Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Arena Essex: Bangers mash up in exciting races

A HUGE entry of PRI Bangers provided a fitting tribute to fallen Banger star – Terry Skeef, on Sunday at Arena Essex, Jon Murrell finishing on top of the pile in the memorial final, as well as wrapping up an earlier heat race.

Murrell’s victory in heat one came amidst a lively start to the day with Deborah Taylor in particular getting a rough ride from National Banger stars, Billy King and Alfie Lee.

Heat two saw Ricky Hutton go a little bit too far by following Mark Browning into the pit gate, embedding himself in the back of Terry Smith and then driving headlong at another car, finishing his day early. There were plenty of more legitimate moves during a race that started with well over 40 cars, but finished with considerably less than that. Paul Chapman survived a flight up the inner kerb to take the win.

A packed consolation race saw some massive impacts near the pit gate with Shane Davies going in hard on Robin Ash, Jayden Anderson losing a wheel, Mark Dopson taking some big damage and a full rollover from Rich Sharp. Andrew Chapman took the win.

The final saw some big crashes as Leon Subbury and Vic Bilkey Jnr took heavy damage at one end of the track whilst Billy King buried Luke Betts up the other, although a later attempt to do the same to Daniel Mann ended with him getting launched onto two wheels and burying himself into the parked Jodie Cheeseman car.

The Destruction Derby saw Joe Skutela apparently wreck Dave Greenstreet, but Greenstreet kept his car going for enough time to see off several other challengers although James Steel did finish him, crippling himself in the process. Luke Marsh was the last car running.

The Track Championship went the way of Paul Whiteman ahead of Roy Rawlins and Darren Mouser.

The Track Championship was also on the line in the Mini Stox with newly crowned British Champion, Charlie Morphey, celebrating his 14th birthday in style by finally overhauling the longtime leader Lauren Overy, thanks to a timely win in the final. In fact Overy dropped to third behind Josh Rayner, who had a great day. Harry Overy was unlucky to just miss out, a last ditch attempt to take Rayner out of the final could have nicked him a place in the top three but it wasn’t to be. Full grids of 30 cars throughout the afternoon brought about several stoppages, mostly for stranded cars. Tom Grensinger’s oily exit from one race causing all manner of spinnery theron.

The Stock Rod English Championship went the way of Luke Oliver after a dominant race from pole position. Dale Atkins held off a fiesty Tony Perfect to claim second place. The fourth place battle between Carl Shackleford and Matt Rowling came to tears when an apologetic Shackleford slewed sideways and clipped Rowling into a hard impact with the wall, taking them both out. Perfect’s third was enough for him to nick the Track title, ahead of Oliver and last years champion, Wayne Shackleford.

After heat wins for Chris Reeve and Richard Norman, Rob Merritt took his first final win, despite seeing Norman begin to loom large in his mirrors over the final laps. Lee Hall once again took damage with a broken wheel taking him into the wall, Hall signalling his displeasure by completing a number of dusty donuts on the infield.

Track championship honours went the way of Nigel Carroll with Richard Norman and Anthony Lawrence taking the places.

The next action at Arena Essex is on 18th October. The feature event belongs to the PRI Banger Legends who are competing for the Ronnie Martin memorial. Only racers active prior to 1995 are eligible for the meeting and so far the bookings are already over the 60 mark with such veterans as John Steward, John Alyward, Steve Cassar and Dennis Whiteman booked in for one last blast, as well as racers still very much active now, such as Gary Madgwick and Roy Rawlins. Junior Bangers and the 2L Stock Car Supreme Championship complete the action with it all kicking off at 1pm.


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