or was it 1970, I get the two mixed up? This has to be a son as the old man must be drawing his pension by now. Danny went well at Sheffield last week and won the Helter Skelter. He is starting on the outside of Johnson but as a former Brafield wall-of-death rider this should hold no fears for him. I expect Danny to win. Just make sure there are no dachshunds sleeping under the accelerator pedal on Saturday.

Row Two – Frankie Wainman Junior:

‘Ang on a minute – I saw Frankie Wainman qualify at Skegness last week, now he’s in the Stoke semi. There’s two of them? Junior and Junior Junior. Light me up a teabag while I think this through. Do they use one of them Neil Fittup two-seater cars then, tantamount to team racing is that? Oh I see, they’re father and son. So Junior is current World and British champion and starting on inside row two – ideal place in my opinion. Like Danny he comes from God’s Own Country so Frankie is going to win.

Alongside Frankie is Tom Harris:

I understand this chap often races midgets in the USA – a bit unfair given that he seems to be of normal height but he does have the credentials to pose a threat to the tykes in the semi-final. If things work out differently to the British at Sheffield I expect Tom to win.

Row Three – Paul Hines

I went over to Paul last week to complain about his baked beans. He explained that he had nothing to do with the food company and that his surname wasn’t even spelt that way – a likely story! Anyway we had a long conversation and Paul promised to look into my complaint like the true professional he is, while I came away from the 259 transporter having ordered a double-glazed bay window and a conservatory. The fact I live in a first floor flat shows you how good a salesman he is so I fully expect him to negotiate first place by the chequered flag.

 

Mick Sworder

I seem to remember a Dick Sworder winning the first ever final at Stoke long before some of the blokes on the grid were even born. His son Mick has not been around much this year for various reasons but if he takes his place on the grid and it is not too wet on the night he will be one to watch. Mick stands head and shoulders above most drivers, in fact he is probably taller than some even when he is sitting down. A shy and retiring sort, he will more than likely let the race develop and pick up the places as they occur. Then again I could be thinking about someone completely different. If Mick can keep air in his tyres and oil in his engine he will finish first, but first he has to finish, which is all a bit deep for me.

My thanks to Izzy for his unique insight into the forthcoming semi-final at the equally unique Stoke circuit on 12 August. Get there early – parking can be a reet bugger, as Izzy says.

(This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. No offence is intended but if you have been offended by the contents of this article, in the wise words of Guru Reg, “Get over thissen”).

 Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley

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