Motor racing at Arena Essex Raceway

Fixtures - Review of recent meetings

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Sunday, 08 March 2015 - Open Shakedown X featuring National Bangers Unlimited Overs and 2L Unders plus Ministox and 2L Stock Cars

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Our annual Shakedown National Banger event was blessed with warm sunshine and a large crowd as the 2015 season began here at Arena Essex a fortnight ago.
 
Danny Allen didn't seem that interested in doing many laps in his Toyota Previa in heat one, turning around to hit Dean Jarvis within seconds of the start. Jarvis was then finished by a shot from Jack King. Billy Page then succumbed to a similar attack from Alfie Lee whilst at the other end of the track, Jason Curtis had a facefull of air-bag as he used his Previa to hit Matty High, who had just hit Gary Lee head on.
 
Having described in the programme how Jack Tuffen was more of a racer than a wrecker, he took Sonny Sherwood hard into the pit bend fence, just to prove me wrong. Sherwood continued, looking for revenge, but Jason "Boxer Jack" Jackson had taken the flag at this point and the red flag came too soon.
 
Heat two for the Unlimiteds saw Danny Green pick up Danny Haupt, with Boxer Jack latching onto the back of both of them. Haupt spun onto the speedway track leaving Green at the end of a big follow in from Boxer, a revenge hit for a clash at the Firecracker.  Boxer unfortunately then earned a load up for a follow up shot on the stricken Jaguar a lap later, even though Green was being covered by a stationary yellow flag, which means the car should not be a target. Ricky Hutton did the same, earning a load up too. Thankfully Green was OK and hadn't undone his belts to climb out, which could well have been what the flag was signifying. Dale Hughes took the flag.
 
The load ups didn't end there either. The final started with Darren Nash and John Golden having a little barging match on the exit of turn two, Jack King had been sitting patiently on the pit bend for someone to crash into, but he took the odd decision to drive the length of the back straight in the wrong direction to hit Golden, leading to a lot of concern for Golden who clearly wouldn't have seen or expected the attack. Thankfully after a bit of recovery time Golden was able to escape unhurt, giving the thumbs up to Nash as he muttered "I'm getting too old for this!"
 
At the restart Danny Allen was sat on the pit bend clearly awaiting Matty High, who was the only one not in the unofficial "Don't hit me and I won't hit you club". High was wise to it and dished out a massive head on. With the mid-engined Previa now off the banned list but being forced to run with a radiator in the front, this all but killed it, although High's Jag had snapped alarmingly in the act. Thankfully no-one was around to give a potentially disastrous follow up shot and he managed to limp to safety. Tuffen continued his destructive trail by taking out Dave Johnson on the pit bend, surviving an inside out attack from Sherwood, but then suffering a stuck throttle and going in hard all by himself. Karl Douglas and Dean Goodearl came to blows, Goodearl attacking Douglas in retaliation for a hard hit on James Steele. Dale Hughes duly made it a heat and final double.
 
The Destruction Derby might have only had four cars but there was a big follow in as Jason Curtis dealt with Tim Bailey, there was a sandwich as Curtis found himself pounded from both sides by Georgie Lee and Sonny Sherwood, we then saw Sherwood obliterated by Lee and then, just as we all thought it was over, Sherwoods car erupted in flames!
 
The Unders class started with a huge bang as comeback man, Gary Staples, was taken into the home straight fence by Tony Hutton and then whacked by Kieran Greenway, Greenway then following him hard into the turn one fence. Unfortunately in a freak turn of events the car rose up and along the top of the armco on the drivers side which resulted in a broken arm and hand for Gary - we all wish him well for a recovery, although his main concern whilst the crew were tending to him was with his brand new £180 overalls, the resale value of which was sadly reduced.
 
After a lengthy yet understandable delay, the race restarted with Grays brothers, Gary and Wayne Elliott, taking a pounding on the pit bend. Tony Hutton followed Gary into the fence whilst a spun Wayne took a heavy hit from Jack Coveney. Gary and Wayne were incredibly in their first ever race - neither having even competed in Rookie Bangers or any other class before. Talk about "in at the deep end". Unfortunately the clannish elements of National Banger racing makes it a bit of a shark-tank for anyone starting out, Rookie / PRI Bangers a much better bet to get a bit of mileage under the belt. Coveney was also in his first ever National (Mondeo) outing but having been through the Mini ranks and Junior Bangers too he had already built up a fair number of allegiances and was off the radar to what I have previously referred to as the "Don't hit me and I won't hit you club".
 
With no Tuffen to concern himself about, Sonny Sherwood took the win, whilst heat two belonged to Goodearl. The Elliott's were again in the wars, Gary taking a hit from Charlie Daniels on the pit bend and as he limped along, with his rear wheel making life a bit difficult by tucking itself under the car, Steve Hackett arrived with a T-Bone against the armco, which might well have resulted in a load up.  
 
Luke Broughton looked in trouble as we studied the grid prior to the final. Sure enough the in-crowd battered him at the end of the home straight bringing about a stoppage, the continual hits to a stricken car one of the less enjoyable aspects of modern day Banger racing. No-one was left to hit at the restart, Karl Douglas racing on to Shakedown success.
 
The Destruction Derby saw Wayne Elliott and Jack Coveney go head to head whilst Mark Marchant dealt with Alfie Lee. Tony Hutton and Billy Crittenden then brought the event to a bit of an anti climax with a minor collision ending Crittenden first.
 
The official PRI debut of the 2L Stock Cars was as successful as it was predicted with 20 cars finally making it to the grid and some fine racing. An undergraded Joey Palmer made light work of the two heats which saw him put back to a more realistic blue grade. He still make it to third with Matt Fuller taking the win ahead of Brian Jarvis. Jarvis and Palmer very lucky to survive a moment along the back straight as a spinning Charlie Mayers almost backed in front of them - Jarvis and Palmer put their right feet down, closed their eyes and somehow made it past, whilst brushing up against the fence on one side and the back of the errant Stock Car on the other.
 
It was good to see several Banger boys back for a bash in the Stockies, Fuller and Billy King the most successful so far, although Phil Wise, Dave Palmer and John Harris may soon also get the results.
 
The Mini Stox were superb all day with 30 cars turning up, although the unfortunate Archie Fryatt blew up in practice.
 
Despite the numbers there were no serious incidents all day long. Sophie Fasey was the class of the field, the Incarace registered West Country visitor won heat and final, even spinning aside track champion, Lauren Overy in the first heat. Harry Steward won the second heat but was then spun left by Tommy Aylward in the final, which lead to the latters disqualification, Steward also retiring to the infield with a flapping bonnet.  Overy looked on course for the win in the final until a backmarking Jack Goldsmith pitched her sideways on the pit bend, allowing Fasey and Harry Overy to join her in a three way battle for the lead. Fasey and Harry Overy scrapped for a couple of corners but Fasey eventually got clear and Lauren just pipped Harry for second.
 
There really is a good bunch of drivers in the Minis at the moment but, such is the nature of the formula, several of the top runners are set to bow out this year. Fasey herself has until May before she reaches 16. She already has an F2 Stock Car lined up with the intention of using the rest of the year to get herself up to speed with a bit of testing. Assuming that goes well she could well be one of the newcomers of 2016 in that category.
 
We have previously mentioned that track champion, Lauren Overy, won't be able to complete the year due to her age. Harry Steward's cars are up for sale too, he bows out in June. So the podiums that are regularly being filled out by this trio, will have a totally different look by the years end. As we saw at the opener - there are plenty of others in the wings waiting to take over....
 
If we take a quick look at today, the PRI and Junior Bangers should have no shortage of numbers, both were amongst the success stories of last season. The Stock Rods had an up and down year in 2014. It is pleasing to note some new names in the class, as well as some old names too! Amongst the latter it is good to see former Lightning Rod and 2L Hot Rod racer, Dale Atkins giving the Stock Rods a go. Standlake racer, Jake Perry, has acquired the Nova of Scottish racer, Pete Honeyman, to contest this years series. Spedeworth racer Jon Turvey has come over to the UK Stock Rods and former SuperBanger pairing, Tommy and Louis Parker have also licenced. All will have to go some to match the pace of the existing Stock Rod racers, track champion - Wayne Shackleford, Matt Rowling and Dan Newman - the latter who had an impressive first few months in the class following his Mini Stox career.
 
In the Lightning Rods a couple of names stand out amongst the early licence applications.  Steve "Peanut" Moore - the former Banger star with a penchant for hearses will be trying to tame a Sierra without a body in the back this season, Mini Stox racer Jay Page-Fuller and Stock Car star, Lee Hall will also be out, all trying to break the domination of 2014 track champion, Anthony Lawrence.
 
Enjoy your day...
 
Photo captions:
 
Grays based first timer - Gary Elliott - has a spot of difficulty on the pit bend
 
Jack Coveney and Wayne Elliott clash - and it wasn't the only time!
 
Jason "Boxer Jack" Jackson follows in Danny Green
 
Georgie Lee (02) earns the Destruction Derby win by finishing Sonny Sherwood.
 
Joey Palmer won heat and final in the Stock Cars, but had to give best to Matt Fuller in the final.
 
Sophie Fasey spins Track Champion, Lauren Overy in the Mini Stox. Fasey was the class of the field.
 
Sunday, 05 July 2015 Chick Woodroffe Memorial Meeting Featuring All KA Micro National Bangers plus Ministox, Lightning Rods Supreme Q/R 3 and Stock Rods Supreme Q/R 3
Sunday, 07 June 2015 National Bangers W/Q round 2 plus Ministox, Lightning Rods and Stock Rods
Monday, 25 May 2015 PRI Bangers plus, Stock Rods Supreme Q/R 2, Ministox and Junior Bangers
Sunday, 17 May 2015 All MPV (people carriers) National Bangers plus 2L Stock Cars, Stock Rods and Lightning Rods Supreme Q/R 2
Monday, 04 May 2015 PRI Bangers plus Junior Bangers, 2L Stock Cars and Ministox
Sunday, 19 April 2015 National Bangers W/Q Round 1 plus Stock Rods, Lightning Rods and Grand Prix Midgets Southern Championship
Monday, 06 April 2015 Micro National Bangers 4 Man Teams plus Junior Bangers, Stock Rods Supreme Q/R 1 and Ninja Sprints
Sunday, 05 April 2015 PRI Bangers plus Ministox, Lightning Rods Supreme Q/R 1 and 2L Stock Cars
Sunday, 22 March 2015 PRI Bangers plus Junior Bangers, Lightning Rods and Stock Rods
Sunday, 08 March 2015 Open Shakedown X featuring National Bangers Unlimited Overs and 2L Unders plus Ministox and 2L Stock Cars
    

Arena Essex Raceway
Arena Essex Raceway