Smeatharpe Stadium - Monday 28th August 2017

Who would ever have thought it? The last Bank Holiday before Christmas produced a very warm day at Smeatharpe Stadium and the large crowd that descended on the Blackdown Hills witnessed all that is best about small oval racing with Autospeed with lots of cars and a busy programme of events featuring the Bangers in their Devon Championship and Tony Jeanes Memorial event, BriSCA F2 Stock Cars, Saloon Stock Cars and BriSCA Micros for the 7-11-year olds.

Bangers

For the second year in succession there was an excellent entry if Bangers for the Tony Jeanes Memorial, with just under 80 cars in total.  The entry featured drivers from all over the southern part of England, many in immaculate cars, and all present were invited to be part of the pre-meeting Grand Parade.  First up, doubling up as heat one was the Devon Championship title race, open to those drivers who met the qualifying criteria and run in graded order, the only Banger race of the day to do so.  With this, there was always the chance of a lower graded win and indeed 2 Jack Hodges and 145 Stuart Squires had a good lead at one stage, but they were reeled in by the as always rapid 23 Barry Staples.  However, just as it looked like the Southampton based driver was going to take the Devon title to Hampshire for the first time he crashed out by hitting the spun 116 Scott Greatrex car on the back straight, and Staples was collected heavily.  Not only did this put Staples out of the race but also for the remainder of the meeting, something that could hinder his Autospeed points chase.  It was 991 Ben Hale who picked up the pieces and went on to take the title, for the second time in his career.  797 Dan Moss made second and 70 Jamie Thomas third.  Heat two saw 75 Paul Fisher come through to win and heat three saw 475 Ben Sealy hold off 523 Craig Hook all the way to the flag.  The 36-car consolation was won by 288 Billy Collins.  Having qualified for the Final in the last available place, 929 Sam Baker found himself on pole position for the feature race via the random number draw and a driver of his capabilities soon turned it into the race lead.  He was challenged early on, but when those that were doing so lost time with crashing and spinning backmarkers he pulled away, and at the end of the 15 laps he was almost half a lap clear.  113 Chris Jeanes made second and 2016 winner 106 Darren Terry-Brand was third.  Those drivers who hadn’t qualified for the main Final had a chance in the B Final, which was a far closer contest at the front with 824 Chris Polley having a race long battle with 45 Mike Reed to take the win with 898 Jack Semmonds third.  The Destruction Derby saw a fine number of 23 cars and was (again) judged by many to be a ‘proper’ DD.  It featured a rollover for 302 Dale Moon.  It came down to the final two cars of 243 Pete ‘Bodja’ Osbourne and 714 Paul ‘No Show’ Smaldon and it was the former who finished the latter off with two solid head-ons.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

Despite BriSCA F2 Stock Cars having a Bank Holiday weekend to reflect on, and then forget in terms of tarmac fixtures, Smeatharpe once again bucked the trend by having a total of 38 cars in attendance.  Two failed to make it past pre-meeting practice, but even so.  After two months away from racing 528 Shane Hector won heat one and 418 Ben Borthwick won heat two whilst 127 Matt Stoneman took the consolation, having been spun out of his heat by 352 Dave Sansom.  However, Stoneman encountered head gasket problems, and failed to take the start in the annual Club 21 Trophy Final which was lead off by 303 Chris Horwell.  However several of the yellow grade came to grief after 460 Matt Weston collected a marker tyre entering turn three, and this resulted in a pile-up and consequent yellow flag.  If this had been judged quite a pile at the time, the crash that happened at the re-start will doubtless be judged as one of the most spectacular of the year as 800 Ash Sampson and 920 Wayne Wadge tangled leaving 526 Marc Rowe with nowhere to go.  Hector tripped over Rowe, but then Sansom clambered almost up and over Rowe in an unholy heap; the 352 car ended up right on top of the 526 car – church steeple style.  Despite big and unfortunate damage, it was good to report that all drivers exited their cars all ok.  Horwell continued the lead at the next re-start until he was passed by 542 Steven Gilbert on lap eight; Gilbert having sent Borthwick into the white top, before holding off the challenge of 745 Lee Morgan.  38 Dave Polley tracked his every move but simply couldn’t get close enough to land a blow to the 542 back bumper.  Another day he might well have done, but it was to be Gilbert’s victory and a return to the star grade for him, although he had cause to be relieved that a problem with his steering wheel only manifested itself on the run-down lap.  315 Justin Fisher, another on a return to racing after a short time off made third.  The Grand National had 23 starters; more cars than any other tarmac meeting in England managed in total for the whole month of August.  Morgan won, and celebrated wildly with a display of donuts on the exit of turn two.

Saloon Stock Cars

The entry of Saloon Stock Cars was largely similar to St Day 24 hours earlier, but for a car swap with 907 Cameron Bradford stepping into uncle 27 Kieren’s car for a bit of a ‘reccy’ ahead of a potential move into Saloon Stock Cars for 2018.  It was to be very successful move, as he ran with fellow teenager 902 Junior Buster at the start of heat one, but once settled, he duly cruised to victory.  Heat two was one of the best races of the day across the board with bumpers charging in all directions behind the leading two, which were ultimately Bradford and 158 Shane Davies.  The latter used all his experience to come from the back of the grid to the front, but in fairness, all eyes were on the battle between 903 Adam Neville, Junior Buster, 399 Cole Atkins, 199 Phil Powell, 84 Carl Boswell, 447 Adam Hicks and 93 Stu Sculthorpe who simply thrilled the Bank Holiday crowd with Stock Car racing at its best.  Bradford stormed to his second win in the final, as he led home Davies and fellow Ministox graduate Junior Buster in third.

BriSCA Micro Stock Cars

Just as with St Day the previous day, the BriSCA Micro Stock Cars had as cosmopolitan an 18 car entry as would be seen in anything, anywhere, proving the commitment that the parents and families are showing to the very young drivers.  783 Fin Carter won all three races on the road, but was docked two places in the second for what was deemed excessive contact.  This promoted 25 Callum Johnson to first place.  The third race came to a very close conclusion with 51 Joelan Maynard drawing level with Carter at the line.

BriSCA F2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 528 935 38 76 526 979 575 468 895 342
Heat 2 418 303 315 542 745 352 476 189 325 689
Consolation 127 920 328 111 460 572 800 222 636 nof
Final 542 38 315 418 189 328 572 895 303 222
Grand National 745 418 38 575 315 468 528 542 325 111
Grade Awards W 303 Y 418 B 542
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 907 902 800 158 903 199 276 28 84 799
Heat 2 158 907 903 902 399 199 84 28 447 93
Final 907 158 902 199 399 28 800 447 84 903
Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Devon Ch. 991 797 70 113 621 246 451 281 944 911
Heat 2 75 133 198 243 138 DR 68 285 84 34 53
Heat 3 475 523 556 364 743 444 335 684 533 714
Consolation 1 288 206 441 992 106 929 first 6 to final
Tony Jeanes Final 929 113 106 133 70 75 743 991 621 944
B Final 824 45 898 372 366 785 999 13 55 128
DD 243
BriSCA Micro F2s 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 783 51 25 533 607 246 380 155 9 335
Heat 2 25 607 783 246 335 155 51 2 380 355
Final 783 51 380 335 533 246 2 355 38 155
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