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By BSCDA, May 24 2017 10:19AM

Chris Fort marched to a Buxton final victory on Sunday afternoon in only his third meeting of the season, having finished sixth in the UK Open at Skegness the weekend before.

Fort, from Silsden, is only racing Tarmac this season and is using the car of Carl Pickering. “Carl had the car built but it has been sat around for about five years – it was a brand new car but nothing was being done with it,” Fort said.

“So, it wasn’t going to sell being sat in the garage so he decided to put a driver in it and he elected me.”

The 36-year-old began his stock car career in V8 Hotstox in 1998 and raced on and off in the formula until 2009. In 2008 he was invited to drive the F1 stock car of Graham Mould until engine problems curtailed his season halfway through the year, but he still managed to win a final at Skegness.

Fort took time out from racing in 2014 after injuring his neck when competing with the British Lions in Auckland prior to the New Zealand Teams Championships and returned to racing this season at Skegness.

Living in Silsden, just five minutes away from world champion Frankie Wainman Jnr, it comes as no surprise Fort has worked closely with the family since he was a youngster.

“I’ve been involved in the sport through the Wainmans since I was about 14,” Fort said. “I helped them out and they have helped me. It’s been brilliant really. I help them in the V8’s with Phoebe and I do a lot with Danny now and help build his cars with him. It’s good all round.”

Fort started the World Championship qualifying round at High Edge Raceway on Sunday finishing second to Tom Harris in the 19-car opening heat, with Frankie Wainman Jnr third, followed by Mat Newson, Michael Steward and Stuart Smith Jnr.

Heat two fielded 17 cars and it was Dan Johnson, using a spare engine in his Tarmac car after blowing a head gasket at the Skegness UK Open meeting, who celebrated his birthday with a convincing win. Northampton final winner Shaun Webster finished second ahead of impressive novice Tristan Jackson in third place. Steward, Smith Jnr and Danny Wainman rounded out the top six.

Sean Willis led the 20-car third heat before an early stoppage. Luke Davison took over the lead, with Johnson closing, when the yellows came out with two laps to go.

The two-lap dash for the flag went to Johnson, ahead of Newson and Davidson, followed by Harris, Paul Harrison, Fort and Danny Wainman. Harrison was subsequently docked two places for jumping the restart.

The 25-car final was red-flagged after two laps when Ben Riley, at the front of a train of star drivers, piled into the fence into turn one, resulting in the 422 car riding the wall and ending up on its side.

Riley emerged unscathed, and the race restarted with Willis leading from Jackson and Fort, who made a fine start and was already up to third. On lap five Fort took over the lead from Willis and by halfway had built a healthy lead. Davidson had forced his way into second place, with Scott Davids third, ahead of Wainman Jnr and a flying Johnson, who had found himself shuffled to near the back of the grid for the restart after the first bend pile-up. Smith Jnr rounded out the top six.

As the lap boards came out Fort still had a quarter of a lap lead over Davidson. Johnson was challenging Davids for third but clipped a tyre marker into turn three and spun out of contention.

By now oil had been laid down on the track as a result of Danny Wainman’s gearbox, and while Davidson closed down the leader, Fort took the flag to win his first F1 final on British soil in nine years. Davids finished a comfortable third, ahead of Wainman Jnr, Smith Jnr and Wainman Jnr Jr.

“It’s only my third meeting in the car and I got it really good for the final,” Fort said. “I knew it was good at the start so it was a case of “run rabbit” if you know what I mean!”

Fort didn’t take part in the 18-car Grand National which was comfortably won by Davidson, ahead of Lee Fairhurst, Harris, Bradley Harrison and Davids.

By BSCDA, May 23 2017 10:05AM

Shaun Webster didn’t let the rain spoil his parade on Saturday night as the 34-year-old from Sheffield romped away to his first final victory at Northampton’s first meeting of the season.

A deluge prior to the meeting left standing water on both bends, but track staff did an exceptional job clearing away the water before the meeting began.

The rain eased before the 19-car opening heat and it ended with a Davidson team 1-2 with Luke Davidson taking the lead before halfway, with Tom Harris a fast-closing second. Nigel Green was third, ahead of Lee Fairhurst, Ben Hurdman and Frankie Wainman Jnr.

The track was still wet and greasy for the 19-car second heat and it was Frankie Wainman Jnr Jr was adapted best to take the lead after five laps. Ben Riley was the main danger in the closing stages, and went for a last-bend attack on the Wainman Jnr Jr rear bumper.

Riley’s efforts were not enough to take his younger rival out, however, and in a drag race to the line it was Wainman Jnr Jr who scored his first win of the season. Fairhurst finished third, ahead of Ryan Harrison, George Elwell and Mat Newson.

The sun came out for the 19-car heat three and as a dry line began to appear, former V8 Hotstox driver Tristan Jackson, making his first appearance in an F1 stock car, led until three laps to go when a flying Harris stormed past. Harris won by the length of the straight ahead of Danny Wainman, Davidson, Newson, Harrison and Webster. Jackson finished a credible seventh just in front of Stuart Smith Jnr, who was out in his shale car.

Jackson led the 26-car final until former saloon stock car racer Webster took over. Bradley Harrison took up the chase, with Fairhurst the main threat from the back of the grid, but Webster always had the race under control, and was never threatened all the way to the flag.

Fairhurst took over second place from Harrison with four laps to go. Harrison then held on to the final podium slot despite pressure from the fast-finishing Harris, who went for a last-bender but didn’t make enough contact and had to settle for fourth.

Webster was celebrating his first final success, having raced in saloons for 16 years prior to making the big step up to F1 stock cars in a Frankie Wainman Jnr-built car he bought from Craig Uttley.

“I went to Holland last year and ever since then it clicked and I’ve going well since then,” said Webster. “But I keep getting punctures or something will go wrong with the car, so I’d get a good result in one race and then maybe not finish the final.

“My first meeting this year was Birmingham and I went well there in my first race but a brake pipe came off when I was leading and then I had a few shenanigans with Nigel Hahrry and ended up in the fence.

“I got a second place in the consolation at Skegness last Saturday night. In the final I was racing with Chris Fort and I’d just got into the lead when I came out of the first corner a bit sideways. Chris tried to come up the inside but we ended up tangling and he t-boned me.

“The car has been going well but little things have been letting me down,” Webster added. “Tyres play a big part. You can put a different tyre on and it can transform your car.

“During the Skegness weekend, I went alright but it wasn’t where I knew it could be. I kept altering the car, but when I got home I was looking at the tyres I had put on and I thought to myself, “You know what, I think I have got a dodgy tyre here.

“Luckily, Dave Riley said he had a few K6s I could buy off him. So I used the tyre for Northampton and although it was wet for the first few races I put all my dry set up on for final and it just gripped.”

While Webster discovered the secret to success through his tyres, it was a similar story for Bradley Harrison, who had his best result of the season with third place in the final.

“For the third heat we literally just swapped from rally tyres for the wet to Tarmac tyres and adjusted the shockers on the front,” said Harrison. “Even though I wasn’t very fast it was doing everything right, so we tried it in the final.

“In the final it felt really good! I think it was Lee and Tom’s experience that helped then catch me in the last quarter of the race.”

Fairhurst was pleased with how his car went on the night. “Yes, old Trigger wasn’t going to badly tonight,” he said. “I decided not to go out in the National as I didn’t want to risk getting any damage and having to work on the car all the next morning before racing at Buxton.”

Smith Jnr, who managed four top ten finishes in his shale car, had worked into the early hours throughout the week to get the car set up for Tarmac.

“We really wanted it to be dry tonight,” Smith Jnr said. “We changed the car as much as a car can be. There was so much work to do, we missed practice – even with 1.00am finishes during the week.

“By the National we were only just off the pace, so hopefully it will be better at Buxton. I think we deserve something there after all the work we have put in.”

The 20-car Grand National, in which Webster started from the one-lap handicap, became a Davidson benefit as the Tarmac specialist took the lead by halfway and scored his second win of the night. Newson was second, with Harris third.

Photos courtesy of Colin Casserley

By BSCDA, May 17 2017 03:32PM

After the BMB meeting on Tuesday 16th May (which includes BriSCA and BSCDA) there were discussions over driver concerns regarding the availability of the Pirelli K6.

The BSCDA are currently buying in K6 tyres in order to supply drivers. These are not for stock piling but for drivers to buy for a meeting at a time. If you require tyres please make this known when you book in for a meeting.

The BSCDA committee are working hard on the mandate given to them at the AGM, regarding the inside rear tyre and are in the process of the following.

• Working with various suppliers to resolve availability issues.

• Arranging test days, where various tyres, mainly for the left rear will be tested along with continuing tyre testing at meetings. Further information will be available shortly.

All the data gathered will be presented to the drivers, in time for the AGM where decisions will be made.

The outcome of the BMB meeting is as follows

• Kumho R900 banned on the left rear

• American Racer tarmac tyre allowed on a trial basis (at non Championship events)

By BSCDA, May 17 2017 05:39AM

Harry Steward, a 17-year-old mechanic for Todd and Murray Jones, replaced his spanners for a steering wheel at Skegness on Sunday afternoon – and in his first competitive outing in a F1 stock car he had never sat in before, won the UK Open Championship.

It was a remarkable performance from the Essex youngster. Not only did he win the UK Open, he did it in style and, despite two yellow flag stoppages, the result never looked in doubt.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised Steward was able to hold his nerve and his form throughout the race. He is the son of former National Hot Rod and Legends Racing star Tick Steward, and last year he competed in Classic Hot Rods, winning the Midlands Championship in his father’s classic Ford Anglia.

Prior to that he raced in Ministox, but apart from an outing in Todd Jones’ F1 at Birmingham’s Gala meeting last year, that is about it as far as his CV is concerned.

And while we know he’s quick, has a pedigree and started the UK Open meeting as a C-grader, that should in no way detract from what was undoubtedly the drive of the season so far.

Drivers raced twice in four heats during the afternoon, with 15 point-scoring positions in each, plus a last-chance consolation event for the final six starting places, to make up the grid for the big race of the day.

Heat one fielded 29 cars, which was led by Ales Wass pursued by Steve Webster. Murray Jones made short work of the lower graders in front of him in his former Ryan Harrison Tarmac car and tracked down the leaders, while Harrison himself made up ground in fourth.

Jones, clearly feeling at home in his new car, took the lead once Webster spun out the leader, and went on to win his first race of 2017, followed by Harrison, with Tom Harris third.

“This car is like night and day to my other car,” said Jones. “All I’ve done to it since I got it is paint it and a bit of testing.

“I like this track, I always seem to go well here so I’m looking forward to the rest of the afternoon.”

In the 26-car second heat, with Dan Johnson out in the Jordan Falding car, Sean Willis led early on before Luke Davidson took control by halfway. Lee Fairhurst closed down the gap on the leader but ran out of laps to put any pressure on Davidson, who took the flag, with Mat Newson third.

The 24-car third heat was led by Steward, who failed to finish in the previous race, when the race was stopped on lap four after Johnson had a massive rollover going into turn three.

The European champion ran out of Tarmac trying to pass Paul Carter and clipped a marker tyre, tipping the car over. It was nasty looking roll, but the car landed back on its wheels and Johnson, who had had a UK Open meeting to forget, was able to climb out of the car unscathed.

After the restart, which also began without world champion Frankie Wainman Jnr, who had to pull off with broken diff, Steward went on to win his first race in an F1 stock car with a confident victory ahead of Newson, Nigel Green and Jones.

Jones, however, was to become the third contender over the weekend to suffer engine damage prior to the big race. “The car started to breathe really heavily at the end of the race, so we think it has done a piston,” he said.

The 26-car heat four was won in a canter by Davidson ahead of Chris Fort, Harris, Fairhurst and reigning UK Open champion Neil Scriven, and in the last chance heat, Will Hunter closed down leader Ken Hassell to take the chequered, with Stuart Shevill Jnr third.

After a parade of the drivers competing in the UK Open, and with Jones a non-starter, 33 cars lined up in graded order, with the six qualifiers from the last chance event at the back of the grid.

Steward immediately led after the green flag and took control of the race, and by halfway had begun to build a healthy lead, ahead of Webster and Fort. Davidson was closing fast in fourth place, while further back Harris made a great start and had forged his way through the pack to go fifth, ahead of Fairhurst and Harrison, with Green next.

The yellows came out on lap 12, after Newson hit the Armco on the back straight, which brought Steward’s sizeable lead back down to nothing. Webster pulled off with a flat tyre, which left a backmarker, Joff Gibson, in between the leader and Fort, with Davidson next.

Harris, Fairhurst, Harrison and Green, who had all been involved in their own battle as the race entered its second half, now looked favourites to fight for the trophy, but as the race went green again Steward, with a clear track ahead of him, pulled away from the pack.

By now oil had been dumped on the track into turn one, which caused cars to drift off the racing line. It was apparent that as the leader continued on his way, Harris, Fairhurst, Harrison and Green were holding each other up as they tried to outwit each other.

With five laps to go the yellows came out again, with Davidson looking like the main contender to pounce on the C-grader for the lead. Harris was now third, with Fairhurst, Green and Harrison next.

On the restart Steward took full advantage of his position as the lead car and took off out of turn three before the green flag dropped. Davidson was slow to get away, while behind him Harris, who was struggling with a misfire, was moved aside by Fairhurst into turn one, but regained the position into the next bend.

Meanwhile, Steward was able to maintain the gap ahead of Davidson, who was also now suffering a misfire. On the next lap, Green dived down the inside into turn three to get in front of both Harris and Fairhurst but overcooked the corner, allowing both Fairhurst and Harris through as they entered the straight three-abreast.

Green tried again into the next corner but went in too deep once more and collected Fairhurst and both headed for the fence. Fairhurst was out on the spot and Green’s championship hopes were over.

There were no such worries up front for Steward, who kept his composure for the remaining couple of laps to flash across the line to become the youngest-ever BriSCA F1 champion. Davidson took a well-earned second place, with Harris taking the last podium place in third. Harrison finished fourth ahead of Wainman Jnr and Fort.

It was an amazing result, and one that wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for circumstance.

Todd Jones, who had raced the car the night before, was at Aldershot on Sunday where his son was racing. It meant the keys to the car were going spare.

“Todd’s dad, Terry, rang me on Wednesday and asked if I wanted to race the car on Sunday, so I said yes,” said Steward. “Since then everyone has been winding me up saying I would regret it!

"I struggled in the first race, as I haven’t ever sat in that car before today. I had to try and get used to the car and the track. For the next race, we just changed a few tyres and I went a lot better.”

Steward was helped by his girlfriend Jessica’s father throughout the day – who happened to be five-time BriSCA F1 world champion Andy Smith. “He has been a great help with advice on tyres and anything I needed,” said Steward.

“The race came to me. I just waited and waited and it came to me. When the oil went down I struggled a bit after the second restart, but I sort of adapted to it.

“Last night I was on the spanners and today I was racing and winning the UK Open! Whenever Todd’s not racing I’ll have another go.”

Davidson was full of praise for the teenager. “Harry did all the right things on the restart,” he said. “I can’t fault him for that. He kept his head.

“The car was better earlier on. There was a lot of oil on the track and the car seem to go off, it was getting warm and began missing on one of the restarts. Second will do, I won a couple of heats. The boy did good.”