Smeatharpe Stadium - Sunday 19th May 2019

Following a terrific night of racing the previous evening, the action recommenced on day two of the Smeatharpe Speed Weekend with the same three formulas. With major championships up for grabs, the Saloon Stock Cars and BriSCA Formula Two Stock Cars were out in force once more, while the Micro Bangers were competing as individuals after the previous night’s team contest.

Saloon Stock Cars

With 24 places on the British Championship grid settled by the previous night’s qualifying heats, the final six spots were up for grabs in a last-chance qualifier that commenced Sunday’s proceedings.  450 Luke Jackson looked set for victory until he was caught out by the spun 610 Trent Arthurton, which allowed 210 Paul Barnes through for a maiden win in the formula.  He headed home 399 Cole Atkins and 199 Phil Powell, who didn’t hold back with his last-bend lunge on 131 Timmy Barnes, who dropped to fifth as a result, behind 84 Carl Boswell.  The qualifiers were completed by 2019 novice 00 Brad Morgan.
The smart money for British Championship success looked to be on any of the drivers starting in the front block of six of the grid, with polesitter and National Champion 661 Graeme Shevill joined by defending Champion 730 Deane Mayes on the front row. Row two comprised 116 Diggy Smith, who won the European Championship at the track 12 months earlier, and local starlet 902 Junior Buster.  Double British Champion (with one of those being won at Smeatharpe) 428 Lee Sampson and track specialist 800 Scott Greenslade looked dangerous from row three.
After a driver parade and introductions, and with the tension rising, Shevill ran wide as the green flag dropped, allowing Smith into the lead, with Mayes and Sampson following through.  While there was no major pile-up in the opening exchanges as there so often is in championship races, there was plenty of action.  As most of that front pack exchanged places on every bend, Smith took the opportunity to escape and build himself what was initially a fairly small gap, but one that was big enough to be just out of reach of the lunges going on behind.  26 Tommy Barnes joined in the fun and pushed his way into third, but his big hits took their toll on his radiator which dumped its contents on the track, sending him and others – including Greenslade – into the Honiton Bend wall.
That left Smith with a healthy margin over Shevill, 171 Adam O’Dell, Junior Buster, Mayes, 157 Max Stott and 306 Daniel Parker, with Sampson being spun from contention by 28 Ian Govier.  Parker then dumped Stott into the spun Sampson, while the latter’s brother Jamie (#149) got caught up in an incident on the back straight also involving 670 Ross Watters and 444 Kieran Bellringer.  With cars stranded across the track, a caution period was called.  For the restart, Smith had three lapped cars as a buffer between him and Shevill, while lapped runners also separated O’Dell and Parker in third and fourth after a spin for Mayes had dropped him down the order.
From there, the race settled down, aside from a spin for Parker, as Smith scythed through traffic without losing time.  Shevill was some way back and had O’Dell breathing down his neck, although it took some time for a meaningful challenge to come from the Irish Open Champion.  O’Dell used the bumper to take second with two laps to go, but Shevill came straight back at him.  The Scotsman might have thought he’d secured second but a big last-bend lunge from O’Dell dislodged him.  Such were the gaps between the frontrunners, that although Shevill spun he was able to recover while only dropping to fifth behind 600 Barry Russell and 399 Cole Atkins.
But all that was going on well behind Smith, who reeled off the laps with ease to win his second British Championship, some 23 years after the first!
A 34-car allcomers race was, unsurprisingly, action-packed.  Either side of a stoppage for flames emanating from 5 Tam Rutherford Jr’s car, 341 Austen Freestone continued his Saturday night form to lead for some time until passed by Greenslade.  The white top tried to fight back but spun, allowing 120 Luke Dorling into second.  Dorling then pushed past in the Honiton Bend to take the lead and survived a fairly tame last-bend lunge from Greenslade to win.  Junior Buster completed the top three, with Smith climbing to fourth from the very back of the grid.
Numbers were a little depleted for the meeting final but, for the survivors, the gloves were off for the last race of the weekend.  470 David Vaughan took a pounding in the early stages and was also involved in an incident that left Arthurton and 276 Ben King hooked up on the entrance to the Honiton Bend.  Making the most of his yellow-grade status, Greenslade built himself a decent lead but in the closing stages was given a hard time by backmarkers including Arthurton and Timmy Barnes.  They slowed him enough for Lee Sampson to close in and get inside to take the lead with two laps to go.  Smith followed and, as those two finished first and second, Greenslade got no reward for his efforts, being dumped into parked cars on the final bend, with Shevill snatching third.

BriSCA Formula Two

The 51-car BriSCA F2 entry included a couple of additions to the previous night’s entry.  With the main silverware up for grabs being the Benevolent Fund Trophy, it made for an uneven heat split.  The top 30 graded drivers featured in the Ben Fund race, which doubled up as heat two, leaving the rest in heat one.
As it turned out, the first race featured white and yellow graded drivers only after 667 Tommy Farrell was a non-starter.  53 Phil Mann led the opening laps before losing out to 328 Andy Walker.  145 Lee Morgan worked his way into second after half-distance, then closed in on Walker and dived inside into the lead on the first bend of the last lap.  Morgan – one of those who had not raced the night before – and Walker held station, with 25 Stuart Hodson third.
The grid of 30 red and blue tops for the Ben Fund race made for an impressive sight.  Lined-up in reverse National Points order, that left 783 James Rygor on pole position at the scene of his memorable 2013 World title triumph.  890 Paul Rice was also on the front row, while defending champion 560 Luke Wrench and superstars 127 Matt Stoneman and 7 Gordon Moodie, the previous night’s final winner, took their places at the back of the grid.
As the green flag flew, 315 Justin Fisher, 647 Chris Burgoyne and 817 Timothy Bailey crashed on the exit of turn four and while they started to clear themselves, Fisher spun and was left facing the traffic on the home straight.  Inevitably, he was collected heavily, leading to a big pile-up and yellow flags.  With barely a lap complete, yellows became reds and a complete restart was ordered, much to the chagrin of Stoneman who had scythed into the top 10 already.
Rygor, who had led at the time of the stoppage, successfully converted pole into the lead for a second time as the race restarted with eight fewer cars.  Rice and 828 Julian Coombes also held station from their grid positions in second and third, while 418 Ben Borthwick and 618 Ben Lockwood were both caught out on the pit bend as the bumpers piled in.
Carving ominously through the field was Moodie.  Sixth after just two laps, he was fourth a lap later and then took advantage of the good scrap between Rice and Coombes to nip inside the pair for second shortly afterwards.  By this stage, Rygor had built a big lead, but Moodie began taking big chunks out of it with each passing lap.  Moodie caught and passed Rygor on the inside into the pit bend on half distance and the result never really looked in doubt thereafter.  After Rice crashed out with Riggall, 101 Kelvyn Marshall moved into third from Wrench, Stoneman and 542 Steven Gilbert.  Wrench demoted Marshall then pushed Rygor wide to take second with five laps to go, Marshall replicating the move a lap later.  Rygor got shuffled back further, behind Stoneman, on the penultimate lap but survived a last-bend lunge from Gilbert as there were no further changes in the top six.  So Moodie claimed the Benevolent Fund’s rosebowl for a fifth time, repeating his Smeatharpe success from a decade earlier.  Wrench put up a valiant defence of his title, but just didn’t have the pace of his Scottish rival, with Marshall completing the top three.
A power-packed consolation began with a huge crash when 118 Josh Toll snagged with 241 Ginge Crook and was collected by the pack, with 660 Becky Pearce and 16 Craig Wallace both getting big airtime as a result.  A stoppage was called, with Pearce requiring lengthy assistance before being able to extract herself from her car.  Minus a third of the original grid, 663 Bryan Lindsay led the restart until passed by 24 Jon Palmer, who then enjoyed a good scrap with Borthwick.  The pair continued to trade places until caught by 527 James Riggall and 700 Adam Rubery.  Eventually Borthwick managed to break clear of the terrific battle, heading home Riggall and Rubery.
The meeting final for the Ray Tyldesley Trophy was led for a long distance by Andy Walker but it was Wrench who would win after pulling off a superb fourth-to-first move on the pit bend with six laps to go.  He was followed home by Lockwood and 2016 winner Moodie, whose early progress had been hampered by a tussle with Burgoyne, Stoneman and others.
The action was completed by a Grand National led until almost half-distance by 325 Ryan Sheahan, who had copped some fairly hefty damage the night before.  He was eventually passed by Lockwood and then Stoneman, with the latter making his decisive move to take the win on the pit bend with six laps to go.  Lockwood remained second, with Gilbert third and Sheahan holding on to fourth, as Wrench climbed to tenth from the lap handicap without the aid of a stoppage.

Micro Bangers

The entry of little Bangers only just broke into the teens, but top marks to the small number of drivers who had built fresh cars overnight.  Despite the low numbers, they still managed to serve up some highlights. The first came immediately when 278 Shaun Brokenshire followed in 728 Stuart Hooper on the Honiton Bend in heat one.  The fairly quiet restarted race was dominated by 196 Phil Chapman.
Heat two’s victory was contested by 162 Brett Ellacott and 133 Terry Hill. The latter prevailed in a red-and-chequered finish after some hard-hitting pit bend action behind them in which saw 376 Steve Hill thunder into Chapman, before having his second car of the weekend pummelled by Brokenshire.
A very quiet final was won by Ellacott from 190 Steve Bailey and Hill.
Just Brokenshire and 741 Alex Waterman appeared for the DD, which led to a succession of head-on crashes.  The event was called a dead heat when the two cars could not separate without the aid of a tractor.  Once released from the tangle, the two drivers were then invited to continue crashing for fun, which they gleefully did.

Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
LCQ 210 399 199 84 131 00 96 642 799 23
British Ch. 116 171 600 399 661 56 306 730 149 5
Allcomers 120 800 902 116 661 428 157 149 450 552
Final 428 116 661 399 450 902 157 56 149 84
BriSCA F2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 145 328 25 976 53 325 251 303 460 517
Ben Fund 7 560 101 127 783 542 674 302 126 817
Consolation 418 527 700 647 24 315 618 844 663 293
Final 560 618 7 976 542 674 647 302 527 418
Grand National 127 618 542 325 302 145 251 976 315 560
Grade Awards W 328 Y 976 B 618
National Micro Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 196 162 190 133 74 131 278 741 838 161
Heat 2 133 162 74 278 131 190 838 908 nof
Final 162 190 133 74 131 278 741 838 nof
King of Crash/DD 278
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