Smeatharpe Stadium - Sunday 26th January 2020

The pit area was well and truly packed for this year’s Winter Open Championship at Smeatharpe, although the deluge of rain up to start time was anything but helpful as racegoers battled against awkward conditions.

Stock Rods

With something of a sense of renewed enthusiasm, the Stock Rods were in good form during the first UK fixture of the year.  The entry included a track debut for 204 Georgie Biggs, a new car for 32 James Horwell, and a new car for returning former Points Champion 441 Tom Major.  The opening heat was led away by 285 Martin Walker, whilst new Points Champion 3 Matt Peters retired to the infield in the early stages.  437 English Champion Lewis Trickey made excellent progress from the rear of the grid, to emerge as the leading pursuer of Walker.  Once he had caught and passed Walker, Trickey proceeded to lap the rest of the drivers up to fourth place.  Walker swiftly got into the lead in the final, whilst British Champion 909 Justin Washer tangled with 770 Archie Farrell and Biggs pulled to the infield.  Trickey repeated his fine progress of the opening race to charge up the order, serenely overcoming the opposition, to seal a brace of wins.  14 Ross Montgomery and 9 Chris Drake completed the top three.  Ahead of the Grand National, Horwell’s new car had a “kettle on” moment on the grid, with a spectacular display of steam and smoke on the back straight.  Drake hit the front by halfway, and won from Montgomery, with Trickey returning to third place after the customary one lap handicap.

National Bangers

The mixed format of Old Skool and National Bangers worked extremely well for the 2 Litre class, which attracted almost 40 drivers.  English Champion 100 Alec Jenner made an inauspicious start to the day when he lost a wheel as he drove to grid for the first race.  The packed grid led to a lively race which was led by 720 Kenny Gabriel Jnr and 624 Liam Hide, until 452 Anthony Sleeman took over the final third of the race, and he won from former gold top 907 Cameron Bradford.  The second Old Skool race was led from start to finish by 376 Steve Hill, in a hugely entertaining contest.  Hill led a charmed life as he picked his way past parked cars and slower backmarkers, but at the finish he was a long way clear of runner-up 13 Lee Radford and 912 Simon Rees.  The Winter Open Championship, as sponsored by Toolhub, saw 26 drivers grid; eleven more than the corresponding race in 2109.  The action came thick and fast, including a lot of wrecking on the start-finish line.  Sleeman took a heavy hit from 176 Ben King.  In turn, King was clobbered by Gabriel, and when Sleeman was able to extract himself from the pile-up, he took good revenge on King with a thumping hit.  457 Nathaniel Wheeler followed in Jenner, and then stormed into Radford.  Having taken the lead on lap four, Bradford swept to a comprehensive victory.  Behind him, there was a dramatic last bend, as Steve Hill dived at 83 Ben Styles, taking them both out of the running.  That left brothers 131 Sam Hill and 133 Terry Hill to complete the top three.  Only a small number of drivers contested the Allcomers, in which Terry Hill buried 6 Danny Greening, who was then blitzed by the impressive Wheeler.  Sam Hill took the chequered, with new Winter Open Champion Bradford the runner-up.  The day's action for the National Bangers concluded with a thrilling Destruction Derby.  Wheeler was sandwiched between 2 Jack Hodges and Gabriel early on, and the event was eventually resolved when Gabriel and 799 Tom Pearce went head-to-head.  Pearce backed off, and Gabriel gallantly waved him in for a final hit, before sporting handshakes brought proceedings to a cheerful end.

Ministox

A fine showing of 19 junior drivers in the Ministox included Incarace Points Champion 210 Aaron Richards and track debutant 218 Joel Tonks from the north west, Skegness Points Champion 499 Alfie Aldous from East Anglia, and a debut for 902 Reagan Davies.  The opening heat was suspended when 984 Fin Carter spun in the west bend and needed attention.  870 Stella Farrell, making her final Ministox appearance, was the early leader, but English Champion Aldous spun her aside as he and 577 Harry Darby charged to the front.  Aldous then relegated Darby, as they finished first and second respectively.  Tonks set a good pace from the front of the grid in heat two, whilst Aldous and 654 Harley Soper fought well together as they chased after him  The flag fell on Tonks, but he subsequently failed post-race scrutineering, which resulted in Aldous inheriting the win for his second success of the afternoon.  Soper made a good start to the BB Van Hire & Sales final, as he spun 907 Cadan Davies around on the back straight.  Soper tracked down Stella Farrell at the front to secure top honours.  Aldous was the runner-up and Farrell bowed out of Ministox with a third place.

Bangers

Even though there were one or two no-shows, the Bangers still assembled 57 eager combatants.  Heat one saw 276 Ross Walter speed away from the front of the grid to win comfortably.  916 Luke Thomas, whose car was sporting a bizarre gold shade of red on the roof, placed second, but was disqualified from the result after failing post-race scrutineering.  Heat featured a magnificent track blockage in the west bend.  After 622 Leon Weeks and 44 Liam Boswarthick had disputed the lead, 944 Callum Hosie took over at the midway point.  He then lost out, leaving 320 Dan Abbott to pick up the pieces and claim the win.  Luke Thomas bounced back from his heat two disappointment to nudge 60 Andy Bulled wide on the last bend of the consolation for a very late victory.  Walter doubled his win tally with another convincing success in the final as he sped to the chequered ahead of 619 Ross Thomas and Bulled.  The Allcomers went the way of 621 Scott Kendall.

Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 437 9 441 285 204 909 351 222 25 982
Final 437 14 9 3 909 441 426 285 351 222
Grand National 9 14 437 441 3 909 351 285 204 222
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 499 577 927 210 914 985 907 654 998 382
Heat 2 499 654 927 569 577 998 210 870 985 907
Final 654 499 870 569 914 985 210 907 998 927
Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 276 196 775 129 619 898 63 288 455 288
Heat 2 320 246 718 621 129 836 168 218 281 206
Consolation 916 60 34 622 775 CC 852 307 44 756 TH nof
Final 276 619 60 196 320 916 281 621 246 44
Allcomers 621 75 246 206 898 852 931 44 775CC 729
2L National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Old Skool Heat 1 452 907 13 133 720 912 59 100 383 595
Old Skool Heat 2 376 13 912 333 452 100 131 457 862 595
Winter Open 16 907 131 133 83 743 333 207 nof
Allcomers 131 907 376 720 799 714 133 457 nof
King of Crash/DD 799
Top Entertainer 457
Top Trier 6
Best Presented 333 890
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