Stunning Start to National Stock Car Season
The National Stock Car season got off to a stunning start at the Norfolk Arena on Saturday night when the 2 Litre and 1300cc Stock Cars both raced for their versions of the Clive Grief Memorial Trophy in memory of the popular Peterborough man who contributed so much to both formulas during his life. Completing the race card were the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars racing in their first World Championship qualifying round of the 2011 campaign.
F2 Stock Car Action from Saturday Night
Starting with the 2 Litre National Saloon Stock Cars, the entry of 36 cars was very good although there were quite a few of the regular faces missing due to a combination of illness and those for whom the new season had come around too quickly before they had their cars ready for action! The Clive Grief Stars of Tomorrow race for drivers of the lower two grades in the handicapped starting grid system was the first event with half of the drivers being eligible. Ryan Mee (Melton Mowbray) held the lead for a couple of laps before a mistake in Turn Four saw him fishtail his way down the straight allowing Lee Petters (Newmarket) to pass and go to the front of the pack. Mee fought back to spin Petters out of contention but again it wasn’t long before Mee was under pressure again and Jamie Stafford (Colsterworth) passed him around the outside line to move into the lead. More fishtailing from Andi Newman (Spalding) saw him take a tap from behind from Neil Kent (Brandon) which saw Newman veer off into the wall hard. Stafford remained at the front for a while but with four racing laps remaining, Andy Santry (Cambridge) drew alongside him and then edged into the lead with Stafford then trying a bit too hard and spinning himself out of the race. Santry motored on to win the race ahead of Ivan Street (Somersham) and Shaun McMillan (Wisbech).
369 Andy Santry won the 2L Stock Car Clive Grief Stars of Tomorrow Race in the 2L Stock Cars
The Clive Grief Memorial Trophy was the second race and happily all 36 cars were able to make the starting grid. Lee Petters went to the front of the race again and opened up a bit of a comfort zone over the first couple of laps but as the rest of the field got into their stride it was Street who came through to lean on Petters in the bend and snatch the lead. Street survived a scare when Stuart Shevill (Motherwell) tried to make a hasty exit from the race with mechanical problems and turned across the front of the leader who was forced off line but was able to get back onto the racing surface before colliding with the tyre barrier at the inside of the next corner. Street would not survive a second challenge though and Simon Venni (Spalding) span him out to take the lead four laps from the end of the race and it was Venni who went on to win the Memorial Trophy for the year with Luke Grief (Peterborough) closing him down rapidly in the late stages of the race although Grief had to settle for second on this occasion. Andi Newman completed the podium places.
570 Simon Venni on way to victory in the 2L Stock Car Clive Grief Memorial
Two allcomers races completed the night for the saloons. In the first of these, Stafford led the way until the race came under a temporary stoppage when Grief hit the wall hard in a tangle with Glen Heeps (Linlithgow). Stafford was at the front of the queue for the restart but McMillan immediately span him out to take the lead only to lose it soon after to Shane Brown (Bridgwater) who went on to take the victory. The second race started with an incident that could have been from a Banger race when Stafford span out Andy Santry only for Ryan Santry (Cambridge) to drive straight into Stafford in revenge. Andi Newman led a few laps but was then taken out by Gordon Alexander (Bonnyrigg) putting Simon Welton (Norwich) to the front of the race in his first ever meeting in the formula. Welton looked set for a historic victory until three laps from the end when a group of three cars crashed out just in front of him and Welton was slowed and then forced off track to get through the temporary blockage which allowed Brown to speed through for his second win of the night.
6 Simon Welton impressed in his King's Lynn 2L Stock Car debut
In the 1300cc Stock Cars, the entry of 21 drivers was swelled by four visiting drivers from the Spedeworth organisation whose cars have become eligible to race at the Norfolk Arena following work to harmonise technical car specifications over the Winter. The opening heat saw Liam Easter (Swaffham) pilot his smart new car at the head of the pack for a few laps before a misfire allowed Tom Yould (Spalding) to head to the front and outrun John Moat (Wisbech) to take the chequered flag.
Double Gold Roof Champs as Spedeworth World Champion 79 Barry Radcliffe battles with Trackstar Gold Roof Champ 216 Dan Booth
The second heat witnessed an early crash for Stevie Stovin (March) who collected the spinning Gemma Rainer (Norwich) whilst an early bid for glory by Ady Moden (Wisbech) was halted when he was pushed wide by the rapid Yould. Once again, John Moat made rapid progress in the second half of the race but his destiny was to be runner-up to Yould for the second time. The Clive Grief Memorial Final was the best of the night for the formula with Easter leading for a few laps before he was pushed wide by Moden. This allowed Steven Walden (Lynn) to pass both of them for the lead with Lee Farrell (Wisbech) also diving through the gap to take second place. Moden and Easter continued to trade third and fourth places until Moden despatched him into a marker tyre. Walden and Farrell continued to head the pack until John Moat came through to take up the lead with Walden and Farrell then coming to blows over second place which saw Walden glance off Farrell and hit the wall hard climbing half way up the plating before nose-diving his car back onto the track. Spedeworth World Champion Barry Radcliffe (Great Yarmouth) looked set to take a top three position on his first visit to Lynn making his way up to fifth place from the back of the grid and then spinning out Dean Moat (Wisbech) to claim fourth. However, he came unstuck when trying to knock Roy Gedge (Wisbech) off line hitting the back of Gedge’s car at a slight angle which unbalanced his car and ultimately saw Radcliffe spin off the track. Moat went on to win with Farrell holding on for second place and Todd Shales (Wisbech) coming through for third position.
673 John Moat won the 1300 Stock Car Clive Grief Memorial
The entry of BriSCA F2 Stock Cars numbered 73 which prompted a three-heat format for the meeting. The first of these saw a race stoppage in the early laps when Sean Gregory (Shefford) and Dean Simpson (Keighley) clashed and came to a stand on the racing line. Ian Mallinson (Chester) led the restart but was soon pushed wide by Marc Lammas (Stevenage) who then moved to the front with Mallinson then ending his race with mechanical problems not long afterwards. Lammas was pursued over the last couple of laps by Chris Burgoyne (Falkirk) but he appeared to be far enough ahead to win the race even before Burgoyne was hampered by Ian Chalkley (Arlesley) at the start of the last lap and Lammas took his first shale victory. Heat Two saw Jack Thompson attempt to defend his early lead but Dave Harley (Swadlincote) was slightly too strong for him and it was Harley who seemed surprised at recording a victory. The last heat saw Mark Gardiner (Coventry) lead for less than a lap before he had to pull off the track with car problems and after this Matt Clayton (Boston) led for over half of the race. However, the charge of the star men was unstoppable and Andrew Palmer (Peterborough) powered into the lead followed into second place by Allen Cooper (Huntingdon). It was Cooper who had the last laugh when Palmer quite literally climbed all over Anthony Winters (Wisbech) on the penultimate lap and Cooper took the offer of the win.
702 Allen Cooper was a double winner in the F2 Stock Cars
The consolation race was a busy 38-car affair and there was chaos at all points around the track for the first half of the race. Tom Neat (Ely) provided the biggest part of the action by performing a complete rollover severely damaging the aerodynamic wing on the top of his car but when he landed on his wheels he was able to drive the car off the track without stopping the race. Ron Ferguson (Edinburgh) somehow navigated a path through the carnage to take a very creditable victory. The Final saw Harley lead the way for a while until he was spun out with Clayton the next driver to take his turn at the front. However, Daz Shaw (Castleford) was on a charge and he came through to take the lead and looked almost certain of winning until a minor incident on track saw him break a half shaft crippling his car six laps from the end. Barry Goldin (Bolton) came through to win ahead of Chris Bradbury (Reading) and Clayton.
663 John Neat was the first rollover man of the 2011 F2 Season
The Grand National was the biggest race of the night at 39 cars on track and was stopped almost as soon as it started when Jack Thompson managed to lose both of his back wheels in one crash. Barry Clow (Spalding) was in charge on the restart although his lead was taken away from him when another lose wheel brought about a further stoppage to the race. After this, Bradbury stormed through the field to pass Clow and cross the line first but he was judged to have jumped the restart and was penalised two positions in the race meaning that Cooper won with Clow taking second place.
F2 debutant 330 jack Thompson picked up a lot of damage in the final
In summary, this was a cracking night of stock car action to start a new season and the stadium and promotional team look forward to another cracking night of 2 Litre and 1300cc Saloon Stock car action on Saturday 19th March when they race in support of the Unlimited Bangers East Anglian Championship.