Smeatharpe Stadium - Sunday 7th September 2014

Report by Steve Linfield

In complete contrast to the previous meeting at Smeatharpe Stadium on August Bank Holiday Monday, this time the large crowd on hand were greeted with a glorious late summer’s afternoon.  The 32nd running of the National Bangers Championship of the World was the feature race with the support programme ably backed up by the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars and ORCi Ministox.

National Bangers

We seem to say it so often when it comes to National Bangers, but again, there were a lower number of drivers present than were booked to attend.  Thankfully though, the vast majority of these were not from the seeded entrants which included an impressive list of drivers from across the country, despite a number of other clashing meetings taking place on the day.  There were some very smart cars on hand with the pick of them being judged as 47 Marcus A’Lee, 133 Terry Hill, 146 Steve Voss, defending title holder 239 Steve Carter, 249 Ryan Guppy, 341 Andrew Jones and 349 James Guppy.  The oldest and rarest (fresh) car of the day though was the old Mercedes of 922 Andrew Tew, part of a trio of the “Roughnecks” from south Wales present.  First up was the last chance qualifier, which had a smaller than hoped/anticipated grid and saw 382 Tommy Hutchings come through for the win, and after the race it was decided that all seven of the recorded finishers would progress through to the World Championship race.  The grid for that was conducted via the traditional public draw on the start and finish line.  The current Unlimited/Spedeworth World Champion 294 Lee Hughes drew pole position to immediately make himself as a favourite.  His equally rapid brother 27 Dale drew number five.  17 Kyle Overy was the last to come to the draw, but luckily for him the only number left in the bag was number two.  However, unluckily for the East Anglian his clutch expired on the rolling lap and he didn’t ultimately turn a lap in anger.  Row two had the ever-popular 360 Jack Reynolds alongside the equally ever-popular veteran 384 John Golden.  Of the grandee local star names Jones was on nine, 162 Brett Ellacott on 11, 190 Steve Bailey on 13 whilst 239 Carter was back on 23.  At the flag 294 Hughes converted pole position into the lead and with Overy pulling off, it allowed 27 Hughes to move into second.  The two brothers from Kent then very quickly pulled clear as the race settled down very swiftly, far more so than for some time.  However, a large coming together with the plating on turns one and two for 148 Reece Frayne saw him signal that all was not well, and the red flags were shown on the third lap.  The Hughes brothers had opened out a large lead already by then, but the lap-sheet order re-start placed Bailey, Hutchings, Jones and Carter right behind them.   The resumption saw Lee continue to lead but he was forced wide by Dale who then took over.  Those hoping that ‘Pikey’ would challenge were left disappointed when 262 Rob Bugler did a “stop and wait” on the 190 car.  Although Bailey did retaliate, the damage done in the initial contact between the pair effectively ended his race there and then.   As Dale Hughes continued to lead, the top two were caught by Carter and when Lee got caught in a pile up on the Honiton bend, Carter moved through to second.  This pile up centred around a DD/war between Reynolds and his (usual) sparring partners Jones and Ellacott, joined by the huge Yank of 668 Wayne Goldsmith who delivered a huge hit to the driver’s side of the 360 Volvo.  As the race hit and passed the halfway point, 239 Nemesis moved ahead of 27 Hughes to lead and these two were well clear of the rest at this point.  The hits on Reynolds from 162, 341 and 668 continued and bordered on a complete mauling by then on the back straight, until there was one hit too many and Jack and the officials signalled that enough was enough and another red flag was called.  To applause, Reynolds exited his extremely twisted car unaided.  This naturally closed all the gaps up for the four lap dash re-start, but Carter and Hughes were a whole lap ahead of the third place man, Hill.  The remaining laps were quiet with Hughes unable to do anything about Carter who went on to successfully defend the title.  Dale Hughes held on for second whilst Lee Hughes was third, albeit a full lap behind the top two.  Hill, in what was his first rear wheel drive race was fourth from 257 Timmy Aldridge and 714 Paul Smaldon.   For varying reasons, several drivers, especially the visiting travellers did not reappear for the rest of the afternoon which left a quiet-ish couple of Allcomers races.  452 Anthony Sleeman won the first.  The second saw Roona back out where he found 921 Kairan Wilson, or rather the latter found him and then Goldsmith again used the Yank to big effect, controversially in the eyes of some to plough in on Wilson which brought out the red flags.  Bailey was the leader at the time of the stoppage and continued to lead at the re-start.  Unfortunately the Destruction Derby only featured two cars.  There were two, or three more desperately trying to get on track, but with one ambulance having already left the Stadium following an earlier Ministox incident, and the back-up ambulance on stand-by following an incident in the proceeding BriSCA F2 race, there simply wasn’t time in hand to wait.  The two were Jones and Ellacott and after a good head-on and a pair of savage poundings from 341’s Toyota Supra on 162’s Jaguar, it was ‘Jonesey’ who took the victory.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

The BriSCA F2 Stock Car entry was vastly improved on the previous meeting, with 36 cars present including a very much surprise appearance from 218 Rob Speak with the said surprise and excitement (not to mention intrigue and mystery) added to it, being as he was in Bill Batten’s car.  Heat one saw 127 Matt Stoneman lead until his car appeared to just stop on him just as 676 Neil Hooper challenged him for the lead.  Hooper thus took over and went on to win.  Heat two saw 476 Ryan Wadling make the most of a drop to the blue grade by taking the win.  Stoneman bounced back to win the consolation.  The Final saw the early lead disputed between 55 Courtney Finnikin and 828 Julian Coombes until 438 Mike Rice took over.  However, a tangle up between 14 Mike Priddle and 83 Sy Harraway left the track partially blocked and just as the yellow flags were called, several collected the pair.  One of these was the luckless Rice and the damage he sustained rendered him unfit to take the re-start.  Therefore it was 302 Dale Moon who assumed the lead for the re-start and he battled with 290 Jay Tomkins over the following laps.  However, 886 Chris Bradbury was coming through and he moved ahead shortly thereafter and held the lead to the end.  Hooper made second and Tomkins just held off Speak for third.  The Grand National saw Finnikin lead until 575 Tom Clark took over in the closing stages, just as there was a yellow flag after 126 Jamie Avery had spun and then collected on the exit of turn four.  A shaken Avery was given time to exit his car.  The two lap dash re-start saw Clark and Finnikin hold on at the front whilst a late burst from Bradbury saw him almost land third in a near dead-heat with Speak.

Ministox

To show that despite the warm sunshine 2014 is moving on, as this was the last Ministox appearance of the season at Smeatharpe. There was a good showing of 19 cars in attendance.   The first heat saw a late yellow flag when 941 Cameron McColm was left stranded on the pits bend, having found himself in all sorts of a pickle over the previous few laps on what was his first appearance in the class.  987 Ethan Pope was the leader at the time but lost out at the re-start to 986 Sophie Fasey who went on to win ahead of 119 Harry Steward.  Heat two saw Steward feature in a different way as a scruffy battle between him and 907 Cameron Lawrence saw neither finish, and each receive a warning from the Clerk of the Course.  180 Charlie Lobb was the leader until he was spun by 667 Tommy Farrell and this allowed 912 Sam Rees to take over and he went on to win.  After his negative tactics in heat two, Steward was withdrawn from the rest of the meeting by his pit crew.  The Final saw Lobb get away well from the front again.  However a crash on the back straight saw 982 Sophie Daughtrey collected heavily in the side.  Unfortunately Sophie needed to be extracted from her car and was transferred to hospital for precautionary checks.  Lobb lost out in the lead to Rees and then Fasey after the re-start, who had Lawrence track her every move over the closing laps.  He went in for a last bend lunge and in textbook fashion, shifted the 986 car wide and took the win.  Fasey held on for second and Rees completed a good day in third.

BriSCA F2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 676 886 438 126 315 302 14 740 352 544
Heat 2 476 290 254 206 734 464 937 218 111 542
Consolation 127 83 522 526 55 890 783 828 575 920
Final 886 676 290 218 575 302 783 522 542 315
Grand National 575 55 218 886 783 542 315 254 828 206
Grade Awards W 55 Y 290 B 476
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 986 119 922 951 987 931 912 943 252 982
Heat 2 912 987 986 988 911 922 931 982 299 943
Final 907 986 912 987 667 917 931 911 299 999
National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
LCQ 382 249 146 349 333 427 96 nof
Word Final 239 27 294 133 257 714 122 648 162 341
Allcomers 1 452 190 239 45 133 294 74 714 341 162
Allcomers 2 190 239 452 162 341 714 nof
King Of Crash/DD 341
Oldest Rarest 922
Best Presented 239 341 47 133 249 349 146
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