Aldershot 8 9 13-13

Classic Hot Rods Meeting Report. Aldershot. 8/9/13 Round eleven of the National Series for the most stylish of oval motorsports formulas saw fourteen Classic Hot Rods take the trek to the deep south and take on one of the most challenging of of ovals for hot rod racing - Aldershot. The administrative home of Spedeworth Motorsports was keen for the Classics to put on a good display of racing at it's circuit, and although the numbers attending was less than at the more geographically central meetings, the tight nature of the track meant that there was still plenty of close quarter action. Indeed, some would argue that the action more than close! Furthermore, the onset on Autumn hitting the scene almost on enque in September meant that the cooler and fresher weather brought the overcast clouds. Rain was going to make the racing even more challenging later in the meeting. But heat one was without such precipitation and with the sun still present, all fourteen cars took to the track seemingly in perfect points scoring order. (thanks fellas.) This meant that 31 Steve Gooding was to lead them away in his Avenger but on the drop of the green, Gooding dived momentarily for the infield, leaving 121 Charlie Schembri to grab the early lead. This was the first race that Charlie was competing in from the C grade position since completing his obligatory three Novice Meetings. But Charlie was a novice for rules sake only and his Mk1 clearly showed that this experienced driver was on the pace. Behind Charlie, 10 Paul Bowring, and 271 Jamie Johnson fought hard to out race each other and reel in 121 as too did A grade starters 445 Graham Boyd and 30 Jamie Bowring. In the Stars though all hell was breaking loose. 20 Dave Fry shunted the tail of 172 Colin Hitch, 29 Stu Donald fought cat n dog with 144 Tim Foxlow ultimately resulting in Foxlow's top turn spin, 244 Fil Gambone's wing got smacked by...some one (!!)....and 16 Pat Smith's driving style was, well, aggressively challenging! Smith seemed like he was on a mission, a points scoring mission and no one was going to get in his way. The Golden Wonder 161 Dan Holden was spun out by Smith and as Smith charged higher up the field shadowed by Novice 198 Andy Steward, he punted Paul Bowring towards the wall on turn 1. As 29 Stu Donald retired to the infield in a cloud of steam as his top hose let go again and Schembri was spun out by Hitch out of turn four, the official cried 'Enough!' and brought out the yellow flags to suspend the race. Pat Smith it appeared had fallen foul of the meeting steward. A Black Flag was issued due to his racing conduct and despite Pat's protests to the Marshall passing on the message, the points leader was disqualified from the race! An exceptionally disgruntled Smith screamed the 16 Anglia onto the infield and with indignation took no further part in the day's proceedings. On the re-start it was 30 Jamie Bowring who held sway having got past Boyd, Johnson and then Schembri. Charlie had slipped down the field a little just prior to the yellows and his contact with 172 Colin Hitch. It was 30 from 445 and then 198 Andy Steward. Andy nicknamed Donut thanks to his portly figure really had his SHP Mk2 Escort dialled in really well and had ghosted up the placing and no really looked challenging after Smith's demise. In the few laps that remained Andy challenged hard and on the penultimate lap with Boyd suddenly pulling out wide due to a last gasp mechanical issue 198 was up to second. Bowring took the win and well deserved it was too in such a torrid race. Hitch was third ahead of Fry, Holden, Boyd and Foxlow. Both 10 Paul Bowring and 271 Jamie Johnson had nothing to show for early race promise. Both retired due to contact and engine failure. Heat two was an altogether quieter affair. It had to be after heat one! Nevertheless, it was still an exciting race. The race started off dry but within a few laps of dropping the green the rain stated to fall, constantly, if not heavily. It's impact on the race was to calm things down...a little! Steve Gooding, a stalwart of the racing but not on the pace of the other drivers slipped down the field from the off, but still impacted on the race as drivers fought to be the first to pass him...and then pass him again later in the race! This left 121 Charlie Schembri with the better opportunity to get away in this race more cleanly than he did in heat one. Indeed Charlie opened up an impressive lead and although 10 Paul Bowring and 445 Graham Boyd raced their proverbial socks off to catch him, neither could as they looked out for each other's moves and that of Jamie Bowring too. Bowring Junior looked at one stage as if he could have been in the hunt for a second heat win but surprisingly retired at the mid point of the race. Early on Foxlow and Donald entertained as both led the star grade charge and tried to out race each other in the process. As Tim charged down the leaders he opened up a slight gap on Donald, clearly relishing the damper conditions in contrast to the Scunthorpe man. Stu, engrossed in keeping up, failed to see 244 Fil Gambone taking a look on his inside up the home straight and in the bat of an eye, as Donald looked for the fastest line to turn one, 29 was spun by 244. No foul as it was Gambone's line, but Donald was out and without his long time rival and friend in the race, Foxlow concentrated on reeling in 10 and 445 ahead. He couldn't afford to forget his mirrors though as that man Donut Steward was at it again ghosting through in his white machine. Moving up as Gambone spun Donald, he closed in on Foxlow as the race climaxed. Given another lap 198 my have got the better of 144, but twenty laps were up and a delighted 121 Charlie Schembri won his first Classic Hot Rod race, but I'm sure it won't be his last. Paul Bowring deserved his second after holding out what seemed like the whole field wanting to join him for dinner in his front room! Boyd was third ahead of Foxlow. Tim was happy to be in the points once more. Steward ended this one in fifth....but far more was to come from this so called 'Novice!' The Final was held in truly soaking conditions. The rain had stopped but the Aldershot track retained the water on it's non cambered surface. Once again Gooding took it steady and Schembri was away. The sodden track suited some more than others, that was perfectly clear. Bowring and Boyd failed to keep pace this time and were soon swamped by Foxlow and Steward, two drivers who were making it perfectly obvious that they like racing in the wet! Another who clearly doesn't is 29 Stu Donald, whose race challenge to Foxlow on a full set of dry tyres did nor suit and Donald found his wing crunching the wall not for the first time this year. Donald was on the infield yet again and yet again Tim had a new playmate in the form of Andy Donut Steward - whether he wanted to play with him or not! Both made short work of reeling in Schembri and it was at this point that the Final was determined. 198 squeeze past 144. 144 chased hard. 198 squeeze past 121. 144 attempted to follow suit. But in the rain sometime things don’t go quite to plan and Schembri shimmied!! Charlie spun into turn one leaving Foxlow no room to pass on the outside. What might have been an epic wet weather battle between Steward and Foxlow went a begging. Donut carried on eating....up the laps that is, betaking out an ever expanding advantage over the field. Well done to Andy Steward on winning the final ahead of Dave Fry and Graham Boyd. Dan Holden came in fourth ahead of the recovering Schembri and Foxlow. Not a classic meeting but an interesting one nonetheless. A great day for Steward and Schembri. Foxlow reasonably satisfied but probably with thoughts of 'could have done better.' Holden Hitch and Gambone were there or there about's whereas Smith and Donald had days they'd prefer to forget. The points is still gonna be tight! Roll on Hednesford! Rob Hughes

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