Smeatharpe Stadium - Saturday 10th November 2018

The main 2018 season ended at Smeatharpe Stadium a month later than was originally planned, with the meeting postponed from October 13 eventually moving in its entirety to this particular date.  There was never going to be a ‘good’ day or time for the moving of a fixture, and ultimately it was a damp November evening that featured the National Bangers Championship of the World, BriSCA F2 Stock Cars and ORCi Ministox.

National Bangers

With it being so late in the season and working around other events for the unlimited National Bangers and with it being moved to one of only two real dates available, it was always going to be a case of hope for the best with who and what could attend, despite a lot of genuine effort and goodwill throughout the Banger community.  As it was, there was no getting away from the fact that the entry was disappointing with many of those who had been booked cancelling their bookings at late notice, such as was the case of three Roughnecks from south Wales who encountered significant travelling issues on race day.  All of that said, the shortfall in numbers was counter balanced by an entry of great quality.  The traditional draw for grid positions was conducted via the drivers’ parade ahead of the race and one of the favourites, 114 Liam Lake drew pole position with another, 341 Andrew Jones alongside and then a young gun in the shape of 907 Cameron Bradford on position three and old-stager 45 Anthony Croshaw on grid four.  Defending title holder 190 Steve Bailey was on 12 and outgoing Autospeed points champion 162 Brett Ellacott on 13.  On a very slippery track surface, the powerful cars noticeably struggled for grip and this was shown on the first corner, when only a slight push from Bradford on to Lake, saw the 114 car spin.  Former Ministox star Bradford duly took up the lead, and it was to be a lead the 17-year old was not to lose.  Firstly it was Jones who tried to keep hold of him, then a battle of the veterans in 382 Danny Hunt and Ellacott as they came through the traffic.  It was Hunt who looked the most likely, but having got to third place, he got held up on the back straight and dropped out of the running.  Thus, it came down to a battle between Ellacott and Bradford.  Ellacott simply couldn’t get the speed and traction from his Jaguar on the particularly slippery track, and tidy driving from Bradford in his Lexus saw him hold on all the way to the flag to pull off one of the biggest surprise Banger victories in recent times.  Ellacott had to make do with second and Bailey conceded with third.  A further check of the charts confirmed Jones in fourth with 452 Anthony Sleeman, who raced a fresh Mk 1 Granada Coupe, in fifth.  The subsequent two Allcomers races saw some very good racing, if light on actual action but did see a feud between Lake and 954 Jamie Beere emerge.  This began when Lake diverted from his line in the pits bend to charge at the already spun Beere head-on in the first Allcomers.  Then, in the second Allcomers, Beere attacked Lake from the home straight infield, to which Lake returned the compliment a lap later, with a strong shot over Beere’s front wheel.  Hunt was the winner of the first and 570 Jordan Cumming the second.  Unfortunately, with a lack of interest, the Destruction Derby was cancelled.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

There were more BriSCA F2 Stock Cars present than ultimately actually raced, with 603 John Sleeman particularly luckless.  The north east based driver experienced engine problems in pre-meeting practice, and was thus denied the chance to compete in the meeting.  Nevertheless, given this being the latest staging of a meeting in the southwest for well over a decade, the entry was still good and varied.  The White & Yellow grade Final was the first event of the evening and was won by 528 Shane Hector ahead of 544 James Rogers and 895 Ben Goddard.  The first heat of the full meeting went to 464 Matt Linfield and the second to Rogers before 328 Andy Walker got the better of a good battle with 398 Ian England to win the consolation.  The Steve Rich Trophy Final saw Rogers get into the lead and despite appearing to always be in back-marking traffic he was comfortable throughout.  He was so far in front that Hector thought the battle for second between himself and Linfield was the one for the lead and he went in with a big last bend hit on the 464 car.  However, Hector’s challenge was very much all for nothing as he was already being shown the technical disqualification flag for a lose rear wheel guard.  So it was 302 Dale Moon for second and 689 Joe Marquand for third, albeit all some way behind the impressive Rogers who made it his career first Final win.  The top three was thus a star-grade lock-out, with all three cars Zetec powered.  418 Ben Borthwick rounded out the season with a win in the Allcomers.

Ministox

For the ORCi Ministox there was the business of the Autospeed Points Championship to conclude and it came into the meeting very tight at the top between 619 Max Langmaid and 654 Harley Soper and their battle proved to be a very interesting side show to the racing throughout.  The first heat saw Soper claw back a good number of points by making second to 970 Archie Farrell whilst in the next, Langmaid responded by beating Soper home to third with the win going to 569 Adam Langridge.  So, it all came down to the Club 21 Final.  Soper did all he could do by winning the race with an impressive drive, Langmaid was spun early on and his charge back into contention was watched on and his seventh place was enough to mark the points a tie between the pair, on 201 points each, thus meaning both will wear the silver roof in 2019.  Langridge again marked himself out as one to watch with second in the race and 506 Bradley Eltham was third.

BriSCA F2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
W&Y 528 544 895 689 667 745 398 828 976 613
Heat 1 464 315 528 184 667 67 251 325 Top 8 to final
Heat 2 544 302 745 418 24 127 468 689 Top 8 to final
Cons 328 398 828 613 517 460 639 241 222 214
Final 544 302 689 127 745 184 418 468 464 315
Allcomers 418 689 302 184 127 315 464 398 24 544
Grade Awards W 544 Y 745 B 302
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 970 654 506 569 599 985 619 584 900 914
Heat 2 569 970 619 654 985 980 506 210 584 946
Final 654 569 506 599 985 980 619 577 584 210
National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
World 907 162 190 341 452 383 460 570 954 456
Allcomers 1 382 190 570 162 907 452 17 341 45 327
Allcomers 2 570 190 456 452 383 99 nof
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