Smeatharpe Stadium - Saturday 23rd July 2022

A busy evening’s racing with three major titles on offer brought a healthy crowd to Smeatharpe Stadium for what ended up an eventful evening that whilst taking longer to complete than might have been wished for, provided plenty of incident and talking points for those on hand to witness.

National Bangers

The 39th running of the Championship of the World built on the efforts of 2021 to see the best entry of cars for almost a decade at the event.  40 cars took the track for the World Final with the seeded entrants drawing their grid positions in the front segment of the grid during the pre-race parade.  With a blast of fireworks, the field set off with 59 Mike Hamley on pole spot in his Volvo limo and remarkably he managed to stay in the lead for the first two laps.  However, with a track as small as Smeatharpe, it wasn’t long before there were cars scattered around all points of the circuit.  There were cars being spun and bounced off the fence which saw a number of the fancied runners lose time including former Champion 190 Steve Bailey, whilst 114 Liam Lake’s defence went awry when he was spun around.  After the early exchanges, 133 Terry Hill settled into the lead, but with stranded cars in the pits bend, he lost out, 252 Steve Bugler took over.  555 Harry Gelsthorpe and 699 Stacey Holdsworth were also running strongly at the front, along with 760 Joey Reynolds and 639 Tye Williams.  With the race at the midway point, 262 Rob Bugler was being indicated as the leader, although as it would later transpire he had been out of the race much earlier on.  As the race continued and the chaos grew, 99 Dave Spooner indulged in some shenanigans on the Honiton bend.  With Rob Bugler still being identified as the leader, he started to receive the lap boards but with four laps to go Bailey came off the infield and stopped Bugler head on bring him to an immediate halt.  Steve Bugler ran into Bailey, whilst 341 Andrew Jones blasted Rob Bugler.  Reynolds looked to have inherited the lead, chased by 331 Jason Jackson and 625 Joshua Gooch.  However, Reynolds was spun in the pits bend, which triggered another spate of crashing.  As Gooch, Holdsworth, Jackson and Gelsthorpe navigated the pits bend for the final time, and they scrambled to the line, the chequered flag dropped on Gooch.  However, at the end of an outstandingly frantic and chaotic race, drivers were uncertain of their true position, and the general consensus was that a review of the race video and static camera would be the best course of action.  Just ten drivers had taken the chequered, with the initial thought being that Gooch was the most likely winner.  Considerable time was spent, and following multiple reviews of the videos, each of the top ten were checked.  Then came the remarkable conclusion that all bar one of the ten had lost time at some point during the race yet managed to regain places sufficiently to be in contention.  Nonetheless, the one driver that had not lost any time was 16 year old 582 Corey Hunt.  In a variation on the theme of the tortoise and the hare, Hunt’s steady and consistent 20 laps without issue had been the winning formula.  Hunt had not lost time nor been caught by any of those who had gone out after they rejoined and therefore it was he who was in fact the new World Champion.  Credit must go to Gooch and Jackson in particular for their patience and understanding, and to the other drivers who, upon explanation and an invitation to review the race video along with officials, took the decision magnanimously.  The top three drivers – Hunt, Gooch and Jackson, eventually returned to the track for the Trophy presentation more than two hours on from the race concluding.  The first Allcomers saw almost 30 cars take to the track and it was another eventful race.  Bailey found himself spun around on the pit bend early on as 77 Paxti Beasley set about attacking anyone he could find, piling into Hamley who had found himself facing the wrong way after tangling with Dark.  Hamley’s limo then came under fire from 103 Jack Deacon who inexplicably went the wrong way around the track to attack the parked car.  246 Ryan Sparks made the early running.  Beasley got himself free then returned to take another shot at Hamley on the next laps as 838 Jamie Peters got ahead of Sparks before red flags were called.  On the restart Beasley continued his antics turning around on Gooch who then retaliated by meeting Beasley head on.  With Peters still out front, there then developed a fine battle between Jackson, Sparks and Williams for third.  440 Macauley Mills came under fire on the back straight, from Peters, 162 Brett Ellacott and then Peters again – each shot being border line infield hits.  Jackson eventually broke free and motored through to take the win.  The second Allcomers event was convincingly won by Bailey, from Holdsworth and Jackson who had earlier attacked Steve Bugler whilst 225 Rich Edmonds stormed into the rear of Dark.  Despite the level of crashing, there were no takers for the Destruction Derby, and thus Bailey’s win in the second Allcomers brought a most lively evening to a close for the National Bangers.

Saloon Stock Cars

The 29 cars present were split into three groups with each driver racing twice.  There were 20 cars for the opener with drama early on when 677 Warren Darby and defending Champion 428 Lee Sampson tangled with others around them.  This delayed Darby and resulted in Sampson spinning around which left him almost immediately a lap down on the race leader, his son, 329 Keagan Sampson.  277 Jack Grandon quickly reeled in Sampson to move ahead, and the youngster then found himself being hunted down by 349 Michael Allard, although the National Series, ORCi and Irish Open Champion’s progress was hampered somewhat by a lap down 97 Jon Kingwell.  This meant that it was an all or nothing dive on the last bend which saw Allard nudge Sampson out just wide enough to snatch second at the line.  The second heat was delayed because of a power cut within the stadium.  Eventually, with power restored and Electric Dreams playing over the PA system, the race got underway and to a frantic start with cars being sent spinning in all directions, with 238 Alfie Aldous in the thick of things.  698 Danny Colliver found himself dumped unceremoniously in the plating on the Honiton Bend ending his hopes.  561 Aaron Totham used his blue graded starting position to quickly move up the through the field to take an unassailable lead.  Keagan Sampson scored another good result with a second place finish just ahead of 364 Nathan Olden.  A rain shower ahead of heat three resulted in a very slippy track but it was little surprise to see 399 Cole Atkins come through to take the win, the driver having gone well in similar conditions previously at the track.  There was drama for others however, as the race had barely begun when it was suspended to check on 902 Bradley Compton Sage who had collected the stationary 33 Peter Hollett at speed on the back straight, whilst there was some retribution being dished out between 27 Jason Kingwell and 28 Ian Govier which hampered the qualifying efforts of each driver.  For the title race, Allard made the most of his front row start to build an early lead as pole sitter Grandon dropped quickly down the field.  Govier was sent for an early spin before rejoining a lap down from where he became involved in a tussle with 67 Eddie Darby which saw Govier deposited heavily into the turn four plating.  With Govier having suffered a foot injury, this brought about a race suspension.  The caution period and requirement for a pure top six ahead of the restart eradicated Allard’s lead but he appeared unfazed and made a sufficiently good start to ensure he was out of reach of any immediate challenge from those Atkins and Warren Darby who had been aiming to pounce.  Allard saw out the remaining laps to clinch an emphatic victory.  Darby moved through to take a fine second place with 171 Adam O’Dell finishing third.

Stock Rods

Following on quickly from the previous weekend’s UK Championship at Skegness it was heartening to see a fine entry of 28 cars for the English Championship.  Each driver contested two out of three qualifying heats with their grid positions reversed for their second heat.  Heat one featured a couple of the pre-meeting favourites in the shape of 909 Justin Washer who started on the outside of row one and 2003 English Champion and 669 Eddie Trofer.  It was Trofer who made the better start and flew into the lead heading onto the back straight and whilst having to drive defensively over the first half of the race he was able to ease clear by the end.  77 Tom Larcombe fought his way past Washer and made it into second by the time of the chequered flag.  The second heat saw defending champion 944 Callum Hosie blast into the lead from which he was never caught but behind there was an enthralling battle for second which was only settled on the last lap between 14 Ross Montgomery, 32 James Horwell and 351 Rhys Langdown, the trio finishing in that order.  285 Martin Walker defended hard from the front of the third heat, but he was unable to withstand the pressure and eventually 76 Martin Larcombe forced a gap up the inside to make his way through for the lead.  2019 Champion 437 Lewis Trickey was making progress around the outside and was embroiled in a good battle with 151 Simon Vincent, and despite Vincent being ahead on the last lap it was Trickey who got ahead by a small margin by the chequered flag.  Trickey further benefited from the docking of Larcombe from first to third for the aggressive move on Walker.  The parity across the field was demonstrated by the fact that when the points from the heats were tallied, there was a five-way tie at the top for pole.  Once places within races were factored into the process, Trofer was on pole, with Tom Larcombe alongside.  Montgomery and Washer shared row two, whilst 351 Rhys Langdown and Vincent completed the third row.  The opening stages saw Trofer lose the lead initially to Montgomery.  Trofer responded and got back ahead but he was being shadowed all the way by 351 Rhys Langdown with very little to choose between them.  Behind them, 944 Callum Hosie was starting to make progress and at one point managed to make it up as high as third place.  However, towards the end of the race he became embroiled in a gaggle of cars including Washer, Vincent and Martin Larcombe.  Hosie’s misfortune was to the benefit of Washer who had fallen back slightly around half distance down to fifth place but managed to claw his way back up to third by the time of the chequered flag.  Ahead, Trofer had managed to build up a slender lead over Langdown which he was able to extend as he cut through the traffic to win back the trophy that he had last held 19 years previously.  Trofer remarked in his post-race interview that he enjoys racing at the track and still enjoys his racing in the class after a remarkable 32 seasons of competition.

Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 699 77 909 351 728 14 151 286 32 275
Heat 2 944 14 32 351 909 9 841 286 285 437
Heat 3 437 151 76 275 285 77 669 415 916 944
English Championship 669 351 909 151 77 32 76 285 286 14
National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
World Championship 582 625 331 555 699 891 278 262 239 162
Allcomers 1 331 639 246 555 699 133 278 239 162 717
Allcomers 2 190 699 278 331 246 555 838 582 133 178
Best Presented 103 178 190 648
Longest 59
Most Wrecked 360 252
Top Trier 252
Most Unusual 59 383 282
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 277 349 329 238 364 677 171 399 418 672
Heat 2 561 329 364 444 672 677 33 428 67 341
Heat 3 399 277 349 561 341 171 120 199 33 319
English Championship 349 677 171 399 561 329 902 277 33 341
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