Smeatharpe Stadium - Monday 21st June 2021

A terrific turnout of BriSCA Formula Two Stock Cars contested the track’s World Championship qualifying round on a night when the weather defied forecasts and stayed dry. The F2s lived up to their reputation of providing top-drawer entertainment at the track, while Saloon Stock Cars and Heritage Stock Cars completed the bill, all three formulas having been in action the previous afternoon at sister track United Downs Raceway in Cornwall.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

The superb 55-car entry included Scottish visitors 191 Colin Stewart and 195 Mike Philip, each completing a southwest tour having raced in the previous day’s meeting. There were again plenty more from the north of England and elsewhere throughout the country, including several additions to the previous day’s entry. Among those were multiple world champions 218 Rob Speak and 968 Micky Brennan. Such large numbers meant three heats were required, with eight qualifying for the final from each, plus eight more from the consolation. A frantic start to the opener saw 86 Jess Ward inadvertently put Speak into the wall, and he then collected the hobbled 544 Will Adams, who had incurred damaged in a back-straight collision with leader 35 Charlie Fisher. A caution was required, with Adams and Fisher among those already out. Blue top 689 Joe Marquand had avoided the chaos to hit the front from star men 527 James Riggall and 560 Luke Wrench despite barely a lap having been run. From there it was easy pickings for National Series champion Wrench who nudged Marquand wide on half-distance to take a decisive lead. 24 Jon Palmer came through to second ahead of Brennan and Marquand as a smoky Riggall slipped backwards before pulling off. The stars in heat two delayed each other as they battled hard, and that allowed 398 Ian England to take a comfortable win from fellow yellow top 915 Jamie Jones and 464 Matt Linfield. Benevolent Fund Trophy winner 126 Jamie Avery was best of the reds in fourth, while 542 Steven Gilbert shoved 38 Dave Polley wide on the final bend as the pair scraped through in seventh and eighth. The cavalry charge in heat three had 352 Dave Sansom in the thick of it. It put previous Smeatharpe final winner 27 Kieren Bradford in the wall and forced out Sunday’s St Day dominator 315 Justin Fisher with a puncture. Out front, 194 Luke Johnson led until relieved by 438 Mike Rice, who was chased down by 844 Jack Prosser with five laps to go. On his first appearance of the season, 676 Neil Hooper took advantage of his blue grade to push the leaders but, having made it to second, could not get close enough for a last-bend lunge on Prosser who duly took the win. 127 Matt Stoneman was third ahead of Rice, while a late charge from 418 Ben Borthwick edged him into the qualifying places. Frantic, hard racing characterised the 28-car consolation. Track debutant 780 Courtney Witts worked her way into the lead under pressure from Adams, who briefly hit the front, only to immediately expire. That allowed Witts back ahead for a matter of seconds before Charlie Fisher came past to take his second race win in two days. 359 Gary Wrench was second ahead of 210 Tristan Claydon who just pipped Witts to third. While one Fisher was continuing to ride the crest of a wave, the other had come crashing back to earth, Justin failing to qualify for the final after collecting and getting hooked up with the spun 928 Lauren Stack. All 32 qualifiers except 488 Liam Bentham took their place in the final, led early on by Johnson and 605 Richard Andrews. Among the action-packed early laps, Speak spun while Polley and Claydon charged into the wall, and 183 Charlie Guinchard’s battle with Gilbert and Borthwick ended with a spin which delayed the latter pair. They then continued to trade blows, ending up in a heap on the back straight where they were collected by several cars, leading to yellow flags. England led from Mike Rice, 988 Charlie Lobb and Witts but Wrench was lurking ominously in fifth ahead of Brennan, Stoneman and Jon Palmer. While Brennan was slow away and slipped backwards, Wrench shot straight into third before picking off Rice and England and building a lead. The action continued behind him as Stoneman was shoved wide by Guinchard then spun along with Speak, the pair collected by Johnson. Into the final quarter of the race, Wrench’s right-rear wheel began to smoke, and the oil he was emitting made for tricky track conditions. Managing his advantage, Wrench was able to stroke the car home for his third win in five finals at the track this season, with England second and Palmer third. “I think it’s done the halfshaft seal or the bearing,” reported Wrench. “I thought, ‘Who’s putting the oil down?’ Then I looked in the mirror...” The 26-car Grand National began with Gilbert blasting Borthwick into the pit-bend fence which led to a complete re-run. While the red-tops continued to pile each other into the pit bend in take two, Sansom was also in the thick of the action, getting turned across the front of Witts’s car into the home straight wall, and then being railroaded in hard by Guinchard, leading to a caution period. Mike Rice headed the restart from Riggall, who had been unable to complete repairs in time for the consolation, but was now flying. Riggall move in front within a lap and motored to victory from Rice, who pulled clear of the hard-fought battle for third topped by 302 Dale Moon from 667 Tommy Farrell, 783 James Rygor and Jon Palmer.

Saloon Stock Cars

Seventeen cars all-in made for some decent action among the hard-hitting Saloons but, just like the previous day, it proved to be a virtual walkover for 677 Warren Darby. In what was set to be his final appearance under a white roof, Darby scorched to a second hat-trick in two days, virtually unchallenged throughout. 28 Ian Govier followed him home in the opener, from East Anglian visitor 389 Ryan Santry, who used his bumper to good effect. Having made good progress through the field, National champion 902 Junior Buster spun exiting the final bend and slipped to seventh. Govier was again second to Darby in heat two, while 489 Wayne Jarvis completed the top three. 277 Jack Grandon was the best-placed red-top in fourth after Santry was delayed in lapped traffic, then just failed to dislodge 33 Pete Hollett from fifth on the final bend. Santry broke clear of the other battling blue and red-graded drivers early on in the final, and although he was able to demote Govier and Jarvis from second and third in the second half of the race, he still could not make much impression on Darby. The youngster was long gone, although he did have to fend off some nibbles from the lapped Grandon for a couple of laps. Jarvis pushed past Govier for third, while 199 Phil Powell and Junior Buster completed the top six.

Heritage Stock Cars

Having lost a few cars from the previous day’s racing, supplemented by a couple of additions, there were 19 cars recreating the stock car racing of yesteryear. They were split into two from three heats, the first dominated by 107 Dan Chiplen, who won from 64 Paul Sykes and 536 John Ferguson. Heat two was led by 458 Tony Bevan virtually from start to finish. 728 Graham Bunter worked his way into second but was unable to catch the leader, while 271a Wayne Helliwell claimed third on the final bend. Sykes took his second win of the weekend in heat three, as 342 Ross Taylor passed 271 Dave Helliwell for second in the latter stages. Further back, Wayne Helliwell and 763 Andy Bateman entertained by driving virtually the entire race side by side, Bateman getting the nod for fifth as they crossed the line. Sixteen cars survived for the final which was a faithful representation of a typically chaotic race from 50-odd years ago. Incidents all around the raceway included 135 Jim Cannon’s car shedding a wheel, which led to a caution period, and 618 Harry Sloggett getting hooked up with Bunter. Through it all, Wayne Helliwell and Bateman broke clear at the front, only for Helliwell to tangle with Chiplen, with Bateman also getting caught up. That allowed 128 Jack Bunter into the lead and he went on to win from Ferguson and 773 Nick Whitney.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 560 24 968 689 606 218 488 124 First 8 to final
Heat 2 398 915 464 126 783 667 542 38 First 8 to final
Heat 3 844 676 127 438 184 194 183 418 First 8 to final
Consolation 35 359 210 780 988 232 890 605 First 8 to final
Final 560 398 24 438 968 988 676 780 667 606
Grand National 527 438 302 667 783 24 126 27 35 979
Grade Awards W 194 Y 398 B 676
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 677 28 389 314 277 276 902 489 281 199
Heat 2 677 28 489 277 33 389 902 199 276 444
Final 677 389 489 28 199 902 444 277 319 276
BriSCA Heritage Juniors 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 107 64 536 342 728 135 763 59 198 128
Heat 2 458 728 271(A) 536 533 271 128 773 580 157
Heat 3 64 342 271 107 763 271a 157 253 nof
Final 128 536 773 198 580 157 533 253 nof
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