Smeatharpe Stadium - Good Friday 7th April 2023

Smeatharpe Stadium played host to the start of a busy Easter weekend, with a good crowd enjoying the racing and the sunshine. A strong turnout of BriSCA F2 Stock Cars contested the Tommy Pitcher Memorial and were led out on parade by the magnificent new Tommy Pitcher tribute car of Neil Truran. Built over a number of years by John Harding, the car is a near replica of Pitcher’s revolutionary car – it is actually a remake of the best of the Pitcher copies which Neil Johnson created in the mid-1970s. It was therefore fitting that Johnson was invited to view the unveiling, and particularly fitting given the date, exactly 49 years after the first meeting was held at Smeatharpe, when the meeting final was won by Tommy Pitcher. Good numbers of Saloon Stock Cars and Ministox were also present, while Unlimited cc Old Skool Bangers brought further big rear-wheel-drive machinery to the fray.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

A 44-car turnout, albeit with two that didn’t make it beyond practice made for very healthy sized heats. 259 Daz Purdy led away the first of them, with 525 Charlie Knight matching him as a fellow pacesetter. 325 Ryan Sheahan made the most of his good start to nip past the two white tops, as he edged clear. The impressive Knight stayed with him until the closing stages when 475 Leah Sealy suffered a puncture and inadvertently spun Knight into the path of third placed 194 Luke Johnson. Knight was carried backwards down the straight, before Johnson shook him free, by which time 844 Jack Prosser had eagerly grabbed the runner-up spot behind the distant Sheahan. The red-grade cavalry charge at the start of heat two left 127 Matt Stoneman and 667 Tommy Farrell in the wall, while 689 Joe Marquand and 890 Paul Rice appeared to be among those taking time to adapt to the new tyres that most were racing on for the first time. 454 Ryan Gardiner nudged 203 Dean Hawkins wide to take the lead shortly before half-distance. 915 Jamie Jones and 542 Steven Gilbert were leading the star-grade challenge and worked their way through into second and third as Hawkins slipped down the order. But Gardiner continued to hold on until the final lap when Jones worked his way through to take the win. The 21-car consolation featured another over-enthusiastic start by 914 Callum Faulconbridge, but it was Stoneman catching the eye with a terrific display. Having shoved around five cars wide in one big hit, he continued to carve through the field leaving him fifth when a caution period was required. As 895 Ben Goddard passed 259 Daz Purdy for fourth, Purdy hit the wall, and as he turned to escape to the infield was collected by 728 Jack Bunter and put hard into wall. After a few moments to gather his breath, Purdy was able to extricate himself from the wreck. 525 Charlie Knight led away the restart from debutant 141 Harry Neath-Rogers and 315 Charlie Fisher, before Farrell enlivened the action by thundering in 736 Josh Weare, with the pair also entertaining with some ‘afters’ following the race’s conclusion. Out front, Stoneman worked his way into second and gradually reeled in Knight, diving in for a big last-bend lunge which just made contact and spun the white-top. Stoneman won from Fisher and Farrell as the unfortunate Knight could only recover in time for ninth. A full 30-car grid provided a terrific spectacle in the final, which surprisingly ran flag to flag without a caution period. Neath-Rogers led for a few laps before he was passed by 210 Tristan Claydon as the leaders quickly hit traffic on the busy raceway. Fellow yellow-top Coombes moved into second but was some way behind the leader as the action was coming among the blue-tops behind. Third-placed 390 Jessica Smith was shoved wide by 468 Sam Weston, with 302 Dale Moon following through. Smith also lost out to Farrell as Claydon survived a scare when backmarkers spun in front of him on the final bend, to win from Coombes and Weston. A terrific 31 cars returned for the Grand National which was led for more than half the race by 762 Mike Cocks before he lost out to Sheahan and Weston. When 509 Jordan Butcher slammed into the Honiton bend wall yellow flags were required with four laps to go. Sheahan kept hold of his lead though, taking his second win of the afternoon ahead of Weston, Stoneman and Farrell.

Saloon Stock Cars

For the first of three south-west meetings over the four-day weekend, there were 22 cars in action, including a track debut for 151 Levi List, nephew of the very successful Barnett brothers. 747 Matthew Stirling made the trip from Northern Ireland, while 620 Aaryn Triggs travelled from Scotland. 577 Harry Darby led heat one until bumped wide by 227 Jon Kingwell. Kingwell himself then got involved in some tit-for-tat with 10 Frank Little Jr which ended with Little among the infield marker tyres. Kingwell continued to lead but lost his advantage to a yellow flag for debris, which brought 677 Warren Darby, Triggs and Stirling onto his tail. Darby then shoved Kingwell wide to take the lead, with Sirling moving into second and surviving a last-bend lunge from Kingwell to keep the position. Harry Darby again led heat two before suffering a spin which let Kingwell ahead. Kingwell stayed there until shoved wide by Triggs, while the broadside cars of List and 111 Thomas Ruby provided a back-straight obstruction for a couple of laps. As the leaders piled into the final bend, it was Kingwell who emerged back in front to win from Triggs and Stirling. The final proved to be a typically action-packed affair from the hard-hitting Heavy Metal Brigade. Kingwell dispatched Triggs early on to run second behind Harry Darby when yellow flags were called after 902 Brad Compton-Sage was slammed ferociously into the marker tyres entering turn three. After racing resumed, Kingwell used backmarker traffic to get past Darby only to get spun on the back straight himself by the wayward Ruby. In all the commotion, Ruby collected the marker tyres and went up onto two wheels, as he and Kingwell took the brunt of some big hits to bring out yellow flags, whilst Stirling and List nipped in front. On the resumption, List was shuffled back down the order by Darby, 199 Phil Powell and 760 Joey Reynolds. As the leaders came into the final bend, there was another big skirmish, but Stirling, Darby and Reynolds remained in that order. The Northern Irishman was delighted to have made his 36-hour journey worthwhile in what is set to be his final season of racing.


With 24 under-16s in action, the field was split to each run in two from three heats. Heat one’s early leader 922 Kaydi Butcher provided the race’s most spectacular action when rolling onto her side after being tipped towards a marker tyre by 497 Peyton Cockerill, as 567 Mia Batten ran into them and that gave the final nudge of momentum for Butcher to topple. 911 Alex Thomas led on the resumption but was put under pressure by 870 Bertie Farrell and, from the very back, 202 Cody Bradford. Farrell briefly got ahead before losing out to the other pair on the last lap and then ending up in the wall exiting the final bend. Bradford won from Thomas and 913 Ben Faulconbridge. Butcher again led away heat two before being passed by Thomas, but 617 Christina Sillifant was the one to watch. She had reached third and then passed Butcher for second with five laps to go before a caution was required. 928 Jess Coombes was nudged wide by Bertie Farrell and ended up over-correcting and charging into the bend two gate head on, thankfully only being winded. Silifant passed Thomas on the resumption before a spin for 20 Lewis Middleton on the home straight led to more yellow flags, after which she kept clear of the squabbles behind to win. 207 Alfie Flecken and 475 Mason Sealy completed the top three. 920 Wayne Wadge Jr quickly hit the front of heat three, chased by 913 Ben Faulconbridge as Sillifant and Flecken again worked their way through into strong positions. Faulconbridge and Sillifant both caught and passed Wadge, while silver top 290 Alfie Tomkins also made progress in the second half of the race to take third from Flecken as Wadge slipped to fifth at the flag. The Reg Thomas Shield final included a lively exchange involving Bradford and 907 Cadan Davies, whilst Tomkins took command by the midway point. He won from Sillifant, and in a dramatic finish, Faulconbridge just grabbed third from Sealy, as 217 Josh Dent slid sideways over the line for fifth.

Unlimited cc Old Skool Bangers

A dismal 16-strong entry again raised question marks about the longevitiy of the class. The entry did include a variety of machinery, with 91 Sam Bartlett’s Jaguar XJ the pick of the bunch. 185 Rich Coaker (BMW) led most of heat one before getting caught by 246 Ryan Sparks (BMW) among backmarkers and losing out with three laps to go. 954 Jamie Beere’s Mk3 Granada led almost from flag to flag in heat two, besides a brief spell in front for Coaker. Beere survived the last-bend challenges of Coaker and Sparks to take the win. A very quiet final was led all the way by the BMW of Ben Hale, while 186 Lewis Fasey (Ford Scorpio) just held off Coaker for second. The Allcomers race proved to be another quiet affair dominated by Coaker who won from Fasey. Sparks just held off Hale for third, while 282 Steve Hunt matched fellow veteran 114 Nick Courtier’s final result by coming home fifth.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 325 844 24 302 460 194 560 931 27 509
Heat 2 915 454 542 468 390 210 980 689 828 890
Consolation 127 315 667 895 258 475 728 141 525 526
Final 210 828 468 302 667 390 24 560 127 689
Grand National 325 468 127 667 302 915 454 762 542 560
Grade Awards W 454 Y 210 B 468 R 667
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 202 911 913 217 870 902 505 567 497 559
Heat 2 617 207 475 290 870 907 242 922 550 313
Heat 3 913 617 290 207 920 202 217 475 505 902
Final 290 617 913 475 217 497 505 202 902 742
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 677 747 227 620 561 760 902 177 151 261
Heat 2 227 620 747 760 902 561 341 677 720 199
Final 747 577 760 720 151 199 561 227 319 677
Unlimited cc Old Skool Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 246 185 991 186 114 91 562 282 258 775
Heat 2 954 185 246 114 282 775 991 562 186 258
Final 991 186 185 246 114 954 282 562 775 59
Allcomers 185 186 246 991 282 954 775 59 562 114
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