United Downs Raceway - Sunday 12th February 2017

The second winter fixture of the new year saw the action move west to the United Downs Raceway, St Day.  Again, it was very cold, but mercifully, it was a dry afternoon, which yielded some fine racing.

Stock Rods

The early season zest shown by the Stock Rods continued, with another fine showing of 19 drivers.  Heat one was led for some time by 200 Aaron Payne, before 203 Andy Russell reeled him in.  72 Marc Soby was right in the thick of the action behind, and it was the unfortunate Soby, who already had bodywork fouling a rear wheel, that was inadvertently punted across the path of the unsuspecting 3 Matt Peters.  The result was that Peters struck the fence on the exit of turn four, and sustained front end damage.  The race was already approaching its final quarter, and Russell saw out the remaining laps for a convincing victory.  The final started with an untidy first bend for 705 Dave Ham and 208 David Simpson, as they collided.  Out front, 613 Lee Simmons built up a good lead, but again Russell showed his clear liking for St Day, by storming to the front and claiming his second win of the afternoon.  Simmons held on for a fine second place, whilst 151 Simon Vincent completed the top three.  In the Grand National, there was another retirement for 909 Justin Washer – his third in as many fruitless races.  Simmons resisted several attempts by 14 Ross Montgomery to get around the outside of him, as they produced an entertaining duel for the lead.  Peters was frustrated by the efforts of Ham to retire to the infield, and signalled his displeasure with a hand signal of exasperation.  Simmons took the last lap board, and seemed set for a maiden win, only to overshoot the final bend, and that left the inside line clear for Montgomery to sweep past in the sprint to the finish line.

Ministox

The day’s trio of races for the youngsters were punctuated by some very untidy restarts, but in the main, the junior racers again produced some good racing, and with it three different winners.  The opening heat was a two-way battle between 577 Harry Darby and 654 Harley Soper.  The two very young drivers set a good pace at the front, but when 917 Gemma Robbins spun, and 970 Archie Farrell ran aground on the back straight, a caution period negated the lead of the two white graders.  Another yellow flag period was needed when 958 Zak Carnell and 619 Max Langmaid tangled to a halt in the pits bend.  In a fraught couple of laps to close out the race, 911 Harrison Bryant nudge 902 Junior Buster wide, and that left him prone to a spin from 907 Cameron Lawrence.  Bryant won, Lawrence was second, and 677 Warren Darby took third, whilst 983 Jamie-Lee Thomson collected points at St Day for the very first time in ninth.  In heat two, Harry Darby again led from early on.  At halfway, he still led, and into the closing stages, he was still ahead of Soper who was leading the chase.  Darby saw out the final lap, and Junior Buster narrowly pipped Soper for second place at the line.  First to congratulate Harry, was his elder brother Warren - a very nice touch.  The final was suspended when 976 Daniel Kent was left stranded on the back straight, and again after 946 Stacey Coombes was spun around in turn four at the same time as 667 Tommy Farrell lost a wheel.  In the battle for the lead, Bryant spun Junior Buster, who was then collected by Warren Darby, which forced yet another yellow flag period.  Bryant and Lawrence then traded places for the lead, before Lawrence half spun Bryant, and that was the move that won Lawrence the race – a victory which saw him retain the Lindsay Motorsport Mini Mayhem Trophy.  Langmaid nipped into second place, with Bryant recovering for third.

Bangers

Over 40 drivers contested the first fixture of the year for the Bangers; an appreciable increase on the corresponding event of 2016.  There were some truly outstanding examples of car preparation, and five drivers were duly awarded Best Presented car awards.  Unfortunately, there were many drivers who failed to heed the warning that full roof colours are part of the rules, and accordingly, they found themselves relegated to the rear of the grid.  23 Barry Staples and 70 Jamie Thomas charged to the front of the opening heat, but as they came to lap 621 Scott Kendall, Staples became entangled with him, and for a moment, Thomas looked to be caught in the mix-up.  However, Kendall freed himself by sending Staples fencewards on the home straight.  That left Thomas out on his own, and he won by quite a distance from 991 Ben Hale.  In heat two, Staples was in great form as he sped from the rear of the grid to the front, to lead home Thomas, but much of the interest centred on the feuding pair of 206 Matt Brewer and 768 Tyler Cock.  They each took turns to run one another wide to the plating, before coming to rest on the exit of turn four, where Cock applauded Brewer, and once the race was over, Brewer returned the compliment by theatrically applauding Cock.  Perhaps both drivers were trying to keep their hands warm on a chilly day?  Newcomer 351 Chris Burley led the third heat from flag to flag, to score a maiden win on his debut appearance.  There was a most spectacular start to the final, with most of the white grade failing to make the green flag, and then a huge pile-up in the pits bend.  Once this all sorted itself out, Thomas showed blistering pace to rocket to another victory and claim the Taiya Densham Trophy Shield.  53 Chris James was almost as impressive as he trailed in as the runner-up, and 912 Simon Rees completed the top three.

Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 203 208 151 944 92 51 45 613 200 705
Final 203 613 151 92 944 51 14 45 3 68
Grand National 14 613 51 3 151 92 45 437 208 203
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 911 907 677 577 667 972 999 654 983 902
Heat 2 577 902 654 907 927 677 619 911 970 667
Final 907 619 911 970 999 677 654 927 972 nof
Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 A&B 70 991 797 113 185 23 194 366 45 898
Heat 2 B&C 23 70 447 53 75 991 930 938 366 406
Heat 3 C&A 351 406 130 53 206 912 797 447 337 930
Final 70 53 912 797 441 898 79 281 366 185
Best Presented 281 254 45 690 321
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