United Downs Raceway - Sunday 4th July 2021

Despite the occasional brief, but heavy, shower, the weather stayed favourable for most of the time at the United Downs Raceway, where more than 100 drivers raced across four classes.

Stock Rods

The showing of 20 drivers was the best at the circuit since the ORC Championship was contested there in April 2017 and led to a two from three format.  In the first heat, 286 Martin Walker Jnr and 76 Martin Larcombe each had a turn in the lead until 32 James Horwell hit the front and won from Larcombe and 909 Justin Washer.  The start of heat was led by 982 Sophie Daughtrey and then 275 Jeremy Hatch, but as the race progressed, 227 Jody Hawkins swept around the outside to take control.  Hawkins looked to be in the clear, but she had a torturous time dealing with some wayward backmarkers, and was chased by 14 Ross Montgomery, which led to a close finish.  Heat three was similarly entertaining.  Walker Jnr had a huge lead and looked set for a convincing win.  However, in a clash with 944 Callum Hosie, 285 Martin Walker careered over the infield on the home straight, and when he rejoined, he lost traction in the pits bend and clobbered the plating.  That led to a caution period, and Walker Jnr’s lead evaporated.  However, 441 Tom Major was too eager in his efforts to overhaul Walker Jnr, and having tagged him in the pits bend, Major edged past as Walker Jnr corrected a half spin.  Major took the chequered but was docked two places, and Walker Jnr was duly handed the win.  A lively final developed into a four-way battle.  426 Keith Channon led fellow blue graders Major and Horwell.  They were then joined by star grader Washer.  The quartet charged around the circuit, with little room for error as they weaved past backmarkers.  Washer got into the top three, but Channon held firm at the front, to win ahead of Major.


577 Harry Darby lived up to his pre-event billing as the favourite for the English Open Championship.  A slightly disappointing showing of just 19 drivers contested two graded heats to determine the grid positions for the title race.  The first heat was suspended when 920 Wayne Wadge ran aground.  207 Alfie Flecken was the leader at the time, from 942 Leon Williams, but Darby reeled them both in to take the chequered – his seventh successive win at Autospeed fixtures.  Heat began in dramatic fashion for 928 Jess Coombes and 970 Millie Farrell as they tangled on the home straight.  902 Reagan Davies led the early stages, before Flecken took over.  A little further back, 290 Alfie Tomkins and Darby became embroiled in a fine duel, but by the time Darby had broken free, Flecken was away and gone, and he won from Williams, with Darby in third.  The English Championship grid paired pole sitter Flecken with Darby on the front row, with Williams and Tomkins on row two.  As the race began, 382 Corey Hunt was an early spinner in the turnstile bend, and around went 917 Troy Hemmins also.  Williams defiantly forged his way past Flecken to move into the lead, but after he had overcome an awkward first few laps, Darby swiftly found his rhythm, and chased after Williams.  He sped past on the home straight and that left the second half of the race as routine and uneventful.  Darby won, to secure a first major title, whilst second for Williams hints at better things ahead for the young Cornish racer.  Tomkins completed the top three.


Almost 50 drivers competed in a full format meeting.  114 Luke Niles leapt into an early lead in the opening heat and despite 929 Sam Baker chasing him down, he held on to take the chequered.  There was a similar story in heat two as 800 Jono Hardacre led from flag to flag.  328 Mark Trump stole second late on from 959 Justin Payne.  After 8 Darren Rundle and 786 Grant Harris had initially led the consolation, 845 Albert Haines hit the front.  However, he was caught out by the pile-up in turn four which included 270 Oli Knight and 718 Adie Brown.  As Haines fell foul of the parking lot, Harris resumed first place and won from 836 Adam Oldham.  Payne, Niles and Harris featured prominently in the final.  Harris took over at the midway point and looked to be leading home Niles, such was the advantage they held over those in pursuit.  However, the turnstile bend became increasingly populated with stranded cars, which included Payne when he was fired into 303 Josh Jones, which left the engine of the 959 car sat on the floor!  Baker chased and chased the two white tops and on the last lap, he deftly bundled Niles into Harris, to move from third to first and score a last gasp victory.  2 Harrison Staples rounded out the day with a win in the Allcomers, after getting the better of 196 Craig Cornelius.

Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 114 929 776 355 2 196 171 206 276 33
Heat 2 800 328 959 23 622 817 296 53 621 522
Consolation 786 836 366 898 303 6 383 891 161 275
Final 929 114 786 328 355 2 23 206 196 622
Allcomers 2 196 296 891 23 785 226 6 33 929
Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 32 76 909 426 441 275 728 982 nof
Heat 2 227 14 909 944 426 275 862 77 728 762
Heat 3 286 14 441 76 944 437 9 862 32 762
Final 426 441 909 32 437 944 728 9 14 286
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 577 207 942 382 290 870 055 907 970 202
Heat 2 207 942 577 290 202 870 917 907 382 902
English 577 942 290 207 907 870 525 970 202 055
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