The final stop of the Easter weekend was at Belle Vue Stadium in Manchester. 27 cars were in attendance to finish of the bank holiday weekend. Belle Vue regular Mike Heywood (424) attended his first meeting of the year and many fans had come to see the first outing of 2019 for John Lund (53) who returned to racing last year for 2 meetings after a couple of years away from the sport.
2/3rds format was used with an extra Whites and Yellows race to kick the meeting off. 9 cars took to the grid and a late arrival for the Sargent lorry due to traffic meant Finn Sargent (526) missed the race as did Mal Brown (34). The early running saw Chris Smith (342) go for a spin at turn 3, Mike Heywood (424) would also loop it around. Richard Howarth (495) would establish an early lead but lost the lead with a spin into the turn 3 wires. Sam Makim (93) took away the biggest hit of the race when he hit the end of the plating on the pit gate, with the car coming to an abrupt halt. Makim eventually got running but was many laps down. Out in front with 3 laps to run Rob Plant (364) took over the lead and went onto win his 2nd Startrax whites and yellows event of the year following his Sheffield success.
Whites & Yellows : 364, 276, 423, 216, 424, 101, 495, 342, NOF
Heat 1 next up with 14 cars taking to the track and there was an early spin for Bradley Harrison (25) which also delayed Nigel Green (445). The race trying to settle down as a big battle pack came to turn 1 and Mal Brown (34) the unfortunate victim, pushed out into the fence. John Lund (53) got himself into a battle with Phoebe Wainman (211) with Lund eventually getting the upper hand. Up front Jack France (216) had established a lead from the yellow grade. Kyle Gray (124) had a trip to the turn 2 fence, while Lund was now getting attention from Mat Newson (16) who managed to tap him wide into turn 1, completing the pass in turn 3 and this was not the last time they would meet. Long time leader France would come unstuck and end up in the turn 3 fence. Green, recovering from his earlier delay displaced one of the marker tyres onto the track which was collected by Karl Hawkins (175) and Wainman (211). Into the final stages with Rob Plant (364) leading, Nigel Harrhy (45) was starting to see Mat Newson (16) in his rear view mirror. Newson would nip up the inside of turn 1 when Harrhy went wide. Plant took back to back wins.
Heat One : 364, 16, 45, 220, 53, 555, 445, 34, 25, 211, 175, 124
17 cars for Heat 2 of the day. Jake Harrhy (345) starting at the back of the pack in his tarmac car. In the early running Nigel Harrhy (45) spins and Steve Whittle (183) gets caught up. Danny Wainman (212) and Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) find themselves locked in a fight for position, Wainman Jnr going on the attack nearly spinning them both out as Danny keeps the spot. Harrhy (345) spins at turn 1 and in a ripple effect is joined by Paul Hopkins (278), Tristan Jackson (101) and Steve Whittle (183) in the newly created turn 1 car park. Up front Karl Hawkins (175) nips up the inside of Mal Brown (34) just as the caution is called for Whittle parked on the racing line at turn 1. Order remains Brown and Hawkins but the danger man for both is 3rd placed Nigel Green (445). On the restart the brothers Wainman finally sort their battle out as Frankie gets by Danny. Up front and wasting no time Green passes Hawkins for 2nd and Brown for 1st, Brown unfortunately loosing a number of positions. Wainman Jnr next on the scene hits both Brown and James Morris (463), gaining position with Morris going for a spin. Green by this point had checked out at the front. Not done with their battles already brothers Wainman again find the same piece of shale. This time Danny wanting the spot. Half spinning them both at turn 4 before getting the position at turn 1. Green takes another win, Hawkins across the line for 2nd.
Heat Two : 445, 175, 212, 515, 34, 45, 526, 463, 555, 276, 93, 101
18 cars for heat 3, beginning with a big train heading into turn 1. Mark Sargent (326) and Mike Heywood (424) finding themselves in the fence. Kyle Gray (124) and Steve Whittle (183) joining the turn 1 gang the next lap but Whittle rejoined. Frankie Wainman Jnr (515) having a difficult start to the race with the first of a couple of spins. John Lund (53) rolling back the years and battling in the lead pack getting to 2nd with Finn Sargent (526) down the road in the lead. Wainman Jnr spins again before finally getting it sorted and heading to the front. Will Hunter (220) also joining in with the spinning, pointing in the wrong direction twice in Heat 3. Mat Newson (16) taking Lund for 2nd and sets off to chase down leader Sargent (526). Father Mark going around at turn 4, with Finn requiring to take avoiding action. A delay with some back markers wasn’t enough for Finn to be caught and he wins Heat 3 (and keeps it this time) Newson over the line in 2nd.
Heat Three : 526, 16, 53, 515, 25, 463, 495, 212, 93, 211, 216, 424
19 cars on track for the Final, unfortunately Kyle Gray (124) didn’t make the start pulling off before the pit gate had even shut. Early running sees spins for Jack France (216), Nigel Harrhy (45) and Finn Sargent (526) with 3 cars also in the turn 1 fence. This all left John Lund (53) leading the race with the majority of the crowd crossing their fingers he could keep it. Further back Mat Newson (16) makes the best of starts from the back swiftly moving through the field. Nigel Green (445) also making progress shifting James Morris (463) and Phoebe Wainman (211) into the turn 1 fence. Newson catching Lund all the time and eventually getting close enough to deliver the hit into turn 3. Pushing Lundy just enough that he tangles with Sargent (526) and both delayed at turn 3 which is fast becoming everyone’s favourite parking spot with 5 cars littering the corner. Lund finally free heading into turn 3 again and Wainman Jnr (515) this time delivers a hit to send Lundy back to where he’d spent a considerable time getting going from. Up front it’s now Newson vs Green with the latter taking large chunks of time out of Newson. A delay for Newson passing back markers is all Green needed to get passed. Brothers Wainman again find themselves battling for position further back. Final win number 2 of the season for Green.
Grand Final : 445, 16, 175, 515, 212, 463, 25, 555, 211, 93, 45, 101
The final race of the long weekend for 16 cars in the Grand National, Nigel Green (445) taking the lap handicap. Early running sees a spin for James Morris (463) with Jake Harrhy (345) and Mike Heywood (424) taking a hit from Will Hunter (220), finding the fence at turn 3. Hunter comes unstuck a few laps later spinning out at turn 1 from 4th place. Up front Sam Makim (93) leads with John Lund (53) 2nd. Not for long as Danny Wainman (212) dives up the inside of Lund and sets off after Makim. 5 laps to go and without a caution Green has already caught Wainman Jnr. Up front, Makim held up by back markers was all that Wainman (212) needed to snatch the lead, one he’d never relinquish, Lund now with Makim who tangles last bend giving Lund 2nd place.
Grand National : 212, 53, 16, 445, 175, 515, 25, 555, 424, 93, 45, 183
Report by Daniel Smith
Pictures provided by Colin Casserley