Buxton 18th May 2014
Bracher: European Champion
The first major championship of the year enticed 25 cars to Buxton Sunday 18th May for the European Championship; an all in format was adopted; the results from the heats deciding the grid for the European; graded order with the highest point scorers from the heats starting at the front of each grade; non point scorers making up the tail end of the grid.
Heat 1 took to the track with all 25 cars making it out; Sam Wallwork (319) led them off from pole position. Mike Lomax (269) made a good start and was quickly on the attack of Tom Spencer (298) sending him out wide into turn 1. Guy Jolly (222) was soon the early leader after muscling his way past the Wallwork machine just before Hayley Williams (26) and Ryan Kembery (384) retired almost simultaneously with engine troubles. World Champion Chris Bracher (1) knocked Craig Smith (187) wide; just as Spencer did the same to Sam Mee (450). Terry Hawkins (275) moved Jolly aside and took over the running of the race, whilst Phoebe Wainman (211) got caught up in a tangle in the back straight and half spun; quickly recovering, but losing a considerable amount of time. Karl Hawkins (175) punted Jolly aside; Jolly catching the turn three plating as a result. Further back Bracher, Spencer and Kevin Stuchbury (131) were enjoying a battle swapping places and bumpers for a number of laps; Bracher catching the heaviest hit off Stuchbury into turn 1 and drifting around the turn to ride the hit; Stuchbury pulled a gap on the chasing duo at that point. Bryan Andrew (355) was making rapid progress and nudged his way past Simon Sykes (64) and then Jolly to take second. Sykes spinning out unaided in turn 3 allowed Andrew and Jolly some breathing space. Karl Hawkins was smoking heavily and soon retired. Lomax was on the receiving end of a hit off Smith in to turn 3 and collected the fence in the process. At the chequered flag Terry Hawkins took the win but was subsequently docked by the steward for jumping the start; gifting the win to Bryan Andrew, Jolly in second and the demoted Hawkins in third.
Result: 355 222 275 179 131 1 298 160 211 187
23 cars made their way back out for heat 2; lone white grader Sam Wallwork (319) once again taking up the charge at the green flag. Karl Hawkins (175) got the early break from the red grade and quickly muscled his way past Gary Jackson (423) just as Kevin Stuchbury (131) and Chris Bracher (1) reignited their race 1 battle. Adam Joyce (157) made a move under Nick Blach (160) as Bracher launched Stuchbury and Mike Lomax (269) into turn 1. The early leaders were Guy Jolly (222) ahead of Hawkins (175) and Terry Hawkins (275); Simon Sykes (64) was on the move and quickly picked off the Hawkins brothers moving them over one after the other. The squabbling Superstars further down the order weren’t giving each other an inch and the battling Stuchbury/ Bracher combo were joined by Phoebe Wainman (211) and Darren Cottrill (575) the superstar quartet exchanged bumpers for the next few laps at the halfway stage. Waved yellows were called for Tom Spencer (298) who had been left stranded in a spin in turn 3. At the restart Jolly led them off, Sykes running second ahead of Hawkins (175) in third and Hawkins (275) fourth. Hawkins (175) made a move on Sykes at the drop of the green, just as Stuchbury did the same on Cottrill. The 5 to go lap board was shown and Jolly succumbed to pressure from Sykes into turn 1 when the 222 machine was sent out wide. Jolly quickly recovered but was offered the same treatment from Hawkins (175) in to the next turn, Jolly dropping back to third; this was shortlived and as the lap wound down defending European Champion Richard Arrowsmith (179) also shunted Jolly aside. Jolly fought back and got back past the champion; Bryan Andrew (355) was closing in and he nudged Jolly and Arrowsmith aside; into the last bend Jolly tried to close in on Andrew, but he quickly went on the defensive after a last bend lunge from Arrowsmith behind; Arrowsmith getting the better of Jolly snatching fourth.
Result: 64 275 355 179 222 131 575 211 328 269
It was then time for the European Championship; after a pre race parade the grid formed on the start finish line; based on the heat results (Graded order; highest point scorers to the front of the grade, closed grid format)
222 (1) 160
275 (2) 355
179 (3) 64
328 (4) 131
1 (5) 211
298 (6) 575
269 (7) 187
423 (10) 157
324 (12) 450
At the drop of the green, pole sitter Guy Jolly (222) was on the receiving end of the first bend push; the yellow grader held it well and only lost out to Terry Hawkins (275) in the first turn. Tom Spencer (298) and Mike Lomax (269) were also both pushing towards the back. Into turn 3 and Bryan Andrew (355) was on the attack and Jolly once again took a hit wide, but Jolly returned the favour on Andrew to reclaim second place; Hawkins pulling out some breathing space over the squabbling second and third place men. Lomax sent Craig Smith (187) to the fence in turn 1; just as up in turn 3 Bracher made the most decisive move of the race where he latched on the back of a train into the bend sending a collection of 3 cars crashing into the fence. Jolly, Andrew and Sykes were the unlucky victims of this and all three’s chances of a decent finish ended in an instant. Hawkins, who had a good lead, was suddenly in trouble after a few laps when his throttle stuck open, causing Hawkins to clatter the fence and receiving significant damage in the process. This left the door wide open for Bracher who took the lead a couple of laps before halfway. Adam Joyce (157) was on a charge from the back of the grid and muscled his way past Darren Cottrill (575) whilst defending champion Richard Arrowsmith (179) at this point retired from the race with his back bumper hanging off. The halfway stage was signalled for as Joyce and Smith exchanged bumpers. Smith first, with Joyce retaliating; Smith eventually succumbed to Joyce and the delayed Smith then had Cottrill to deal with; Smith retired to the middle soon after. With 5 laps to go, Bracher was clear in front ahead of Stuchbury and Phoebe Wainman (211) in third, but she was being reeled in by Joyce who was on a flyer. Joyce eventually made his move to pass Wainman shunting her wide into turn 3, Wainman seemingly tried to repay the hit into the next bend, but she couldn’t quite connect. As the laps wound down Stuchbury was reeling in Bracher; but he ran out of time to make a move. Further down the order Karl Hawkins (175) tried a lunge at Michael Boswell (328) in the last bend, but to no avail with Hawkins having to settle for 8th. Bracher, Stuchbury and Joyce your top three. Unfortunately Joyce failed post race checks and was removed from the results elevating everyone a place; Wainman taking third.
Result: 1 131 211 575 64 328 175 160 324 450
17 cars remerged for the Grand National and the last race of the day; Chris Bracher (1) taking the obligatory handicap ahead of Sam Wallwork (319) in pole position; Darren Cottrill (575) was straight on the attack of the back of Craig Smith (187) , Nick Blach (160) quickly worked his way past Wallwork and took over the running. Phoebe Wainman (211) lunged at the back of Michael Boswell (328) into turn 3, shortly before Kevin Stuchbury (131) piled Sam Mee (450) into the back of Boswell a lap later. Adam Joyce (157) rapidly got to the front of the grid making light work of Blach who slotted into second and Karl Hawkins (175) in third. Smith lunged Mee into turn 1 who collected novice Simon Hughes (550), Hughes half spinning, just hanging on to keep it facing the right way. At the halfway stage Joyce held the lead over Hawkins in second place and Blach in third. Smith was making good use of the front bumper in an effort to move over Tom Spencer (298). As the laps wound down, Kevin Stuchbury (131) had caught up to Phoebe Wainman (211) and struck the back of the 211 machine into turn 1 moving her aside, Wainman tried to return the favour into turn 3 but Wainman couldn’t get back by. At the chequered Joyce was first across the line, but due to post race enquiry Hawkins was awarded the win.
Result: 175 160 131 211 298 187 575 1 328 423
Next meeting is National Pairs Championship weekend at Skegness 25th + 26th May; with the added bonus of 26th May a World Championship qualifying round.