Thursday, December 1, 2022

Arena Essex: Rookies turn up the heat

A SUNNY Bank Holiday Monday at Arena Essex brought out the best, or should that be the worst, in the Rookie Banger drivers, as a huge grid of cars set about destroying each other throughout the course of the meeting.

The first heat seemed lively enough, but in the context of the rest of the afternoon, it was quite tame, although Sam Watson might contest otherwise, his first ever race seeing him bashed around on the first lap, although he was able to continue. Paul Chapman won the race before heat two stepped up the pace with Danny Allen getting heavy damage on turn two whilst Daniel Mann joined Chapman in the first time winners club.

A large entry in the consolation was decimated in the early laps and we then saw a spectacular incident as Kenny Young launched Jen Garrett off the spun car of Jake Sheldon into a large rollover. The race resumed with some heavy hitting on the back straight which included Danny Londors going in on the lively John Chambers. Tony Smith took up the running but found a lurking Jason Jackson on the exit of turn four on the last lap. Jackson held him up, but Smith was able to just get past and get the flag just moments before the arrival of the second placed runner.

The final carried on the devastation with Matthew Lewis nearly rolling on the back straight as Ron Hammond held up Smith allowing Alfie Rye to weigh in with a large hit. Hammond then went on to seriously blot his copybook by attacking Lewis on the shale in the wrong direction, earning himself a load up for the day. Daniel Mann took damage to his car which caused his wheel to buckle under him and the lightest of contacts from Darren Mouser was enough to send him for a high speed roll into the pit gate. A day that started with his first ever win, ended with his first ever rollover! A quieter restart allowed Dave Cheeseman to motor to the win.

The Destruction Derby provided a huge train of crashes as car after car piled in, the train started by a head on between Harry Stevens and Shaun Gillitt, whereupon Gillit was crashed by Craig Hook. Mouser, Young, Charlie Cook, John Avery then Chambers all piled in before the crowd could gain their breath. The event was stopped as a car began leaking fuel which caused a bit of concern and delay. A handful of cars contested the restart with Cheeseman finishing off Londors to take the win although he looked anything but pleased when he climbed from his car, taking exception to one of the earlier crashes which was a little close to his drivers door.

The Lightning Rods provided some great sport, and a little controversy. A battle between Peter Waite and Andy Reeve in the first heat saw the two clash and the stationary car of Reeve was then collected by Ashley Birkin which resulted in significant damage for both, although Birkin was able to effect repairs for heat two. Heat two saw a good battle for the lead with Keireen Thomas staunchly defending his position, which resulted in Gary Greenland getting on two wheels at one point. Whilst Greenland and Thomas recovered, Richard Warner made it round the outside to make it two out of two.

Warners third win came in the final. Greenland and Thomas again clashed in this one, with Thomas rejoining a lap down and braking in front of Greenland to delay him. Greenland spun him out and again went up on two wheels, but this time knocking a wheel askew as he did so, Thomas unsurprisingly attracting a black disqualification flag. The best race of the day was the allcomers event with Chris Reeve fending off Warner for pretty much the whole distance. Warner did get past at one stage, thanks to a little bit of contact, but Reeve repaid the compliment a corner later. The tit-for-tat exchange being viewed as just that by the steward and Reeve kept the win.

The Mini Stox saw Ryan Polley on top form. In his wheeltracks for most of the meeting were Dan Newman and Harry Steward, the three finishing the final in that order. Marcus Reeve and Jay Page-Fuller managed a win apiece in the other races on the day, just staying sufficiently clear of the star graders.

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