Rob nips in to stop Southern sweep
PUBLISHED: 13:59 05 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:36 03 March 2010
MOTOR SPORT: Two important championships were decided at the weekend's motorsport meeting at Ipswich's Foxhall Stadium, but there was little success for the local drivers.
TWO important championships were decided at the weekend's motorsport meeting at Ipswich's Foxhall Stadium, but there was little success for the local drivers.
This was not entirely unexpected, particularly in the Stock Rods where the southern stars had been the dominant force for a number of years.
They took the top three places in the East Anglian championship last year and were on course to do it again this time, despite losing reigning champion Kim Carter from Southampton with a blown engine early on.
At the time, the southern trio of Stuart Smyth, Steven Weekes and Brian Smith were the top three, although Bury St Edmunds driver Rob Sore was just behind them.
And when Weekes made an uncharacteristic error in lapping a back marker, Sore made the most of the opportunity to grab third place which he held until the end.
Earlier, the race had been stopped on lap eight when Peterborough's Steve Brattan went into a bend a little too fast, clipped the kerb and did a spectacular double roll. He was taken to hospital as a precaution, but was released later that evening.
The V8 Stock Car European championship was the race of the night, with a thrilling battle between Dennis Harris, his nephew Darryl and World champion Peter Scott.
Any suggestion that the Harris duo wouldn't race each other and be content to keep it in the family, was soon dispelled as Darryl applied the pressure to Dennis, eventually getting past after several hairy moments that threatened to take out both cars.
Oxford's Darren Mitchell put in the best performance, powering through from seventh on the grid to get past Scott with three laps to go and then giving Dennis Harris an uncomfortable last lap as he leapt on to his back bumper but ran out of time before he could dislodge him.
A double presentation ceremony followed the race – one for the European championship and one for the East Anglian championship which had been held at Foxhall earlier this month.
That was the night when Ipswich driver Marty Page suffered a heart problem when leading the race by half a lap and was rushed to hospital. The race was abandoned at that point, but the drivers requested that the placings in the race at that time should be declared as the final result.
The promoters agreed and Page, now fully recovered, stepped up to receive the trophy and announced that he was building a new car, ready to restart racing next year. His son, Richard, who has been driving Marty's car since the incident, will carry on driving the older one.
The Bangers completed the programme with round nine of the World championship qualifying series in which only the top seven drivers from the 12 scoring rounds go forward to November's World final at Wimbledon.
There was only one East Anglian driver in the top seven at the start of the night, Norwich's Shane Winsor, so it was vital that he, and preferably some of the other locals, scored well.
However, they couldn't manage it on a night of fast and furious racing as the powerful Southern contingent virtually swept the board, despite gallant efforts by Winsor and Ipswich driver Alistair Warren.
Winsor is still in the top seven, but with the remaining rounds all down south, it seems as if the locals are going to have to rely on the two last chance races on World final night.
Stock Rods, Heat One: 1 Kym Weaver (Hailsham), 2 Steven Weekes (Basingstoke), 3 Andy Stuart (Leatherhead). Heat Two: 1 Stuart Smyth (Uxbridge), 2 Tristan Jackson (Hailsham), 3 Brian Smith (Hayes). Heat Three: 1 Rob Sore (Bury St Edmunds), 2 Smith, 3 Lisa Kerry (Eye).
East Anglian championship: 1 Smyth, 2 Smith, 3 Sore.
V8 Stock Cars, heat one: 1 Peter Guymer (Kings Lynn), 2 Steve Stretton (Coventry), 3 Dennis Harris (London). Heat two: 1 Dennis Harris, 2 Darryl Harris (London), 3 Peter Scott (Romford).
European championship: 1 Darryl Harris, 2 Dennis Harris, 3 Darren Mitchell (Oxford).
Bangers, heat one: 1 Stuart Phillips (Oxford), 2 Steve Ovett (Brighton), 3 Colin Farley (Horsham). Heat Two: 1 Keith Painter (Oxford), 2 Dave King (Burgess Hill), 3 Paul Picton (Norwich).
Final: 1 King, 2 Mark Simmonds (Southampton), 3 Dave Wilde (Bracknell).