Thursday, September 21, 2023

Arena Essex: Rookie Bangers reign in the rain

THE Easter Sunday rain failed to dampen the spirits of the Rookie Banger racers, who turned up in their droves to Arena Essex.

A fair proportion of the 70 or so entry were genuine Rookies to the sport, which made the first couple of heats destructive affairs, as several found the track a lot greasier than expected. Dan Skinner was an early victim in heat one getting his car wrecked by Sam Watson on the QE2 bend, as the pile of fenced cars gradually grew by the lap. Karl Jarvis, one of the newcomers, took the win in style. By way of contrast, veteran racer, Sonny Sherwood, won the second heat, which had to have a restart after Jay Brown lost a wheel from his Ford Ka. Danny Clarke’s first race, having been gifted the drive as a raffle prize, ended in heavy contact with TJ Powers and the fence, although he was able to effect repairs in time for the Destruction Derby. Dave Bryant showed admirable resilience. After being spun into the fence on a couple of occasions and then crashed hard by Sam Topley, he still continued in his twisted machine.

The non qualifiers had another chance of making the final in the consolation race as the rain worsened. Dominic Boden went steaming in with a big crash, as did Jamie Barnard who sent Jack Barwick spinning. Grays, Billy Reeves booked his final place with the win.

Reeves luck didn’t hold for the final. Having been first spun by Dave Cheeseman, he was then hit head on. Grant Kilburn and Micky Hamer came to blows at the same time whilst Wayne Mills was turned into the fence by Karl Davies. Mark Brown leant the, already badly damaged, car of Mitchell Scott into the parked Reeves machine. Scott managed to pull away, but only as far as the start finish line, where he remained for the rest of the race. Meanwhile his assailant, Brown, made it as far as the back straight fence before he came to a grinding halt. Sonny Sherwood’s apparent win in this race was later overturned when he failed post race scrutineering, leaving Paul Chapman to inherit the spoils.

The Destruction Derby was an action packed finale with Martin Cheeseman wrecking Jamie Barnard, also ending Skinner’s involvement. Alfie Lee destroyed Bryant as the hits came thick and fast. Micky Hamer was destroying car after car, Lee Tompkins Ka being one such victim. Dominic Boden’s attack on Daniel Nichols made the crowd jump as it was accompanied by the huge bang of his airbag being deployed! They are usually removed before the cars get raced and it came as just as big a shock to the driver as it did the rest of us! Hamer went head to head with Barwick, then reversed into James Shrimpton, Shrimpton fighting back with a hit of his own before being attacked by Jay Brown. Hamer made sure of Alfie Lee’s demise before turning his attention to Alfie’s brother Georgie and despite having burst into flames at this point, Hamer managed to finish the job before bailing out of the flaming car to collect his trophy!

Small grids prevailed in the supporting events with Nathan Roberts taking a clean sweep in all four SuperBanger races as Tony Ring suffered a number of maladies, many of them involving fence-bound mishaps.

The Lightning Rods saw a heat and final win for the unique Pick-Up styled car of Dan Guidotti. Dave Imber won the first heat, clashing with Kiereen Thomas during their lead battle, Thomas spinning down the order.

Hamer : With fire beneath the hood, Micky Hamer climbs out of his car having just won the Destruction Derby

Raffle : How about this for a raffle prize?! – Race fan, Danny Clarke enjoyed his Rookie Banger experience, finally finishing the car off in the Destruction Derby.

Kilburn : Grant Kilburn gets heavy damage in the Rookie Banger final

Reeves : Billy Reeves on the attack

Roberts : Four out of four for SuperBanger racer Nathan Roberts

Guidotti – Dan Guidotti was the man to beat in the Lightning Rods

All photos are to be accredited to Matt Bull/ . All rights for reproduction in printed or digital form are granted…


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