Heat one? More like a hot one!
PUBLISHED: 14:04 26 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:43 03 March 2010
MOTOR SPORT: There was no shortage of cars, or action, at the Foxhall Stadium on Saturday evening when the Lightning Rod Budweiser Cup Final was the main item on the agenda.
THERE was no shortage of cars, or action, at the Foxhall Stadium on Saturday evening when the Lightning Rod Budweiser Cup Final was the main item on the agenda.
The Lightning Rods, a non-contact Sierra-based formula, have come from nowhere to a top attraction in just a few years and the tie-up with the brewer has proved very popular with drivers and spectators alike.
As last year, after eight rounds at six different venues across the country, everything depended on the main race – the points scored in the rounds were enough to give world champion Mark Cooper, from Poole, pole position. He was only six points ahead of Dereham's Diggy Smith, who lined up alongside him as the 34 cars set off for the 30-lap race.
Smith had to finish four places higher than the world champion to win the series, the cup and the £500 that went with it. Even though he managed to get past Cooper five laps from the end to win the race, Cooper was a comfortable second, more than enough to take the prize.
Third place overall was close as well, but it suddenly became clearer when North Walsham driver Micky Gabriel retired on lap two which meant that as long as Gavin Murray finished no worse than eighth, he would be third overall. As it was, he made third in the race behind Smith and Cooper, giving the Framlingham youngster his best-ever result.
There were several other good showings on the night from local drivers. As for Smith, his night got worse, having lost £500 by the narrowest of margins in the final, he was then disqualified from the all-comers race after an incident with Geoff Bowen and Graham Kerry.
Former world champion Richard Bolton won the race, although Woodbridge's Ali Warren deserved a mention for making second against such a strong line up – and in his first meeting.
Sixty Rookie Bangers provided all their usual action, with two overturns in the first eight laps of heat one.
David Lay from Needham Market was probably the night's unluckiest driver, although he managed to stay on all fours.
He couldn't hold on for a win in heat one despite leading for a long while. He then crossed the line first in heat two, only to get penalised a place.
In the final he led for some time as well before having the first of several crashes and although he managed to finish the race, it was a long way down the order and with a very bent car.
The stock car entry was disappointingly low but thanks mainly to the efforts of the Woodbridge driver Simon Berry and the Smith brothers from Norfolk there were lots of lively moments, with all of them taking every opportunity to spin each other out.
Although entertaining, it obviously cost them places, but even without these diversions it's doubtful whether any of them would have caught Southampton's Glen White who was in commanding form all evening.
Heat One: 1 Ali Warren (Woodbridge), 2 Tony Bates (Chelmsford), 3 Kevin Swann (March).
Heat Two: 1 Lloyd Welham (Ipswich), 2 Bob Wilmer (Peterborough), 3 Nigel Trench (Ipswich).
Budweiser Cup Final: 1 Diggy Smith (Dereham), 2 Mark Cooper (Poole), 3 Gavin Murray (Framlingham).
All-comers: 1 Richard Boulton (Bedford), 2 Warren, 3 Darren Goudy (Bacton).
Heat One: 1 Micky Bloomfield (Wickford), 2 David Lay (Needham Market), 3 David Rust (Norwich).
Heat Two: 1 James Melia (Sudbury), 2 Lay, 3 Andy Hill (Stomwarket).
Heat Three: 1 Darren Topley (Stowmarket), 2 Gareth Raymond (Ipswich), 3 Shane Schofield (Ipswich).
Final: 1 Melia, 2 David Holmes (Yarmouth), 3 Jason Langley (Braintree).
Heat One: Paul Brown (Braintree), 2 Diggy Smith (Dereham), 3 Glen White (Southampton).
Heat Two: 1 White, 2 Nick Rogers (Shefford), 3 Julian Smith (Rushall).
Final: 1 White, 2 Titch Mancini (Yarmouth), 3 Mark Bloss (Woodbridge).