DOWSON HAS THE CHRISTMAS PRESENCE
Bellevue Christmas Cracker
Organiser: Startrax When: December 28 Where: Belle Vue, Manchester Starters: 15
John Dowson Jr missed much of the tail end of the 2015 season through illness, but he more than made up for it at the Belle Vue Christmas Cracker meeting by winning both heats and the final in dominant fashion. Dowson almost made it a clean sweep but fell just shy of winning the Grand National, finishing third despite a lap handicap.
Veteran driver Tim Warwick and newcomer Thomas Stephenson battled for the lead in the early going in the final until the duo tangled on lap four. This allowed Dowson to close in and pass Warwick for the lead a lap later. Dowson was able to hold onto the lead, lapping all but eventual second place man Mike Hayward.
Warwick slipped to seventh mid-way through the race but fought his was back to third. Attrition was high and only six cars were running at the conclusion of the event.
Dowson said: “It’s been a good day’s racing at Belle Vue. I got a chance to test out some new things on the car and nice pot of prize money as well. I know that most of the top drivers were missing today, but you still have to go out there and drive as hard as you can, no one will let you win.”
It was Dowson’s first final win in F1 and he is the first driver from the North East to win an F1 final since Michael Smith won at Skegness back in October 1996.
Third man Warwick has been racing since 1980 but has only once before achieved a podium place in a final, and that was at Coventry Stadium on Boxing Day 2012. “Without the top drivers being here it gives us lower graders a chance to get some laps in,” he said. “There is nothing worse than having a few good laps then being punted into the fence by one of the stars.”