Arena Essex: Midnight Runners victorious

THE National Bangers "Keeping it Real" Series reached its conclusion at Arena Essex on Sunday and although there was a much lower than expected turnout for this, the only team event on the seasons calendar, there was still plenty of excitement as the respective points championships were decided.

The fallout from the recent World Final saw Sonny Sherwood and KIRS series leader, Jack Tuffen, battling throughout the afternoon with the latter losing his lead as a result, but landing some pretty impressive hits on the Ford Sierra of Sherwood, including a killer head on in the final.

The final was the best race of the day with Team Cheeseburger’s Georgie Lee leading until a huge lunge from the Ford Capri of Lee Hughes on the last corner took him out. Carrying so much momentum, Hughes also went spinning which allowed his team mate, Jason "Boxer Jack" Jackson, to take the win. The win secured the Team Championship title to the Midnight Runners whilst Tuffen at least secured the PRI season long points title as well as the entertainers award.

The Destruction Derby was a solid end to the day with Jeff Smith and Ricky Hutton having a good battle which ended with a big head on collision. Dan Nicholls landed a big hit on Alfie Lee with Ricky Korpiela doing likewise to Georgie Lee, Georgie retaliating with some hits of his own which eventually silenced Korpiela. With both Lee cars barely moving they met in one final low speed head on with the result declared in Alfie’s favour, Georgie meanwhile picked up the £1000 prize as winner of the KIRS series from Jason Jackson and Jack Tuffen, whilst the top entertainers in the series were also awarded the same prize package, Dave Bull taking the win from Paul Korpiela and Ricky Hutton, Korpiela generously donating his winnings to the Meningitis Research Foundation in memory of Maya Ford, a cause close to the hearts of many at Arena Essex.

The Mini Stox points championship predictably went the way of Lauren Overy, Overy easily able to gain the few points she needed to overhaul Will Morphey, who reached retirement age just days before the meeting. In fact she did much more than that, taking a heat and final double in style. Joe Rollings was the other heat winner, perhaps serving notice of his intent for the 2015 season, although the third placed youngster in the Track championship, Aaron Totham, may have some say in that . 11 year old Abbie McGuinness made an accomplished debut in the class, surviving a spin in her first race to claim three finishes. Meanwhile other recent newcomers to the formula, Kieron Rowe and Archie Fryatt continue to gain pace and experience by the meeting.

The Stock Rod season reached its conclusion with Wayne Shackleford winning the Essex Championship and wrapping up the season long track championship too. Ricky Walker beat Shackleford away from the Essex Championship grid, but left a gap just wide enough for Shackleford to blast past. Walker then defended second place a little too robustly, cutting the nose off of Ben Grant on a couple of occasions. Eventually the steward disqualified Walker, releasing the rest of the field, but Shackleford was too far up the road for anyone to challenge.

The next challenge for Shackleford is the National Championship series which he currently leads going into the last round at St Day in Cornwall on 2nd November.

The SuperBangers saw out their season with three wins for a dominant Lee West, although Tommy Parker secured the track championship title, making sure he finished ahead of his closest challenger, Bernie French, in all the races. Mark Avison secured third in the points with a string of good finishes.

The final Arena Essex fixture of the season is also the biggest! The annual Firecracker Unlimited National Banger meeting starts at 1pm on Sunday 2nd November. The day traditionally features many top racers from overseas as well as all over the UK and there are some very special cars being lined up as usual. Reliant Robins provide some action packed support racing, with rollovers very much the order of the day for the three wheelers as contact between them is very much encouraged. With a full on firework display to bring down the curtain on a great year at the Thurrock venue, this is one event not to miss.

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