Smeatharpe Stadium - Monday 7th August 2023

Amid weeks of unseasonably poor weather, Smeatharpe Stadium enjoyed a dry evening for its first Monday night of the summer season. BriSCA Formula Two Stock Cars contested the Silverline Trophy, while it was Devon Championship night for the Saloon Stock Cars and Ministox. BriSCA Micro F2s completed a busy programme.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

Twenty-five F2 Stock Cars were present for the summer season opener, although a blown diff meant 895 Ben Goddard got no further than practice and 308 Lee Gilmore also failed to race. With a two-thirds format adopted, 121 Vinnie Neath-Rogers set the early pace and built a decent lead in the opener. But, from the front of the yellow grade, 736 Josh Weare was hunting the novice down. Weare moved ahead in the second half of the race and was too far clear to be reeled in by a charging 24 Jon Palmer after the star man relieved Neath-Rogers of second with two-and-a-half laps remaining. Behind the leaders, 890 Paul Rice was turned across the front of 315 Charlie Fisher on the back straight, where he was collected by 525 Charlie Knight. The crash put both Rice and Fisher out as well as afflicting 464 Matt Linfield with a puncture and delaying others. A final lap slip denied Neath-Rogers third, as 468 Sam Weston led a clutch who slipped by. 870 Bruno Farrell was spun from the lead at the start of heat two, with 194 Luke Johnson also gyrating and getting collected by 127 Matt Stoneman, losing the latter a lap. 777 Jon Vickery was running well out front but was eventually caught and passed by Weare with five laps to go. Downgraded to blue for August, one-time World champion 783 James Rygor looked set to pounce on both, only for his car to suddenly expire. The resulting oil on turns 3 and 4 slowed the pace considerably, but Weare held on to win from Vickery, with Palmer coming through to third. Rygor’s car was back on song for heat three. He scythed through to pass Vickery for the lead just after half-distance and just before yellow flags came out. 528 Shane Hector had gone heavily into the wall and was later collected by Weston. On the resumption, Rygor sprinted off to victory while an entertaining three-way scrap for second went the way of Stoneman ahead of 605 Richard Andrews and Vickery.  The final began with the Silverline Trophy’s traditional clutch start, which made for a spectacle under the floodlights. Once again, Vickery displayed his fine form, running away at the head of the field. Rygor and Palmer, whose late father Les originally put up the trophy, were both on a charge, making light work of those in front. It soon became clear that it was a question of whether there were enough laps for them to reel Vickery in, and whether the leader could hold his nerve. As Rygor and Palmer made their way forward, Andrews got inside 828 Julian Coombes to take second, only for Rygor to immediately use his bumper to shift both wide and take the position himself. Palmer was soon into third and set fastest lap as the chase intensified. Rygor managed to catch Vickery and got inside to take the lead with three laps to go, and Palmer then moved Vickery aside to take second a couple of laps later. But Rygor’s advantage was too great for Palmer to attempt a last-bend lunge, so it was Rygor who took the win, ending his very brief spell in the blue grade in the process. Palmer was happy with second, noting at the trophy presentation conducted with assistance from his sister Sharon, that both Rygor and Vickery were good friends of his father, “So it’s nice for all three of us to be here”. Stoneman, Weston and Fisher completed the top six. Vickery finally claimed the victory his efforts merited in the Grand National as he led from start to finish. Fellow white-top Neath-Rogers also couldn’t be caught as he beat Palmer to second. 475 Leah Sealy triumphed in a good battle for fourth which lost Weston and Coombes from its number after the pair tangled with a few laps remaining.

Saloon Stock Cars

An 18-car turnout of Saloons contested the Devon Championship as their first race. 281 Marc Chenery’s trip into a home-straight marker tyre instigated a caution period when he was clobbered by 111 Thomas Ruby, leaving the latter with a crippled car in the west bend and his driver’s side facing the traffic. West Midlander 99 Jacob Roff had relieved former F2 man 7 Pat Lines of the lead and stayed ahead as a big push on the restart left 199 Phil Powell and 677 Warren Darby in a spin. As the laps wore on, 902 Junior Buster picked off Lines and 28 Ian Govier to take second, with defending champion 720 Archie Brown following in his wake. Junior Buster chased down Roff in the second half of the race and challenged among backmarking traffic, eventually snatching the lead with two laps remaining. Brown took second a lap later, and then went for a big last-bend lunge on the leader. It didn’t pay off: both cars spun and a grateful Roff swept past for victory. 760 Joey Reynolds was second, with 577 Harry Darby third and Brown recovering for fourth. A couple of false restarts, with Harry Darby particularly keen on the throttle, prolonged the first Allcomers race, after which East Anglian visitor 151 Levi List streaked away out front. Junior Buster gradually reeled in List and took advantage of a spinning backmarker to seize the lead. List stayed with his assailant for a few laps but lost ground in more traffic, so Junior Buster took a comfortable win from List and Warren Darby. List, nephew of multi-champions Craig and Darren Barnett, looked threatening again in the second Allcomers race. Making use of the bumper to take the lead, this time he stayed in front all the way to the chequered flag ahead of 672 Si Paris and Chenery. With such a run of good displays at Smeatharpe, List is unlikely to miss future chances to visit.


A strong showing of 22 Ministox included a quartet of visiting Scots on their summer holidays, although home driver 20 Lewis Middleton was unable to race. Heat one required a couple of stoppages when 902 Reagan Davies spun on the back straight and then 242 Amy and 742 Kacey Williams were left facing each other on turn 2. 207 Alfie Flecken relieved 922 Kaydi Butcher of the lead after the first caution and could not be caught. Visitor 306 Oliver Heron had followed into second but lost out to 290 Alfie Tomkins and 202 Cody Bradford. He fought back past the latter, but both were beaten to third by Scottish driver 628 Ross McLaughlin. In heat two, Butcher’s spin from the lead was reprieved by a yellow flag, but she then lost out to Heron. The north west racer was nudged wide by Tomkins, but Flecken slipped past before trading the lead with Tomkins. But it wouldn’t be a second win for Flecken, whose car refused to restart after a caution period with four laps to go. Tomkins benefited to take the win ahead of Bradford and Heron. The Devon Championship grid was formed based on points scored in the heats, which put Tomkins and Bradford on the front row, ahead of Heron and Scots McLaughlin and 484 Dean Heeps. It was Flecken who rounded out the front block. Tomkins converted pole into the race lead, chased by Bradford, with Flecken immediately jumping into third. After an early caution period, the three locals pulled clear and remained line astern for several laps. Flecken appeared to have more pace than the duo in front and duly passed Bradford for second, before making the decisive move on Tomkins with four laps remaining. While Flecken eased clear to secure the title, Bradford made a successful last-bend lunge on National Champion Tomkins to snatch second on the line. 27 Rab Scott worked his way forward to take fourth ahead of McLaughlin and 920 Wayne Wadge Jr as Heeps slipped down the order.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 736 24 468 528 870 475 121 259 510 525
Heat 2 736 777 24 663 121 127 460 525 870 259
Heat 3 783 127 605 777 475 464 315 828 460 572
Final 783 24 777 127 468 315 475 528 464 460
Grand National 777 121 24 475 315 783 525 528 460 663
Grade Awards W 777 Y 736 B 783
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Devon 99 760 577 720 672 677 902 7 277 319
Allcomers 1 902 151 677 277 720 672 760 99 27 577
Allcomers 2 151 672 281 199 760 720 677 27 277 577
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 207 290 628 306 202 484 88 27 913 920
Heat 2 290 202 306 484 902 475 628 27 88 511
Devon 207 202 290 27 628 920 870 902 306 484
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