Birmingham 8th March 2014

Sykes takes season opener

23 cars ventured to the Birmingham Wheels circuit for the season opener on Saturday 8th March in search of World Championship Qualifying points; 22 cars taking to the track with Guy Jolly (222) failing to make the grid due to engine issues. The line up including the V8 Hotstox regulars plus new lady racer Steph Seddon (151) making her Stock Car debut plus former F2 and Rebel racer Adam Joyce (456). Michael Boswell (328) took the 2013 season out to build a new car and it’s a great looking car worth the wait!

The standard of prep over the Winter stepped up a notch with some fantastic looking machinery appearing the V8 Hotstox garages after the 4 month lay off; new builds and rebuilds; they are a credit to the formula.

Pre meeting practise saw some issues arise for Joyce and Boswell both suffering mechanical issues and Shane Geary a late arrival meant that 19 cars gridded for heat 1. Jamie Marson (112) led them off from the pole position and set off into the early lead; towards the back of the grid the star graders were all eager to make the break jostling for position and exchanging paint at each turn. In a melee heading down the backstraight Shaun Bowman (324) caught Liam Roche (115) back bumper at an angle which sent the white grader Roche into a spin across the backstraight into the fence. The red graders were still squabbling further down the field as Rob Scriven (117) landed a hit on Bryan Andrew (355) back bumper. Phoebe Wainman was making storming progress through the field and made light work of Ryan Kembery (384) and Marc Holmes (497) picking them off in quick succession. At the halfway stage Marson was still a way ahead of Wainman in second place. Karl Hawkins (175) made a move on Holmes in turn 3 in an attempt to pass, but the pair momentarily hooked up allowing Jon Brown (288) through. Holmes racing for every position not giving an inch, hooked up as they fought for the same piece of tarmac and both drifted out to the armco. Holmes lunged at Brown the following bend; taking position from Brown. Holmes made a slight mistake into turn 1 as the lap boards were out and Brown took full advantage spinning Holmes in the process; the skirmish caught out Sam Wallwork who ended up collecting the turn 1 armco in the process. Last lap and Wainman was just about close enough to make a strike for the back bumper of Marson in the last bend, Wainman missing out allowing Marson to pick up the first race of the new season, Wainman taking second.

Result: 112 211 175 269 324 298 575 117 288 179

Heat 2 took to the track with 22 cars; Boswell and Joyce solving their mechanical issues and late arrival Shane Geary (478) the extras. Ryan Kembery (384) took up the job of pole position and led the field off at the green flag. Jamie Marson (112) quickly muscled his way into the lead. After a heavy exchange of bumpers further back in the grid, Mike Lomax (269) made the break of the star drivers; quickly working his way into the blue graders; bundling Shaun Bowman (324) into Adam Joyce (456) into turn 3. Bryan Andrew (355) had also broken free of the squabbling red graders and caught Lomax. Andrew offered the same treatment Lomax had given Bowman and Joyce and the 269 was sent deep into turn 3.  Whilst Andrew and Lomax regained their momentum, the rest of the charging red grade caught up once again they all recommenced swapping places. At the halfway stage Marson was leading followed by a hard charging Phoebe Wainman (211) in second and Simon Sykes (64) in third. Karl Hawkins (175) who was having a quiet meeting so far, started to slow just as Jon Brown (288) attacked Shaun Bowman (324) into turn 3. Wainman had reeled in the hard charging white grade Marson and she made a move for the lead lunging at the back of the 112 car moving him aside. Further down the order Darren Cottrill (575) made his way past the new Boswell machine; just as Brown and Richard Arrowsmith (179) traded paint. Wainman made her first mistake of the race in turn 1 when she half spun herself allowing Marson back through in to the lead. Wainman not giving up regained her composure and lunged back at Marson the following turn back into the lead. At the last lap Lomax had made a move to pass Sam Wainwright (227) into turn 1, Wainwright returning the favour into turn 3  on the last bend, but Lomax just held on. Wainman took the win ahead of Marson in second and Sykes in third.

Result: 211 112 64 355 575 298 328 269 227 324

19 cars returned for the feature final race; Liam Roche (115) taking up pole position; Mike Lomax (269) was quickly in the thick of the action at the green flag when he punted Rob Scriven (117) wide; just as Jamie Marson (112) retired to the infield. Lomax was once again on the receiving end of Bryan Andrew (355) front bumper. Whilst Phoebe Wainman (211) was once again showing a blistering turn of speed and moved Michael Boswell (328) over, Wainman’s run of good fortune would halt when the car jumped out of gear, Phoebe quickly rejoined, but the loss of momentum had cost considerable time. Ryan Kembery’s (384) race was over when he hammered the back straight fence after a collision with Lomax. Andrew was on a charge at this point and bundled both Boswell and Shaun Bowman (324) out wide together. The red graders once again were battling amongst themselves, namely Lomax, Richard Arrowsmith (179) Tom Spencer (298), Darren Cottrill (575); Arrowsmith loosing time whilst he hooked up Bowman. At the halfway stage Adam Joyce (456) had got himself into the lead and the former Rebel racer held a lengthy gap over second place Simon Sykes (64).  Scriven and Cottrill continued to battle it out into the closing stages trading blows lap after lap exchanging places. As the lap boards came out Shane Geary (478) and Liam Roche (115) came together in the home straight hooking up together, both unable to take control headed into the infield banking in a shower of dirt, pointing to the sky. The dramatics weren’t over there; Jon Browns (288) engine would detonate leaving a trail of smoking throughout the racing strip. The chequered flag would drop on Joyce, but he would then be docked two places for starting out of position, thus the win awarded to Sykes, with Bryan Andrew in second and the demoted Joyce in third.

Result: 64 355 456 298 269 575 117 227 211 328

The V8’s would return for one last race tonight with the Grand National which attracted 14 cars back out from the pits. Simon Sykes (64) took the obligatory lap handicap left Liam Roche (115) sat on pole. Jamie Marson (112) would quickly get himself into the lead whilst the red graders once again reignited there night long battle. Phoebe Wainman (211) got it wrong in turn 1 half spinning, whilst correcting herself to face the correct way, she was collected by the passing field and Shaun Bowman (324) catching the brunt of it. Wainman was left stranded against the armco in turn 1 with a flat tyre. Tom Spencer (298) bundled Shane Geary (478) into turn 3 with Mike Lomax (269) joining in punting both Geary and Spencer wide the next bend. Spencer tried to repay the favour on the two bends attacking the back of the Lomax machine. At the halfway stage Spencer had got passed from Lomax and broke free from the 269 machine. Marson was still holding onto the lead position with a sizeable gap to second place Bryan Andrew (355). As the race settled down Andrew was flying and taking chunks out of the 112 lead. The laps ticked by, slowly but surely 355 was closing in, but at the chequered flag Andrew was just a little too far behind Marson to challenge, had there been just one more lap, the result potentially would’ve been different. Marson nursing a sick sounding engine took the win ahead of Andrew in second and Rob Scriven (117) in third.

Result: 112 355 117 575 298 269 64 227 478 319.