Tonight It's All About

Tonight It's All About


STOXBLOG STOXTICKER --- Moodie suspended after Taunton Speak clash>>> Bill calls it a day>>> Courtney Finnikin wins - first in 2 years for a girl>>> Sarah Bowden rolls back clock in Ladies Race>>> Ben Fund £2.5k better off thanks to the girls>>> Rygor not competing in Semis>>> The Stoxblog. Goes to Krispy Kreme for his donuts

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Raceweek 25.... Bertha Blows.... attendances suck!

As the threatening tempest from the west came, they named it Bertha.
So after a week of fallout and opinion, much of it hilarious, it took an official statement from Brisca F2 to dampen things down....


32 cars turned up at the last meeting before the Semi, which was a little disappointing. Rollovers for Tom Pell (724) and Mark Clayton (81) was a highlight of heat 1, which was won by Tony Blackburn (225). Track debutant Glen Scott (177) took Heat 2. Heat 3 was a win for Martin Ford (19). The final was lead off by Andy Gibbs (431) who led until Blackburn took over with Steve Cayzer (380) Chris Bradbury (886) and George Turricki (186) rattling behind. Turricki dived on the Bradbury back bumper and a spot of afters as the 186 started to ram the 886 car. More handbags....  Undeterred by his being rammed without invitation, Bradbury took the national...


So with a week of build up and cajoling, the second running of the George MacMillan Memorial Trophy (also known as the Mac100) saw plenty of travellers, including the obligatory TART's Dan Moss (797) and Nathan Maidment (935), Neil Hooper (676) getting some Cowdie practice in, and Richie Mead (596) getting some much needed crashing practice in.
An excellent turnout for a domestic date of just shy of 30, meant that a 2 from 3 format was applied, making the final a showpiece event - something which has been sadly lacking from finals in Scotland this season. With the main cat away it was an opportunity for a few Crimonders to come and play, and lower graders. Kieran Howie (679) sped away in Heat 1, hotly pursued by recent returnee Dan Moss (797). The second heat was won by the rapid Alan Edmiston (580) who it could be said is currently undergraded.

Final time, and it was soon the case of Edmiston leading them away, until with 2 to go, a caution was thrown, leaving the potential for an emotional grand stand finish. And that we got. George MacMillan (100) desperate to win the trophy that bears his late fathers name, dived in on the blue top on the mother of all last benders, however, it all went Pete Tong....and Edmiston asked for lube next time before being entered into up the rear with that amount of force.
Robbie Dawson(854) took the win, with a yoink of the highest order. But Dawson, it was delight of winning a trophy which all the drivers want to win, and especially as sister Laura, is the current beau of GeoMac..



Despat......oh fuck....
With many saying this one was of the best races at Cowdenbeath this season, it just goes to prove that with a few more cars, good times will roll. MacMillan won the GN. Cue selfie mob!

Source undisclosed....George shows the youngsters in Micro F2's a shining example.....


The worst turn out this year for the Cornish track, perhaps it was a bit "after the Lord Mayor's show", with a lot of local based drivers otherwise occupied. Notable travellers included a first ever St Day for Matt Linfield (464) who brought his Zetec powered F2 down to play. Also, it was first race for the TLF car of James Rygor (783). As it just scraped into the 2 out of 3 territory, 3 heat races were run. The First heat went the way of Chris Mikulla (522) who spent the week acclimatising in the local area. It was a wonder he didn't grow a 6th toe. However, the other 2 heats were a precursor of what was to come. James Lindsay (572) sped away to the first, however he was eventually reeled in by Jamie Avery (126).
The third heat was much more lively, with Rygor trading blows with Matt Brewer (206) which saw both drivers progress hindered. Avery took his second win of the day. The final was led away until halfway by James Lindsay, who then was passed by Avery, and by Richard Beere (254) with the laps to go. With Rygor breathing down the Plymouthian white top's back bumper, both drivers were side by side, and there was no way the Tiger was getting past as both moved onto the infield, with the plucky white top holding on, and Mikulla nicking 4th on the line. So a return to red for Avery.

In the national, it was a battle royale between yellow tops, the returning Nobby James (517) and the aforementioned Beere, after James Lindsay led them off again, his progress only stopped by his dad Bryan (683) spinning. Beere took the win and Avery got up to 5th, topping off a good weekend for the Newton Abbot based drivers.

(There was 3 interviews done, however there was so much wind in them, you could barely hear them, so sorry Jamie, Richard and James - there will be another time. Damn you, Bertha!!!)


A very poor showing of only 10 cars at Barford proved rich pickings for the Scottish youngster Craig Wallace (16), as he took both heats and the final. As it has become an almost tradition, Charlie Whitfield (301) took the GN


Too many meetings? No, I don't think so. Poorly scheduled meetings? Yes. Barford and St Day's meetings after a period of busy weekends (Skegness, NIR, Taunton) were always going to be onto a hiding to nothing. With a great period for some drivers who cannot afford to race away from home, saw them spend the quid they had on something else, beat a barbecue or whatever. Whether it is mid season apathy or just whether they have forgotten they have had a stock car in the garage for the past 2 months, solus weekends and dates do not help the spread of fixtures at all. Yes 90 cars race at Skeg and EuroPENIS but there's 400 that don't!

George Turrucki turning into a one man Gordon Moodie/ Rob Speak tribute act when remostrating with Bradders. Brisca's naughty step could be turning into stairs....

Mildenhall have again released a list of semi finalists, and it seems my motley lot seem to be scared of shit shifting this year. The lack of a local track and shale cars is one reason, a busy weekend of racing and going with the tide on the busiest summer Saturday. The lack of shale in the hot spots of F2 is a problem that Brisca F2 needs to address. Now Swindon was (in part) a Westcountry track, and many pixies used to frequent the shaleways of Crewe, Boston and Swindon with a great deal of success for those. And many used the same car for both surfaces. However this not the case nowadays, as the tarmac technology has made the dual surface car a thing of the past. Having a spare car for just the occasional Coventry or Stoke doesn't seem sensible....

And now a plea to all Moodie and Speak fans on Facepalm and Twatter.
Read the rulebook. That is all.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Raceweek 24 - Certainly Fits The Bill

Well there really was only one place to be this weekend, and when the announcement was leaked that it was to be the end of an era, it was little or no surprise that there was a mammoth crowd ready to salute one of the true legends of the sport. Bill Batten. Autospeed would be probably be the first to admit that perhaps they had bitten off more than they could chew, but with near on 40 races, displays, presentations, 6 championships, with nearly 200 cars in the pits, not only did they do it, but they aced it.


The announcement of a Ladies Race for Taunton at the World Final last year was greeted with a lot of enthuasiasm from the females of the Westcountry. For many ladies, it was an opportunity to get behind the wheel of a racecar again, and for some, a nerve wracking first trip out. Notable names included former F2 racer Sarah Bowden, early 90's Saloon racer (and now Mum to Steve) Sarah Gilbert (nee Fisher), and ministox-ers Sam Brenton (nee Bunt), Francesca Butcher and Kat Dawe. Along with wifes, daughters, girlfriends and other randoms, it certainly looked the part. Sadly, the potential 30 cars dwindled, meaning a few less races for the ladies, but none the less, fun was had! The Saturday event was led away by my cousin, Stef Lampshire, watched by a nervous father Neil and boyfriend Brian.  A nice little scrap then ensued between Bowden, Gilbert and Dawe, and one could have been mistaken that heat 1 had started , such was the bumper trading and speed of it!. That's how it finished on the Saturday.

On the Sunday, a few more girls came to play, with ex Calendar Girl, and consort to the World Champion Rygor, Tia taking his car for a spin. Literally.  Again with the yellow flags that came out, Bowden had a very advantageous start that could have been a pringle! However she was tracked by Gilbert, but she then spun when she was on the back bumper of Bowden. Bowden then went into a big lead. Ladies race "veteran" Sarah Harley followed Bowden home for third and Dawe made it two podiums in 2 days, with this time a second!. All in all, a mammoth total of £2,500 (and rising) was raised for the Ben Fund, which certainly helps when drivers get injured.

So once again those drivers under 20 had their annual "Jack Aldridge Wins These" Championships. Yes, Jack is STILL under twenty. However, someone forgot to read the script as the Gloucestershire young un went home without a title, losing both on the last bend. The first one, the Young Guns, looked like a 921 benefit, but with 5 to go, the car developed a slow puncture, allowing Tim Bailey (817) a shot at him on the last bend, which saw Tim take it. On the Sunday, after the grid lined up the over way round saw Aldridge lead again, however the now infamous James "Jimmy The Wriggle" Riggalls (527) take an impressive last bend punt on the superstar.


So with the "novelty" races done with, it was time for the business end. 3 heats,  a consolation and a championship final - the F2 Challenge Trophy up for grabs

Heat 1 was a fairly faultless affair for cheeky chappy Mickey Brennan (968), who it has to be said, is coming into form at just the right time. He is in the "relatively" quiet semi final also, and is no mug around Cowdie. Title number 3 anyone?

Heat 2 was looking like it was going to be another quiet affair, with James Rygor taking up the running from Richard Beere (254) late on. Both Dave Polley (38) and Neil Hooper (676) set about seeing off Luke Wrench (560) into second, but Wrench, Hooper and Polley were involved in a last bend shunt which saw the latter rather sore on the Sunday.

Heat 3 was a Moodie stroll in the park. Easily done. The hectic consolation was won by Dan Moss (797) in only his 2nd meeting of the season.

The final was a typical Smeatharpe affair. Rapidly improving white tops James Lindsay (572) and Courtney Finnikin (55) led them all away. Then with a few yellow flags, Chris Bradbury (886) hit the front, and then Moodie took over, with Richard Beere taking 3rd. Moodie took another title to add to his burgeoning sideboard.


With most of the main protagonists required for shooting this weekend, we had an astonishing 14 shoots to do. Darren Wade (891) had put his hand in his pocket to get himself on the calendar the previous weekend. As I rocked up at 12pm on the Saturday, Darren was spraying up bits of his car, and also touching up the paintwork. Abi and the now infamous Alana, dressed and got on it
Then on Sunday, model recruitment was needed, after a quick word and discussion, Autospeed girls Emily and Kim were signed up. I brought my large holdall full of costumes and the two trophy girls set about rummaging through it. Emily's friend ex Ministox driver - Kirstin Stone, and the woman who puts Mad, into Madame Starter, Sammy Brenton, joined in, and lo, were recruited too...

With thanks to the Autospeed team, including Steward Nick Wadge who was most pleased to see the pretty girlies in box, at high noon, car after car came on track to be greeted by a paparazi-esque team of togs, but Dave Trickey, got the job of taking the shots. Indeed, we had to split the girls off and enlisted the help of photography legends Alan "Ali P" Parkinson and the exiled Dutchman Bart Smeets to come and play. As Bart went on the side road with Alana and Tom Adcroft (768), all eyes were on the centre green to do our own little thank you to Bill. Bill had more than a smile on his face, and knocked at least 40 years off him! 

Later in the afternoon, we decided to reshoot the April Showers after the footage from Skegness with Emma and April didn't look too good. So over to Polleysport people to borrow the cars for a spot of more soaking. Last time's moisture consultant, George MacMillan Jnr (100) had dispensed with the bucket, and found a new apprentice, step forward, his nephew David Polley Jnr. Water dispensed from George's "Hello Kitty" bucket (which is quite disconcerting that the Scotsman has one!), he kept on throwing, even better than Saloon driver and Polley mechanic Stuart "Scully" Sculthorpe, who had a full watering can... Kirsten and Abi had certainly an effect on GeoMac, so much that he changed his favourite girl from Steph from last year to Kirstin!

Finally we just a few pics from the away days done, we have a calendar again people. More to come on that soon....


So with the crowd set, a grand parade took place of all Bill's Cars.

Cars included a replica of his first car, complete with 651 numbering!

The car he made his comeback in 1989....
The world winner from Barford....

His car from 1995 that Graham Bunter bought from him, the 2006 car that Neil Langworthy currently drives, and his current stead, along with a micro F2, and Tim Farrell brought his F1 to play, However he had a surprise for the trophy girls, as he rigged his famous fire extinguisher to the roof of the one, and a hose stuck up the unmentionables and fired water out of his fingers, like some kind of X-men super soaker hybrid! Then the piece de resistance, courtesy of legendary mechanic of Mike James, Dougal, the restored and rebuilt 1981 World Final winning car. The attention to detail was awesome.

With the frivolity over, it was over to Steve Linfield on infield, with Bill and him having a chat. When asked if there was anything else to say, Bill said "Thank you" and was clearly overcome with emotion, and nephew Rob Farrell lifted him up onto the top step of the podium. There were tears everywhere... a truly emotional moment.


The opening heat saw another good race victory for Richard Beere, fresh from his car being used by Sarah Bowden, after the early laps were led by James Lindsay (572). But there was an early clash as Rob Batten's return lasted just one lap, courtesy of Tim and that man Speak!

Heat 2 saw Jamie Beere (954) get reeled in by Moodie and Bradbury.

Heat 3 saw white top Courtney Finnikin (55) lead them all away, and that was the way it stayed fending off Neil Hooper (676) to the flag. Clearly inspired by her fellow female kind in the Ladies Race preceding, the maiden took her maiden win!

With more cars than you could shake a stick at for a consolation, a quick fire split of the two gave us two races with. Jamie Avery (126) took the first consolation, however, a rapidly moving Bill Batten was threatening....The second saw Tim Bailey (817) break from the pack to allow a 2nd victory in as many days.

Final time, and you had all the main protagonists required for a stellar final. Again, white tops led them off, to be reeled in by Richard Beere (254) who had a cracking weekend, and tracked by Matt Stoneman (127). When the yellow flag came out for the stricken car halfway down the back straight, things looked they were simmering nicely. However the explosion that followed will be discussed further down.

So a first win in a while at Taunton for Chris Bradbury (886) who has been a little off radar at Taunton this year, and one might think what might have been, if those two eejits hadn't of played silly buggers.

Micky Brennan signalled a good weekend for him away from home with winning the grand national. At one point, with the numerous yellow flags, it looked as it was opening up for a potential to be a fairytale finish for Bill, but alas it wasn't to be.

With an emotional Batten leaving the track for the last time with some gifts from friends and promoters alike, many that were left were witnessing an end of an era. With most of my gear in Race Control, I went to pick it up, thank Emily and Kim for their help, and bumped in Crispen, who despite the near on 7pm finish. "That meeting flew by". Normally, I'd be critical of a late finish, but the time and circumstance meant it necessary. Another great showing by Autospeed, who once again excel at putting on meetings of the magnitude and gravitas!


It would be totally remiss of me not to mention this. The incidents of the final between Moodie and Speak were nothing short of disgraceful and disrespectful of the tone of the meeting.
If you've been away from the sport, here's what happened!

My thanks to Daniel Holt and Dan Skinner for those videos, there are undoubtedly more videos and pictorial evidence to come. Looks as though those donuts came with Costa Lotta, not Costa Coffee, and that Paul Brown is lining up Moodie as a stunt show, if Terry Grant can't make it.
This charade between these two protagonists has been going on too long. Since Speak's dramatic comeback at Buxton in 2009, and all that has happened after that, the Hednesford Semi Final, the Barford gestures, and last year's assault in the big one, a line should have been drawn in the name of consistency then. Speak should have been banned in 2009, and Moodie last year. What we have now, is the need for both protagonists to play up to the crowds, and they both hang the rulebook. Now yes, when these pair meet, it is always combustible, and truly box office, however, our sport isn't just about these pair. It's not boxing, and nor should it be. We don't need endless Froch vs Groves trash talking and the like. It has to stop NOW!

It appears (at the time of writing this) that the pair have got off with a load up, and if that is the case, it is a very dangerous precedent that is being set. Let's look at similar incidents. Allen Cooper (702) got a month ban at the opening Kings Lynn last year, as did Nathan Maidment (935) and Sy Harraway (83) at Birmingham earlier on. The following week saw Neil Hooper (676) get loaded and fined for afters at Bristol. All a bit inconsistent. Now, those were under red flag conditions....this was under yellow. However, there were two clear offences made by each driver. For Moodie, clear bumper work and aggressive behaviour under caution, followed by wreckless driving on the infield, endangering marshalls safety. For Speaky, retaliation and goading. As Batten came over to tell them both off, it was an incident not befitting of drivers of their ilk. Especially as it was not the time or the place to do it. So, I would also warn them about their conduct and definately place a suspended sentence about bringing the sport into disrepute.

Now whether the leniency is due to both drivers due to take part in the 2nd world semi at the end of the month is also a dangerous precedent. An entrant now will have cart blanche to ride rough shod over the rules and do whatever they like. It almost gives them a get out of jail free card, with a Teflon coated bumper.

Mummy Moss had it right, both a bunch of misbehaved schoolchildren, and need a good clip round the ear.

One thing that this has certainly brought up is the "local committee" dishing out bans. Too many times, lenient and inconsistent approaches are dangerous when so much evidence is freely available, days later. As you can see above, there is 3 videos straight away for your perusal, including the most damning of them all, the in car footage. A reasoned decision, based on evidence is what we all want to see, working on precedent and on a strict list of offenses and the tariff of punishment sent out, to give greater consistency.

Time for the sideshow to stop, and lets get back to racing. Oh, it's your problem now Dave Coventry!!



The lights went out on Saturday night during the Mini British. Cue the rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy, and then the red flags. With 10 laps to go on the biggest meeting for the youngsters it looked as though potentially the race could have been declared null and void. The worry on co promoter Andrew Carter's face as he fended off discussions from family members and the like as he tried to solve the problem was clear to see. The source, the generator, which had choked itself up and started to smoke. A kind of automotive Michael Hutchence. Many crowd members had said that it was smoking brave, but none of them thought to let someone know about it.  After a small delay, and as time went on, the PA came back on. Lively fired up the Jukebox, and whilst his selection of top pop hits was playing out, the Autospeed team, carefully and quickly brought the battered old genny back to life. Quite an acheivement in a short space of time and raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy the lights came back on!

It was quite a quiet night all be told for the revellers. Most people were tucked up in bed by 1 and well, no pig racing, no midnight football or general shenanigans. Maybe it was there was no Irish there, or whether all the fun was at the Holiday Inn at Taunton....

Meanwhile up at Crimond, a football team of drivers. Graham Kelly (721) taking the win, and Jason Macdonald scoring three goals.

Bill Batten will be remembered as a one of the all time greats. Until Speak came along, Batten was the most dominant driver of his generation and for many after that. As a person who didn't see him in his true dominant period, I will never know just how good a driver he was. I had a birthday cake in the shape of his 1990 car, and one driver that will be the one I screamed myself hoarse at many a World Final, unsuccessfully, until that day in 2004, that many thought they wouldn't see again

For me personally, Bill was the ultimate driver. Hard but fair, a good laugh on and off the track, and every one has a story about Bill. He'd be a stubborn old git, and I witnessed him up close after an altercation with Uncle Mike at a Bristol, as it took 3 men a side to hold them back from a scrap!

The amount of times I watched that video of the Skegness World Final in 1992, and Stoxworld's Martyn Clark had the unenviable task of talking to a fuming Batten mid rant following his withdrawal due to technical changes, and him thumping Alistair Forsythe after a semi collision. But he'd always help too, I remember when Uncle Mike and Neil got a rather abrupt letter from GMP promoter at the time of the Warton Semi, after engine problems curtailed our entry into the meeting, we asked Bill what to do, he said "go wipe your ass with it, that's all thats worth!" He was Brisca F2's character, complete with 70's moustache. Akin to George Best or Hurricane Higgins, he was the original Ladies Favourite, when the ones had Super Stu, we had the Master.

But to all, he was just the Master, and to be the eleventh quickest on track at the age of 67? Jesus, this man is a freak!

This weekend's racing perfectly summed up Bill's racing career. Respectful, with a little bit of dominance, with a dash of controversy.


Friday, 1 August 2014

Pensilva. Home of the Champions.

Gather round. Adopt the Japanese Tourist position and wield your camera worse than Larry Wetthebed with the opportunity to catch a driver in a silly position. Board the open top bus and join me, your guide for this tour of Cornwall's biggest village, and a village of paramount importance to sport of stock car racing.

The entry to Pensilva from Launceston and Liskeard, on the right hand side behind the house in view, is Trelawny Gardens. I lived at 20. I lived there until the age of 12, dreaming of being World Champion.
Pensilva (pen-sil-va) is a village situated in South East Cornwall, approximately 4 miles from Liskeard, and approximately 20 miles from Plymouth. Situated in the Parish of St Ive.
The parish used to be a large rural area with wooded valleys and the population was sparse with the largest village being St Ive itself.  However the demography of the parish was radically altered with the mid Victorian mining boom centred around Caradon Hill. South Caradon Mine situated just over the parish border was at one time the largest and most prosperous copper mine in the world and miners flocked to the area seeking employment in the 1830’s to 1850’s, especially as at this time the mines further west were beginning to fail. On the very edge of the moor under the shadow of Caradon Hill a mining settlement was established, originally known as Bodmon Land it is now called Pensilva. As the Caradon mines began to fail (from the 1870’s onwards), the population fell as many left the area to find work with a large percentage of those emigrating, mostly to Western Australia.

South Caradon Mine, One of those engine houses ended up on last years calendar y'know!
Then a big development happened in 1961. The Tamar Bridge opened, and with it the floodgates into a relatively untapped area of Cornwall, as now, the town of Plymouth became a commutable distance away as the Saltash Ferry had been replaced by the bridge.
Since then the village went through a dramatic building programme and expansion, with the village near on doubling in size during the 1960's. It was the archetypal village, butchers, bakers, candlestick sellers, various shops and the pub- the Victoria Inn. For many years, it was Cornwall's largest village
But perhaps it's most famous son is the 4 times Brisca Formula 2 World Champion - William Mervyn Batten. It also happens to be the village in which I grew up in.

And lo, The history lesson endeth there.
Bill at Newton Abbot circa 1970
Bill started going racing mechanicing for local racer Sylvan Pook, and he'd follow him to Newton Abbot, Pennycross and St Austell, before in 1969, getting his own car and having a go. And, unless you've just started watching stock car and think Moodie is the greatest, Batten did it all long before Gordon, sweeping all behind him.

My stock car love started in the interregnum during Batten's retirement, so the importance to me wasn't really drummed home to me until 1988 when Bill made his comeback. Little did the 7 year old Jonny know who he was. As time came on and Batten moved to Devon (spit spit). But as the rapidly growing Jonny found out, Bill lived in the very same village during his dominant times. Hang on, there's a girl in my class called Batten. I only found out when I was invited round for tea round at her's (when I was 8, anything went) and found a picture of Bill. Who's that, asks I, that's my Uncle Bill says the girl. Christ on an actual bike. Wow, her uncle was a great F2 driver, but I bet he's not as good as the Luscombes. Her dad was called Bill too, it was often a Cornish tradition to give all boys the same first name but be known by their middle name. Something went wrong there!

Also in my year at the local Primary School which I went to was Mark Guinchard (183). He was a die hard Gooner, and me, being a Spurs fan, didn't get on! At the same time former English/National/European Champion and one time console controller guru, Lee Gunichard (ex 258/121) was probably tearing up Higher Road in a supped up Escort or something. Their dad owned a garage and if there was one place that summed up stock car racing in the village, it was Marshes Garage, slap bang in the centre of the village.

It was in the 1970's and 80's where Bill Batten would go and get his brakes done. Sylvan Pook (ex 584) the 1972 British Champion worked there, along with apprentice boy Mike Lampshire (ex 137/22). Indeed with it's prominent position many a revving engine could be heard up the road.

The life and soul of any shindig in Pensilva is Bill's sister Mavis, aka Mave the Rave. A stalwart of the village shop, she's a proper character, and many a time I've gone up for a drink or something to eat and bumped into Mavis, and lost a fair amount of time chinwagging about Bill and the racing. In fact the longest one was possibly post the Barford World Final win in 2004, when Bill took his long awaited 4th World title.

A bit further up the road, is the estate that dominates the village. Glen Park. During the 90's both Neil Lampshire (737) and Dave Gregory (ex 367) lived there.

The local area isn't immune to the Pensilva stock car scene.

4 miles down the road you had the Hoopers, not Neil (676) and Adam(ex696), but Garry (ex686) and Tony (ex527) in Tremar, and then go on the Lanson road, through Upton Cross and down the hill, and you reach Darleyford. Home of the Deebles, originally 1978 World Champion Jeremy (ex530) and Paul (ex685), but now Liam(785), Adam(685), Matt(530) and Amy-Louise (ex985), and their cousin Jason Walters (540), and their near neighbour Simon Edwards (430).And if you go through a few back lanes - lo, you're at the home of Lord Higman of Menheniot (778).

Even in the doldrum years of Cornish stock car racing, when the nearest track was Newton Abbot, the village and surrounding areas would provide a fair few drivers to race, in fact it was the southern outpost for Brisca - St Day was feral at the time and St Columb, well, was only a pipe dream. When St Austell ruled the roost, it was a hive of activity, but when Fairway Furniture and Cornish Market World came along, the enthusiasm and support died a death, and other pastimes came along.

If I had a pound for everytime some who said to me "Stock car eh, I used to watch that at St Austell, they still do that at Newton Abbot", I'd be typing this from my Australian ranch, as promoter of WisCA F2. Fact is that Stock Car is probably the 2nd biggest spectator sport after Rugby in Cornwall - we don't have a football team of note, the two dogs that watch Truro City et al, don't even threaten a quiet St Day.

I'd like to know if there is such a village with an equally rich stock car heritage....

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Raceweek 22.... Pink, Stink, and a really quick think!

So another race weekend and another speedweekend for some - for the shale it was Mildenhall for some pre semi wild weekend practice. Meanwhile it was also the pink ribbon trophy, but all 4 corners had their day.


On the Thursday, it was the last qualifying round at Skegness. Plenty of cars there, and a 2 from 3 format was deployed. With yellow top Jak Marshall (199) continuing his good form from the front took Heat 1. Heat 2 went the way of the man who needed those points the most, George MacMillan (100). Moodie took out heat 3, and also took out the final, taking a score of 29 forward. Macmillan was second and Jimmy the Wriggle (527) finished up third. Moodie finished with the best score under 2012 rules, only dropping 3 points from a perfect 150. The non WQR scoring GN was won by Marshall.


Scotland returned from its break to rapturous glory, however, some of its brethern were still on tour, however a relatively (on current form) of 15 cars, including several refugees from Crimond. With no Moodie, Macmillan or Middler, it was the Burgoyne show, with the 647 car taking the first heat and the final. Craig Wallace (16) took the second heat and Stephen Forster (652) took the national.

One of those silent B52's that frequent the area. Nuisance! (A.Duckett)
With the world semis being the next meeting at Mildenhall, a lot of unfamiliar faces were at the Suffolk shaleway. From the west came Jamie's Beere (954) and Avery (126), along with Ryan Wadling (476) and the obligatory Paul Moss (979). Fellow front row sitter Gordon Moodie (7) shunned Lady Mavis and brought out his new ex Ian Gardiner (454) shale shifter, complete with on roof deckchair along with Dennis Middler (641) down from Bonnie Scotland. 75 cars in total for the annual "One Wild Weekend". 3 heats and 2 consis format saw Justin Parker (630) lead heat 1, before John Wright (448) take over. Heat 2 was lead by Dutchman Michael Schutter (H129) before Sam Wagner (823) grabbed the flag. The third heat saw veteran as some would say, former World Champion Mark Simpson (871) victorious. The two consolations saw wins for Martin Ford (19) and Andrew Palmer (606). A confusing end to the final saw the win go to Steve Cayzer (380) but after post race inspection of video and lap charts, Rob Mitchell (905) inherited the win.


Sunday saw a few less cars, as Paul Moss went back to Mendips, and Ben Lockwood (618) got his first taste of the shale. Saturday night consolation winner Martin Ford (19) took the win in heat 1, whilst heat 2 George Turricki (186) showed everyone the fast way round. The third heat saw a flag to flag maiden Mildo win for Luke Branston (741). The consolation were victories for Gary Ford (26) and the sensational Tony Blackburn (225). The final saw Daz Schenscall (376) lead the majority of the way, until 2 yellow flags (including one for a small fire for Gary Ford) saw Carl Issit  (103) get the better of almighty scrap for the win. The Grand National was also suitably brutal, and came to a dramatic conclusion as the race was stopped prematurely for a crash between Schenshall and Schutter brought out the chequered and reds. However, that was not the end of the story, as a spinning Lee Armstrong (743) collected Gary Ford and the East Coast Legend, Mark Sargent (798). Ford rolled and his car burst into flames. Sarge leapt out of his car and dragged the driver out of the inferno. Such acts of heroism on the track need to be applauded, especially as Sarge's curly barnet is probably a fire risk in itself. First and second after cause of the stoppage removals was Sarge and Ford, a well earned lap of honour for the cheeky chappy!


Usual Barford reporter Andrew Hingley was partaking in some Commonwealth Games action, but it was a Barford meet which was low on numbers. Local white top, Lee Darby (402) took a win in the first heat, and followed it up with second in the second, which went the way of Paul Prest (49). The final went the way of Craig Wallace (16),  but it was Darby who finished the day off with a win in the National.


It was certainly muggy at the Mendips for the annual Pink Ribbon Trophy, in honour of the late Lesley Maidment, mother of Nathan (935). Dad Andy spoke to me about the origins of the trophy.

With yet another bike race for the racing crew, complete with water stations, soaking the competitors with a motley crew of WAGS and significant others on bucketeering duties. With the visiting drivers George Macmillan (100) and David Polley (38) adding to the ranks, along with the returning from injury Chris Bradbury (886), still hobbling, however, with my recent foot injury (falling off a large step and buggering up 3 toes and a nice big purple bruise) I couldn't take the piss.

With 26 cars, Mendips, being Mendips chose to be different and offered the option of formats to the drivers in the drivers meeting. The choice of easy heats and a double point final was too much for some, however, it wasn't destined to go that way. (To the nay sayers - the point system is based on 26 cars....10 from each heat and 6 from the consi!)
Bradders took an obligatory first heat, and Heat 2 had a fair few stellar names in it. However, the luckless Paul Moss (979) had yet another engine blow, which took every star grader in with him. Come the restart, the likes of Polley and Neil Hooper (676) were on the infield, and it was Justin (or was it evil NIR twin Jamie????) Fisher (315) who came out of the attritional race with the chequered.With the consolation a mixture of stars, it turned into a battle between Polley and Hooper, and DP got the win. Final time saw long time leader Glen Sanders (734) lead until halfway. Hooper had broken away and with 2 to go, Bradbury was catching. Hooper took the hit and rode along the top bend, And Bradbury kept Hooper on the outside by leaning on him going into the pit bend. That's how it finished and Bradbury won the Pink Trophy for the second time.

In the national, things seemed to be going the way of Sanders, until a coming together on the home straight saw Paul Butcher (189) stranded on the exit for 3/4 laps. With 2 to go and the reds coming in to swoop on Sanders, Julian Coombes (828) was left with nowhere to go and crashed into the unfortunate Butcher who took the full impact. With both drivers needing medical attention, the race was called and Sanders took the win.


Bristol. After many meetings where things moved along quickly and won plaudits (wrapping up the clashing meeting with St Day before the uber slick Autospeed had run the final was a plus point), it sadly was business as usual. A 7 race gap between Heats and Consolation saw many drivers bored and grumbling, and then a small gap between consi, final and GN! Rolling out past 6 o clock didn't help matters, and when many driver have 3 hours plus to drive home can be a little disconcerting.

However, what was most disheartening was the inability to call a yellow flag. Now my understanding is that a yellow flag should be called for a stricken car in the potential line of fire. Bristol is extremely narrow nowadays, and with the raised infield (inner armco) there are more blind spots on the track where it is almost like coming out of a tunnel, leaving little or no time to react or find space. Now this is not a personal attack on the steward, but the 189 car wasn't moving. Stranded coming out of turn 4 and along the straight on a narrow point of the track. Now I can often understand why sometimes a yellow flag can be held off, because sometimes accidents can clear. On this occasion, the front end damage meant that Butcher had nowhere to go. You can indicate all you like with static yellows and marker boards, as a steward, the utmost safety of everyone is paramount. Even if the driver gives you both thumbs up, and you think its precarious, throw the yellow, because if you don't, then the law of sod says, an accident will happen. Take away all potential flashpoints at the first opportunity.
Personally, I would of thrown a yellow a few laps earlier for the stranded Matt Issacs (937) car which was located right in the line of fire for a last bend shunt, on the apex of the pit bend.
Because of hesitance, 2 drivers are hurt, 2 cars are near on destroyed, or have a hefty amount of repairs to foot, all because of a decision. An avoidable accident has occurred and lessons need to be learned from this. Had this of been in the workplace, investigations would have to take place - the first question in any health and safety report would be, was everything done to avoid the accident. Having the "motorsport is dangerous" caveat doesn't cover all. Minimise the risk. Drivers have to work the following day, and if they are injured, we all suffer.

So its onto Taunton. A very busy weekend, National Championships for the Saloons. The revived British Championship for the Minis, and the F2 Challenge Trophy, The Brisca F2 Heritage, A Cuddly Toy (CUDDDDLY TOY!!!!!), The Young Guns, The Teen Sensations, and an Old Fart. It's gonna be a cracker, if you're not coming, come on down!!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Who's Got A Semi On!!!! THE GRIDS.....

So the results are in from Skegness and they are as follows.......


The Lucky 56......