Smeatharpe Stadium - Saturday 19th September 2020

A belated first Speedweekend of the year featured an attractive line-up with the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars joined by the track debuts of the V8 Hotstox and National Ministox.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

The 53-car entry is the highest tarmac attendance of the season so far, and unlikely to be bettered.  The field was split into three qualifying heats with returnee 352 Dave Sansom winning the first, as he was able to withstand a last bend hit from 183 Charlie Guinchard whilst 320 Matt Hatch and 282 Ant Riley resumed their on-track rivalry exchanging bumper blows mid-race.  White grader 86 Jess Ward continued her fine form of late, with victory in heat two, whilst 127 Matt Stoneman powered through the field to win heat three comfortably.  A large grid of cars returned for the consolation, more than half of them being either white or yellow graded, but by half distance 783 James Rygor had hit the front.  He looked comfortable and set for victory, but with just a few laps to go he suffered a mechanical failure with the rear suspension and was left to coax his ailing car home.  With Rygor unable to defend his lead, 251 Craig Driscoll, 979 Paul Moss and 835 Matt Westaway indulged in series a series of heavy bumper blows, and Driscoll was able to emerge from the battle to cross the line in first place.  Former gold top Rygor nursed his car home in fifth.  The Final featured 33 cars, Rygor leaving the track before the race commenced with his mechanical woes clearly not remedied.  The initial start was explosive, with the Stars and Blue grade hurtling into the Honiton bend.  Amongst the melee that ensued, 982 Martin Bentley connected with the plating hard, his car continuing around two thirds of the raceway to come to an eventual halt against the safety fence on the back straight bring out an immediate red flag.  After receiving medical treatment, Bentley thankfully climbed out of his badly damaged car under his own steam.  The second start managed to go a little further, but the yellow flags were once again shown with 35 Charlie Fisher coming to rest on top of the front of 460 Matt Weston’s race car.  As the field set away, there was yet again drama this time 542 Steven Gilbert finding himself spun on the entry to the home straight, the British Champion unable to find a way to reach safety and eventually being collected by 979 Paul Moss and 820 Chris Hatch.  With a forceful and purposeful approach, 747 Bradley McKinstry quickly charged into the lead when the race resumed, but he then suffered a throttle linkage fault, which cut his speed.  Smeatharpe regular 184 Aaron Vaight took full advantage, passing the Northern Irishman to hit the front.  Meanwhile 560 uke Wrench had recovered from an earlier spin towards the fence to climb back up the order.  He made it into the top five, and then passed McKinstry whereupon he tried to close the gap on Vaight but he had to settle for second with Guinchard finishing ahead of McKinstry in third in a race that only saw 11 cars reach the finish line – just one third of the original grid.  After such an eventful evening, it was a little surprising that the Grand National featured the largest field of the night, 34 cars taking to the track. Despite an early race suspension, 210 Tristan Claydon held on for a well-deserved win, 86 Jess Ward also picking up the St John’s Ambulance Brigade Shield for the highest scoring White Top over the course of the evening.

V8 Hotstox

The 17-car entry was a little down on what had been hoped for but nonetheless they provided a visual and audible spectacle.  With the formula an unknown quantity on the small track, it was decided to continue with the planned two from three heat format.  288 Jon Brown continued his fine form in the formula’s outings so far this season with a win in the first heat having moved aside 176 Stephen Young.  That saw Young drop behind 8 Catherine Harris, but on the next lap Young spun Harris out on the Honiton bend, the Superstar driver unable to re-join as the chequered flag fell.  Brown followed his victory up with a second win in heat two, whilst National Points Champion 131 Kev Stutchbury won heat three.  The Final under the lights provided an assault on the senses, with 328 Michael Boswell resolving his mechanical woes from earlier in the evening to build up a commanding lead.  Brown and Stutchbury had also climbed up the field to complete the top three as the lap boards came out.  On the final lap Boswell appeared far enough ahead, but that did not deter Brown who made an audacious dive on the last bend – only narrowly failing to connect on the rear bumper of Boswell – a brave move indeed given the unfamiliar track.  Boswell raced home for the win.  The Grand National was led for much of the race by 438 Craig Kellett, but Stutchbury was making rapid progress through the field and once past Kellet he eased home to take the final chequered flag of the evening.

National Ministox

The junior racers quickly acclimatised to the unfamiliar surroundings as they contested four qualifying heats ahead of their European Championship, each driver racing in three of the four races.  186 Kasey Jones won the opening heat which managed to run flag to flag despite 911 Lucas Hanson coming to rest on the plating just past the starter’s rostrum.  293 Elexie Bartram also ended up heavily in the fence towards the pit gate in heat two necessitating a race suspension.  On the restart 475 Leah Sealy powered to the win, the locally based racer enjoying a weekend’s racing close to home for once.  180 Jack Witts took heat three but had to work hard for his win with a fine effort by white top 20 Fred Hunter-Johnson.  Once Witts took over from him at the front, Hunter-Johnson made a determined challenge to regain the lead from the Superstar, eventually having to settle for the runner-up spot.  Jones won the final qualifying heat ahead of the European Championship, which was lined up in closed grid formation, positions within grade determined by the points scored throughout the evening.  This gave Hunter-Johnson a pole position start, with Jones on the third row and Witts alongside the other Superstars just four or five rows further back.  The pack set off at quite a pace upon the green flag falling, with 28 Josh Wilson taking up the lead charge.  However Witts made short shrift of reaching the front, and although he was unable to relax given the need to pick his way through the back marking traffic throughout the second half of the race, he regained the title he last won in 2017 in fine stye.  Sealy crossed the line in second but unfortunately failed post-race scrutineering, which saw 77 Tom Earl promoted to second and Wilson rounded out the top three.

National Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 186 20 180 414 28 290 77 475 211 27
Heat 2 475 186 77 67 290 335 120 20 64 51
Heat 3 180 20 414 77 67 64 120 335 925 51
Heat 4 186 180 27 211 475 414 290 120 171 64
European 180 77 28 67 20 64 211 27 120 171
BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 352 747 183 184 992 890 210 325 first 8 to final
Heat 2 86 560 418 538 542 115 736 539 first 8 to final
Heat 3 127 24 776 161 527 581 689 35 first 8 to final
Consolation 251 979 835 482 783 982 460 820 746 920
Final 184 560 183 747 418 352 24 210 86 920
Grand National 210 538 161 542 24 352 560 184 578 581
Grade Awards W 86 Y 352 B 979
V8 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 288 438 176 402 525 170 350 nof
Heat 2 288 8 131 222 328 384 170 nof
Heat 3 131 69 222 438 384 525 402 167 507
Final 328 288 131 222 8 438 384 69 402 176
Grand National 131 438 288 222 176 384 328 69 525 170
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