Arena Essex: Veterans turn back the clock

THE annual Veterans meeting at Arena Essex attracted 70 old timers back out on track with several of the runners over 60 years of age, one or two taking to the track for the first time in over two decades.Within seconds of the green flag in heat one, the 1992 Arena Essex point champion – John Nichols went for a spectacular rollover on the pit bend, bringing the race to an almost immediate halt. Gary Harvey took the initiative at the restart, winning the race despite being punted wide into the pit bend at one point. The race was halted a handful of laps early to tend to John Dill who took an unexpected knock from a pair of out of control cars spinning across the speedway track whilst he sat in his stationary car.Heat two was chaos from the word go with members of the Dagenham Knights heavily involved as well as the Time Team’s Dave Monaghan who spun Allan Trickett into the pit gate. John Steward was driving well, surviving an attack from Clyde Williams, but Steward was powerless to prevent Dennis Whiteman from taking a stylish win, spinning car after car aside along the way. Williams fell fowl of a late race crash from Trickett, with Trickett then taking a blow from Tony Jarvis.The consolation saw a heavy series of crashes on the back straight, whilst Trevor Williamson, his car adorned by a zimmer frame, took a spin into the inner kerb. Chris Coveney survived the carnage to take the win.The Final, for the Ronnie Martin Memorial Trophy was kicked off with the Austin A60 of Northampton visitor Richard Boulton, spun along the straight. He skilfully managed to avoid rolling the notoriously unstable Banger, but was left across the track where he was collected heavily by Brian Powers, Dave Cuffley and then finally, ironically, by fellow Northampton racer, Dave Monaghan, who featured in a slogan written on Boultons bonnet! The combination of Mark Strevens and James Ryan launched Allan Trickett into a spectacular airborne spin along the back straight, Trickett then beginning warring with the Dirty Half Dozen duo of Mick Wiseman and Dave Cuffley on the pit bend, where he was soon joined by father Roger. Dean Page took the win ahead of Dave Ricketts and former National Hot Rod World Champion, John Steward.The allcomers race was won by Dave Tilley before the Destruction Derby started, although several of the drivers decided that the infield was the place to hold the Destruction Derby. Whilst the marshals tried to regain some order on the infield, Amanda Harris piled Dwain Powers into the pit bend fence as Ricky Martin landed a big hit on Dave Cuffley. Steward landed in a heap with various wheels and springs missing and was forced to watch the final stages. Pete Westwood and Dave Marshall sandwiched Clyde Williams with John Quaif attacking Westwood. Quaif finished himself off with an attack on Mark Deacon, Deacon shrugging this off to go head to head with Westwood in the final showdown. Eventually Westwood, who hadn’t raced since 1976, had to give best to Deacon, but he was still most pleased with how the day had gone, having been raising money in aid of the UK Homes for Heroes charity.The next action at Arena Essex is on 6th November and it is the traditional highlight of the Banger Racing season – the Firecracker. This is the 25th running of the event and as befits such a milestone, Banger racers from across the UK and Europe have gathered together some very impressive machinery for the occasion. The entry now standing at over 80 cars. Around 30 Reliant Robins are also expected and with their racing also being run to the regular Banger rules, they will provide as much action, and undoubtedly many, many more rollovers!

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