Trackstar Racing | Info | Results | 2019 | Saturday 14 September

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    Updated: 07 Jul 2024 22:31

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    • Saturday 20 July - 17:00
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    • Sunday 04 August - 12:00
    • F1 Stock Cars Ben Turner Memorial & 2L Stock Car European Championship

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Saturday 14 September

Photos: 1 -34 Colin Casserley

Report: Mark Paulson


On short oval racing’s biggest night of the year, #84 Tom Harris stormed to success in the BriSCA Formula One World Championship sponsored by Autotech Recruit, surviving the hefty first-bend challenge of #515 Frankie Wainman Jr. #197 Ryan Harrison and #55 Craig Finnikin completed the trophy placings in front of an enormous crowd which created an electric atmosphere. 

A track record 112 cars were in action on the night for the F1-only meeting which begun in the early afternoon with time-trials for the overseas qualifiers. The eight Dutchmen and four New Zealanders each had one shot before the track was re-watered and the order reversed for a second attempt. H618 Wybe de Vries came out on top, with his second effort of 15.763s some 0.15s quicker than fellow Dutchman H880 Niels Tesselaar. That pair therefore annexed row three of the World Final grid, while H410 Jelle Tesselaar beat top New Zealander NZ971 Jayden Ward. The top six was completed by H20 Bert de Vries and NZ581 Jordan Dare.

Following the time-trials, the World Finalists lined up on the centre where fans were invited to join them and collect autographs in specially-commissioned books provided by the promotion, while others enjoyed themselves on the multiple fairground rides laid on. Interviews were conducted and past World Finals were shown on the big screen as the atmosphere built ahead of the serious business to come. 

The meeting itself began with three support heats. The first brought a maiden win for #275 Terry Hawkins after H100 Joey Slooff retired from the lead, having taken up the running by going around the outside of Hawkins. Second home was #53 John Lund, the eight-time world champion who was given a rousing reception by the whole stadium as he entered the arena. Lund rolled back the years as he charged from the back of the blue grade, deftly using the bumper to work his way to within touching distance of a fairy tale win on World Final night.

H61 Koen Maris continued his strong form from the previous night as he raced to victory in heat two, ruthlessly carving through the field. “I’m not here to make friends,” he told the Dutch centre-green announcer, adding confidently: “I’ll see you after the final!” #307 Tim Warwick had led the opening laps before #415 Russell Cooper took over, but he was shoved wide by Maris who won from H345 Boy Tesselaar and #276 Mark Poole. Crowd favourite #150 Mick Sworder had been making rapid progress before he spun making an over-optimistic mid-race lunge for fourth and had to work his way back up to eighth, outside the top-six qualifying places. 

The Dutch made it two in a row in heat three, H69 Cor Meyer bumping wide long-time leader #244 Mick Rogers with three laps to go for the win. Rogers held on to second, while #326 Mark Sargent claimed third by shoving past #11 Neil Scriven with two laps remaining. One-time world champion #445 Nigel Green was forced to retire with a puncture.

The World Final would double up as heat four. After an interval to ensure the track was in perfect condition, the atmosphere ramped up as the drivers were introduced to the crowd. The first four qualifiers entered the arena to their own theme tunes, with polesitter #84 Tom Harris hoping his choice of Unstoppable by The Score would be apt. Following the 36 qualifiers, outgoing champion #390 Stuart Smith Jr – unable to defend his title through injury – paraded the trophy and was given a wonderful reception. “I’m really humbled,” said an emotional Smith. 

A chorus of fireworks preceded the two rolling laps before the green flag dropped on the biggest race in short oval motorsport. Harris immediately got a jump on fellow front-row man #515 Frankie Wainman Jr but – as so many had suggested – Wainman knew he could not afford to let Harris go. The big lunge came in on the first bend and sent both hard into the wall. But Harris managed to survive and it was Wainman who came off worst. Slow out of bend two as chaos broke out behind him, Wainman was passed by #197 Ryan Harrison (from row four) and Jelle Tesselaar as Harris immediately opened out a gap. The early top six was completed by #220 Will Hunter and #2 Paul Harrison, with strong contenders #16 Mat Newson and #55 Craig Finnikin also still in touch. Second-row men #259 Paul Hines and #217 Lee Fairhurst were among those to lose out in the first-bend shenanigans, Hines running over the front of Wainman before retiring with a puncture and Fairhurst being turned around. The hopes of top overseas qualifiers Wybe de Vries and Niels Tesselaar also took a dive as de Vries spun to the infield and Tesselaar was delayed.

Harris’s big lead was wiped out by an early caution period to rescue #152 Neil Scothern, who was stranded facing the traffic but, crucially, he did have the backmarking #90 Aaron Leach and #211 Phoebe Wainman between him and the chasing Harrison. Behind Jelle Tesselaar and Wainman in third and fourth, Newson had nipped into fifth before the stoppage, from Hunter and Finnikin, as Paul Harrison, on his 30th World Final start, retired to the infield. 

Ryan Harrison nosed inside Phoebe Wainman as the race got back underway but it took him ¾ of lap to dispose of Leach, by which time Harris had cleared off, as Wainman passed Tesselaar for third. Harris might not have been facing a challenge from behind at this stage but #166 Bobby Griffin ensured he had something to think about in front. The Nottinghamshire man made it hard for Harris to put him a lap down, holding him back for a couple of laps before another stoppage was required. As Dutch champion H155 Pieter Langeveld climbed over the top of #101 Tristan Jackson on the scoreboard bend, Leach rolled at the other end, bringing out the red flags. Interviewed from the car during the stoppage, Harris made clear his ire at Griffin: “Bobby Griffin seems to be playing hard to get,” he said. “I don’t know what he’s playing at. He needs to get out of the way.”

This time Harris had just Jayden Ward between him and Harrison, who felt he still had plenty of ammunition in his locker: “I’m not here to come second,” he said. But Harrison made a slow getaway and slipped behind Wainman a lap later as Harris again opened out a lead. After using the bumper on Harrison, it took Wainman a couple of laps to clear Ward and then came the first signs that all was not well under the bonnet of the #515 machine. Smoke began emanating from the car and while it did not seem to affect Wainman’s pace initially, he slowed and pulled into retirement not long after half-distance. 

That extended Harris’s lead to around a third of lap over Harrison, with Hunter now third ahead of Finnikin, as Newson was added to the retirement list. From there it was plain sailing for Harris who took the last few laps cautiously to claim his second world title by a quarter of a lap, six years after the first had come at the same venue in similar fashion. Harrison had to settle for second, while Finnikin completed the podium (reversing the pair’s positions from 2013) by pushing past Hunter one lap from home. Hunter held onto fourth, while Jelle Tesselaar claimed the trophy for best overseas finisher with a strong run to fifth. #212 Danny Wainman completed the top six from Bert de Vries, World Final debutant #25 Bradley Harrison, NZ94 William Humphries and Fairhurst.

A delighted Harris performed donuts on the home straight and then again in front of the temporary grandstand on the bends three and four before climbing on top of his car, chequered flag in hand, and punching the air. “I knew I was going in the wall on the first corner,” he said. “Luckily it didn’t knock me out because it was pretty heavy. He [Wainman] was only ever going to get one chance.” 

Enjoying his status as something of a pantomime villain, Harris added: “I’ve got the same smile now as I had when I was in the wall with Sworder. I love this game.”

The battle for victory may not go down as an all-time classic, but no-one can claim Harris’s success was undeserved, both for his performance on the night and his status as the top man on shale all year. 

Two consolations were run, the first naturally mainly featuring drivers from the earlier heats. Green’s night went from bad to worse with another puncture, but Sworder hit back from his earlier disappointment, recovering from a tangle to charge through the field and clinch victory with a big lunge on H152 Gert-Jan Klok with a lap to go. The latter just held on to the final qualifying place in fourth, having also slipped behind H173 Jelle Hiemstra and #348 John Wright.

A quality field, of which a large proportion were World Finalists, contested Consolation 2 and served up one of the races of the night, with bumperwork galore and places being traded on every bend. Local man #541 Willie Skoyles Jr led the way after a couple of stoppages but #278 Paul Hopkins put in a big lunge to take the lead, only to clip cars caught in a pile-up and let Skoyles back through. But not before H47 Danny van Wamelen had charged past both. When Skoyles reclaimed the lead, H229 Tsjalle Greidanus cannoned van Wamelen into the leader, which allowed Griffin to take up the running, in a thrilling sequence of action. After another caution period, it was Griffin who went on to win from Skoyles, van Wamelen and #4 Dan Johnson. Greidanus just missed out in fifth, but had a reprieve when Ryan Harrison failed to take his place in the meeting final.

World Final night’s meeting final is traditionally for the Harry Smith Memorial. A packed field of which only four cars were white or yellow tops proceeded to serve up a fitting race, which was sponsored by Richard Baldwin Motorhomes. One of those lower graders, Rogers again showed strong pace to lead much of the way until Mark Sargent found a way through. After a caution for Ward, Sargent opened a gap out front, but Maris was the man on the move. He charged into second, then moved ahead and looked odds on to make his earlier prediction come true until it all went wrong four laps from home when he crashed out with Johnson.

That led to another caution, with Rogers resuming the lead from Fairhurst, Klok, Finnikin and the recovered the Maris. On the resumption, Fairhurst made light work of Klok and Finnikin followed through with two to go, the pair finishing in that order, with Klok completing the top three.

The night was brought to a close with the grand national for the Ben Turner Memorial Trophy. Teen sensation #20 Liam Gilbank put World Final disappointment behind him to demonstrate once again that he is a superstar of the future, taking the win from Newson and Skoyles.


F1 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th
Heat 1 275 53 H141 H38 93 H44 H79 H86 169 278 H337 215
Heat 2 H61 H345 276 H36 242 H161 H495 150 H27 H415 401 H315
Heat 3 H69 244 326 11 335 H40 H248 H152 12 302 5 H6
World Final 84 197 55 220 H410 212 H20 25 NZ94 217 NZ971 346
Consolation 1 150 H173 348 H152 215 5 12 H332 H14 169 H525 H86
Consolation 2 166 541 H47 H47 4 H229 20 34 346 H618 H880 NZ581
Final 217 55 H152 H47 H345 H141 H69 242 H40 H38 H20 NoF
Grand National 20 16 541 166 H453 150 H40 445 346 H422 H87 55
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