Smeatharpe Stadium - Sunday 17th April 2016

After three successive Autospeed meetings blighted by inclement Spring weather, it was pleasing that the third meeting of season at Smeatharpe Stadium was in dry and sunny conditions, even if a little on the chilly side, and the crowd on hand were treated to another packed programme featuring the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars, Saloon Stock Cars, Stock Rods and the first outing of the year at the venue for the Autospeed Bangers.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

For the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars it was the annual ‘Remembering Rog’ day, in memory of former 95 Roger Willcock and despite a World Championship qualifying round taking place at Hednesford on the same day, the entry stood at 41 cars, all southwest based, and interestingly four more than the corresponding meeting in 2015 when it was a solus date.  The custom of commemorative mugs for all drivers was maintained on the parade lap, with a further bonus from ‘Baker Sophie’ who presented all drivers with a ‘Remembering Rog’ cupcake too – a delightful touch befitting the occasion well.  Perhaps on hindsight, the scene was set for the remainder of the meeting on the opening lap of the first heat when several of the star graded drivers managed to trip over each other and cause a pile up, to bring about a complete re-run.  127 Matt Stoneman ultimately ended up the winner and then in heat two 676 Neil Hooper took the win, after likely looking winner 352 Dave Sansom spun as the track surface went slippery late on.  522 Chris Mikulla won the consolation with minimum fuss.  The Final required a complete re-run after 437 Danny Withers and 468 Sam Weston had a spectacular coming together, which started on the back straight and the pair came to rest one on top of the other, with Weston’s car also resting on the plating on turn three, having picked up huge damage.  It was 418 Ben Borthwick who led the re-started race away and it was a typical Smeatharpe F2 feature race, with so many front bumper exchanges going on, places swapping and changing it was difficult to keep up with it all.  This was until lap seven when 528 Shane Hector showed signs of distress after 111 Lewis Geach had sent him crashing into the fence on turns three and four, and the yellow flags were shown.  The bumpers went charging in on the race leader Borthwick at the drop of the green flag for the re-start, and the hapless white graded driver was sent hurtling into the plating.  This badly held up the then second placed Sansom too and it was Stoneman who burst into the lead and opened out a gap, chased by 315 Justin Fisher, 575 Tom Clark and 542 Steven Gilbert.  This was until another caution period, this time on lap 13 with 83 Sy Harraway stranded on the exit of turn two.  Whilst Stoneman got a good re-start, his engine ran sick very soon afterwards and he was forced to retire with a rocker issue.  This promoted Fisher into the lead, but now hunted down by Hooper who had lost significant time earlier on in a clash with Harraway but had made the most of the yellow flag.  Fisher had it all covered though, and went on to take a good win.  Hooper made second whilst third was in dispute right until the last corner when Gilbert went in on Clark and both lost out, and in a scenario reminiscent to his 2013 World Championship win, 783 James Rygor nipped by for the other podium spot.  Anyone expecting the Grand National to be a wind down zone after such a frantic Final would have been wrong, with a high profile coming together between firstly Sansom and Stoneman and then Sansom and Rygor, with the latter launching two attacks on the 352 car – the second resulting in both cars retiring with damage.   A yellow flag with Stoneman again in trouble bunched the pack up and eroded 689 Joe Marquand’s lead.  24 Jon Palmer struck on Hooper but this sent both wide and allowed Clark into a lead he never lost.  Words probably cannot do this particular F2 Stock Car session justice; it was simply a meeting that had everything.

Saloon Stock Cars

Several of the Saloon Stock Car drivers present had a busy weekend, having contested the Steve O’Dell Tribute meeting at Ipswich the previous evening and had made the journey back to the west from East Anglia, joined on that regular journey by reigning track champion 158 Shane Davies and early season National Points leader 730 Deane Mayes.  With regret, it was a modest entry once again in comparison to other tracks across the country, but, such is the nature of Smeatharpe a trio of watchable races were served up.  475 Ben Sealy just held off Mayes to win heat one, but there was no stopping the Norfolk driver in heat two.  The Final had a messy start and the upshot was that the ‘big three’ of Davies, Mayes and 677 Eddie Darby were in the top three positions by the second lap of the race.  Therefore, it became a battle of supremacy between them with Davies holding on throughout and Mayes then executing a perfectly timed last bend move on Darby on the last corer.  However, it wasn’t over there with regards to the result as Davies was judged to have jumped the start, the black cross shown to him was upheld and he was docked two places.  To his great credit, Shane showed his class by accepting the decision.  Thus it was Mayes who inherited the win with Darby second.

Stock Rods

The Stock Rods reached the third round of their Grand Prix series for 2016, but frustratingly this did not enhance the entry beyond the usual visiting drivers.  315 Trevor Ashworth won the heat event before 54 John Tait held on all the way in the Final, keeping 437 Lewis Tricky at bay whilst 776 Simon Jones made third.  The Grand National came down to a battle between 68 Levi Robinson and Ashworth, with the latter getting the better of it to take his second win of the afternoon.


The Autospeed Bangers had longer than usual to wait for their first Smeatharpe appearance of the season, and they certainly made up for it with a British Championship qualifying round and 54 cars in attendance.   With the format two from three heats this meant for very busy races and a big 42 car Final.  Teenager 701 Ben Brice, ‘steering from the rear’ took his BMW to the win in heat one whilst 320 Dan Abbott made the most of a yellow flag to catch long time leader 535 Ian Harris to take heat two.  Heat three featured a roll over for 458 Leighton James, the race suspension again robbing Harris of a possible win and it was 113 Chris Jeanes who came through for the win.  With so many cars on the track, suffice to say there was action everywhere in the Final and it was perhaps surprising that it went 11 laps before there was a stoppage, coming after 284 Leon Benjafield rolled on the back straight.  133 Jody Jeanes had already made it to the front by this stage, challenged by 246 Ryan Sparks.  Jeanes continued to lead the remaining laps after the re-start and went on to win, whilst Sparks became the hunted rather than the hunter as he was passed by 991 Ben Hale for the runner-up place.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 127 315 745 126 783 83 476 542 920 468
Heat 2 676 689 437 111 979 24 352 418 828 750
Consolation 522 528 935 627 575 890 526 460 572 328
Final 315 676 783 542 979 627 522 111 352 689
Grand National 575 24 676 315 522 542 979 528 935 111
Grade Awards W 689 Y 745 B 627 R 315
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 475 730 677 619 28 199 158 460 995 276
Heat 2 730 276 995 619 677 158 460 28 nof
Final 730 677 158 199 619 28 276 475 995 nof
Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 315 437 54 41 9 776 3 944 626 151
Final 54 437 776 9 68 626 944 49 41 613
Grand National 315 68 41 437 9 3 909 944 776 54
Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 701 804 835 70 284 246 75 320 854 797
Heat 2 320 133 535 804 284 991 113 768 913 797
Heat 3 113 535 743 515 246 835 718 991 84 775
Final 133 991 246 622 113 797 320 701 912 79
Best Presented 991
Grade Awards W 535, 515, 84 Y 701, 743, 768 B 804, 284, 70 R 133, 246, 991
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