CLASSIC HOT ROD MEETING REPORT
HEDNESFORD 2nd April 2018
ENGLISH SERIES ROUND THREE
THE EASTER EXTRAVAGANZA
An incredible twenty five cars had originally booked in for the first Hednesford meeting of the season, however with a combination of damage repairs that were greater than time available, or race team availability, work, or the damn sheer bloody awful weather this country seems to be swathed in so far this year, we unfortunately had a significant number of cancelations, and therefore the total number of drivers in attendance was seventeen.
Nevertheless, the late teens is a perfectly accept number out on the grid at the big Hednesford bowl, especially when the rain is incessant and with mud, oil and dirt combined, the track can feel like racing on grease! The drivers that were in attendance created a lot of interest. The new faces, the new cars and paint schemes certainly had the cameras clicking.
#TheSilverFoxDave Fry was back in the former Mick Dixon Ford Anglia 100E, christened #BabyBlue, and with an incredibly similar looking racer, #TheOutlaw Shane Taylor was also back. Shane’s was also a 100E, it was also ‘baby blue’ and on the outside looked identical apart from the off white wheel arches. However, the radiator etched emblem revealed a difference: #ZetecInside! Yes, Taylor’s car, the low down of which is revealed in the May issue of #RetroFordMagazine (OUT NOW) was set to go racing for the first time with the engine that was made legal for CHR last season. Both cars looks beautiful but Shane’s looked particularly authentic with it’s original Bakelite steering wheel, which five foot six Taylor has to look through when racing! Also sporting a period steering wheel and Zetec power was #WelshWizard Mike Oliver with his all orange Sunbeam with (hideous? Lol) brown wheel arches! Mike is adamant that brown remains has testament to his father’s racing colour scheme. He is also ‘happy go lucky’ with his approach to racing, accepts the knocks that can happen with good grace, and was looking forward to getting trackside to race with his usual flamboyant style. #TheBromleyBomber Dean Kitchen was back – father Simon had repaired the extensive damage received at Ipswich, and the car looked good to go. But if the panel work replacement has been significant on Kitchen’s Anglia, it was nothing compared to the complete rebuild Graham Boyd, Craig Boyd, and all at #TeamBoydMotorSport in conjunction with #PolleySport has put in on the original #AustinMartinA40! #TheHulk was no more and, transformed, here was #TheBattleShip! Although technically, not a new car, this machine looked every inch it was! Every panel, front and back had been replaced. Only the doors has survived from the original car. Complete with new control pod in ‘the office’ and a set up that now matched Craig’s cream A40, the sister car looked beautiful, yet clear, strident and purposeful in Massey Fergusson grey with red roof. The period style transfers set the car off superbly with the number and name of this season’s number one driver in the team – 236 #TheDriverJnr, #Rhino Ryan Polley! To say Polley was excited was an understatement – he couldn’t wait to get her out on track, was was seen feverishly rolling around the car, up and under, making last minute adjustments, completely uncaring of the mud that was quickly covering him! The Wolseley of #LittleMissBoydy Kara Boyd had got a nice new rear – a #BoydyBooty one of her friends quipped! #TheItalianStallion Charlie Schembri was looking forward to racing his new build Anglia, a car that has received such popular social media attention in recent months. Cheshire’s Stu Wright was back in his old Anglia, and Lee Wood was confusing everyone with his Morris Marina grilled HB Viva! “Can’t get Viva grills for love nor money!” Says Lee, “So I’ve gotta improvise!” It was great to see Scottish visitor, and former National Hot Rod racer Graeme Callender appear with his superbly presented Mk1 Escort was has seen plenty of previous owners, the most recent being Jackie Harris and the most famous being Stu Donald. Now in colours reminiscent of a touring car team of the late sixties, the car looked every inch the part. The father and son team of Adrian and Gavin Taber were here – the former as a newbie with his resplendent looking Zetec powered Anglia in Gulf colours, the latter in his faithful beast that had previously seen action with Graham Fulker and Ray Harding. Gavin had been incredibly successful with the car last season, winning the English Open with her in the summer, and now back for more, he was committed to mounting up his points tally. It was great to see #ThePeoplesChampion Andrew Willis return with his famous all yellow Pinto powered A30 #ThePocketRocket. Andrew and his dad had burnt the midnight oil all week in a head long foray into rebuilding the little car after the damage it had received at its last meeting at Hednesford in November. An incredible effort with a list of repairs loo long to feature, but the smile made up for the tiredness he clearly felt! With the remains drivers of #DangerousDave Owen in his #SuperBanger, new East Anglian Champion Hughie Weaver, and Steve Gooding in his Avenger, we were ready to go racing!
Naturally all seventeen were on track for heat one, however 31 Steve Gooding pulled off in the warm up laps with problems. This left 44 Kara Boyd all on her own as the sole White grader. Kara therefore led them away and indeed held the lead for four laps before spinning out in the slippy surface. However, it was behind Kara that the serious action took place. Into turn three on the opening lap, 42 Dean Kitchen spun his #WideBoy Anglia towards the plate and 333 Lee Wood had to anchor up to avoid contact. Both were fortunate to get underway again after the field had passed, the Kitchen immediately retired. On the third lap Kara still led clear ahead of 924 Stu Wright, 236 Ryan Polley, 210 Hughie Weaver (making a strong start from Red grade) and 121 Charlie Schembri. The two baby blue Pops of Fry and Taylor were next, but immediately behind 555 Gavin Taber and 88 Dave Owen were battling side by side with 45 Craig Boyd close behind. Out of turn four and entering the home straight, David power slid on the greasy track with his normal typical confident style, however something went wrong. Contact was made with Taber on his inside and both careered at speed towards the infield barrier. Taber avoided direct impact, but unfortunately, Owen crashed into the tractor tyre in front on the barrier square on at racing speed. The impact was dramatic and severe as the battle scarred Mk2 recoiled from the impact skyward. The sudden stop brought the red flags out immediately to halt the race and within seconds Owen was out of the car but reeling in the ground in severe pain and clearly in need of medical assistance. Quickly the ambulance was on the scene to take David from the track and a short while after Owen had gone off to hospital for further examination. Although stunned from the event, drivers and race officials gathered themselves together to re-start the race and although Stu Wright led them away it was the fast moving Weaver, who clearly had the right set up and tyre combination to deal with the soggy slippy conditions, who first shot past Polley up the back straightaway then nipped inside Wright who has gone wide on turn three. Within a lap Weaver now led and proceeded to lengthen his lead right to the flag where he won by half a lap. Behind some great battles were encountered with Craig Boyd choosing the wide line to get by Oliver and Schembri – who enjoyed their own close battle throughout, and then reeled in team mate Ryan and again chose the tricky wide line to pass before the chequered was encountered.
HEAT ONE RESULT
210, 45, 236, 57, 121, 871, 333, 257
Heat two was the race of the day. It had everything a fan could wish for – close clean dicing, drivers exchanging positions inside and outside and the result always in doubt right to the end. It had rained again prior to the race and drivers were again in a quandary as to which set of tyres to put on the car. The combination caused exciting results! 31 Steve Gooding was on track to try again, but elected to start at the back, leaving #LittleMissBoydy home alone at the front of the grid. Naturally, she led from the off but the battle broke out immediately behind as the yellow grade swapped and diced with each other. Initially 924 Stu Wright led the chase from Polley and Kitchen but 333 Lee Wood was soon up the inside into turn one in his #MarViva! Lap 2 and it was 44 from 924, 236, 333, 42, 121 and 210 as 22 Shane Taylor, bedding in his car, deliberately kept out of the fray. On lap three, with the star men settling into their aggressive pursuit, Taber dove up the inside of Weaver into turn two. He had the position, but in the narrow confines wheel arches clashed and Hughie bounced fence wards! Anchoring up the brakes, he avoided collision, and Shane Taylor was equally fortunate to also slow down in time to avoid rear ending #TheMusicMan! Out of sorts, the pilot of car 210, having lost momentum in an ill handling car retired. Up ahead, Kara Boyd, in her best performance to date at Hednesford, still held the lead with her pursuers closing – 924, 236, 333 and 42. A lap later and Wright, struggling with brakes slipped wide and Polley moved inside for second, quickly followed by Kitchen. Another circuit and mini Boydy was still there with Polley, Kitchen and Wood getting closer and closer with Schembri, Taber, Oliver and Craig Boyd a few years further back in their own battle.. Lap seven she was finally caught and allowing #Rhino to horn his way up her inside (!!?) followed by the rest of the male marauders. So 236 Ryan Polley now led in his newly revamped A40. He has led in CHR before, but this time, could he hang on? It was 236, 42,and 333 and the trio opened up a gap on their pursuers of 121, 57, 45 and 555 as they shot past Kara. Suddenly calamity came to 57 Mike Oliver as he battled with the National Champion passing back marker 31 Steve Gooding. Running out of space, he over cooked his racing line and slammed the infield barrier out of turn two and onto the back straight away. He tried to carry on, but with a broken steering rack, he was forced to retire. Moments later 116 Adrian Taber tangled into the fence with 44 Kara Boyd, and both remained perched there for the remainder of the race. The situation changed again when back marker Shane Taylor was caught by the leaders. In the tightening of the racing line, Lee Wood sought his opportunity and dived inside Kitchen to snatch second. Maintaining his momentum, he then tried the outside sweep to pass Polley, and even got up alongside him. But grip failed Wood out of turn two and Polley was away and Kitchen back through with Craig Boyd catching all three of them! Two to go and in the dash to the flag, Wood and Kitchen went wide again and the whylie KartingKid went through to second and onto the final lap he dashed up the outside of Polley seeking to snatch victory. It was a step too far however, and maintaining composure, 236 Ryan Polley held on to win a well deserved maiden victory is his stunning #Battleship in a thrilling race.
HEAT TWO RESULT
236, 45, 42, 555, 333, 924, 871, 257
The eleven car Easter Extravaganza Final was somewhat poached after the scramble of heat two. Many had quit the day through damage, or playing it safe to fight another day. 236 Ryan Polley, enamoured from his heat win, chose the risky strategy of slick tyres for the final, however soon realised his error from the drop of the green as Kara led them away. The field concertinered very quickly in these early laps and 333 Lee Wood and 121 Charlie Schembri were quick to pass the struggling Polley. 210 Hugh Weaver went very wide through turn two as well, and for a moment seemed to struggle with forward motion, but suddenly was shooting up the back straight quicker than ever and flew past 45 Craig Boyd and 20 Dave Fry on the outside! With Polley continuing to slip down the places, the man in the right place at the right time was English Open Champion 555 Gavin Taber, perhaps somewhat fired by his father’s misfortune and his own crash in heat one. He saw a gap down the home straight as Wood was baulked by leader Wright and swept past down the inside. Into the tun, he was inside 42 Dean Kitchen as well, and in full swing up the back straightway, Taber was past Wright on the outside to lead! What a move! Weaver, equally impressive, saw the same opportunities coming his way, and ate places with ease in a exhibition of brilliant driving by the septuagenarian. Weaver was in second and Craig Boyd, also passing Stu Wright, was up to third. 121 Charlie Schembri passed the struggling Wright next leaving Wood, Kitchen and Polley to battle amongst themselves with 871 Graeme Callender waiting in the wings for a chance to move up as he got used to the car. Effectively the race was over by lap six. 555 Gavin Taber was back to his dominant best at his most successful track and had no problem keeping clear of Weaver and Boyd. Boyd closed down on Hughie, but despite of the forty five year age difference, the Hailsham man had no problem keeping the talented young man with the two Gold Stripes at bay. In the final lap, Lee Wood was forced to retire due to a loose oil pipe and he joined Dave Fry and Stu Wright on the infield. By then, the dominant Taber had crossed the line to take his third final victory at Hednesford Hills Raceway.
EASTER EXTRAVAGANZA FINAL RESULT
555, 210, 45, 121, 236, 42, 871, 257, 44, NOF
So a day a unpredictability drama (some of it sadly received) and action. A great day for Gavin Taber, who moved into the lead in the English Points Series, however most people’s thoughts were for 88 David Owen who by this time had been diagnosed in hospital with a broken vertebra in his lower back. At the time of writing, David has been inundated with messages of good will in his journey to recovery.