United Downs Raceway - Sunday 13th August 2023

The great British summer continued to disappoint with a chilly and overcast day, interspersed with frequent showers which were to have a significant impact on the day’s proceedings.  The afternoon got underway in amusing fashion with a typically colourful effort for the Grand Parade, from the Heritage Stock Car teams.  In particular, 629 Vince Manterfield appearing as the Phantom Flan Flinger (for those old enough to remember Tiswas) replete with shaving foam cream pies which he used to good effect on commentator Johnnie Adams who took the hi-jinks in good spirit.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

Sadly, the entry fell short of what was hoped for, much as a consequence of the fixture falling in the middle of a busy period for the formula.  All drivers were eligible to contest the English Open Championship, the first time it had been held in Cornwall.  To give every driver the chance to be involved, the race was staged as the first of the afternoon for the F2s.  With the defending holder absent, the only previous winner of the title on the grid was 676 Neil Hooper who had been victorious in 2006.  As the cars came out for their parade, the first of the afternoon’s rain showers appeared.  In all, 26 drivers gridded, and were lined up in reverse average grading points order.  As the drizzle continued, by no means did it lead to a soaking wet track; although it was evident that the damp surface would provide a challenge for any drivers on a dry set-up.  And so, it proved.  The front of the grid made it around the first turn, but as the second half of the grid passed the green flag, 572 James Lindsay got a little out of shape and that set off a chain reaction which resulted in a 14-car pile-up at the turnstile end.   As drivers slid wide, the outside line became a car park, with 222 Adrian Watts and 605 Richie Andrews amongst those who took the brunt of the damage.  Out came the yellow flags, and after a lengthy operation to remove stricken cars, there were just 13 cars left running for the single file restart.  290 Kieran Cocks and 141 Harry Neath-Rogers were the front pair, but 418 Ben Borthwick was already sitting in third place as his limited season’s racing benefitted him with a relatively fortuitous original grid.  When the race resumed, Borthwick was quickly up into the lead, as he bustled his way past the white grade duo in front of him.  27 Kieren Bradford was also looking quick, as he forced his way past 24 Jon Palmer, but Palmer came back at Bradford, taking both cars scuttling around the plating in the turnstile bend.  The heavy attack ended the interest of both Palmer and Bradford and helped Borthwick extend his lead.  By now, Borthwick was cruising at the front, and he was nearly half a lap ahead as track debutant 213 Tom Bennett, fresh from racing at Cowdenbeath the evening before, edged into second place.  Behind him, 127 Matt Stoneman and 980 Charlie Lobb enjoyed a good battle for third.  As the race moved into its closing stages, Borthwick was out of sight for Bennett, and he lapped all up to and including seventh place.  Borthwick took the flag, Bennett was a distant second and Lobb eventually made his way through to the last of the podium spots as only 9 drivers sent the distance.  Following on from the championship event there followed three heats with drivers contesting two heats each.  Just the 13 cars repaired for the first with Neath-Rogers losing the lead to 528 Shane Hector.  Stoneman forced his way past Hector for the lead with two laps to go, and Borthwick also found his way past the yellow top on the final bend for second.  The second heat also had 13 starters, and saw Palmer’s trials and tribulations continue, as he retired with mechanical woes early on.  At the front, 777 John Vickery charged into the lead from the white grade.  It took until the last lap for Lobb to be able to get on the back bumper of Vickery and move through on turns one and two to claim victory.  The third heat sees an uptick in entrants to 16 cars with Palmer spinning out 475 Leah Sealy on the back straight as he looked to mount a charge to the front.  However, it all went wrong for him as his throttle stuck open and he made rapid contact with the turn four plating – the crash duly requiring a caution period.  Vickery was again leading but with four laps to go he veered wildly out of shape careering onto the infield before spinning on the inner banking of turn one.  It was Stoneman who profited as he nipped through to lead the field home.  The last race of the day was the Grand National with Borthwick from the lap handicap given the English Open counted as the meeting final.  Stoneman continued his fine form by passing Vickery for the win with a little more than two laps to go.

ORCi Stock Rods

The entry was missing a number of home hopes whilst the visiting entry from Scotland was modest but one of quality featuring as it did the defending National Champion 612 Leon Stewart, current World Champion 29 David Philp Jnr and the former ORCi Champion 216 Cameron Doak.  The drivers contested two out of three heats with their grid positions reversed for their second outing.  944 Callum Hosie made the most of an advantageous grid position to speed off into the lead in the opening heat, eventually winning by more than half a lap.  Behind him, Philp’s progress was hampered by a tangle with 285 Martin Walker, which also involved 151 Simon Vincent.  258 James Griggs took his new car to second place, Vincent was third and Scotsman Philip eventually came home in fourth.  The second heat briefly saw Stewart hit the front, but he was quickly passed by Vincent who lives within a stone’s throw of the track.  Vincent looked a major threat as sped to a dominant win.  There were drizzly conditions for the third and final heat, in which 522 Chris Mikulla took a flag-to-flag win ahead of 231 Simon Bassett and 415 Sean Gillett.  However, most people’s attention centred on the battle further back as Doak defended the challenge of 275 Jeremy Hatch and Hosie, that being the eventual order as they crossed the line.  The points from the heats saw Vincent on pole with Hosie on his outside with Philp and Doak both behind.  On a very slippery track, Hosie made the break, rounding Vincent in the first two laps before an early yellow flag after 31 Adam McAleer spun on the back straight and was collected by Bassett.  Hosie’s lead was never seriously threatened over the thirty lap race, and he scored a comfortable victory to regain the title he last won in 2021.  However, there was an entertaining battle for third between Philp and Doak with Doak eventually finding a gap up the inside on turn one after Philp drifted out wide.  The closing stages saw the leaders encountering heavy back marking traffic which allowed Vincent to close the gap marginally on Hosie.  In the scramble for third, Philp took to the outside line as the last lap commenced, and for a moment it looked like it might just work but it was Doak who held on for the final podium spot.  The outgoing champion, Leon Stewart, came home in fourth and was quickly on the scene at the end to congratulate the top three and in a nice touch, he removed the gold vinyl stripe from his car and presented it to Hosie to adorn the Cornishman’s roof.

Heritage Junior Stock Cars

The entry was a little down on previous years, but they served up a trio of entertaining races.  107 Dan Chiplin and 842 Lee Williams disputed the lead in the opener, with 342 Ross Taylor hunting them down.  However, Taylor found himself trapped behind 49 Paul Ferguson and 64 Paul Sykes who had both come to a crunching halt on the exit of turn two.  This allowed 728 Graham Bunter to speed by, and he reeled in Chiplin and then Williams, to take the lead and the seal the opening win of the afternoon which netted him the John Taylor Memorial Trophy.  The grid dwindled down to just nine entrants for the second race with 734 Richard Johnson claiming a late victory, whilst Taylor’s bad luck continued as the car expired in steam just beyond the pit gate at the flag.  Chiplin again led the last race of the afternoon for some time, but he could not withstand the charge of 135 Jim Cannon who galloped away to the flag, winning convincingly ahead of Johnson and 157 Kevin Woollas.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
English Open 418 213 980 302 127 460 777 663 746 nof
Heat 1 127 418 528 302 979 676 542 895 141 460
Heat 2 980 777 302 475 663 676 460 141 746 nof
Heat 3 127 980 979 27 542 418 475 895 663 572
Grand National 127 475 980 777 27 542 213 663 302 979
Grade Awards: W:777 Y:475 B:418
Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 944 258 151 29 31 862 9 131 149 235
Heat 2 151 612 29 131 286 216 9 275 862 415
Heat 3 522 231 415 216 275 944 235 286 77 285
National 944 151 216 29 612 258 286 9 275 131
Heritage Junior Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
JT Memorial 728 734 580 842 135 157 107 342 143 nof
Heat 2 734 580 107 135 842 157 342 728 143 nof
Final 135 734 157 107 580 842 728 342 nof
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