THE STARS COME OUT TO SHINE AT SHEFFIELD
By BSCDA, Aug 3 2017 11:09PM
Hot-footing it from winning the World Championship semi-final at Skegness last Saturday, European champion Nigel Green lines up at Sheffield on Sunday afternoon for his first outing on shale since the end of May.
Green won the final that day at King’s Lynn, and will be hoping to continue his winning form this weekend.
Having missed the British Championship at Sheffield in June due to being on holiday, it will be the last opportunity to gain some track time on the tricky shale oval prior to the Mintex National Points Champion Shootout round on October 1.
“It does make sense to put a few miles on the clock before the Shootout,” said Green. “But the main reason for going was I asked the lads if they fancied it and they said they did. And with it being a 12.30pm start time it means we can get back at a sensible time and have a good day out.”
Green, who surprisingly has yet to win a race at Owlerton Stadium since he began his F1 career in 2014, will face stiff opposition from the 30-car field.
Also in the line-up will be World champion Frankie Wainman Jnr, who returns to the track where he won his ninth British title in June. Wainman Jnr has an exemplary record at the Sheffield with 67 races wins, including 21 final victories during his illustrious career. With just the one final victory this season, Wainman Jnr will be determined to add to that impressive career tally.
Superstar Mat Newson has a fine record at Sheffield. He won his first final at the track in 2003 and this season won the final at the venue’s World Championship qualifier in April. He followed up by scoring two heat victories at the British Championship meeting culminating in a third-placed finish in the big race itself. As with the two previous visits to the South Yorkshire oval, Newson will drive the shale car he built for Mark Sargent this weekend.
“I’m going to use Mark’s car, like I have been recently, as he isn’t going to race for a few weeks,” Newson said. “And I thought the last couple of times I been to Sheffield I’ve won the final and the last time at the British I won two heats. So I thought I might as well take the car again and see if I can win another couple.
“I seem to be the bloke in form around Sheffield. Going back quite a few years when I wasn’t a star driver say ten years ago, I’d always go well there. Back in the day when I wasn’t particularly great for some reason I would always do well at Sheffield.
“I think I’ve done a couple of semi-finals there and I’ve finished in the top three in both of them. For whatever reason, the track suits me.”
Craig Finnikin is another Superstar who has a great record on shale, having won three finals this season on the loose stuff, all at Belle Vue. While Lee Fairhurst, more renowned as a Tarmac specialist, has won his one final this season on the Belle Vue shale, and could be a factor. Surprisingly, he has yet to win a race at Owlerton during his career.
Danny Wainman has been knocking on the door for a final win with three podium finishes this season and is another top-line driver who knows how to win around Sheffield, having won two finals there.
One driver who could steal a march on the big guns on Sunday and keen to continue his winning trend is B-grader Eliot Smith. Smith won his first final at King’s Lynn last month and has won around Sheffield before.
The meeting starts at 12.30pm and with 10 races and 40 BriSCA F2s booked in to support the meeting, it promises to be an entertaining afternoon of shale racing.