The two-day summer weekend took place in very mixed weather conditions, none of which were truly summer like, especially on Saturday evening where the rain duly arrived a few minutes after start time and continued unremittingly throughout whilst Sunday did see us bathed under sunny skies and a dry track, with a stiff wind helping things dry out – but even that did not assist the flood on the top bend that the overnight rain had left, with a lot of pumping having to be done before anything on track could begin.
The highlight of Saturday was once again the all Ford rear wheel drive National Bangers, with a good showing of 36 cars, the highest of 2012 so far. The Capri was once again a popular choice of car and despite rumours to the contrary there were a few Cortina’s too, including a couple of Mk3 versions which of course now date back almost 40 years.
Driver wise there was a very impressive representation from the south coast, who have always shown great support for this meeting but with around 25 this time, it really was a good showing.
On the very wet track 117 Kevin Looker appeared to have done enough to hold on and win the opening heat, but his car failed on him and 363 Sam Trim took up the running and went on to record the victory.
Due to some late arrivals there were more cars in the second ‘half’ of the cars and it was a very spectacular affair with plenty of big hits going in on the top bend. Only four cars lasted the distance, 332 Chris Reed being the first of them.
The consolation race once again saw much action, mostly on the car park bend and 474 Matt Threkeld made his long trip from Carlisle worthwhile by taking a pretty comprehensive win.
The Final was open to all available, with the non-qualified drivers at the rear of the field. Trim was the early leader, but once again there was a pile up on the top bend, with some big hits going in and it lead to a red flag when 270 Shaun Baker signalled that all was not well, which thankfully was not the case and he was able to exit the car. Threkeld moved ahead of Trim soon after the re-start and the pair had a good battle for the lead, with Trim spinning the northern driver to re-take the lead.
However, once again a big pile up formed on the exit of turn four and this moved the race into one of survival with those still circulating having to fight their way through the dead and crippled cars.
943 Paul Golden took the lead at one point, and then Trim re-gained it and then 210 Paul Barnes took it up and managed to hold it to the flag. Trim was second and Golden third with 83 Andy Beaven, on his return to Mendips the only other finisher.
The destruction derby proved to be short, sharp and hard and Trim outlasted them all to take the win.
The BriSCA Heritage Stock Cars made their annual visit, and returned to the scene of what was their maiden meeting eight years ago, almost literally really as alas the weather was very similar in 2004.
The ‘Junior’ Stock Cars (aka FII) saw a very good 22 car entry with the replica cars ranging from the 1961 to 1972 period. On the very wet track 28 Alan Bunter, who naturally knows his way around Mendips, but perhaps not in a Heritage car opened out a big lead and even though a yellow flag period eroded it, he pulled clear again to take the win.
The second heat saw 505 Mick Whittle take the win and then in the Final, in the terrible conditions 763 Andy Bateman fought his way to the front and looked to have done enough to hold on for comfortable win. However, in a classic case of it never being over until it’s over, he tangled with 773 Nick Whitney literally just a few feet from the start line – Andy Chant could have almost touched him with the chequered flag, he was that close.
It was not to be though and it was 247 Andy Webb, 1967 World Champion, who took the victory ahead of Whittle and 205 Paul Rookyard.
The Heritage Senior (aka F1) saw nine cars in attendance with six of the very old original 1950’s spec cars with a trio of those from the 70’s – including Dan Squire in a replica of 252 Dave Chisholm’s World Championship winning car.
However, the conditions hampered the latter three for grip and the older cars took the wins in the two races with 144 Tony Clarke taking the first and 161 Darren Clarke the second.
The Hot Rods did at least get half of a dry race! 55 Alastair Lowe was already clear when the rain came and held on for a rare win.
The second heat saw 904 Wilson Hamilton come through for victory and then in the Final 18 Larry Langmead opened out a good lead and went on to take a comfortable win, and lapped all up to fourth place in the process. 258 James Griggs was second and Hamilton third.
Here are the results for the British Beef meeting on Saturday 23rd June...
Heat 1 - Alistair Lowe 55,282,904,258,205,18,35,117
Heat 2 - Wilson Hamilton 904,282,205,117,258,18,55,313
Final - Larry Langmead 18,258,904,205,282,35,117,55,313
Junior Stock Cars:-
Heat 1 - Alan Bunter 28,505,763,247,59,205,762,731,861,722
Heat 2 - Mick Whittle 505,763,247,773,760,869,762,533,616,205
Final - Andy Webb 247,505,205,494,762,869,59,722,409,760
Senior Stock Cars:-
Heat 1 - Tony Clarke 144,161,146,25,113,252,100,3
Heat 2 - Gary Greenway 161,146,113,252,100,3
Heat 1 - Sam Trim 363,240,888,943,731
Heat 2 - Chris Read 332,83,132,416
Cons - Matt Threkeld 474,210,314,252,206
Final - Paul Barnes 210,363,943,83
DD - Sam Trim 363
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6th May 2012 - CLICK HERE to see the full set in a slideshow at flickr.com
With thanks to Thunderpix