TOM Harris revealed that his delight was matched only by his relief after storming to a third BriSCA Formula One World Stock Car title in a dramatic final at Odsal, the first there for almost a quarter of a century.

Altrincham-based Harris, 31, who won the crown in 2013 and and 2019, led from start to finish after the race had been red flagged three times due to crashes on the opening laps.

Not one circuit had been completed when car 16, Norwich’s Mat Newson, rolled on to its roof.

The crash accounted for Silsden duo Phoebe Wainman, who suffered terminal fuel supply problems, and her fiance Karl Hawkins, who collected an unfortunate puncture.

The second attempt to run the 25-lap final lasted no longer as another pile-up, halfway down the home straight, resulted in several more cars parked up, including Phoebe’s father - three times World Champion Frankie Wainman Junior.

Harris got away well for a third time but, just as he began to lap slower drivers, the flags came out again due to another heavy collision.

But fast-starting Harris was not to be denied and steadily built up a commanding lead before being pulled back by Ossett’s Lee Fairhurst, making for a tense final few laps.

Following all the delays, the race finished in darkness, which was lit up by fireworks, with Harris holding off Fairhurst to win in front of an estimated 6,000 passionate fans.

As he cradled the gleaming silver trophy again, along with his 19-month-old daughter Heidi Lee, an ecstatic Harris compared the victory to his first two, saying: “To win the world title at King’s Lynn (in 2019) was a fantastic achievement.

“But to come here as defending champion, put it on pole and deliver here at Odsal - somewhere which my generation has never been able to experience before - makes this title as special as my first one.

“And to have my little girl here as well is absolutely amazing.

“I could see Lee (Fairhurst) coming and one of the Dutch cars (being lapped) got in my way, which allowed him to catch up.

“I was driving carefully by then as the car was beginning to misfire and I knew I was running out of petrol.

“It was a long race which seemed to drag because of all the restarts.

“Then I got across the line and it stopped.”

Fairhurst, the 2012 champion, finished second ahead of another former title holder in Paul Harrison, from Rotherham.

It proved a frustrating night for the Wainmans as Frankie Junior’s brother Danny was also forced to park on the infield with a race ending misfire, leaving the youngest - Frankie Junior Junior, 22 next month, as stock car racing’s most famous family’s only finisher in seventh position.

There was no more joy for Cleckheaton’s Jack France, who also retired, although near neighbour Mal Brown, from Liversedge, survived the carnage for a hard-earned ninth place.