Arena Essex: Season begins with a Shakedown

THE Shakedown Banger event at Arena Essex on Sunday featured a large contingent of the Gladiators team making their return to the Raceway. One of their number, Lewis "Noddy" Price had a busy day planned, racing in both Banger classes just hours after completing the Colchester Half Marathon!

Lewis was well involved in the first Unlimited Banger heat, going head to head with Karl Douglas as the age old Gladiator vs Cream Team war re-erupted. Billy Standing took massive damage in his Toyota Previa – apparently the car of choice in the Unlimited class – but he continued at speed with no steering, using the armco to guide himself, until the inevitable onslaught from the Gladiators brought him to a stop.

In the final, 16 year old Charlie Korpiela brought out a Stretched Lincoln Limousine, quite a car in which to make his National Banger debut. His race finished against the inner fence whilst the warring pair of Phil Smith and Karl Douglas engaged in a series of head ons on the pit bend. Jason Jackson dodged the chaos to win the title race.

Korpiela was to prove to be a star of the Destruction Derby, parking his Limo across the back straight inviting the rest to drive through the side of it! Lee Busby earned himself an entertainer award with the most damaging hit, but with the limo incapacitated, Phil Smith was the last car running.

The Under 2 Litre class had a large grid and the first heat was the best of the day with a massive sequence of crashes on the pit bend. Birmingham racer, Jacob Roff was the first to strike for the Cream Team, taking Craig Oliver into the fence. Roff was then demolished by Chris Walsh, Walsh then getting similar damage from Wayne Byrne, Byrne then falling fowl of hits from Paul Russell and Marcus Sprawling.

The final was a quieter race, enlivened somewhat by a huge flight over a marker tyre by Ricky Hutton. After a bumpy landing, Hutton hooked out visiting racer, Kenny Gabriel, Gabriel then falling fowl of a sequence of hits from Dean Goodearl and Tony Hutton. Kyle Overy won the race, having only recently returned to the sport following a non racing related injury. Danny Oliver won the Destruction Derby, finishing off team mate Sprawling, and a very game Chris Webb.

After car problems at the previous nights event at Mildenhall and transporter problems too, Luke Dorling’s fortunes changed with an accomplished heat and final win in his brand new Mini Stox. Dorling, now 15 and in his last year in the class, has stolen an early lead in the track championship, with last years champion, Charlie Morphey taking second place in the final, ahead of David Shearing. Marcus Reeve was the heat two winner, a race in which 12 year old, Abbie McGuiness, took her first podium, with a third placed finish.

The 2 Litre Stock Cars saw Dean Bateman win every race with his brand new BMW. Similarly BMW mounted, Steve Davies followed him home more often than not, the Ford Sierra hordes for once having to settle for second best.

Arena Essex features a double header over the Easter weekend with Easter Sunday seeing the return of the PRI Bangers with a huge number of cars expected to do battle. The Stock Rods and Mini Stox are in support. Easter Monday meanwhile sees the National Bangers, 2L Stock Cars, lightning Rods and Junior Bangers take to the track. The start time on both days is 1pm.

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