Bright sparks retain crown
MOTOR SPORT: Part one of the Superstox East Anglian Championship was the main event at the Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich, on Saturday evening, 24 of the country's top drivers aiming to relieve Suffolk's Gary Sparkes of the title he won last year.
PART ONE of the Superstox East Anglian Championship was the main event at the Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich, on Saturday evening, 24 of the country's top drivers aiming to relieve Suffolk's Gary Sparkes of the title he won last year.
Young Barry Randall, who had wins at the two previous Ipswich meetings, drove well to win the opening heat, despite starting much further back down the grid this time, while there was an early shock for Sparkes who went off in a collision with Mark Kelman although he did get back in to finish seventh. Randall had another win in heat two, with another local newcomer, Guy Fisher, making an excellent second place, but third for Sparkes, followed by second place in the night's third race, meant that he went onto the second and final round at Yarmouth the next day just five points behind Randall, who made fifth in this race.
Harleston's Steven Jackson was third overall, but it was Sparkes' day at Yarmouth, where he won all three races to finish well clear of Jackson and former English champion Chris Bradbury from Reading, with Randall slipping back to fifth overall.
The other main item on the night was round three of the world championship qualifying series for the National Bangers. With a maximum of 10 drivers going forward to November's world final race at Wimbledon as representatives of the Spedeworth promotion (who run Ipswich and five other stadiums), compared to 20 that they had until two years ago, it is now more difficult to qualify than it has been since the event started back in 1974, so not surprisingly all the big names were here, including most of the top Southern drivers. They certainly had the better of it in a very lively opening heat, but the Anglians hit back in heat two with good results for Mark Anderson, Woodbridge's Nutty Whayman and Shayn Winsor from Heathersett, while the Diss driver Steve Mayes did well to make second in the final.
As it stands at present, Whayman, Winsor and Mayes are still in that crucial top ten, but with difficult rounds to come at Eastbourne and Wimbledon in the next few months, they will need to score very well, when Yarmouth stages round four at the end of June.
Ipswich's Marty Page had two good drives in the V8 stockcar heats, but went out in the final after a spectacular crash with world champion Peter Scott as they battled it out, wheel to wheel, for second place, closing in on race leader Pete Stevens. If it hadn't been for that, they probably would have caught and passed him, but with the two big names out of it, and former World Champion Stu Blyth from Wisbech a non-starter after blowing up in the first race, it was easy for Stevens to go on for his second win of the night.
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The V8 Hot Rods completed the programme, and while there wasn't many of them, the races were fast and furious. These powerful cars are very difficult to handle, but all the drivers came through unscathed. Ipswich promoter Roy Eaton won all three races, but these were hard-fought affairs, having to start from the back and having to overcome some unexpectedly stiff resistance from Peter Finnis in the heats and Julian Mendus in the final.
Heat One: 1 Barry Randall (Diss), 2 Simon Mallett (Staines), 3 Steven Jackson (Harleston).
Heat Two: 1 Randall, 2 Guy Fisher (Ipswich), 3 Gary Sparkes (Felsham).
Final: 1 Steve Collison (Buckingham), 2 Sparkes, 3 Jackson.
Heat One: 1 Keith Painter (Oxford), 2 Steve Anscombe (Eastbourne), 3 Mark Simmonds (Southampton).
Heat Two: 1 Mark Anderson (North Walsham), 2 Colin Farley (Hailsham), 3 Lee Hughes (Ashford).
Final: 1 Dave King (Burgess Hill), 2 Steve Mayes (Scole), 3 Sonny Sherwood (Thurrock).
V8 Stock Cars
Heat One: 1 Peter Scott (Romford), 2 Marty Page (Ipswich), 3 Dennis Harris (Wembley).
Heat Two: 1 Pete Stevens (West Drayton), 2 Page, 3 Scott.
Final: 1 Stevens, 2 Harris, 3 Darren Mitchell (Bicester).
V8 Hot Rods
Heat One: 1 Roy Eaton (Ipswich), 2 Peter Finnis (Ashford), 3 Peter Scott (Romford).
Heat Two: 1 Eaton, 2 Finnis, 3 Julian Mendus (Redhill).
Final: 1 Eaton, 2 Mendus, 3 Scott.