The final race day for 2021 was upon us, as the dark Somerset sky set in on a chilly evening in the Mendip Hills, the stadium lights were switched on, and the roar of engines soon lit up the Somerset skyline. A fantastic evenings racing was ahead.
All was too play for in the Junior formula entering the conclusion of the 2021 race season, with the top two in the points 190 Thomas Gumbleton and 311 Lewis Allen neck and neck the entire season, as well as the rest of the pack soon to be along side for the West Of England Championship final.
Heat 1 and first blood came for Allen securing a 4th place, in damp conditions that saw wet weather maestro 314 Max Barraclough storm to an early lead from Blue, with the orange mini of 28 Jake Ralfs in hot persuit. 429 Tristen Heathcote held off 311 Allen with a great battle at the back between 162 Charlie Cocks off red for the first time and 149 Ieuan Preston.
Heat 2 was a similar affair with the top 2 performing a ‘Copy and Paste’ for the results page, as 314 Max Barraclough and 28 Jake Ralfs kept the top 2 spaces, despite 28 Ralfs enduring a bit of trouble with the purple mini of Rosie-May Penfold 302, Harry Melville 26 scored his first result of the evening with a 3rd Place off superstar grade, with 82 William Oatley securing a well driven 4th and Championship chaser 190 Thomas Gumbleton rounding out the top 5. The best race was at the back of the grid as 149 Ieuan Preston, 856 Jamie Cocks and 429 Tristen Heathcote rode the Mendips Tarmc side by side for a number of laps, neither driver willing to give an inch, a fantastic spectacle in heat 2.
Result: 314, 28, 26, 82, 190, 149, 856, 429, 184, 302
Heat 3 saw the top 2 in the points secure the top 2 in the places, which saw 311 Allen gain a point on 190 Gumbleton, with fellow superstar 26 Harry Melville stay with the lead 2 too finish 3rd. 87 Liam Harvey scored his first placing of the evening after an emphatic roll over in heat 1, with fellow red top 856 Jamie Cocks sneaking home for 5th. A relatively quiet race this one, with the sole attention headed for the West Of England Championship.
Result: 311, 190, 26, 87, 856, 82, 210, 184, 610, 428
The West of England Championship race was formed in points order, with 190 Gumbleton and 311 Allen forming the front row with 26 Melville and 28 Ralfs sat behind, ready and waiting to pounce. In a high stakes race, it was all about who could get the best start, as they came round the top corner, 311 Allen made the perfect start shooting straight to the lead with Gumbleton and Melville assuming 3rd and 4th respectively. 28 Ralfs once again fell victim to a case of erratic driving as the orange mini was forced to the infield to take evading action and thus losing 4th position to 19 Ieuan Preston, but at the top of the pack 311 Allen and Gumbleton stayed side by side, one on the attack, on on the defense, beautiful, smooth driving in the Juniors biggest race of the year. 26 Melville though was waiting in the wings and when the lead two came across back markers, 26 pounced taking 2nd spot away from Points Leader 190 Thomas Gumbleton. A suitably fantastic race to conclude a fantastic years racing amongst the Juniors, as 311 Lewis Allen took the flag for the West of England Championship, with 26 Melville 2nd and 190 New Points Champion Thomas Gumbleton in 3rd.
Points Champion 190 Thomas Gumbleton
The West of England Championship meeting always produces the best of the Special Rod formula, in an unusual line up of all cars on track at once, very often this spectacle is what is the most entertaining part of the meeting. Heat 1 started in the grid order that had been drawn out of the hat to decide starting positions, and with a busy 25 cars on track, a fascinating battle started at the front with top runners 278 Andrew Bressington and 41 Dene Howard, having a quiet year for is standards, led the way at thye front of the field. With 25 cars on track it was always going to be busy, with pole sitter Pete Stanley 40 amonghst the action holding off points leader 720 Dan Latimer. Further afield 303 Jason Oliver and 120 Andrew Latimer had worked their way into the top 10 alongside former West of England Champion 135 Jim Cannon.
A reverse grid formed for Heat 2, with 26 Leah Bennett off pole, following a scrappy start 26 Bennett had to take ivasive action to avoid the spinning car of 100 Tom Weekes, ultimately ending her charge for the race. This enables the crafty 5178 Scott Weldon too take the lead, with 701 Ben Brice following home, 181 Ian Mclaren secured himself some valuable points for the grid as did the reliable and consisten 700 Les Brice and 303 Jason Oliver.
The West of England Championship grid was formed in points order scored from each heat, with pole taken by 41 Dene Howard and 278 Andrew Bressington making up the front row, and it was the front two that tangled on the first lap slowing each car up allowing 517 Scott Weldon to slip into the lead of the main race early on. In typical fashion, the West of England Championship race is once again the race of the year, with the lead pack of 278, 517, 701, 720, 775 and 60 all swapping positions relentlessly in the ensuing 10 laps. Bumper to bumper, nothing to give. Keeping himself involved with the lead pack was 181 Ian McLaren, and once the lead pack came across the back markers, the order started to settle, time to pick gaps and positions, which is exactly what 181 Ian Mclaren did to over take the top 5 and take the lead. McLaren then entered a league of his own, pulling away further from the chasing pack, with former points champions 41 Dene Howard and 701 Ben Brice chasing hard but was not enough, as 181 Ian Mclaren took the flag.
The Grand National concluded the evening, an unfortunate end to a fantastic raciung season, with a lot of great racing amongst added meeting across the summer months. Back in graded order suited wise old head Scott Weldon, with an unfortunate incident on the top bend the evenings racing was finished, with 720 Dan Latimer securing the most points across the season to win the Points Championship for 2021.
A vast field of 67 cars competed for the West of England Championship for 2021, held by 929 Sam Baker after winning back to back. Heat 1 starred a number of big names, after a scrappy start with several spins and nudges, points champion elect 113 Chriisy Jeanes took the lead with the familiar sight of 246 Ryan Sparks BMW in the rearview mirror, upon coming across back markers 113 Jeanes was squeezed to the wall and lost the lead. Stable mate 70 Jamie Thomas, took home second place with the reigning Champion 929 Baker 3rd and 113 Jeanes finishing 4th.
Result: 246, 70, 929, 113, 6, 412, 718, 894, 717, 87
Heat 2 was a much busier affair, with only 8 finishers, due to the sheer volume of cars on track. 440 Macauley Mills was a victim of the carnage, but the returning 27 Dean Quinn escaped the vast majority and took up the lead, ultimately to come across a pile up and receive a silly shot from behind. That led to the quick 258 Jason Hughes, assuming the lead with reigning World Champion 354 Josh Vowden taking home second and 27 Quinn 3rd.
The consolation race was a much quieter affair, with the final few places in the West of England Championship up for grabs, the race was very much was on. 129 Lee Dalton walked the race from fklag to flag with 775 Brad Hunt the experienced driver taking home second securing a place in the final.
The West of England championship grid lined up with the two heat winners on the front row, the reigning Champion 929 Sam Baker stormed to an early lead where he stayed the rest of the race, making it an unbelievable hattrick! 113 Chrissy Jeanes and 70 Jamie Thomas took the reigns to make up the top 3, where they have rarely slipped out of the last 3 years, and finished on the podium. Further afield making his way through the carnage was 363 Sam Trim a welcome return to the grid, taking 4th and World Champion 354 Josh Vowden 5th . The points scored in this meeting secured the 2021 Points Championship for deserving winner 113 Chrissy Jeanes, who along with 70 Jamie Thomas will be representing Mendips Raceway at the Rookie Banger World Final at Ipswich.
Result : 929, 113, 70, 363, 354, 6, 412, 258, 87, 129
Thank you to all that have supported Mendips Raceway through the season, be it staff, drivers or fans, enjoy a welcome break over the Christmas period and we will see you next year for some more smashing action!