Smeatharpe Stadium - Monday 28th September 2020

The last Monday evening meeting of the season at Smeatharpe Stadium suffered from incessant light rain, which made things hard work for the drivers and led to some chaotic action.  Yet 890 Paul Rice demonstrated his love of the wet conditions in BriSCA Formula Two, while 399 Cole Atkins completed an unbeaten weekend in the Saloon Stock Cars.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

The lowest turnout of the season of 25 cars, with only 23 racing, meant that a two-thirds heat format was deployed.  The light rain set in just before start-time which made for some frantic changing of tyres and set-up for those involved in the opener.  352 Dave Sansom continued his fine form since returning to racing by quickly cutting through from the Blue grade to lead, dumping early leader 222 Adrian Watts in the wall in the process.  Sansom was then nudged wide by British champion 542 Steven Gilbert, revelling in the wet conditions, before a caution was called to assist Watts after 24 Jon Palmer slid into his parked car.  The rest of the race was relatively quiet, with Gilbert serenely marching to victory, until the final bend when 127 Matt Stoneman spun Sansom from second.  As the pair scrambled to get going again, 315 Justin Fisher nipped inside for second.  Sansom just managed to claim third as Stoneman spun across the line, slipping to sixth.  Conditions had worsened for heat two, leading to plenty of spinners.  Sansom again quickly hit the front, before 418 Ben Borthwick nosed inside.  Living up to his reputation, Sansom was not standing for that, thundering Borthwick into the wall and costing them both.  Palmer was there to pick up the pieces, and he won from 184 Aaron Vaight, who had spun 895 Ben Goddard for second, although the latter had re-caught him by the flag.  Having crashed out of heat one, 890 Paul Rice’s wet-weather prowess came to the fore in heat three as he scythed through the field, nudging 210 Tristan Claydon wide for the lead, then holding off Gilbert’s determined challenge after a caution to recover Fisher.  783 James Rygor topped a good scrap with 522 Chris Mikulla for third.  Just 15 cars survived for the final, all but three being stars or superstars.  As 828 Julian Coombes led, Borthwick and Fisher headed the star-grade charge.  Fisher moved ahead on half-distance as Borthwick dropped back with a puncture and Coombes then lost out in a Honiton bend heap.  That left Fisher with a healthy advantage over Palmer and Rice, with the pair gradually closing in as the laps ticked down, helped by backmarking traffic.  With a lap to go, Palmer lunged at Fisher but too hard – both got caught on parked cars, Fisher terminally, and Rice gratefully slipped through to take the win, becoming the first man to claim two finals at the track this year.  Rygor was second, with Palmer recovering for third ahead of Gilbert, Vaight and Goddard.  “I’ve done the job a bit too hard really!” admitted Palmer in something of an understatement in his post-race interview, adding that in those conditions, “it’s hard to judge”.  Winner Rice said: “I do like the wet conditions,” agreeing that, “I think Jon did me a favour there.”  With conditions taking their toll, it was a thin field took part in the Grand National which was inevitably quiet, Rygor winning from Palmer and Vaight, with Rice taking sixth from the lap handicap.

Saloon Stock Cars

Yet again the Saloons proved that low teens are all that is needed to entertain on the tight concrete raceway, and the wet conditions only spiced it up further.  While guest driver 162 Bradley Fox was hit from pillar to post in heat one, 28 Ian Govier, 902 Junior Buster, 276 Ben King and 980 Charlie Lobb also got involved in the rough stuff – the latter two seemingly far more intent on destroying one another than actually trying to make forward progress.  Yellow flags to assist Govier with five laps to go wiped out 399 Cole Atkins’ big lead but he was able to ease clear once more for the win, with 199 Phil Powell judging his last-bend move on 161 Billy Smith perfectly to take second.  Atkins dominated a quieter heat two, to win from 319 Richard Regan, while Powell again outfoxed Smith on the final bend, this time for third.  Regan put up a bit more resistance to Atkins in the final before Atkins again eased away.  Smith and Powell made faster progress through the pack this time and were reeling in Atkins in the closing stages, only to run out of laps.  Atkins won, while Smith this time just held off Powell for second, with 476 Ryan Wadling and Junior Buster following them home.

Old Skool Unlimited Bangers

A 12-car turnout was somewhat disappointing, if a little bit higher than had looked in prospect at one stage.  Regular ‘Old Skool’ rules meant that the biggest hits were outlawed in the heats and final, the first of which was won by 282 Steve Hunt’s BMW after he demoted 907 Cameron Bradford’s Lexus.  Bradford held on for second, with 82 Danny Hunt third.  Bradford again led in heat two, where the action was limited to a few spinners, but couldn’t hold off the Mk3 Granada of 954 Jamie Beere, who came through to win from 246 Ryan Sparks with Bradford third.  Bradford finally made all his laps led count in the final, just holding off Sparks in a dash to the flag after Sparks had nudged him wide on the final bend.  Beere completed the top three ahead of Bradford’s fellow teenager 186 Lewis Fasey.  Just five cars returned for the full-contact allcomers race, which was unsurprisingly devoid of action; this time Sparks ran out the winner.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 542 315 352 418 24 127 783 210 736 538
Heat 2 24 184 895 539 538 915 942 nof
Heat 3 890 542 783 522 184 895 127 539 210 920
Final 890 783 24 542 184 895 736 418 539 538
GN 783 24 184 542 210 890 539 736 nof
Grade Awards W 915 Y 210 B 352
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 399 199 161 476 799 277 902 319 nof
Heat 2 399 319 199 161 799 476 902 277 162 mpf
Final 399 161 199 476 902 799 277 130 162 nof
Old Skool unlimited Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 282 907 82 954 246 382 186 775 121 739
Heat 2 954 246 907 458 121 382 739 186 17 nof
Final 907 246 954 186 382 739 458 17 nof
DD 246 907 382 282 458 nof
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