Stoke 26th September 2015
The road to gold is done- huge congratulations to Kevin Stuchbury (1) on retaining his gold – Stuchbury rose to the occasion, kept a level head and avoided the pile ups to become a four time winner of the crown. The race mirrored the F1 race at Kings Lynn, a damaging first half, depleting the field into a little bit processional.
The stage was set to be a cracking race – I personally was very excited for it; I genuinely didn’t know who to predict, any number of drivers were in within a shout. A good crowd turned out to watch the race- there couldn’t have been many more people in the pits, a great sign of how far the V8’s have come and will go; 32 competitors gridded up for the CF Mee Haulage World Final; two drivers falling foul to mechanical gremlins meaning two reserves needed calling up – Lloyd Spencer (375) and Amy Jagger (525).
The drivers gridded, ready and all set to go for 5 o clock; the V8 noise erupting from the ‘Drivers, start your engines’. The green flag was soon dropped and they roared into the first turn; the first three escaping unscathed; most of the following 29 didn’t and a tremendous first turn pile up developed, Simon Sykes (64) was on his roof, Bryan Andrew (355) was almost over; carnage. Whilst this happened, most people may not have realised that Darren Cottrill (575) had spun the defending champ around in turn 3, but naturally the red flags were called for.
A complete restart line up required – albeit with it with a depleted field 8 or 9 cars less. The drop of the green once again saw Cottrill take the fight to Stuchbury; the squabbling pair holding up each other enough to allow Sam Mee (450) in to contention. Mee struck the back of Stuchbury and duly took the lead, Mee started to inch out a small gap; but a handful of laps later and Mee was out of it. A collision with a back marker ending his race. Cottrill continued to battle with Stuchbury, Phoebe Wainman (211) not too far behind either. Wainman though lost out with a spin in to turn 3 and she was then collected by the chasing pack. A lap later and Cottrill lost out when he collected the pile up. The commotion in turn 3 prompting a yellow flag caution.
The line-up for the restart now much depleted; Stuchbury led the way, Lee Summers (281) in second and Cottrill clinging on to third some way behind Stuchbury. Back under racing conditions, Cottrill lunged in on Summers to snatch second in to turn 1. The race settled down in to the second half, a lap down Jon Brown (288) keeping Stuchbury honest for much of the second part; imagine if Brown was in second, but Brown didn’t interfere in the result and kept clear of Stuchbury. The lap boards were out, Stuchbury holding on to 1st comfortably, from Cottrill in second with Adam Joyce (157) now upto third. Joyce lost out in the first turn 1 with a half spin and was then collected ending his hopes, promoting Steve Bowman (314) in to third; which is how the top three remained to the flag.
Congratulations to Stuchbury winning his fourth Gold title; commiserations to Cottrill, but still well done on second and a massive well done to Bowman who started on row 15; fully deserved podium after a good number of years in the formula.
The rest of the evening’s race was to culminate in the Bob Radforth Memorial trophy; heat 1 went to Cottrill (575) making up for the first race with a dominate drive; the second heat went to Brown (288) again making up for the World Final. The consolation was a little low on numbers, but was a tremendous race for the lead nonetheless with Amy Jagger (525) picking up her first win after some sterling bumper work.
25 cars qualified for the Bob Radforth Memorial; previous winner Tom Spencer (298) taking his place on the grid to defend. Another chaotic race unfolded with many drivers getting caught out early on. By the end of the race there was only 7 finishers. Sam Mee (450) racing a perfect race to the first spot, relatively unchallenged to pick up his second consecutive final. Full credit to formula returnee Tom Boyer (28) who led much of the race only to lose out in the final few laps; being over hauled by track specialist Mee. Boyer coming home second with Darren Cottrill (575) working his way into third to round off the night.
A massive thank you to all the teams that put in some sterling effort to race; all the cars looked great and the racing was, again, great entertainment. A big thank you to CF Mee Haulage for their sponsorship of the World Final and to Peak Remedial + Luxury Loos for their partnership across the evening too.