Sunday, December 3, 2023

Arena Essex: Bangers keep it real

THE first round of the “Keeping it Real” Banger series met with rave reviews after a destructive day’s sport at Arena Essex on Sunday.

With many of the cars that raced not being much use in regular Banger racing, no drivers intended keeping their cars beyond the day, meaning that each race turned into a wreck-fest.

Nathan Roberts took a heat and final double, kick starting a points haul he will hope will take him all the way to the series title and the big money prize pot on offer.

Heat one started off in a destructive vein with Dave Reynolds taking on several members of the Midnight Runner team on the QE2 bend. John Avery followed in the Morris Minor of Jon Goudie, Avery then climbing clear to see Scott Parry charge in with a destructive hit, almost immediately paying with an equally solid hit from Tom Waller.

Tom Waller turned around at the start of the second heat and rammed a spinning Andy Reynolds hard. Reynolds then got a big smash from the classic A60 of Jason Curtis and Nick North also went flying in with a big impact, closely followed by Scott Cornish. The race was stopped to allow a shaken Reynolds to recover from his ordeal.

At the restart North misjudged the height of the inner kerb and went for a rollover, landing with a big grin on his face as others continued to pound him all around the pit bend, a heavy impact from Paul Korpiela finishing him off.

The final saw a rare mistake from Waller as he mistimed an attack on the pit bend and rammed himself into the inner barrier. His stricken car was then attacked by several, most notably Dave Bull and Scott Cornish, Waller sitting grinning as his car was gradually folded around him! As Nathan Roberts raced to the flag, Gary Turner’s fine run was ended by a head on attack on the pit bend from Alfie Lee, Paul Korpiela then finishing the job with his A60 Cambridge estate.

The Destruction Derby was a class end to a fine day with the MGB of Darren Nash crashing Darren Mouser hard shortly after Mouser and Paul Whiteman had combined to end Scott Parry’s involvement in the event. Vic Bilkey was showing dogged determination, shrugging off a huge hit from Dave Bull to continue, although solid shots from Joey Palmer and Paul Whiteman ultimately silenced him. Scott Cornish earned himself the entertainer of the day award, continuing to dish out punishment despite his car being considerably shortened, but ultimately he could not stop the classic of Paul Korpiela, the latter of whom took the last car running trophy.

Another great entry of Stock Rods resulted in a final win for Jamie Akehurst in his first meeting. After two years away from the sport, former Mini Stox champion, Ray Petty, returned to the track and celebrated with a heat win, whilst the other heat went the way of another Mini Stox graduate, Jamie Lee Callis. Father and son team, Tony and Alex Martin had a torrid time with Tony clattering into the infield marker tyres in the final, just a few laps prior to Alex doing the same thing, launching himself into a race stopping barrel roll.

It was a day for the kids with the 11-16 year olds in the Mini Stox joined, for the first time, by the 6-11 year olds in the Mini Sprints. In the more senior of the Junior classes, the Morphey brothers were dominant with Charlie winning both heats, one of them in dramatic style, bumpering past new driver, David Shearing, on the very last corner. Elder brother Will, won the final, pushing Lauren Overy out wide in the early stages, Lauren unable to close him down by the end, despite clearly being the fastest on track.

The class of the Mini Sprint field was Corben Lord, winning heat and final just a day after dominating in another junior racing category, JASCAR, up at the Birmingham Wheels Raceway. Albert Webster won the other heat but was one of many to find out just how slippery the track was after the preceding Banger races.

It’s a double header at Arena Essex over Easter with a very good grid of Rookie Bangers expected to do battle on Easter Sunday with Lightning Rods and SuperBangers in support. The National Bangers are joined by the Stock Rods on Easter Monday with the youngsters getting more track time, this time in the form of Junior Bangers and Mini Stox. Start time on both days is 1pm.


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