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By BSCDA, Jun 21 2017 12:19PM

On a blisteringly hot afternoon Nigel Green kept his cool to score an emphatic fifth final victory of the season at the penultimate World Championship qualifying round at Northampton on Sunday afternoon.

By doing so the Leicestershire driver consolidated his position at the head of the qualifying points table and confirmed himself as one of the favourites to win gold at the World Final in September.

But while Green quietly notched another victory to his already impressive tally this term, the main talking point during a dramatic afternoon of F1 stock car racing was the controversial fencing of Dan Johnson by Tom Harris in the second heat of the day.

Two of the biggest stars in the sport have had a history of crossing swords in recent years, with a number of incidents that have fuelled the flames to their rivalry.

Then two weeks ago Johnson dramatically slowed in front of Harris while a lap down in the British Drivers Championship, impeding the Banbury driver, who was leading the race, allowing Frankie Wainman Jnr to close up.

The two drivers were lined up in the same heat at Northampton, and after Johnson had passed Harris as they fought for position, Harris launched the Johnson car into the turn three fence, sending both into the steel plating with the Johnson car suffering sufficient damage not to be seen out again until the Grand National. The force of the impact also structurally damaged the roll cage on the Harris car.

In a decision that has become a major talking point with drivers and with fans on social media, Harris was loaded up for the rest of the meeting by the race steward for “deliberate fencing”.

The meeting began with 23 cars lining up in heat one, including Phoebe Wainman, and Superstars Stuart Smith Jnr and Danny Wainman.

It wasn’t long before the theme of the day began to take shape, with the bumpers soon flying in, notably from Murray Jones, who fired Ben Hurdman into the turn three fence, but took himself out in the process as his front inside tyre burst, sending himself clattering into the plating. As a result of the damage to his car, Jones wouldn’t be seen out for the rest of the afternoon.

Up front it was Ashley England who led, and the B-grader went on to comfortably take the flag from Bradley Harrison and a hard-charging Stuart Smith Jnr. Karl Hawkins finished fourth ahead of Danny Colliver and Ben Riley.

The 23-car second heat was stopped after three laps after Roger Bromley and Steve Whittle tangled and hit the pit bend fence, with Ales Wass leading from Chris Cooke and Stephen Malkin Jnr.

From the restart Paul Carter took over the lead from Wass, with Cooke third, while behind a battle raged between Todd Jones, Harris – driving his older Tarmac car after engine issues with the revamped Davidson machine debuted at Ipswich the previous evening – Green, Wainman Jnr, Johnson and Paul Harrison.

Green and Wainman Jnr were making the best progress and moved to the front of the Superstar/Star train while Harris lost ground. While Carter still led ahead of Wass, Cooke and Neal Hooper, Wainman Jnr passed Green for fifth.

Further back Johnson had briefly passed Harris, until approaching turn three Harris seized the opportunity and fired Johnson towards the fence. It was a spectacular impact, which resulted in the aerofoil dislodging from the Johnson car as it came to rest. As the yellow flags came out Harris was already trying to dislodge himself, dragging the stricken Johnson car with him as a brief oil fire ignited from the engine.

Harris retired to the centre green, and the race was stopped as Johnson clambered out of his car.

Before the race was restarted Harris was summoned to race control. It was then announced over the PA that he had been told to load up for “deliberate fencing”.

After the Johnson car was towed to the pits the race was restarted with Carter leading from Wass, Hooper and Wainman Jnr, but soon the world champion was up to second, and moved Carter wide to take the lead into turn three on the penultimate lap.

Harrison then slipped through for second while Newson and Jones both moved passed Carter into turn one on the last lap. This eventful heat was not over, however, as while Wainman Jnr took the flag from Harrison, Carter launched himself at the Jones rear bumper into turn three, who was then catapulted into Newson.

As the two star men clattered into the plating, Newson ended up riding the fence on his side. Carter finished an entertaining third, ahead of a recovering Jones, Green and Hooper.

Neither Johnson or Newson made it out for the 17-car consolation, which was stopped on lap four after Cooke, Paul Hopkins and Neil Scriven tangled on the exit of turn four, and on the restart Wass led Shevill Jnr, Stephen Malkin Jnr, Scott Davids, Joff Gibson, Frankie Wainman Jnr Jr and Danny Wainman.

Wass held on to the lead until the last lap when, anticipating a last-bend lunge from Davids, he went into the corner too deep and hit the fence, allowing Davids to take the win in a sprint to the line ahead of Wainman Jnr Jr and Danny Wainman. Wass recovered to finish fourth.

There were 29 cars on the grid for the final with Wass, Shaun Webster and Todd Jones the three non-starters.

In the early stages lone A-grader Malkin Jnr led until Colliver took over. Colliver led before halfway from England and Karl Hawkins. Further back Paul Hines got a great start and was soon up to fourth place, with Harrison, Green, Smith Jnr, Davidson and Wainman Jnr in pursuit.

Into the second half of the race Colliver maintained his lead over England with Hines now third, but Harrison, Green and Smith Jnr were closing down the leader and were the fastest cars on the track.

England then took the lead in the closing stages as both Colliver and Hines dropped back, and Green moved passed Harrison to take up the chase of the leader. With four laps to go Green made his move on England into turn three to ease into a lead he would take to the flag for an impressive fifth final win of the season – and from the back of the grid. He celebrated by smoking the rear tyres round the track on the slowing down lap.

Harrison passed England to take second place on the penultimate lap, while Smith Jnr just made it into third place in the sprint to the line ahead of England. Davidson finished fifth ahead of Wainman Jnr.

Green took the one-lap handicap in the 22-car Grand National, which included Johnson, resplendent with a borrowed roof.

As the race went green it was soon stopped two laps later as Johnson fired Davidson into the turn three fence.

Malkin Jnr led the restart until Steve Webster took over and was never headed, adding the National to his final win at Ipswich the night before. Davids finished second but was docked two places for jumping the restart, handing that place to England who had a very successful afternoon. Will Hunter was promoted to third place.

Green finished seventh from the one-lap handicap and now heads to Belle Vue next Sunday in a strong position to choose his favoured World semi-final venue.

“It was nice drive through from the back,” said Green.” I didn’t really make a name for myself with the front bumper – I just had a good car underneath me and I passed everyone with respect and won the race.

“I try to treat everyone with respect, no matter what colour roof they’ve got. And then if they hold you up at the next corner or have a nibble you can nail them in.

“I could get past people by firing them in so they can’t come back out but in the next race they’ll probably want to have a bit of a go back at me. Treat people how you want to be treated, is how I look at it really.

“If I’m faster than somebody I’ll just drive past them and as clean as I can and vice versa. If someone is faster than me – Paul Harrison was faster than me in the first heat as was Frankie Wainman Jnr – I can just bide my time and let them go.

“That’s how I drive.”

Photos 1&2 courtesy of Neil Randon

Photo 3 courtesy of Colin Casserley

By BSCDA, Jun 20 2017 07:21AM

Steve Webster, from Sheffield, won his first F1 stock car final at Ipswich on Saturday, in his second full season in the sport.

On a warm summer evening, former Saloon Stock Car World and National champion Webster took full advantage of his B-grade starting position on the fast Tarmac at Foxhall Stadium to take the victory.

The meeting was billed as the Thunder 500, with National Hot Rods and National Ministox also on the bill.

And being one of the last World Championship qualifiers and an opportunity to gain valuable set-up information prior to the World Final meeting at the track in September, 50 cars arrived in the pits.

The race format was two heats, consolation, final and Grand National, with 24 cars lining up for heat one, including Mick Sworder. ‘Mr Box Office’ was making his first outing on track since the Hednesford qualifier in early April.

It wasn’t long before Sworder was making full use of the front bumper before retiring, while at the head of affairs it was Stuart Shevill Jnr, winner of heat and final at the same meeting 12 months earlier, who romped away with the victory.

Roger Bromley was second, with World Champion Frankie Wainman Jnr a fine third from the back of the grid. Steve Whittle was fourth, ahead of Ryan Harrison and Mat Newson, who passed Luke Davidson for position with a last-bend move.

Heat two featured 26 cars with Dan Johnson catching Karl Hawkins with two laps to go to take the flag, with Murray Jones third, ahead of Superstar Dutchman Ron Kroonder in fourth. Craig Finnikin finished fifth, with Tom Harris immediately on the pace in the new Davidson Tarmac car in sixth.

There were 24 cars lined up for the consolation event and it was Neil Scriven who went on to win, ahead of Sworder, Danny Colliver, Paul Hines, Frankie Wainman Jnr Jr and Drew Lammas. Webster finished second, but was excluded from the results, having already qualified with a 12th-place finish from heat one.

The final lined up with 33 cars on the grid, dominated by cars with red roofs, with 13 Star grade drivers, plus 10 Superstars at the back of the grid.

The yellows came out after three laps, with Shevill Jnr retiring, and it was lone A-grader Chris Cooke who led the restart from Webster and Hawkins. Webster then took the lead and totally dominated the remainder of the race. Further back Johnson was making inroads on second-placed Hawkins, with Nigel Green close behind. Stuart Smith Jnr was chasing, but then retired with a rear puncture.

While Webster kept his pace, in the closing stages oil was dumped on the track in turns three and four, which caught out a number of drivers, in particular Hawkins and Johnson, who was helped on his way by Green into the fence. Green took the runner-up spot having started from the back row of the grid. Harrison slipped through for third place, with Newson fourth ahead of Wainman Jnr and Sworder.

The 33-car Grand National ran over the curfew cut off time at 10.15pm, but having been started it was red flagged under caution before the decision was made to continue the race. However, only a handful of cars were aware the race was back on, one of those being Scriven, who went on to win his second race of the night, repeating his Grand National victory of a year ago.

Newson finished second but was docked two places for jumping the restart, promoting Murray Jones to the spot, with Sworder third. Behind Newson in fourth, Whittle finished fifth with Smith Jnr sixth.

“The car wasn’t quick in the heat, so we made a few tweaks,” said Webster. Having finished 12th in the heat, the 39-year-old was then mistakenly told to line up for the consolation.

“What we did to the car for the consolation made it better,” Webster explained, having inadvertently had extra track time. “So we decided to do a bit more to it. I went into the final thinking if I could get away and drive properly, I would settle down and that’s what I did. I took the lead and tried to be consistent for every lap.

“As I was coming down to the last corner, I was looking and I saw a few cars spin out so I backed off. I could see black on the track and so I just kept it tight and then Frankie Wainman Jnr Jr just spun in front of me and was going backwards and so I tried to keep it as tight as possible and I just sneaked through. I then out came out of the corner and the chequered flag came out.”

Green moved to the top of the World qualifying points table, helped by his second-place finish in the Ipswich final.

“The car was really good in the final,” said Green. “I drove past everyone with no banger racing. But to try and catch a yellow top who is good round there is very difficult.

“When the oil came down I was running third behind Dan Johnson. I went in to give him a push but, as we both went to brake we both hit the oil. He took a bit of speed out of my car, so unfortunately he took the brunt of that, but that’s how it goes.”

By BSCDA, Jun 19 2017 01:22PM

This Sunday sees the final chance for BriSCA F1 drivers to score vital World Championship Qualifying points before the charts are locked and the Semi Final grids are compiled.

A full run down of who is where can be found here, as you can see it is close to who will claw their way onto the all important semi grids.

Not only is this the last chance of gold point scoring, Startrax have put £1,000 up for the Grand Final winner!

Drivers, if you have not booked in yet please do so asap.

Start time 3.30pm with BriSCA F1s from 4pm.

By BSCDA, Jun 15 2017 02:43PM

With more than 50 F1 stock cars booked to race at two World Championship qualifiers this weekend at Ipswich and Northampton, including three Dutch drivers, expect the bumper action to hit the Richter scale.

Billed as the Thunder 500 at Ipswich’s Foxhall Stadium on Saturday night, with National Hot Rods and National Ministox also on the menu, the F1s are fired up to race at this year’s World Final venue.

It is also the one opportunity for potential World Final contenders to prepare for the big event on September 17, with little track time available and no practice on the day itself.

Both winners of the meeting finals last weekend, Superstars Nigel Green and Tom Harris, will be gunning for glory, with Harris in a race against time to try to get his new Davidson Tarmac car ready for the meeting.

“We’re trying to get the new one done for this week,” said Harris. ‘Me and Cecil (Sayers) are working on it now.

“To be fair to Cecil, we came in on Sunday morning to get in the wagon to go to Buxton and he was already in the garage working on the new black car. We’re trying to get it done but I couldn’t tell you if it is going to be ready or not because I don’t know myself.

“But we want it to be ready, that’s the plan, but if it’s not then we’ll just do the meeting in the other car.

“It would be nice to get it there but the trouble is it’s two qualifying rounds and bringing a new car out for qualifying rounds isn’t ideal. You’re going to have teething problems with it and it has a brand new engine, built in America that hasn’t been run in this country yet, so it isn’t a straightforward fit.”

If it is ready in time it will be wheeled out and tested on track for the very first time on the Ipswich Tarmac.

“The trouble is we’re not going to have time, due to work and getting it ready, to go and try it out anywhere first either,” said Harris. “With new brakes all round, you’ve lost a race already bedding them in and so it has a knock-on effect.

“Having said that, we still want to get it ready for the weekend, but if it isn’t 100 per cent we’re no going to take it. We don’t need to, so there’s no point rushing a car we have spend a long time doing.”

Whichever car Harris sits in on Saturday, he has a fine record at Foxhall. having won finals at Ipswich qualifying rounds twice before, the most recent being in 2015.

I think Ipswich is a really good track, it’s more of a racing track and I like going fast, so it suits me,” Harris said. “I’ve had a lot of success there in my cars over the last few years. It’s a track that I enjoy.”

Conversely Green, last weekend’s Birmingham winner, will be hoping to improve on recent results at the track.

“Everybody wants a run around Ipswich before the World Final, with limited track time and no practice available there,” said Green.

“Last time I raced there I was average and didn’t set the world alight pacewise, but we’ve altered the car a lot since then so hopefully we will be a bit more competitive this time.

“But it’s hard around there starting from Superstar, so we’ll see if we can make it to the front if the races are long enough.”

One name racing at Ipswich who has been missing from the short ovals in recent weeks is “Mr Box Office” Mick Sworder, who was last seen in action at Hednesford back in April.

Sworder suffered a blown engine in his shale car after winning the opening King’s Lynn final on his preferred shale surface, and has reduced his Tarmac outings this year.

But now he’s back, although only briefly, as he then won’t be seen out again until possibly the World semi-finals (and even then only if he gets Skegness) and definitely the Gold Cup at Venray.

“Work has really busy of late and the business is going really well,” said Sworder. “I’ve even been working at weekends, something I used to criticise other people for doing!”

“But I really like Ipswich. The track is big and fast – you can really open them up and put your foot to the floor – so I fancied a burnout round there.”

Another driver who will be hopeful of a big weekend is Stuart Smith Jnr, who has spent the last couple of weeks swapping over the engine from his shale car into his Tarmac special.

“The engine in the shale car is identical to the one in the Tarmac car,” said Smith Jnr. “They are both 440ci small blocks and quite far ahead of 90 per cent of engines out there. I use them because they give good power and reliability – or supposedly, anyway!”

Smith Jnr’s target to is prepare for the World Final meeting. “My goal is to have a good base set-up for the World Final,” he said. “Also to try and win the final on Saturday night. My aim is always to go for final victories.”

Being such a fast track, however, that aim will be difficult to execute. The star-graders and Superstars will find it hard to catch the lower graders, as was the case 12 months ago, when Stuart Shevill Jnr won heat and final. Jordan Falding, who was second in the final that night also won a heat, while Neil Scriven finished third in the final and went on to win the Grand National.

So, for those lined up at the back of the grid, it will be a case of using the bumper to maximum effect, with some of the sport’s biggest hitters out to make their mark. European Champion Dan Johnson will be taking part in his first outing since the controversial British Drivers Championship final, and as a result all eyes will be on Johnson and arch-rival Harris if they get within striking distance of each other.

Then, once engines and emotions have cooled down, the F1 circus travels up the M1 the following day to Northampton for the penultimate qualifying round of this year’s World Championship.

By this time we will have a good idea of who is likely to start on the front row of the grids for Stoke and Skegness, and who is grappling for those final grid positions at the tail end of the qualifying points table.

Currently it is Johnson and Green who will line up on pole position for their semi-finals, with Mat Newson and Danny Wainman joining them on the front row.

At the bottom end of the table Shevill Jnr, in particular, will be hoping for similar results this weekend to a year ago as he lies just outside the 48 semi-final places in the points.

As a footnote, a scroll down the list of guaranteed qualifiers currently in 12th position is one Robert Speak. Will the National Points Shootout Champion line up at Stoke or at his own track at Skegness? Only he will know…