Smeatharpe Stadium - Sunday 30th September 2017

It was an all too rare Saturday night under the lights at Smeatharpe Stadium but unfortunately what came with it, for the second meeting in succession was cloud and rain.  However, the show went on of course and the excellent entry of cars put on an equally excellent display of racing with the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars racing in the third round of the National Series – The Race For The Silver Roof, the National Micro Bangers reached the end of their (different) National Series and were joined by the Saloon Stock Cars and Stock Rods, who too had their biggest domestic title of the season with the West of England Championship.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

The BriSCA F2 entry was 51 cars, a total which just might become the highest (tarmac) one of them all when it comes to the National Series and of the 15 drivers eligible/invited to contest the chase for the silver roof, 14 of them were present.  Few of them came to the fore in the heats which were in the worst conditions of the evening and were won by yellow graded 418 Ben Borthwick and 528 Shane Hector which meant that many of the National Series contenders were in the 29-car consolation.  Most did qualify for the Final through this and it was one of the NS series drivers, 606 Andrew Palmer who was the winner.  740 Neil Langworthy was the early leader in the Final, which came under yellow flag early on with 24 Jon Palmer stranded on the exit of turn four and whilst Langworthy continued to lead at the re-start he lost out to Hector, who was being pursued by 689 Joe Marquand and Borthwick.  Hector held sway until just past the halfway stage as many of the NS stars made little or no progress up the order.  38 Dave Polley and 7 Gordon Moodie were the pick of them but not in contention for the win at this stage of the race.  The leading yellow grade trio came up to lap 905 Rob Mitchell with three laps to go, Borthwick and Hector passed him but he fired Borthwick back into Hector, which saw the 528 car into the plating and Borthwick lead.  However, half a lap later he too crashed out with Mitchell, and the pair slid across the track and collected the third-place runner 665 Richard Clubley.  All of this put Marquand into the lead, who was now being challenged by 935 Nathan Maidment who made his move just before starting the last lap, all of which looked completely unlikely only two laps earlier.  As Maidment rounded the final turn to take the victory, Polley used the back marking 527 James Riggall to move Marquand aside for second in what was yet another classic Smeatharpe Final.  The National Series drivers made up more than half the grid on the Grand National and they took half of the points on offer but it was Borthwick who came through for his second win of the evening.

National Micro Bangers

The National Micro Banger entry was in excess of 40 cars and of high quality too for the conclusion of the National Series and featured another great showing from the “Reel Steel” team with some very smartly presented cars likewise with long distance traveller 375 Alex Henby and another stretched version of a Nissan Micra for 45 ‘Lips’ Anthony Croshaw, all getting points in the all-important Entertainers’ League.  For those drivers not seeded into the National Series Final, there was a last chance race and this was won by Autospeed World Champion 190 Steve Bailey.  With all the ten qualifiers added to the seeds it meant a 32 car grid for the feature race, which was an all action one early on and featured a red flag after 760 Ryan Pike took several big hits on the home straight, albeit after handing one out himself initially to 160 Jamie Warr.  162 Brett Ellacott was the leader at the time and he continued to do so at the re-start but Bailey was coming through from towards the rear of the grid and went on to win ahead of Ellacott and the recently crowned PRI World Champion 74 Adam Hitchcock.  The first Allcomers featured a great jacking train involving 206 Matt Brewer, 134 Cameron McColm, 728 Stuart Hooper and 240 Rob Setters, who latterly got another hit from Hitchcock.  There was no stopping Bailey though who took his third win of the evening.  Could he make it a fourth?  The answer was yes, as he reeled in Ellacott and Hitchcock to make it that quartet.  A good Destruction Derby concluded the evening ultimately won by 912 Simon Rees who just outlasted 45 Lips.  This was a great showing by the National Banger drivers and their crews in the terrible weather conditions.

Saloon Stock Cars

The entry in the Saloon Stock Cars was 22 cars, with many travellers making it a southwest double over the weekend with the meeting at Mendips Raceway the following day (which is how the fixture was always intended to be) and this was even with a clashing fixture taking place in the Netherlands showing just how far the formula is moving as this wouldn’t have been viable as little as five years ago.  In the difficult track conditions, it was the Sampson brothers who mastered them with 149 Jamie Sampson winning both heats.  The second heat was the race of the evening for the Saloon Stock Cars.  After a yellow flag for what was a complete track blockage and moved inner marker tyres on the back straight, the re-start saw a great battle amongst the places with them swapping and changing, all behind Jamie Sampson though.  The Final was led by 610 Trent Arthurton until he spun and this put Jamie Sampson into the lead, but a much better start from 428 Lee Sampson put him into contention and he moved his brother aside at the first available opportunity.  He pulled out what looked to be a safe distance and held on for the win, despite an audacious last bend lunge from Jamie, which would have surely taken both around had he made contact.  Jamie scrambled across the line for second though with 78 Jack Thompson third in an all East Anglian top three.

Stock Rods

Not to be outdone, the ORCi Stock Rods had their last Smeatharpe appearance of 2017 for the West of England Championship and whilst there were a few no-shows from those booked, the top-heavy entry came from across the south of England plus there was a surprise visit from Scotland from ORCi Champion 91 Jim Pitcaithly.  208 Dave Simpson took the first heat, which were ultimately in the best conditions of the meeting before the heavier rains came and then on a very wet track 437 Lewis Trickey won the second heat by a long way.  With the points on the heats determining the grid for the Final, it put the two heat winners off the front row.  However, on the rolling start Trickey went too soon and was shown the black cross for his possible jump start.  As Trickey opened out a good lead at the front, most eyes were on Pitcaithly as he first battled with 151 Simon Vincent and found a way around him and then Simpson until he could at least challenge Trickey over the closing laps.  It was Trickey who took the chequered flag, but the outcome was to be decided in Race Control and it was deemed that his start was a jump, which to his credit he took in a very sportsmanlike way and it was Pitcaithly who inherited the victory and the title, another for his collection over the past few years.  Simpson moved to second, having just held off Vincent by a very small margin at the line and Trickey moved back to third.

BriSCA F2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 418 935 740 665 76 581 302 700 127 325
Heat 2 528 895 689 38 526 476 468 544 542 184
Consolation 606 101 7 24 920 905 618 527 560 488
Final 935 38 689 7 542 101 700 581 302 606
Grand National 418 689 542 468 581 905 184 618 920 7
Grade Awards W 740 Y 689 B 935
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 149 428 84 641 27 350 157 78 902 158
Heat 2 149 199 428 171 157 78 641 84 399 350
Final 428 149 78 199 84 641 399 171 903 799
Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 208 437 34 92 740 14 51 215 944 9
Heat 2 437 91 151 34 740 208 3 234 51 9
West of England 91 208 437 151 51 3 9 92 740 215
National Micro Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Last Chance 190 133 206 912 988 134 77 199 720 288
National Series Final 190 162 74 382 988 133 206 77 240 838
Allcomers 1 190 133 74 912 382 196 240 199 nof
Allcomers 2 190 74 162 737 133 912 45 196 199 240
Entertainers in final 151 838
Entertainers for meeting 728
DD 912
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