A double figure entry from the Gladiators Banger Team looked set to cause trouble for many of the track championship protagonists at Arena Essex on Sunday, the team not having been seen at the venue since an explosive encounter nine months ago.
And so it proved, with Lewis Price turning around and hooking out Nathan Roberts in the early stages, Roberts rolling to a halt on the exit of turn four, taking further damage from a number of the Gladiators. Jamie Harding put up a staunch defence until Jamie Avery and Danny Oliver dished out a particularly heavy pair of hits.
Harding was bravely back for another go in the second race but after a hit to Sam Keep he was knocked out following a hit from Oliver. Thankfully he was able to climb out unaided once he came to. Scott Cornish had a great battle with, heat one winner, James Steel in the early stages of the restart, but pulled clear for the win. It was a feat he managed again in the final.
The Destruction Derby was a great end to the day with Steel putting in a ferocious hit on Sonny Sherwood, Ricky Hutton then doing the same to Steel. They all managed to part from each other and embarked on some high speed tours of the track, joined by Joey Palmer. Palmer scored with a huge hit to Steel, Hutton again following up and destroying the car of Palmer. After much tyre smoke and dust, they all managed to part from each other again, front wheel drive being very handy in cars where the rear wheels are well clear of the floor! After several more big hits, Hutton was awarded the win.
Tempers also flared in the Lightning Rods with heat two seeing an overly ambitious move from first heat winner, Richard Norman, shovelling Jack Deacon out of the lead. Deacon rejoined to block the leading Norman car, Norman retaliating by spinning Deacon into the home straight armco. Dave Imber took the win and looked set for the final, unfortunately his pass of leader Matthew McMahon, was far from a clean one and as McMahon spun to the infield it was already clear that a penalty would be forthcoming. Anthony Lawrence’s patience all afternoon paid off with a win which takes him ahead of Chris Reeve in the points chase, Reeve having a nightmare day – engine troubles in his own car lead to him borrowing his brothers and blowing up that engine too!
Another racer with engine troubles was Mini Stox track championship leader, Lauren Overy. With a blown engine in practice, her spare car was hastily despatched from home, courtesy of grandad! She missed her first heat but came fourth in the second heat and then, in a superb finish, bumpered Will Morphey wide on the last corner of the final, only failing to take the win by 100th of a second! Heat winner, Joe Rollings took third place in the final, the other heat falling to Marcus Reeve, his new car proving to be a step up in pace.
Finally the Stock Rods provided some close action with Jamie Akehurst not putting a wheel wrong in the final, taking the win from a fiesty Wayne Shackleford, who outfoxed Andy Owen in the final laps. Akehurst was unlucky not to win heat two, his pass of Daniel Imber seeing him spun up the kerbs and losing the place to Ben Grant. The winner of the first heat, Andy Owen, earned a black flag in this one for remonstrating with Ricky Walker. But then, it was a day for that sort of thing….