Thursday, April 18, 2024

Arena Essex set to unveil new season

ARENA Essex opens its doors this Sunday 9th March, for its 37th consecutive season of Banger and Stock Car racing.

The Shakedown is the annual Big Banger bash that draws large entries to the Thurrock venue and kick starts a season that has many pundits proclaiming that it could be the best ever, with a number of meetings drawing much interest from the oval racing world.

Perhaps the most exciting development of this year is the “Keeping it Real” Series which begins life on 6th April. The whole series is designed to bring an “Old School” style of Banger racing back to the venue. The first round is loosely based on the once popular Non-Ford format and has already attracted an entry of around 50 cars at this early stage. The aim of the day is to throw together a car, race it, wreck it and throw it away! Just like Banger racing used to be!

Following the huge success of the All Granada Olly Moran/Maya Ford memorial last season, meeting organiser Paul Wightman is the man brought in by the Arena Essex management to develop the “Keeping It Real” concept and excitingly one of the rounds, July 27th, is open to only Granada Mk1 & Mk2s. No-one will expect it to quite reach the heights of last years epic, but already there are close to 80 drivers who have put their names forward for the event. It is going to be big!

Junior racers now have two choices at Arena Essex with a successful test outing for the Junior Bangers here in January, helping to secure a few dates during the season. The Junior Bangers have been providing near 40 car entries at a few venues and with the amount of interest doing the rounds, entries should not be far away from that. They first hit the track at Arena on March 23rd, as part of a four formula spectacular.

The venue also sees the return of the National Brisca F2 Stock Cars for a World Final Qualifying round on 11th May, the new Micro F2 class debut on the same day, and most excitingly of all the Grand Prix Midget World Championship takes place on 26th May. Making their debut at the Sunday events will be the MiniSprints on 6th April – a class for 6 – 11 year olds. Yes that’s right – Mini Stox drivers are TOO OLD!

Regular events for established classes, such as the Stock Rods, Lightning Rods, Mini Stox, SuperBangers and the 2L Saloon Stock Cars continue to form the backbone of the calendar, with Bangers of all shapes and sizes featuring at every meeting.

With a two part BBC documentary series, based around several of the local racers, due to air the same day as the opening fixture this Sunday, interest could well be boosted for future events. The show in particular follows the fortunes of popular brothers, Ricky and Paul Korpiela, retiring racer Darren Parker, as well as some young blood in the form of 13 year old Mini Stox star Alfie Jones.

This Sunday’s action begins at 1:00pm with races for both the Unlimited and Under 2000cc National Bangers, as well as the first outing of the year for the youngsters in the Mini Stox – one of the stand-out formulas of 2013.

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