Smeatharpe Stadium - Sunday 25th January 2015

Report by Steve Linfield

On an afternoon where the weather was suitably benign for a January day, the first meeting of 2015 or the second meeting of the out of season for Autospeed depending on the perspective was the traditional 2 litre National Bangers Winter Open Championship.  They were backed up by the unlimited National Bangers in a World Championship qualifying round and the 11-16 year olds in the Ministox.

2 Litre National Bangers

With regret, and as is often the case with National Bangers, the total entry in the 2 litre cars did fall short of what was booked and thus expected.  But, at 35 cars it was respectable enough and the decision was made to run the first race as the Winter Open Championship which made for a busy event.  The entry did include a seven strong contingent from “The Gladiators” all the way from Essex, and as ever they played their part in the day’s proceedings.  For one of their well-known members, 349 Lewis ‘Noddy’ Price, he was on the wrong end of a big hit from 74 Adam Hitchcock early in the main race amid two pile ups at either end of the track.  In the race, 131 Sam Hill opened up what looked to be an unassailable lead, but he spun it away and this allowed 190 Steve Bailey to take over and he went on to open up his 2015 account for titled races with a successful defence.  162 Brett Ellacott was second and 239 Steve Carter third, to complete a DWO clean sweep of the podium.   The first Allcomers needed to be completely re-run after 270 Shaun Baker found himself on the wrong end of a 341 Andrew Jones follow in, which resulted in ‘Slug’ needing to be extricated from his car.  After being removed he was taken to hospital for a check-up where he was later discharged, sore and bruised, but otherwise okay.   The re-started race saw a win for 133 Terry Hill.   The second Allcomers saw the biggest action of the afternoon, with a train-jacking crash on the back straight and then later on 841 Tom Perkins took a big hit from 252 Steve Bugler.  This was followed up by an outrageous T-bone against the plating from 741 Alex Waterman and a hefty head on from a Gladiator.  This left the 841 Mondeo a real mess, enough to earn him the award for the most wrecked car of the meeting.  For his part in it all, Waterman was disqualified pending further penalty.  Bailey went on to take his second win of the day in the 2 Litres.   The Destruction Derby fielded nine cars, with five of them Gladiators.  Amazingly, 194 Mike Winter limped his battered car back out, and his fine efforts for the day won him the Top Trier award.  In the end, 548 Jamie Avery finished off 542 Craig Oliver to end a decent enough session from the 2 Litres.

Unlimited cc National Bangers

Alas, several late cancellations in the Unlimited National Bangers left the entry at 11, including a quartet on double duty in both classes on the day.  Of those who failed to make it, 17 Kyle Overy broke down, 45 Anthony Croshaw was taken ill, as was Marshall Wilson, which meant the trio from south Wales had no way of getting their lorry (with cars) to the meeting.  However, there was plenty of spectacular sights and indeed sounds and with the addition of 262 Rob ‘Roona’ Bugler to the ranks, it ended up with some controversy too.  A regular adversary of the DWO team, in particular 190 Steve Bailey, he was lurking to try and stop ‘Pikey’ in heat one.   Suffice to say 190 saw him doing so, unlike last year’s World Championship race, and sacrificed the victory to continue the battle.  162 Brett Ellacott went on to win.  Roona was gone early in heat two and Bailey went on to win.   But, it was back to the battle in the Final.  For some time it looked like those in battle were not going to find each other, as Bugler was spun on the opening lap by Pikey, and the two hooked up.  Bailey re-joined to jostle with the leading back whilst Roona spent much of the rest of the race circulating half a lap behind the rest.  It was never going to be left like that though, and again Roona lay in wait for Pikey on the penultimate lap.  190 pinned his car against that of 262 and this allowed 239 Steve Carter to plough in.  This triggered a private DD between 190 and 262 and the latter almost stopped race leader 162 Brett Ellacott on the last corner.   162 went on to take the win and then found 262 going the wrong way at him on the run down lap.  However, Ellacott then transgressed by attacking Bugler after the red flags were showing which saw him disqualified.   Thus it was 988 Billy Dennison who inherited the victory ahead of 452 Anthony Sleeman and 382 Tommy Hutchings.

Ministox

A very pleasing entry of 22 Ministox included several long travellers, notably from East Anglia.  Both visiting silver tops – 517 Lauren Overy and 219 Harry Steward are well acquainted with the Smeatharpe oval in any case.   However, it was to be a day when the lower graded drivers simply got away with only one caution flag all day, and that was very early on in heat one when 252 Izzy Jackson found herself stranded on the racing line.  229 Megan Petherick continued to lead after the resumption and was only reeled in towards the end by 677 Warren Darby who went on to win.   The second heat saw Petherick never headed as she took an impressive first Smeatharpe win, Darby looked like he may be able to mount a challenge at one point but spun out of contention.   The Final saw Petherick relegated to the rear of the well populated white grade as per the rules of racing.  This time it was 988 Harry Sheppard who headed them off and the gap between himself and the rest never came down, and he looked well beyond his racing years on his way to his first ever win.  916 Keiron Bodie was the one chasing in second whilst behind there was a very close battle between Steward, 220 Luke Dorling and Overy which was resolved in favour of Steward, just.   This was an absolutely excellent showing from the Ministox.

2 Litre National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Winter Open 190 162 239 131 133 542 549 758 341 141
Allcomers 1 133 131 162 239 190 758 341 206 548 549
Allcomers 2 190 131 239 162 133 758 549 548 542 533
DD 548
Best Presented 65 190 194 239 270 758
Top Trier 194
Most Wrecked Car 841
Top Entertainer 542
Unlimited cc National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 162 452 133 239 714 988 190 382 262 nof
Heat 2 190 239 162 988 382 133 452 714 nof
Final 988 452 382 133 714 239 nof
Best Presented 146 262
Top Trier 262
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 677 220 229 219 517 931 667 299 907 922
Heat 2 229 980 931 922 299 517 907 220 219 987
Final 988 916 219 220 517 931 902 907 922 987
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