Smeatharpe Stadium - Friday 9th October 2020

The final weekday meeting of the season at Smeatharpe avoided the poor weather of recent weeks and featured a strong turnout of BriSCA Formula Two stock cars, joined by a first-ever appearance at the track for the visiting Special Rods and a fun-filled session of Back 2 Basics Bangers racing in chained pairs.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

The 31-car turnout included former European Champion NI998 Graham Fegan, who travelled over the Irish Sea for a weekend of English racing, and allowed for a full-format meeting, before which the 2020 White & Yellow Grade Series Final kicked-off proceedings as a stand-alone race.  From the front row of the yellow grade, 828 Julian Coombes hit the front within three laps and went on to repeat his success in the equivalent race at St Day a couple of weeks earlier.  210 Tristan Claydon ran in second most of the way before being forced to pull off with a broken rear-wheel guard.  Second-on-the-road 736 Josh Weare also lost out after his car failed post-race scrutineering for a rear axle offset infringement.  That promoted 35 Charlie Fisher and 903 Ben Spence into the prize-paying positions, each collecting new tyres for their efforts.  One of the favourites for the race, 352 Dave Sansom had been charging through the field in customary fashion before getting hooked up with 948 John Brereton, the pair careering into the home-straight wall as a result.  Brereton, who had also been in the wars in practice, would take no further part in the meeting.  One-time world champion 783 James Rygor charged through the field to win heat one proper, his early progress aided by 539 Steve Hartnett and 895 Ben Goddard thundering into the Honiton bend wall and delaying some of the other blues and reds in the process.  Rygor had to chase down speedy white top 881 Jamie Ward-Scott for the win, the latter then slipping back in the closing stages as 184 Aaron Vaight followed Rygor home, with 538 Chevy Mills passing 418 Ben Borthwick for third with a lap to go.  Blue-top Claydon picked his way through to lead heat two before half-distance and headed home 127 Matt Stoneman and 302 Dale Moon.  The consolation was then won by 320 Matt Hatch, who held off Goddard’s determined efforts in the closing stages. Hatch then suffered some ‘afters’ from 572 James Lindsay, who was excluded from the result for deliberate infield contact.  After his dominant heat performance, Rygor’s chances in the final were almost immediately quashed when he exited with Borthwick after they tangled on entry to the pit bend, while the charging Sansom was once again thwarted when he hooked up with 820 Chris Hatch on the home straight, requiring early yellow flags.  Spence led from Coombes and Goddard at this stage but already up to fourth from the front of the red grade was 302 Dale Moon.  The St Day track champion picked off those ahead before half-distance with relative ease, with 24 Jon Palmer following in his wake.  The national points leader sniffed a second Smeatharpe final win of the season, but Moon was able to hold a gap to his pursuer which only marginally narrowed in the closing stages.  Palmer could not get close enough to attempt a last-bend lunge, so Moon took the win, his first main event success for three years, and his first at Smeatharpe for seven years.  “Makes a change to finish a final round here!” he laughed.  Vaight topped an entertaining scrap with 522 Chris Mikulla for third, some way back from the front two, while Coombes secured fifth from Fegan in a final-bend sort-out.  Spence spun out while still well-placed in the latter stages.  Day-licence driver 540 Dayne Pritlove suffered a wild ride which left him stranded across the back straight in the grand national, providing the caution flags Moon needed to help him make progress from the lap handicap.  Coombes jumped into the lead on the restart, but Palmer was again on the charge and soon moved ahead, going on to take the win.  Borthwick held off Vaight’s final-lap attack for second, while Moon secured fourth (after Coombes was docked) with a last-bend lunge on Hartnett.

Special Rods

There was an impressive 20-car field of the big rear-wheel drive Special Rods, more commonly found at Mendips Raceway, for their Smeatharpe debut, with a two-from-three heat format deployed as a result.  The first was won by 181 Ian McLaren who hit the front early on and pulled out a big lead, lapping many of the star-graded drivers in the process.  6 Tim Bristow was second, while 135 Jim Cannon was the first star man home in third.  Bristow took heat two after making the outside line work to demote son Tom (60) early on.  Tom later spun from second under pressure from 120 Andy Latimer as 44 Sam Howard claimed the place with 701 Ben Brice third after Latimer was docked for contact.  McLaren took his second win of the night in heat three, closing in on 303 Jason Oliver in traffic and then taking the lead as the pair went either side of a backmarker.  Oliver held second with Latimer third.  Seventeen cars returned for the final, where McLaren’s hopes a hat-trick ended when he tangled with Tom Bristow in the early stages.  Oliver worked his way into the lead and enjoyed a good scrap with Tim Bristow, the pair exchanging places three times before a caution period with two laps to go was imposed with 46 Angie Harris stranded on the exit of turn four.  After backmarkers among the top six were waved around, that brought the rest of the pack onto the leaders’ tails.  But the lower-graded drivers held on in impressive fashion, Bristow winning from Oliver and Brice.

Back 2 Basics Banger Pairs

The Back 2 Basics Bangers were in in-line chained pairs for the night, with seven pairs in action, plus one singleton who had lost his partner.  They lived up to their reputation for fun racing action with three absolutely chaotic races each won by 17 Tim King & 992 Dan Walsh.  The pair survived lots of antics from others to take the first of the trio of races.  Behind 449 Paul Phillips & 218 Ant Jeffery, third-placed 881 Gary Emery & 13 Lee Radford were particularly lively as were 100 Alec Jenner and 2 Jack Hodges, whose cars broke free of their chains.  It was a similar story in heat two, with the pairs managing to run three-wide on occasions, and Jenner/Hodges delighting the crowd with Hodges’ Micra seemingly having little input as it was given a wild ride on tow by Jenner. Phillips/Jeffery had led until a spin on the pit bend.  In the final Jenner/Hodges were barely able to crawl off the start line, which left Hodges exposed to a thundering hit from Phillips/Jeffery.  As numbers dwindled, an early stoppage was called when the Jenner car caught fire.  King/Walsh were already a number of laps ahead of the only other pair still circulating – 472 Grant Jones & 401 Jason Hole.

BriSCA F2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
W&Y Final 828 35 903 820 663 526 572 222 nof
Heat 1 783 184 538 418 998 828 881 542 first 8 to final
Heat 2 210 127 302 24 352 522 890 903 first 8 to final
Consolation 320 895 539 820 736 920 35 663 128 nof
Final 302 24 184 522 828 998 538 539 127 890
Grand National 24 418 184 302 539 828 522 538 210 998
Grade Awards W 881 Y 828 B 539
Special Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 181 6 135 768 275 720 41 26 175 46
Heat 2 6 44 701 120 775 135 41 768 43 60
Heat 3 181 303 120 701 47 775 720 46 43 26
Final 6 303 701 47 26 135 120 720 768 275
B2B Pairs 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 17/992 449/218 881/13 333/174 nof
Heat 2 17/992 449/218 333/174 nof
Final 17/992 401/472 nof
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