It's Hillard in a hectic finish

THE National Hot Rods were back at Foxhall for round four of the 2003 World Championship qualifying series, the 32 car entry including all the country's big names.

THE National Hot Rods were back at Foxhall for round four of the 2003 World Championship qualifying series, the 32 car entry including all the country's big names.

As usual, the racing was very fast and ultra competitive, with the evening's final producing one of the best finishes of the season.

Ipswich star Carl Boardley got a hard-earned fourth place in heat one and a fifth in his second heat, but suffered a lot of car damage on lap one of the final.

He, Shane Brereton and Chris Haird all went into the fence together – possibly caused by some oil on the track. Brereton was able to continue, getting fifth in the end, but the other two were out.

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Wisbech driver Dick Hillard from grid four took over the lead in the early stages and soon pulled half a lap clear but Dave Longhurst, who started 12th on the grid of 27, was making rapid progress and caught Hillard on lap 18 of the 35 lap race.

He spent the next 14 laps on the outside of Hillard before he finally managed to squeeze by for his second final win at Foxhall in consecutive meetings, the last one also having to be earned the hard way with a round-the-outside charge.

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The Superstox provided the support programme, the single seaters reaching the last round of a series where the winner of the final received a new race engine worth about £2,000 from the series sponsor.

Thirty one cars raced, being lined up according to how many points they had scored in the preceding seven rounds.

Reading driver Chris Bradbury was over 100 points ahead, so the former English champion had pole position with Mark Kelman alongside and World Champion Mark Eaton just behind them.

The current English and East Anglian Champion Gary Sparkes from Felsham, was down the order in grid nine – even though he has been World Champion four times, and is very good at Ipswich (having won the evening's opening heat as well).

The experts were fairly convinced that he couldn't win this as well, with just about all the big names lined up ahead of him.

As usual, he made spectacular early progress, but Bradbury, Kelman and Eaton still looked as if they had enough of a lead not to be too worried, until Kelman pushed Bradbury wide, got it wrong and they both ended in the fence.

This left Eaton clear, although a stoppage for another crash allowed Sparkes to close up.

Eaton pulled a few yards clear as they restarted, until yet another crash bought about another stoppage with just three laps to go.

This time though, Sparkes was ready for him and wasn't going to fall for the same trick twice, pushing Eaton wide before he had time to get up to full momentum and from there went on to take the win.

Harleston's Steven Jackson won the last race, making second to Sparkes in the main race, while Eaton also came back strongly in the last race, all of which sets up the fascinating World Championship at Swaffham on September 29.

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