Smeatharpe Stadium - Sunday 3rd September 2017

Just six days after a gloriously sunny and warm Bank Holiday Monday at Smeatharpe Stadium, the weather took a real turn for the worse, and it was like being in another world with the meeting being run in often atrociously wet conditions.  However, despite the difficulties that these brought the show went on with the National Bangers Autospeed World Championship being contested for the 35th time, the ORCi Ministox National Championship and the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars who had their White and Yellow grade series final amongst the honours.

National Bangers

Unlimited National Bangers, particularly with Autospeed as we head towards the third decade of the 21st century are what they are.  Ultimately, the 27-car entry that did appear was pretty much what was expected and had booked to attend, noting that there are far too many meetings up and down the country that often have online booking lists that end up with little resemblance to what actually turns up on the day.  The raceday programme preview referred to the entry being of high quality rather than quantity and those observers that did brave the conditions were in the end all in agreement that the show put on was a good one and even exceeded expectations.  There were some great travelling efforts from drivers to be present and we must not overlook that.  The World Final race grid was set by the usual public draw on the start and finish line and it was 114 Liam Lake who drew pole position with 99 David Spooner alongside, 552 Karl Douglas and 717 Jack Tuffen on the second row and two big danger men 190 Steve Bailey on six and 239 Steve Carter on seven.  Someone had to draw the very back and it was veteran 82 Danny Hunt who did just that.  Lake was unable to convert pole position into the lead at the drop of the flag and it was Douglas who moved through into the front position, but this was not for long as Carter and Bailey then took up first and second.  The pair pulled clear of the rest, which was headed up by Lake and swapped and changed their positions on numerous occasions.  Bailey did survive a slightly scare when coming to lap adversary 133 Terry Hill, but he appeared well ready for anything the Autospeed Points Champion was going to throw at him in any case.  Behind, there was actual action as 45 Anthony Croshaw, at the wheel of a ‘Yank’ gave a double pounding to 7 Jamie Charles, the second of which brought out the red flags at the halfway stage of the race.  Charles was perfectly okay as the red flag was called for the dangerous position the car was left in rather than he himself.  As Pikey and Nemesis continued their battle for the lead at the restart there was some good old pit bend crashing going on as 45 Lips piled in again, as did 772 Chris Noble, 278 Shaun Brokenshire and 838 Jamie Peters.  The ultimate winner of the race was decided in an almost drag race to the line and it was Bailey who got to the chequered flag first by a matter of inches from Carter with Lake third.  In his post-race interview on track, Bailey was open and honest about the race, what he thought of it, what it meant to him and that no, there was never going to be a case that he and Carter would have removed each other from the race, even with a World title at stake.  The first Allcomers race was won by 82 Hunt and the second, in appalling conditions by Lake (which was appropriate, really) and this race then went into the Destruction Derby where there were five takers and as Unlimited DD’s go, it was a good one with the two large head-ons.  The first saw Lips meet Brokenshire and then an even bigger one saw Brokenshire and 382 Tommy Hutchings collide at great speed on the home straight.  99 David Spooner piled into Hutchings, and he was then left prone to the final two hits which were delivered by Peters who took a deserved win.

Ministox

The entry of ORCi Ministox came from all four corners of the United Kingdom for the 2017 National Championship, a great effort from the families involved and a star-studded line up it was too and especially given the conditions the drivers put on a very well disciplined show throughout.  Each driver raced in three from five heats and the grids were determined via a random draw.  Any driver who got a top three finish in a heat then had to start from the rear of the grid in subsequent heats.  The points scored from these heats then determined the line up for the main race.  This made it fair for all.  The opening heat saw 564 David Shearing come through to win and then the second 392 Charlie Morphey won, having been track ed by 980 Charlie Lobb.  The third heat was a very close race between 259 Bradley Eltham and 514 Abbie McGuiness with their positions swapping and changing several times.  It came down to a last bend move and it was Eltham who took the chequered flag.  667 Tommy Farrell won heat four and the last heat saw 677 Warren Darby win by over half a lap whilst behind there was a great battle between 623 Terri Linden and 917 Gemma Robins, with the latter very unlucky to be taken out by a backmarker in the closing stages.  So, the grid was set and it was David Shearing on pole position with Warren Darby alongside whilst row two had 674 Steven Burgoyne and 911 Harrison Bryant and then row three Lobb and Farrell.   Whether it was part of a game plan or not, but Shearing appeared to hang back at the rolling start and this allowed Darby to get a good start and settle in as the early leader.  The rain was falling especially hard at this point and track conditions worsened.  Shearing reeled Darby in whilst there was a strong battle for third between Bryant and Burgoyne.  Shearing caught Darby, who drifted wide (in a large puddle on the track) and moved into the lead.  However, Darby wasn’t finished and came back at Shearing to regain the lead, but the latter wasn’t going to be s lenient next time and spun Darby out of contention.  This left him clear in the lead and he went on to take a commanding win, lapping back-marking traffic with ease.  Bryant got the better of the battle with Burgoyne to complete the trophy places.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

Unusually, the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars were in a supporting role at Smeatharpe, with their big weekend coming up at Kings Lynn in just six days’ time.  However, that said, the 32 car entry was more than the rest of the tarmac meetings staged throughout the country all weekend put together.  The first heat doubled up as the 2017 Smeatharpe White and Yellow grade series final, for the Bill Hilborn Trophy and it was led all the way to the very last corner by 740 Neil Langworthy, until 418 Ben Borthwick came in with a perfectly timed and executed last bend hit to take the victory.  Langworthy held on for second and 328 Andy Walker was third.  689 Joe Marquand won heat two and heat three was another great last bend finish as 935 Nathan Maidment went in on long-time leader 464 Matt Linfield, only for both to run wide and 315 Justin Fisher picked up the pieces to take the win.  The annual Steve Rich Trophy saw a field of 28 cars and after Langworthy was the early leader the race came down to a battle between 111 Lewis Geach and Linfield.  The gap between the two renowned wet weather experts ebbed and flowed (no pun intended) throughout the race but Geach could maintain a safe distance in the final quarter of the race to make it a very short spell in the yellow grade for himself.  522 Chris Mikulla was third.  The Grand National began in comical fashion as Fisher completed a full 360 degree spin on the rolling lap.  The race then featured a very heavy and controversial looking coming together for Borthwick and 575 Tom Clark.  528 Shane Hector held the lead throughout but did encounter what could have been potential trouble over the closing laps as he came to lap Geach, who had started from the lap handicap and make it very clear that he wasn’t going to move wide for Hector.  This allowed Linfield to close right in but Hector held on to win.

BriSCA F2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 418 740 328 111 895 689 745 572 460 828
Heat 2 689 418 522 315 700 740 575 542 468 127
Heat 3 315 935 700 464 476 111 575 127 895 828
Final 111 464 522 528 700 418 315 468 689 740
Grand National 528 464 689 935 127 700 325 315 111 542
Grade Awards W 740 Y 418 B 315
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 564 911 674 619 623 100 980 199 561 172
Heat 2 392 980 970 564 667 677 943 293 687 356
Heat 3 259 514 561 172 917 674 677 654 284 911
Heat 4 667 100 199 911 564 142 980 927 359 128
Heat 5 677 623 172 654 619 674 293 284 392 561
National Ch. 564 911 674 623 980 392 619 667 259 917
National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
World Final 190 239 114 552 717 82 382 372 133 787
Allcomers 1 82 239 190 162 114 133 988 372 45 nof
Allcomers 2 114 190 82 162 99 382 nof
King of Crash/DD 838
Best Presented 190 838
Oldest/Rarest 45 838
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