Monday, July 22, 2024

Bangers reign in rain at Arena Essex

Monsoon conditions greeted fans and drivers at Arena Essex last Sunday as the National Banger World Final Wild Card qualifier turned into an underwater crash fest.

Jack Foster Jnr took the World Final place with an assured drive in the final, narrowly defeating reigning World Champion, Lee Hughes, and surviving a last corner attempt to unseat him from the lead by John Small. Whilst the top drivers concentrated on the racing side of things, the never ending war between the Cream Team and the Gladiators provided most of the crashing action, with several others also getting in on the act too as the Gladiators definitely suffered the most casualties. In fact the crashing got a little out of hand with Andrew Milner and Phil and Simon Smith suffering numerous collisions long after their cars were already disabled. Thankfully no injuries resulted from some rather pointless crashes.

Billy Page, Jack Overy and Dean Goodearl won races during the day with the Destruction Derby coming down to a shootout between Jason “Boxer Jack” Jackson and Karl Douglas, eventually won by the former despite spending some time stationery and apparently out of contention.

Having won her first ever Junior Mini Stox race just a few days previously at Eastbourne, 12 year old Lauren Overy, daughter of former Banger World Champion – Jack, won two more at Arena and was in the thick of an intriguing battle in the final from which she emerged with third place. A bruising race between Reid Murray and Joe Parsons eventually lead to neither of them making the finish, with the former disqualified for making contact with a novices car in the heat of battle and Parsons pulling onto the infield, these retirements allowing Dan Newman and Harry Steward to take the top two spots.

The Group A Stock Rods saw Steve Gooch in great form with a heat and final double. Tyrone Goodchild pulled out a good lead in many of the races but faded as the track conditions seemed to change mid race, such were the frequency of the heavy showers. Matt Rowling was the only racer to stop the Gooch domination with victory in heat two.

Ben Gola took his first wins in the Stock car formula with a double heat victory. The son of former Group A Hot Rod star, Paul “Pepsi” Gola, was out of luck in the final though, getting turned towards the fence in the early laps and then later taking to the sloppy infield to avoid a crash on the home straight. Lee Pearce was again the winner of the final, but he had to work hard and the race winning move was pushing Tommy Langley deep into the pit bend. He was away and gone from that point.

The next action at Arena Essex promises to be the event of the season with the return of the Caravan Race on 12th August. A fine grid of cars and caravans are expected and the wreckage left around the raceway after such a race has to be seen to be believed. The race will come at the end of a packed day of sport with the National Bangers again topping the bill with their Essex Championship, together with SuperBangers, Junior Mini Stox and the Lightning Rods, who will also contest their Essex Championship. Start time, as ever, is 1pm.

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