The sun adorned the lane down to the pits at Mildenhall Stadium , Classics hot rods were already rolling in .
Eleven drivers scheduled to race on the short shale topped oval , fresh prepared by David Coventry ( who had spent most of the week laying a new track at Northampton).
Drivers had gone for various set ups , some gearing for more grunt out of the turn overs trying the other end in order to get grip. All had a selection of tyres with them to change as needed . With no practice heat one would be a chance to test out their theories.
For Gavin Taber the wait for his engine to be ready had expired , the solution a borrow of his fathers car with little more then the seat being adjusted.
With sometime on my hands a chat with drivers which may result in a podcast later in the week and a catch up with David Owen who was looking reasonably well .
Jock Mc Fastlane appeared and we set about who was doing what from the promo side on the night . John filmed live whilst I filmed for the first time in my life for later use. Something which may prove not so easy with me being the commentator at most live meetings.
The drivers came out and lined up for heat one , it was decided to give them 3 warm up laps . Unfortunately 72 Gary Goodwin ended out wide in the wet stuff and was recovered by the fork lift , retiring him from the race.
With no white grades 257 Andrew Willis in the pocket rocket lined up alongside the Welsh wizard in his Talbot Sunbeam to lead the field away , a rolling start was decided to be for the best on the loose surface.
57 Mike Oliver took the early lead with Willis not far behind the rest fell in and tried to find their grip , 210 Weaver was first to drop back . 555 Taber broke formation and found grip around the outside of 271 JJ.
The short wheel base of the A40 driven by Craig Boyd was proving to be useful has he and 198 Donut drove round JJ under forced the Pocket rocket out on a wider line. It was nose to tail the mk2 hunting down the A40 has they split from the pack to hunt down Taber and the Welsh Wizard.
45 Craig broke away from donut and attacked Taber lap by lap forcing a inside line . Has he passed his door came open . The defending from Taber had cost both Donut was now on song and breathing down their necks . Donut passed down the back straight , Boyd and Taber fought back Donut back to fourth. Has Boyd hit the front Donut was back up to 3rd , the last lap board came out ! Donut locked wheels with the Talbot of Oliver and they slid towards the infield . Boyd completed the lap to a chequered flag to take the first classic hot rod win on shale.
Heat 1 Winner 45 Craig Boyd
45 555 8 445 210 27 257 271
Pit time and a few adjustments for some , refuel, check cars over and back out in 2 races time for heat number 2.
Mike Oliver in the Talbot made the opening move and sped away at the front chased down by Willis, the hunting party was soon in his mirror headed up by the meeting sponsor 8 Dan Owen. Owen had raced on tarmac the week before in his refurbished mk2 , he had kept up with the ex national hot rods in the slick cars around Hednesford.
Soon Owen’s grip was lost when Weaver , Donut and a pair of Boyd’s went through on the inside of turn 2 . Going out in the loose stuff relegated him down the field.
At half way of the 20 lap race The Wizard had done a dissappearing act , half a lap up on Weaver in 2nd. The Cowboy 445 Boyd SNR was riding high holding off Craig 45 , both stopping progress of the Donut who was just having fun racing on shale.
Gary Goodswin had the Angle box back out and was staying out of the loose stuff.
Just under 2 laps to go and a punt into turn 3 from Weaver , Oliver held on . Taber did a 360 in front of the start line and 45 Craig moved past the Cowboy to challenge . The Welsh Wizard held on to take the win.
Heat 2 winner 57 Mike Oliver
result 57 , 45 ,210 ,445 ,198 , 27 ,72 ,8 ,257 ,271 nof
Final time up next and noticeably 27 Dave York from novice at the rear making fair results in both heats . Mike Oliver would now require to start rear of his grade for the heat win.
Gavin Taber 555 unfortunately didn’t make it out for the final .
First away was 271 JJ with the pocket rocket , Oliver and Owen in hot pursuit. Johnson ran into mechanical issues handing the lead over to Oliver , Owen had gone wide on turn 2 again letting the train up the inside. The pocket rocket dropped down the pack as well , 210 Weaver battled away with Oliver . The Boyd’s has a donut sandwich going on , Craig caught Weaver up and opened the inside line up going through to 2nd place. He slid through on turn 4 , Oliver returned and rubbed him around 1 and 2 regaining the lead.
Weaver had gone in on the entrance to turn 1 has the flag was pulled 45 Boyd who had dived in front spun around on turn ¾. On the restart Boyd was put back in by the steward with a few laps remaining .
Oliver was all out of shape on the restart , donut catching him and taking him round out of turn 2 .
Craig Boyd took the flag , Donut second on the line but excluded for contact on 57. This not even blemishing the smile of enjoyment the big fella had got for the fun he had enjoyed on the shale.
A dramatic end for Gary Goodswin who blew the engine has he crossed the line but was promoted to third place . The Cowboy went up from 3rd to Second .
A Boyd 1,2 both the shorter wheel base A40’s on the mildenhall shale.
Young James Owen was on hand to present the trophies for the Shale Shifter Supreme race , before going home to load up his micro f2 for Buxton.
A great nights racing fun and smiles all round for those who took part , the question on many lips . Can we race on the Northampton Shale?
Report Andy Hankin , Live streams Jock Mc Fastlane and Jason Larner. Photographs and results Jason Larner , Jaeden Larner.