United Downs Raceway - Sunday 24th October 2021

The morning rain and mist cleared, leaving the circuit bathed in warm autumnal sunshine for the large crowd present for the penultimate meeting of the season at St Day, and at the time of writing the final scheduled meeting ever for the BriSCA F2 and Saloon Stock Cars with the lease on the track due to expire at the end of the month.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

There were 28 cars in attendance and with both the track’s White & Yellow Series Final and the Grand National Championship on offer, the groupings for the two-thirds format were necessarily unbalanced.  The first race was for the White & Yellows Series Final, and despite the plethora of tyres and cash bonuses on offer, only 10 of the eligible list took to the grid.  222 Adrian Watts led the early laps before 460 Adam Pearce took over.  320 Matt Hatch’s chances faded when he tangled with 762 Mike Cocks on the entry to the home straight, Hatch’s car then colliding with the plating nose first.  By half-distance 605 Richie Andrews was on the back bumper of Pearce and with four laps to go he was joined by 35 Charlie Fisher.  With all three cars line astern, Fisher seized the opportunity heading into turn one with a well-judged hit on Andrews that was to ricochet the Speedway racer into Pearce who bounced lightly off the fence.  Fisher ran home the winner as Andrews recovered to hold off 828 Julian Coombes for the runner-up spot.  The next race saw the Grand National Championship being contested at the track for only the second time it its history.  The grid formed an impressive sight with pre-race favourite 24 Jon Palmer on pole with regular visitor 184 Aaron Vaight on his outside.  Palmer made a good start which saw him hit the front, the same could not be said for Vaight who found himself bundled down the field as he found it difficult to move onto the inside line.  Incredibly, he finished the opening lap down in tenth place. Slotting in behind Palmer was young superstar 667 Tommy Farrell.  As the race moved towards half distance it became clear that Farrell had the pace to at least match Palmer.  On an open track, Farrell drew close, but as the two started to encounter back-marking drivers Farrell fell back a little.  Nonetheless, Farrell was never far from striking distance, and his chance came with five laps to go when the complexion of the race changed markedly.  526 Marc Rowe and 979 Paul Moss hooked bumpers on the back straight and then tangled in a jack-knife in turns three and four with the leaders about half a lap behind.  736 Josh Weare clattered into Moss, but as the lead duo entered the pit bend, Rowe was in the process of rejoining towards the safety fence, directly in way of the race leader who had chosen the outside line with Farrell opting for the inside.  Palmer’s car bounced off the turn four plating and was delayed sufficiently to see Farrell leading by around a half a dozen car lengths.  With Moss unable to find any traction, the caution flags were deployed, and the race came to a halt.  Farrell had the lead, but his advantage was minimal as Palmer sat directly behind him, and on the restart Palmer wasted little opportunity in attempting to regain the lead with a hit on the rear bumper of Farrell heading into turn one.  Whilst Farrell tried to ride out the hit he could not avoid connecting the plating around the bend and onto the back straight incurring damage which ended his race whilst at around the same time 27 Kieren Bradford found himself stranded at the end of the back straight which required another caution period.  By this point, 418 Ben Borthwick, who had started on the fourth row of the grid was now on the tail of Palmer and just two laps remained.  Palmer however judged the restart perfectly and whilst Borthwick attempted to connect with the leader’s back bumper on the final bend he was just too far back to do so, and Palmer crossed line first.  Borthwick was the runner-up, a great drive by yellow graded visitor 251 Craig Driscoll saw him complete the rostrum positions in third, whilst Vaight was left to rue his difficult start, even though he recovered for fourth.  The trophy presentations saw the top three presented with specially commissioned sculptural trophies reflecting the copper and tin mining heritage of the area with an array of former West Country BriSCA F2 drivers from years gone by on-hand to aid with the presentations.  Heat three included 111 Lewis Geach who was ineligible for either of the two previous races and was racing his shale car given his keenness to make it out for possibly the final meeting at the track.  It was a lively start as 398 Ian England ran headlong into the turn one wall with some force.  That brought out the yellow flags, whilst Palmer was given a ride around the plating courtesy of Farrell, but without suffering any lasting damage.  On the restart, Driscoll led but most eyes were on the battle that was again brewing between Farrell and Palmer, and the hit from the new Grand National Champion shot Farrell fencewards.  Farrell’s cause was not aided by the track surface on the wide outside line, which was extra slippery from the earlier Banger races.  Farrell clouted the plating with sufficient force to cause significant damage that ended the young charger’s afternoon.  On the restart, Bradford and 315 Justin Fisher continued their eventful afternoons, coming together in a heap on the home straight.  By this time, Borthwick had managed to catch and pass Driscoll just before half distance, but Borthwick appeared to be caught out by the track surface and drifted out wide on turns one and two allowing Driscoll back into the lead.  Borthwick shadowed the yellow top onto the final lap and whilst this time he connected with the race leader, Driscoll managed to hold on for the win in another excellent finish.  The Final for the Old Motor Cycle Club Trophy was preceded by a demonstration from vintage motorbike sidecars, for nostalgic reasons.  The race itself saw 19 starters with Driscoll’s hopes ending early when he and fellow visitor 53 Phil Mann become hooked together, with track debutant 390 Jessica Smith also becoming involved.  Rowe led but Borthwick was swiftly through and into second with just five laps gone and soon after he grabbed the lead.  By half distance 689 Joe Marquand and 302 Dale Moon have moved up to second and third, and despite Marquand closing in on the race leader as the lap boards came out he was unable to mount a challenge as Borthwick successfully defended the magnificent trophy.  Aptly, given the track’s uncertain future, the sun was beginning to set as the Grand National gridded.  The race started in a similar fashion to the final with Smith in a tangle heading towards turn three, this time with Cocks and Hatch, with the race brought under an early caution.  On the restart Moon led a train of cars flying spectacularly around the track, the shakeout of which saw Marquand up into the lead and Palmer making the move up to second and Vaight into third.  With six laps to go Palmer made his move and pushed Marquand towards the turn one fence, Marquand dropping to fourth behind 736 Josh Weare.  Palmer ran clear for the win, but Marquand was not going to give up on a final podium spot easily and managed to wrestle his way back past Weare to finish third behind Vaight.  That duly ended a long but highly entertaining afternoon’s racing from the formula and left all who attended sincerely hoping they had not witnessed the final action from the formula on the track.

Saloon Stock Cars

It was always likely that following the exertions of the previous evening, the entry might suffer somewhat, and so it proved to be the case with just seven drivers in attendance.  Nonetheless the drivers managed to entertain and are to be commended for their efforts.  The opening non-points scoring race for the White & Yellow Series Final was headed by visiting Yorkshireman 418 Mitchell Driver, and he along with the other four entrants encountered an extremely slippery track following the opening Banger heat.  Whilst 84 Carl Boswell was setting the fastest lap times, 677 Warren Darby managed to find a way past him as up ahead Mitchell spun out of the lead of his own accord.  That promoted 28 Ian Govier to the lead where he remained to the flag.  Darby lost time navigating past the stranded Mitchell car and dropped down the field.  On the final bend 672 Simon Paris took aim at Boswell, the two racing to the line with Paris just snatching second.  Heat one proper saw 902 Buster Jnr and 447 Adam Hicks join the fray and for a time there was an entertaining five-car battle for third.  Paris closed in on Driver by half distance, with the long distance traveller dropping to second only to then find himself wildly out of control and then spinning out on turns three and four, the tricky nature of the track catching him out.  Paris headed the rest of the field home for a straightforward win.  Heat two commenced with a battled between Govier and Hicks, the latter being forced out wide heading towards the pit gate.  Darby and Buster Jnr enjoyed an entertaining battle for fourth as Paris moved through for the lead.  The two star graders were joined by Boswell with the three trading bumper blows, with Darby despatched towards the plating by Boswell on the pit bend.  With the track appearing to lose grip, Govier closed back in on Paris and timed a last bend hit to perfection to take his second win of the afternoon.  The Final was missing Driver, who had set off on the long journey home.  Govier took up the early running.  Darby made an uncustomary mistake, spinning around under his own steam on the back straight as ahead of him Buster Jnr and Boswell proceeded to circle the track side by side for a couple of laps until Boswell broke free.  He then hunted down Hicks and Govier at the front of the field.  Entering the final bend Boswell cue-balled Govier into Hicks, the two heading fencewards and into a spin with Boswell just out-dragging Buster Jnr to the line for the win with Paris in third, Govier in fourth and Hicks crossing the line backwards in fifth.  This was another of those afternoons which reinforced the reputation for the formula not needing a large field of cars to entertain on the unique St Day circuit.

2 Litre Bangers

The modest 19-car booking list had swelled to an impressive 31 cars by start time with the drivers eager to make their mark.  The opening laps were chaotic with 621 Scott Kendall leading the field off.  A track blockage quickly developed on turns three and four and whilst initially there was a route through, this quickly closed and the drivers continued to pile in, stretching the notion of Old Skool rules to the extreme.  Eventually, after much shunting around, a route was found around the edge of the infield, rallycross style, and the race continued.  However, the leader eventually found himself embedded in the pile-up and 246 Ryan Sparks took up the running with just a few survivors at the flag.  After the earlier action it was an impressive 20 cars who returned for heat two which was an altogether more straightforward affair, Kendall again leading at the start from 903 Adam Neville who eventually lost second to 648 Jamie Smith.  Whilst Kendall was momentarily delayed entering the back straight he still rounded out the race winner.  14 cars returned for the Final, the first to be run to full National Banger rules and it produced a lively start with a number of cars careering into the opening bend, but when Smith lost a wheel, the race was brought to a halt.  On the resumption there were just the nine survivors.  838 Jamie Peters led them off, but he found himself piled into the pit bend alongside 452 Anthony Sleeman, by 278 Shaun Brokenshire.  With Neville still leading, the race was stopped as 76 Kaylee Spooner came to a crunching halt on the home straight, the car seeming to self-destruct in the process with bits of his car being flung forward including a front spring.  Just Brokenshire, Peters and Sleeman took the restart, Peters waiting for leader Brokeshire on the back straight but missing the opportunity to attack.  Sleeman likewise tried to halt the leader by reversing back into the pit bend, but he only manages to inadvertently stop Peters, Brokenshire heading round to take the chequered flag before piling into Sleeman, Brokenshire then receiving a hit from Peters to conclude a superb final with handshakes all-round.  The Allcomers saw a DD added to the end at the request of the drivers with 99 Dave Spooner leading the early stages of the race section.  The race then needed a lengthy stoppage to attend to 912 Simon Rees who had received a big hit from Peters on turn four.  Neville and Brokenshire battled it out for the lead on the resumption with Neville taking the win before being despatched into the pit bend plating as the DD commenced and then just as quickly was halted with a flash fire from one of the cars on the opening turn.  Once dealt with it came down to Brokenshire and 166 Luke Gilbard to fight to the finish, the two coming together in a savage head-on at the pit gate to conclude a fine day’s racing from the formula despite the slightly over-enthusiastic opener.

Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
W&Y Final 28 672 84 677 418 nof
Heat 1 672 677 84 902 447 28 nof
Heat 2 28 672 677 902 447 84 nof
Final 84 902 672 28 447 677 nof
BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
W&Y Final 35 605 828 460 53 572 320 663 222 nof
GNC 24 418 251 184 302 736 460 689 315 35
Heat 3 251 418 184 24 689 302 390 111 526 572
Final 418 689 302 184 24 35 315 736 526 460
Grand National 24 184 689 418 35 315 736 320 27 835
Grade Awards W:663 Y:251 B:418 R:24
2 Litre Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 246 812 44 nof
Heat 2 621 44 903 246 648 59 99 912 572 166
Final 278 838 452 nof
Allcomers 903 278 838 99 166 NOF
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