Welham gains first win for home crowd
MOTOR SPORT: A packed house at Foxhall Stadium watched a very entertaining motorsports session with a popular combination of Bangers and Lightning Rods races.
A packed house at Foxhall Stadium watched a very entertaining motorsports session with a popular combination of Bangers and Lightning Rods races.
There were only two formulas racing – rather than the customary three or four – and around 55 bangers competed for their annual Volcano meeting.
With £2,000 spread around among the various winners, it is one of the UK's biggest prize funds for the formula.
Many of the country's biggest names were here, including world champion Willie Skoyles from King's Lynn and world figure of eight champion Mark Simmonds from Southampton. Also appearing were top West Country driver Shane Brown, most of the leading Southern stars and the best of the locals, headed by the former stockcar world champion Mark Smith from Yarmouth.
Between them, they took the top four places in the opening heat, while it was an all-Norwich top three in heat two. The Volcano race itself had to be stopped on lap four when Yarmouth's Tony Patterson got involved in a big crash which saw his car hit from all angles.
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When they resumed, Smith went into an early lead, and although he had a few near misses along the way, he managed to keep out of trouble to come through for the win ahead of Norwich's Carl Picton and last year's winner Chris Read from Southampton.
Supplementary awards went to Ipswich driver Mitch Boon as 'most outstanding trier', Yarmouth's Martin Brunson for 'driver of the meeting', Patterson for 'most wrecked car' and Norwich's Speedy Reed for 'car of the meeting', an enormous 1962 A135 Austin Sheerline Hearse while an entertaining Destruction Derby saw Martin Brunson take the win despite a gallant effort by Boon.
The Lightning Rod East Anglian Championship pulled in all the big names as well although one of them, defending champion Diggy Smith from Dereham, had an unhappy night when he went out of both his heats with mechanical trouble.
The problem couldn't be repaired in time to take a place as a non-qualifier at the back of the grid for the championship.
The 2000 champion Nick Farrer suffered with a similar problem, so a new name on the trophy was a certainty as they set off for the main race which turned into a classic.
Mark Cooper from Poole, who had won the Southern championship at Eastbourne just three weeks earlier, set the pace.
But Cooper could never shake off European champion Richard Norman or former British champion Richard Spavins, while further back Richard Boulton was making spectacular progress from ninth on the grid.
Even so, it looked as if he was just going to miss out on the trophy until a collision in front of Spavins held him up, Boulton nipped past him for third place, and might even have caught the front two if the race had been five laps longer.
This was undoubtedly the drive of the night, although every credit must still be given to Cooper and Norman for coping so well with some very heavy traffic and lots of back markers over the closing laps in what was undoubtedly one of the most exciting races of the year at Foxhall.
The Allcomers race completed the night in which Ipswich's Lloyd Welham got his first ever win.
Lightning Rods – Heat One: 1 Richard Spavins (Biggleswade), 2 Richard Norman (Chatteris), 3 Nick Farrer (Royston).
Heat Two: 1 Brent Tillow (Saxlingham), 2 Robin Moore (Eye), 3 Mark Cooper (Poole).
Heat Three: 1 Mark Cooper, 2 Richard Norman, 3 Tony Bates (Chelmsford).
East Anglian Championship: 1 Mark Cooper, 2 Richard Norman, 3 Richard Boulton (Bedford).
Allcomers: 1 Lloyd Welham (Ipswich), 2 John Wicks (Chelmsford), 3 Tony Bates.
Bangers – Heat One: 1 Mark Smith (Yarmouth), 2 Shane Brown (Newton Abbott), 3 Mark Simmonds (Southampton).
Heat Two: 1 Shane Copland (Norwich), 2 Shane Winsor (Norwich), 3 Carl Picton (Norwich).
Volcano: 1 Mark Smith, 2 Carl Picton, 3 Chris Read (Southampton).
Destruction Derby: 1 Martin Brunson (Yarmouth), 2 Mitch Boon (Ipswich)