Skegness Stadium - Saturday 20th May 2023

On a sunny but breezy day a large gathering of race teams from all corners of the UK gathered on the Lincolnshire coast for the first of two days of action under the Autospeed banner at Skegness Raceway.

ORCi Stock Rods

The format for the weekend followed the same pattern as last year’s inaugural running with the field split into two half car graded heats to commence the qualifying campaign for the UK Championship.  338 James Halkett made his way into an early lead in the opening heat until fellow countryman 46 Stewart Paterson found a way past whereupon he sped to the win in much the same way as he did in his first heat race 10 months previous.  Behind, World Champion 29 David Philp Jnr set out his claim as one of the favourites to come home in fifth from the rear of the grid.  Heat two saw Northern Irish visitor 924 Jack Morrow force his way into the lead and ultimately the win.  Further back, there was a fierce battle between 700 Sean Naismith, 67 Craig Haxton and 41 Stewart McKinnon, the trio eventually finishing in that order after Naismith managed to withstand the pressure of the other pair.  The qualifying format now switched to drivers contesting two out of three heats with grid positions reversed for their second race.  The third heat was marked by 612 Leon Stewart being disgracefully taken to the plating by Halkett with some force, resulting in an early end to the latter’s weekend’s racing.  As that was unfolding, Philp had burst into a commanding lead which he held to the flag being followed home by Scottish Champion 83 Michael Bethune.  Heat four did not get too far until a caution was required as 220 Richard Short and 415 Sean Gillet were amongst a number of cars to come together on the turnstile bend.  On the resumption Bethune seemed to suffer some sort of mechanical woe on the back straight, the car twitching and slowing as he dropped down to the rear of the field.  Up front 79 Sean Devine led the field home to the chequered flag as behind there was an enthralling battle between 151 Simon Vincent, 172 Derek Conner, 197 James Gray and 944 Callum Hosie for second.  Conner got to the front but adjudged to have been overly forceful by the Steward and therefore found himself demoted to fourth after a post-race enquiry.  The final heat under the floodlights also saw the result amended post race after Morrow was demoted from his position as first over the line, having made heavy contact whilst passing Haxton for the lead.  That promoted Philp to his second win of the evening, as he cemented his place as the top points scorer.

ORCi Ministox

With what is likely to be the largest entry of cars of season 2023, 42 drivers contested three out of four qualifying heats.  The opening heat saw the twins 550 Callum Herzig and 505 Louie Herzig sail into an early lead until 870 Bert Farrell battled his way through.  Soon after Farrell had hit the front, the yellow flags were called for 79 Mason Howe who had been spun sideways on the back straight.  The restart took two attempts such was the ill discipline of the drivers but once it did get back underway Scottish Open and National Champion 7 Charlie Hardie made short shrift of hitting the front leading home 339 Rhys Kelly and 167 Sam Cavanagh.  567 Mia Battten was an early spinner in the second heat as novice grader 874 Ben McLellan headed the field.  Behind, Kelly forced his way past 742 Kacey Williams only to have Williams come back and spin him around on the back straight.  She eventually had to give way as Hardie moved into third and then eventually past McLellan and into the lead.  However, the white grader was not to be deterred and heading into the Final bend he attempted to force Hardie out wide, but Hardie withstood the challenge to hold on for the win by a narrow margin.  Howe completed the top three.  920 Wayne Wadge was an early casualty in the third heat as Callum Herzig took up the running.  Kelly found himself embroiled in another battle, this time with 644 Owen Marshall, the two swapping places over a number of laps.  Up at the front 29 David Philp Jnr Jnr closed in on Herzig for the lead.  Philp Jnr Jnr took up the running with four laps to go.  As he sped to the win a dramatic last bend saw second down to seventh all charge into the seaside turn.  It was Kelly and Marshall who lost out as Herzig regained second and 42 Jake Wilson picked up an unlikely third at the line.  The final qualifying heat saw McLellan leading once more as behind defending English Open Champion 84 Robbie Armitt edged to the front of an impressive pack of star graders.  As Marshall and 888 Eevie Ford battled for second, the former eventually broke free.   McLellan took the flag for an impressive maiden victory, and finished the night as the leading points scorer.  Marshall was the runner-up and Cavanagh completed the top three.

Hot Fords

The Buxton Raceway based Hot Ford class made their first appearance on the East Coast since 2018 with a very creditable 20 car entry.  141 Ryan Grindey led the opening heat for much of the race as behind 100 Ayrton Mitchell climbed into second only to expire in a cloud of steam.  That promoted 420 Arron White into second by which time the race leader had caught the backmarking 90 Ellie Houghton.  Whilst Houghton held a tight racing line as Grindey moved to the outside, it was all to go wrong for the race leader as he clipped the back marker whilst rounding the seaside turn and spun around, promoting White to the win.  Heat two saw White passed by 48 Gary Ball for the lead with White then enjoying a close battle with 306  Craig Bennett for second place.  White and Bennett raced door handle to door handle around the raceway with Bennett eventually getting past to begin closing in on Ball but unable to effect a challenge before the chequer was shown.  The Final again saw White grab an early lead being chased by Bennett and Ball.  Such was Ball’s efforts to get on terms, he almost spun when he entered the trackshop bend in a wayward fashion.  As Ball eventually dropped down the field, Bennett once again closed in on White.  Bennett looked to mount a challenge on the outside line but was unable to find a way past with White holding on for the win ahead of Bennett, whilst 76 Rob Pearce rounded out the podium places.

Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 46 338 426 862 29 32 231 909 123 913
Heat 2 924 700 67 41 79 73 172 83 197 240
Heat 3 29 83 426 351 862 197 909 231 285 79
Heat 4 79 944 197 172 151 700 46 924 32 522
Heat 5 29 67 924 612 944 909 275 172 700 41
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 7 339 167 60 484 207 290 505 84 388
Heat 2 7 874 79 88 60 167 290 42 202 629
Heat 3 29 550 42 84 644 874 484 339 497 14
Heat 4 874 644 167 84 484 497 60 550 629 202
Hot Fords 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 420 76 483 87 306 48 690 067 9 11
Heat 2 48 306 76 067 483 19 270 14 1 392
Final 420 306 76 483 9 690 87 141 19 067
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