United Downs Raceway - Sunday 18th February 2024

Fast establishing itself as an unmissable start to the new season in the south west, the United Downs Raceway stormed out of winter hibernation with an early-season fixture that boasted three classes of Banger action.  As the early morning mist gave way to some Spring-like sunshine, racegoers enjoyed really pleasant conditions with a surprising amount of action from the modest driver count.

Unlimited National Bangers

Despite a couple of no-shows, a dozen big cars were in action with the opening race being a Wild Card event, with the main prize at stake being a place in the Championship of the World at Smeatharpe in July.  On his first St Day visit for more than a decade, 67 Ricky Beasley set the early pace, stylishly blasting his Mk2 Granada Estate around the track.  In the early exchanges, 186 Lewis Fasey rattled himself and 838 Jamie Peters around the plating in turns one and two, but it was Fasey who had to retire from the race.  Judgement Day winner 739 Jason Moore emerged as the main pursuer of Beasley, and as the race moved into its second half, Moore wrestled the lead for himself.  As the leaders closed on backmarkers Peters and 77 Patxi Beasley, 372 Jay Matthews momentarily made it a three-way battle, but soon extended his advantage once more, and won from Ricky Beasley and Matthews.  Post-race, Moore drew grid position eight with his Wild Card and opted to “stick”, ensuring he will start on the outside of row four at Smeatharpe in July.  The first Allcomers race was relatively uneventful.  91 Sam Bartlett led early on, until Fasey took over, and he won convincingly from Matthews and Moore.  In the second Allcomers, Fasey trickled to a halt by the pit gate and that gave an open invite for Peters to blast into him.  Matthews led until the late stages, when he spun at the turnstiles end, and Ricky Beasley was able to take full advantage and claim the victory.

National Micro Bangers

From the entry of National Micro Bangers, four drivers were handed smart car awards – 662 Jared Roe, brothers 841 Tom Perkins and 842 Jack Perkins, and 254 Brandon Blight, whose ‘Donut Mobile’ had been wonderfully decorated by local graffiti artist Cosmic.  The opening heat started in dramatic fashion for Roe, as he lost a wheel.  69 Austin James soon got in a muddle in turn one, and when he came to a halt, 278 Shaun Brokenshire was the first to pile into him.  Out front, track debutant 154 Joe Odhams led the way, chased by Banger Bonanza winner 186 Lewis Fasey, who eventually got on terms to take over the lead.  Brokenshire landed another hit, this time on Tom Perkins on the home straight, and that triggered a later attempt by Jack Perkins to run Brokenshire around the turn four plating.  Fasey won, with Odhams and 303 Josh Jones in second and third.  In heat two, Fasey and Odhams again filled the top two spots, but all of the action centred on the exit of turn four.  562 Jayden James thundered into Jones, and Brokenshire then blasted James.  It was a similar story in the final, and this time Blight was the catalyst.  Having survived an attack from Roe, Blight responded by taking the pair up the plating in turn three.  James and 648 Jamie Smith piled into Blight, and then James parked in the back of Smith.  Brokenshire clobbered James and then Tom Perkins stormed into Smith.  James scored on Smith the next time around, and Perkins landed a head-on hit, before Brokenshire smashed into Perkins in an outbreak of late race crashing.  None of this affected the result, as Fasey completed a hat-trick, and Odhams claimed a third runner-up finish.  Roe limped home in third to round out the top three.  The DD produced another burst of action.  Blight gallantly parked up his dead car at the end of the home straight, and Roe picked up Odhams, firing him into Blight, as all three cars came to a halt in turn one.  Smith clouted Odhams and Brokenshire joined in with a hefty hit on Smith.  That left just Brokenshire, Roe and Jones still circulating.  Roe spun Brokenshire, who managed to trap Jones, which left him wide open to a stonking hit by Roe.  Brokenshire came around again to finish off Roe, and take the win, but for good measure, Odhams finally extricated himself from the turn one pile-up to limp around the bend and bump gently into Brokenshire, ending another outstanding showing from the low number of Micros.

Van Bangers

113 Jack Gill was in top form in heat one for the Banger Vans, as he stormed to a comprehensive victory, landing a heavy blow on 756 Troy Hooper’s Fiesta early on in the race.  838 Damien Tiley turfed aside 165 Graham Middlewood, but the compliment was returned later on as Tiley was bundled up the inner banking at the turnstiles end.  Heat two began with a devastating crash in turn one, as 522 Chris Orchard buried 154 Blazej Szczygiel.  738 Steve Tippett was turned around several times in the restarted race, as 62 Scott Kendall swept to victory.  In the Final, Tippett heavily blasted Middlewood on the back straight, and the two vans then became entangled on the home straight, before Kendall helpfully separated them.  Orchard was a clear winner of the race, and the DD followed with an immediate green after the chequered flag.  Gill dumped Tippett, who was then hit by Kendall, before Gill spun Hooper up the banking on the exit of turn two.  Tippett’s van expired in an enormous plume of steam, and Gill finally saw off Kendall to take the win.

National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Wild Card 739 67 372 278 91 59 842 77 838 nof
Allcomers 1 186 372 739 67 91 278 77 59 70 nof
Allcomers 2 67 739 91 70 278 77 nof
National Micro Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 186 154 303 648 278 842 254 nof Ent 278
Heat 2 186 154 842 648 254 nof Ent 562
Final 186 154 662 278 562 nof Ent 254
DD 278
Best Presented 254 662 841 842
Van Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 113 522 62 154 165 756 838 nof
Heat 2 32 522 113 756 nof
Final 522 113 756 62 738 nof
DD 113
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