United Downs Raceway - Sunday 16th May 2021

The second and what is hoped the last behind closed doors meeting featured another healthy number of racers eager to get some on-track action on a day of very mixed weather conditions that was very testing for drivers, teams and race officials alike.

Stock Rods

The non-contact class continued their buoyant start to the season with an excellent 17 car entry.  Heat one saw 275 Jeremy Hatch into an early lead though the car was backfiring as it entered each bend.  Behind, British Champion 909 Justin Washer was making remarkable progress up through the grid, into the top five within the opening quarter of the race.  Around half distance a blustery shower arrived on the scene but quickly passed without causing any lasting moisture to affect the racing surface.  Washer attempted to pass Hatch on the home straight however, the door was firmly closed and that allowed 944 Callum Hosie to join in for a three-way battle for the lead.  Washer moved to the outside line where he managed to make a clean pass to get through into the lead and go on to claim an excellent win.  Track conditions were at their most difficult as the cars gridded for their Final.  An early yellow flag was required as 862 Darryl Cock ground to a halt on back straight.  On the restart 77 Tom Larcombe tangled with his father 76 Martin Larcombe, as they tried to navigate a busy third and fourth bend.  The bunching of cars allowed Hosie through into the lead quickly followed by Washer who looked marginally the faster of the two.  The British Champion capitalised on Hosie drifting out wide on the wet track as they entered the home straight and that resulted in Washer edging through into the lead.  As he did so, 14 Ross Montgomery closed on the lead pair, to make it a three-way battle at the front.  At the flag Washer had eased clear but behind him, Montgomery moved to the outside line in an audacious challenge on Hosie.  Side by side they rounded the final bend, Hosie just retaining the runner-up spot by the narrowest of margins to provide a thrilling conclusion to the race.  Come the Grand National, the track was largely dry but devoid of grip.  913 Ashley Bates led the opening laps, whilst 286 Martin Walker Jnr clipped the turn four inner kerb sending his car around.  Washer made rapid progress from his lap handicap and was already challenging fellow star graders 437 Lewis Trickey and Hosie.  At the front Montgomery moved through and into a commanding lead.  Washer made further progress up to fourth but as he mounts a challenge on 504 Andrew Worthington for third it all goes horribly wrong and he finds himself facing the wrong direction on turn one, with Worthington excluded for his part in the incident.  Montgomery it is though, who completed an emphatic victory ahead of 285 Martin Walker.

Ministox

A fine 17 -car entry gridded for heat one with seven white graders.  On what was now a dry track 770 Austin Farrell led the opening stage.  Behind, 538 Kady Mills was sent into a half spin by 382 Corey Hunt.  Farrell was eventually passed by 917 Troy Hemmins although the former did attempt to come back at the new race leader a lap later.  Further back, sliver roof 577 Harry Darby and Hunt found it hard to make much progress on the lower graded leaders as Hemmins won convincingly, followed home by 907 Cadan Davies and Farrell.  Heat two took place on a sodden track with the rain continuing to blow in.  The race was quickly brought under a yellow flag caution with 870 Bert Farrell stranded on the inside of turn three and 970 Millie Farrell also in need of recovery after she clattered off the outside plating on the same corner.  On the restart Davies went around on the entry to the back straight with Millie Farrell and 202 Cody Bradford also came to grief at the same spot.  Up front 617 Christina Sillifant overtook Austin Farrell for the lead where she stayed for a good win with Farrell second.  The battle for third saw Hunt make a last bend move on Darby to move up to the final podium spot.  Darby’s response was to spin the Hunt car inside out, towards the fence as they came to the line, and the latter’s move led to the exclusion of the Points Champion from the result.  The Final took place on a drying but greasy track with little in the way of grip off the racing line.  Micro F2 graduate 207 Alfie Flecken led the field away, whilst Austin Farrell was sent into a half spin by Hemmins, the white grader only narrowly being avoided by the chasing pack.  Amongst the star drivers Hunt found himself being pushed sideways down the length of the back straight by 290 Alfie Tomkins as Austi Farrell and 914 Callum Faulconbridge connected at speed with the plating between turns three and four, Faulconbridge’s car remaining fence bound as Farrell then collided wildly into an infield marker tyre.  With four laps to go Sillifant made the move on Flecken but her lead was short lived as she briefly lost control on the back straight amidst some novice backmarkers.  As Sillifant dropped back to third, Flecken seized the opportunity to regain the lead.  Meanwhile Faulconbrdge found his car inadvertently being hit by Bradford on two consecutive laps, although Faulconbridge to his immense credit indicated each time to the race officials that he was content for the race to continue, only to find himself collected again on the final lap as Davies triggered a cavalry charge into the turnstile bend.  Flecken took his maiden win, with Hemmins and Millie Farrell filling the other two trophy positions.

Bangers

An impressive entry of Autospeed Bangers raced to a full format.  There were 20 cars for heat one including seven white graded drivers.  182 Nathan James and 455 Shane Kennard come to a crunching halt on the entry to the home straight before even taking the green flag as 8 Darren Rundle led the opening laps only to be deposited hard into the plating between turns three and four by backmarker 776 Terry Senford, the force seeing Sanford’s race end also as concurrently a heap of cars collected the stranded James machine to bring out the yellow flags.  On the restart 233 Liam Parkin led but he was quickly forced out wide by 206 Matt Brewer, Parkin exiting the race when losing a wheel just a few laps later.  Brewer then romped home for the win.  Heat two saw a slightly larger 24 car grid with 354 Simon Philips and 768 Tyler Cock looking intent on preventing the progress of each other in the opening laps.  99 Ryan Parker collected one of the large infield marker tyres at the end of the home straight, propelling his car into a 360 degree spin.  At the front 2 Harrison Staples built up a healthy lead which he maintained to the flag for a relatively straightforward victory.  19 cars returned for the consolation where star grader 296 Phil Chapman spun himself out at the start, whilst Parkin sped off into an early lead.  He looked like he was going to be unchallenged through to the end but around half distance a heavy rain shower blew in and quickly the cars started to lose grip.  759 Taylor Whitfield and 522 Chris Orchard were amongst those who come a cropper on the home straight as the leader Parkin lost control and clobbered the plating between turns one and two causing damage to his steering which saw him bounce off the turn four plating before eventually finding himself out of the race facing the wrong direction against the safety fence on the back straight. Through all that melee 621 Scott Kendall forced his way through to take up the lead and claim the win.  28 qualifiers gridded for the Final on a wet and greasy track as the sun once again deigned to make an appearance.  The race began in dramatic fashion with almost half the field involved in multiple incidents stretching from the pit gate to turn three.  The pile of cars included many of the higher graded drivers which provided some of the lesser lights to take their opportunity, with one of them, front row starter 55 Zak Whitford, streaking away at the front.  Meanwhile 323 Barry Phillips has his car wrecked on turn three, his front right wheel and strut making it a quarter of a lap further than the rest of his car did.  Whitford successfully saw out the remaining laps to win in a chaotic but entertaining race to lead home 386 Ryan Wagstaffe and 44 Liam Boswarthick in an all-lower grade top three.  Despite the earlier action, the Allcomers still drew 25 cars and Barry Philips led the opening laps having worked hard in the pits to repair the damage following the Final.  A track blockage developed quickly on turn four claiming many including the leader Philips, and Points and Supreme Champion 1 Luke Thomas.  522 Chris Orchard took up the lead as turn four continued more and more victims.  Orchard ran out the remaining laps to the chequered flag to end an entertaining afternoon’s racing.

Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 909 944 285 275 76 77 204 441 437 14
Final 909 944 14 437 441 204 285 77 982 841
Grand National 14 285 437 944 204 77 441 841 982 913
Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 206 1 355 275 246 196 45 231 33 44
Heat 2 2 386 55 708 817 303 891 23 59 323
Consoloation 619 70 296 153 208 161 455 8 8 to Final
Final 55 386 44 208 161 1 206 70 619 296
Allcomers 522 23 296 619 276 161 383 55 891 196
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 917 907 770 207 617 290 202 577 382 914
Heat 2 617 770 382 914 917 928 919 202 907 207
Final 207 917 970 907 870 382 577 617 290 202
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