United Downs Raceway - Sunday 16th August 2020

Racegoers were treated to a highly entertaining afternoon’s racing at the United Downs Raceway with an attractive mix of contact and non-contact racing, all with the added benefit of taking place on a dry track despite the misleading weather forecasts of thunderstorms.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

After a late surge of interest, the 35-car entry was highly pleasing. The journey to the track is a long way for most, but the 700 mile drive for Scotsman 387 Jason McDonald was particularly mammoth whilst from the North of England were 53 Philip Mann, 184 Aaron Vaight and 731 Sam Jacklin. Heat one was a fast affair with teenager 992 Harley Burns, on his track debut, hitting the front early on which ran flag to flag despite Vaight ending up in a heap with 302 Dale Moon and 835 Matt Westaway on the inside of turn four. Heat two saw another lower grade winner with 539 Steve Hartnett heading the field home. Behind there was an enthralling battle mid-pack featuring most of the star graders in the race, with plenty of bumper blows being traded including an audacious last bend lunge by 183 Charlie Guinchard on 689 Joe Marquand all for just fifth place. The consolation saw a number of blue and star graded drivers yet to secure their place in the meeting Final. Moon headed the field home but once again it was a battle further down the field that drew the attention as 890 Paul Rice, 320 Matt Hatch and McDonald traded blows, the Scotsman eventually claiming the crucial 10th and final qualifying spot. The Final for the Nostalgia Trophy featured all 26 qualifiers and proved a stop-start affair. 315 Justin Fisher brought out the first yellow finding himself broadside across the track in front of the starter. The second race suspension was called when 828 Julian Coombes climbed up the front of 196 Phil Chapman’s car, both coming to rest against the turn four plating.  Then, 895 Ben Goddard found himself in a similar predicament atop the Driscoll machine. Despite these stoppages, the white grader Harley Burns had maintained his lead but with the star graders starting to gather towards the front of the field, the race looked set for a thrilling climax. There was a fierce battle between those star graders which saw places exchanged, but there was to be yet another race suspension when 736 Josh Weare collected heavily the stranded cars of 572 James Lindsay and 820 Chris Hatch who had tangled on the pit bend. The yellows were quickly out but that did not prevent 542 Steven Gilbert piling in, the British Champion in the post-race interview wryly ruing the ‘youthful exuberance’ of Guinchard, whose bumper may well have helped Gilbert on his way. Gilbert was undamaged however and managed to take up his position on the restart which Burns yet again led away. He eventually had to give way to 24 Jon Palmer who had been in the middle, as is customary, of much of the mid-pack action earlier in the race. Try as he might Palmer could not shake off the youngster, though given his unfamiliarity with the circuit, and being in only the first month of his F2 career, it was perhaps unsurprising that he decided not to mount a last bend challenge, with Palmer remarking afterwards that he believed Burns was the quicker of the two as the race came to its conclusion with Gilbert rounding out the top three. The Grand National saw Burns once again claim the win with Gilbert showing significant pace to finish second and reclaim the lead in the Track Championship.

Saloon Stock Cars

The 15-car entry was two short of that anticipated following the withdrawal of 444 Keiran Bellringer owing to a non-racing related injury and 561 Aaron Totham who broke down en route. Heat one got off to a ferocious start with 276 Ben King tangling with 130 Chris Durrant entering into turn one, Durrant’s car jumping spectacularly up the plating with King ending up facing the wrong direction. 902 Buster Jnr had reached the front by half distance but was closed on by 161 Billy Smith who took no risks by spinning the leader out on the back straight, with Buster Jnr quickly re-joining to follow the East Anglian home. The luckless Durrant ended his race and the afternoon as his engine expired in a cloud of oil and smoke. Buster Jnr managed to keep his lead to the chequered flag in heat two; the race being far quieter than the others during the afternoon. The Final saw an early race suspension after 980 Charlie Lobb clobbered the plating at the turnstile end and ended up facing the oncoming traffic on the home straight. On the restart 00 Bradley Morgan led the field off, and a short time after 842 Lee Williams deposited 476 Ryan Wadling hard into the turn three plating. The heavy bumper work continued, and the magnetic attraction of the fourth bend continued with King at the rear of a four car train which saw the rear metal work of 199 Phill Powell car destroyed, with 399 Cole Atkins and 277 Jack Grandon also involved. The race continued with Buster Jnr heading home Smith and Morgan to the line, as the Saloon Stock Car drivers concluded another tremendous display, leaving the hardworking Autospeed team to set about repairing the plating following Powell’s full speed impact with the fence.

Stock Rods

The Stock Rods made their second appearance in Cornwall since the resumption of racing, but it was track debutant 227 Jody Hawkins who was to steal the show. She took the lead early on in the heat and despite the best efforts of 441 Tom Major she was unchallenged to the flag, the race concluding with British Champion 909 Justin Washer crossing the in fifth, but with an ailing car which saw him take no further part in proceedings. The second race of the afternoon for the feature final saw Hawkins again away and clear at the front with 351 Rhys Langdown and 204 Georgie Biggs rounding out the top three at the finish. The Grand National was a hectic affair. 222 Mike Belcher led for the opening stint of the race but as he was caught, the field began to bunch and first 285 Martin Walker and then a few laps later, Biggs went spinning on the home straight. Meanwhile Major had built up a healthy lead which he held onto till the flag, English Champion 437 Lewis Trickey following him home across the line only to subsequently find himself docked two places for the earlier incident with Biggs.

National Micro Bangers

Despite the rather meagre entry of cars the drivers in attendance put on a very entertaining show much to the appreciation of the crowd on hand. 2 Jack Hodges won the opening heat which featured 533 Ryan Parkin’s A-class Merc being piled into the turn one plating, whereupon he was comprehensively blitzed 208 Kieran Barrett. 133 Terry Hill made short work of the competition by winning heat two. In the Final Barrett continued his antics encouraging amongst others 278 Shaun Brokenshire to pile into the rear of his car. Joining in the fun was 11 Grubby Frankson and 275 Liam Best, with the two of them joining Barrett in a heap at the exit to turn four as the race came to its conclusion. The DD brought the afternoon’s action to an entertaining conclusion. Barrett was once again encouraging all and sundry to attack his car and Hodges was happy to oblige with a large hit on turn two which saw the two cars near enough welded together. Brokenshire joined in for good measure, and he eventually broke free to come round for one more shot. In doing so, like a ‘plant’ shot in snooker, he wedged himself into the back of Hodges, the force of which released Barrett at the other end of the train. Barrett’s now severely damaged car crawled around the circuit much to the delight of the crowd who willed him on as he took a couple of further shots at Brokenshire and Hodges and with it claimed a popular win.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 992 920 572 24 736 542 663 828 first 8 to final
Heat 2 539 315 895 126 183 689 979 325 first 8 to final
Consolation 302 127 184 418 538 251 464 196 820 387
Final 24 992 542 302 689 538 387 126 325 539
Grand National 992 542 302 184 418 538 920 24 320 325
Grade Awards W 992 Y 539 B 302
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 161 902 00 980 277 447 199 476 399 799
Heat 2 902 161 476 980 00 277 276 199 399 842
Final 902 161 00 145 476 399 276 277 nof
Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 227 441 351 3 909 437 285 306 204 222
Final 227 351 204 437 3 306 285 222 762 982
Grand National 441 351 3 437 306 227 222 982 285 nof
National Micro Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 2 133 838 776 275 nof
Heat 2 133 838 2 278 275 11 nof
Final 133 838 278 11 nof
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