Coventry 12th March 2016
The long awaited start to the 2016 season kicked off at the Coventry Stadium, 12th March. Previous March meetings have been well supported and this year the numbers were on par with previous seasons. 23 cars arrived to kick off the season.
New for 2016 is that each driver has the opportunity to play a Joker to double their National points, one on tarmac and one on shale. Lee Summers (281) and Jon Brown (288) played their shale joker to kick things off. Would the joker flag make them a target?
Heat 1 kicked off with 22 of the cars, Adam Joyce (157) arriving late and missing the gate for the first. The race would see Sophie Maynard (154) take to the track for her first adult stock car race of her career, joined by other rookie Jedd Stirk (465), both at the wheel of their own smart machines. Also on track was Chris Fort (3), who returned to Hotstox racing for the first time in a number of years at the wheel of the Bracher Hire car.
Dave Brawn (377) led them off at the start, but was quickly over hauled by Shane Geary (478), Geary set a brisk pace and had a few car lengths gap to second as the race settled in to a rhythm. Just a handful of laps in to proceedings and the first waved yellows were called for former F1 racer Nick Jagger (535) who found himself connecting with the Armco in turn 1. The restart had Geary lead the field off ahead of Luke Maw (409) and Lee Summers (281). Stirk spun around in turn 1. Hayley Williams (26) went in on the back of Darren Cottrill (575) in to turn 3, Cottrill half spun and was collected by Martin Fletcher (482) and Michael Boswell (328). Tom Spencer (298) was trying to make inroads up the places and bundled into the back of Summers. Spencer half spun in the process helped round by a hard charging Jon Brown (288). The half way stage was signalled to leader Maw, Summers holding on to second place with Brown in third. Maw pulled out a few car lengths over Brown who quickly worked his way up into second. As the laps ticked by, Kevin Stuchbury (1) made a last minute charge bustling by Phoebe Wainman (211) to go fourth; Wainman returned the compliment in to the next bend. Maw was clear in the lead and to took the win, 2nd to 5th however was a different story with the four drivers together fighting for position in to the last bend; the last minute squabble saw Stuchbury just pip Brown to second with Wainman following across the line for fourth and Jolly just losing out in fifth.
Result: 409 1 288 211 222 3 328 575 450 478
The second race saw all 23 cars enter the track. Nick Jagger (535) led the field away at the green, but was quickly spun around before the line allowing Shane Geary (478) to take up the running much like heat 1. Kevin Stuchbury (1) was battling hard with Darren Cottrill (575) and Chris Fort (3) before being helped round into a spin In turn 1. Newcomer Sophie Maynard (154) also spun around in turn 1 soon after; the ex-ministox racer requiring attention, prompting the yellow flags. On the restart; Geary led the field off, followed by Martin Fletcher (482) and Rob Jacklin (136) in second and third. Jon Brown (288) was quick to make an attack and soon moved by Jacklin; Jacklin returning the attack in to turn 1. It wasn’t long until Brown was on the back of Geary, moving the white grader aside to take the lead. Phoebe Wainman (211) lunged in on Guy Jolly (222) for fourth, but Wainman ended in a spin in the first turn. Fort and Tom Spencer (298) were making lives difficult for each other with a collision in the back straight. Soon, the lap boards will be out to count down the final laps for leader Brown, Cottrill had worked his way into second, but was being chased down by Adam Joyce (157), Joyce trying his hardest to make contact on the back of Cottrill. The final stages saw Hayley Williams (26) collide with Geary to take 6th position, just before Joyce lunged into Cottrill at the final bend, Cottrill just holding off Joyce to hold second place.
Result: 288 575 157 3 450 26 409 298 281 211
20 cars gridded for the first Feature Final of the season with Martin Fletcher (482) taking pole position. Phoebe Wainman (211) was an early spinner; whilst Jon Brown (288) came under a strong attack from Adam Joyce (157); Joyce in turn was coming under fire from Hayley Williams (26) who put a big hit on Joyce in to turn 1 and then again in turn 3. Joyce was still to come under attack when Darren Cottrill (575) came up to the squabbling red graders. Up front, the leaders self-destructed; Fletcher, Lee Summers (281) and Nick Jagger (535) all tripped up over one another, the result was Jagger spun around at the end of the home straight with Summers and Fletcher resting up the fence in turn 1. Michael Boswell’s (328) lack lustre night continued with a spin, whilst Kevin Stuchbury (1) and Adam Joyce (157) were left to battle each other. The Halfway stage and Tom Spencer (298) had kept his nose clean, avoiding the battles within the red grade and was leading the field, but Guy Jolly (222) and Luke Maw (409) was hot on his heels in second and third. Further back, Hayley Williams (26) lunged at Chris Fort (3), but at the same time, Williams was run in to also, taking Williams to the fence, ending her race in the Armco. In the closing stages, Kevin Stuchbury (1) spun around in turn 1 dropping him out of the places. Fort and Cottrill closed the race with a last lap tussle; Fort taking Cottrill out wide enough in the last bend to the loose allowing Fort in fifth, the loss of momentum also dropped Cottrill in to seventh, Sam Mee (450) just sneaking through for sixth.
Spencer taking a well-deserved win, his first shale final win of his adult racing; Jolly not able to close the gap held second and Maw holding third.
Result: 298 222 409 288 3 450 575 478 157 328
A great opening meeting to the season, which is sure to get bigger and better.
Next meeting; Stoke 26th March; from 3:30pm.