United Downs Raceway - Sunday 16th September 2012

Report by Jon Wyatt

Dry but breezy conditions greeted race fans to United Downs for a hectic four-formula meeting that featured the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars, non-contact Stock Rods, the youngsters in the Ministox and Bangers - including the return to Cornwall of the Chained Pairs. At the last meeting at St Day, there was a hat-trick of wins in the F2's when former Novice of the Year 797 Dan Moss won both heats and the meeting final, surely no one was going to better that ? Read on......

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

A dismally low turnout of just 17 cars meant an 'all-in' two heats and final, but despite the lack of competitors the racing was still excellent. Okay, missing were some familiar names but that didn't mean we were going to see a variety of different winners, oh no ! With track conditions almost perfect all 17 cars in attendance took to the track for heat 1 which was initially led by 135 Mike Lees, making his first ever appearance at the Cornish raceway. 835 Matt Westaway took over at the front on lap 3 and for a while looked comfortable, but by half-distance 605 Liam Rowe - the fastest man in pre-race practise - had moved into 2nd and with 3 laps to run slipped cleanly past yellow grader Westaway on turn 1 to take the lead, which he held to the chequered flag. 835 Westaway finishing in an excellent  2nd - with 676 Neil Hooper home in 3rd after passing 685 Adam Deeble in the closing stages. All 17 cars made it out for heat 2 which was again led early on by 135 Lees, this time it was 685 Adam Deeble who relieved him of the lead and at half-distance it was 685 Deeble, 835 Westaway and 605 Rowe. With 3 laps to run 835 Westaway managed to hit the front but this was short lived as first 605 Rowe barged his way past and then 685 Deeble re-took 2nd and that is how it finished, with Rowe taking his second win of the afternoon, 685 Deeble just getting the better of 835 Westaway after an excellent and entertaining battle. The 'John Orchard & Co Metal Recyclers' sponsored all-in final again fielded 17 starters and was led for the first few laps by 785 Liam Deeble, a coming together between 3rd place man 135 Mike Lees and 830 Andrew Bennett on turn 4 almost caused havoc but thankfully didn't as 676 Neil Hooper pulled off with a problem. 835 Matt Westaway meanwhile was putting leader 785 Liam Deeble under pressure at the front, which paid off as the St Austell man moved into the lead, with near-neighbour 302 Dale Moon moving into 3rd and 605 Liam Rowe up into 4th. At half-distance 302 Moon had taken over 2nd, with 605 Rowe now up to 3rd but 835 Westaway was looking well in control at the front and as the lap boards came and went his lead didn't really look under threat, which was more than you could say for 302 Moon's 2nd place, 605 Rowe snatching it from him with 2 laps to run. 605 Rowe did almost get within striking distance of leader 835 Westaway, a tap on his rear bumper into turn 3 on the last lap just letting the 835 man know he was there but Westaway it was who took a deserved win after a helter-skelter of a season, with 605 Rowe finishing a superb 2nd after his two earlier wins. The ladies favourite 302 Moon held on for 3rd, just reward for a spirited drive, making a top-three of Cornish based drivers, proper job ! All 17 cars made it out for the Grand National and with 835 Matt Westaway on the mandatory 1 lap handicap you didn't need to be John McCririck to know who the smart money was on. 135 Mike Lees again led at the start but 476 Ryan Wadling took over on lap 3 briefly before 685 Adam Deeble headed the field, but 605 Liam Rowe was already up into 2nd and we hadn't reached half-distance. By the time the Union Jack came out 605 had taken over at the front and that is where he stayed till the chequered flag, with 685 Adam Deeble hanging on for 2nd and 954 Jamie Beere taking 3rd. A superb achievement then for the always smiling boy from just down the road in Redruth, three wins and a 2nd in the final will take some beating and should see him back up to that red grade. 'Ansome ! A good day too for both 835 Matt Westaway and 685 Adam Deeble, with the red grade hardly getting a look-in all day.

ORCi Stock Rods

17 cars arrived at United Downs, including welcomed visitor 136 Steve Gooch, making the long trip down from Middlesex - or London if you live in Cornwall.... Heat 1 was shaping up nicely until 348 John Brereton clipped the front of 12 Kevin Hockings on the main straight, sending the 348 Corsa head-on hard into the fence and bringing out the waved yellows and severely damaging the 348 car. 136 Gooch eventually took the win, the only driver managing to pass long-time leader 83 Adam Ignaczak, who went on to record a fine 2nd place after a calculated drive - with 909 Justin Washer just coming through in 3rd in his unusual Peugeot 106. The 'St Austell Brewery Visitor Centre' sponsored final only produced 13 cars and once again it was sole white grader 83 Adam Ignaczak that made good use of his front row start, pulling away as the rest of the field squabbled over track space. 12 Kevin Hockings and 49 Kev Lock had a fair fight for 2nd as the red graders made little progress, leader 83 Ignaczak almost lapping the tail-enders before half-distance, but 49 Lock retired with a problem shortly before the end leaving 12 Hockings a distant 2nd. A right old battle ensued for 3rd place towards the end between 909 Justin Washer, 437 Lewis Trickey, 193 Chris Drake, 306 Neil Truran, 136 Steve Gooch and 151 Simon Vincent with 909 Washer eventually taking it after a last bend show of over-enthusiasm saw 151 Vincent spin on the final lap almost wiping out the field. A good win then for Camborne boy Ignaczak, the first of his career. Just 11 cars made it out for the Grand National and with final winner 83 Ignaczak on a lap handicap it really could be anyone's race, in fact it was 12 Kevin Hockings race, the Exmouth driver taking a comfortable flag-to-flag win. Heat winner 136 Steve Gooch could have been a contender but he had an exhaust problem which forced his retirement before half-distance, another retirement was fancied runner 909 Washer in the Peugeot. As in the final there was a very close finish for the other places, with 437 Lewis Trickey, 92 Adam Daniels and 151 Simon Vincent all crossing the finishing line virtually together - with 92 Daniels just getting 2nd, from 437 Trickey.    

Bangers

Another excellent showing of cars from the nudge-and-spin brigade, with 29 gridding for heat 1 - including veteran driver 32 Andrew Symons who was coaxed out of long-term retirement to sportingly help raise some money for charity. 10 Iain Sparks' race lasted a matter of yards, clouting an infield tyre hard at the end of the start/finish straight just as the green flag dropped, doing his Rover 214 no good at all. Also inflicting more punishment than necessary to his car was early leader 619, clipping the inside curb on turn 2 and rolling the car spectacularly bringing out the waved yellows. 372 Jay Matthews went on to win from the re-start in his indecently quick Honda Aerodeck, losing the lead briefly to 60 Andy Bulled on the last lap but re-taking it on the final bend, with the hanging Honda Civic of 242 Ben Ellacott coming through in 2nd and the rapid Mondeo of superstar 186 Leon Fasey a strong 3rd from the back of the grid. Heat 2 produced 26 cars and was simply a master-class of banger driving from 185 Richard Coaker, the Yelverton driver recording a brilliant flag-to-flag victory in his BMW, including surviving a re-start after 210 Mike Johns had come to grief in a dangerous position on turn 3 bringing out the waved yellows. When the chequered flag came down the flying Coaker was almost three-quarters of a lap in front of 2nd place man 246 Ryan Sparks - and he's no slouch - snatching the place from 83 Ben Styles almost on the finishing line. 28 cars emerged from the pit area for the consolation which began with a big pile-up on the main straight which bought out the waved yellows for a problem with the car of 40 Chris Mitchell - his day's racing a 40th birthday present from work-mates and friends......! 619 led away the re-start but his lead and the engine in his Mondeo didn't last long, the two ending in big clouds of smoke half-way down the main straight a couple of laps in, 947 Luke Purdy took over at the front and kept his head and held on to take a good win, from 113 Chris Jeanes in what was a lively race. 26 starters made the 'ARN Heating' sponsored final and a good race looked in prospect with both previous heat winners 372 Jay Matthews in the Honda Aerodeck and 185 Richard Coaker in the BMW coming together for the first time. 358 was the early leader but he was spun by 735 who took it up, 185 Coaker was the next man to head the field and after his earlier dominating performance it looked like that was that but 372 Matthews had moved into 2nd and he had other ideas. Just as it looked as though we might have a real race on our hands 372 Matthews spins the 185 BMW of Coaker on turn 3 and never looks back. As the yellow Aerodeck of 372 Matthews sails off into the distance there is a good battle going on for 2nd between the Honda Civics of 60 Andy Bulled and 158 Sean McCarthy but when Bulled falls by the wayside he is replaced by 246 Ryan Sparks in another Honda and he then tries to wrestle 2nd place away from 158 McCarthy. At the flag it is an easy and deserved win for 372 Matthews, with 158 hanging on for 2nd, just from team-mate 246 Sparks, making it not only a Honda 1-2-3 but also a Torbay clean-sweep as well ! The final race of the day for the bangers was the Chained Pairs event, and this fielded a healthy 10 sets of cars. Early leaders were the pairing of 38 Kevin Styles and 83 Ben Styles but a big pile-up on turn 3 took care of them - and half the field. Managing to force their way through though were 242 Ben Ellacott and 929 Sam Baker, these two drivers seeming to almost have a telepathic connection as they stormed around the track in the lead but it all came to a halt when the waved yellows came out for a problem with the 20 Nick Manning car that had rolled over on the entry to turn 3. Five pairs made the re-start, led away by the Ellacott/Baker pair, with the rapid Sparks pair of 246 Ryan/247 Richard close on their heels. It looked like a good race might be in prospect but the urge to bury himself into the back of the 38/83 Styles' pairing on the main straight was too much for leader 242 Ellacott, and with a little help from the pushing 246/247 Sparks' it spelt the end of the Ellacott/Baker lead. 246 Ryan/247 Richard Sparks went on to win an entertaining race which helped send the reasonable crowd home happy - and with only X-Factor on the TV to look forward to it certainly needed something...............!      

ORCi Ministox

With a season low of only 12 drivers in attendance, the youngsters in the Ministox still produced some excellent racing. Among the entry was 945 Charlie Porter, in the ex' 994 Toby Johnson car, making not only his St Day debut but also his first ever appearance in the formula - and credit to him for driving sensibly in all of his 3 races. 951 Aiden Vincent was the early leader in heat 1 but 901 Cameron Lawrence made his usual excellent start from the blues and with 5 laps to run moved into the lead, 942 Steven Gilbert almost got on terms before the end but had to be content with 2nd place, with 951 Vincent finishing a good 3rd. Heat 2 saw 987 Ethan Pope lead the field in his immaculate SRP built car but the man on a mission in this one was 910 Tom Cadby, the lad from Grampound driving faultlessly from the blue grade, taking the lead by half-distance. Behind him earlier race winner 901 Cameron Lawrence was having a good duel for 2nd with 942 Steven Gilbert, the two stars trading paint and places as they reeled in leader 910 Cadby. By the time the three cars started the final lap there was little to choose between them with the flying Cornish (young) man Gilbert putting the bumper in on leader Cadby on the last corner and then 910 replying with a little of the same to 942 Gilbert, with 901 Lawrence also getting involved it was a spectacular finish. 910 Tom Cadby did manage to hang on for the deserved win, with 942 Gilbert and 901 Lawrence almost coming across the line together - 901 Lawrence though in reverse - it was a very close finish indeed. All 12 cars lined up once more for the 'Bear Feet' sponsored final which saw 951 Aiden Vincent, 987 Ethan Pope, 931 Jack Manhire and 916 Keiran Brodie having a good battle for the lead at the start. 987 emerged as the leader and kept the place well right up until the closing stages, with 916 Brodie also doing well keeping up with the leader in 2nd, but 942 Steven Gilbert and 901 Cameron Lawrence were renewing hostlilties in 3rd and 4th and closing rapidly on the two leading white graders. With 3 laps to go 942 Gilbert had taken over at the front, persued closely by 901 Lawrence with 989 Joe Marquand now up into 3rd as 987 Pope spun away 4th place on turn 2. At the flag it was yet another final win for the talented 942 Steven Gilbert, with the equally impressive 901 Cameron Lawrence a close 2nd, from Notter Bridge maestro 989 Joe Marquand. With both the Cornish and Devon Championships under his belt, to add to the Sussex Championship he won earlier in the summer, there really is something special about young Steven Gilbert. In a post-race interview he hinted that a move to BriSCA F2's might well be on the cards when that magic age of sixteen is reached next year, now that really is something for Cornish racegoers to look forward to.     

BriSCA F2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 605 835 676 685 167 302 830 126 135 954
Heat 2 605 685 835 954 302 676 135 126 167 254
Final 835 605 302 954 685 126 167 990 476 254
Grand National 605 685 954 676 167 990 254 126 797 135
Grade Awards W 135 Y 835 B 605
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 901 942 951 989 907 946 931 945 910 nof
Heat 2 910 942 901 989 946 907 987 977 916 951
Final 942 901 989 946 916 907 951 977 910 931
Grade Awards W 951 Y n/a B 901 R 942
Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 136 83 909 92 12 193 306 49 196 437
Final 83 12 909 306 136 193 92 196 151 437
Grand National 12 92 437 151 193 306 311 196 83 nof
Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 372 242 186 735 60 479 133 358 87 929
Heat 2 185 246 83 235 158 194 938 654 406 862
Consolation 947 113 820 141 491 677 861 845 first 8 to final
Final 372 158 246 242 60 186 938 929 820 113
Chained Pairs 246/247 654/87 242/929 83/38 nof
Grade Awards 185, 491, 861 372, 820, 947 60, 929, 938 158, 242, 246
Best Presented 38 40 321
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