Smeatharpe Stadium - Good Friday 15th April 2022

A warm and sunny Good Friday, mirroring the last time Autospeed held a meeting on this date back in 2019 at Northampton, saw a good sized crowd on hand to enjoy an entertaining evening’s racing from the formulas on show.

BrISCA F2 Stock Cars

A very good 43 car entry gathered, with the drivers in heat one overkeen to get underway (a theme that continued in later races).  A false start was declared, and the drivers were re-lined up.  On the second attempt the green was shown although debutant 203 Dean Hawkins’s race did not last long as he tangled with 525 Charlie Knight.  Form man 352 Dave Sansom moved through into the lead and whilst 542 Steven Gilbert made a valiant effort on a last bend challenge he had to settle for second behind the yellow grade winner.  Heat two saw 526 Marc Rowe take up the early running as 475 Leah Sealy in her first F2 outing went for a spin on the home straight.  828 Julian Coombes, in his rush to hunt down Rowe, bungled the pass of second place 509 Jordan Butcher, the two tangling and also sending Sealy round once more.  Up front Rowe was navigating his way through a busy field of backmarkers, the traffic not necessarily playing to his advantage and allowing 915 Jamie Jones to close in within striking distance in second.  Jones was as close as he had been all race long going down the back straight for the final time and most in the stadium (including in all likelihood Rowe) expected a last bend challenge, but it didn’t come, and Rowe took the chequered flag.  It transpired that Jones had thought there was another lap of the race to go and was awaiting his moment only to realise too late that it had passed!  20 cars made it back out for the consolation which was only just underway when teenager 970 Archie Farrell spun around on the pit bend as Sealy moved through to lead.  The yellow flags were needed when Hawkins found himself broadside across the track on the back straight with 454 Ryan Gardner tangling with him.  The restart was a messy one with 976 Dan Kent getting away too quickly and in the process ending up in a heap with 728 Jack Bunter, 232 Dan Abbott and 736 Josh Weare before they’d even managed to take the green flag on the restart.  Coombes made his way up into the lead, as most eyes were on an entertaining battle between 667 Tommy Farrell and 418 Ben Borthwick, the latter eventually leading the former home in second behind Coombes.  There was late race disappointment for Sealy who spun around on the home straight whilst sitting in a qualifying spot for the Final.  The Final featured 28 starters and once again saw a false start with a trio of drivers regrettably failing to make next attempt.  The second attempt did get underway but was quickly brought under caution as 605 Ritchie Andrews found himself clambering over the top of 35 Charlie Fisher with 783 James Rygor also getting hooked up with the duo.  A further stoppage was required when 528 Shane Hector was turned around on the entry to the back straight by 184 Aaron Vaight, Hector then being collected heavily by a number of the chasing pack.  The race resumed for the final time with Sansom in the lead.  As the laps counted down, 988 Charlie Lobb was closing in on the race leader, with Gilbert in third doing likewise on the youngster.  On the pit bend Jones and 509 Jordan Butcher tangled, the two sitting in the middle of the track though with space to get through on either side.  There was then an exciting and intriguing phase of the race as each time the lead cars came round the put bend, Jones had moved his car just enough to give the drivers a moment of doubt which way to go and the advantage between Sansom and his pursuers ebbed and flowed.  With just two laps to go Jones managed to free himself and with only Butcher remaining in position, Lobb made the decisive move by choosing the inside line as Sansom went wide, and in a stroke Lobb was into the lead with Gilbert through for second.  Lobb then managing to ride out a last bend challenge from Gilbert, with Sansom for the third time this season losing out on a final win in the closing stages of a race.  Lobb in his post-race interview remarked that without the incident on the pit bend he was unlikely to have caught Sansom, but the win was a fillip after a blown engine recently at Hednesford.  The Grand National saw Rowe quickly into the lead but it was Rygor who was the quickest on track, as behind him, his fellow star men of Borthwick, Farrell and 890 Paul Rice indulged in a ferocious battle for the minor placings, with 194 Luke Johnson also involved.  Johnson and Farrell eventually tangled on the Honiton Bend.  With oil being deposited on the pit bend by someone it was slippery in the closing stages, but Rygor roared home for the win.

Saloon Stock Cars

The 17 car entry was about what was expected albeit down from the Good Friday meetings of the past, but as is usual at the track, the action came thick and fast.  177 Chris Masters led the opening stages of heat one until 319 Richard Regan took over at the front until spun around by 27 Jason Kingwell, who himself also spun.  That promoted 10 Frank Little into the lead.  Masters forced his way past before 341 Austen Freestone stormed his way into top spot, the fifth lead change in the space of a couple of laps.  The race was suspended owing to a pile up on the pit bend featuring Little, 28 Ian Govier, 97 Jon Kingwell and 84 Carl Boswell, with Little having fuel tank issues.  On the restart, 698 Danny Colliver quickly climbed up into the lead where he stayed till the chequered flag.  The second heat featured an early caution period when Regan lost his bonnet.  A complete restart was called with Masters into a lead where he stayed right till the end.  There was plenty of action behind however as Boswell turned Jon Kingwell around as revenge for the heat one incident, the two being delayed which saw Boswell latch onto the Plymouth based driver’s rear bumper down the home straight and heavily into the turn two plating, and the pair were then joined by Jason Kingwell looking to defend the family honour.  As Masters crossed the finish line, Freestone launched a challenge on second placed 364 Nathan Olden, who held on with Colliver taking advantage of Freestone’s move to nip up his inside for third.  The Final saw 33 Peter Hollet lose control and head nose first into the pit gate.  It was Govier’s turn to become involved with Jason Kingwell, the former launching the latter into the pit bend only for Kingwell to come back at Govier ultimately spinning him to the wall inside out on the home straight.  Once again though it was Masters who had broken free from the field and he led Colliver home to take the Final, as Freestone completed the top three.

Old Skool Unlimited cc Bangers

A carefully put together series with attractive prize package attracted a most impressive showing of 27 cars for round one of the Lorry Breaker Series.  Having overhauled his son, 582 Corey Hunt, 382 Danny Hunt moved into the lead in the opening heat but was reeled in by 246 Ryan Sparks who timed his move to perfection by punting the leader on the final bend into 59 Michael Hamley who spun in front of Hunt, and that allowed Sparks up the inside and through for the victory.  The second heat was a less exciting affair with 122 Jessie Ashley taking a flag to flag win.  Hunt was again into the lead in the Final until he was unceremoniously turned around by 272 Shaun Ross, as 114 Nick Courtier inherited the lead.  That’s where he stayed until the final bend when again a last bend lunge came, this time from 2 Jack Hodges, and again it successfully allowed the second placed racer to gain the win.  As reward for the fine support for the meeting, an additional Allcomers race was added to proceedings which saw 362 Johnny James claim the chequered flag as he ended the night as the top points scorer.

BriSCA F2s 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 352 542 320 302 528 689 91 35 27 184
Heat 2 526 915 988 127 783 890 979 895 605 572
Cons 828 418 667 194 53 509 762 529 736 663
Final 988 542 352 127 302 184 667 890 418 689
Grand National 783 542 352 184 526 915 890 689 418 988
Grade Awards W 526 Y 352 B 988
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 698 341 33 672 399 364 677 319 177 27
Heat 2 177 799 364 698 341 677 27 399 672 199
Final 177 698 341 319 364 902 677 84 199 399
Old Skool unlimited cc Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 246 382 362 954 582 122 133 185 232 252
Heat 2 122 382 185 362 246 954 272 278 133 252
Final 2 114 382 246 362 122 278 954 133 282
Allcomers 362 954 2 114 122 246 278 133 355 272
Old Skool unlimited cc Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
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