Haird takes “shock” World Final win!
At the end of a National Hot Rod year which has been a great deal less than plain sailing for Chris Haird, the 2010 world champion turned things round in the most emphatic way by taking pole position for the World Final and then leading every step of the way. The victory was made all the more remarkable by the fact that it rained throughout and Haird has always maintained he is ‘rubbish’ in the wet and usually proves the point on track into the bargain. Clearly, he will not be able to use that excuse in the future!
While Chris was taking his second world crown, Shane Murphy was left to reflect on another year when he was the ‘nearly man’, the Irish racer picking up no less than his third runner up trophy ahead of Gary Woolsey, who at has at last banished all those fourth places from the ‘previous best finish’ column in the programme entry list.
For some while leading up to the event the weather forecasters had definitely been making everybody very twitchy about what the conditions were going to be like on Saturday and Sunday. Friday had been a gloriously warm, sunny and dry day – proper speed-weekend weather in fact. It didn’t seem possible, when we went to bed that evening, that much would have changed by morning. Sadly the predictions of rain from midnight onwards turned out to be all too accurate. In fact, in sharp contrast to last year, the entire weekend was going to be plagued by showery conditions, both prior to and during Saturday’s hot laps, with proper rain to follow during the race itself.
The entry was exactly what we were expecting in terms of who was there and what cars they were due to be driving, so there were no surprises there. But the standard of preparation was unbelievably high. I know we have come to expect it, but it looked to me as though every car in the field was in absolutely concours condition – an amazing advert for the sport when you saw them all together.
Once again this year’s revised grid system automatically placed all the points champions in Group One, as it had in 2013, but this time with an additional second Northern Irish driver to join them. This would be whoever set the fastest lap time out of the rest, given that Andrew Murray – as top NI points scorer – would automatically be starting somewhere up front. As ever, their respective lap times would determine which order they would actually start in, with the top group expanded this year to eight cars. This is not to overlook the fact that anyone who could out-run all the guys in that group would snatch pole away from the lot of them to make it a nine car group. Of course, that possibility has existed for the past five years but, so far, nobody who wasn’t already destined to start up front anyway had ever been able to take advantage of it.
Following the customary un-timed morning practice session (after which Mark Heatrick was forced to change a blown diff) it was soon time for the cars to roll out to face the timing beams.
Overall, we had the usual mixture of some pleasant surprises, one or two disappointments, and only three who managed to go faster on their second lap than their third. But of course the real game changer this year was the wet track, which started out very wet and gradually got dried out, on the racing line at least. This was where the literal ‘luck of the draw’ came in, with those who’d drawn early slots likely to be considerably slower than those who ran later, and tyre choice looking as though it might be both crucial and something of a lottery. Surprisingly though, when a driver went out didn’t make as much difference as you might have thought. For instance, it only took until the seventh man (Rob McDonald) before we had a car in the 14s, while there were still quite a few 15s laps being recorded even by the tail enders.
Following straight on from McDonald, Jack Blood put in a commendable 14.75 before, just five cars later, Murray really threw down the gauntlet with a 14.66. Was that going to net him pole? Identical 14.85s laps from Gary Woolsey and David Casey followed straight after, suggesting the track was improving. And four cars later, it was Haird’s turn. The amount of money already taken by Betfred prior to the meeting on a 115 victory suggested lots of people figured that Chris – relegated to group two by the end of qualifying but a past master of hot laps – could finally be the someone who leapfrogged to the front of the grid on Saturday morning. And, on a drying (but still not quite totally dry) track Haird’s 14.58s third lap eclipsed the lot, immediately giving the bookmakers further pause for thought.
How had he managed that?
“The last couple of weeks we’ve spent a lot of time on the car and found a lot of bits out,” he explained.
“The whole year, and we’ve had a bad year….most of it was just bad luck, I’ve spent more time putting the wheels back on it than concentrating on exactly where they should be. These last two weeks we’ve put ‘em where they should be and so we’ve obviously got things in the right place! And it’s great to get pole and take advantage of that rule – that’s the first time that’s worked for anybody”.
Even so, when it was all done and dusted, there never looked to be any possibility of Haird having things too easy. Murray was still due to be starting right alongside him, and then the second row consisted of Glenn Bell (the 2012 winner, also in the wet, and only 100th/sec slower than Murray) and twice runner-up Shane Murphy, while the third rank comprised new English points champion McDonald and three time podium finisher Woolsey.
As usual, the implications of not being able to run even just a tad faster in hot laps were greater for some than for others. Defending champ John Christie’s best of 14.91 didn’t look half bad on the face of it, but it was still going to leave him way back on the ninth row. Meanwhile, saved only by the safety net of the group system, Danny Fiske’s three laps of truly awful understeer (I was convinced he must have a flat) only netted him a best of 15.26 and he had to count himself lucky to be no further away from the front than the outside of row five. The team discovered a disintegrating (and therefore acting like a ‘locker’) diff later.
The lap times and subsequent determining of the grid aren’t quite the end of the matter of course, the cars have to be declared legal in whatever qualifying trim they’d adopted. And unfortunately, there was drama in store here for Murray when his car just – and only just – failed the inside weight check, the rules demanding that he be put to the rear of the grid as a result. It’s not that many years ago that he’d have been out of the race altogether but, to be honest, the present penalty is still pretty draconian. Of course, this meant Haird was going to be left with a free hand to tackle at least the first corner in the clear. Would that matter? Time would tell….
With lap times done and dusted the starting order for thirty-four of the eventual thirty five runners was sorted. That just left Betfred to more or less set their starting prices and Saturday night’s support car racers to determine the final place on the grid, the so-called ‘wildcard’ entry being down from two to just a solitary one this year.
Saturday ‘Wildcard’ Support Races
Despite the dangled carrot of a shot at getting into the World, we only had about the same number of takers for the supports as the last couple of years, although this was still going to be quite enough for a busy session in the steward’s box! Twenty-one cars eventually came under starter’s orders with entries from all over the place.
The biggest talking point among them was undoubtedly the re-appearance of the Matt Simpson car, unraced since this meeting two years ago. Recently purchased by Clive Richardson and clearly originally intended to be raced by him too (which was why the doors were carrying the 976 number, the rest of the car being outwardly unchanged) there had obviously been a last minute change of plan, and the car was now on loan to Willie Hardie for the weekend. Something of an ironic situation that, given how deteriorated relations between Matt and Willie had become by the time the former departed the ovals. Just how last minute this change of drivers had been, was apparent by the fact that Willie had brought no race suit or helmet with him, and had to borrow suitable equipment in order to race. The ultimate destination of the ex-Simpson car is still unclear with nobody seemingly too sure of its future. Will Hardie make a full-time come back for 2014-15, possibly in the English series? Will Richardson perhaps race it himself in NI? It looks as though Adam Hylands will be in the seat for the Nationals but after that…who knows.
Willie would not of course, be eligible for the Wildcard slot, not having done the requisite four world qualifiers this season. Equally unable to take up the Wildcard (should he end up winning) was another Nationals newcomer, former 2.0 Hot rodder Bradley Dynes, his beautiful Boardley prepared red and silver machine also banished to the back of the grid. Dynes is another apparently destined to be taking up the cudgels in England for 2014-15, as he is based here in any case.
But that is all for the future. For now, it was all about two heats and a final to determine who’d be joining the big race on the morrow. And somebody who looked unlikely to be doing that was Dan Holden, his car requiring a push start before it quit again and had to be pushed off the grid altogether.
So with the sun out and the track now dry, the rest blasted away, getting no further than the first turn before Paul Frost tangled with Derek Martin, the incident allowing Lee Pepper (complete with new Koni shocks all round) and Davy Gurney through to dispute the lead instead. Hardie was looking very speedy already (and had been black crossed already too!) while Billy Wood had a bit of a ‘moment’ at turn four and collected Mervyn Crawford , the NI scrutineer clouting the home straight wall as a result. Billy was, incidentally, the only world qualifier doing the supports with a spare car.
Neil Stimson and Derek Martin both managed to relegate Gurney and then set about cutting the gap down to the leader. When they got there, Pepper came under immense pressure, but Lee has seen it all before and remained unflustered, despite Stimson and Martin really ‘getting into it’ behind him, the pair trading paint and some shoves and attracting some black crosses too.
The three of them spread out again for a bit and, unhampered by Martin now, Stimson closed in on Pepper for another try at getting by. Martin was still just about in touch though, all three of them having to skirt around the spun car of Mick Cave between turns three and four. Stimson managed to muscle his way past Pepper shortly after that (and it now looked almost certain there were going to be penalties applied here one way or another) and then pulled clear, as attention diverted to a bit further back down the order.
Here, Hardie had been passing everything that came within his sights, his unfamiliar new mount clearly proving to be very much to his liking. With the lap boards now out, Willie had already made it all the way through to sixth from the back and was really flying now, as he went past John Sibbald and then Nigel McCauley to take the chequers in fourth place. It was a fourth place which eventually turned into first place however, with a raft of penalties handed out to all the first three, elevating Hardie to the win with McCauley second, Stimson, Martin and Pepper all going down two places each.
Conditions weren’t quite so nice for the second heat, a pre-race shower having left the track very greasy, which didn’t bode too well for the avoidance of further incident.
The reversed grid looked as though it ought to provide an easy win for Hardie this time, but it also allowed Martin the opportunity to make a particularly demon start from the rear of the line up. But it was Hardie who duly set off first with Wood, Tommy Maxwell, Cave, Dick Hillard and Holden all tracking him. Hardie was just heading for his first real test of a big bunch of back markers looming up ahead when Paul Trimmer spun and stopped between turns one and two, bringing out the yellows.
With Les Compelli black flagged for passing under the yellows, it wasn’t long before the race resumed. This time, Wood was able to close in on Hardie pretty swiftly, the Scot simply stepping aside along the back straight like he knew he couldn’t stay out front. I’m not sure if he’d made a bad tyre choice which was now slowing him up, or if he maybe just didn’t see any point in impeding the other front runners when he couldn’t take the World Final spot anyway. Hillard seemed to be getting into his stride now too, and he also went easily past Hardie to set about Wood.
The pair had quite a tussle for the lead, with Hillard trying the greasy outside line again and again although probably with little real hope of making a pass stick. Indeed, he got very deep into turn three at one point and lost a lot of the ground he’d made up earlier. But another caution period was coming in any case. It took a look at the video to even begin to sort out what happened and even then, it had to be viewed from several different angles! It appeared Sibbald and Crawford had got together around turns 3-4, with Sibbald getting sent sideways and collecting several following cars, some of whom went in very hard indeed. Trimmer was definitely the worst off, with his car ending up considerably shorter and it was no real surprise that he appeared to have been winded in the wreck. Gurney was also caught up in it and wound up locked together with Trimmer, with Stimson also involved as well.
Needless to say, this all took a bit of clearing up.
The restart order up front was Wood, Hillard, Hardie, Crawford and Frost. Crawford went straight for an outside pass on Hardie but only succeeded in losing ground, while Hillard was back on Wood’s case just as swiftly and Dick certainly wasn’t losing much ground now with his repeated outside sweeps. With one to go it was obviously now or never for Hillard, and he hauled himself properly alongside for the first time and really went for it, finally making the pass stick along the back straight – just in time to accept the deserved standing ovation from the crowd as he rounded the last bend. I don’t suppose Dick will appreciate the comparison but he really is like a fine wine and seems to just get better with age! And it was also good to see that he can’t only pull off great outside passes at Hednesford…
So it was Hardie and Martin who ended up sharing the front row for the final, with McCauley and Hillard on row two. The eager Martin was definitely the first to break at the green but Hardie immediately got back under him at the first turn to snatch the lead, Martin, Hillard and McCauley having a brief scrap over second until Dick went spinning at the end of the back straight, putting an end to what many people would have seen as ‘natural justice’ had it been Hillard who got the World place. Another spinner was Ivan Grayson at the end of the home straight, then Tommy Maxwell went round too, and then Compelli got involved too and that all brought the yellows out.
The restart saw Hardie still leading Martin, McCauley, Wood and Sibbald, although the Scot was soon to retire shortly before Compelli was in more bother (a spin at the turn four exit this time) and then Cave ended up crashed against the wall between turns three and four. With water from his smashed rad leaking across the track, the yellows got another airing during which McCauley got turfed off the track for having caused Hillard’s earlier demise.
The next restart saw Hardie not only still in front but now beginning to pull clear, leaving Martin a lonely second, in turn well clear of Wood. But the fourth man was now Dynes, and he was going very quickly, spurred on by the experienced Pepper behind him. I expect Dynes had the benefit of new tyres but he was still looking jolly handy for a newcomer and ducked under Wood at turn three to make up another position.
That was the last major place change, with Hardie running out the winner by over a quarter of a lap but, with Willie ineligible to take the Wildcard, it was runner-up Martin who accepted that instead. Dynes got dropped a couple of places for contact somewhere along the way (which won’t look great on his provisional licence form!) elevating Wood and Pepper back to third and fourth respectively, although it was all fairly academic as far as anybody other than Martin was concerned. He went away to ready himself for his first World Final, while the others had a rather longer rest until the Best in Britain and Nick Thomas Trophy race much later on Sunday afternoon.
World Final Grid
The Race – 75 Laps
With Saturday night having finished warm and dry, would the weather confound the forecasters’ predictions and stay dry for Sunday? Not a bit of it. We all awoke to a gentle rain which continuously varied in intensity from minute to minute. The drivers were apparently all told at the pre-race briefing not to put wets on until it had officially been declared a wet race, which was likely to be at 11.30. I think I saw maybe just a few teams that had taken any notice, but most seemingly set off on the push down with the cars already on wets. It turned out they were pretty good judges.
So….this had to be the nightmare scenario for Haird surely? He’d managed to put himself on pole but now it was raining with no real sign of a let up. Was this going to provide an easy victory for Glenn Bell who had, after all, already won the only other wet World Final of recent times and was sitting right on the pole sitter’s shoulder? In fact, with the cars all lined up, the rain did stop for just a few minutes, long enough to tempt me to go outside again to watch at any rate. So then it looked like it might be 1990 all over again, with the race starting out on a soaking track but with no rain actually falling. I was just mulling over who might be playing the parts of Collard and McCall when it started raining again and I changed my spectating plans once more! This turned out to be fortuitous for John vd Bosch, as I was in just the right place to be found by Chris Earl and nip to the pit gate and hand over my Raceceiver, thus saving him what would have been a pretty galling disqualification for having a duff R/C unit.
Mind you, there actually was a galling disqualification in store for Scot Ian Donaldson. Warm up lap problems for both Bell and Donaldson provided further nail-biting, over and above whether they’d picked the right tyres and set up. Bell’s car sounded rougher than rough, probably having got a lung-full of water into its electrics. A feverishly speedy plug change and application of race tape to the HT leads – that was what it looked like to me anyway – got the #9 car running sweetly again.
But Donaldson appeared to be having gear selection difficulties. It was eventually sorted but just too close to the five minute deadline to allow him to get his helmet on. The driver’s instructions for the race (not that I saw any or heard the briefing this year) have always said of the five minutes grace for repairs, that the driver must be ready to go at the end of the five minutes, which means in the car, helmet, Raceceiver and belts on, and literally putting it into gear. A harsh disqualification maybe, but the line had to be drawn somewhere and that’s where it’s drawn. Or, you can wait half an hour (ish) for someone to change a petrol tank….
Eventually, the rest were ready to be let loose, the green flag finally came out and it was game on.
Despite Murphy – now with a clear track ahead of him – getting a really well timed flying start, it was still Haird who got cleanly away first. David Casey became the first spinner at the first bend and, as Murphy struggled to regain the initiative from an eager Bell, the leader got his head down and concentrated on building on his still slender lead as fast as possible. If there was any advantage to not having Murray right there with him, this was where Chris would obviously be wise to exploit it, particularly knowing that he isn’t the best in the wet. The further away he was by the time the others sorted themselves out, the better.
Murphy was making a fair old fight of trying to be second too and actually edged ahead of Bell down the outside of the back straight, only to have Glenn fight back at the next corner. And all the while, Haird was making another foot on them here, another yard on them there…
In the end, it was Woolsey who got the best of the places fight, when he managed to sneak past both men to take up second, Murphy having to wait until Bell ran wide at turn three and allowed him past before he could attack Woolsey for second once again. Soon after this, Murray went a lap down, and must have been left thinking how different things might have been.
Needless to say, all this scrapping going on behind him continued to play right into Haird’s hands, the former champion carving through the back markers to put a sizable gap now between him and his pursuers. In fact – as one wag has since put it in the NHR forum – ‘he was cutting through back markers like he’d never been robbed of a title because of them!’
We lost all of our continental interest in virtually the space of a lap when vd Bosch and Winnie Holtmanns both pulled off.
With the rain coming down properly again and Haird now a quarter of a lap to the good, Murphy eventually managed to duck under Woolsey exiting turn two with just over 50 laps still to run. At this point the running order was Haird, a quarter of a lap ahead of Murphy and Woolsey, then a gap back to the duelling Kew and Fiske, followed by an unhappy looking Bell, Stewart Doak, then a gap back to a dice involving Shane Brereton, Wood, Jack Blood and Rob McDonald.
So…had Woolsey been delaying Murphy? Certainly Shane was leaving Gary behind now and even making up a wee bit of ground on the leader.
Fiske was really trying to pressure Kew by this stage and went for a big outside sweep which didn’t come off. He looked to be just about to try it again when a seemingly harmless brush with the now backmarking Damien Mulvey saw Danny bend his steering and, after looking like he was going to crash in a big under-steery moment, he was out.
One of the reasons Murphy had begun to nibble at Haird’s lead was that Chris was enmeshed in backmarkers all the way during this sector of the race. But he was still under no pressure and still driving extremely carefully (as, it has to be said, were almost the entire field), no doubt still haunted by memories of last year.
However, with only 20 laps left to run, Chris was back on open road (and no doubt breathing a good deal easier), having now lapped everybody up to twelfth place, including just recently, the soon to be out-going champ. And essentially, nothing much was going to change for the leader throughout the rest of the race.
That’s not to say there wasn’t still some racing going on though, with Bell, Doak, Blood and Wood all now disputing fifth thru eighth places, a dispute which nearly came to grief when they had to lap Jim Cowie, Wood and Cowie colliding momentarily and then running on into Bell, pushing him wide. Doak tried to turn things to his advantage by forcing Wood wide in turn, Wood copped a black cross and when they’d finally sorted themselves out Doak was left in fifth ahead of Brereton, Wood, Blood and Bell.
By now Murphy had been leaving Woolsey trailing for many laps, but as they entered the final fifteen tours the Ulsterman was starting to come right back at him as they approached the closing stages. With ten to go, Woolsey was nearly back with Murphy (it was about now McDonald had a spin, maybe after a slight brush with Shane Bland) and a couple of laps later they were together and dicing hard by the time they saw the ‘5 Laps’ board. Gary never gave up trying to change their order for the rest of the way. By then though, Haird was half a lap to the good and with the waving of the chequered flag, finally expunged the memory of last year’s race, when he was forced to retire from the lead less than ten laps from home.
While it may not have been the most memorable World Final on record, it was certainly noteworthy for a few reasons. Despite the conditions only two or three cars in the packed field managed to spin throughout the entire 75 laps and there was not a single caution period during the event. Trivia buffs may also appreciate the fact that the first five drivers home were all second generation Hot Rod racers. Had Fiske carried on more or less where he was at the time of his retirement, it could have been the first six, and had Wood managed to get home ahead of Brereton it might even have been seven!
Behind the first three, Kew finally stopped finishing second but only by finishing fourth, which is not quite what I think he had in mind as a change of trophy! Doak improved considerably on his previous best finish by crossing the line fifth, with Brereton equalling his in sixth, a mere thirteen years after the last time.
A short time after the race, Haird was obviously still elated with his victory but equally able to relate how it came to him.
“Without having been able to grab pole, I think I would have struggled to get through and then get away”, he told me.
“Probably, I wouldn’t have had the confidence. But, starting at the front, it pushes you; you just think ‘I’ve got to get going here’”
I point out that he isn’t actually any good in the wet….
“Oh, I hate it! As soon as it rained, I sat on the grid and thought ‘we are in trouble here’. But I’ve had ‘Doughnut’ (Andy Steward) helping me today, we’ve done a few bits on the car and for the first time I thought, ‘we’ve got nothing to lose’. I hate the wet, I’ve never done any good in the wet, but I thought we may as well just change everything and see if it works, and obviously, we know what to do now!”
The race itself had all looked to be such plain sailing, I did wonder if Chris had actually had any worries at all along the way.
“No! To be fair, the back markers were all brilliant. I came up behind Jack Blood and Glenn Bell at the end there, looked in my mirror and thought, there’s no need to try and make a situation here. They were fighting away and I thought I’m safer just to sit here for this. The car was awesome. I can’t believe it; I’ve never ever had as much grip in the wet as I’ve managed to get here today. I can’t say I hate the wet any more can I!? But even if it had been dry, I think we had the car to do it.”
I hesitantly offered the opinion that it was a pity Chris’s dad hadn’t been there to see it.
“I think if he had, he’d have been in shock – to see me do any good in the wet! Mind you, he always told me it was all in my head, about the wet….”
Sunday Support Races
World Final “Revenge” race
Unlike last year almost everybody who’d been in the World was able to race in the reverse grid ‘Revenge’ as well, which counted as the world finalists’ second heat. This was going to be another not-quite-one-thing-or-the-other race, with the track starting out half-and-half but with the sun out and a dry line already more than half formed.
Derek Martin certainly seemed a fair bet for the win here, starting on his own on the front row, but Damien Mulvey made a particularly speedy start to cut underneath him into the first turn to assume the lead. Martin looked game for an outside pass and managed to stay alongside for about a lap before suddenly pulling off.
Terry Hunn had a spin and then Tony Moss and Colin Smith had a bit of a collision at the exit from turn four, Wood, Brereton and Fiske all managing to get involved as well to bring out the yellows.
Kym Weaver was the one who’d ended up in second place after Martin’s retirement, and it was he who got the jump at the green to grab the lead. He was soon streaking away in front to the tune of a quarter of a lap as Mulvey fell rapidly down the order and Holtmanns moved up to second and vd Bosch to third. But they too were soon to vanish from the leader board and it was Dave York with Casey, Carl Waller-Barrett and Dick Burtenshaw who were left arguing over the places, some way clear of Kew, who was in turn being followed by a high powered eight car train comprising Doak, Maxwell, Woolsey, McDonald, Brereton, Haird, Murphy and Fiske!
While Doak was getting blue flagged at the head of that who’s who, Casey piled the pressure on York until finally, after a ‘love tap’ going into turn three, he was rewarded with second spot. What’s more, he was quickly closing on the leader, Weaver’s advantage having previously looked unassailable. It turned out Kym’s choice of two and two tyres wasn’t working out so well with the track now completely dry and it was soon clear he wasn’t going to be able to hang on. With four to go, Casey seized the lead and went on to win, Waller-Barrett and York following him through as well to claim the places.
Best in Britain & Nick Thomas Trophy
A drawn grid for this, the only race of the weekend to mix World qualifiers and support racers, and when said draw placed Christie on the second row, that did look like something of a foregone conclusion as regards the winner. We did initially have the full planned 32-car field, but with McDonald and McCauley both last minute non-starters, it was just 30 that eventually came to the green flag.
Pole man Compelli was the first to show, coming straight under the cosh from Christie, Grayson, Murphy and a very lively looking Hunn. This developed into quite some dice but the race was already starting to get a bit scrappy, as Bonnar (who was still in the hunt) gave Kew such a clout it lifted the 174 car off the track completely for a moment!
Murphy took a half spin at turn one which allowed Hunn past (although he was going to get dropped for causing Murphy’s ‘moment’), and then Pepper and Haird got into bother at turns 3-4, the new World champ taking a spin as a result. He was in good company though, with Derek Martin and Sibbald also having rotations.
And then all of a sudden, there was a terrific charge down the back straight and into turn three, with Hunn, Bonnar and Christie diving in there three abreast, almost four with Compelli involved as well! Needless to say, they all came together, Christie and Compelli spun out (another incident which was going to tell against Hunn later) and the yellows got another airing.
All that had now left Murphy up front for the restart with Hunn, Kew, Maxwell and Bonnar next up. The first four went immediately clear at the green, with Murphy and Hunn eventually able to draw away from Kew and Maxwell, and Hunn in fact staying with Murphy in a very impressive fashion. Murphy was able to drop him just a bit though, as the race wore on.
Further back, there was a massive places war going on where Bonnar was trying to fend off Hillard, Fiske, Brereton, Bell, Weaver and Doak.
Maxwell finally gritted his teeth and got up the outside of Kew, making it past as they exited turn four. With five to go, Bonnar had vanished from the big places fight, which was led by Fiske for a time before he lost out to Bell.
And now Murphy was heading towards a big pack of back markers and clearly not relishing the prospect of having to get among them, especially as Hunn was rushing to join in once again. Left with no choice, Murphy dived in and promptly found himself baulked by Mulvey. A minor bump between the pair only helped Hunn get even nearer his goal, Terry cutting underneath and snatching the lead away when both leaders were momentarily (and unwittingly I’m sure) obstructed by Stu McLaird.
And so it was that the 39 car tore past the flag first for a brief moment of glory, before he got hit with the four place penalty that was coming his way, putting Murphy, Maxwell and Kew into the podium places to round things off for the weekend.
(Note that the #72 referred to here is Willie Hardie, who was driving a car belonging to Clive Richardson and carrying his number, 976)
‘Wild Card’ Heat One: 72,4,271(-2),20(-2),
‘Wild Card’ Heat Two: 31,305,72,20,629,161,4,155,964,136,44,344,89,369. NOF
‘Wild Card’ Final: 72,20,305,155,
World Final “Revenge”:
Best in Britain/Nick Thomas Trophy:
271 dropped two places for contact in Wild Card heat one.
20 dropped two places for contact in Wild Card heat one.
155 dropped two places for contact in Wild Card heat one.
777 disqualified for overtaking under yellow flags in Wild Card heat two.
957 black flagged and disqualified in Wild Card heat two for contact with 20 which pushed 20 into 316, causing his retirement.
964 dropped two places for contact in Wild Card final.
4 disqualified for spinning 31 Wild Card final.
100 black flagged and disqualified in “World Revenge” for contact with 113.
31 disqualified in Best in Britain for spinning 629.
777 disqualified in Best in Britain for putting 39 onto the speedway track, causing 962 to crash.
39 dropped four places for two incidents of contact in Best in Britain, with 970 and 844.
Note that all results & penalties are subject to official confirmation.