GALLERY: World Hot Rod Championship at Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
National Hot Rod driver Chris Haird took on the guise of a serene swan as he glided to World championship victory amidst soggy conditions at Foxhall Stadium.
In the most emphatic way possible he made his intentions clear right from the start by setting the fastest lap to gain pole position.
Victory by over half a lap delighted a huge crowd and blew away pre-race suggestions that he wasn’t at his best in the wet. He even surprised himself though at the trophy presentation.
“I can’t believe I’ve done it in the wet,” he said.
“Luckily I had Doughnut (former racer Andy Stewart) with me to help out and I was away.
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!After a bad year I can’t thank my team enough.”
To underline his determination, Haird was lapping backmarkers within five laps.
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Fellow Suffolk drivers Danny Fiske (Diss) and Shaun Taylor (Leiston) ironically finished their respective drives parked almost together by the armco.
Taylor retired early as conditions severely tested both man and machine. Fiske meanwhile was having a terrific battle with Jason Kew for fourth place.
Frustratingly a soaking wet outside line meant that a pass was virtually impossible. As it was he clipped the back-marking Damien Mulvey and damaged a wheel in the process to curtail a valiant effort.
Haird eventually won by over half a lap with Shane Murphy runner-up yet again and Gary Woolsey close behind in third.
Surprisingly, defending champion John Christie was passed at exactly the half-way point of the 75-lap marathon, while points winner Robert McDonald spun with just ten laps to go.
For others there was drama even before the start. Glenn Bell managed to cure an engine mis-fire while disaster befell Andrew Murray.
He had previously secured front-row outside only to fail a pre-race weight check and started at the rear.
Stuart Smyth took the Stock Rod World title despite receiving a caution from the Race Steward after contact early on. Much-fancied Andy Sturt was spat out early by the pack.
The finish of the weekend came in the 2.0 Hot Rod National Championship which was ultimately decided by mere inches.
The battle for honours became intense with Paul Wright seemingly too far back yet his progress was spectacular.
He dived up the inside of world champion Shane Murray on the last two corners only to be overtaken in a thrilling drag to the line.
Ipswich driver Ben Warner took second in the Suffolk Banger Championship which featured the biggest field ever with 90 cars.
Ben Airey (Ipswich) helped launch Stuart Aldridge in to an airborne crash that completely squashed the car.
The jaw-dropping moment of the weekend belonged to Bobby Pooley. He rode the home straight wall in his 2.0 Stock Car and ended up on his side with the front wheels of Luke Morphey (Halesworth) perched on top.