Nigel Green made light work of difficult conditions at Birmingham Wheels on Saturday night to score a heat and final victory.
It was the Green’s fourth final win of the season – his second on wet Tarmac – at a meeting he hadn’t originally intended to race at.
“We hadn’t planned on going to Birmingham, to be honest,” said Green. “I planned to go to Buxton but work changed and I knew I was going to be working away during the following week, so we switched to Birmingham. It was a late decision and we got there late and missed practice.”
With 31 cars present the meeting was run as a two-thirds format, with the rain coming down before the opening heat that continued throughout the evening.
Ben Riley scored his first win of the season in the 21-car opening heat, with the Wainman family filling four of the top eight positions, with Frankie Wainman Jnr taking second spot ahead of son Frankie Jnr Jr. Danny Wainman was fourth, while Phoebe Wainman, in her first outing in the F1s this season, a very commendable eighth.
In the 20-car second heat Eliot Smith led until a stoppage on lap two, before Stuart Shevill Jnr took over soon after the race restarted. Green was soon on the leader’s tail and went on to take a comfortable win ahead of Shevill Jnr, Will Hunter and Ed Neachell.
“I had to try and bed in some new brake pads in the first heat,” said Green. “But fortunately it being in the rain it wasn’t too big an issue.”
In the 19-car third heat Riley looked set for a second win on the night until Wainman Jnr shoved him wide out of turn two with two laps to go to take the victory. Riley held on to second place with Mat Newson third. Samuel Wass was an excellent fourth with Green fifth and Ales Wass sixth.
Green had his car perfectly set up for the conditions in the final and having passed Hunter took the lead with six laps to go to win by the length of the straight. Neachell slipped through for second with Hunter a solid third, ahead of Steve Webster, Wainman Jnr and Ales Wass a fine sixth.
Will Hunter took a bit of reeling in but once I was passed him it was quite straightforward really. It usually is when you’ve got the pace
“My car worked well in the rain in the first heat,” said Green. “I was running out of rain tyres for the second heat so I didn’t expect to be as competitive in that one, so I saved my tyres for the final.
“It continued to rain and it played into my hands. I had the pace to drive through the field to win.
“Will Hunter took a bit of reeling in but once I was passed him it was quite straightforward really. It usually is when you’ve got the pace.”
The 21-car Grand National was led by Ales Wass from Shevill Jnr, when the race was stopped after three laps. Shevill took over the lead and held on until the final bend, when Ben Hurdman executed a well-timed last-bend hit to take the flag for his first victory as a star grade driver.
Hunter finished a successful evening with second place, with Riley third and Neachell fourth. Paul Hines had his best result of the night in fifth, ahead of Newson, a recovering Shevill with Green eighth from the one-lap handicap.