AFTER a stunning afternoon of Banger Racing at Arena Essex on Sunday, the Cream A Team emerged as the victors in the 8 man Head to Head Team Challenge, despite being one man down from the start.
With the format for the annual event switched to the popular ‘Micro’ Banger class at the request of the drivers, 11 teams arrived to do battle, with the majority in Ford Ka’s and Nissan Micra’s.
The first head to head pitched Cream Team B against the Outsiders, and despite the latter team consisting of several first time racers, they put up a good fight. Jason Mills and Jack Coveney met in a solid head on with Mills then getting a massive hit from James Martin. Karl Douglas survived the melee to race to the win for Cream Team B.
A heavily outnumbered Cream Team C defied the odds to defeat the Stansted B Team in the next heat. A number of the Stansted cars were crippled as they clashed on the first lap and Terry Ratcliffe went for a huge rollover on the back straight courtesy of the lively Vince Walmsley. Terry’s misfortune was then doubled by a huge hit up the rear which brought the race to a halt. James Donovan tried his best to stop the remaining Creams, but eventually Grant Doe was able to creep through to take the win.
Stansted A were up against the favourites – Midnight Runners A in heat three. In a bruising encounter they put up a good fight but Dale Hughes was the man who took the flag, putting the Runners through into the final.
The Money Team were pitted against Cream Team A in heat four but this was surprisingly one of the quieter heats, although Gary Lee did take a massive T-Bone from Lewis Barber. Georgie Boult Jnr won and put another Cream Team into the final.
Heat five saw the Midnight Runner B Team take victory over the Best of Enemies team. The Best of Enemies hopes were dashed within seconds of the start when Paul Brown and another team member both rolled their cars. Dan Norfolk then took a massive hit, all of which allowed Jonny Atkins race to the win, despite the best efforts of Darren Cardy, who turned around and took a head on from Billy Bond, Bond then getting an unfortunate hit in the drivers door from Alfie Lee.
With an uneven number of teams present, the Outsiders were given another chance in heat six to get into the final as they were pitted up against Team Jackpot. Incredibly, despite a number of their cars being quite badly damaged from the earlier heat, Chris Whiteman and Brian Smith managed to keep the Jackpot team busy on the pit bend whilst Anthony Lawrence managed to complete the distance and take the Outsiders into an unlikely final.
The last chance consolation saw The Money Team unsurprisingly make it through to the final, with many of their cars not being in bad shape following their heat. Matt Butcher won the race whilst many of his team mates warred on the pit bend.
With all three Cream Teams and the two Midnight Runner Teams in the final, it was expected to be one mass wreck up and that is exactly how it panned out. With a few of the Money Team in the mix too the crashes began immediately with a massive series of hits on the pit bend. Joe Bowers rolled at the start line to bring proceedings to a temporary halt as he was rescued. A short lived restart saw open warfare until another stoppage to deal with a fire, then Karl Douglas stopped Tom Waller and brought the race to another halt. At this point the race was declared with the win awarded to Nathan Roberts of Cream Team A, ahead of Matt Butcher (The Money Team) and Liam Lake (Midnight Runners B).
Another stoppage punctuated the Destruction Derby, caused by Anthony Lawrence rolling on the pit bend. Lee Hughes was in devastating form at the restart, following in Terry Ratcliffe and destroying several on his way to winning the last car running award, although Liam Lake was to claim the best wrecker trophy.
Elsewhere, former Mini Stox racer, Sadie Betts, took her first Stock Rod race win in the first heat for the hot hatch class. Sadie made good her escape whilst the rest of the pack took their time rounding Alan Huckle.
Heat two was won by David Crouch, David able to survive a scare as Jon Turvey was turned across the pack and several piled in.
Turvey turned this misfortune around in the final by racing to the win ahead of Crouch and Luke Oliver.
With just a couple of meetings left until retirement, Junior Mini Stox racer – Jack Leeks, won his first race, a final nonetheless. Jack had looked good in the heats too, but Abbie McGuiness and Josh King proved too fast. Leeks made good his escape as an immense battle behind was resolved in Steph Sore’s favour. Luke Dorling just beat McGuiness for the final podium spot.
The next action at Arena Essex is a double header over the Bank Holiday weekend. Sunday 28th August features the PRI Bangers, 2L Stock Cars and Lightning Rods whilst Bank Holiday Monday features the return of the Reliant Robins, plus the annual Rawlins Transport Big Van Banger session, as well as Stock Rods and Mini Stox. Start time on both days is 1pm.