Entertaining evening at Foxhall Stadium
AN excellent entry produced an entertaining evening at Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich, on a dry but chilly Saturday evening. The big, powerful V8 stockcars had the East Anglian Championship as their main event and, while this particular class has had many false dawns in the past, it was pleasing to see that last year's gradual increase in numbers continued, with this the best turnout at Foxhall for a very long time.
AN excellent entry produced an entertaining evening at Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich, on a dry but chilly Saturday evening.
The big, powerful V8 stockcars had the East Anglian Championship as their main event and, while this particular class has had many false dawns in the past, it was pleasing to see that last year's gradual increase in numbers continued, with this the best turnout at Foxhall for a very long time.
As a result, the racing was extremely competitive, although no one could have forecast the drama that happened during the last two laps of the opening heat.
Barry Amas had led virtually all the way but Dennis Harris was closing in all the time and finally caught up with just over a lap to go.
He pushed him wide but, in so doing, ended up spinning himself and Amas escaped to what looked a certain victory. However, he got mixed up with the back marker on the final bend and, like Harris a few moments earlier, ended his race stranded on the inner speedway track.
Alan Gray swept past the stricken duo to take a win that was as much of a surprise to him as it was to those watching.
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Gray also won heat two, although it was a little more clear cut this time and, not unnaturally, suddenly found himself elevated to one of the favourites for the title. However, he was the first one to pull out of the race, followed shortly after by the defending champion Peter Ross.
Meanwhile, up at the head of the grid, local lad Brad Moss was the surprise leader, with Cambridge's Dave Arnold a close second. Arnold passed Moss just before the end and, amazingly, the pair of them held on to take an unexpected 1-2 just ahead of world champion Peter Scott.
A big entry of Stock Rods - 1400cc hot-hatch type cars - meant that there had to be three heats, the first of them going to newcomer Terry Meenehan, while Sussex driver Jon Wood took the other two. The track looked very crowded for the final, so it was probably no surprise when a huge crash on the back straight caused an early stoppage.
Once damaged cars were removed, Meenehan led them away but he slid off a few laps later and, even though he rejoined still in front, several cars went through while he was regaining full race-speed. Wood was one of them, and he went on to complete his hat-trick in a close finish with Scottish star Willie Hardy.
Another Scot, newcomer Tony Latka, looked like he would get third but a blown engine on the last lap meant he could only coast to the line, being past by Dean O'Dell just as they got there.
Fifty-six Bangers for the opening heat always looked likely to produce fireworks, and did, with a couple of role-overs adding to the action. Dave Canham eventually won and then followed it up by winning the final as well, a race in which two more went over.
Another local driver, Chris Bailey, won the other heat and both are now serious contenders for the season-long track championship, this being round two. Both had scored reasonably well at round one, as did Yarmouth's Scott Taylor, whose best result was sixth in the final.
Heat One: 1 Alan Gray (London), 2 Terry Harris (Stanmore), 3 Peter Guymer (Wisbech).
Heat Two: 1 Gray, 2 Darryl Harris (Stanmore), 3 Mark Williams (Luton).
East Anglian Championship: 1 Dave Arnold (Cambridge), 2 Brad Moss (Ipswich), 3 Peter Scott (Romford).
Heat One; 1 Terry Meenehan (Hayes), 2 Willie Hardy (Scotland), 3 Steve Riches (Ipswich).
Heat Two: 1 John Wood (Eastbourne), 2 Andy Sturt (Letherhead), 3 Fred TIbbenham (Hayes).
Heat Three: 1 Wood, 2 Tony Latka (Scotland), 3 Hardy.
Final: 1 Wood, 2 Hardy, 3 Dean O'Dell (Bedford).
Heat One: 1 Dave Canham (Ipswich), 2 Darren Frost (Manningtree), 3 Gareth Parker (Ipswich).
Heat Two: 1 Chris Bayley (Claydon), 2 Mark Kerry (Clacton), 3 Kevin Buckley (Ipswich).
Final: 1 Canham, 2 Kerry, 3 Frost.