Banger night smashes records galore

PUBLISHED: 11:36 07 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:19 03 March 2010

A RECORD crowd, a record amount raised for charity, and a world record caravan and Reliant Robin stunt ensured that the annual Gala Night at the Ipswich's Foxhall Stadium was another runaway success.

A RECORD crowd, a record amount raised for charity, and a world record caravan and Reliant Robin stunt ensured that the annual Gala Night at the Ipswich's Foxhall Stadium was another runaway success.

This very big venue was near to capacity 12 months ago and this year even the large car parks which cover the entire area of Foxhall Heath were struggling to cope as thousands descended on the stadium from all over the UK and beyond.

There was even a coach load from Holland, with one of their party buying a car on the night before going out to race it!

The Evening Star was the main sponsor on the night, with a host of supporting sponsors all buying a race with their money going directly to the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service and the Star's Christmas Charity appeal.

The early arrivals were treated to a stunning performance by the Suffolk Samba Band who led a torch-like procession involving as many spectators as wanted to join in, before the racing got under way.

More than 100 cars produced an action-packed night of nine races which featured crashes galore, two overturns and lots of local winners before an impromptu but well-received destruction derby bought the evening to a spectacular close.

Woolpit's Annette Nicholls – the only female racer in the line-up – had a particularly good evening, while English champion Shayn Winsor from Wymondham and Ipswich's Jodhi Baker also went well.

Baker won the evening's final for the National Bangers while Winsor triumphed in the £150 "winner takes all dash for cash" event.

Ipswich's Robbie Nicholls took a good third place in the Rookie Bangers final behind the Norwich pair of Ronnie George and David Rust who were the Yarmouth Summer League Champions in 1999 and 2000 respectively.

As well as the fireworks, the caravan and Robin world record stunt was another of the evening's highlights.

The record was established last year when Surrey driver Geoff Bowen drove a Reliant Robin through three exploding caravans, lined up nose to tail, to emerge a second or two later with the record.

He had made this look far easier than it was, so a promise was made on the night that there would be more caravans for this year. The promoters produced five on the night, along with a different driver, Yarmouth's David Sayer who normally races in the non-contact Rookie Rods at Yarmouth.

It appeared a bit daunting, but after a couple of practice runs, the moment came when he leapt from the ramp into the back of the first caravan and, then seconds later emerged from the end of the fifth to one of the biggest cheers ever heard at Foxhall.

Sayer celebrated his success with a victory roll at full speed which was the only way to stop the car from hitting the safety wall flat out. Three caravans last year looked easy, five this year appeared distinctly dangerous, but the promoters are already thinking about six next year if no one else breaks the new record in the meantime.


Rookie Bangers – Heat 1: 1 Troy Leeks (Ipswich), 2 Carl Buckle (Ipswich), 3 Martin Clements (Mendlesham).

Heat 2: 1 Scott Griggs (Sudbury), 2 Ronnie George (Norwich), 3 Jason Langley (Braintree).

Heat 3: 1 David Rust (Norwich), 2 Wayne Garnham (Ipswich), 3 Scott Harrington (Wickford).

Final: 1 George, 2 Rust, 3 Robbie Nicholls (Ipswich).

National Bangers – Heat 1: 1 Nutty Whayman (Woodbridge), 2 Paul Dobson (Braintree), 3 Annette Nicholls (Woolpit).

Heat 2: 1 Paul Picton (Norwich), 2 Shayn Winsor (Wymondham), 3 Dobson.

Final: 1 Jodhi Baker (Ipswich), 2 Dave Canham (Ipswich), 3 Annette Nicholls (Woolpit).

Dash for Cash: 1 Winsor, 2 Dobson, 3 Steve Copland (Norwich).

Destruction Derby: Tie between Danny Sherman (Ipswich) and Paul Sutton (Yarmouth).

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