DESPITE many such events being called off around the country due to the effects of Storm Katie, Arena Essex still managed to run both their scheduled Banger racing meetings at the weekend, although a number of racers and fans were put off travelling by the excesses of the weather.
Before the worst of the winds arrived, just occasional torrential rain, Easter Sunday featured over 60 PRI Bangers. Heat one was perhaps the race of the day with Darryl Theedom’s people carrier dwarfing the rest of the cars on track and backing across the track causing all sorts of trouble. Tom Greenstreet took the lead from Josh Cant on the last lap but Cant pushed him into the last corner, Both went out wide with Cant clipping Theedom’s car, but still managing to spin Greenstreet on the approach to the finish line, it was just too little too late with Greenstreet awarded the win by a matter of inches.
Heat two saw Darrell Page hit Antoni Colby and Ricky Hutton do likewise to Jack Coveney. Jason Webb then brought the race to an early conclusion after a big hit from Brett Jackson. Leon Sudbury took the win.
The Consolation saw a win for Lewis Canham whilst Micky Cornish fired in Rio Powers and an ailing Jamie Harding finished off Powers. Mark Hutton crashed Dutch visitor, Foppe Minnema, before finding out that rear wheel drive in wet conditions means plenty of spins!
The final saw Ricky Hutton go a little over the top, following Joe Powers into the fence whilst T-Jay Powers took a couple of heavy head on collisions from Gary Lee and Theedom. Micky Cornish took the win with Theedom continuing causing havoc whilst ignoring the black disqualification flag.
The Destruction Derby saw a number of early head on collisions and a good crash from Tom Greenstreet who destroyed Callum Sealy. Greenstreet took a heavy pounding himself from Darrell Page and Darren Mouser but he somehow continued and fought until the very last moment, although Coveney managed to outlast him.
The race of the day in the Mini Stox was undoubtedly the final. Megan Petherick held a good lead until there was a caution period for a spun car. At the restart she was bumpered down the order with Harry Overy taking up the running. Luke Dorling got by Overy but got sideways on a wet patch of track, allowing Overy back into the lead. There was then an immense battle between the top five cars with a push from Dorling allowing him back into the lead and with the rest now squabbling over second place he made good his escape. Josh Rayner made a decisive move for the place, pushing past Overy whilst Steph Sore was also pushed wide, Tony Elborn and Charlie Morphey bundling past, with Jake Bromley spat out of the lead pack by David Shearing. Dorling’s win was his second final in succession and he was to follow that up with a second place finish in the ORCi Championship at Hednesford Raceway on Monday, just inches behind Dan Santry.
A good start to the Stock Rod season saw a heat one victory for former Rookie Rod man, Zak Alaoui. It went downhill for Zak from that point on though with car gremlins striking in the second heat and final. A potential victory in the allcomers race at the end of the day was spun away after a clash with eventual winner, Ricky Lofthouse. Dave Imber was the final winner, with Paul Haralambou making it four winners out of four races with his heat victory.
The winds were beginning to die down a bit by the time that the Easter Monday activity began, but there was a poor turn out of National Bangers due to a number of factors, the new non-Mondeo format not attracting the numbers it was hoped. There was more spinning and nudging rather than crashing with Lee Madden winning the first heat, Jason ‘Boxer Jack’ Jackson dominating from that point on with final and Destruction Derby success.
23 2.0L Stock Cars arrived to do battle but with a few teething problems for a couple of the newcomers, we never quite got to that figure on track. Dean Bateman picked up where he left off a fortnight ago with victory in heat one, but it all went awry from that point on with a pair of spins, including a damaging one against the inner barrier in the final which nearly tipped him over, but punctured a couple of tyres nevertheless. Keeping up the 100% BMW winning record, Steve Davies won heat and final.
A great entry of Lightning Rods were on hand with several new cars. Jamie Lee Callis took a hat trick of wins in his new machine, his five week old daughter sleeping peacefully throughout the whole experience, even when brought on track for the trophy presentation! Lee Hall had a terrible day, first clattering up the inner kerbs and then later getting involved in a tangle with Chris Reeve which put him heavily into the wall.
Junior Bangers were the final class in action on Monday and there was another hat trick – this time for Alfie Cornish. In the final, Cornish just managed to hold off the 2015 track champion, Bradley Lee, whilst Patric Hughes took third place.