United Downs Raceway - Sunday 14th October 2012

Report by John Wyatt

First surprise of the day was the bright breezy weather that greeted racegoers to United Downs for the final F2 meeting there of the season, after a weekend of wet weather had been promised by the forecasters - but that was not the only surprise in store, no sir ! There were 'double' race winners in each of the three formulas - F2 Stock Cars, Saloon Stock Cars and the Autospeed Bangers - and although a less than expected turnout of cars graced the pit-area of the Cornish track the racing in all 14 events was excellent. 

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

The annual staging of the 'Old Motor Cycle Club' trophy final brought together most of the usual suspects but numbers were swelled by several drivers making their track debuts. Track conditions were almost perfect for the first event on the programme, the White and Yellow grade final, and with £350 of extra prize money across the places and a sack load of Yokohama tyres for the top-three finishers the competition between the 9 starters was always going to be fierce. White grader 734 Glenn Sanders made an excellent start from the front row and looked to have things sewn up but a mistake on the penultimate lap allowed long time 2nd place man 685 Adam Deeble through to snatch the win, with 734 Sanders recovering for a deserved 2nd from 797 Dan Moss. A brief shower left the track slippery to say the least as the cars lined up for their second race of the afternoon. Making the best of the conditions was 14 Mike Priddle who moved to the front on lap 2 and stayed there past half-distance but three laps before the flag was passed by 797 Dan Moss, who only managed to lead for a lap before having to give way to 990 Paul Rice who took the win. 797 Moss hung on for 2nd though with 14 Priddle rewarded with 3rd for his fine wet-weather display. The track had dried considerably by the time the cars lined up for heat 3 and once again it was 734 Glenn Sanders that made the early running. From the yellow grade 116 Ashley Rundle, who hadn't raced an F2 since September 2011, was rediscovering some of his old form and as the race reached half-distance went cleanly down the inside of 734 Sanders through turns 3 and 4 to take the lead and go on to take the win. With the unfortunate 734 Sanders spinning out of 2nd place just before the finish. The 'Old Motor Cycle Club Trophy' final had the normal £25 bonus for each lap leader and saw 785 Liam Deeble pick up a handy £100 for leading the opening 4 laps, it could have been more but a stoppage for a big coming together for 302 Dale Moon, 126 Jamie Avery, 605 Liam Rowe and 476 Ryan Wadling on the exit of turn 4 brought about a re-start. With the pack now closed up and the lure of £400 still up for grabs it was a desperate scramble for positions at the green, with 352 Dave Sansom getting his hands on the next £75 before he was involved in a turn 2 incident with 189 Paul Butcher and 254 Richard Beere which handed the next £25 to 116 Ashley Rundle. A problem with the 476 car of Ryan Wadling, which had come to a stop on an infield marker tyre, brought about a further stoppage and it was 116 Rundle who led the field away once more. Starting immediately behind Rundle was defending champion 'superstar' 676 Neil Hooper and after 116 Rundle had pocketed another £75 it was the Exmouth man that took over at the front, going on to collect a useful £150 and retain the superb 'Old Motor Cycle Club Trophy' for another year. With 116 Rundle and previous winner 189 Paul Butcher his place-men. 676 Hooper was the lap handicap man for the final race of the 2012 season for the F2s, the Grand National, and it looked like a huge task for him to get anything out of this one with a quality field of drivers ahead of him - but it is surprising what a race stoppage can do. Not for the first time it was 734 Glenn Sanders that took the early lead, the ex Stock Rod star really getting the hang of this F2 lark. Meanwhile 954 Jamie Beere was doing his best to spoil 352 Dave Sansom's day, pushing him around the turn 3 and 4 plating at speed. 734 Sanders was looking very good at the front until a big coming together between 990 Paul Rice and 126 Jamie Avery on the exit of turn 2 brought out the waved yellows and a re-start - with 5 laps left to run. 734 Sanders led away the field from 14 Mike Priddle - with handicap man 676 Hooper six cars further back in 8th. At the green it was 676 Hooper who made a cracking start, working his way up to 3rd as the 3 lap board comes out - with 14 Priddle taking over at the front. The penultimate lap sees 676 Hooper swifly pass both 116 Rundle in 2nd and leader 14 Priddle to take an exceptional win, bringing to an end a good day at the office for the popular Exmouth driver and an excellent season from the BriSCA F2s - a season that has seen a different winner in each of the meeting finals. And with several young drivers coming up through the ranks - including young Steven Gilbert - roll on 2013 !                

Saloon Stock Cars

After a hectic season it was little surprise to see just 12 Saloons make the trip to Cornwall for their final encounter of the season - though the entry did include 94 Mark Johnson who was making his track debut. The first race was the White and Yellow grade final and with a shower of rain to contend with the racing was not going to be without incident with spins aplenty. 94 Johnson and 460 Cliff Friend began a competition to see who could spin the most, with 94 the eventual clear winner of that while the race win itself went to 916 Ross Thomas who eventually managed to pass early leader 298 Ian Elms. 103 Chris Horwell did very well to finish 2nd after a big crash in pre-race practise after his throttle stuck open meant a battle against the clock to re-build the car's NSF suspension. 995 Ben Goddard took 3rd. Heat 2 featured all available cars and included World Champion 1 Eddie Darby and it was he who caused one of the afternoon's big surprises - failing to dislodge eventual winner 995 Ben Goddard after launching a spectacular lunge on turn 3 with 2 laps to run, completely missing his prey and clouting the turn 4 plating hard. Seemingly oblivious to the attack, 995 Goddard held on to take a popular win, with 1 Darby somehow recovering to claim 2nd - before a hasty exit to the pit-area to change his underpants........ 11 cars made it out for race 3 which saw 916 Ross Thomas take an early lead which he managed to keep until the 3 lap board came out when he was passed cleanly by 120 Shane Brown, the English and European Champion going on to take the win from 916 Thomas. The 'Hilltop Contractors' sponsored final was another lively affair which was initially led by 460 Cliff Friend from earlier race winner 995 Ben Goddard, but as the race progressed it was the Burnham-on-Sea driver Goddard who moved swiftly to the front. With 5 laps to go, 120 Shane Brown spun World Champion Eddie Darby out of 4th place on the start/finish straight whilst at the front 995 Goddard increased his lead over 2nd place man 460 Friend. At the flag it was indeed Cornish Champion 995 Goddard who took his second final win in as many meetings, with 120 Brown working his way up to 3rd behind the ever improving 460 Friend.      

Bangers

Another good enrty of Autospeed bangers arrived for their latest St Day outing - with several 'fresh' cars among the line-up. Heat 1 fielded 20 cars and as they lined up a few spots of rain began to fall. As the rain became steadier the slippery conditions did manage to catch out a few but not 654 Mark Pope who built up a big lead after passing early leader 447 Adam Hicks. All looked to be going to plan for Pope, that was until he exited the final bend for the last time, when in sight of the chequered flag an out-of-control 845 Albert Haines took him into the fence and that is where the two remained - just several yards away from the finishing line - with 938 Ashley Rice inheriting the win. The rain had ceased by the time the 18 cars lined up for heat 2 and this made for a fast and furious race. 143 Simon Rees was the real star in this one, starting on the front row and going on to record a flag-to-flag victory in his super-smart Mondeo, but only just as 977 Jamie Newcombe almost passed him at the line. Yes, he had raced before - but that was 17 years earlier at Newton Abbot !! Heat 3 produced 20 cars and was a really lively affair. Once again it was 143 Simon Rees who moved to the front but this time his lead was short-lived as he clobbered the fence on turn 1 which handed the lead to veteran racer 194 Alistair Buchan in his fresh BMW Compact. A re-start after the yellow flags had come out for the dangerously parked car of 578 Tom Rowe saw 194 Buchan passed by 977 Jamie Newcombe and 60 Andy Bulled and that looked like that for the Paignton man but whilst Newcombe and Bulled battled for the honours 194 Buchan managed to re-pass the pair of them and re-take the lead and the chequered flag to end an excellent banger race. With 186 Leon Fasey finishing a worthy 2nd after a spirited drive from the back of the grid. 24 starters made it out for the 'Hilltop Contractors' sponsored final which started with a big rollover for 645 on the exit of turn 2, the car catching an infield marker tyre and ending up on its side and bringing about a complete re-start. 416 was the early leader but it was 194 Alistair Buchan who took over at the front as the race reached half-distance but this didn't last as 929 Sam Baker in his immaculate Honda Civic passed Buchan, going on to take the win - with 194 Buchan finishing a good 2nd and 28 Steve Linly back from suspension taking 3rd after a decent performance. The allcomers raised 15 starters and will be remembered (by me anyway) for a quite spectacular crash involving 977 Jamie Newcombe who somehow managed to hit an infield marker tyre at the end of the start/finish straight flat out. The impact sending the Mondeo a good 6-7 feet straight up in the air, before landing back on all four wheels - with the driver somehow managing to keep the engine running and almost driving away ! One of the most spectacular crashes I have seen in the Autospeed bangers. 194 Alistair Buchan went on to win, taking his second win of the day in a car that he only finished building at 9.00pm the previous night, bringing to an end an entertaining session from the nudge-and-spin brigade.           

BriSCA F2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 685 734 797 954 785 254 476 991 830 nof
Heat 2 990 797 14 605 830 676 126 116 352 189
Heat 3 116 476 605 676 352 685 126 990 189 105
Final 676 116 189 254 105 990 835 14 935 830
Grand National 676 14 116 835 991 476 254 734 797 935
Grade Awards W 734 Y 116 B 797
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
W&Y Final 916 103 995 56 298 460 94 5 nof
Heat 1 995 1 30 120 916 199 65 298 nof
Heat 2 120 916 995 56 1 199 30 103 65 298
Final 995 460 120 298 30 199 1 103 65 nof
Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 938 929 242 847 947 479 133 358 87 929
Heat 2 143 977 60 242 416 862 186 38 820 735
Heat 3 194 186 60 121 938 28 881 143 38 235
Final 929 194 28 38 735 186 416 210 881 903
Allcomers 194 28 903 242 735 881 186 38 862 141
Grade Awards 416, 143, 903 194, 977, 862 929, 38, 735 28, 186, 242
Best Presented 143 903 929
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