United Downs Raceway - Sunday 17th March 2024

In bright Spring sunshine, the first national meeting of the new Stock Car season at the United Downs Raceway, St Day served up a deluge of action.  To begin proceedings, all drivers from all classes were invited to join the Grand Parade, led majestically by three lorries from sponsors Steve Wills Haulage.  There was a farewell speech from Madam Starter, Sammy Brenton, who is set to take a break from racing, and the pre-meeting activities were concluded with a One Minute Silence for racegoer Brian Paramore, as tributes poured in from many of the local community, led by veteran racer Stephen Cock.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

A super showing by the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars resulted in 31 drivers contesting the meeting, whilst 131 Dean Rogers was left to bemoan his ill fortune, as he withdrew from the day after encountering mechanical problems during pre-meeting practice.  Hence, with such fine numbers, a full format was deployed.  109 Tristan Smith led the opening heat, before 510 Matt Stone relegated him to second.  126 Jamie Avery burst into contention from the blue grade, and having overhauled 828 Julian Coombes, he set about chasing the leading white top duo.  Avery took command, and won emphatically, whilst 302 Dale Moon got the better of 24 Jon Palmer to secure the runner-up place.  Heat two was dominated by debutant 286 Kasey Jones, as the teenager stormed to victory from pole position.  528 Shane Hector was the runner-up, but he finished a good third of a lap behind at the flag.  The consolation featured a great battle amongst white graders 203 Dean Hawkins, 141 Harry Neath-Rogers and 128 Jake Ralfs, from which it was Neath-Rogers who broke free, and he stayed in control to record a maiden win.  Ahead of the Voice of Autospeed final, an excerpt of commentary was relayed over the PA system.  The trophy is a tribute to former commentator Bill Dalley, who was the man behind the mic for more than 50 years.  Bill’s commentary served as a fine reminder to that former era.  On track, another convincing win was to follow in the feature final, as impressive young charger Jones edged past Ralf and then built up an enormous lead.  605 Rich Andrews made the most progress from the pack to move into second place, but before he could make any impression on the leader, 980 Charlie Lobb and Avery reeled in Andrews.  Even so, their hopes of catching Jones were hugely optimistic, with Jones out of reach at the front, and he claimed a notable victory to secure a rise to the yellow grade after just one appearance.  The Grand National was halted when 835 Matt Westaway was collected by 315 Charlie Fisher and suspended a second time when Hawkins clobbered the fence in turn one and also needed assistance from his car.  Avery took the lead, and looked set to win, until a lap from home he was delayed when Smith spun.  That opened the door for 24 Jon Palmer to grab the lead, and he saw out the last lap.

2 Litre National Bangers

The opening heat began in dramatic fashion, with a rollover in the turnstile bend for 111 Ray Rowe, as part of a multi-car charge up the fence which also involved 24 Matt Taylor, 959 Justin Payne and 666 Seb Stevens.  The re-run began with 254 Brandon Blight surviving 59 Mike Hamley’s attempt to bury him at the pits bend end of the circuit, and after 278 Shaun Brokenshire spun aside 166 Luke Gillbard on the back straight, 11 Grubby Frankson clouted Gillbard before coming to a halt himself.  186 Lewis Fasey established himself in the lead and was awarded the win when the race was halted one ap early after Brokenshire followed in 816 Josh Taylor in turn three, which was already a parking lot comprising 648 Jamie Smith, Gillbard and others.  Heat two was full of action on the exit of turnstile bend.  Blight was rattled around the fence by 842 Jack Perkins, whilst 747 Nicky Seery spun.  As 648 Jamie Smith attacked Perkins, 40 Ben Reeder ran into the inner marker tyre, and coupled with Blight being parked across the track, that formed a chicane.  662 Jared Roe and 333 Craig Partridge led much of the way, carefully picking a route through the turn four mayhem, and despite Fasey making a late charge, it was Roe who sealed the win.  More terrific crashing followed in the final, which was triggered when Stevens spun Smith in turn two, which also trapped 40 Ben Reeder as the trio tangled.  841 Tom Perkins took the chance to blast Reeder, as 166 Luke Gillbard tore into Perkins.  As Brokenshire piled into Gillbard, 53 Chris James ran Roe into the heap.  Smith scored again on Jack Perkins, and James crashed into Reeder.  After 266 Scott Gillbard had fired into James, Brokenshire arrived to trash Gillbard, which completed a seven-car parking lot.  Just four drivers went the distance with Fasey a clear winner from Partridge, with Smith a distant third.  Six drivers appeared for the Destruction Derby, which came to a halt early on after 908 David Brown pummelled 666 Seb Stevens with a thundering hit, Stevens having blindly reversed off from hitting Tom Perkins when he was ambushed by Brown.  With Perkins having been bludgeoned to a halt, that left just Brokenshire, Blight and Smith.  Brokenshire ended Blight’s hopes on the back straight, but Smith then silenced Brokenshire on the exit of turn four to take the win.

Stock Rods

Running to a two from three format, 415 Sean Gillett neatly moved past early leader 89 James Tuohey and 204 Georgie Polley to grab the lead in the opening heat and from there Gillett went on to cruise to victory.  Silver top 944 Callum Hosie made good progress from the rear of the grid, and he finished second.  Heat two was won by the proverbial country mile as 914 Callum Faulconbridge hit the front and extended his lead to the point that he lapped all the way to fifth place.  Heat three had Faulconbridge a long way clear from the early stages, but the race was suspended when 235 Paul Harris clouted the fence on the exit of turn four and stopped mid-track.  Despite the caution period, Faulconbridge again charged clear as the race resumed, and he reeled off his second win of the day.  Faulconbridge completed his hat-trick in the final, winning by another massive gap, with Polley and 862 Darryl Cock completing the top three.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 126 302 24 979 605 736 890 468 first 8 to final
Heat 2 286 528 980 542 895 27 689 418 first 8 to final
Consolation 141 128 194 460 315 121 259 835 828 109
Final 286 980 126 605 528 736 302 828 979 890
Grand National 24 890 27 528 689 126 468 542 302 286
Best In Grade W 286 Y 528 B 126
2 Litre National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 186 662 842 333 747 254 nof
Heat 2 662 186 333 266 111 53 278 59 nof
Final 186 333 648 278 nof
DD 648
Top Trier 254
Top Entertainer 648
Most Wrecked 666
Best Presented 841 53 278 11
Stock Rods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 415 944 204 131 32 231 31 89 779 nof
Heat 2 914 862 522 275 285 9 231 76 982 nof
Heat 3 914 944 204 285 258 9 862 275 522 779
Final 914 204 862 258 285 944 32 231 522 9
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