The first day of the two day’s racing over the Bank Holiday weekend was greeted with pleasant sunshine, and above all else dry weather and a very packed pit area. There was a record entry for Rookie Bangers at Mendips Raceway and a decent enough field of BriSCA F2 Stock Cars too, as well as the Junior Rods which added up to a 15 race programme.
Amongst the BriSCA F2’s was a welcome visit from World Champion 871 Mark Simpson, whose trip was enough for him to tick off racing at every regular venue as the gold roof holder. Also 886 Chris Bradbury was in his new self-constructed car having raced it for the first time at Birmingham the previous evening, and a first appearance in 18 years at the track for recent returnee 352 Dave Sansom.
Unfortunately the Rookies Reward for the white and yellow graded drivers saw a lowly field of cars, but it was a good race never the less and came down to a last bend attack from 53 Phil Mann on teenager 991 Ryan Hoskin which did not come off and so it was Hoskin’s win, but Mann was able to recover for second.
The first heat of the full meeting saw 605 Liam Rowe come charging through for a very convincing looking win and then heats two and three saw Bradbury into his stride with victory in both. He was going for his fifth Final in succession this season at Mendips and the defence of the annual Freddie Funnel Memorial trophy. After an early yellow flag 245 Paul Milsom was the leader until Mann took over, but Bradbury had already made his way past the rest of the star men by then and was looking good to continue his run.
A big tangle up between several on the car park bend brought out the yellow flags and bunched the pack up and had Bradbury right on Mann for the re-start at the halfway point, but he in turn had 676 Neil Hooper right on him. The resumption saw Bradbury get into the lead and had Hooper follow him and over the remaining laps he tracked his every move, and 605 Rowe caught and joined the pair of them as Bradbury appeared to be struggling for grip. On starting the last lap Hooper pounced to take the lead and then on the last bend, Bradbury went for the lunge but bounced off the rear of the 676 car and spun. This left Hooper clear to win with Rowe second and Mann third. The Grand National saw victory for 126 Jamie Avery.
The record entry of Rookie Bangers was an amazing 77 cars, with several who unfortunately had not booked to attend turning up, but were never the less accommodated and an extra heat was run for them.
There were drivers present from all over the southwest of England and also some from outside the region too. A good race in heat one eventually saw the win go to 113 Arry Brown whilst heat two saw 668 Paul Mortimer win by a vast distance and the extra heat, heat three saw 246 Ryan Sparkes take the win after 75 Paul Fisher ran wide on the last corner allowing the British Champion in this particular Banger discipline to nip through. The consolation race saw a great battle at the front between 224 Dale Edwards, 209 Russell Neville and 149 Lee Norman that was eventually resolved with the latter taking the win.
The qualifiers only Final was lead off by 667 Shaun Welsby until Mortimer took over as a very good and close race formed behind. After the halfway point 83 Ben Styles took over at the front but had 246 Sparkes right with him. It only looked a matter of time before he would pounce, but he was not able to get on terms and when the track went slippery over the closing stages he really couldn’t. So it was Styles’ win from 246 Sparkes and 247 Richard Sparkes.
After good racing all day, reminding everyone that the nudge and spin form of Bangers is great fun, it all but a bit too unruly in the Allcomers with far too much damage being done from hits going in that were way above what is permissible. Eventually the Steward called a halt to things a few laps early and 247 Sparkes was declared the winner.
The Junior Rods saw two new drivers join the ranks and the entry was 16 cars. The first heat saw an early crash that put 25 Brad Seymour and 198 Will Steeds out for the rest of the meeting and once they were re-started 798 Dan Steeds got into the lead. However, behind him there was drama as 510 Sid Harrison who was running in second came together with the back marking 24 Sam Crane who then collected 39 Sophie Harris and they both crashed heavily. This brought the race to a premature conclusion and a disqualification for Harrison. The second heat was more straight forward and brought about a second win for 798 Steeds, in his distinctive Austin A40.
The Final saw 30 Joe Capel get a good start and he took a lot of catching, but Steeds was again the one to do it and he caught and passed the white grader with laps to spare on his way to a hat-trick. It is a shame for him that his upturn in form has now come too late to challenge for the points. Capel was a good second and Harrison’s third could well prove significant in his points championship chase.
RESULTS - 26.08.12
Rookies Reward - Ryan Hoskin 991,53,526,734,14,476,245,785
Heat 1 - Liam Rowe 605,596,126,315,53,526,991,167,990,797
Heat 2 - Chris Bradbury 886,522,685,126,476,14,526,785,352,756
Heat 3 - Chris Bradbury 886,605,676,53,797,315,596,991,352,254
Final - Neil Hooper 676,605,53,126,254,871,797,886,245,526
G.N. - Jamie Avery 126,522,53,886,797,315,14,352,676,991
Heat 1 - Dan Steeds 796,87,224,703,16,761,362,273,30,101
Heat 2 - Dan Steeds 796,87,16,510,30,273,224,362,703,761
Final - Dan Steeds 796,30,510,87,362,16,273,224,761,376
Heat 1 - Arry Brown 113,929,83,475,938,242,717,438,29,129
Heat 2 - Paul Mortimer 668,133,820,384,9,667,68,266,85,718
Heat 3 - Ryan Sparks 246,75,247,54,112,744,372,59,816,364
Cons - Lee Norman 149,224,209,85,787,141,29,301,364,176
Final - 83,246,247,938,242,668,113,133,224,667
A/C - 372,247,141,772,154,54
With thanks to Dans Pics