Smeatharpe Stadium - Sunday 25th October 2020

A busy programme of racing for racegoers featured the sole BriSCA F2 Championship to survive the pandemic affected season, the best car count of the season at Smeatharpe for the Saloon Stock Cars, and an avalanche of Back 2 Basics Bangers.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

The Grand National Championship was contested at Smeatharpe for the first time since 1982, and whilst the there were few surprise entrants amongst the large number of drivers present, the 30 car field for the race was a highly competitive one and included all nine of the drivers who had won a feature final at the circuit this year.  The wide open nature of the contest had those gathered to watch, struggling to agree on a likely outcome.  Courtesy of sponsors Jones Skips, each driver was presented with a smart memento of their participation as they circulated on their parade lap, with the cars then being lined up in a closed grid formation.  The start was an explosive affair, Novice of the Year points leader 992 Harley Burns having a wild ride round turns three and four before even taking the green, whilst 418 Ben Borthwick, 801 Jack Cave and a number of others struck trouble on the pit bend.  At the front 184 Aaron Vaight had made the perfect start and had begun to eke out a bit of an advantage on his nearest challengers.  As the lead cars encountered the melee on the pit bend at the start of lap two, fellow front row starter 560 Luke Wrench momentarily got caught up with some of the recovering cars including 828 Julian Coombes, but with concern for Cave the yellow flags came out and field slowed.  Just two laps had been completed.  The order at the front saw Vaight ahead of 542 Steven Gilbert, 24 Jon Palmer and then Wrench.  On the restart, Palmer was hindered by a clutch problem, and when Gilbert and Vaight furiously fought over the lead, they left the door open for Wrench to nip past and take over first place.  The Honiton bend became cluttered with a number of stricken cars including 732 Daz Kitson and 86 Jess Ward.  As Wrench eased away at the front, 538 Chevy Mills and then 183 Charlie Guinchard both got past Vaight.  The Honiton bend parking lot was further populated when 736 Josh Weare was despatched by 352 Dave Sansom.  Wrench skilfully picked his way through the backmarking traffic as the lap boards came out whilst Guinchard fought his way past Mills to move into second.  However, Wrench was too far down the road to be troubled, and Guinchard was unable to close the gap on the National Series Champion to be able to mount a telling challenge. Wrench took the chequered, remarking in the post-race interview of the importance of his recovery on the restart and his pleasure at adding the title to the silver roof of the previous year.  A full-format meeting followed albeit missing a few drivers unable to repair following what had been a brutal title race.  359 Gary Wrench led the first heat for a while but was eventually passed by Gilbert who then streaked away at the front for the win.  Behind, Vaight and Wrench enjoyed a fine battle, Wrench using the bumper with some force to move Vaight out wide, which also allowed 689 Joe Marquand through for third.  Heat two began with 844 Jack Prosser going headlong into the pit-gate plating.  The opening stages saw an excellent battle between a trio of white graders – 915 Jamie Jones, 881 Jamie Ward-Scott and 903 Ben Spence, before they were caught and passed by Guinchard.  Further back, another fierce battle between Borthwick, Sansom and 522 Chris Mikulla ended with the three of them powering into the last bend on the final lap; Mikulla being bundled into the plating and eventually crossing the line in fifth.  The Consolation was delayed by the track clearance efforts required after the Banger Final, which left drivers facing tricky conditions – a mix of fluids left during the preceding race and also due to a passing rain shower.  Nonetheless, given the weather over the rest of the weekend, it was quite fortunate that this was the only shower of the afternoon.  Spence built up a healthy advantage over the opening half of the race but following a few scares where it looked like he may go spinning out he was eventually caught by 895 Ben Goddard – a driver renowned to go well in the wet and slippery conditions.  Goddard took the win, followed home by Palmer who has been unable to repair in time for the earlier heats.  27 of the 30 qualifiers gridded for the Ladies Trophy Final.  An early yellow flag suspension was called with a wheel off the 578 Mark Gibbs car.  On the restart Mikulla and Burns tangled briefly in the Honiton bend and Palmer received a big hit from Wrench to force him wide, losing such time as to rejoin not too far in front of race leader Vaight.  With a degree of caution, Vaight lapped the 24 car, as the momentum in the Track Championship battle swung his way, meanwhile Borthwick tried to make a lunge on Goddard in the pits bend but missed and that ended his chances.  Marquand saw his hopes of a decent finish thwarted on the last bend after he came under attack fro 890 Paul Rice.  Vaight’s reward for his fine efforts was to be drenched in champagne by the Farrell family as is traditional for the winner of the Ladies Trophy.  Wrench, Goddard and Gilbert completed the top four, and also assisted with the soaking.  The Grand National was won in fine fashion by 161 Ben Bate – his first Smeathapre success.  Behind, there was much interest to be had in watching the ebb and flow of the Track Championship battle between Vaight, Palmer and Wrench.  The newly crowned Grand National Champion’s race came to an end early on whilst Palmer had a late race scare when 540 Dayne Pritlove clipped a marker tyre right in front of him on the exit of turn two.  Bate won, and Sansom was second, but third and fourth over the line, Palmer and Guinchard, were each docked two places for being too swiftly away at the start of the race.

Saloon Stock Cars

The final outing of the year in the South West for the class attracted the largest grid of the year with 23 cars in the pits.  The opening race was the track’s White & Yellow Grade Final.  In addition to the eligible entrants, the field was bolstered at the rear by other lower graded entrants who had not score points to qualify, the drivers advised they would be ineligible for any of the prizes on offer.  28 Ian Govier was the early leader, but he was shoved wide by a fast charging 277 Jack Grandon who then eased clear for a comfortable win.  Behind there was a close battle for the last two podium spots 561 Aaron Totham overhauling 276 Ben King for second with a few laps to go.  However, Totham was sent hard into the plating on the final bend by F2 convert 282 Ant Riley which allowed King back through for second on the line with only six classified finishers.  Heat one began with both 504 Danny Elbourn and 319 Richard Reagan coming to grief on the pit bend, as 672 Simon Paris, racing the ex-Ryan Wadling car for the first time ahead of a full season campaign next year stormed away at the front with none of the chasing cars able to make an impact.  English and National Series Champion 730 Deane Mayes saw his challenge end when he was spun out mid-race whilst on the final bend 161 Billy Smith fired 349 Michael Allard into the last turn, Allard’s car spinning in the process.  Smith claimed second in the process.  Elbourn began heat two in the same fashion as the first, with another early spin.  Allard again came under attack early on being spun by Smith, whilst 799 Joe Powell ground to a halt facing the wrong way on the Start/Finish line to bring out the yellow flags.  Reagan took over at the front on the restart whilst Smith and 399 Cole Atkins traded bumper blows and places as they moved up into the top two positions.  Smith broke clear for victory which also sealed the Track Championship for the East Anglian star.  The Final was an entertaining affair, featuring battles throughout the field, with Mayes being hooked around by Allard as he made rapid progress towards the front.  Mayes fought hard to unlap himself, recovering for fifth place, but up ahead Atkins spun out Paris for fourth place as Allard took the final win of the year to round out a fine season’s racing for the formula on the Autospeed tracks.

Back 2 Basics Bangers

A large field of almost 60 cars gathered to contest the annual Dave Weare Trophy.  Heat one was a typically chaotic affair.  129 Stuart Simpson built up a healthy lead, but it all went wrong when he spun it around on two occasions to allow 157 Rob Surman through for the win.  Heat two saw 988 Billy Dennison force his way past 311 Simon Rogers to romp home the victor.  The Final was open to allcomers with much of the field falling by the wayside over the opening few laps.  Proceedings were brought to a temporary halt but on the restart, last year’s winner 79 Brian Edmond set out to entertain, attacking much of the opposition around him.  188 Martin Horn spun the lead car of 286 Adrian Stallard, with the remaining cars now circulating in circumspect fashion, at a much reduced pace due to the number of cars strewn around the raceway and the fluids dropped onto the track.  Dennison once again burst his way to the front where he headed home Stallard, 211 Adrian Coles and 912 Simon Rees as the only finishers.  As is customary, the following race was a Chained pairs/triples event and it again provided plenty of entertainment.  333 Craig Patridge found his car, hamstrung by the rear wheel hubs scraping off the ground, being flung from side to side by his team-mates Rees and 938 Ash Rice.  Sparks were also flying from underneath 331 Duncan Kennard’s machine, as the pair of Brian Edmond and 154 Barry Pike took the win.  The DD was heavily populated, and produced a number of savage hits as Coles outlasted the rest to secure victory.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Grand National Ch. 560 183 538 184 127 522 352 979 161 920
Heat 1 542 560 689 184 127 161 538 578 359 992
Heat 2 183 325 418 352 522 539 890 881 915 920
Consolation 895 24 903 979 746 828 801 460 844 137
The Ladies Trophy 184 560 895 542 992 890 127 979 689 24
Trackscene Trophy 161 352 542 903 24 183 890 992 578 127
Grade Awards W 903 Y 325 B 895 R 560
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
W&Y 277 276 561 28 842 504 nof
Heat 1 672 161 902 573 199 799 349 561 277 120
Heat 2 161 399 319 28 902 730 199 561 842 340
Final 349 319 28 399 340 730 120 561 277 642
B2B Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 157 183 129 240 944 912 21 556 333 nof
Heat 2 988 17 311 252 79 211 444 154 243 743
Final 988 286 211 912 nof
Chained Triples 154/79 455/331 17/992 912/938/333 nof
DD 211
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