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By BSCDA, Jun 15 2017 07:36AM

Tom Harris celebrated his first final win of the season at Buxton on Sunday afternoon having spent the previous evening at the wedding of team boss Jamie Davidson’s son Lee.

Enjoying the wedding festivities meant the team arrived late at the High Edge Raceway and missed practice. Harris also had new brake pads in the car after Team Davidson’s trip to Holland earlier in the week.

With 21 cars, the meeting featured two heats with all cars in each race, plus a Grand Final and Grand National.

In a dry opening heat Mat Newson took the lead from Steve Webster and went on to win ahead of Luke Davidson, Frankie Wainman Jnr with Harris fourth.

The feature of the race was a pile up in turns three and four, which involved Ben Riley and Paul Hines, with the Hines car suffering structural damage including to the chassis. The car was loaded up and went back with car builder Newson to be repaired for the next weekend.

The rain arrived before the 20-car heat two, which was delayed to allow drivers to change to wet-weather tyres. It was Davidson who adapted best, taking the lead before halfway and romping home to victory ahead of Harris and Newson. Webster was a fine fourth, ahead of Craig Finnikin and Wainman Jnr.

“In the first race I had new pads in so had no brakes,” said Harris. “In the second race it rained. The car was good but I taught Luke too well in his wet race craft and I couldn’t get near him and had to settle for second.”

In the 20-car final, Harris was quick out of the blocks early on and led by halfway, ahead of Wainman Jnr and Finnikin. By this time the rain had returned to make the conditions challenging for the leaders.

Wainman Jnr, a wet-weather specialist, did his best to close on Harris but the leader always had the race under control and the positions stayed the same to the flag. Davidson finished fourth, ahead of Bradley Harrison and Danny Wainman

“In the final, with some of the work I did early on I got to the front and it started to rain again,” said Harris. “I didn’t make any mistakes and had enough of a gap on Frankie to stay in front. So I just kept my head and slowed down and it was good.

Starting from the one-lap handicap Harris had 13 cars in front of him, after Finnikin pulled off before the start.

It didn’t take long before Davidson was in the lead and by halfway was already in command of the race, ahead of early leader Webster, Stuart Shevill Jnr and Newson.

By the flag, Davidson took his second win of the afternoon, with Newson second, Danny Wainman third, ahead of brother Wainman Jnr, Webster and Riley. Harris closed on the main group and finished ninth.

"In the Grand National, it was the best the car had been all day," explained Harris. "I was really happy with it

“Within another lap I would have been up with the pack, so at Buxton to get ninth from a lap down, I was really pleased,” said Harris. “I know there weren’t a massive amount of cars there, but that makes it harder in my eyes, because there isn’t any traffic to hold anyone up.

“That result just tops it off. Luke is going well, the team is going well and while we had a bad start to the year we’re finding our feet now.”

By BSCDA, Jun 14 2017 12:17PM

Nigel Green made light work of difficult conditions at Birmingham Wheels on Saturday night to score a heat and final victory.

It was the Green’s fourth final win of the season – his second on wet Tarmac – at a meeting he hadn’t originally intended to race at.

“We hadn’t planned on going to Birmingham, to be honest,” said Green. “I planned to go to Buxton but work changed and I knew I was going to be working away during the following week, so we switched to Birmingham. It was a late decision and we got there late and missed practice."

With 31 cars present the meeting was run as a two-thirds format, with the rain coming down before the opening heat that continued throughout the evening.

Ben Riley scored his first win of the season in the 21-car opening heat, with the Wainman family filling four of the top eight positions, with Frankie Wainman Jnr taking second spot ahead of son Frankie Jnr Jr. Danny Wainman was fourth, while Phoebe Wainman, in her first outing in the F1s this season, a very commendable eighth.

In the 20-car second heat Eliot Smith led until a stoppage on lap two, before Stuart Shevill Jnr took over soon after the race restarted. Green was soon on the leader’s tail and went on to take a comfortable win ahead of Shevill Jnr, Will Hunter and Ed Neachell.

"I had to try and bed in some new brake pads in the first heat," said Green. "But fortunately it being in the rain it wasn’t too big an issue.”

In the 19-car third heat Riley looked set for a second win on the night until Wainman Jnr shoved him wide out of turn two with two laps to go to take the victory. Riley held on to second place with Mat Newson third. Samuel Wass was an excellent fourth with Green fifth and Ales Wass sixth.

Green had his car perfectly set up for the conditions in the final and having passed Hunter took the lead with six laps to go to win by the length of the straight. Neachell slipped through for second with Hunter a solid third, ahead of Steve Webster, Wainman Jnr and Ales Wass a fine sixth.

“My car worked well in the rain in the first heat,” said Green. “I was running out of rain tyres for the second heat so I didn’t expect to be as competitive in that one, so I saved my tyres for the final.

“It continued to rain and it played into my hands. I had the pace to drive through the field to win.

“Will Hunter took a bit of reeling in but once I was passed him it was quite straightforward really. It usually is when you’ve got the pace.”

The 21-car Grand National was led by Ales Wass from Shevill Jnr, when the race was stopped after three laps. Shevill took over the lead and held on until the final bend, when Ben Hurdman executed a well-timed last-bend hit to take the flag for his first victory as a star grade driver.

Hunter finished a successful evening with second place, with Riley third and Neachell fourth. Paul Hines had his best result of the night in fifth, ahead of Newson, a recovering Shevill with Green eighth from the one-lap handicap.

By BSCDA, Jun 6 2017 02:00PM

Frankie Wainman Junior won an unprecedented ninth BSCDA British Drivers Championship at Sheffield on Sunday, successfully defending the title he won a year ago, in a dramatic race which left two of the sport's top stars embroiled in a bitter feud.

Wainman Jnr was winning the race for the third time at Owlerton Stadium, having won the two previous titles at the track in 2004 and 2005.

But while the 46-year-old enjoyed another championship victory, emotions ran high between Tom Harris and Dan Johnson, after Johnson noticeably slowed down in front of early leader Harris when about to be lapped, allowing Wainman Jnr to close the gap.

Wainman Jnr, who went into the British event having won just one race this season back in March at King’s Lynn, began the meeting in the 21-car opening heat, which included former British champions Paul Harrison and Lee Fairhurst.

The race began on a greasy track, which caught out Harrison, who spun. Wainman Jnr got to grips with the surface early on and was already up to second place before halfway behind Karl Hawkins.

Hawkins continued to lead into the closing stages, but Wainman Jnr had caught the B-grade driver going into the last lap.

Mindful that too big a hit at the tricky Sheffield track could result in both cars heading fencewards, Wainman Jnr tried to slide up the inside of the leader, but in the sprint to the line Hawkins held on to win. Danny Wainman finished third, with Mark Gilbank, Fairhurst and Billy Johnson rounding out the top six.

Heat two featured many potential winners of the British, with Dan Johnson lining up with the star graders, and former British champion Craig Finnikin, Tom Harris, Ryan Harrison and Stuart Smith Jnr starting at the back of the 19-car field.

The yellows were soon out after Ricky Wilson hit the fence just past the start/finish line, ripping off both front wheels. Richard Woods led the restart ahead of Russell Cooper and Will Hunter, with Johnson, from his star grade start, already up to fourth.

Johnson made short work of getting to the front and led by halfway from Hunter, with Harris close up and Smith Jnr fourth.

Into the second half of the race and on a track that was quickly becoming slick and dusty, Johnson maintained his lead ahead of Harris and Smith to the flag. Finnikin finished fourth ahead of Ben Riley and Harrison.

The 22-car third heat began with the track graded and watered, and featured Mat Newson for the time in the afternoon, who had been delayed en route in severe traffic due to an accident.

The race was stopped after a couple of laps after Chris Brocksopp hit the fence entering the first turn, damaging a fence post and at the same time Jason Eaton hit the home straight fence and needed attention. Already Smith Jnr was out with an inside rear flat tyre and Fairhurst had been collected and spun in the home straight and was at the back of the grid.

Robert Plant led the restart but the race was stopped again on lap five after Luke Dennis hit the fence, by which time Hawkins was leading from Neil Scothern, with Newson already up to third place.

After the restart Newson soon took over the lead and went on to a straightforward win, ahead of Gilbank, Danny Wainman and a recovering Fairhurst. James Morris was fifth, ahead of Frankie Wainman Jnr Jr.

The 19-car heat four resulted in an easy win for Harris, who took the lead by halfway and coasted to victory ahead of a chasing Hunter, Johnson, Finnikin, Paul Hines and Bradley Harrison. Wainman Jnr had a quiet race in seventh place.

The yellow flags were soon out in the 16-car fifth heat after Eliot Smith hit the back straight fence, with Woods leading the restart from John Brown, Hawkins and Newson.

There was another stoppage five laps later after Fairhurst collected Daniel Clifford in the home straight and was forced to retire. Woods led them round for the green flag but Newson, who had lost ground early, came through to take the lead.

It was clear that once in the lead and the track became slick, it was difficult for anyone to make in-roads on those ahead of them. Newson was always in command to win his second consecutive heat from Harris, Danny Wainman, Paul Harrison, Bob Griffin and Hines.

The 20-car final qualifying heat for the British final was the most entertaining of the afternoon as a heavy rain shower turned the track into a skating rink, with cars grappling for grip throughout.

Wilson, having repaired his car from his earlier trip to the fence, paid it another visit on the pit bend fence on lap four to bring out the yellow flags.

Cooper led the restart but it was Johnson who adapted to the tricky conditions the best and took a lead that he then extended by nearly half a lap from Wainman Jnr.

Newson, in particular, was struggling in the wet conditions. “My goggles broke,” he said. “I couldn’t see, so it was a case of keeping going and get a position for the points. I was just a passenger.”

The European champion looked set for an easy win but then went in too deep into turn three and spun backwards into the fence, giving Wainman Jnr the lead. Johnson recovered to gradually claw back the deficit and was on Wainman Jnr’s tail as the lapboards came out.

Under pressure from Johnson, Wainman Jnr then also spun into the turn three fence to give Johnson back the lead and the victory, with Smith jnr slipping by to finish second, ahead of Wainman Jnr, Newson, Finnikin and Morris.

The sun returned to dry the track prior to the big race, with 23 cars surviving a brutal day’s racing to line up for the 20-lap event.

There was a minute silence in memory of those who had lost their lives in Manchester and the previous night in London, before a round of applause.

The cars then fired up their engines and began two rolling laps on the graded and watered track. Johnson started from pole position, with Newson alongside. Harris was on the inside of row two with Danny Wainman, while Wainman Jnr lined up immediately behind Harris on row three with Finnikin alongside. Hunter was next with Smith Jnr on the outside of row four.

As the green flag dropped Johnson led into turn one but Harris pushed him wide into the mud to take the lead as the cars entered the back straight.

Wainman Jnr got a great start on the inside to go third, with Smith Jnr an even better getaway in fourth.

Down the back straight for the first time Harris led as Johnson tried to recover, while behind Smith Jnr went in too deep and spun into the fence. Luckily for him, he was collected and straightened up by the pack that was led by Gilbank.

Johnson tried to regain ground on Harris but the Worksop driver went wide into turn three and as he entered the straight clipped the fence and spun, allowing the rest of the field to go by.

In just a couple of laps Harris built up a commanding lead of nearly half a lap, with Wainman Jnr now chasing in second, and Gilbank third.

As Harris drew clear of Wainman Jnr, the complexion of the race changed dramatically as Harris caught up on Johnson, who was a lap down, on lap five. It was then that Johnson controversially slowed in front of the leader, and within moments Wainman Jnr was on the Harris back bumper.

By the time Harris had passed Johnson, and before Wainman Jnr could capitalise, the yellow flags came out after Wainman Jnr Jr had gone into the third bend fence.

The order was Harris, Wainman Jnr, Gilbank, Johnson was next in line, although a lap down, Fairhurst was up to fourth from his sixth row start, with Newson next, followed by Finnikin, Smith Jnr and Hines.

As the field set off on the rolling lap again, all was not well with the Wainman Jnr car.

“I had no clutch pedal and had to start in first gear,” said Wainman Jnr. “Luckily, Tom had no idea I didn’t have a clutch. Had he known, all he would have had to do was hit the brakes going into the corner and I would have stalled it.

“It would have restarted but I would have been a mile behind him. Luckily, I managed to keep on his bumper and I was off the brakes and the throttle to keep going and when it went green I could only go so many revs and clip it into second without the clutch. I got that right, locked it in gear and obviously I dropped that bit behind him.

On the wave of the green flag, the battle was on. Harris took off and as the track began to dry was able to maintain his lead from Wainman Jnr. Further back Gilbank was sent wide by Johnson and slowed on the outside of the track and rejoined the race immediately in front of Harris, who was momentarily baulked as Gilbank tried to get to the infield. It meant Wainman Jnr was much closer as they entered turn one.

It was a game-changing moment. Wainman Jnr seized his chance and launched himself at the Harris rear bumper, sending the Banbury driver into the pit bend fence.

“Mark Gilbank had got damage and came across from the fence, hit the kerb and lost it a bit,” said Wainman Jnr. “Tom just glanced Gilbank’s bumper, and it held him up that split second and I knew at that point I could get to him. I thought it was now or never.

“Luckily, I held it and I just missed him when he bounced out.”

Wainman Jnr was now in the lead for the first time and with clear track ahead of him was able to control the race. Behind him Smith Jnr was the fastest man on the track and, after having climbed up to second place after passing Newson, was making in-roads into Wainman Jnr’s lead. But the laps were running out.

As the chequered flag came out Wainman Jnr flashed across the line to take a famous victory. Smith Jnr was a fast-finishing second, with Newson taking third and the final podium slot.

Finnikin was fourth, Hines fifth, with Harris recovering to finish sixth, ahead of Johnson and Hawkins, who was the only other car to finish.

Wainman Jnr climbed on to his car’s roof and acknowledged the crowd with the chequered flag in hand.

“The car was hooked up really good in that,” said Wainman Jnr. “It was really quick in the first heat. I had new tyres on for that, and I used them again in the final. I knew if I could survive the first couple of laps I could influence the outcome.

“My car was properly on it, and I was able to pull away from Dan Johnson behind me, who’d been really quick but I knew he was a lap down. I then backed off in the last few laps. I steadied it down a bit as there wasn’t anyone near me, and that was it.”

Despite finishing runner-up, Smith Jnr was a disappointed man. “I made a mistake,” he said. “It was really tricky at the start. I was committed to my line and it was too wide.

“I should have put the front wheel on the kerb but I didn’t want to because all day I’d been putting a tyre on the kerb and it spat the front end away from me.

“So I wanted to enter it without touching the kerb and keep on the dry, as I knew then that would propel me forward and keep me on the right racing line. But everybody else went up the kerb and I didn’t and it cost me the race.”

Similarly, Newson was dissatisfied with third place. With the outside rows of the grid being at a disadvantage due to the muddier surface, Newson went from a front row start down to eighth place going into the first corner.

“One more point and I would have been inside as Dan beat me to pole by one point,” said Newson. “He had two wins and a third, and I had two wins and a fourth. Or if I had dropped a couple points and been where Tom lined up would have been better.

“From there, the car felt good and I got going and got back to third, but it was too little, too late.”

However, much of the talk after the race was about Harris and Johnson. As the season moves into the heat of summer, so the temperature has risen in a row between the two.

Harris was furious at what he saw as a deliberate move to jeopardise his race. “Frank put me in the fence and I have no problem with that,” said Harris. “Fair play to him. I would have done exactly the same thing to him if it had been the other way round.

“But what Dan Johnson did? What a —. That’s not racing. He deliberately held me up for more than a lap.”

Johnson believed Harris used unfair tactics to take the lead on the opening lap. “At the start he came into my side rail and you’re not even meant to be allowed to do that,” he said.

Harris retorted: “When I went past him into the first corner, I was on full lock trying to get round! It was so wet the car pushed on as I tried to turn in.”

Asked about the incident when Harris went to lap him, Johnson said: “I thought the yellows had come out, so I slowed down…”

By BSCDA, May 31 2017 01:56PM

Sheffield's Owlerton Stadium hosts the BSCDA British Drivers Championship this Sunday for the first time since 2005, with 50 cars expected to compete for one of F1 stock car racing’s most prestigious championships.

The BSCDA British Drivers Championship was first run in 1956, and was won by Wilf Davies at West Ham, where the championship was held for the first five years.

The winner of the British title has to work hard for it. Drivers take part in qualifying heats in graded order, with the highest points scorer starting at the front for the championship race itself with the remaining points scorers qualifying in descending order to the back of the grid.

The first multiple winner was Willie Harrison, who won the race at Belle Vue in 1967 and then at Long Eaton in 1975. Stuart Smith was the first to win it three times – 1969, 1981 and 1984, and then John Lund upped the anti by winning the race six times – 1987, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1997 and 1998.

But the driver who has won the race more than any other in the history of the sport is FRANKIE WAINMAN JNR, the reigning champion, who has eight British titles to his name, his first being in 1992 at Coventry.

He won it twice more at Coventry in 1999 and 2001, before winning four times in a row (no other driver has ever won the BSCDA British Championship more than twice in succession) between 2003 and 2006, including twice at this weekend’s venue Sheffield. He has also been placed in the race seven times.

But the race Wainman Jnr cherishes the most is his victory last year at Skegness when his daughter Phoebe also won the V8 Hotstox British Championship on the same night.

“It was probably one of my proudest races,” Wainman Jnr revealed. “As I went over the line it just dawned on me what me and Phoebe had actually done. It sunk in straight away.

“It was meant to be wasn’t it? It was one of those nights you only experience once in your life. For Phoebe and I to win both British championships on the same night made my season.”

Can he win an unprecedented ninth title? Few would bet against it. The British has only been run twice at Owlerton Stadium, in 2004 and 2005, and Wainman Jnr won both times.

The second win came after a massive first-bend pile-up that wiped out the front row line-up of Andrew Smith and John Lund, in a race that created a huge amount of damage.

“I like Sheffield,” Wainman Jnr said. “It’s a lower grader track for the heats and so you’re definitely going to have a few rows of yellows and blue I would have thought. It would be very unusual to have a superstar on the front row of the grid.

“I’ll be aiming for a third or fourth row start. I won it both times it has been run at Sheffield, so we could be on for a third then!”

Five other drivers who have won the BSCDA British Drivers Championship take on Wainman Jnr this weekend.

PAUL HARRISON has won the race four times, notably in 2001, when the Rotherham star reeled in long-time leader Stuart Smith Jnr to take the lead on the last lap before taking the flag.

“The British means a lot to me – I think it does all the drivers,” said Harrison. “It’s intense over the one meeting, to get through your heats and then the final and it’s such a prestigious award.”

The race was also memorable for Smith Jnr’s kamikaze last ditched attempt at connecting with the Harrison rear bumper on the last bend.

“I was gutted going down the back straight for the last time which is why I left it all on and tried to get him,” said Smith Jnr. “I never backed off and I thought I was going to hit him.”

But he didn’t – and ended up smashing into the plate fence to eventually finish seventh.

STUART SMITH JNR did win the race, however, in 2008 at Coventry with a decisive move when shunting Mark Gilbank into his brother Andrew, and then charging past Wainman Jnr with three laps to go to take the lead. “I’ve only won one British and I’ve come close to winning it many, many times and I should have won it a couple of times,” he said.

“But ifs and buts don’t mean a thing, do they. I’m hoping to put that right this weekend.”

PAUL HINES won the race at Skegness in 2010, but was lucky to take part, let alone win the race, after his transporter ran out of diesel on the way to the track.

Fortunately, V8 Hotstox driver Carl Radforth happened to drive past the bus parked on the side of the road and went to the next garage with a diesel can. If Radforth hadn't been such a good Samaritan, Hines would have been left stranded.

“We literally pulled in the gate just as the cars for heat one were going out,” said Hines. “I was in heat one, the car came off the bus, no practice, I got straight in and scrutineered – they waited for me thankfully – and from that point on I never looked back.”

He certainly didn’t. Taking the lead from Lee Robinson on the opening lap, Hines took the flag untroubled for his first BSCDA British Championship win.

Like many drivers Hines believes the British is one of the hardest races to win during the year.

“The beauty of the British is you have to work hard through the heats to get there,” Hines said. “Don’t get me wrong the World Final is much tougher to get to it through the year, however, on the day the World Final is a race on its own.

“Whereas at the British, you have got to do well throughout the meeting in three heats and then the final – you need a bit of luck in all of them, you need skill in all of them. So I was dead chuffed to win it. It was fantastic.”

LEE FAIRHURST has won the British title twice, in 2013 and 2015. The first win at Buxton came after surviving an opening lap onslaught by Rob Speak.

Fairhurst and his team prepared for meticulously for the race. Apart from set up changes there was the small matter of reinforcing the car against the potential onslaught it was likely to be subjected to – a prediction that came true on the day.

“I qualified on the second row outside having done nothing spectacular in the heats,” said Fairhurst. “We strengthened the car before we went to Buxton as we expected to be in the fence at some point seeing as it was such a big race.”

The opened laps were fierce. Pole sitter Dan Johnson led momentarily until Speak fired him into the first turn fence, bending a steering arm. Crucially Johnson came to rest next to the fence three-quarters of the way along the back straight.

Fairhurst took the lead but Speak was in no mood to take prisoners and immediately launched at Fairhurst into turn three, sending him careering into the fence. However, Fairhurst survived and was able to maintain his lead into the next corner as Speak launched another attack but was unable to connect, which gave Fairhurst some breathing space.

It was then that the race was stopped as the packed charged down the back straight. Paul Hines dived to the inside to avoid the stricken Johnson car but Mat Newson hit it head on and was flung into the path of Finnikin who lost the front end of his car in the resulting collision and without any brakes piled into the fence.

Josh Smith collected Newson’s car and together they followed Finnikin in. It was one of the nastiest crashes seen in recent years, but the fact the drivers all emerged unscathed was testament to the build quality of the modern day F1 stock car.

After the restart Fairhurst went on to win unchallenged with Speak regaining second spot and Robinson taking third from Wainman Jnr.

CRAIG FINNIKIN was able keep keep his wheels on in 2012, when he won the race at Coventry after a dramatic last lap.

Having led early, he got pushed aside by Murray Harrison and was fourth going into the closing stages, with Wainman Jnr trying to close down long-time leader Harrison. Finnikin was fourth at this stage immediately behind Mick Sworder, but all that changed after Wainman Jnr went for a do-or-die effort to shunt Harrison wide.

“I was having a good battle with Mick for third,” said Finnikin. “We were slowly catching the front two so, instead of knocking each other about, I decided to sit behind Mick and see if we could catch them and then sort it out on the last few laps.

“And then all hell let loose on the last lap.”

Into the last bend Wainman Jnr piled into Harrison, the pair sliding wide and into the parked car of Mal Brown. Harrison’s hopes of victory ended on the spot while Wainman Jnr was slow to get away.

In an instant Finnikin, who was fourth entering the last corner, was past Sworder and into the lead in the sprint to the chequered flag.

“Frank took Murray out and I took Mick out,” said Finnikin. “And so I came from fourth on the last bend to win it.”

Sworder came home second, ahead of Wainman Jnr. Harrison limped across the line a disappointed seventh.

“Going into the last lap I didn’t think I had a hope of winning, to be honest,” Finnikin admitted. “It was one of those races. It was the Coventry Curse. I had never actually won a final around Coventry until that night and then I went on to win three on the trot after that…”