Smeatharpe Stadium - Easter Monday 2nd April 2018

To conclude what was probably the wettest Easter weekend in living memory, Easter Monday started grey and wet at Smeatharpe Stadium, but ultimately the day turned out better than many weather forecasts had suggested with no rain during the meeting and even some mainly dry track racing in the second part of the meeting.  No denying though that an entire weekend of wet weather had dampened spirits though, but that said there were healthy entries of BriSCA F2 Stock Cars and Saloon Stock Cars given their busy few days and the day was supplanted by the Back 2 Basic Bangers (Overs) and a trio of very close events for the 7-11 year old in the Micro Stock Cars, several of whom had made a long journey to race in the southwest.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

The booked entry for the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars had always looked good for the day, but to achieve the highest tarmac total of 39 cars over the long weekend was especially pleasing.  It was boosted by an extra late entrant in European Champion 154 Michael Green, for his first appearance at the venue since 2011, having made a late decision to make the trip south after the meeting at Buxton was cancelled due to snow.  On a slippery track, it was former track champion 676 Neil Hooper, on his return to F2 who came through to win heat one and heat two saw a flag to flag and career first win for 325 Ryan Sheahan, on the debut of his new car.  127 Matt Stoneman was the winner of the consolation.  A 30-car grid for the Final, for the Autospeed Rosebowl in memory of Paul Oakley looked a mouth watering prospect.  However, two early yellow flag periods on laps two and four respectively brought the star grade drivers up the order a lot sooner than they might have otherwise been, and after Stoneman relieved 245 Nigel Fordham of the lead soon after the second re-start he went on to win by a comfortable margin.  542 Steven Gilbert gave chase but ultimately became the hunted rather than the hunter and lost sight of Stoneman and had to instead fend off a late challenge from Green.  But, all this takes nothing away from Stoneman’s win, his second Final of Easter (having also won at Birmingham on Saturday) in his quest for a career first time Superstar in the first re-grading.  The main action in the Grand National happened on the very last corner and changed the result as several tripped up or were delayed.  Hooper was one, but he had a big enough lead to maintain the short distance to the flag and his second win of the day.

Saloon Stock Cars

19 Saloon Stock Cars, many of whom were in either their third or even fourth meeting of the weekend and the cosmopolitan entry included three from Scotland, facing a long (and snowy) trip back north after the meeting.  The first heat saw 276 Ben King just hold off 399 Cole Atkins for the win whilst heat two was led all the way until the last lap by debutant 267 Martin French.  The former National Banger driver looked very much at home out at the front until Atkins made his move on the last corner to move him wide to lead and win and then to compound French’s woes he was spun by backmarker 600 Barry Russell and had to reverse across the line for fifth.  The Final was without doubt the best race of the day for the Saloon Stock Cars, but most of the battles were for places further down the order.  At the front King and 56 George Boult Jnr pulled well clear and when Boult made his move, to make sure it stuck he spun the 276 car to the infield and this left him clear to take the victory by half a lap.  661 Graeme Shevill got the better of the battles behind to make second and 27 Kieren Bradford was a hard fought third.

Back 2 Basics Bangers (Overs)

Numbers for the Bangers were lower than hoped, but several sets of circumstances transpired and there is still a lot of thought that the ‘Back 2 Basics’ format is the way forward.  The past is the future.  Nevertheless, there were easily enough cars for a trio of entertaining races and a short and sharp Destruction Derby.  Star of the day was doubtless 239 Steve Carter, ‘Nemesis’ who threw a Toyota Previa around the track in style, giving anyone he came near or them near to him something else to think about.  It was 246 Ryan Sparks who won heat one and then heat two, showing that the format works, 71 Andy Annear won in what was his first ever Banger race meeting.  Despite Nemesis’ best efforts to stop him on a couple of occasions, Sparks was well clear at the flag to win the Easter Hop Trophy with Annear second and 278 Shaun Brokenshire third.  The DD that followed did not last too long, with a big hit from Nemesis on Brokenshire into 954 Jamie Beere’s already stranded car which set the airbag off in the 239 car in the process.  But it was the last hit thus the winning one.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 676 154 528 740 302 522 111 526 460 315
Heat 2 325 418 542 438 979 613 639 468 828 890
Consolation 127 700 935 667 895 245 53 572 948 76
Final 127 542 154 676 418 315 245 468 895 613
Grand National 676 154 468 315 127 542 438 418 613 325
Grade Awards W 325 Y 245 B 418
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 276 399 670 267 600 799 99 444 28 360
Heat 2 399 56 670 27 267 661 444 28 199 99
Final 56 661 27 276 399 670 360 600 28 799
Back 2 Basic Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 246 71 278 838 366 954 298 988 192 182
Heat 2 71 246 278 192 239 nof
Easter Hop Trophy 246 71 278 335 239 298 nof
DD 239
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