United Downs Raceway - Sunday 31st October 2021

The United Downs Raceway reached the end of a chapter, with the event billed as the Last Ever Meeting.  Whether this does prove to be the final chapter, time will tell, but the large crowd that assembled enjoyed a fun afternoon, despite one or two nasty showers.  Banger Vans and National Bangers topped the bill, and ahead of their respective Destruction Derby events, co-promoter Crispen Rosevear addressed those in attendance, and gave the reassurance that efforts to ensure the future of the Raceway would continue as further discussion with Cornwall Council was expected.
After a magnificent Grand Parade, a one minute’s silence was held in memory of Captain Birdseye, the long serving photographer, who had passed away earlier in the week.  As a mark of respect, trophies for the main race for the National Bangers were suitable inscribed, and members of his family were on hand to present them.

National Bangers

Too often in recent times, Autospeed have suffered from drivers booking for big events for the unlimited cc National Bangers, only to not actually appear on race day.  On this occasion, one or two extras compensated for the small number who did not make it, and thus, there was a joyful car count of 30 for the day.  Amongst them, 229 Connor Dix caught the eye with a smartly presented old Volvo and the X-type Jag of 239 Steve Carter was smartly presented.  Father and son pairing 191 Brian Wade and 891 Darren Wade had a Triumph and Triumph estate, respectively, whilst it was encouraging to see so many Cornish racers on the grid – some of whom were making rare appearances in the big cars.  There were 28 drivers on the grid for the main event – Judgement Day – The End of the Road.  The early phase of the race began with 99 David Spooner hitting the front, which raised hopes of a ‘home’ win.  His prospects took an upward turn when the pursuing 190 Steve Bailey crashed out of second place when he landed a thunderous T-bone on the spun 842 Jack Perkins at the end of the back straight.  However, Brian Wade spun Spooner around, which enabled Carter in second place to close dramatically.  As Carter looked to swoop around the recovering Spooner, Carter despatched Dix into the turn two wall.  That left Dix shook up and in need of assistance, which brought out the red flags.  The race resumed with Carter clear at the front.  Stalwarts 225 Richy Edmonds and 383 Andre McLellan got involved on the back straight in an all-Jag moment, and as the race progressed, gold top 114 Liam Lake began to close on Carter.  As the lap boards appeared, the lead pair were joined by 625 Josh Gooch, who looked completely at home on his track debut.  Indeed, during the closing stages, Gooch got ahead of Lake and Carter to land the win and the title, a most impressive display.  To show it was no fluke, Gooch then won the first of two Allcomers races, having started dead last amongst a grid which included 275 Jonny Tomlinson and 360 Jack Reynolds, who had each been unable to make the Judgement Day race.  Tomlinson departed early, along with 355 Aaron Dark.  Bailey then followed in 702 James Dodge, with Carter also caught up in the crash, and when Bailey’s crippled car came to rest at the pit gate, he was collected by the spinning 208 Kieran Barrett.  838 Jamie Peters blasted Dodge, and was then clobbered himself by 278 Shaun Brokenshire, who had been the early leader.  Spooner and Darren Wade each had a wayward trip over the infield banking, and that excursion enabled Gooch to close on Spooner, and he relieved him of the lead at the midway point.  Gooch won, Spooner was second and more repair work was needed in the pit area.  Eighteen drivers gridded for Allcomers 2, which once more saw Spooner at the front early on.  Bailey clearly had his sights set on winning the last ever National Bangers race, as he cleanly passed Reynolds and Spooner on his way to the front in the second half of the race.  Tomlinson ran in Perkins, in the pits bend, but the race belonged to Bailey, who celebrated by blasting 179 Stu Nightingale as the reds appeared to end the race.  Bailey completed his lap of honour and duly gifted his trophy to a young supporter in the crowd.  Five drivers made it back out for the Destruction Derby, and each of the quintet contributed warmly to an entertaining conclusion to the day.  Brokenshire and Peters met in a stonking head-on, and 266 Scott Gillbard clouted Tomlinson.  A combination of Peters and Carter trashed Gillbard, and Carter then ended Tomlinson’s involvement.  Brokenshire then found Peters on the home straight, which left him prone to Carter landing the final hit, which secured him the victory.

Banger Vans

Just over a dozen Vans were raced, and as is typical of them, they produced plenty of fun and games.  A relatively quiet opening race was dominated by 691 Scott Clement in his A-Team themed van, who sped away from the front of the grid and won convincingly.  The next race was much more exciting, as 101 Jamie Warr hunted down 692 Dave Gardner in the Mystery Machine, and then challenged for the lead as the race moved into the closing stages.  However, when Warr did edge in front, his van conked out, leaving Gardner still in the clear.  114 Luke Niles came in for plenty of attention on the start-finish line, and then enjoyed a lively exchange with 999 Richie Over.  Just when Gardner looked set for victory, he encountered mayhem in the final bend.  768 Tyler Cock had spun in the turnstile bend, and his efforts to manoeuvre back into position caused a blockage.  Gardner was spun, and from the chaos 51 Dan Crosbie emerged as the unlikely winner.  There was a happier outcome to the final for Gardner, though, and this time he had Cock to thank.  690 Tristan Clement in The Magic Bus had overhauled Gardner for the lead, but a combination of Warr and Cock then held up Clement, who was sidetracked by these delays.  Gardner was able to take advantage, and he reclaimed the lead, winning from Tristan and Scott Clement.  The Destruction Derby was predictably entertaining, and included more damage for Niles, courtesy of Warr.  53 Chris James was prominent in the action – the roof of his van actually being knocked off by Tristan Clement during some crashing on the start-finish line.  Clement and Tyler Cock also renewed acquaintances, whilst James blasted 841 Tom Perkins and Over.  Clement then attacked James, but nearly tipped his van on to its side.  Just when the event looked to be petering out, 79 Adam Brocks managed to the last telling blow, to claim the win.

Unlimited cc National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Final 625 239 114 278 133 45 179 225 891 nof
Allcomers 1 625 99 45 372 179 114 891 278 360 nof
Allcomers 2 190 45 99 625 114 133 278 470 714 179
DD 239
Top Trier 838
Entertainer 190
Van Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 691 690 51 53 114 768 nof
Heat 2 51 691 690 692 768 999 nof
Final 692 690 691 21 nof
DD 79
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