Trackstar Racing | Info | Results | 2014 | Saturday 26th April 2014

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Saturday 26th April 2014

Report by Mark Paulson
Pics by Colin Casserley

Another night of action-packed racing was served up by all three BriSCA Stock Car categories at the Norfolk Arena, King’s Lynn on Saturday night, 26 April. The Formula One Stock Cars were contesting the track’s World Championship qualifying round, with Stevenage’s 150 Mick Sworder claiming the final. For the Formula Twos, it was the venue’s second World of Shale qualifier, where Bolton’s 401 Barry Goldin was once again the feature final winner. And completing the bill were the Ministox, where 8 Catherine Harris took the main event. The quality of racing on track was more than enough to put a touch of controversy into the shade.

Formula One

A late change to the meeting format was required due to a spate of late withdrawals and, worse, a disappointing number of no-shows amongst the F1s. From an original booking list of 50+, the expected entry dropped to the low 40s by the weekend, but only 33 cars actually turned up. That meant the planned full format was dropped in favour of drivers racing in two from three heats. Usually in such circumstances, heat one is reserved for white and yellow graded drivers only, but that is not possible in a WQR.

Thus 20 cars took to the track for heat one, with last time’s star of the show, 335 Mark Woodhull, an early spinner as 58 Colin Eardley set the pace. But 150 Mick Sworder was on a charge, up to second before half-way, and moving ahead on lap 10. However, he was dispatched by the backmarking 337 Dave Willis, allowing 4 Dan Johnson to take the win from 22 Will Yarrow and local superstar 16 Mat Newson. World Champion 1 Tom Harris, on his first Lynn outing of the year, tangled with 280 Colin Nairn, having risen to fourth, eventually finishing outside the places.

Heat two had one more machine, and after a frenetic opening lap, it was 45 Nigel Harrhy that led the field. Further back, Sworder managed a quick 360-degree spin without losing too much time, while Newson and 55 Craig Finnikin were both victims of the carnage. Man on the move though was recent form driver, 318 Rob Speak, who worked his way into second, followed by last time’s final winner 259 Paul Hines and 515 Frankie Wainman Jr in the 496 Neil Holcroft car. Harrhy held off Speak’s attacks for more than a lap before eventually giving way, as Hines half spun, allowing FWJ and Harris past. They then both worked their way Harrhy, Harris now in front. The World Champion proceeded to reel Speak in and looked set for a last bend lunge in a bid for victory. Speak of course is the master of such moves; anticipating it, he let himself run wide to avoid the contact, before powering out of the bend and just holding on for the win. “I knew he was coming,” Speak confirmed, “so I went wide. It was alright – worked!” he laughed, before giving his verdict on the racing surface: “It’s a very good track. It’s always well-prepared.”

The early stages of heat three were led by 220 William Hunter, before he took himself in. Yellow flags appeared on the raceway soon after, as a big tangle between Harrhy and 462 Scott Davids left both with damaged and stranded cars. Eardley led away the restart but 215 Geoff Nickolls, third in the queue, soon hit the front and held on for some time. The quick-looking Johnson bumpered past with four laps to go, winning from FWJ and 2 Paul Harrison. “In the heats, the car’s been spot on,” said Johnson of his new machine.

Although all were eligible, only 22 made it back out for the final where Eardley again set the early pace. A pile-up claimed Johnson and Finnikin, although both did eventually get going again, as yellow flags came out to assist Davids. On the restart, 306 Ian Noden moved ahead, before Yarrow hit the front and then Sworder moved ahead with less than half the race run. Hines passed Yarrow for second with four laps to go, with a well-recovered Johnson following him through. But as Johnson attempted a last-bender, it delayed the pair of them and allowed Yarrow back through to take second, from Johnson, Wainman and Hines. “We’ve had a bit of bad luck this year,” said Sworder, “and to be honest, this is not a hobby anymore – it’s five nights a week until midnight every night,” clearly pleased that the hard the hard work was finally bearing some fruit.

The grand national featured the biggest field of the night – 23 cars. Noden led the early laps before a charging Speak hit the front, with Harris and Yarrow then working their way into the top three. Harris pushed past Speak with three to go, going to take the flag from Speak and 21 Mark Gilbank. With no stoppages, Sworder struggled to make up ground from the lap handicap, but did take the flag, albeit outside the places.

The F1s return for their third outing of the season at Lynn in four weeks’ time.

Formula Two

Even with a restricted entry, the 58 cars that raced made this the fourth best attended in the country so far this season, just one short of Birmingham’s mid-April date, with first and second on the list of course being the Norfolk Arena’s tow March meetings.

A full format meeting, therefore, with the two heats evenly split, including a few first-time visitors in each. 692 Andy Bottomley was the early pace-setter in the first, before yellow flag s appeared afte around five laps to attend to 283 Gary Allen, by which time 364 Robert Plant had moved ahead. Bottomley immediately hit back, but with star grader 823 Sam Wagner, last year’s track championship runner-up, fourth in the queue, things looked ominous. He duly hit the front just before half distance and went on to win with ease. 788 Stephen Mallinson just held off 702 Allen Cooper’s attack for second, as Plant dropped back with a puncture.

Heat two was led by 198 Paul Nicholson when early yellows came out after there had been a few spinners and debris had been left on the track. Nicholson then managed to pull clear from a battling 798 Mark Sargent and one of the form drivers of the year so far, 145 Graham Mole. Mole eventually pulled clear the ‘East Coast Legend’ who was then further demoted by 401 Barry Goldin with four laps to go. Mole eventually managed to catch Nicholson with two to go, but despite a determined challenge, he could not find a way past and the white top held on for victory. Goldin was also rapidly catching and with a lap more, the result may have been different but the Bolton man had to be content with third, while several stars had failed to make the cut, including former World Champion 871 Mark Simpson, and former World of Shale Champions 186 George Turiccki and 905 Rob Mitchell.

The 34-car consolation was led away by 372 Steve North, as former British Touring Car Championship driver 411 Aaron Williamson clobbered the fence hard. 449 Mark Dorrill moved ahead on lap four but then lost time and allowed North back through. There he stayed until three laps to go when a bend four pile-up featuring several white tops brought an early conclusion to proceedings, allowing a delighted North to qualify for a feature final for the first time ever.

All but 994 Paul Hopkins of the 32 qualifiers made it on track for the final in a race that was punctuated by several cautions for seemingly minor incidents, but still managed to serve up a thriller. 158 William Clement immediately spun away the lead and Nicholson took up the running, managing to survive three caution periods and restarts in the early laps, to stay in front. By the third, Turiccki had risen to fourth, and proceeded to pick off those ahead on the resumption. He moved into the lead just past half distance, and was followed through by Goldin a lap later, as Sargent, Mole and 103 Carl Issitt tangled in a big way on bend four. With four laps to go, Goldin pushed past, into the lead. Turiccki managed to stay with him, but his attempted last bend lunge only succeeded in taking himself in. He eventually limped across the line in fifth, behind 377 Daz Shaw, 362 Dave Harley and Wagner. “It was a bit of a hard one – I had a spin early on,” said Goldin of his second consecutive main event win at the track. “I thought [the challenge] has got to come in the last corner, so I just put it to the kerb and floored it,” he explained.

With just a quickly run F1 grand national between the F2s’ final and their GN, only 27 took the flag for that, sadly with no Goldin. 573 Tom Alsop gave way to Clement, as track champion 886 Chris Bradbury spun into retirement. Clement was still in front when a roll for 523 Adam Darby on the home straight led to a caution. Confusion on the restart led to several thinking they were on the rolling lap when in fact they were only meant to be lining up – as they started to race without the signal being given, the red lights quickly came on and the race abandoned. The drivers were sent off with a flea in their ear, after what could have been a nasty incident, with the leaders stationary on the home straight and marshals on track. It was a disappointing end to an otherwise enjoyable night’s racing.

Goldin now holds a massive lead in the track championship standings, with almost double the points of second and third placed Shaw and Harley. He must now be a big favourite to claim the title that he last won back in 2007. The F2s return for their next meeting here on 31 May, when Goldin will be looking to make it a hat trick of main event wins.

Ministox

Another strong entry of 35 BriSCA Ministox again served up plenty of well-worth-watching racing action. National Champion 411 Ryan Fairburn won heat one after hitting the front after just three laps. 391 Jessica Smith followed him through into second but was then passed by 183 Charlie Guinchard. The top three stayed like that thereafter.

The experienced 226 Amy Webster hit the front of heat two before half distance and pulled away for a clear win. The next five crossed the line almost as one after an excellent battle. 242 Joe Nickolls and 8 Catherine got the verdict to complete the top three.

Yellow flags eliminated the big led of 434 Mia Pritchard in heat three, allowing Harris on to her tail. On the restart, 153 Georgina Bullock was followed in hard by the pack and Harris moved into the lead from where she pulled away. Webster and Smith also passed Pritchard and had a good battle for second, with Nickolls and 134 Sophie Maynard also involved. Nickolls was hooked out on the final bend, as Harris, Smith, Maynard and Webster completed an all-female top four, in that order.

The final for all available cars mustered 25, although half of them seemed to be starting from the back, as ‘novices’, which led to 127 Austin Moore being docked 10 places for repeatedly refusing to start in the correct position. 613 Chloe Serpell led most of the way from the seemingly under-graded Harris, who eventually used the backmarking traffic to move ahead with just one lap to go. Smith then half spun Serpell, letting 323 Harry Peall into second. Fairburn also passed the erstwhile leader, to complete the top four.

F1 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 4 22 16 58 55 2 21 335 212 150
Heat 2 318 1 515 22 259 150 45 53 191 306
Heat 3 4 515 2 259 212 215 335 53 58 280
Final 150 22 4 515 259 21 55 53 212 306
Grand National 1 318 21 515 22 337 53 212 259 215
F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 823 788 702 151 977 362 866 136 597 548
Heat 2 198 145 401 798 259 886 995 377 732 219
Consolation 372 260 186 103 994 488 124 231 380 81
Final 401 377 362 823 186 977 886 198 151 732
MiniStox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 411 183 391 323 180 262 269 331 45 152
Heat 2 226 242 8 134 323 262 152 613 202 514
Heat 3 8 391 134 226 183 434 45 21 60 269
Final 8 323 391 411 613 226 331 515 262 202
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img1From the pure adrenaline and Unlimited Power of the F1 Stock Cars to the destruction and crazy antics of the Bangers - you can see it all at the Norfolk Arena! With up to fifty cars in every race, action is guaranteed and here at the Norfolk Arena we encourage “full contact” where spinning and hitting other cars is all part of the racing!

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