Arena Essex: Jason rides his luck

JASON Askew rode his luck as the first World Championship for the Two Litre Stock Car formula was contested at Arena Essex on Sunday.

Askew found himself spinning shortly after the start of the race but his day was saved by a three abreast lead battle that ran out of room at the end of the home straight – both Phil Wise and Nick Glover shunted into the infield marker tyres, which speared across the track amidst a dust-storm. Car after car piled into the dust, the tyres and the armco and the race was stopped whilst Paul Griffiths was checked over by the medics – having come out worst in the melee.

With the race only a couple of laps old, a full restart was necessary and the drivers were allowed some repair time, so many took the opportunity to repair bent bodywork and replace punctured tyres, including pole position man – Steve Davies.

At the restart Dave Palmer assisted Jason Askew with a helpful shove up the inside of the Davies car on the first bend. A lap later and the shove from Palmer looked less helpful as Palmer made his bid for the lead, but just as it looked like the move was successful, Matt Fuller – himself having been assaulted by a lunge from Davies, came barrelling up the inside of Palmer, spinning Palmer and delaying Fuller.

These opening gambits left Askew clear, with defending World Champion and clearly the fastest man on track – Ade Clifton through into second. Davies sensed this and sent Clifton fencewards, the car making heavy contact with the barrier, although he was able to continue until a brush with another competitor broke his steering.

Palmer was again sent spinning, this time by Dean Bateman as Bateman tried to protect his place from Matt Fuller and Nathan Roberts. Roberts was clearly the man on the move though and he passed both Fuller and Bateman and began to close on Askew, but he ran out of time with Askew delighted with his first major win int he class. Fuller took a big lunge at Bateman on the last corner, but missed and just managed to get round the corner before the fifth placed man, Nick Glover arrived on the scene.

Two further Stock Car races saw victories for Dave Imber and Darren Nash.

The Lightning Rod Essex Championship was won by Jamie Lee-Callis, who had qualified on pole position for the final. The quickest man all day long was Nigel Carroll, but he clashed with Rob Merritt in the early stages of heat one and spun down the order. This left him in a lowly grid place for the championship race, but despite the odds, he managed to overtake Anthony Lawrence for second place.

The PRI Bangers suffered a dip in numbers, but two separate qualifying races saw wins for South Coast visitor Darren Terry-Brand and local Purfleet hero, Jack Coveney. All remaining cars took part in a packed final, the best race of the day. It began with Harry Barwell rolling his car off Jodie Cheeseman. Coveney and Terry-Brand were the class of the field once again, but Terry-Brand managed to break awya from his challenger, despite having to crash out Micky Hamer on a couple of occasions as Hamer attempted to slow his progress.

Hamer starred in the Destruction Derby too – taking his badly warped car to victory whilst Cheeseman earned herself the Most Destructive Driver award.

Ryan Mayling took a heat and final victory in the Junior Mini Stox – his first victories in the class. In the final he headed home Jack Leeks, whilst third placed Steph Sore was the top placed of the star drivers.

The next action at Arena Essex is on 25th September with the 46th running of the National Banger World Final taking pride of place. Entries are already looking very good for this one and with more action from the 2L Stock Cars and the Stock Rods Essex Championship it will be a day not to miss. Start time 1pm.

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