United Downs Raceway - Sunday 20th June 2021

The annual BriSCA F2 World Championship qualifying round took place at United Downs Raceway – hopefully not for the last time – in warm sunny weather in front of a healthy sized crowd. Similar racing of years gone by was remembered via the Heritage Stock Cars, while Saloon Stock Cars were also in action.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

A strong 39-car entry was ideal for a full-format meeting. It featured long-distance travellers 191 Colin Stewart and 195 Mike Philip from Scotland, plus a handful from the north of England and elsewhere across the whole country. Heat one produced a dominant win from 315 Justin Fisher who tore through from his blue grade start to pass white top 948 John Brereton for the lead with six laps remaining. Brereton had some trouble dealing with backmarker traffic, including Stewart who had been delayed when 128 Jack Bunter spun early on, but held onto second from 689 Joe Marquand and 24 Jon Palmer. There was an early caution in heat two when 398 Ian England took a heavy hit into the wall by the pit gate and lost his steering wheel in the process. That closed up the field and allowed the higher graded drivers to make faster progress. Form man 27 Kieren Bradford moved past early pacesetters 540 Dayne Pritlove and 844 Jack Prosser to take the lead before half-distance and looked like he might be set for another race win. But 890 Paul Rice and 418 Ben Borthwick were flying. Borthwick used the bumper to pass Rice and Bradford in one move, but Rice followed him through and then took the lead himself. Borthwick tracked Rice for the remainder of the race but could only make light contact with his last-bend lunge, which wasn’t enough to shift Rice, who won from Borthwick, Bradford and 126 Jamie Avery. The 15-car consolation proved relatively easy pickings for the blues and reds who had failed to qualify via their heats. 895 Ben Goddard passed long-time leader Pritlove with three laps to go. 979 Paul Moss, sporting a new bumper after a big hit into the wall in his heat, then spun Pritlove from second, but delayed himself in the process, allowing 667 Tommy Farrell, 325 Ryan Sheahan and track debutant 780 Courtney Witts to sweep through. There was a full 30-car complement for the final which was led away by sole white-top qualifier Brereton. Early problems for superstar 783 James Rygor dropped him off the lead lap but, as he tried to re-pass Brereton, it allowed Stewart to find a way into the lead. It wasn’t long before the flying Fisher hit the front though, as bumpers flew in all around the track. Goddard moved into second but was well behind Fisher, while maintaining a decent advantage of his own over third-placed Bradford, who had Palmer on his tail. Having been delayed earlier on, Borthwick appeared to be riding shotgun for fellow Motorworld man Fisher, although the Devon veteran needed no help, such was his blistering pace. The in-form driver eased to victory in the final, generously sponsored by Neil Truran Motorsport, as he has been threatening to do all season. Second and third were Goddard and Palmer, with Marquand also passing Bradford before the flag. “I’ll take that,” was victor Fisher’s understated reaction. “A good day – lots of cars, lots of people watching,” was his succinct summary. Palmer admitted: “I wasn’t fast enough to catch them [but] I got away from the rest of them. I could have done with some yellow flags really. Justin was gone – absolutely flying.” Twenty-six cars returned for the Grand National which got under way at the second time of asking with a slightly messy start that left Brereton well clear. Having quickly risen to second, England was one of a number of relatively early retirements, with Bradford also forced out by a puncture. Into the second half of the race, Brereton retained a big margin over the chasing 35 Charlie Fisher, with Marquand third ahead of top stars Borthwick and Palmer who still had plenty of ground to make up. While the younger Fisher eventually ate into Brereton’s lead, he couldn’t catch him, but would inherit the win – his first in the formula – when Brereton was docked two places for jumping the start (along with the handicapped Fisher Sr). Marquand was second, to end a good afternoon for the Cornishman but it was the Fisher family who went home happiest, with three wins split between father and son on Fathers’ Day.

Saloon Stock Cars

There were a slightly disappointing 15 cars in attendance for the Saloon Stock Cars first appearance at the track of the season. The afternoon was completely dominated by star novice 677 Warren Darby who secured a hat-trick of wins in what is likely to be his penultimate outing with a white roof. In each race, the teenager opened out a big advantage from the off and never looked like being beaten. 84 Carl Boswell and rapid National champion 902 Junior Buster, who used controlled aggression to charge from the back of the grid, followed him home in the opener, ahead of 28 Ian Govier. Fifth was the lively 199 Phil Powell, who got caught in the aftermath of 281 Marc Chenery’s spin by 319 Richard Regan, which launched Powell’s car over the infield bumps, and also cannoned 842 Lee Williams into an unsuspecting 489 Wayne Jarvis at the death. While there had been plenty of action in heat one, the second race was down to 12 cars and somewhat quieter. The top three could have been a repeat of the opener until Junior Buster successfully spun Boswell with his last-bend lunge, from which 447 Adam Hicks also benefited. Darby, Boswell and Junior Buster did repeat their heat one result in the Western Championship final, as Junior Buster pushed wide 832 Kane Moore (borrowing Bryn Finch’s car for the day) on the final lap to take third.

Heritage Junior Stock Cars

In the pits, there were 20 cars evoking memories of the 1960s and ‘70s for the first part of their southwest tour, although sadly 47 Giles Carter did not successfully negotiate practice. Each contesting two from three heats, the opener featured 14 cars whose start positions were clearly well allocated as the field concertinaed in the closing stages. Long-time leader 458 Tony Bevan was swamped as first 59 Nigel Finnigan and then 342 Ross Taylor hit the front. 762 Phil Smith made rapid progress in the closing laps and was nibbling Taylor’s bumper on the final tour but could not find a way past, as 135 Jim Cannon completed the top three. It was a similar story in heat two, as 64 Paul Sykes eventually relieved Bevan of the lead. Smith again carved through and passed 128 Jack Bunter for second on the final lap, but could not catch Sykes. As the racing took its toll on the well-used machinery and numbers dropped, so heat three was quieter. 218 Phil Hiles quickly took over from early leader 253 Alan Humphrey and could not be caught. 271a Wayne Helliwell scythed through for second, but Hiles’s lead was too big to overcome, while 763 Andy Bateman made third from the back of the grid. Bevan led away the 16-car final as there were plenty of scraps among the back half of the grid. Finnigan assumed the lead and would stay there until the closing stages when he was chased down. Having spun 536 John Ferguson from second, Smith got inside Finnigan for the lead with four laps to go, and was followed through by Helliwell, with 728 Graham Bunter eventually completing the top three.

BriSCA F2s 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 315 948 689 24 542 302 438 606 35 86
Heat 2 890 418 27 126 183 783 184 844 464 251
Consolation 895 667 325 780 979 195 398 578 797 828
Final 315 895 24 689 27 667 542 251 183 184
Grand National 35 689 948 418 24 251 183 780 325 844
Grade Awards W 948 Y 438 B 315
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 677 84 902 28 199 277 447 319 832 33
Heat 2 677 902 447 199 277 84 672 281 903 319
Final 677 84 902 832 277 199 842 903 281 33
Heritage Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 342 762 135 536 763 128 533 59 198 218
Heat 2 64 762 128 728 271 59 458 533 580 nof
Heat 3 218 271 763 342 580 198 64 306 253 nof
Final 762 271 728 59 580 763 533 218 135 306
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