Smeatharpe Stadium - Sunday 5th February 2017

The annual Winter Open fixture produced some fantastic action from the 2 Litre National Bangers, plenty of close racing from the Stock Rods, and a lively showing from the youngsters in the Ministox, on a cold but dry afternoon at Smeatharpe Stadium.

2 Litre National Bangers

A final count of 33 drivers contested the Winter Open event, which yielded an enthralling main race, and lots of heavy crashing thereafter.  The Winter Open race was the first of the afternoon for the National Bangers, and in the opening phase there was a lot of spinning as drivers became entangled and ensnared in multiple car pile-ups.  From near the front of the grid, however, 720 Kenny Gabriel and 961 Brad Deeprose had got away well.  The two youngsters enjoyed a close battle at the front, whilst 162 Brett Ellacott emerged as their main threat.  As the race reached the two-thirds point, 838 Jamie Peters brutally removed Gabriel in the pits bend, which left Deeprose out in front on his own.  Deeprose then came under serious pressure from backmarker 190 Steve Bailey, but despite the attempts of the former three times winner of the Winter Open, Deeprose held on to his lead.  As the lapboards were shown to Deeprose, Ellacott was closing in on him, but despite the track being littered with stationary cars and backmarkers, Deeprose kept his cool to see out the final laps, and he just got to the chequered flag before Ellacott could mount a challenge.  Autospeed Points Champion 133 Terry Hill completed the top three.  The first of the Allcomers races saw 352 Carl Belfield given a wild ride around the west bend, and the race was then halted when 741 Alex Waterman was inadvertently caught in the driver’s door.  Peters and Gabriel resumed their duel with some heavy crashing in the pits bend, whilst Ellacott celebrated victory with a storming shot on Deeprose that left the two cars difficult to separate during the post-race clear-up.  The second Allcomers featured a thunderous follow-in by Bailey, as he despatched 885 Ben French in the west bend.  Bailey himself then got clobbered in the pits bend by 202 Matt Butlin, and 45 Anthony Croshaw rattled 693 Lee Knight into the pits bend wall, which flat-packed the Knight Mondeo front end.  Red flags were then called, as the Knight car went on fire under the bonnet.  Ellacott saw out the remainder of the race to win for a second time.  The King of Crash/DD raised a superb showing of 17 cars, and produced a plethora of hits and crashes, although on three occasions, the contest had to be stopped, with 113 C J Mackie, 67 Sammy Richards and 79 Adam Brocks being shook up in separate incidents.  With just five cars left running, Bailey’s car developed a fire.  That then left just 382 Tommy Hutchings, 74 Adam Hitchock and Peters, and Hutchings administered the final blows to run out a fine winner from a very entertaining contest.

Stock Rods

The Winter Supreme for the non-contact Stock Rods attracted a terrific entry, with 25 drivers in action, including World Champion 51 Luke Oliver and British Champion 91 Jim Pitcaithly.  Three graded heats were run, to determine a closed grid for the title race.  Stock Rod debutant 72 Marc Soby led the opener, and was still there as the race moved into the closing stages.  151 Simon Vincent closed on Soby and grabbed the lead, whilst 92 Adam Daniels found himself spun out of the pack on the home straight.  Vincent edged comfortably clear out front from 614 Chris Williams, and as he took the chequered, 944 Callum Hosie performed a spectacular rollover in the west bend.  Heat two saw more front running from Soby, until he was passed by 14 Ross Montgomery.  Star grader 909 Justin Washer endured a significant drive shaft problem which bounced him out of the race on the back straight.  Whilst Montgomery was clear at the front, on his way to a fourth successive win, most of the action behind centred on 124 Aaron North, whose spirited efforts elicited some less than complimentary hand signals from 203 Andy Russell.  In heat three, North was spun aside by Montgomery, which earned a black flag for the latter.  613 Lee Simmons led until the second half of the race, before Vincent swept by, only for gold top Oliver to reel him in and score a late win.  The Winter Supreme paired Vincent and Soby on the front row of the grid, with 3 Matt Peters sharing row two with Oliver.  At the drop of the green Oliver swiftly edged into second place, and he soon passed Vincent to take the lead.  Pitcaithly picked a path into second place, and from that point, it was all a question of whether the Scotsman could not just catch Oliver, but find a way past.  With 21 cars on track, the leaders were continually encountering backmarkers, but whilst the gap between Oliver and Pitcaithly ebbed and flowed, the World Champion had it all covered, and thus Oliver landed the Winter Supreme title.  It was a fine showing by both drivers, and 45 Jordan Wainwright’s run to a decent third place was also impressive.

Ministox

A trio of visiting drivers helped push the numbers up to 21 for the first south west fixture of the season.  927 Owen Robbins had an enormous lead in the opening heat, only to see that advantage wiped out by a race suspension.  He then got away slowly for the restart, and was engulfed by the pack.  577 Harry Darby took over at the front, but was eclipsed by 943 Hannah Esau and 902 Junior Buster in the closing stages.  In heat two, Robbins once again established a healthy lead, but he spun in the pits bend four laps from the end.  Once more it was Darby who benefitted, but he was overhauled by 980 Charlie Lobb, who edged past for victory, with 911 Harrison Bryant completing the top three.  The BB Van Hire & Sales Trophy final was punctuated by a number of caution periods, the first when 654 Harley Soper was spun around on the back straight which left him and 983 Jamie-Lee Thomson stranded.  The restart had barely begun, before Esau needed attention after injuring her leg when carried sideways into the fence by Bryant.  Lobb swiftly stamped his authority on the race, by charging to the front, and he scored a convincing win, from 907 Cameron Lawrence and south east star 564 David Shearing.

2L National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Winter Open 13 961 162 133 45 838 190 297 382 383 nof
Allcomers 1 162 133 382 376 297 202 nof
Allcomers 2 162 133 45 382 376 352 383 nof
King of Crash/DD 382
Most Wrecked 838
Top Trier 376
Top Entertainer 961
Best Presented 311 995 190 693 162 133
Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 A&B 151 614 3 72 91 68 45 203 208 215
Heat 2 B&C 14 72 3 203 45 91 51 9 208 222
Heat 3 C&A 51 151 613 92 437 68 26 200 124 nof
Winter Supreme 51 91 45 151 14 68 9 3 437 203
Ministox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 943 902 577 564 911 229 972 927 976 654
Heat 2 980 577 911 943 907 619 564 677 902 514
Final 980 907 564 911 972 999 619 902 nof
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