Meeting Report – King’s Lynn – 22nd August 2020
WE’RE BACK…..no, no, not I’m a Celebrity but those heavyweight, armoured up, fire breathing, big capacity V8 dinosaurs of the oval racing scene, yep, BriSCA F1 Stockcars.
After an awfully long wait, when, let’s face it, nearly all forms of spectator sport have been, well, spectator-less, it’s fantastic to be back. For a long time we did not know whether we would get any racing or not, but thankfully BriSCA and the BSCDA managed to put together an end of season schedule of racing and boy has it been a long time coming. It has been offset to some extent by the BSCDA virtual E-Series that was put together which was, if you didn’t catch it, it’s well worth watching for the action on (the virtual) track and the commentary by Paul (Why So Serious) Hines and Mark (He’s just said what!) Sargent.
Let’s face it though, it is the real thing we were all craving and the first meeting of the late starting season it was off to King’s Lynn for some fast, shale shifting action. For a country still lifting itself from a pandemic and the sport of F1 Stock Car racing essentially gasping its last breath of air before passing into the limelight (according to social media and the tinterweb) it was obviously going to be poorly attended by the depleting fan base……..so much so, that the ticket allocation sold out in under four hours flat – think that says it all really.
A fairly healthy 38 cars were booked in (8 drivers due from Holland had to cancel unfortunately due to ever changing quarantine rules) which under the circumstances is a cracking turnout.
Before the meeting started all the cars came out on track and parked up (along with the Lynn track staff and stewards etc) before a minutes silence was held for the passing of Colin North last year, the minutes silence then being broken by the ‘Gentlemen, Start your engines’ from the commentator as 38 V8’s fired up – a very fitting tribute.
First up was the now traditional whites and yellows race, the first time out for nearly ten months – would the racing be wragged and the drivers looking rusty – you bet!!. First bend and six drivers all piled into a standstill, all getting going though, up front Ant Lee had an early and good lead which soon evaporated with the yellows out for Phoebe Wainman stranded on track. At the re-start it was Lee from Mark Sargent and Mark Poole, Sargent and Poole soon getting past Lee with both heading into the distance but with Poole keeping Sargent in tow. It was looking good for Sargent but it was soon to change (not uncommon for Sarge this evening) – Neil Holcroft and Geoff Nickolls both collided with a marker tyre hooking up, Sargent got stuck behind, Poole dashing through but wrecking a tyre letting Austin Moore through for the lead, then out came the yellows.
At the second re-start things got confusing, under a new ruling for this season (being tested) the re-start was shuffled, essentially any backmarkers in the first six cars are sent to the rear to start, so up front it was Moore, from Sargent and Jake Harrhy in third spot. Sargent got past Moore fairly quickly for the lead but with the last bend approaching, Moore went for a hit on Sargent, both spinning and ending up facing the wrong way letting Jake Harrhy through for the lead and win. Nigel Harrhy had finished in second spot but was demoted from the results after infringing new safety rules that are now in place for the end of the race, ie car radiator watering regulations and movement of cars off track.
Heat One result: 345, 560, 541, 415, 357, 234, 58, NOF
Heat two and a grid of 22 cars for this one and an equally entertaining race which had been heavily watered. Russell Cooper hit the front early with Craig Finnikin and Frankie Wainman coming together and being delayed at the back on the first lap. Willie Skoyles Jnr (yes, Wille Skoyles of saloon stox fame joining the F1’s) in an ex Mat Newson car had now hit the front from Sargent in second. The well-watered track was catching a few out, Newson spinning and also Tom Harris, Sargent had got past Skoyles and had gained a healthy lead, Newson (in the pink Gypsy Sprinter special) was holding off Tom Harris who was looking out of sorts (for once!).
Dean Whitwell had come to a standstill by the pit gate leading to a yellow flag, the car then making its way to the centre before an under bonnet fire led to the testing of the Lynn fire extinguishers. At the second re-start it was Sargent from Skoyles and Richard Wilson but with a gaggle of star men behind. Skoyles soon pulled up with a flat tyre whilst Frankie Wainman exiting turn two spat flames and smoke from both engine banks gradually coming to a halt under a cloud of smoke with what looked like destroyed innards?? Up front John Dowson had hit second spot and was close enough to Sargent to have a go on the last bend, spinning Sarge around in the identical spot to the previous W/Y race but slowing the Dowson car allowing fellow ‘chips and gravy’ team member Lee Fairhurst through to just out drag Dowson to the line for the win – anyone would have thought Sarge’s virtual racing comments were coming back to bite him!
Heat Two result: 217, 94, 1, 259, 16, 502, 335, 242, 93, 463, 526, 415
Heat three and 24 cars out for this one – including 515 which was baffling, apparently the wiring to the MSD box had given up the ghost resulting in what looked like a very costly engine rebuild rather than a quick re-wire. Jim Bamford hit the front in this one from Jake Harrhy, Tom Harris was looking like the first heat gremlins were gone but the yellows were soon out for Ant Lee stranded on the back straight fence.
At the re-start Bamford and Harrhy were soon passed by Craig Finnikin with Paul Hines and Tom Harris in pursuit, Finnikin then spun the car on turns 1/2 letting Hines through. Harris on a dry track was now flying and got past Hines sprinting into the distance but soon pulling up on turn 4 in a cloud of smoke, unfortunately for Harris, not the wiring but the engine letting rip big time ending his nights racing there. With Harris out Hines had now a very good lead which now evaporated as the yellows came out and after a pack re-shuffle at the front (backmarkers moved) had Frankie Wainman on his tail. Wainman soon got past Hines with a Heave Ho on turns 3/4 with a recovered Finnikin getting past Hines, these being the finishing top three at the chequered.
Heat Three result: 515, 55, 259, 217, 491, 127, 211, 335, 242, 302, 83, 94
The final gridded up 28 cars, mainly those still running as it was essentially an all-in meeting. Sam Makim, Dowson and Sargent all piled in on a wet track into turns 3/4 but soon got going but it was again Jim Bamford up front going well till Wilson and Phoebe Wainman collected each other heavily leading to a yellow flag both drivers needing attention by the track staff, Bamford led off the re-start from Skoyles in second spot and Wainman in third. Skoyles soon hit the front and was looking impressive holding off Wainman before the star grade men got past, the Skoyles motor starting to look a bit more ragged whilst Wainman improved his lead at the front to the chequered flag from Hines in second and Finnikin third.
Grand Final result: 515, 259, 55, 217, 335, 541, 242, 94, 302, 345, 326, 83
The Grand National had 20 of the initial starters of the night taking part and was a quick race and flag to flag with no stoppages. Mark Sargent who had had a cracking nights racing but infernal luck made no errors in this one and soon hit the front and extended his lead with a slightly smokey car (oil leak only) to the chequered flag from an impressive Jake Harrhy in second and Darren Clark third, Wainman coming home fifth from the lap handicap. The only frustrating bit was due to the curfew we had no time for the usual serious comment post-race interview we come to expect from Mark!
Grand National result: 326, 345, 83, 335, 515, 94, 259, 93, 217, 242, 275, 541
A great nights racing on the Lynn shale and its now off to Skegness for the next meeting on the 29th August.
Be sure to keep up with the BSCDA output via our newly designed website – bscda.com or via our other social media outlets on instagram, Twitter and Facebook for driver interviews on the night, updates and information on the 2020 Chase series.