Smeatharpe Stadium - Sunday 2nd September 2012

Report by John Wyatt

Dull and overcast conditions - with the ever present threat of rain - greeted the good sized crowd that took their places on the banks of the Smeatharpe arena for one of the premier meetings of the season at the Devon raceway. An interesting mix of local and visiting drivers representing the cream of British banger racing assembled in the pit-area for the 30th running of the prestigious annual Championship of the World. But whilst there were a few surprises amongst the entry - there were few surprises among the actual results. Even if it took more than a little while to arrive at them........ Also on the 13 race programme were the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars competing for the Steve Rich Memorial Trophy, with the lower grade also having the St John Ambulance Shield to race for as well as their White and Yellow Grade Final. It was also the last meeting of the season at Smeatharpe for the youngsters in the Ministox.

Unlimited National Bangers - Championship of the World

The first race of the afternoon for the bangers - and indeed the best race of the afternoon for the bangers - was the Last Chance Qualifier and fielded 13 starters. Most unusual car in this one had to be 74 Adam 'Scratchy' Hitchcock's 5 litre V12 BMW 750 - complete with front-mounted radiator ! Also looking menacing among the entry was DWO returnee 341 Andrew Jones in a right-hand-drive 'used' Jaguar engined Lincoln - which he spun on turn 2 on the opening lap completely unaided ! 868 Stuart Parrish was the first casualty, tangling with 714 Paul 'No Show' Smaldon on turn 4 before getting a big portion from 341 'Jonesey', with 714 'No Show' then giving him a stiff rear-ender the following lap. Meanwhile at the front it was 282 Lee 'Uglee' Treasurer who was the early leader in his Series One Daimler Sovereign but this wasn't to last as 146 Steve Voss gives further punishment to 868 Parrish on the exit of turn 4, with 341 'Jonesey' then piling into the back of 146, before taking a rear hit himself from 142 George Box - who in turn gets clobbered by 74 'Scratchy' in the mighty BMW, and we have a complete track blockage. Mayhem then breaks out as the entire field to a man pile into the scrap-yard that has formed half-way along the start/finish straight, including leader 282 'Uglee' who desperately tries to crash his way through the wrecks but to no avail. For a moment we have no runners at all, just a dozen or so cars trying to dislodge themselves in clouds of tyre smoke and crashing gears, with the first to emerge being 265 Stuart 'Disco-Stu' Foster in his flattened Volvo 240 Estate. 341 'Jonesey' also manages to extricate the Lincoln - but then steams straight back into the pile ! With no other cars mobile the chequered flag comes down on 265 Foster, with 341 'Jonesey' rightly given 2nd as he was the only other car capable of moving and these two join the rest of the qualifiers for the big World Final race.    

A surprising and welcome late addition to the World Final entry was Trackstar representitive 349 Michael Allard, one of several drivers who had been competing in the World of Shale event at Kings Lynn the previous night - along with old adversary 190 Steve 'Pikey' Bailey. Among the 30 starters was 601 Lee Usher in a smart, unusual and rapid Rover V8 powered Lexus Soarer, top entertainer 841 'Dingle' Tom Perkins in his Blockbuster Buick Sabre, 99 David Spooner in a 'used' BMW, 349 Allard and 514 Marty Eighteen in 'used' Toyota Supras - and 341 'Jonesey' in the Lincoln. The rest of the field being a variety of 'frog-eye' Ford, Scorpio, Volvo or Jag - and no less than seven Mk2 Granadas, including a 'fresh' Estate for Team Black star 617 Jack Overy. Before the start there was a draw for grid positions, with 891 Darren Wade lining up on the inside of row 1 and 270 Shaun Baker the outside - whilst further back 190 Steve 'Pikey' Bailey had lined up on the inside of, you guessed it, 349 Michael Allard ! Before the start 514 Marty Eighteen pulled his Supra off, a battery problem I believe causing his retirement, so we were down to 29 starters. At the green flag it was 891 'Wadey' that made the best of his front row start, leading the class field in his immaculate 'frog', with 601 Lee Usher also making a good start from row 3 in the Soarer. Further back, 190 'Pikey' catches 349 Allard and spins him on turn 3, with the Trackstar man managing to clip the side of 239 Steven 'Nemesis' Carter as he passes and half spinning him - so 349 Allard had survived lap 1 ! Next thing the fearless Allard is right behind 341 'Jonesey', and with no rear-view mirror in the Lincoln the DWO man is probably unaware of his follower, until the Supra puts the big American machine into the fence on turn 1 - as 601 Usher takes over at the front. 349 Allard is off again and winning the respect of a large proportion of the crowd as he continues around the raceway, as 891 'Wadey' re-takes the lead. Going like a train it what, it has to be said, is a racing rather than a crashing event is 331 Jason 'Boxer Jack' Jackson in his 'frog' Estate, carving his way calmly through the field, followed four car-lengths behind by 617 Jack Overy in the older Mk2 Granny Estate. Whilst these two super-stars are making steady progress towards the front, 841 'Dingle' Tom Perkins is making a nuisance of himself in the big Buick on turn 3, having a dig at anything that passes in his usual entertaining style. 349 Allard then gets spun on the start/finish straight and for several laps is parked on the infield but thankfully no one is tempted to attack him there, as 891 'Wadey' comes to grief after slamming into the 180 Mark Foster car on the start/finish straight and 331 'Boxer' moves into the lead. Surprisingly 190 'Pikey' then gets spun in the Mk2 on the exit of turn 2 by it looked like 570 Jordan Cumming, with 528 Alan 'Jethro' Hunt also spinning in his Mk2 on turn 4 but both manage to get going again. 341 'Jonesey' then picks up 128 Mark Atkins and slams him hard into the turn 4 fence - and then into the passing 162 Brett 'Bad Boy' Ellacott, who then gets a portion from the Soarer of 601 Usher !  Next on the scene is 841 'Tomo' and he fairly launches the big Buick into the rear of  341 Jonesey's Lincoln spectacularly, which ignites the crowd on the pit-bend as 331 'Boxer' increases his lead at the front - with 617 still shadowing him several car-lengths behind. 349 Allard is away again but is spun by 341 'Jonesey' in the Lincoln on turn 2, with 190 'Pikey' then coming around and......drives straight past. 162 'Bad Boy' though meets the Supra hard on the nose, the 349 car then managing to back out and hit the side of the passing 239 'Nemesis' before 341 'Jonesey' steams into him again, with 5 laps left to run for leader 331 Jackson. 162 Elllacott has another dig at 349 Allard on turn 2, which leaves the battered Supra across the track, with 190 'Pikey' then driving through the side of the Trackstar man's Jap, ending his race - but to be absolutely fair to the guy he survived a whole lot longer than even he expected and certainly gave as good as he got, total respect to him. Total respect also to 331 'Boxer', the Romford driver really showing how to put a car around the tight Smeatharpe oval - with 841 'Tomo' showing how to use a Buick to good effect, giving 270 Shaun Baker a stiff head-on on turn 3. At the flag it was 331 Jason 'Boxer Jack' Jackson that took the win (eventually !!) becoming the 2012 World Champion, a deserved win without a doubt, with 617 Jack Overy equally a deserving runner-up after a superb display of 'old-school' driving in the indecently quick Mk2 Granada Estate. 456 Nathan Roberts finished in 3rd, and apologies to him for the lack of mentions in this second-rate report, with the horny sounding Soarer of 601 Lee Usher coming home in a creditable 4th after an excellent drive.       

A fine drizzle greeted the 24 cars that emerged from the pit area for the first of the two allcomers races - traditionally a wreck-fest, but this one was more a 'hot rod' race than a banger event with very little in the way of contact or action. New World Champion 331 Jason 'Boxer Jack' Jackson was the easy winner, his supreme driving skill a complete joy to watch as he powered his way around the tight Smeatharpe oval in his 'frog-eye' Estate. Local star 114 Nick Courtier was the 2nd man to cross the line in his 'frog-eye' Saloon after initially leading, with the rodding Mk2 Granny Estate of 617 Jack Overy 3rd. The second allcomers race was a little better with 22 cars lining up, there were a few spinners at the start as the cars got to grips with the slippery track, with 114 Courtier the early leader - until 331 'Boxer jack' spun him on turn 4 to take the lead. 148 Reece Frayne was having an eventful time in his Jag, surviving an attempted follow-in on turn 3 by 452 Anthony 'Lurch' Sleeman - only to have 341 'Jonesey' try to do the same to him on turn 1 ! Also having a lively time was 841 'Dingle' Tom Perkins, giving and taking the hits in the big Buick (no change there then.....) before 341 'Jonesey' t-bones him big-style in the other yank. 648 Jamie Smith was another driver giving as good as he got, the Jag driver putting 162 Brett 'Bad Boy' Ellacott hard into the turn 3 fence. A far more harder time though was being had by early leader 114 Courtier, the target of a lot of attention throughout the season picked up and attempted to follow 190 Steve 'Pikey' Bailey into the pit-bend plating, the two cars hitting the fence hard to big cheers from the crowd, unfortunately for Courtier though the recovered 162 Ellacott arrives at speed and flattens the rear of the 114 car - with fellow DWO man 341 'Jonesey' next on the scene to finish the job. That was it as regards action and Essex-boy 331 'Boxer Jack' takes his hat-trick of wins for the afternoon, the extremely talented driver from Romford again showing his class. Fellow Essex driver 456 Nathan Roberts finished a long way down in 2nd, with 239 Steven Carter (remember him ?!) home in 3rd. Unsurprisingly, just 3 cars ventured out for the King of Crash/DD, 190 'Pikey' in 162 Brett Ellacott's 'frog-eye', 180 Mark 'Sparky' Foster and the lively 648 Jamie Smith in the Jag. The 'race' only lasted a few seconds really as 648 Smith went on opposite at the start and met 190 'Pikey' in an absolutely stonking head-on on the pit-bend, something I don't think Steve was quite expecting ! This stopped both cars dead, with 180 Foster then piling into the rear of the Jag for good measure, with 648 'Smithy' then enthusiastcally waving him in for more ! 180 Foster declined and it was 180 'Sparky' frustratingly having no real option but to take the win by default - and then he drove the car straight off the track without waiting to be presented with his winner's trophy. 

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

A little over 30 cars were present at the raceway and so a 'two-from-three' heats format was once more adopted with the first heat actually the annual White & Yellow Grade Final, and although over 30 drivers were eligible to race only 10 arrived and took their places on the track. 135 Mike Lees made the best use of his front row start to take the early lead, as among others fancied runners 526 Marc Rowe and 991 Ryan Hoskin spun on the exit of turn 4. 476 Ryan Wadling put up a valiant effort to keep the leader within his sights but in reality was never actually close enough to the flying white grader to make any kind of a challenge and 135 Lees scored an excellent flag-to-flag victory. As well as the trophy the winner collected the handsome bonus of four new Yokohama A021R tyres, with 2nd place man 476 Wadling collecting three, and 3rd place man 830 Andrew Bennett laying claim to two. Heat 2 fielded 22 starters, including a first outing in his superb new RCE car for 538 Chevy Mills, also at the wheel of a new RCE machine was visitor 963 Lee Carlin. 526 Marc Rowe was the early leader and looked comfortable at the front until 254 Richard Beere and 830 Andrew Bennett tangled on turn 3, which brought out the waved yellow flags. With the pack now closed up it was anyone's race and although 526 Rowe led initially an unfortunate tangle with 2nd place man 734 Glenn Sanders on turn 4 with 6 laps to run let 676 Neil Hooper through, the Exmouth man going on to win from fellow red grader 522 Chris Mikulla, with 76 Chris Rowe 3rd. 20 starters made it out for heat 3, with track conditions a little damp after a few minutes of steady drizzle, catching out 14 Mike Priddle and 991 Ryan Hoskin at the start. Making an excellent start from the blue grade though was 76 Chris Rowe, and by lap 3 the Plymouth driver had moved to the front. At half-distance it was still 76 that lead, but 783 James Rygor was now right on his rear bumper as the two tried to wrestle their way through the back-markers. With 4 laps to go 783 Rygor briefly got his nose in front but 76 re-took the place and just held on to the flag, but after the race 783 Rygor was unfortunately disqualified from the result because his rear wheel guard had come undone - promoting 676 Neil Hooper up into 2nd and 605 Liam Rowe into 3rd. The 'Steve Rich Memorial Trophy' all-in final saw 25 starters out on the damp track, which started with a few spins and slides as the drivers got used to the conditions, surprisingly including 167 Bill Batten. Early leader was wet weather expert 830 Andrew Bennett, with fellow 'rain-master' 783 James Rygor soon into 2nd, as still the cars tangled and spun around the slippery bends. 990 Paul Rice and 14 Mike Priddle were two such drivers, and this time the waved yellows appeared as the cars were in a dangerous position on the exit of turn 4. At the re-start it was 783 Rygor that led the field away, having taken the lead just before the stoppage, and a cracking start he made too, being half a straight ahead by the end of the first lap after the re-start as the race reached half-distance. Meanwhile 676 Neil Hooper had muscled his way through into 3rd behind 76 Chris Rowe and certainly looked a threat, he was soon passed 76 Rowe and then with 3 laps to run slipped cleanly down the inside of 783 Rygor through turn 4 to head the pack - which he did to the chequered flag, taking his second win of the afternoon. 783 Rygor hung on for 2nd, with 605 Liam Rowe passing 76 Chris Rowe on the last lap to collect a creditable 3rd - with 135 Mike Lees a worthy winner of the 'St John Ambulance' shield for best white grade performer of the meeting. The rain was more steady as the 20 cars lined up for the Grand National, with the track even more slippery after the previous banger allcomers race once again catching out a lot of the drivers. Slippery track or not though there can be liittle excuse for the way 904 Ryan Cattell picked up and followed early leader 991 Ryan Hoskin into the pit-gate, the incident ending the youngster's race after he had coped so well in the trying conditions. 315 Justin Fisher took over the lead from 783 James Rygor, the 315 driver finding the outside line around the bends a little grippier than the normal inside line. With 3 laps to go 783 Rygor eased into the lead but using that outside line through the bends 315 Fisher re-took the place and for a lap the two drivers battled entertainingly for the honours, but at the flag it was 783 Rygor that took the win, with 189 Paul Butcher finishing in 3rd behind 315 Fisher - interestingly the leader all-but lapping handicap man 676 Neil Hooper.        

ORCi Ministox

This was the last meeting for the Ministox at Smeatharpe  for the 2012 season, and what an excellent season it has been. Joining the 15 Smeatharpe regulars was lone visitor 364 Bradley Lee from Loughton in Essex and he lined up with the rest for heat 1. After a few early spinners 987 Ethan Pope in his super-smart new SRP built car took it up and indeed led up until the two-lap board came out when he was passed by 946 Emily Hector who went onto win, with 942 Steven Gilbert also coming through a lap later to take 2nd, with 987 Pope rewarded with an excellent 3rd, getting to grips with his new car well. A few spots of rain began to fall as the cars lined up for heat 2, 987 Ethan Pope made another excellent start but was spun by 955 Frankie Radmore, which was a little unfair as the 955 driver was under a 'black-cross' for well jumping the start. 989 Joe Marquand was soon up into the lead and the Notter Bridge man held on to win from 946 Emily Hector, with 942 Steven Gilbert coming through into 3rd after a late charge. The 'Livewire Electrical Services' final was the last race of the season for the youngsters at Smeatharpe and will probably be remembered for a long time - but for probably all the wrong reasons. 955 Frankie Radmore was guilty of yet another obvious jump-start but this misdemeanor was nothing compared to later events after Cornish/Devon and Sussex Open Champion 942 Steven Gilbert had driven a cool, calm and calculated race in the slippery conditions to take victory by a country mile. The supremely talented youngster was in a class of his own in this one, after the waved yellow flags had come out for an incident involving the unfortunate 901 Cameron Lawrence and visitor 364 Bradley Lee on the exit of turn 4 had closed the field up. Finishing 2nd, but a long way behind, was 977 Kieren Bradford, with 932 Sam Moore crossing the line in 3rd after a good display. Not such a good display though was the 932 driver's antics after the flag, as the cars lined up waiting for the pit-gate to open 932 Moore drives into the back of the stationary 986 Sophie Fasey car. 986 then drives away, turns the car round and drives flat-out head-on into the 932 car ! Not content with that, she backs up some length and repeats the move. Shame, as this rather took the attention of the crowd away from the winner - which was unfair, but did rather make up for the preceding lacklustre allcomers banger race................! So, after winning all the major Ministox titles in 2012, what does the future hold for young Steven Gilbert ? Well, I understand a move to BriSCA F2's is in prospect when the magic age of 16 arrives. But what about young Miss Fasey ? Perhaps a move to the National Banger formula would be appropriate - father Leon would be proud !     

BriSCA F2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
W&Y 135 476 830 14 254 797 31 991 734 nof
Heat 2 676 522 76 135 605 126 167 315 963 189
Heat 3 76 676 605 126 904 315 167 476 189 756
Final 676 783 605 76 522 476 189 135 126 991
Grand National 783 315 189 126 538 254 990 476 167 756
Grade Awards W 135 Y 76 B 605
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 946 942 987 977 989 932 955 919 910 986
Heat 2 989 946 942 986 901 955 907 977 931 951
Final 942 977 932 931 907 910 364 951 946 925
Grade Awards W 931 Y 946 B 977 R 942
National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
LCQ 265 341 nof
World Final 331 617 456 601 382 190 528 162 239 384
Allcomers 1 331 114 617 239 271 162 190 384 452 456
Allcomers 2 331 456 239 382 162 384 452 617 282 714
King of Crash/DD 180
Best Presented 17 239 891 570 257 146 908 868
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