Gala night goes off with a bang
MOTOR SPORT: The annual Gala Night at the Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich lived up to everything expected of it.It was another night of all-action racing, the customary fireworks and another extraordinary mega stunt which saw Yarmouth driver David Sayer drive a Metro up a ramp and straight through a 50-seater coach from back to front, before emerging to crash through a line of cars set up to break his fall.
THE annual Gala Night at the Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich lived up to everything expected of it.
It was another night of all-action racing, the customary fireworks and another extraordinary mega stunt which saw Yarmouth driver David Sayer drive a Metro up a ramp and straight through a 50-seater coach from back to front, before emerging to crash through a line of cars set up to break his fall.
On the racing side of things, it was the customary mix of the big unlimited cc National Bangers and the smaller 1600cc Rookie Bangers which, despite a very wet track, provided a full evening of entertainment.
The 60 National Bangers featured some exceptional machinery, with two hearses, a Mercedes 500, a Rover p4 and a p5, plus an enormous Chevy Caprice all in the line-up.
As usual it was the Granadas and Jags that did all the winning. It didn't take long for the action to break out with an overturn on the first lap of their first race. But when they got going again, Woodbridge's Nigel Whayman came through for the win ahead of world champion Willie Skoyles.
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Whayman went well again in heat two but Wymondham driver Shayn Winsor was unstoppable in his very fast Granada.
However, even Winsor's speed wasn't enough in heat three where Dan Oliver, from the infamous Gladiators team, took the win. The Gladiators are everybody's sitting target week in week out, so it was nice to see them have some success on this special night.
Just five cars out of 34 starters managed to complete the final, the vast majority of them ending in a huge pile-up on the turnstile bend.
Yarmouth's Mark Smith took the win and then rounded off a very good night by winning the Destruction Derby as well, his car being the only one left standing at the end of the event, despite gallant resistance from another of the Gladiators.
Things were just as lively in the Rookie Bangers, with plenty of local success in the heats, where Carl Witmore had a win in one of them, while the Ipswich pair of Robbie and Mike Nicholls took first and second in a race sponsored by the family business that also supports their racing.
Only seven out of 55 that started the final managed to keep going to the end, the race being won by Essex driver Micky Bloomfield.
Bloomfielkd has already won the Bovingdon this season and goes into this weekend's Grand Final of the Swaffham track championship as the overall leader – and will be one of the favourites for a possible track championship at Ipswich next season.
As is customary every race on the programme was fully sponsored, with several thousand pounds being raised for the joint beneficiaries, the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service and the Evening Star's Charity Christmas Appeal, all the money being handed over on the night.
Rookie Bangers, Heat One: 1 Carl Witmore (Ipswich), 2 Andy Hill (Cambridge), 3 Gareth Raymond (Ipswich). Heat Two: 1 John Willings (Sudbury), 2 Shane Scofield (Ipswich), 3 Tony Kingsnorth (Woolpit). Heat Three: 1 Chris Outhwaite (Braintree), 2 Hill, 3 Neil Dodson (Felixstowe). Heat Four: 1 Robbie Nicholls (Ipswich), 2 Mike Nicholls (Ipswich), 3 Andrew Westgate (Heavingham). Final: 1 Micky Bloomfield (Wickford), 2 Ken Denby (Clacton), 3 Dodson.
National Bangers, Heat One: 1 Nigel Whayman (Woodbridge), 2 Willie Skoyles (Heacham), 3 Dan Oliver (Chelmsford). Heat Two: 1 Shayn Winsor (Wymondham), 2 Whayman, 3 Carl Picton (Norwich). Heat Three: 1 Oliver, 2 Winsor, 3 Picton. Final: 1 Mark Smith (Yarmouth), 2 Sonny Sherwood (Thurrock), 3 Andy Chisholm (Beck Row).
Destruction Derby: 1 Smith, 2 Danny McCormack (Colchester).