United Downs Raceway - Sunday 29th September 2013

Report by Jon Wyatt

Someone within the vast Autospeed organisation had obviously upset the weather Gods because really horrible damp and dismal conditions greeted the few brave souls that descended on United Downs for the penultimate BriSCA F2 meeting of the season - well that was the crowd as a still good number of competitors arrived to do battle within the 3 formulas, and the spirit among the assembled drivers was surprisingly high.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

As seems normal these days a goodly number of 'no shows' meant that only 23 cars graced the United Downs pit area but as often is the case at the Cornish track you do not need quantity to produce quality racing - and Sunday certainly was no exception. The sparse Cornish crowd were treated to their first view of the gold roof of newly crowned World Champion 783 James Rygor, which certainly was a treat in itself, but it was a far, far lighter shade that would prove the dominant colour as all but one of the F2 races was won from the yellow grade - and convincingly won at that. It was an afternoon of surprises, with the first being temp' licence holder 542 Steven Gilbert recording fastest lap in pre-race practise, the youngster taking part in his first full meeting - allbeit on the restricted terms of the temp' licence. It was not a fluke either as the Doublebois young-gun performed well all day in what were extremely trying conditions. There were two other 'temps' at this meeting: 206 Matt Brewer and 828 Julian Coombes, with all three gaining valuable experience before their debut seasons next year.
Running to a two-from-three heat format 15 cars lined up on a damp track for heat 1, including World Champion Rygor, but it was veteran driver 254 Richard Beere who stormed through from the blue grade to take the honours, helped a little by an early race stoppage when 126 Jamie Avery and 575 Tom Clark tangled on turn 2 and 991 Ryan Hoskin had seen his good early lead reduced to nil. 935 Nathan Maidment also showed excellent form to finish runner-up from the red grade - with another blue grader, local star 605 Liam Rowe doing his bid for the Track Championship no harm at all by coming home in 3rd. Heat 2 saw 13 cars out on a still wet track with 116 Ashley Rundle taking a flag-to-flag victory after leaving fellow yellow grader, the ladies favourite 302 Dale Moon, at the green. 254 Beere drove another excellent race to finish 2nd, but the heat 1 winner just had no answer to the pace of Rundle who was well clear at the finish - with World Champion 783 Rygor finishing 3rd, just ahead of 605 Liam Rowe to keep the battle for the Track Championship alive. After an initial false start heat 3 eventually got under way with only 11 starters, once again it was 116 Rundle who was the dominant force, making short work of passing 979 Paul Moss and 996 Phil Chapman to lead after lap 1, going on to take his second easy win of the afternoon. As in his earlier heat 935 Nathan Maidment drove superbly from the back to finish 2nd - with 315 Justin Fisher 3rd this time.
The 'Victoria Heavy Haulage' sponsored final saw all available cars out on a still damp track - with earlier double heat winner Rundle at the back of the seven-strong yellow grade. It was the ladies favourite 302 Dale Moon who made the initial running but Rundle was soon on his case, with 954 Jamie Beere being shown the black-cross for a jumped start. 991 Ryan Hoskin was running well in 3rd but he was already a fair distance behind the two pace setters up front, with 302 Moon still holding the advantage. At half-distance it was still Moon from Rundle, with 935 Nathan Maidment having another storming drive from the back of the field to take up 3rd after 991 Hoskin had a moment coming out of turn 4. With 5 to go 116 Rundle cleanly passed 302 Mooner to head the pack and that is where he stayed to the chequered flag, with fellow yellow grader 302 Moon losing 2nd to the impressive 935 Maidment on the final lap. So, a hat-trick of wins for the talented Rundle, another St Day final win to add to his two at the track earlier in the season - and with a 5th place finish for 605 Rowe and a 7th for World Champ' Rygor the Track Championship was still up for grabs too. And on the subject of hat-tricks, 935 could feel well pleased with his three 2nd place finishes, particularly as he had started each race from the back of the grid.
With 116 Rundle starting the Grand National on the obligatory lap handicap there was everything to play for but with a 50 point bonus if he could pull off the win the incentive was certainly there - and one race stoppage might well do the trick. But fellow yellow grader 302 Dale Moon had other ideas and it was the ladies favourite who once more led the field at the green, from 627 Gary Sillifant and 991 Ryan Hoskin - with 935 Maidment once again right on the pace from the reds. 991 Hoskin climbed to 2nd behind the flying Moon but this was short lived as 254 Richard Beere was really motoring and was soon the one chasing leader Moon, Hoskins' problems though were just starting as after an incident on the exit of turn 4 the young gun's car ended up across the track on the start/finish straight minus its NSR wheel - which briefly took over 3rd position on its way to its final resting place against the fence on turn 1!  With the wheel out of harm's way thankfully the Steward allowed the race to continue and 302 Moon went on to take a deserved win, from 254 Beere and the consistant 935 Maidment who had to settle for 3rd this time.

Stock Rods

Conditions were far from perfect for the non-contact Stock Rods but some good, close racing was still the order of the day. With a damp track to contend with the decision was made by the Steward to adopt a 'rolling' instead of a clutch start to each of the three races. All 17 cars present lined up for the single heat, including newly crowned West of England Champion 306 Neil Truran in the rear-wheel-drive Toyota Starlet which, if nothing else, would surely provide some entertaining cornering action. The highlight was an almost race-long battle for 2nd and 3rd between 26 Alan Furse, 22 Wayne Belcher, 3 Matt Peters - and later joined by 437 Lewis Trickey and 306 Truran - behind 675 Martin Nash who drove brilliantly to record a flag-to-flag maiden win after taking full advantage of his front row start. Just reward for the former Autospeed Banger star who has certainly not had the best of luck this season. 22 Belcher it was who just took the runner-up place, just inches ahead of the battling 306 Truran who was the only 'star' grade driver to make any impression on the front. The final fielded 16 starters with 909 Justin Washer not making it out after tangling with 26 Alan Furse in the earlier heat, adding to the bad luck that seems to have plagued him at St Day recently. 675 Martin Nash was again the early leader, battling at the front with fellow white grader 26 Furse but by the 3rd lap 22 Wayne Belcher had got into his stride and was hustling leader Nash at the head of the pack. 437 Lewis Trickey had worked his way into 3rd but spun this away shortly before half-distance to be replaced by the Starlet of 306 Truran, who seemed to have used the longer outside line to pass as he again made excellent progress from the back. Just before the 5 lap board came out 22 Belcher's hard charging pressure in 2nd paid off, forcing 675 Nash off the inside line to take it up through turns 1 and 2. 437 Trickey then got it all wrong going down the main straight, bouncing off the fence and coming to a stop on turn 3, next lap and 2nd place man 675 Nash comes to grief on turn 4 after an encounter with 26 Alan Furse - with 306 Truran moving up into 2nd. At the flag it was a deserved win for 22 Belcher, with 40 Rick Cornell coming through in 3rd behind the entertaining Truran.  15 cars took to the track for the Grand National, with final winner 22 Belcher on the lap handicap. After an initial false start the green was waved and it was a fight between 26 Alan Furse and 675 Nash into the first corner - while further back 306 Truran from the red grade had made an electric start and was already on the back of the blues. By lap 3 Nash had taken over at the front, with 3 Matt Peters slotting nicely into 2nd - but more importantly 306 Truran was already looking threatening in 3rd.  Next lap and the Starlet - that's the car not the driver (!) - was in 2nd and the writing was on the wall, by lap 6 Truran had taken the lead from 675 Nash and the only questiion now was how would the extrovert St Austell driver celebrate his win? Thankfully, for the car anyway, it was a simple kiss on to the bonnet - though from where I was sitting I am sure tongues were involved.............. Nash did very well to hang on to 2nd, finishing an encouraging day for the Callington driver in his first season in the formula - with 441 Tom Major doing well too to finish 3rd from his starting position among the red grade.

Autospeed Bangers

As usual the Autospeed Bangers arrived in good numbers with some unusual cars amongst the entry, with the 'Lightning Recovery' team once again not afraid to try something different with a Volvo V40, Alfa Romeo 156, Ford Fiesta, Mk4 Vauxhall Astra and Vauxhall Tigra among their line-up which, if nothing else, showed what might or might not be the cars to use in the future when the trusty Ford Mondeo is outlawed at the end of the season. Heat 1 saw 22 cars venture out onto a very wet track but despite this there was not a great deal of action as most seemed to master the conditions, none more so than 920 Wayne Wadge who made good use of his front row start to lead at the start before being caught and passed by 912 Simon Rees who then seemed very much in control until he tripped over the spun car of 994 Kirstin Stone on the final corner of the last lap - handing the win to 91 Ian Blight. 24 cars lined up for race 2 which began in spectacular style for the driver of the 'Lightning Recovery' Fiesta, 818 Terry Rowe, who got spun across the start/finish line as the green flag waved, ending up on its side after clipping an inner marker tyre - which brought out an immediate race stoppage and a full re-run. Fellow 'Lightning Recovery' man 254 Will Blight had a lot more luck than his unfortunate team mate, driving his unusual Alfa Romeo 156 superbly to take the win, even surviving a last-bend attack from the Rover of 416 Ben Borthwick and probably making history in what was an excellent race, with action at each end of the raceway, including another race stoppage after 185 Richard Coaker's BMW had parted company with a rear wheel on the start/finish straight. 22 out on track for the consolation which was another lively race, 476 Adam Ridley was an early leader before being spun on the start/finish straight by 491 Charlie Fulbrook who led until the 3 lap board came out when he was passed by both 60 Andy Bulled and 416 Ben Borthwick, the cars going down the straight three-abreast. At the flag it was a win for 60 Bulled, from 416 Borthwick - with 491 Fulbrook hanging on for 3rd after a stirling drive. For the first time in the afternoon it had actually stopped raining as the 26 qualifiers lined up for the final, at the green 612 Lee Pink took the lead as a big pile-up formed on turn 1. 920 Wayne Wadge was the next to head the field on lap 3, with 785 Nick Craddock quickly into 3rd behind Pink and with the track drying out quickly the pace was really picking up and the action continued around the raceway. At half-distance it was still 920 Wadge, with the Alfa of Blight also going very well as 612 Pink was spun aside by 785 Craddock and 247 Richard Sparks and 91 Ian Blight joined the leading trio. Just as it really looked as if we had a real race in prospect the waved yellow flags came out for the 612 Pink car that had come to a stop in a dangerous position. The remaining 18 cars were led away by the Mondeo of 920 Wadge for the final 5 laps, with the Alfa of Blight behind him and the Mondeo of 91 Ian Blight. 785 Craddock was quickly up to 3rd and then 2nd after spinning 91 Blight aside with 677 Glenn Nash taking over 3rd - but only briefly as the Ford Puma of 87 Paul Lawer relieved him of the place almost immediately. Last lap and 920 Wadge looks to have the win sewn up but goes very wide through turn 4 for the final time, and as 785 Craddock tries to slip past on his inside attempts to spin the 785 car but in doing so manages to clip the stationary 994 car of Kirstin Stone that is parked on the exit of the bend against the fence, which wrecks the Mondeo's steering and as the 920 car comes to a halt just inches from the start/finish line a jubilant 785 Craddock snatches the win, his maiden win too, with 87 Lawer taking 2nd in the little Ford - and 247 Sparks 3rd.  An excellent race without a doubt. The final event of the day was the annual 'chained pairs' race which saw six sets of pairs line up to do battle - including the 'Lightning Recovery' boys who, by the very nature of their business, should have been the favourites. At the green though it was the pairing of 87 Paul Lawer and 654 Mark Pope in the rapid Ford Pumas that were by far the quickest and although several attempts were made to stop them a mixture of power, handling and suspect John Travoltaesque hand signals by front man Pope there really was only ever going to be one winner - and as for the 'Lightning Recovery' pair, theirs was the first chain to come undone........... Number for the AA anyone ?!!

BriSCA F2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 254 935 605 991 315 830 783 575 797 979
Heat 2 116 254 783 605 676 302 830 991 627 891
Heat 3 116 935 315 676 575 797 126 979 996 nof
Final 116 935 302 575 605 676 783 254 126 797
Grand National 302 254 935 575 315 676 605 126 627 797
Garde Awards W n/a Y 116 B 605
Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 675 22 306 437 49 151 3 441 12 92
Final 22 306 40 49 441 92 54 151 825 83
Grand National 306 675 441 40 92 3 54 12 83 151
Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 91 920 912 247 169 622 910 87 907 929
Heat 2 254 45 785 654 457 677 612 804 930 28
Consolation 60 416 491 994 293 624 271 847 first 8 to final
Final 785 87 247 416 677 912 45 804 907 929
Chained Pairs 654/87 271/293 91/457 nof
Best Presented 5 45 612
Grade Awards W 785, 254, 920 Y 912, 91, 457 B 416, 677, 60 R 247, 87, 45
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