Stock Car world crown eludes Norfolk hope Mat Newson
PUBLISHED: 11:41 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:41 18 September 2019
Norfolk fans' hopes of a local winner in the F1 Stock Car World Final for the first time in over 60 years evaporated almost as soon as the race started.
A huge crowd at the Adrian Flux Arena were willing on Mat Newson - who had bounced back from an illness which nearly claimed his life earlier in the year - but the Aylsham driver failed in an attack to remove pre-race favourite Tom Harris and ended up crashing out.
It was an attack which Newson and the challengers for the title had to make as Harris has been showing exceptional form on shale tracks, having honed his talents in the competitive world of Sprint Car Racing in the USA - everyone knew if he was left to his own devices and got away he would prove impossible to catch.
Newson started the second lap in 34th place from the sixth he was in on the opening lap and his chances of success and Norfolk fans' dreams of taking the title were gone.
He set about a recovery drive and showed rapid pace, passing 13 cars in the next five laps to get up to 21st place when damage forced him to retire.
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A delighted Harris performed donuts on the home straight and then again in front of the temporary grandstand on the bends three and four before climbing on top of his car, chequered flag in hand, and punching the air.
"I knew I was going in the wall on the first corner," he said. "Luckily it didn't knock me out because it was pretty heavy. They were only ever going to get one chance."
Enjoying his status as something of a pantomime villain, Harris added: "I've got the same smile now as I had when I was in the wall with Sworder. I love this game."
It was the second time that Harris was crowned F1 Stock Car World Champion - his earlier success also came at King's Lynn in 2013.
Later in the night Newson gave a glimpse of what might have been as he scorched from the back of a 30-plus car grid in the evening's closing Grand National to come home in second place - the only Superstar to place in the top seven drivers.
Stock Car and Banger Racing returns to King's Lynn on Sunday (1pm) when the 1300 Stock Cars, 2L Bangers, 1500 Bangers and Junior Bangers are in action.