Smeatharpe Stadium - Saturday 22nd May 2021

The opening day of the late Spring Speedweekend was held in bright but cool conditions as a large entry of drivers and spectators gathered for the first Championship event of the year. Proceedings commenced with an impeccably observed tribute to Saloon Stock Car Booking Agent Marion Farrow, who had sadly died late in the preceding month.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

The opening event was for the annual Bill Batten Ladies race Trophy in aid of the F2 Drivers Benevolent Fund and featured 12 starters including 362 Sarah Harley aiming for her third successive victory.  The race was a good quality affair with 689 Caroline Harding, Zoe Packer, 9 Leanne Thackra and 24 Stella Farrell all showing some decent pace, but there was no stopping Harley from reaching the front to retain the trophy once more, with Harding and Farrell rounding out the top three.  All participants received a memento of their achievement courtesy of race sponsors Lindsay Motorsport and MDP Services, whilst prize money was generously donated by Pat Doherty.

Heat one saw 23 cars assemble, and an early stoppage was called with 948 John Brereton and 710 Vince Stone tangling and partially blocking the entrance to the back straight.  On the resumption 127 Matt Stoneman rattled off the Honiton bend fence before doing likewise on the pit bend, which led to his exit from the race.  A second yellow flag caution was introduced when 161 Ben Bates is sent spinning at high speed into the home straight plating before being collected by 222 Adrian Watts.  Once back underway 184 Aaron Vaight quickly sped into the lead with 315 Justin Fisher following not too far behind.  There were 24 cars for heat 2, which had an untidy start that was aborted.  At the second time of asking the race got underway but a whole heap of cars including 544 Will Adams, 390 Jessica Smith and 379 Dale Seneschall Jnr tangled and whilst the incident eventually cleared, Seneschall Jnr ground to a halt on the home straight bringing out the yellow flags.  194 Luke Johnson led the field off on the restart but was quickly overhauled by the chasing pack with 560 Luke Wrench taking up the lead from 667 Tommy Farrell chasing hard in second.  That was the way it finished, whilst further behind 398 Ian England saw himself dropped out of the qualifying spots by the Steward, having been adjudged to have jumped the second attempt at the start.  22 cars took to the track for heat three which saw an early red flag for the unfortunate 269 Nigel Davies.  It was rotten luck for the exiled Englishman now based just south of Aberdeen, as his crash at the start of the home straight brought an early finish to his weekend’s racing.  915 Jamie Jones led the opening half of the race prior to being caught by 689 Joe Marquand and 24 John Palmer who then enjoyed a good tussle, with Jones trying to come back at them both.  Palmer eventually came out on top, from Marquand and 542 Steven Gilbert with Jones having to settle for fourth.  34 cars returned for the meeting consolation and it was little surprise that the action came thick and fast with a ten car pile up developing on the Honiton bend.  A complete restart was necessary but that also did not last too long before Adams, Johnson and 251 Craig Driscoll all came together on the pits bend.  947 Sam Dobbs led the restart and became embroiled in a fine battle for the lead with England.  Behind, 418 Ben Borthwick and Stoneman duelled side by side, Borthwick eventually running out wide, losing grip and spinning, which led to another stoppage when his car was unable to move.  On the restart Stoneman moved through to the front of the field and held on for the win with white top Dobbs finishing a creditable fourth.  The start of the Final was a lively one with 210 Tristan Claydon left perched on top of Smith’s car with 581 Dan Fallows and Gilbert also involved, and a short time later Farrell and 325 Ryan Sheahan also tangled.  A further yellow flag was needed when 976 Dan Kent ended up in an awkward position on the Honiton bend, the flags being shown shortly after Wrench had taken up the lead from Dobbs.  Wrench then enjoyed a relatively easy run to the flag as behind Marquand and Gilbert momentarily tangled dropping them out the placings.  Wrench took The Grader’s Award, and was followed home by Palmer and Fisher, the two remarking that they hoped for rain the following afternoon to slow the progress of the impressive National Series champion.  Wrench made a rare mistake at the start of the Grand National with an early spin which saw him lose even further ground from the lap handicap.  However, he benefitted handsomely from an early yellow flag, which saw him as a back marking driver mixed in within the top six drivers.  Thus, he was permitted to unlap himself and move to the rear of the grid as per the new rules introduced across all ORCi formulas in 2020.  Palmer eventually headed home for victory but Wrench used his good fortune to storm home in third.

Saloon Stock Cars

A fine showing of 47 cars arrived in the pit area, with 130 Chris Durrant being the late extra to the published booking list.  The customary championship format of drivers contesting three out of five heats was adopted which led to busy grids throughout the evening.  There were 27 cars for the opening heat in which newcomer 677 Warren Darby took up the early running.  The teenager scythed his way through the back marking traffic, but nearly came unstuck when he found a gap on the inside line at the end of the home straight closing fast.  Darby ended up connecting with one of the large infield marker tyres throwing the front of the car skywards.  However, he quickly rejoined having lost the lead to 364 Nathan Olden, but the relentless Darby reeled him in to hit the front once more and sets about lapping a number of the star graders in the field.  Darby completed a convincing win but there is chaos on the final bend stemming from the front bumper of 161 Billy Smith which saw third placed 489 Wayne Jarvis drop from third to fifth and 129 Will Morphey cross the line backwards in tenth.  A chaotic start to heat two saw 444 Kieran Bellringer and 14 Colin Savage tangle, whilst 362 Aaron Loader in his debut meeting found himself nose to nose with Jarvis on the entry to the home straight.  White grader 126 Harry Barnes led, but like the previous race, the leader collected a marker tyre.  Yet, unlike the previous heat, that did for the leader who dropped out of contention.  172 Jack Rust ground to a halt bringing out the yellow flags, and from the restart 447 Adam Hicks led the field off with National Series and English Champion 730 Deane Mayes and World and UK Champion 116 Diggy Smith following closely.  Mayes went in hard on the back bumper of Hicks, but Smith did likewise on Mayes forcing both the front two out wide.  Smith moved through into the lead, and further behind there was a fine battle for third between Scotsmen 600 Barry Russell and 85 Kyle Irvine.  Heading into the final bend, Mayes launched an attack on the rear of Smith’s car which resulted in Smith being sent very wide, as Mayes grabbed the inside line to get to the chequered first, just marginally ahead of Smith with Russell third.  A little way back, Hicks, 618 Stuart Shevill Jnr, 888 Shane Emerson and 282 Ant Riley bundled across chaotically: the action being more than plentiful.  Heat three continued the action from earlier in the meeting with 316 Danny McCluskey, 281 Marc Chenery and 672 Simon Paris all ending up in a heap on the inside of turn four on the opening lap.  Later on, 670 Ross Watters exited the race in a spin whilst running sixth and Mayes was taken around by former National Champion 661 Graeme Shevill.  Up at the front, Darby was untroubled as he threaded his way through the traffic to take the win.  The penultimate heat saw Darby once again into an early lead, but fellow white top Jarvis was less fortunate, as he made heavy contact with the pits bend plating.  Billy Smith, who had been involved in an earlier incident, found himself behind the leader and the temptation was too great to resist.  Smith launched himself at Darby and removed him from the lead, with a brutal burial in the pits bend.  It was Diggy Smith who took up the lead and he went on to win from lower graders 28 Ian Govier and 504 Danny Elbourn.  Russell scrambled across the line in fourth under pressure from 399 Cole Atkins and Graeme Shevill.  The fifth and final heat was perhaps the quietest of the evening.  White grader 152 Levi Oughton looked set for a decent result until he found himself shoved towards the infield by Govier, which opened the door for 277 Jack Grandon to make up for a disappointing set of results previously to claim the win ahead of local star 902 Buster Jnr in second.

1800cc Old School Bangers

A decent 20-car entry saw all cars grid for the opening race which was a high speed affair but one largely devoid of any action of merit as 929 Sam Baker climbed his way up through the field to take the win.  Heat two saw 70 Jamie Thomas lead the early stages but Baker was again the quickest driver on track and he squeezed his way past Thomas to take his second win of the night.  Further back, 718 Aidie Brown did not miss the opportunity to blast the rear of the well used estate of 31 Liam Shipway.  113 Chris Jeanes hit the front early on in the Final as Shipway circulated the track leaving a shower of sparks with the rear trailing heavily on the ground.  Baker slowly reeled in Thomas for second, eventually forcing his way through with a few laps to go but he was too far back to mount any telling challenge on Jeanes.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Ladies Race 362 689 24 542 194 979 605 210 636 9
Heat 1 184 315 27 126 438 195 948 359 8 to final
Heat 2 560 667 783 890 700 533 325 976 8 to final
Heat 3 24 542 689 915 581 210 9 895 8 to final
Consolation 127 324 251 947 398 390 736 305 8 to final
Final 560 24 315 438 783 27 127 126 184 890
Grand National 24 184 560 542 689 581 27 195 126 325
Grade Awards W 533 Y 438 B 315
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 677 364 161 314 399 618 489 172 661 129
Heat 2 730 116 600 85 618 171 199 447 888 282
Heat 3 677 573 370 126 730 389 85 428 561 525
Heat 4 116 28 349 504 600 399 661 618 364 131
Heat 5 277 902 570 672 131 282 670 116 370 561
1800cc Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 929 113 743 133 70 718 355 991 6 366
Heat 2 929 70 246 133 113 718 355 6 991 743
Final 113 929 70 743 298 991 275 6 718 366
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