Hednesford 24 06 2018
It’s always an honor to be the commentator at the Annual Veterans and Bill Morris Memorial meeting , the English open an extra bonus.
This years meeting also included the Ford Escort Extravaganza ( escort back to basics bangers), in celebration of 50 years of the Ford Escort.
Early mid week bookings were showing twenty five drivers booked in to compete , 57 Mike Oliver a provisional awaiting parts for his Talbot.
Drivers from all four corners of the United Kingdom would come together to compete not only for the English Open championship but the annual Bill Morris Memorial trophy.
555 Gavin Taber was still having issues early week and was hopeful to have something in the engine bay and running by Sunday.
44 Kara Boyd also suffering from the same issue would be sitting this one out whilst David Polley would pilot Craig Boyd’s A40.
232 Brett Sneddon unfortunately not making it down due to family reasons take care my friend.
It was a drawn grid being the English championship , the numbers came out too place the Avenger of 31 #thegoodguy Steve Gooding on pole alongside the Mk2 of 72 Gary Goodswin #theNorfolkboy , with 121 #italianstallionCharlie Schrembri and 257 #pockectrockect Andrew Willis on second row . 35 Kev Cushion , 20 Dave fry and #donut 198 Andy Steward would be the fore runners.
Newcomer 98 Nigel Murphy #hotrodlegend at the rear behind the back set which included previous Bill Morris winner 8 #deadlydaz Daz Owen , 333 #gaffatape Lee Wood and #musicman 210 Hughie Weaver.
The line up looked amazing around the oval , the sun scorching down on the track what a setting for what some consider the most important meeting of the race calendar year.
A couple of installation laps and the grid would reform for the first of 2 heats , points then to be accumulated for the grids of the championship race.
It was a rolling start ( time for the spanish flea) , 72 Goodswin was first away managing to break free of the pack inside of 3 laps . 31 Gooding was sitting in second at the break under pressure from the Mk1 of Schrembri ( the car looking amazing after the recent refurbish and fresh sign writing).
#ItalianStallion 121 found a way around the tail happy Avenger just as the yellow flag was drawn by the starter .
Whilst all eyes were on the leaders ; 22 Shane Taylor had met with the pit gate in the ford 100e , marshals were quick on the scene. Shane was OK but less could be said for the 100e . The damage to outside front of the car hefty but looking like a few days back in the workshop could sort it out.
72 Goodswin still with the lead then led the pack away for continuation of heat 1. A good break for for him again for him chased by 121 Schrembri and 198 of Donut who were at it toe to toe corner on corner . (98 Nigel Murphy met with the armco out of turn 2 and the yellow again drawn. Murphy was recovered to the infield and so was 42 of Dean kitchen with engine issues ( a later discovered blown head gasket).
Goodswin again broke free on the restart but the 198 of Donut wasn’t letting him get away right on his boot all the way . 871 Graeme Callender was up into third and fellow Scot 17 Kenny Purdie not too far behind .
5 David Polley was having a great drive as was 27 Dave York who was battling away and climbing up the places .
333 Lee wood had pulled up with overheating issues and was out of heat one. 555 Gavin Taber who was optimistic about the new engine pre race had got the car dialled in and was defending his title well.
871 Callender retired has the lap boards came out leaving Purdie to chase at a good grid position for the Scots.
The flag dropped an 72 Gary Goodswin #thenorfolkboy took the first victory of the day for the classics, Donut 198 a close second.
Result. 72 Gary Goodswin ,198 ,17 ,27 5, 555, 8, 121, 210, 257
Heat number two then a reversed grid of heat one , would put #deadlydaz 8 Darren Owen on pole and #musicman 210 Hughie Weaver on the outside.
#gaffatape 333 Lee Wood in the Viva on second row with Travelling Scotsman 871 Callender along side the defending champion 555 Gavin Taber #thevanman .
The pace car led them away and it was a drag race down into turn one for the first time , #musicman 210 Weaver hanging onto owen’s door handles trying to gain advantage on the outside. Owen was in tune with the track and was at a greater pace than #musicman Weaver . Has Weaver dropped back he faced a new battle , #gaffatape 333 Wood was now leaning on his back end . Wood found a way through so did 555 Taber and 871 of Callender who was unfortunate not to finish in heat one.
Midfield #theduke 27 Dave York was beginning a battle with 17 Kenny Purdie #thekingofcarluke , down a bit further the 198 of Donut was on the march closely followed by heat one winner 72 Goodswin.
58 Alec Wilson in the ex Mc Fastlane Shovit had suddenly got running issues, after a few near misses , managed to get infield bound.
Owen was in the back markers passing 121 Schrembri and 257 #pocketrocket Willis on the low side .
With three to go the battle of the jocks began 17 Purdie was looking for the upside of 871 Callender in the closing stages but didn’t just get there.
Owen raced to the flag , a cracking drive and setting us up for what might be a fast paced final.
Result 8 Darren Owen , 333, 555, 871, 17, 27, 210, 198, 72, 928.
Rather some interesting addition and grid drawing later the race was set.
8 #deadlydaz Owen had got pole , Outside front #thekingofcaluke 17 Purdie .
Second row defending champion 555 Gavin Taber and 72 Gary Goodswin , third row gets interesting 198 #donut Steward and 27 Dave York ( definitely one to watch ).
fourth row inside 5 David Polley ,outside #musicman Hughie Weaver, sixth row 333 #gafftape Lee Wood and 871 Callender . The rest has follows 121 Schremberi, 445 #cowboy Boyd,57 #pockectrocket Willis , 924 Wright ,20 Dave Fry , 116 Taber and 35 Cushion bringing up the rear . Everyone ready to take on board battle scars in a chance to lift the English Open Championship.
Some installation laps and the grid reformed for a rolling start , it was England v Scotland on the front row . Luckily they didn’t dig up the centre green afterwards !
The green flag dropped and it was down into turn one for the first time 17 Purdie hanging off the dust from 8 Owens outside rear tyre . They sped off into the distance pretty much like you would expect , Owen with the slight upper hand and Purdie hanging waiting for a chance to get by peeking on the blind side.
555 Taber the defending champion had kept with them in the opening laps was now under the kosh from 198 Steward , 72 Goodswin and 27 York who was giving it
a good go.
The lead cars pulled away by 4 lengths , Owen still leading and also under the kosh from the #kingofcrossflow Kenny Purdie.
It became a five way race for third has the #musicman 210 changed up the temp and began to make the mk1 sing. 198 #donut was starting to drop back has 27 of York and 72 Goodswin moved up on the attack of the 555 of Taber.
17 #thekingofcrossflows was now trying the outside line of 8 Owen but just couldn’t find enough horses to pass , he swapped to the inside and Owen again upped the game. They encroached on back markers of 116 Adrian Taber and #pocketrocket 257 Willis . A safe passage through for both and more challenges from Purdie but he could not find a way around Owen .
The race to the flag was now on who had the better tyres left ? Who could gain advantage ? A bit of rubbing and racing a few laps later they emerged out of turn 4 on the west bend both tail end out the flags were raised .
Darren Owen had done it he would now be crowned the 2018 English open champion and another inscription on the Bill Morris Trophy ( the man who had helped him start out in business many years ago , local in Hednesford ).
Despite trying hard to defend and regain the title 555 Taber who had driven a good race had been passed by 72 of Goodswin for 3rd place.
Other good drives down the field had come from 5 Polley and again 27 Dave York . well done to all that took part it was a extremely hot day and the cars did well over the distance given .
Result 2018 English Championship 1st 8 Darren Owen #deadlydaz 2nd 17 Kenny Purdie #kingofcrossflows 3rd 72 Gary Goodswin #thenorfolkboy 198 , 555, 333, 27, 210, 871, 5, 445, 257, 121, 116, 35 .
Thank you for entertaining us all.
Thanks to all the Scottish drivers and fans who came down to race.
Thanks to Jock McFastlane for videos and Jason Larner for pictures and results updates.
Thanks to MK pics for the picture
Andy Hankin classic hot rods PR