Trackstar Racing | Info | Results | 2013 | Saturday 2nd March 2013

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    Updated: 11 May 2024 13:52

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Saturday 2nd March 2013

Report by Mark Paulson. Pictures: Colin Casserley


The stock car season started in superb style at King’s Lynn on Saturday night, 2 March. Nearly 150 cars crammed into the pits, many newly built, refurbished or with new paint jobs. A number of newcomers were present too and all contributed to the action on a night without a dull moment. The 2-litre national saloon stock cars and their 1300cc counterparts were both racing for the Clive Grief Memorial trophy. It was pair of young guns who claimed the spoils of victory, 306 Daniel Parker and 344 Ross Fisher both impressing on their way to comprehensive wins. Meanwhile the BriSCA Formula Two stock cars also kicked off their season in time-honoured fashion, with a world qualifying round, where superstar 886 Chris Bradbury repeated his success of 2012.

The 47-car 2-litre saloon entry was quite superb, including rare shale forays for some tarmac specialists, debuts for drivers who’ve had successful careers in other classes and for youngsters just starting out in the booming category. In the former camp was the west country’s World Champion 1 Eddie Darby, racing the former 916 Ross Thomas car which looks set for a shift on the shale this year. Joining him were National Points Champion 618 Stuart Shevill Jr and National Champion 71 Gordon Alexander, both making the trek from Scotland.

Making their debut in big saloons were 216 Dan Booth (current 1300cc World of Shale and points champion), 257 Timmy Aldridge (from F1 and bangers) and 510 Chris Barnett (multiple champion in Reliant Robin racing). Meanwhile banger superstar 730 Deane Mayes was making his second appearance after dipping his toe in the water last season. 369 Liam Santry and 217 Sid Madgwick were stepping up from Ministox, although the latter had gained some senior racing experience last year.

On top of all the new drivers, many of the regulars had clearly been busy over the winter, turning out splendid looking new cars and re-bodied machines. As well as stunning new cars for Booth, Madgwick and Santry, 6 Simon Welton, 164 Neil Kent, 214 Tom Yould, 219 Luke Grief, 350 Thomas Parrin, 360 Carl Waterfield, 420 Ivan Street, 511 Craig Barnett, 641 Willie Skoyles Jr, 912 Andi Newman, both Aldridge brothers and both Sampson brothers were among many to turn heads with some absolute stunners. Top marks to all.

Racing for the heavy metal brigade kicked off with an encounter for the white and yellow-graded drivers won by 404 Robert Bulldeath from 306 Daniel Parker and 303 Frank Loeff. 192 Robert Heanes pulled out from second spot with just two laps to go, having problems in his newly-acquired ex-Kris Woods car.

The second heat saw the white tops joined by the blues, reds and champions, plus yellow-graded Timmy Aldridge who had missed the earlier race. Aldridge was making his debut look easy, putting in a very accomplished performance before being spun out the lead by shale expert 131 Timmy Barnes. The latter had only just arrived in time to be scrutineered before the race, but held on to take the win from Street and Craig Barnett. Barnett’s new car looks set to get him back on the pace after a slightly disappointing 2012, by his own high standards.

An early caution period in the third heat was called to allow 128 Craig Banwell, stranded on the exit of bend four, to be rescued. However, the leading Loeff caused confusion by motoring around the field under the waved yellows, leading to a complete restart being called. On the restart, a fast-looking Parker held the lead but couldn’t avoid a spun car on the back straight. In the resulting melee, 156 Darren Goudy hit the broadside 220 Casey Englestone very hard, leaving Goudy with very heavy front end damage and Englestone with an injured foot. The resulting yellow flags enabled the large number of star drivers to close the gap to the front, and 219 Luke Grief duly came through to take the win on an emotional night for the Cambridgeshire man. 499 David Aldous was runner-up, with Craig Barnett claiming another top-three result.

The all-in final for the Clive Grief Memorial trophy raised 36 cars and proved to be another excellent, action-packed race. Yould was the early leader before being caught up in a pile-up, and then, a lap later, taking a heavy hit at the end of the home straight, leaving him stranded and the yellow flags out. On the restart, the leading Newman was dispatched by Barnes before another caution was quickly called for to assist the spun and shaken Booth. Barnes led away at the restart as 428 Lee Sampson fought his way up to second ahead of Parker. But Parker showed he is going to be a force to be reckoned with by fighting back, with Barnes eventually being spun. That led to another pile-up and Parker was back in front when the yellows came out once more to assist Barnes. Banwell, who had slipped past Sampson into second, was caught napping on the restart, allowing Parker to escape. Sampson and Aldous quickly battled through to second and third but Parker was away and gone, easing to victory with a very accomplished performance. It is likely to be the first title of many. Sampson held on to second but Aldous was spun out of third on the very final bend by Welton who took the place instead.

An all comers race rounded off proceedings for the big saloons. It was punctuated by yet another caution period as this time Jamie Sampson managed to tip his smartly refurbished machine onto its side, before gently flopping onto its roof. Parker sealed his driver of the day performance by waltzing to the win, from Skoyles and Aldous. The saloons return to Lynn in just two weeks’ time, 16 March – be sure not to miss it.

The 1300cc saloon stox were also racing in their Clive Grief Memorial trophy meeting. The massive 38-car field fell only just short of the record turnout at King’s Lynn and necessitated an additional race to be programmed – a pre-meeting outing for the white, yellow and blue graded drivers. The huge entry included three all the way from Scotland, plus a number of Spedeworth visitors. No doubt all were keen to get some racing miles in at the venue for this year’s World Championship, as well as itching to blow away the winter cobwebs.

Following on from where he left off in his debut in the class at Coventry the previous weekend, Ministox graduate 344 Ross Fisher proved to be a revelation. After his heat and final double at the Brandon raceway, he went one better this time out, securing three wins on the night. There can’t be many drivers who have won five races in their first two meetings.

Saturday’s first win for Fisher came in the aforementioned W, Y & B race – and it was far from easy. After racing into a big lead he appeared to become something of a target for the backmarkers, but survived a number of skirmishes to take the win from the also impressively fast 143 Sam Baguley. 781 Scott Sparrow was third.

The Memorial trophy was up for grabs in the first race of the meeting proper for the 1300s. 36 cars took to the track in what proved to be a very lively encounter. But no one could stop Fisher who continued in his rich vein of form. So dominant was his performance that the lap-scorers missed him amongst the drivers he had lapped, and it took a post-race stewards enquiry for him to be rightly awarded the victory. Baguley again showed a turn of pace, as he almost kept Fisher in sight for most of the race but was never close enough to challenge. Neither will have white roofs for much longer!

Behind them, it was near mayhem. Such a massive field made it very difficult for the stars and superstars to fight their way through from the back. But European Champion 473 Dean Moat did just that, winning a tight race to the line amongst a huge gaggle of cars, to take third place. There was also some good Trackstar vs Spedeworth battling going on – one incident involving the respective silver roof holders, 216 Dan Booth and 713 Ian Beaumont, saw the former drag the latter backwards all the way down the back straight.

Following the final, there were two more all comers races. Fisher completed his hattrick in the first but he certainly had to work for it. After an early caution to assist 316 Danny McCluskey, who was broadside across the track, Fisher jumped from third to pass early leader Baguley. That pair once again pulled away at the front and it took until the final lap for Dean Moat to reel them in. Having dispatched Baguley and got inside Fisher, he must have been odds on for the win, but Fisher had other ideas. He clung on around the outside, getting the verdict by the proverbial nose as the pair crossed the line together.

Fisher was upgraded to yellow for the second all comers race and it finally brought his winning streak to an end. A caution period was called for after a big roll on the exit of bend two left returnee 704 Robin Cowles’ previously immaculate new Corsa with a caved-in roof. Baguley led away a very messy restart but the race soon returned to waved yellow conditions after a monster crash for 09 Buster Ketteringham and 604 Jamie Smith, who also had a very smart new car. Ketteringham’s bonnet flew high in the air in the incident but both drivers were soon out and alright.

As we finally had a clear run to the finish, Beaumont showed that Spedeworth drivers can win on shale, his Honda looking particularly quick on its way to victory. His pace here and at other venues will no doubt raise some eyebrows as to the equivalency formula for the modern machines. 67 Craig Haxton was rewarded for his long distance travelling with a second spot, clinched by passing 5 Jonathan Upchurch on the line, having fought off the challenge of Dean Moat. Behind them, Spedeworth vs Trackstar was really kicking off with some big hits and all action displays. There is no better entertainment than the rough-and-tumble of a packed field of stock cars. The 1300s are next in battle at King’s Lynn on Sunday 24 March – if the action is half as good as last weekend, we’re in for a treat.

Last, but by no means least, were the BriSCA Formula Two stock cars in their season-opening world qualifying round. Their run of 50+ car-counts at Saddlebow Road continued with 57 machines in the pits. Amongst all the usual stars of the shale were former Superstox World Champions 151 Colin Aylward and 682 Jason Cooper, plus the all-time F2 great 218 Rob Speak in a fantastic looking new car. He wasn’t the only one showing off new machinery either as a whole host of drivers displayed the fruits of a hard winters work (either by them or one of the specialist car-builders). ‘East Coast Legend’ 798 Mark Sargent’s new bolide was perhaps the most spectacular looking.

The field was split into two for the heats, with 49 Paul Prest soon reaching the front in the first and proceeding to lead much of the way. 401 Barry Goldin, making his first appearance at Lynn for a while, made extremely rapid progress through the field though, passing Prest and going on to win easily. Prest just held off track champion 886 Chris Bradbury for second, while Aylward and Cooper both made the final, having had a good battle with each other.

The second heat had a few more cars but little in the way of major incidents. Run at very fast pace and devoid of crashes to delay the front-runners, the star-graded drivers struggled to make progress.  259 Simon Farrington roared to victory from fellow yellows 977 Dave Massey and 291 Craig Tomblin; 186 George Turiccki was best red in fifth.

A busy consolation was dominated by 595 Jamie Young who had enough in the tank to hold off the charge of shale experts 871 Mark Simpson and 905 Rob Mitchell, second and third.

All but one of the 30 qualifiers made it out for the final where 150 Mark Thoms led after an early caution period, from the impressive Cooper and Simpson. Simpson slipped by into second and was harrying Thoms who rebuffed him well until a crash on the home straight brought out the yellows once again. That incident ended WoS champion Mitchell’s challenge and also saw Goldin pull off with a puncture. Simpson took the lead on the restart and began to pull out a big gap. But Bradbury, so dominant at the Norfolk Arena in early 2012, was on a mission. He gradually reeled in the Skegness man, getting just close enough to set up the classic last bend lunge. Bradbury dumped Simpson into the unfortunately placed 641 Dennis Middler and swept through to take the win. Simpson managed to hold on to second, with Massey third.

The biggest F2 field of the night took to the track for the grand national. 606 Andrew Palmer’s run of poor form at King’s Lynn continued as he pulled off immediately, before a yellow flag was called to tend to the spun 695 Shaun Russell. On the restart Mitchell absolutely blitzed Goldin into the power station bend fence, ripping off Goldin’s front left wheel in the process and necessitating another caution period. Yellow flags in the GN always help the meeting final winner overcome some of their full lap handicap and Bradbury made the most of it, but he still drove excellently on his way to third. Speak managed second but was unable to reel in 488 Liam Bentham who pulled out a big lead before the other stars made it to the front. For Bentham it was a poignant win, coming shortly after the sad death of his father.

It was certainly proved a night to remember, in more ways than one. As with the two saloon stock car formulas, we don’t have to wait long before the F2s are next in action at the Norfolk Arena – they contest a World of Shale qualifying round on 23 March.

2L Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 404 306 303 738 128 217 510 350 730 216
Heat 2 131 420 511 738 698 6 499 156 219 71
Heat 3 219 499 511 303 912 26 512 71 149 306
Clive Grief Memorial 306 428 6 641 128 115 912 1 499 219
All Comers 306 641 499 115 128 738 158 912 18 369
1300 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
White, Yellow & Blue 344 143 781 5 377 604 350 7 385 450
Clive Grief Memorial 344 143 473 673 653 121 53 181 385 67
All Comers 1 344 473 447 673 569 143 121 9 653 802
All Comers 2 713 67 5 121 711 802 181 53 341 473
F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 401 49 886 630 449 682 995 597 151 301
Heat 2 259 977 291 788 186 823 606 226 158 218
Consolation 595 871 905 380 488 377 379 535 641 150
Final 886 871 977 823 49 682 259 150 488 641
Grand National 488 218 886 871 186 597 151 905 380 449
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