The mid-summer festival of racing at Mendips Raceway brought with it very warm weather and two very packed pit areas on both the Saturday evening session and then again on the Sunday afternoon.
On Saturday the main feature was the annual British Beef meeting for the Bangers, open to all Ford cars rear wheel drive (i.e, the very British era of the Ford Motor Co.) An entry just a couple shy of 60 cars was highly impressive with drivers literally coming from all four corners of England, the furthest of which was 474 Matt Threkeld from Carlisle.
The action got under way within one second of the green flag going down...
...in the first heat when 198 Marcus Goldsmith rolled on the home straight and was collected by a couple of passing cars as he did so. Thankfully he was all ok. Threkeld went on to make his journey worthwhile by winning. The second heat turned into an impromptu destruction derby, with only four finishers, the first of them being 416 Danny Lawrence as the winner.
The consolation was also a wreck up, and whilst winner 190 Steve Bailey lead home more finishers than in heat two, the decision was made to make the Final an ‘all in’ affair with the qualifiers at the front and non qualifiers at the rear. It started with a big heap on the top bend which brought about a complete re-start and when it did get going again it was 107 Dan Chiplen who was the early leader. However he was caught and passed by 190 Bailey and with his “Midnight Runners” team mates 239 Steve Carter and 208 Jimmy Randall moving into second and third, it looked like they could be headed towards a clean sweep. However, Carter decided to go wrecking in the closing stages instead and this left Goldsmith to take third behind Randall and eventually runaway winner Bailey.
An official destruction derby rounded out the evening, and was won by Threkeld.
There were not as many Hot Rods as the previous two meetings, but still an entry easily in double figures and the races produced a different winner in each. Hat-trick man from last time 904 Wilson Hamilton crashed in the first heat after clipping the spun car of 88 Alan Shelpher. It was 34 Glenn Sanders who went on to win and then in heat two 26 Ross Loram lead all the way to the flag. The Final saw Shelpher lead away and looked to be heading towards the victory when there was a yellow flag after 55 Alastair Lowe spun on the racing line. However, Shelpher was able to re-open his lead at the re-start and all eyes were on the battle behind with 83 Andy Beavan, the Banger star in his first Hot Rod meeting, holding off 117 Dave Tossell all the way to the flag.
The Heritage FII Stock Cars had their annual outing at the track, with the (largely) replica cars from the period of 1960 to 1972. 127 Dave Barber took a convincing win in heat one before a very lively heat two saw a real jumble up in the order, and was won by the only original car in the field driven by 773 Nick Whitney. The Final was lead by 264 Pete Welland until 205 Paul Rookyard took up the running, but he was passed by 763 Andy Bateman in the closing stages and he went on to take the victory ahead of 773 Witney and 205 Rookyard.
There were 14 Reliant Robins where 59 Mike Jones once again pieced his long serving car together and continued his winning ways in it, taking heat one and the Final. Reigning, and indeed now outgoing points champion 46 Jon Coombes was the other winner whilst in the Final Jones was followed home by 87 Barry Richards and 58 Martin Dalton.
Sunday was humid rather than blazing sunshine, and it was a busy session of racing for the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars, Mini Rods and this time the Bangers were under two litre, for the £1000 Summer Open Championship sponsored by Parker Hydraulics.
The Banger entry was of similar size to the previous evening, but actually featured several drivers who had not raced on Saturday, including a trio of Midlands based drivers joining the long distance travellers who had largely brought along two cars.
The action was not as fierce as Saturday, but the heats featured a rollover from 66 Dave Spooner and a ‘jacking train’ respectively. These were won by 239 Steve Carter and 190 Steve Bailey whilst the consolation went to 341 Andrew Jones.
Bailey lead the race off from his pole position start, but lost time when 741 Alex Waterman gyrated in front of him and this allowed 341 Jones into the lead, and 239 Carter up to second. Bailey was able to move back past both though and from then on his only real drama en-route to the flag was lapping one of his arch-foes 989 Dean Arm. This was done with a spin and he duly made it two Finals in two days. Carter was second and 210 Paul Barnes a good result for himself in third. More Midnight Runner domination in the Allcomers when 208 Jimmy Randall took the win and then in the DD, Bailey gamely used his almost un-dented Ford Mondeo and beat 44 Steve Griffin for the victory.
45 F2 Stock Cars in the pits, including several long distance travellers from home and even three of our more local regulars 189 Paul Butcher, 827 Graham Harding and 935 Nathan Maidment had raced in Scotland the previous evening – as had 38 Dave Polley, and taken the Scottish Championship.
The third round of the Rookies Reward had plenty of action and was won by 76 Chris Rowe whilst the two heats of the meeting went to 886 Chris Bradbury and 105 Ross Rowe. 642 Dave Luscombe won the consolation, which set the scene for the Final. It was very clear from an early stage that the rest of the star men had little to offer Bradbury and he had just caught the leaders at the halfway stage when there was a yellow flag. He was soon into the lead at the re-start and the second half then proceed to be interrupted by two further yellow flags, the last of which ended the charge of Polley and several others.
Bradbury thus made it three Finals in a row at Mendips, and he can surely only lose the track championship now. 812 Scott Williams did at least keep the 886 car in his sights in second and 935 Maidment was third. 605 Liam Rowe opened out a big lead in the Grand National but was thwarted by a yellow flag and eventually it was 676 Neil Hooper who held off 152 Mick Sworder to the flag.
24 Mini Rods with 79 Mason Thomas and 15 Shane Jennings taking the heats and 11 Tony Munden the consolation. The star graders initially were left behind in the Final, but when there was a yellow flag after 21 Emily Moulton crashed they had their chance to make up the lost ground. After 16 Daniel Milverton lead the early stages, 7 Aaron Charles took over and held off 60 Steve Sayer all the way to the flag for a good win. 43 Sam Howard was promoted to third after 23 Jack Stuckey was docked two places for contact early on in the race.
RESULTS - 27.06.00
F2 - Heritage:-
Heat 1 - Dave Barber 127,7,505,869,763,773,722,36,59,205
Heat 2 - Nick Whitney 773,7,264,127,722,686,59,886,732,205
Final - Andy Bateman 763,773,205,722,127,264,686,59,709
Heat 1 - Mike Jones 59,87,58,909,46,707,250,308,39,21
Heat 2 - Jon Coombs 46,87,909,59,159,58,250,78,39,707
Final - Mike Jones 59,87,58,909,78,46,707,250,658,39
Heat 1 - Matty Threlkeld 474,107,44,714,239,730,55
Heat 2 - Danny Lawrence 416,133,210,465
Cons - Steve Bailey 190,208,452,51,58,18,198
Final - Steve Bailey 190,208,198,107,58,67,66,474,210
DD - Matty Threlkeld 474
Heat 1 - Glen Sanders 34,775,734,205,26,83,35,117
Heat 2 - Ross Loram 26,205,117,734,775,88,35,55,83
Final - Alan Shelper 88,83,117,205,26,734,775,35
RESULTS - 28.06.09
Heat 1 - Mason Thomas 79,60,43,127,21,796,404,342,510,96
Heat 2 - Shane Jennings 15,23,91,7,501,16,111,9,144,31
Cons - Tony Munden 11,56,61,144
Final - Aaron Charles 7,60,43,501,23,16,91,127,404,796
Rookies Reward - 76,827,605,53,14,246,39,509,31.223
Heat 1 - Chris Bradbury 886,812,76,189,152,676,677,315,246,762
Heat 2 - Ross Rowe 105,167,38,877,990,530,783,374,605,254
Cons - Dave Luscombe 642,935,497,430,707,832,446,31,651,223
G.F. - Chris Bradbury 886,812,935,152,167,530,105,254,246,189
G.N. - Neil Hooper 676,152,315,605,886,38,167,642,189,990
Heat 1 - Steve Carter 239,989,149,943,55,241,741
Heat 2 - Steve Bailey 190,208,162(BE),198,210,107,44,406,999,181
Cons - Andrew Jones 341,58,511,51,363,730,404
Final - Steve Bailey 190,239,210,1249,208,198,51,162(BE),511,55
A/C - Jimmy Randall 208,198,162(BE),363,908,341,999,989,239,58
DD - Steve Bailey 190.