C.F.MEE Haulage World Championship: Preview

The big one is almost upon us; we are just a handful of days away; as the song goes: ‘It’s the Final Countdown’. Saturday 1st October at Coventry Stadium.

32 competitors are set to do battle over 25 laps to be crowned the C.F. Mee Haulage. V8 Hotstox 2016 World Champion. Parade from 6:20, green flag set to fall at 6:40.

The grid on paper has the makings to be a classic, anyone in the first half of the grid has the capability to win. I couldn’t / wouldn’t be able to predict a winner.

Adam Joyce (157), Burton-On-Trent, Staffs – Inside Row 1

Joyce has taken a couple of seasons to get to the top of the formula, but the former Rebels/F2’s man is firmly there, sitting at the top of the World Qualifying list and National Points chart. He is one of the favourites for the race and will take some stopping. In June here he won heat, final and grand national. Joyce is quick and aggressive; however, he is surrounded by drivers just as keen to come away with the gold.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat, Final and GN 1st

WF appearances: 2, best finish: 6th – 2014 (Skegness)

Kevin Stuchbury (1), Chackmore, Bucks – Outside Row 1

What’s to say about the defending World Champion, he has been the man to beat in the formula in recent years, tarmac is more what he is known for, but this year Shale has been where his most success has come, including the European Championship in July at Kings Lynn. This season has seen Stuchbury plagued with reliability issues, he will be fighting for this one. Having won the world four times and the only winner of the big race on the grid, Stuchbury will know what he has to do.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 2nd, Final 4th

WF appearances: 15, best finish: 1st. – 2007, 2008, 2014, 2015

Sam Mee (450), Coalville, Leics – Inside Row 2

Mee should probably have had the Gold roof by now, on shale he is one of the best and is starting in his best ever position so far. In 2013 and 2015 when Mee was leading the big race, he was taken out by back markers. He has what it takes and will just need to keep his cool and hope lady luck is smiling down. With CF Mee Haulage sponsoring the main race, Sam will be keen to win back some of the prize fund. Mee has been missing from action the last two months due to an engine blow up, he will be hoping to be back with good form.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 2nd, Final 3rd

WF appearances: 5, best finish: 4th. – 2013 (Coventry)

Guy Jolly (222), Huntingdon, Cambs – Outside Row 2

Jolly is enjoying his best ever season; highest in the points, and the further up the World Final than he has ever been. Much like Mee, Jolly is one of the quickest on shale and a Final winner at Coventry this year, plus one of the fastest in the last outing here, Jolly will be making sure he makes the most of, probably, his best ever shot at the Gold. Jolly is one of the ‘veterans’ in the formula and a clear improvement has been seen over the last 9 years, can Jolly take the win? He will be one of the dark horses!

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 1st, Final 1st

WF appearances: 7, best finish: 9th – 2012 (Birmingham)

Row three will feature the foreign entrants; at the time of writing, at least two established F1 drivers from Holland to add some continental spice to the grid. Currently these are, Gary Grattan and Erwin Goënga. Both are welcome additions to the grid.

Phoebe Wainman (211) – Silsden, W. Yorks – Inside Row 4

Wainman is certainly another in her best season, three final wins to her credit this year, including the British Championship in June and in her last outing at the Stoke raceway held her nerve and kept her cool from Stuchbury who was never far away. Wainman often has the pace to do well, indeed briefly led the 2015 event before being took out. Hopefully the wave of confidence this season and good form around Coventry will see her through to a good finish, she will be trying! First ever female World Champion? It could happen!

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 3rd, Final 2nd

WF appearances: 4, best finish: 4th – 2014 (Skegness)

Luke Maw (409) – Penistone, S. Yorks – Outside Row 4

Maw comes from a line of racers; a family which helped launch the V8 Hotstox in to it’s heyday with Father Rob and late Uncle Jon, Maw joined them and debuted in the formula last season, Maw has quickly found his feet and is one of the top drivers today, sitting third in the points and has come a long way from his row 16 start of 2015. Maw could be another to mount a challenge and do well if he survives the opening laps, certainly one to watch.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 1st, Final 3rd.

WF appearances: 1, best finish: DnF

Jon Brown (288) – Hinckley, Leics – Inside Row 5

Brown is maturing into one of the top drivers of the formula; if he survives the opening laps, he could pose a threat towards the end. This is his third World Final race and it’s probably fair to say he lost his cool in last years race starting second row, due to inexperience maybe. This year a little less pressure starting further back, Brown can be one of the quickest on shale and will be very capable of a good result.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 1st, Final 4th

WF appearances: 2, best finish 4th – 2015 (Stoke)

Olly Spencer (498) – Atherstone, Warks – Outside Row 5

Spencer in his second year of the formula and with a new shale car debuted this season, is sure going to be a top driver soon with more experience behind him. His first proper year on shale, he could struggle, but having said that Spencer has at times been lightning fast on the loose. Spencers first real serious attempt at the gold, easily has the capability to be in the top ten at the end of the race.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 6th

WF appearances: 1, best finish: DnF

 Darren Cottrill (575), Hallow, Worcester – Inside Row 6

Cottrill has been a stalwart of the formula for as long as I can remember, but the Gold roof has eluded him, leading for much of the WF race when it was last staged here at Coventry, only losing out due to a mistake in the closing laps. It would mean a lot to a lot of people if he was to win. Cottrill’s season has been a bit up and down; but Cottrill still is one of the best on shale, taking a couple of meetings to get his tarmac car upto speed since converting it to shale, eventually getting a race win last time out at Stoke. In WF’s Cottrill has been 3rd four times and 2nd three times. Definitely a favourite for the race and one to watch as he carves his way up the order!

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 2nd, Final 3rd

WF appearances: 16, best finish: 2nd. – 2015 (Stoke)

Rory Foster (352), Leek, Staffs – Outside Row 6

Foster was one of the top drivers for a time, winning a lot of races in the 2012 season, before taking some time out and dabbling in the F1s. Foster came back to the V8s this season and has once again found himself getting to the top of the formula. Foster is probably a bit further back than he would’ve liked, but he will certainly be climbing up the order come the end. Certainly capable and has the car to feature well.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 1st, Final DnF

WF appearances: 1, best finish 3rd – 2012 (Skegness)

Tom Spencer (298), Atherstone, Warks – Inside Row 7

Spencer started the year strong with a fine final win at the opening Coventry in Mach, and has shown glimmers of top driver quality, unfortunately has been held back by damage and bad luck. Spencer will be disappointed being a bit further back then hoped, but he will be ‘on it’ to make amends for a disappointing season.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 3rd, Final 1st

WF appearances, 3, best finish: 5th – 2014 (Skegness)

Tristan Jackson (101), Chester, Cheshire –  Outside Row 7

The first of this years debutants. Jackson is one of the stars of the future and has quickly shot up the V8 ranks in his second full year of racing. Jackson will just be savouring the big occasion, he’s still in the early stages of his career and probably would’ve done better on tarmac. Having said that Jackson is a race winner on shale, at Sheffield no less. He might sneak into the top 10, particularly if the top few rows decide to take each other out.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 10th, Final DnF

WF appearances: 0, best result: N/A

Jedd Stirk (465), Cleckheaton, W. Yorks  – Inside Row 8

Stirk is rapidly becoming a very handy driver in the formula; he seems fairly comfortable on shale and is starting to find his feet on tarmac too. Many will remember back to July at Kings Lynn, Stirk was comfortably in the lead of the European race until a yellow flag period, dropping back but soon picked off the field on the restart eventually finishing a fantastic second place after a last bender on Adam Joyce (157). His first time in the big race, but very capable of a top 10 if he can keep clear of trouble.

Best Coventry 2016 result: DnF

WF appearances: 0, best result: N/A

Terry Hawkins (275), Boulton Moor, Derby – Outside Row 8

Hawkins took some time away from racing but came back in top form in May. Hawkins will do well I’m sure, but perhaps a little too far back to have a bearing on the winner. Terry has been one of the top V8 drivers for some time now and is certainly due a big win.

Best Coventry 2016 Result: Heat 1st, Final 4th

WF appearances: 6, best result: 7th – 2014 (Skegness)

Simon Sykes (64), Stalybridge, Cheshire – Inside Row 9

Sykes has been missing for much of the season for one reason or another and he will be racing fully determined for a good result to try and search for some positive. Sykes is one of the best on tarmac and does show glimmers of that brilliance on shale. He will just be hoping for a good race and result.

Best Coventry 2016 result: N/A

WF appearances: 3, best result: DnF

Rob Scriven (117), Lechlade, Glous – Outside Row 9

Stalwart of the Stock Car World; an active racer on the F1 scene since 1978 and more recently the V8 scene, Scriven needs no introduction. He might be a Grandad, but Scriven won’t show it, as quick as ever and more than happy to get stuck in when required. Scriven will use all his experience to carve his way through the field and is easily capable to achieve a top ten result; particularly with Coventry one of his favoured tracks, always getting a good result here!

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 1st, Final 7th

WF appearances: 8, best result: 5th – 2012 (Birmingham)

Michael Scriven (12), Fairford, Glous – Inside Row 10

Son of Rob, Michael keeps teasing a ‘full on’ go at the V8’s, successful F1 driver and has had some success in the V8’s too. Scriven could feature well; he is quick and sure knows how to use the bumper effectively; but limited outings in the V8’s this season could hold him back. If the front runners hold each other up Scriven will certainly take full advantage to capitalize should the opportunity present itself.

Best Coventry 2016 result: N/A

WF appearances: 3, best result: 2nd – 2014 (Skegness)

Bryan Andrew (355), Glossop, Derbyshire – Outside Row 10

Another V8 Hotstox stalwart; having been around the sport for over 25 years, Andrew has come close twice to winning the big one, traditionally a tarmac racer; but Andrew can hold his own on the loose. Andrew will be hoping for a good race to make up for the disappointment of the 2015 race, but he’s not raced at Coventry this season, it might prove pivotal.

Best Coventry 2016 result: N/A

WF appearances: 15, best finish: 2nd – 2012 (Birmingham)

Sophie Maynard (154), Rugby, Warks – Inside Row 11

Sophie is the next debutant on the grid; she’s had a great first season in the formula and her starting position is a full credit to the ex Superstar Ministox driver. Both of Maynards race wins this season have come on shale and seemingly prefers the dirt at the moment, she could feature in the top ten if she survives the opening laps and keeps her cool.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 4th, Final 9th

WF appearances: 0, best finish: N/A

Dean Laird (469), Loughborough, Leics – Outside Row 11

Laird raced regularly in the formula about 10 years ago before taking some time out, returning with fine form towards the end of last year. Laird’s year has been a steady success, getting himself back up to blue with a handful of wins to his credit along the way. Laird came so, so close to a final win here in June, just losing out in the closing laps, he has the talent and car to have a good race.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 7th, Final 2nd

WF appearances: 3, best finish: 6th -2003 (Northampton)

Michael Boswell (328), Shipston-On-Stour, Warks – Inside Row 12

Boswell is a former European Champion and another of the best on shale, but Boswell’s year has struggled to get going properly result wise, a final 3rd place last time at Coventry, showing glimmers of promise for what the 328 car can deliver. Boswell will be up against it this far back, but is very capable to finish within the top ten and will be trying his hardest.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 5th, Final 3rd

WF appearances: 9, best finish: 5th – 2010 (Buxton)

Ben Kearton (517), Long Eaton, Notts – Outside Row 12

Ben makes his World Final debut, a few goes in the old Glyn Daft car last year, saw Ben hooked and ordered a brand new car which took him to some great success in the three Qualifying rounds he competed in, including winning his first ever race. Ben has never raced shale, so could struggle, he will just be enjoying the occasion.

Best Coventry 2016 result: N/A

WF appearances: 0, best finish: N/A

Marc Radforth (149), Coalville, Leics – Inside Row 13

Marc has mainly curtailed his racing to the tarmac where he is a handy performer and multiple race winner; but can turn some speed on the shale too. Without much form on shale this season and not racing on shale since May; it’s hard to predict how he will fair in the big race.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 5th

WF appearances: 9, best finish: DnF

Stephen Young (176), Droylsden, Manchester – Outside Row 13

Another big race debutant, Stephen is certainly at his best on tarmac so might find the going on shale tough, particularly for his first attempt at the big race. A good haul from the final qualifier shot Stephen up the grid to his position now. Young will certainly just enjoy being on the grid for the gold, a result will be a bonus.

Best Coventry 2016 result: DnF

WF appearances: 0, best finish: N/A

Sam Jacklin (137), Denton, Manchester – Inside Row 14

Jacklin certainly has the skill and talent to be further up the grid; however a string of bad luck or mechanical gremlins has put paid to some good results for Jacklin. Last time out at Coventry, Jacklin was way out clear for the final win only for him to be DQ for a failing wheel guard. Jacklin will be all or nothing from the back of the grid, don’t be surprised to see a strong finish if lady luck smiles on Sam.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 7th, Final DnF

WF appearances: 2, best finish: 10th – 2014 (Skegness)

George Shone (414), Tarporley, Cheshire – Outside Row 14

Shone debuted last season and took to racing like a duck to water; Shone though has had to miss much of this season due to an engine bust. Before the mid-season curtail, Shone took his maiden formula win, a feature Final no less at Belle Vue. He certainly will be at home on the Coventry shale, however his lack of 2016 track time could home him back.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 3rd, Final DnF

WF appearance: 1, best finish: DnF

Nick Blach (160), Hucknall, Notts – Inside Row 15

Blach is a regular tarmac racer and on his day takes some stopping, but then Blach took on the Coventry shale at the start of the year and took a surprising heat win to his credit. Blach has been amongst the formula for some time, racing when he can. Blach is capable of starting higher but some bad luck just see’s Blach sneek on at the back of the grid and will just savour the occasion and hope for a good finish; hoping for a repeat of last year where Blach survived the carnage to his best ever World Final finish.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 1st, Final DnF

WF appearances: 5, best finish: 6th – 2015 (Stoke)

Matt Barnard (69), Burntwood, Staffs – Outside Row 15

Matt Is the newly crowned Under 25 champion, in his first season of V8 racing and also finds himself on to the World Final grid. He will admit himself to initially finding shale a struggle, but he is slowly getting there. Barnard will just be hoping for a good steady race to a good finish, a 7th place in a final at Stoke his highest shale finish so far, but don’t rule him out of having a good race.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 10th, Final DnF

WF appearances: 0, best finish: N/A

Martin Fletcher (482), Stockport, Manchester – Inside Row 16

The final driver to make his debut on the grid this year; Fletcher was probably hoping for more this season, but mechanical gremlins has put paid to a lot of good finishes for Fletcher. He was over the moon to make the grid after a tough year, so will genuinely be happy to take his place and hopefully have a good race. A 8th place in a Stoke meeting final his best finish on shale this year.

Best Coventry 2016 result: DnF

WF appearances: 0, best finish: N/A

Sam Roper (333), Sheffield, S. Yorks – Outside Row 16

Roper takes the final spot on the grid and after selling his car, will be at the wheel of the Dougie Bracher Hire Car. Roper took some time out to re-group and re-focus for a full on assault next season; so will just savour the occasion. Last time out at Coventry in August he was again using the Bracher hire car, to good effect and showing some promise, he will be hoping for the same again in the big race.

Best Coventry 2016 result: Heat 9th, Final DnF

WF appearances: 1, best finish: DnF

It’s set to be a fantastic race; may the best driver win. Good luck to them all, have a good, safe race.

Saturday 1st October @ Coventry – it’s the place to be!