United Downs Raceway - Sunday 2nd August 2020

The large number of race teams and fans travelling to the circuit may have been concerned about what might lie in prospect given the very heavy rain storms encountered on route.  However, upon arrival they were greeted with a dry track and the clouds soon dispersed to leave the track bathed in warm sunshine for an entertaining day’s racing.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

The 29-car entry was much better than how it had looked earlier in the week and resulted in a full format meeting.  Heat one featured Northern Irishman 747 Bradley McKinstry and regular visitor to the South West, 184 Aaron Vaight who had each raced the previous evening at Skegness.  920 Wayne Wadge led the race until half distance by which time 302 Dale Moon had raced to the front and made the pass for the lead heading into turn one where he romped to the flag unchallenged.  Behind, McKinstry had also made progress but having caught and passed 315 Justin Fisher, the South West veteran struck back and headed McKinstry home in fifth place.  Heat two included National Series Champion and Track Championship leader 560 Luke Wrench, who took advantage of holidaying in the area to make another appearance in the region.  Also amongst the entrants was 24 Jon Palmer who, like Vaight and McKinstry in the previous heat, had also raced on the East Coast the night before.  663 Bryan Lindsay was an early spinner, whilst track debutant 42 Mark Adkins set the pace.  Palmer took over at the front, but it was Wrench who clearly had the pace, passing Palmer and stretching out a healthy lead to the flag.  The Consolation saw a few star graders yet to qualify, and it was one of them 126 Jamie Avery who was up into the leading places within a few laps, and once he hit the front he was unchallenged, despite a late race stoppage after 979 Paul Moss and 464 Matt Linfield were involved in a tangle between turn 1 and 2 which sent a number of other cars spinning and bringing out the yellows for the unfortunate 820 Chris Hatch.  The largest grid of the day (as it should be) set off with 320 Matt Hatch leading the seven ‘C’ graders who had managed to qualify.  By half distance Hatch was still well out in front with Moon appearing to be his biggest threat as he made the most of his blue grade starting position.  As the lap boards appeared the star graders were well back the field and Hatch was faced with navigating his way through a number of backmarkers, which when added to the fast and demanding nature of the track meant that his lead was far from secured.  Moon continued to close and as Hatch entered the final lap it looked momentarily as if the back-marking traffic might rob him of his long held lead, but he managed to clear the cars in front to allow him to avoid contact from an in vain last bend challenge by Moon, the white grader delighted to claim his maiden feature final win, with Vaight completing the top three.  A still healthy 19 cars gridded for the Grand National with Hatch proudly taking up his position at the front of the grid from the lap handicap.  Early on 689 Joe Marquand, Palmer and Avery all tangled in a heap on the exit of turn two necessitating a complete re-run, disappointingly so for Hatch who may have been hopeful of a race suspension to allow him to tag on at the rear of the field.  At the second time of asking Moon once again showed his pace, taking over at the front where he romped home for his second win of the afternoon.

Heritage F2 Stock Cars

The Heritage brigade arrived in good numbers and spirits for what was in fact their season opener owing to the Covid-19 disruptions.  As is customary the driver took part in the pre-meeting Grand Parade and once again several took the opportunity to don fancy dress for the occasion, with particularly festive efforts by 342 Ross Taylor and 253 Alan Humphrey.  Heat one was won by a rapid 728 Graham Bunter whilst 536 John Ferguson was the victor in the second race of the afternoon.  Both of the previous race winners started further back down the grid in the meeting Final and 676 Mark Foster made the most of starting from the front group to streak clear.  Behind him, the veteran cars and racers showed that they had plenty of competitive spirit as they through their cars around the tricky circuit with Bunter, gold top 533 Andy Kaye and 763 Andy Bateman fighting for second place.  Foster headed the field home despite a few hairy moments coming into the home straight, with Kaye just fending off Bunter for second at the line to conclude a fine day’s racing for the formula.

Bangers

More than 60 racers packed the pit area, almost two thirds of which were classed as novice drivers as the formula continues to prove its worth in attracting newcomers to the sport.  Heat one set the tone for the meeting with action aplenty, albeit some of the hits stretching to the limit what is deemed within the spirit of the rules.  The race was declared with a couple of laps to run with a pile-up at the end of the back straight.  23 Barry Staples was leading at the time of the stoppage and he earned the win.  Heat two was even more destructive, with 916 Luke Thomas rolling onto his side on the back straight binging out the yellow flags, the car ending up back on all four wheels.  The chaos continued with another track blockage, this time on the pit bend.  182 Nathan James won in style ahead of just three other runners.  A large number of cars manage to repair for consolation which was another lively affair with 161 Anton Ferris winning.  At this point it is worth noting the willing band of helpers who managed to efficiently clear the wrecked cars off the raceway after each race, their help of particular value following the mechanical failure of one of the track’s recovery vehicles prior to start time.  With the high attrition rate of the previous races there were just 21 qualifiers for the meeting Final which resulted in a more traditional race for the flag.  731 Nathan McGall led for half the race until a race suspension allowed the fast charging Staples to close in on the restart where he quickly passed McGall to run home to the flag with McGall dropping to third place by the time of the chequered flag as 898 Jack Semmonds grabbed the runners-up spot.  Despite the earlier action a large grid assembled for the Allcomers to round out the afternoon and it turned out to be a prolonged affair with a series of pile-ups requiring two complete re-runs and a mid-race suspension.  Staples once again managed to navigate his way to the front of the field to take another win the red flags eventually being shown with 326 Danny Ferrett entertainingly dragging his severely damaged car across the line, the fifth and final finisher.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 302 920 835 572 315 747 184 689 first 8 to final
Heat 2 560 24 542 418 526 42 736 229 first 8 to final
Consolation 126 890 196 895 464 979 320 731 222 663
Final 320 302 184 315 24 560 542 663 920 418
Grand National 302 542 126 560 979 890 196 920 747 526
Grade Awards W 320 Y 835 B302
Heritage Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 728 536 676 537 533 7 135 763 342 218
Heat 2 536 676 533 728 763 7 135 218 253 311
Final 676 533 728 763 218 59 537 311 253 135
Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 23 731 85 34 898 44 817 70 328 991
Heat 2 182 353 455 53
Cons 161 18 916 853 863 891 718
Final 23 898 731 34 455 891 182 991 328 817
Allcomers 23 891 153 785 326 nof
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