Smeatharpe Stadium - Saturday 4th June 2022

The much anticipated £6000 People’s Trophies, celebrating 60 years of BriSCA Formula Two, provided some thrilling Saturday night racing, complemented by five action-packed qualifying heats for the Saloon Stock Car European Championship.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

A very healthy prize fund, including start money for all and bonuses galore, helped attract a 54-car entry for the People’s Trophies, thanks to the sterling efforts of Zoe Simpson and all at #LoveF2s. A unique meeting format would feature three qualifying heats, before B- and A-consolations offered second and third chances to qualify for the main event. All three heats provided popular White-top winners, who each pocketed £100 for their efforts. 475 Leah Sealy led the first from start to finish and, behind her, 142 Jonathan Hadfield was also comfortable in second. The star drivers’ progress was hampered by their squabbling among themselves. 560 Luke Wrench eventually decisively shifted 127 Matt Stoneman and worked his way through the order to third, as the top seven qualified for the final, and the next five went straight to the A-consolation. It was a similar story in heat two, as Lincolnshire visitor 482 Dale Seneschall took the honours. He was being closed down in the latter stages but not quickly enough, so 35 Charlie Fisher took second after 801 Jack Cave’s last-bend lunge failed to connect. Cave just hung on to third from 606 Andrew Palmer. Similarly in heat three, north-westerner 53 Phil Mann got a break and continued his fine form to win from 618 Ben Lockwood and 302 Dale Moon. 783 James Rygor managed to escape the other warring stars but could only reach fifth behind 905 Rob Mitchell. The B-consolation offered a single place in the final, plus the chance for seven more to have another go in the A-consolation. 979 Paul Moss assumed the lead but was being hunted down by 418 Ben Borthwick, 700 Adam Rubery and 126 Jamie Avery who had all retired from their heats, in Avery’s case having broken a wheel guard after running well. Borthwick nudged past Moss with four laps to go, and though Moss tried to come back, he couldn’t quite manage it. Avery made it into second with a lap to go, but was unable to catch Borthwick for the all-important victory, although he did survive Moss’s last-bend attack for second. The action stepped up another notch for the A-consolation, which required a complete re-run after 605 Richard Andrews was sent backwards into the pit bend wall among a Yellow-top pile-up. 509 Jordan Butcher led the second attempt until he ran wide and let Moss and 578 Mark Gibbs through. Avery looked to be a major threat as he carved through the field until he lost out in a skirmish with 184 Aaron Vaight, who had earlier crashed heavily in his heat. While Moss and Gibbs were uncatchable, Moss surviving a scare when 667 Tommy Farrell rejoined after a spin, Avery managed to climb back to third, passing Vaight on the final bend, while 320 Matt Hatch and Butcher completed the top six. Among those to miss out, despite running well, were 915 Jamie Jones who spun in the pack, and 844 Jack Prosser and 194 Luke Johnson whose cars hooked together.

The 32 People’s Trophies finalists took part in a drivers’ parade before the big-money race, with each receiving mementos and sharing a few words over the microphone with #LoveF2s’ Zoe Simpson. In another innovation for the night, they were then gridded within their grades according to their heat results, with the best at the front. That meant that the likes of Hadfield (Yellow), Lockwood (Blue), Andrew Palmer (Red) and Wrench (Superstar) started at the front of their grades, which could prove crucial in the hectic early stages. After two rolling laps (with the drivers unaware how many there would be from a maximum of five), Seneschall hit the front, with Hadfield quickly moving into second, as 728 Jack Bunter was an early spinner and Rice took a trip into the wall. Jon Palmer was pushed into a marker tyre which sent him flying into the Honiton bend wall, delaying Vaight too. When Palmer was heavily collected by Sealy, yellow flags were required. By now, Seneschall had lost out, so Hadfield led the resumption, with Lockwood already up to second from Butcher and Moon. Further yellow flags were needed shortly afterwards when 736 Josh Weare and Cave went in hard together and Cave required assistance after 542 Steven Gilbert clipped Weare’s car. Moon had now risen to third, followed by 676 Neil Hooper, while Wrench was also making rapid progress through the pack. Lockwood passed Hadfield for the lead, with Moon then hitting the Derbyshire racer wide to take second on half-distance. Wrench had by now risen to fifth, precipitating an almighty scrap between Moon, Hadfield, Hooper and Wrench over the next several laps. It was thrilling stuff, but crucially allowed Lockwood to make his escape. He did so in style to claim the £2000 winner’s purse. Wrench pushed past Hooper at the start of the final lap for second, then survived Moon’s last-bend attack to hold the place, while Hooper dropped to fifth behind Hadfield, the four cars covered by less than a second. Not much further back, sixth-placed Avery joined Hadfield and Hooper as recipients of bonuses for being the best-placed from their grades outside the top three, while Seneschall did likewise, despite slipping to 18th at the flag. Vaight, Mitchell, Bate and Rygor completed the top 10 in a race that had lived up to its billing. Concluding the night, a 30-car Grand National was predictably action-packed with Smith sisters Jessica (390) and Rebecca (931) involved in a number of incidents. Sealy led much of the opening half of the race before Jones and Gibbs came through. The duo finished in that order, holding off Borthwick in third and the star-grade pack headed by Avery in fifth.

Saloon Stock Cars

While slightly down on earlier expectations, a 39-car showing of Saloons (plus one more who practised before being thwarted by mechanical dramas) included a large number of long-distance travellers and was more than enough to put on a fantastic night of very hectic racing ahead of the following day’s European Championship. The opening heat began with a bang as Scot 5 Tam Rutherford Jr was sent up the wall on the Honiton bend, with his car coming to rest on its side. The second attempt also required a complete re-run after 341 Austen Freestone clobbered a marker tyre off the infield and on to the track towards the pit gate. At the third time of asking, 314 Bryn Finch led for nearly half the race until running wide offered East Anglian 129 Will Morphey the opportunity to spin him on the back straight. Morphey pulled clear for a comfortable win, while 84 Carl Boswell and 124 Andrew Mathieson traded second, Boswell eventually clinching the place after riding out Mathieson’s last-bend hit. 85 Kyle Irvine’s European title defence got off to a bad start with an early spin in heat two in which 418 Mitchell Driver built a big lead before suffering while trying to work his way through the big-name backmarkers. He was passed by 28 Ian Govier and 677 Warren Darby, with Darby then taking the lead before half-distance and motoring to a very comprehensive victory. Govier was passed by 277 Jack Grandon and 96 Willie Mitchell in the final quarter of the race, but managed to come out on top of a last-bend sort out for fourth over 799 Joe Powell and 120 Luke Dorling, as 684 Ian McLaughlin crossed the line eighth... in reverse. Darby, looking to emulate his father’s European title successes at the same track, took another win in heat three. Seemingly impervious to the hits, spins and other incidents going on all around the raceway, Darby calmly picked his way through and used the bumper to shift Morphey and Govier in one move on the Honiton bend to take the lead. His was another comfortable win, as 349 Michael Allard and Dorling made good late progress to take second and third in a hectic race.  Heat four was another chaotic affair, but this time Driver was able to hold on to his early advantage and he survived a last-bend lunge from fellow White-top Finch to take the win. Elsewhere, heavy bumper-work among the stars included trips into the wall for Irvine and 670 Ross Watters and multiple spins for Allard, including a comical three-in-a-row display that was Torvill & Dean-esque. Morphey and 184 Lizzy Crowden, making her first appearance at the track since returning to racing, were two more East Anglians to suffer, while Mathieson also took a heavy hit into the wall. Through it all came 261 Dom Davies and Northern Irishman 719 Dylan Booth to claim third and fourth, enough to secure their places in the big race. Heat five began with frenzied scenes near the pit gate after Grandon spun, but they eventually cleared, and the race continued. Irvine’s miserable night continued with another spin, while fellow Scot 618 Stuart Shevill Jr also took a heavy hit into the wall exiting the pit bend. Driver again led the early stages before Govier briefly hit the front, but Darby was on another unstoppable march to the front. He took over just before half-distance and went on to a complete a maximum qualifying score, with three wins from three races, to secure pole position for the European Championship. 902 Junior Buster came through to second ahead of Rutherford and Boswell. Behind 600 Barry Russell in fourth, Dorling’s fifth place was enough to secure him a front-row slot on the Euro grid, with Boswell and Junior Buster set to make up row two.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 475 142 560 676 127 828 890 325 915 667
Heat 2 482 35 801 606 960 390 988 376 578 844
Heat 3 53 618 302 905 783 24 542 509 605 232
B Consolation 418 126 979 700 161 728 184 736 900 572
A Consolation 979 578 126 184 320 509 736 161 931 728
People's Trophies 618 560 302 142 676 126 184 905 161 783
Grand National 915 578 418 126 127 184 667 988 482 475
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 129 84 124 698 349 670 122 184 10 672
Heat 2 677 277 96 28 799 120 418 684 600 618
Heat 3 677 349 120 902 618 525 28 341 177 199
Heat 4 418 314 261 719 730 525 129 600 561 670
Heat 5 677 902 5 84 600 120 730 698 261 444
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