Trackstar Racing | Info | Results | 2012 | Saturday 26th May 2012

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Saturday 26th May 2012

Report by Mark Paulson

FINNIKIN ON TOP AGAIN

Craig Finnikin took his second consecutive King’s Lynn main event victory in the Brisca Formula One stock cars at the Norfolk Arena on Saturday night, 26 May. In conditions that were the polar opposite to the wet night which greeted the Big League when it last raced in at the track, he overcame a poor start to the meeting to qualify via the consolation and fight his way through from the back of a 31-car field in the final to scoop victory.

The meeting was the third last in the World Qualifying series ahead of the two semi-finals at Birmingham and back at King’s Lynn. That, and the fact it was the first half of a speedweekend, meant it drew a huge number of cars to the pits and terraces packed with spectators. The entry of around 50 cars was bolstered by five or six welcome Dutch visitors who certainly got stuck in and added to the entertainment.

With such a big field of cars, a full meeting format was used with the entry split in half. Additionally, as is the norm at King’s Lynn, there was a race for white and yellow graded drivers, and it was this that kicked off proceedings. 22 cars took to the track and for the first time this season at Lynn, it wasn’t 441 John Lawn who prevailed. In scorching conditions the track dried out very quickly no matter how much it was watered, but it was 463 James Morris who came through the dust to snatch the one qualifying place open for the final ahead of white grader 243 Martyn Walton and 214 Adam Slater – a good start to what was to be a very successful meeting for the latter.

Moving on to heat one proper, the 22 cars again had to contend with a track that started greasy but ended almost bone dry, such is the drying power of these American V8-engined monsters as they roar around the track. H62 Camel de Decker made a good start (too good, it later transpired) and soon hit the front and led much of the race. Further back, 150 Mick Sworder was making ominous looking progress, stealing a march on the rest of the red tops and slicing his was through the field, evoking memories of his shale debut on this very track a couple of months earlier. Up to third as the race reached its mid-point, he soon found his way to the front from where he controlled the race, easing home ahead of 16 Matthew Newson and 21 Mark Gilbank who was making his first appearance at the track this season. De Decker crossed the line fourth but was docked two places for his jump start, promoting 212 Danny Wainman, who was set to have more success than his illustrious brother on the night, and 105 Chris Bonner.

The second heat had a couple more cars on track. The slippery surface led to a number of early spinners including half of the stars and superstars before they had even taken the green flag. That allowed the lower graded drivers to build an early advantage. Yellow top 35 Neil Shenton soon broke free and showed a great turn of pace. He was never troubled as he raced to victory and booked his place in the meeting final. H348 Ed Tessalaar and 98 Les Spencer stayed with him early on, and although they weren’t able to keep up throughout, they did enough to secure second and third. 259 Paul Hines was best of the red tops in fourth. That was after 515 Frankie Wainman Jr and World Champion 2 Paul Harrison got caught up in a back straight pile-up. Harrison managed to recover and salvage tenth spot to seal his passage to the final but FWJ would have to attempt to get there via the consolation. The same fate befell 55 Craig Finnikin and both 97 Murray Harrison and 197 Ryan Harrison.

So there were a lot of big names among the 25 cars that gridded for the consolation and they weren’t all destined to make the final. The busy track led to a number of early comings together and waved yellows were called for with 91 Tony Smith having shed a wheel and picked up some heavy damage on the home straight. The caution allowed a number of the stars to close the gap to the front, particularly the Harrisons who were on a charge. While Slater led the restart, Murray Harrison soon found a way through and it looked like Ryan was set to join him at the front until Finnikin split them. Slater held on for fourth with 11 Neil Scriven fifth. There was to be no passage to the final for Wainman though who pulled off mid-race.

All 31 qualifiers made it on track for the final, with the track now holding its moisture for a little longer as the sun went down and temperatures dropped. However, the extra cars in this race meant it soon dried out again! An early caution was called for after a pile-up on the road bend which ended the chances of Sworder amongst others. Pressed hard throughout by 84 Tom Harris, the World Championship points leader, Finnikin first got to the front of the stars and then fought his way through the pack, fending off the challenge from behind. Slater held on to third, an excellent result for the Leicestershire man, ahead of 4 Dan Johnson, Les Spencer and Paul Harrison. Ryan Harrison had actually crossed the finish line at the front but having been shown the technical disqualification flag a number of times for some flailing metalwork, he was removed from the results. He was not impressed, performing a burnout against the fence on the start line – a display of dissent that was somewhat futile and only served to earn him a loading up.

As is traditional, a grand national rounded the night off for the F1s. Finnikin was unable to make up the full-lap handicap to negotiate his way through the 25-car field. A delighted Hines took the flag ahead of Shenton and 335 Mark Woodhull. Third in the points behind Harris and Wainman prior to the meeting, Finnikin certainly took advantage of a poor night in the office for Wainman to give himself a good chance of securing pole position for one of the World Semi-Finals. Don’t forget the first of those is back here at King’s Lynn on 21 July.

In support of the Big League were two more stock car formulas, the 1300 saloons and the Brisca Ministox. There was a slightly disappointing showing of around 20 cars for the former although they still served up plenty of action, including a couple of rollovers. The minis meanwhile were in the high thirties, a fantastic turnout.

A white, yellow and blue grade race was first up for the 1300s and saw 13 cars on track. 412 Jordan Gay took a heavy fencing which led to a caution period. Although he was able to walk away for a check-up with the medical team, he took no further part in the meeting. 96 John Slack led all the way to take his first win at King’s Lynn in a convincing performance.

With 08 Lee Green upgraded to red, he wouldn’t be able to repeat his amazing four wins from the last Lynn meeting. However, at one point it looked like Slack was going to emulate him. He again put in another stylish display in the first heat proper to pull away from the field. Meanwhile the Moat brothers, 473 Dean and 573 Shane, had a good scrap over second. Dean eventually prevailed in that and looked good as he fought his way through from the back of the 17-car field. 216 Dan Booth also looked fast but was spun on the run to the finish line, dropping several places as he was eventually classified ninth.

We were down to 15 cars for the second heat and this time Booth was more successful, taking the lead with a couple of laps to go from 88 Lyndon Stark who had led most of the way. Slack was again entertaining but was swallowed up by the Moats – Shane third again, this time ahead of father 673 John, with brother Dean just behind Slack in sixth.

The final was punctuated by a couple of caution periods caused first by 177 Chris Masters rolling on the home straight and then Stark emulating him on the restart. The Moats and Booth again worked their way through to the front, “Old Smiler” John prevailing this time ahead of Shane, completing a very successful night for the youngster.

The massive field of Ministox meant a two-thirds format was used for their heats. The first was open to white, yellow and blue graded drivers only and witnessed an excellent performance from 324 Mitchell Peal who won by around half a lap. It was to be a successful night for the Peal family as 323 Harry took the next heat before placing second in the final. That was won by 515 Frankie Wainman Jr Jr who had earlier finished second to 55 Courtney Finnikin in the third heat. Another child of a very successful father, 391 Jessica Smith, belied her white grade by looking controlled, stylish and fast as she led the third heat for much of the way before eventually placing sixth. She then went one better in the final, bringing the car home in an excellent fifth position to complete an entertaining night.

MiniStox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 324 491 331 53 391 91 473 262 131 472
Heat 2 323 262 55 2 48 137 324 98 515 134
Heat 3 55 515 331 48 323 391 98 491 60 411
Final 515 323 48 2 391 491 324 55 331 127
F1 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
White & Yellow 463 243 214 H348 337 169 H62 104 98 111
Heat 1 150 16 21 212 105 H62 338 394 H22 H477
Heat 2 35 H348 98 259 4 335 321 84 H151 2
Consolation 97 55 197 214 11 446 49 104 215 H228
Final 55 84 214 4 98 2 335 35 105 394
Grand National 259 35 335 16 515 214 84 2 463 192
1300 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
White, Yellow & Blue 96 88 235 316 838 7 653 177 18 9
Heat 1 96 473 573 802 673 8 447 7 216 9
Heat 2 216 88 573 673 96 473 8 316 7 802
Final 673 573 216 473 8 235 7 802 838 96
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