Raiders keep Foxhall crowd on their toes

MOTORSPORT: Big crowds were pulled in for the seventh running of the annual 'Raid 2000' for the National Bangers. This was probably the best one so far, the entry of 111 including most of the country's top drivers.

BIG crowds were pulled in for the seventh running of the annual 'Raid 2000' for the National Bangers.

This was probably the best one so far, the entry of 111 including most of the country's top drivers.

Each driver had one chance to qualify for the main event by finishing in the first nine of the three heats, those who didn't make it going into a last-chance consolation race.

Sussex driver Dave King, who won the English Championship here a few years ago, won the first heat but only after surviving a mid-race scare when his car developed an intermittent fault.

Fortunately for him, he had a big enough lead but Yarmouth's Mark Smith didn't have when the same thing happened to him in heat two.

He managed to keep it going to get third place behind Steve Mayes (Diss) and the reigning English champion Shayn Winsor.

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No such drama in heat three where top lady racer Annette Nicholls led all the way, and the while these were all good races, the best of the night was to follow as an amazing 70 cars came out for the consolation.

Not surprisingly, even the big Ipswich track soon began to look very crowded, although numbers were rapidly reduced as car after car slid into an almighty pile up on the turnstile bend.

At least 30, possibly more, got caught up in this, which eventually caused a race stoppage and subsequent re-start. World champion Willie Skoyles came through to win when they got going again, thus qualifying for an event he won five years ago.

Those who still hadn't qualified then went into the B final which Ken Denby should have won, but he couldn't resist the temptation of tangling with the back markers as he lapped them.

One of them held him up for so long that Scott Banton was able to slip through for the win.

The main race for the 36 qualifiers saw Mayes take an early lead, but all eyes were on the little-known Ipswich driver John Willings who was storming through the field in a little VW which nobody really gave a chance against the stronger Capris and Cortinas.

But the front wheel drive of the little car was proving invaluable as the track got more and more greasy, and by halfway he was in front. However, his lead was shortlived, as going out in a big crash on the next lap, allowing Mayes to regain the lead, which he held until the end.

Winsor had been running second until the last lap, but the combination of Sunny Sherwood and Mark Smith spun him out, which promoted these two to second and third, followed by the highest-placed Southern driver Steve Ovett (Brighton).

The destruction derby featured three overturns in the usual battle to the end when one car was left standing, the honour going to Bracknell's Alan Hunt who did well to get the better of the Oxford pair of Keith Painter and Alan Cartwright.

In between the Banger action, the Reliant Robins provided three very entertaining races, two of which were run over the new assault course, complete with ramps to jump and barrels to drive round, along with other obstacles.

Several of them rolled in the process, but as with Bangers, everybody came safely through the evening without the need for medical attention.

All this, and a special fireworks display, made this a good value meeting enjoyed by those who braved the chill to stay until the end.

1-2-3 at Foxhall

National Bangers

Heat One: 1 Dave King (Burgess Hill), 2 Ken Denby (Clacton), 3 John Willings (Sudbury).

Heat Two: 1 Steve Mayes (Scole), 2 Shayn Winsor (Wymondham), 3 Mark Smith (Yarmouth).

Heat Three: 1 Annette Nicholls (Woolpit), 2 Karl Totham (Tiptree), 3 David Rust (Norwich).

Consolation: 1 Willie Skoyles (Heacham), 2 Justin Garman (Yarmouth), 3 Keith Painter (Oxford).

B Final: 1 Scott Bantam (Ringwood), 2 Nigel Denby (Buxton), 3 Andy Trippick (Southampton).

Raid 2000: 1 Mayes, 2 Sonny Sherwood (Thurrock), 3 Smith.

Destruction Derby: 1 Alan Hunt (Bracknell), 2 Painter, 3 Alan Cartwright (Oxford).

Reliant Robins

Heat One: 1 Peter Cattermole (Ipswich), 2 Glen Beevis (Brighton), 3 Neil Peters (Croydon).

Heat Two: 1 Beevis, 2 Cattermole, 3 Martin Bulldeath (Dereham).

Final: 1 Rob Bulldeath (Norwich), 2 Cattermole, 3 Max Cawthorn (March).

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