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Trackstar Racing | Info | Results | 2013 | Saturday 25th May 2013

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Latest Points

Saturday 25th May 2013

Words by Mark Paulson
Pictures by Dave Bastock

SPEAK BAGS BRITISH

Undoubtedly the greatest Formula Two stock car driver of all time, 218 Rob Speak claimed his fifth British Championship title at King’s Lynn on Saturday night, 25 May. It came 14 years after his last success in the formula’s second biggest title and some 24 years after his first. Little did those who witnessed that victory at Aycliffe in 1989 know how the man would go on to be such a dominant force for the next quarter of a century. This, his first major title in his ‘second career’, where he races primarily just for fun and is not focussed on chasing championships, ranks alongside the 25 or more (not to mention the 11 national points crowns) he scooped before stepping away from the formula more than a decade ago. It also makes him the first man to lift the title twice at shale venues – his first coming 21 years earlier at Crewe.

After a spell of unsettled weather, the warm, dry conditions on race day were most welcome. A few late withdrawals still left a field of more than 60 cars in attendance, including two Dutch drivers. And although a handful of Scots had made the journey from north of the border, the West Country-based tarmac specialists were notable by their absence. All those present were allocated to three of the evening’s six heats, making for a busy night’s racing.

The first heat saw former World of Shale champion 186 George Turiccki spin early on, while 977 Dave Massey suffered broken steering which left him stranded on track. He escaped to the safety of the centre when yellow flags were called to assist 728 Carl Pilkington, a spinner on the roadside turn. H305 Ron van Wamelen – a final winner at Lynn last year – headed the queue at the restart, from 13 Andy Ford, the lap-down 615 Josh Coleman and 326 Jonny Hall. Top shale man 377 Daz Shaw was a couple further back, just ahead of Speak, the leading red top, whose position in the queue and pace to that point looked ominous. Meanwhile three-time British Champion 401 Barry Goldin’s hunt for a fourth got off to a poor start when he was prevented from restarting due to a broken wheel guard. When the green flag flew Ford soon hit the front and Speak quickly rose to third. But from there he struggled to make any further impression. Going into the final bend, he tried to dispatch the backmarking Coleman but only succeeded in spinning him across his own path. He managed to squeeze past on the outside, riding over the front of Coleman’s car in the process, but lost three places in the process. Ford held on to win, while van Wamelen was docked two places for jumping the restart, 606 Andrew Palmer and the recovered Turiccki the grateful beneficiaries.

Heat two was less eventful and after the first start was aborted, much of the race was dominated by a good battle out front between the yellow graded trio of 630 Justin Parker, 881 Graham Morrison and 150 Mark Thoms. With a handful of laps remaining Thoms started to drop back, then with two to go former Superstox World Champion 151 Colin Aylward passed Morrison, whose car appeared to run sick for a while before picking up pace again. Parker reeled off the laps to take the win, with H124 Wim Peeters – initially missed by the lap-scorers – second and Aylward third, while Morrison held on for fourth.

Goldin’s challenge was back on track after an impressive win in heat three. The warm conditions required the track to be heavily watered before each race, leading to a slippery surface in the opening laps. That led to several spinners and a caution period was called to assist opening heat winner Ford who was left stranded facing the traffic. On the resumption, Speak looked threatening until pulling off on the exit of bend four, while other big names also suffered a host of misfortunes.  823 Sam Wagner and 871 Mark Simpson – at the scene of his World Championship triumph – were both forced out. Meanwhile 886 Chris Bradbury, who dominated last year’s King’s Lynn track championship and had won three of the last seven finals at the venue, was enduring a nightmare and the very real possibility of not qualifying for the final. Forced into an engine change after his first race, a puncture put him out of this one. Out front, Goldin nipped inside the leading 597 Barry Clow with just over a lap to go, with the latter holding on to second from Shaw and Morrison, who again ran well.

Heat four featured fewer of the shale experts and an early tangle between 100 George MacMillan Jr and 921 Jack Aldridge further reduced the red grade challenge. The whites and yellows took full advantage as 56 Paul Perkins led much of the race in his wingless car. Unfortunately, having just lost the lead to Jonny Hall, Perkins suffered an engine failure to end his participation. Hall and former English Open champion 742 Nick Rogers then had a good scrap over the lead. In his last season of racing, the former prevailed, much to his delight, when an early conclusion was called to assist the crashed 994 Paul Hopkins.

An usual sight greeted the start of heat five when a bi-plane flew directly over the Norfolk Arena. No doubt the pilot was impressed with what he saw as the race had plenty of action once again. Continuing a theme, there were early waved yellows, this time for a tangle between 647 Chris Burgoyne and 798 Mark Sargent. On the resumption, World of Shale champion 905 Rob Mitchell spun himself out on the home straight, before rejoining just in front of the leading Rogers and making a bit of a nuisance of himself. However, Rogers continued his strong form to maintain the lead, while a pile up near the pit gate delayed several, including Burgoyne and Goldin, who was forced to retire – a win and two non-finishes would leave the Bolton man, one of the favourites for success, mid-grid for the big race. Rogers might have held on and gone one better than his previous second place but for clipping the spun Aldridge, allowing Shaw through to take the win. Bradbury also passed Rogers with two laps to go but was unable to make any impression on Shaw and had to settle for second. Still, after his early difficulties, the Berkshire man was just pleased to make it through – another favourite that would be starting from the middle of the pack.

The final heat bucked the trend by running all through with no stoppages. That in turn made it hard work for the stars to make progress through the field. Van Wamelen took advantage of his yellow grade to dominate the race, winning from Palmer and Wagner. That meant Wagner would be another superstar starting mid-grid, while Palmer’s pair of seconds, allied to fifth in his other heat, would give the four-time World of Shale champion pole position.

So, onto the final, the seventh race for the F2s that evening. Realistically, it would be unlikely the winner would come from outside the first ten rows of the grid, which lined up as follows:

 

Inside

Row

 

Outside

 

606 Andrew Palmer

1

 

377 Daz Shaw

 

H305 Ron van Wamelen

2

 

742 Nick Rogers

 

326 Jonny Hall

3

 

H124 Wim Peeters

 

881 Graham Morrison

4

 

186 George Turiccki

 

218 Rob Speak

5

 

259 Simon Farrington

 

151 Colin Aylward

6

 

630 Justin Parker

 

401 Barry Goldin

7

 

13 Andy Ford

 

448 John Wright

8

 

823 Sam Wagner

 

886 Chris Bradbury

9

 

597 Barry Clow

 

615 Josh Coleman

10

 

634 Paul Kitching

The two shale experts on the front row must have fancied their chances, especially with some of the other favoured runners a little further back. But the four yellow tops on the first four rows were there on merit and would not be pushovers. Lurking just behind them, the irrepressible Speak would definitely be in the thick of it. Sadly, local youngster Ollie Skeels was excluded from taking up his starting slot for excessive speed over the infield in his previous race, combined with alleged abusive language towards an official.

With time moving on, there was little pre-race build up and only a single rolling lap. Shaw burst into an immediate lead but was turned across the bows of his pursuers, leading to a big pile-up on the first bend. The canny Speak dived underneath to move straight into the lead before a caution period was required to clear up the carnage. Sadly, after impressing all evening, Rogers was one of six cars eliminated on the spot, but most of the leading runners had made it through relatively unscathed. Shaw recovered to line up second in the queue, ahead of Palmer, Turiccki, Goldin, Bradbury and Wagner – the latter three having already made good progress – all acknowledged shale experts.

When the green flag flew, Speak put the hammer down and started to pull a gap as Shaw slipped backwards, passed first by Palmer before Turiccki, Wagner, Bradbury and Goldin also went by. Palmer quickly caught Speak and attacked him. He got through but Speak fought straight back past. But with Turiccki now on their tails, the 186 car managed to slip inside the pair of them to take up the running. In such a big field of cars, backmarkers will always have a role to play, and Turiccki was unlucky to get caught up in a melee on bend one. That allowed Speak back into the lead and proceeded Turiccki’s retirement a lap later. The incident had left a heavy marker tyre on the racing line and it looked like another period of waved yellows may be necessary. But the unfortunate 662 Steve Wycherley clobbered it, ripping a wheel off in the process but also taking the wreckage, including his own and Coleman’s cars, out to the fence, clearing the inside line and allowing the race to continue.

Meantime, Speak was pulling out a gap and it was starting to look like the rest were fighting for second. Bradbury had taken up that position and managed to hold off Wagner and Goldin all the way to the flag. He couldn’t catch Speak though, who drove the remaining laps with speed and control to race to the title and evoke memories of his 1990s heyday. Although he had hoped for better, Bradbury couldn’t be disappointed to finish second in a spectacular race, especially after the way his night had started. For Wagner, third was a repeat of his placing at last September’s World of Shale Championship at the same venue, while Goldin just missed out on what would have been his seventh top-three in the British Championship.

Also in action on Saturday night were the Brisca Formula One stock cars in a world qualifying round and, completing an all-Brisca line-up, the under-16s in their Ministox. A mid-40s turnout of F1s led to a full-format meeting being run, plus a whites-and-yellows race to kick off proceedings. That was won with a red-and-chequered finish by the flying Dutchman H231 Daniel van Spijker from top rookie 245 Carl Swift and perennial entertainer 307 Tim Warwick.

The first heat proper fielded slightly fewer than half the field. 515 Frankie Wainman Jr found himself taken in so hard on bend three that his wing detached itself on one side and folded down beside his car. He dragged it round for a short distance but pulled off as yellow flags came out to assist 223 Garry Townsend. 388 Paul Ford led away the restart and started to pull a gap as third-placed 496 Neil Holcroft spun. The leading red-top at this stage was 191 Josh Smith who was making rapid progress through the field. Yellow flags were soon called for again though as 259 Paul Hines and 53 John Lund tangled and went hard into the fence. The former was hooked up on it, while the latter became the second driver to dislodge his wing in a matter of minutes, although in Lund’s case it simply turned around. Ford again led them away but with four laps to go Smith pushed him wide to take the lead. However, unfortunately he sustained a puncture in the processes which saw him drop back again. Through the commotion came the World Champion 1 Lee Fairhurst, belying his lack of experience at King’s Lynn to take the win. 51 Dylan Williams-Maynard also forced his way through to second, while Ford hung on for third. Smith meanwhile was shedding great chunks of rubber but did manage to hang on to eighth place.

A larger number of 26 cars were in the second heat which was less eventful but did see big names 84 Tom Harris and 150 Mick Sworder caught up in a pile-up, leading to the latter’s retirement. Out front, van Spijker drover an excellent race to dominate and take his second win of the night, only to lose it when he failed to take his car to be weighed immediately afterwards. That was unfortunate but at least he would get the chance to try and make it three out of three (on the road at least) in the consolation. Instead 2 Paul Harrison took the win from the impressively fast 4 Dan Johnson and 21 Mark Gilbank, with British Champion 55 Craig Finnikin fourth.

Lots of big names were left to qualify through the consolation, including both Wainman brothers, Sworder, Lund and Hines. Sworder pulled off immediately to continue a miserable night, while the slippery conditions caught out both van Spijker and 377 Jamie Jackson who pirouetted almost in synchronisation at the head of the field. The latter kept hold of the lead until repeating the feat a lap later, this time leading to a caution period, with 97 Murray Harrison retiring from the lead. Heading the queue at the restart were 394 Chris Claire and 212 Danny Wainman. Claire did a superb job in his day-glo car to hold Wainman off for several laps as the pair pulled away from the rest. Even when Wainman did find a way through, Claire fought back to regain the lead. Danny wasn’t about to let him get away with that though, putting him away hard. The squabble had allowed Junior Wainman and Lund to catch up, having had their own battle. As Danny pulled away from the recovered Claire, Frankie put the bumper in, but only succeeded in taking them both wide before riding up over Claire’s car. Both were delayed and ended up sixth and seventh, as 12 Michael Scriven passed Lund for second. Wainman’s win was his first in an F1 at Lynn and came after a blow-out had taken him out of the running in his heat.

Almost a full field returned for the final, where the blue grade jumped the first attempt to start the race. After that, there were no further stoppages and so we were treated to a very fast-paced raced on the quickly drying track. On a night where there were many punctures, Finnikin, who had won the first final of the year here, was to suffer this time, while Ford was also unlucky to retire from the lead. Johnson showed prodigious pace whilst picking his way through the field to claim his second meeting final from the last three outings at Lynn. Scriven was second with Fairhurst third, showing that he can’t be discounted from defending his title when the World Final is staged at the Norfolk Arena in September. Paul Harrison, Norfolk’s own 16 Matt Newson and 94 John Dowson completed the top six.

Things finally went Sworder’s way in the grand national as he came out on top of a massive field to finally take what seems to be his customary win at Saddlebow Road. The hard-hitting race featured multiple pile ups and a couple of suspensions, the second in part to ensure 263 James Tucker left the raceway having had his rear bumper completely ripped off. Sworder pulled away for a comfortable win which he dedicated to his son Charlie, who he thought had been unfairly docked places in the Minsistox final. 335 Mark Woodhull and Harris had a good scrap over second, until Johnson mugged the pair of them, claiming an impressive second from the full lap handicap, while Newson also came through for third.

The youngsters in the Ministox again provided plenty of good racing. Heat wins went to 8 Catherine Harris and Leicestershire’s 242 Joe Nickolls. They, along with 152 Charlie Sworder dominated proceedings, results-wise, and it would be those three who battled for the final. Sworder took the flag but was docked two places for jumping the start, allowing Harris to complete a heat and final double, with Nickolls second.

The F1s return to action at King’s Lynn in five weeks’ time, 29 June, while the F2s now have a long hiatus at the track – not returning until the night before the F1 World Final, 20 September. In the meantime, the meetings come thick and fast for the big 2-litre saloon stock cars and the rest of Trackstar’s domestic formulae.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
(White & Yellows H231 245 307 223 40 388 532 455 76 415
Heat 1 1 51 388 94 245 263 215 191 40 76
Heat 2 2 4 21 55 446 16 97 335 84 321
Consolation 212 12 53 198 462 515 394 H231 496 415
Final 4 12 1 2 16 94 51 462 84 515
Grand National 150 4 16 84 1 335 2 53 191 515
F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 13 606 186 H305 259 218 377 488 326 823
Heat 2 630 H124 151 881 448 647 921 124 49 710
Heat 3 401 597 377 881 606 798 448 725 H305 124
Heat 4 326 742 615 259 995 231 151 298 728 488
Heat 5 377 886 742 218 634 788 143 905 100 231
Heat 6 H305 606 823 150 871 186 H124 662 49 695
British Championship 218 886 823 401 377 H124 647 13 634 788
BriSCA MiniStox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 8 134 323 152 55 415 127 48 60 242
Heat 2 242 323 152 48 8 1 313 134 514 127
Final 8 242 152 323 55 60 134 313 1 3
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