Smeatharpe Stadium - Sunday 19th June 2016

The second day of the 2016 Speedweekend at Smeatharpe Stadium saw weather that was in contrast to the previous evening, with rain and drizzle for much of the afternoon making things feel decidedly un-summer like but nevertheless it didn’t detract from an action packed meeting featuring the Saloon Stock Cars European Championship, BriSCA F2 Stock Cars Benevolent Fund Trophy and 2 litre National Bangers in Old Skool format.

Saloon Stock Cars

Before racing, with (all) seven roof grade title holders in attendance in the Saloon Stock Cars the public were invited to have a meet and greet with them and their cars on track. World Champion 6 Simon Welton, National Points Champion 698 Danny Colliver, British Champion 85 Kyle Irvine, Irish Champion 711 Anthony McIvor, English Champion 217 Sid Madgwick, Scottish and UK Open Champion 219 Luke Grief, ORCi and National Champion 499 David Aldous and defending European Champion 677 Eddie Darby all duly spent time chatting with race fans.  All present in the one place like this may not happen again for some time.  With damage sustained during Saturday evening’s qualifying heats, the decision was taken to not run the last chance qualifier for the Saloon Stock Car European Championship and those who had scored enough points were permitted to start from the rear.  At the front of the 33 car grid on pole position was 730 Deane Mayes with fellow East Anglian 349 Michael Allard alongside, row two featured Aldous along with impressive teen 27 Kieren Bradford and equally impressive 386 Dan Petters and Darby completed the front block.   Such was the size of the grid around Smeatharpe, the front of the grid was almost with the rear at the end of the rolling lap.  Mayes quickly converted pole position into the race lead but also straight away found himself dealing with back marking traffic.  Aldous, Darby, Bradford and Allard tucked in behind as the damp but drying track caught several out.  What started as a couple of spun cars on turns one and two soon formed into a general melee as one after the other they piled in, including many of the front runners.  Bradford was sent hurtling into the heap, along with Allard, Darby got caught up and Welton at one point launched Aldous into it all.  It took several laps to sort itself out, but it did without the need for a caution flag and it was during this time that 641 Willie Skoyles, who had missed the carnage was able to catch and slip past the race leader Mayes.  It was literally only these two who didn’t lose considerable time in the pile up and they found themselves well clear of their opposition.  The second half of the race was all about Mayes trying to get back on terms with Skoyles as they picked their way through what appeared to be endless amounts of back marking traffic.  The gap ebbed and flowed, and just as it looked like it was possible that Mayes may be able to get close enough to attempt a blow with two laps remaining, he found that 158 Shane Davies wasn’t especially interested in letting him past.  Therefore, it was Skoyles’ win, his first major title in the sport after a very well driven win from 12th place on the starting grid.  Mayes had to make do with second and Darby was the best of the rest to recover for third.  What was to be the solitary Allcomers heat followed and saw a hefty trip into the plating for 28 Ian Govier, courtesy of 661 Greame Shevill which resulted in Govier having to be helped from his car.  Davies went on to win the re-started race.   The rain had returned for the meeting Final and saw Bradford lead until he spun whilst trying to lap Madgwick and it was Mayes who took up the running and maintained a gap on Darby all the way to the flag with Aldous rounding out the top three.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

The twin jewels of the BriSCA F2 Stock Car Benevolent Fund Trophy, and the resurrected “641” trophy in memory of Ray Tyleseley (for the first time since 2010) were to be raced for.  Indeed, from this point onwards, the two trophies will now be raced for at this particular meeting each year from this point on (click here for further details).  There were 51 cars in attendance from all over the country, just as with the previous evening.  The first event was the stand-alone Teen Sensations for the 16-19 year olds and again featured a small grid of cars.  Nevertheless, on the wet track it did create an interesting race and with it its own small piece of F2 history as 55 Courtney Finnikin’s victory was the first title win for a female driver.  NI747 Brad McKinstry was second and 542 Steven Gilbert third whilst the prizes given on aggregate over the two events saw Finnikin win overall from Gilbert and 527 James Riggall, who was a non-starter in the Teen Sensations.  With the Benevolent Fund trophy race being aimed at the top graded drivers present at the meeting, it does always mean uneven heats with regards to grades, but this cannot be helped and it ended up being a de facto white and yellow grade heat first off and Finnikin picked up from where she left off shortly before by taking the chequered flag, edging early leader 418 Ben Borthwick aside in the process.  The ‘Ben Fund’ trophy race featured the grid in reverse National Points order from the highest graded drivers present.  This placed 761 Richard Bowyer and amazingly reigning National Points Champion 100 George MacMillan following his period of inactivity, on the front row.  797 Dan Moss and 578 Mark Gibbs sat on row two and it was this pair that moved to the front and set the early pace on the wet track.  MacMillan quickly faded and a lot of the bigger names were clearly struggling in the conditions and made little or no progress.  The race was on between Moss and Gibbs with the Cornish blue grader appearing to just about have the upper edge over the Potteries star.  However, they were also always in back marking traffic and when Moss came to lap 768 Tom Adcroft it held him up significantly to allow Gibbs to get right with him, and then Moss spun the 797 car at 360 degrees on the back straight.  This allowed Gibbs into the lead.  He swiftly dealt with Adcroft and from then on held sway all the way to the chequered.  111 Lewis Geach made the most moves in the race and finished a close second in the end, but just wasn’t close enough to mount a challenge on Gibbs.  Thus it was Mark who made for a popular winner ahead of Geach and Moss, a top three that would have had long odds at the start of the afternoon.  890 Paul Rice was the winner in the consolation.  The feature Final for the “641” trophy in memory of Ray Tyldesley was on a track surface that was largely dry and it saw a completely changed order from the earlier Ben Fund race.  It was white graded 328 Andy Walker who set a searing pace, and he was still there at halfway but there was simply no stopping 7 Gordon Moodie in this race.  He left his fellow stars trailing in his wake and once he passed Walker, he went on to win by a significant margin.  676 Neil Hooper passed Walker for third in the closing stages.  However, for 328 it didn’t end well as he failed post- race scrutineering on the offset check and this promoted McKinstry to third.  The rain had returned for the Grand National but this did not stop the drivers from still going at it hard, with no less than three yellow flag periods during the course of the race.  Geach went on to win on the road but was penalised for jumping a re-start and it was 522 Chris Mikulla who took the win.

2 Litre Old Skool National Bangers

A good entry of just shy of 30 National Bangers in 2 litre Old Skool format and like the Saloons and F2’s they faced a variety of track conditions.  There was a first time winner in heat one as 384 Adam Geary took the victory, in what we believe was also his first Smeatharpe appearance.  83 Ben Styles took heat two which featured a stoppage after 910 Kat Dawe took a pounding on turns one and two.  The Final saw 138 Dan Rice establish a lead he wasn’t to lose with Styles and 912 Simon Rees coming through for the trophy places.  As is so often the case, although the Allcomers had a smaller field there was plenty of action including an interesting battle between Rees and 133 Terry Hill, in which the reigning points champion actually came off worse.  74 Adam Hitchcock took the chequered flag to end a relentless array of thrilling races across two terrific days of action.

Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
European 641 730 677 360 219 670 661 600 199 28
Allcomers 1 158 349 730 27 6 677 220 600 199 360
Final 730 677 499 600 30 158 349 220 386 570
BriSCA F2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Teen Sensations 55 747 542 846 nof
Heat 1 55 189 689 418 437 53 328 740 175 572
Ben Fund 578 111 797 676 522 979 968 24 101 7
Consolation 890 352 627 618 846 468 315 127 476 761
Final 7 676 747 127 315 476 101 522 24 890
Grand National 522 101 111 575 968 794 476 315 7 890
Grade Awards W 328 Y 55 B 747
2L Old Skool National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 384 138 282 383 83 133 912 447 376 100
Heat 2 83 74 138 133 714 912 383 720 100 506
Final 138 83 912 383 74 133 7 100 447 384
Allcomers 74 912 384 714 383 133 nof
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