• IRISH SERIES ROUND THREE

    image CLASSIC HOT RODS MEETING REPORT TIPPERARY 18/7/15 IRISH SERIES ROUND THREE The typical seeds of the Irish summer blew in on an inclement breeze over the mountains of Tipperary and down to the lush fields of Rosegreen where the fastest oval in the Emerald Isle is found. Six of the drivers competing in classic hot rods made their way to the heart of Ireland for a Saturday evening of racing hoping to keep a step ahead of the beckoning darker clouds that promised the treat of rain. Three competitors were unable make it to the third round of competition for 2015; Portavgie's 777 Jackie Harris was unable to make the long drive down from Northern Ireland as his engine was being rebuilt and 228 Sammy McKendry was in a similar position with his Anglia. It had been hoped that 57 Mike Oliver was going to make his trip over the Irish Sea from Wales to compete but unfortunately plans fell through. On the bright side however, the six competing drivers still made the best singularly Irish representation in the fledgling formula so far in the Republic. Regulars 25 Trevor Cusack, 100 Kevin Feeny, 156 Gerry Rothwell and 175 Andy O'Donnell were joined by 937 Kenny Wilson from Ballymena in Northern Ireland and 362 Austin Fitzgerald from Cork. Every driver needs his commendation for the commitment he has shown to the formula. Feeny. Rothwell and O'Donnell had survived their baptism of racing of racing in England when they competed at Hednesford and a week later at the National Championship at Ipswich in June. Both the 175 and 100 pilots had both suffered significant damage and had worked extremely hard between meetings to have the cars ready. On the return to Ireland, both Escorts had to be prepped again. Rothwell had exercised a full bench test on his two litre race engine prior to his trip down the M7 from Co.Meath as well. Gerry helps Kevin maintain his Mk2 from his garage in Meath. Kevin shows his commitment by flying back to Ireland from his work base in the South east of England and has not missed an Irish CHR meeting yet! As mentioned the two drivers joining the regulars were Fitzgerald and Wilson. The Ulsterman Eilson had attended the first meeting that was staged at Tullyroan in May but his engine had let him down. Kenny had taken his time to rebuild his own 1700 Crossflow Screamer and it was a delight to see Kenny in attendance down south. As for Fitzgerald, the 2015 debut of his brand new Classic Hot Rod had been eagerly anticipated with. Stage by stage build photos had been provided to the Classic Hot Rod Facebook page and although a livery and sign job was still outstanding, the completed race car looked every inch the pedigree it should be. It is a real credit to the Cork engineer - all is self built including the engine. Heat one saw all six out on track ahead of the looming rain and after some installation laps it was a clutch start. Unfortunately, the field was soon down to four as Cusack retired with a broken differential and Feeny pulled off with s loose starter motor. However the quartet that remained put on a good run, particularly Wilson and O'Donnell. Blue grade starter O'Donnell started extremely quickly and within five laps had got the inside line on the Ulsterman. What was remarkable though was the way Wilson pulled the deficit back and in the latter half of the sixteen lap affair and really got into the groove screaming his Crossflow round the big Tarmac oval. 937 challenged 175 hard but the local man held on for his first win of the night. The reaction from the crowd clearly showed they appreciated a good close race. Heat one: 175, 937, 156, 362. NOF. Heat two was held,remarkably, still in dry conditions. Cusack was again an early retiree still with drive train issues but five racers still held sway for s closer race. Rothwell in 156 was clearly showing that his engine prep was showing dividends as his 100e Anglia, the oldest body currently racing, was going quicker than ever before. However, the fact that the car is way heavier the the opposition, and at the tail end of the car as well, resulted in his lead being eroded. Rothwell wisely gave way to the faster Escorts and Fenny in 100 took over. In the laps that followed O'Donnell found his rhythm and powered his way past Wilson then Fenny. With O'Donnell away and clear the battle for second was an exciting one between Wilson and Feeny. Kevin beat Kenny by s matter of yards. Fitzgerald retired with a misfiring engine. Heat two: 175, 100, 937, 25, 156, NOF. Austin gave some insight on his first night of racing for 2015. "The car went okay on its first night out. Had a few problems as it was miss firing but one will have that with a new build. It ran very well but as when the rain came down prior to the final all drivers was asked 2 go out for 3 laps and then state if we wanted to race as there was oil on track..." As a debutant, Fitz did not want to risk damage but the others joined IDIOTS (I Dared It Out There Society)!! In a fine example of drivers helping each other out both Austin and Gerry helped Trevor in repairing the drive train on the 25 car. Gerry gave Trevor a replacement differential and in the teaming rain providence held sway for Cusack. Feathering the throttle all the way and controlling power slides Cusack hit the front and held it, using every once of control and technique he had learnt on the grass ovals and rallying. In contrast, the previously dominant O'Donnell did not come to grips with the difficult conditions and made no impact on this race and Cusack took a popular win. FINAL : 25, 100, 937, 175, 156. All in all a good night. The lads put on some good racing for an appreciative crowd and we hope for a good field of drivers again when the Classics go North once again on the 9th August to compete in Round Four of the Irish Series at Tullyroan. Rob Hughes CHR PR.
  • BIRMINGHAM 11.7.15-15

    image CLASSIC HOT ROD MEETING REPORT BIRMINGHAM. 11/7/15. NATIONAL SERIES ROUND EIGHT. After the maximum effort put in for the big two meetings of June, it was perhaps expected that there was to be a downturn in attendance for this meeting, though it has to be said that the combination of work commitments, holidays, each damage and engine rebuilds did have a bigger negative impact than expected. Only eight cars were in attendance at Birmingham for a dry if muggy evenings racing on a slick track. Nevertheless, the effort put in by all eight drivers meant that the meeting punched above its weight for close entertaining racing which displayed the highs and lows of racing in a sweeping two and a half hours. The atmosphere in the pits on this summers evening was relaxed as those present discussed the attendance of drivers and generally agreed on issues surrounding the poor attendance but in equal measure where determined to put on a good show. Foxlow and Steward were present, the only two drivers now who have managed a one hundred percent attendance throughout the season. Graham Boyd was back, eager to put the disappointment of a poorly car at Ipswich behind him. Darren Owen has purposely rearranged his holidays so he could support this meeting and the Caton brothers, Mick and Chris were here. Although local Cannock men, neither had ever raced his CHR before at Wheels. Derbyshires Steve Gooding brought his Avenger and has nearly as good as an attendance record as Tim and Donut. The eighth man was a newcomer to the sport; 135 Mick Cushion. Mick, an easy going man of senior years had never competed in any class of racing prior to his investment in Classic Hot Rods. But, a long time follower of oval racing, these stunning Classic Hot Rods were the cars of Mick's era..and he wanted one! After checking out several cars for sale, Mick settled on the clean and straight Anglia 105E originally built by Stu Pedley, from Gary Winterton earlier this year. Powered by a Burton prepared two litre Pinto, this resplendent Anglia, painted all black with gold trim looked an evocation of a John Player Special. Mick wasn't looking to set the world on fire, just end wanted some fun behind the wheel of a race car he has always wanted. So all eight lined up for Heat one with 31 Steve Gooding on pole with 159 Mick Caton on his outside. cushion took his obligatory start as a novice from the back. It was a clutch start session at this meeting and the roar of the engines was a delight to behold. All drivers struggled for grip as the abrasive Tarmac ar Birmingham is regularly used by drift car drivers who hire out the track and purportedly put deselect on the track to enhance their ability to skid. This is exactly the opposite to what CHR drivers want, but battling with the conditions, Caton drove hard and worked the outside line on Gooding. By the third lap he had made it stick and look the lead. The top men immediately set in motion a high speed train round the little Wheels oval, with 198 Andy Steward making his trade mark late braking count as he moved up the places from the back. As his avons degraded, Mick Caton gave second best to brother Chris but the 275 pilot enjoyed his lead only look briefly and was helped to prevent Donut from powering round the outside to take his first win of the night. HEAT ONE RESULT: 198 275 445 8 144 31 Nof Heat two was very much an action reply with Foxlow this time getting the bit really between his teeth and following Steward's every move. Mick had slipped down the field more quickly in this race and Gooding held on for longer before Chris Caton took over only to be once again swallowed by Donut's speed. Foxlow followed Steward past Caton, but 198's win at the end of 16 laps was comfortable. HEAT TWO RESULT 198 144 275 8 445 159 31 nof The twenty lap final was as dramatic as an eight car race could be and if the train of cars could go any faster and tighter on this greasy Tarmac, then these guys certainly achieved it! Although Steward was scything through in his customary manner, Foxlow was hanging onto his shirt tails closer and more determined than ever before. The battle as 198, 144, 445 and 8 swept forward looked as epic as any seen at previous meeting with bigger fields of cars. Once again, Chris Caton was the fox to the Star Grade hounds but as the top men battled and forced their way past Gooding, had Caton done enough this time not to be swallowed by the pack? The lap board were out and we were set for a climatic finish, not not the one we were given! Into turn three and out of four, Caton was desperate to stay ahead. Donut was snapping at his heals and Foxlow right there too on the inside line, door handle to door handle with 445 Graham Boyd on the outside. In a bat of an eye it all went horribly wrong as the wheels of Foxlow's Mk2 Escort locked with those of Boyd's A40 after it appeared that Graham took evasive action millimetres from the fence. Coming together at top speed, the steering wheels were whipped from the drivers hands and both men became a passenger on a roller coaster ride down the home straight! 144 slewed I front of 445 and both clattered the home straight fence with a sickening crunch! The two felorn cars were removed from the track under caution and the re-start saw five remaining cars all on the lead lap with 198 Andy Steward ready to pounce on Caton. Who Andy makes it stick time after time is a remarkable credit to driver, set up and car build as the SHP motor sports Mk2 derived outside line through turns one and two and switched to an inside dive through turns three and four with the momentum he had built. A luckless Caton was powerless to stop Steward and as Andy celebrated a trio of wins Chris was once again the bridesmaid.....275 has had more second places per outing than any other driver this season. A mention must also be made of novice Mick Cushion. Keeping it on the tar with no damage after twenty laps merited Mick a princely eight points! FINAL RESULT: 198 275 8 31 135 Boyd had already departed by the time Foxlow dragged his badly damaged car back to the trailer in the pits and was grateful for the help received from mechanics and fans in enabling the wrecked car get in the trailer. Tim's mechanics Rick and Josh Lowe worked on the car as necessary to get it on four wheels and into the trailer and although gutted about how the night ended Tim and crew were still adamant that it was a good night with plenty of banter in the pits amongst the drivers between races. All the 144 crew were clear they were determined to fix the car and be back for more at Northampton on the 16th August for Round Nine of the National Series for the Classic Hot Rods. Rob Hughes CHR PR
  • THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

    image CLASSIC HOT RODS MEETING REPORT IPSWICH 27.6.15. National series Round Seven THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. "Viva Lee Wood!" Twenty five Classic Hot Rods arrived early at Foxhall Stadium Ipswich early on Saturday morning eager and ready to be part of what was going to be the most anticipated meeting in the ten year history of Classic Hot Rod racing. Blessed with summer heat in and basking in glorious sunshine, the drivers were allotted to their pit space area in the leafy wooded pit area with the sun shining through the glades. It had been a long time in coming, but after patiently waiting and courting the eye of Spedeworth International with their steadily increasing number of registered drivers and putting on plenty of spectacular racing up and down the country, CHR were finally to take their place in the biggest Speedweekend in the oval racing world - the National Hot Rod World Championship. True, the classics had been there before back in 2006, when as an embryonic demonstration formula, sixteen old style rods had brought a wave of nostalgia to the racing public. But now, as a matured fully fledged competition class, the best old school drivers were at Ipswich to take on the challenge of racing for the third running of the Classic Hot Rod National Championship Final. As the sun blazed, the heat of the day rose, the sound of cans being opened could be heard amongst drivers chatting and socialising before getting down to the business of giving their iconic classic race cars their final once over. Many drivers had worked supremely hard to be there, particularly following damage received just the previous weekend at Hednesford. The stories of continual late nights came from 72 Gary Goodswen, 57 Mike Oliver, 247 Graham McCabe and 333 Lee Wood. Their commitment and dedication to the formula has been truly remarkable. But the biggest example of the pure hard work put in to be able to be at Ipswich on Saturday came from out trio of Irish visitors, 156 Gerry Rothwell, 100 Kevin Feeney and 175 Andy O'Donnell. Away from home and faced with significant damage to the Feeney and O'Donnell machines, support to the drivers was made clear by their fellow English racers. Fortunately, the lads were able to use Feeney's English work base. Replacement parts literally came at the last minute and every night was a late one! The Boys had no time for seeing the sights when they were on 'holiday' in England! But the feedback they received from so many fans that morning at Ipswich made them realise that the effort they had put in had been so worth it. The new drivers, 721 Steve Kite and 210 Hughie Weaver, who had debuted to contrasting fortunes at Hednesford the previous Sunday were here, together with the affable 166 Dave Stevens who was making his third and final novice grade appearance. Choosing the Speedweekend to make his debut to the formula - jumping in at the deep end - was local man 48 Gary Farrington. It had been a long journey for Gary to get his car finally ready, but with the lustrous looking black, green and orange Mk2 Escort, displaying its deep shine in the gorgeous sunlight, it has certainly been worth the wait. At the other end of the scale, seasoned top men 144 Tim Foxlow, 198 Andy Steward and defending champion 333 Lee Wood were there hoping to realise their chances. 271 Jamie Johnson was placing his faith in his Crossflow and it was good to see 192 Ken Marriott back with the formula after missing Hednesford and wondering weather to sell up or not. Delightfully, the Marriott Anglia, damaged at the May Hednesford session had been fully repaired and made resplendent once again in block red and shiny black wheels. Also making his return was 16 Pat Smith. Obviously, all the competitors were looking forward to the days racing. Nervous, and waiting for the thrilling surge of adrenaline that all race car drivers get so addicted to, everyone was looking forward to putting on a good show in front of the traditional bumper Speedweekend crowd. On schedule, all twenty five classics came out on track for heat one. The format for the National Championship was to be two clutch start heats, raced from graded order and the accumulated points scored would make the grid for a 25 lap final, rolling lap start, with the top point scorers at the front. To inject the essential heat into the Avon racing tyres, the drivers set out on two installation laps. Drama ensued immediately as Kevin Feeney found that the luck of the Irish had deserted him! His offside rear wheel was cast adrift as the studs sheared and the surprised and disappointed driver of the 100 car had no option but to retire to the infield. The actual green flag saw the Crossflow and pinto powered machines lift the clutch and drop the hammer. From his first ever CHR white grade starting slot, new driver for 2015, 265 Ray Harding, immediately took the advantage round the outside of Co Meath's 156 Gerry Rothwell. It was a story of a clean fast race on the hot Tarmac. Anglias held sway as Harding led from yellow grade starters 16 Pat Smith and 6 Graham Fulker. Further back 198 Andy Donut Steward was making his famed progress from superstar and defending National Champion 333 Lee Wood was eating up the laps in his famous HB Viva. Smith was to pass Harding but all credit to the man from Burgess Hill as he maintained a fast pace and a tidy line to stay clear of third placed Fulker. Kite, Farrington and ODonnell were retirees in this race with engine problems but on the Tarmac, the positions were maintained right towards the end. Wood got into the grove and found the pace on the outside to pass and in the last laps got by Fulker and Harding to nab second. Smith took the first race of the day. Heat 1 - 16 Patrick Smith Jnr, 333, 265, 6, 72, 198, 22, 247, 210, 144 Heat two appeared a lot more feisty in the boiling late afternoon sunshine. Harding repeated his feat of an early lead but Smith seemed to appear out of nowhere at the drop of the green and by the third lap 16 was ahead of 265. Irishman 175 Andy O'Donnell had mad a solid start in this race. 31 Steve Gooding was going a million time better than he had done in his last visit to Ipswich in May, but of the yellow graders perusing Pat Smith and Ray Harding, it was 271 Jamie Johnson who looked the most impressive. The higher graded drivers were in the midst of a real tough battle further back and the likes of Foxlow, Wood and Steward were certainly not finding things going all their own way in heat two. This allowed Johnson to maintain his momentum, and with his home built Crossflow doing a barn dance, 271 got by Harding and started to eat into Smith's lead. Now catching is one thing and passing is quite another, but the what ifs went flying out the window as the Jamie's over energetic dancers decided to leave through the barn door! With a con rod bursting through the side of the block, oil was everywhere on turn one! Johnson was stewn across the turn, 22 Rob Montagner had spun too after some sparing with Andy Steward and 58 Steve Lumley glanced the racewall. The chequered flag dropped in that climatic moment but Smith was soon not declared the winner! The meeting steward had judged that on this occasion Smith had jumped the start and was docked two places. This resulted in 265 Ray Harding being rewarded with his first ever Classic Hot Rod race win. To say Ray was delighted was a huge understatement and with his fiftieth birthday just two days away, this race win was his perfect present! Heat 2 - 265 Raymond Harding, 57, 16, 6, 198, 144, 8, 210, 156, 333 And so to the big event for Classic Hot Rods in 2015: the National Championship Final. The stage was set by Spedeworth with a fantastic party atmosphere. Terry Newell was spinning the tunes and as Tony Christie continued to bellow out 'Amerillo' and the shirtless party goers on turn three really got into the occasion, the line up for the race for the Gold Roof was completed. Naturally, 16 Pat Smith and 265 Ray Harding were on row one thanks to their heat wins and third places finishes. Row two saw 6 Graham Fulker and 198 Andy Steward. Row three was made up of defending Champion 333 Lee Wood and 57 Mike Oliver and row four featured 144 Tim Foxlow and 210 Hughie Weaver. Position and form surely indicated the winner would likely to come from these first four rows. With all respect to Harding, clearly it was a question of which of the big guns, Foxlow, Wood and Steward would be the main challenger to Smith's lead. The tension mounted as the pace cars led the field on their way with the Ipswich CHR rolling lap tune of Spanish Flea coming over loudly on the PA. The field got away first time and it was clear that the boys were really going for it in this one! Harding did well just to keep up the way as Steward launched his challenge on Smith's lead and Smith did everything he could to stay ahead. Both drivers used every inch of track - and more - as they fought tooth and nail for the lead. Crunch time came as both drivers went wide for the same piece to track on lap four out of turn two. 198 tank slapped the wall and broke a rear axle link. Still at high speed and truely at the limit of adhesion, Donut sought to drive out of turn four for the infield - only to be just glanced by the HB Viva of Lee Wood who was going at absolute break neck speed on defence of his title himself. So, as one favourite's chances were extinguished, another sought to bring his challenge to bear on the leader Smith, and thus developed on of the most iconic of Hot Rod races as the challenger did everything he could to out race and force a mistake from the leader. As Wood challenged Smith, the attack and defend manoeuvres allowed 57 Mike Oliver and 144 Tim Foxlow close up and the race for Gold developed into to a four way chase. As battles raged down the places with 210 Hughie Weaver going door handle sparing with 8 Darren Owen and 192 Ken Marriott wanting to take his CHR shale racing, the laps were ticking away! Classics don't have the luxury of 75 laps to allow the pick of race manoeuvres and in the few that remained, Wood tried every trick up his sleeve. His late breaking move on the outside line giving the momentum to sweep up the inside oh so very nearly paid off but Smith resolutely stood his ground and at the death, 16 crossed the line half a cars length ahead of the defending champion. With stewards instructions singing in their ears over the race receivers, no permission was granted for celebratory donuts and the first four were quickly brought to the infield. It was immediately announced that there would be some adjudication into the result and after several minutes made light by the continual party music and a Mexican wave from the sun drenched crowd, it was announced that the man first across the line was to be docked two places for contact with Steward. Ultimately, Smith was removed from the results altogether for post race conduct. That aside, Lee Wood was naturally delighted to have been awarded the win, so defending his National Title successfully after all. With Oliver promoted to second and Foxlow third, all three drivers lapped up a popular reception on the lap of honour - a clear endorsement from the Speedweekend crowd as to just how much they had enjoyed the spectacular racing the Hottest Stars in the Coolest Cars had put on for them. Final - 333 Lee Wood, 57 Mike Oliver, 144 Tim Foxlow, 210, 8, 6, 22, 265, 247, 192 With such feedback and accolade still ringing in the CHR collective ears, this formula sincerely looks forward to becoming a regular addition to the biggest and most successful oval race weekend of them all at Ipswich! Rob Hughes CHR PR.
  • The Bill Morris Memorial Trophy

    image CLASSIC HOT ROD RACE REPORT HEDNESFORD 21/6/15. National Series Round Seven. The Bill Morris Memorial Trophy Seen as the perfect build up to the National Championship just a week away at Ipswich as part of the massive Speedweekend at that Showcase Arena, all rounds centred on Hednesford in the West Midlands, the spiritual home of Hot Rod racing as 24 of the Hottest Cars in the Coolest Cars came to compete for a beautiful trophy raced in memory of the man, without whom, Hot Rod racing as we know it in the UK, may well never have existed. Twenty four of the twenty eight drivers booked in with Incarace attended, and even at twenty four, it was still the biggest car attendance that the formula has enjoyed so dark all season. Drivers came from England, naturally, with 57 Mike Oliver coming from Wales and 247 Graham McCabe and 3 Graeme Allister coming down from Scotland. It was delightful as well to have three drivers come over from the Republic of Ireland, namely 156 Gerry Rothwell, 100 Kevin Feeney and 175 Andy O'Donnell. Not only did the meeting have an entry from far a field, but also some new faces. First to welcome to the formula on this his debut day was 721 Steve Kite from the 'deep south' of Horndean in Hampshire. Had had purchased the former Colin Gilbert Anglia from Steve Tandy over the winter and had worked especially hard, particularly in recent weeks, to get the car finally fully equipped and up to spec' for racing. It looked resplendent in its all black gloss and vivid retro styling sign work. Needless to say, the car has captured the appeal of many fans. Debuting an Anglia of equal appeal was a man from the opposite pole of the UK! Graeme Allister had made the long journey down from Fife in Scotland to put his gorgeous ermine while and cherry black liveried classic hot rod through its paces. Graeme, an enthusiastic race fan who has worked hard to make his racing dream come true, initially started racing in August last year at Tipperary, when, with the car still in its George Polley colours, he achieved the infamous honour of rolling the car! Since then the car was painstakingly rebuilt and eventually made to look more fantastic than ever. Allister was understandably nervous about racing at 'the deep end' at Hednesford and was simply concentrating on wanting to finish every race with no damage. The third of the 'new boys' could hardly be described as 'new!' Sixty eight year old Hughie Weaver, father of the National Hot Rods Points Champion of 2015, Kym Weaver, quietly had a Mk1 Escort quietly being built for four years. This certainly wasn't a rush job! This stunning creation has been finished off this last few weeks in the workshops of Sunny Howard Motorsport. It looked low, it looked mean and certainly looked a winner. The avuncular Weaver, a well seasoned racer who last drove competitively five years ago was 'just here to see how it goes.' Weaver made it clear he wasn't expect anything from today......it was amazing just how events were to make a mockery of those remarks! It was the Summer Solstice and fortunately the weather was just about what it should be for the time of year. Although blustery, the showers that for a moment of two threatened prior to racing, never materialised and racing too place on a drive, fast track. All twenty four cars made it out for heat one and to see the biggest field of the year make it trackside certainly made an impressive sight. The drivers were allotted strictly to their correct graded grid position by meeting steward Paul Gerrard and advised that points achieved in the two heats would determine the line up in the Bill Morris Trophy Final - the top points scorers staring at the front. After three installation laps, the cars burst into life from the clutch start and it was pole position starter 222 Shane Taylor who powered away. Ireland's 156 Gerry Rothwell immediately found the pace a hot one in his Anglia 100E and 159 Mick Caton was soon through followed by a very impressive looking 175 Andy O'Donnell. before the race had chance to settle down though, the one thing most feared in Classic Hot Rods occurred - the big crash. Welshman 57 Mike Oliver unexpectedly and severely ground to a sudden halt half way down the home straight and with literally no time to react, 247 Graham McCabe and 72 Gary Goodswen were left with nowhere to go and the impact was severe! Both 333 Lee Wood and 275 Chris Caton had extremely lucky escapes. Wood especially was called upon to display lightning reactions for the second time this season as he had a similar experience at Northampton in March. The aftermath was painful to look at as the stricken 57, 72 and 247 cars were extracted to the infield. The restart saw Taylor continue where he started off. The 222 car was handling superbly after being set up at the Garage of Ken Marriott. Keeping a tidy inside line Shane maintained his lead despite some tremendous pressure being applied by 159 Mick Caton. Caton drove a perfect hot rod drive, attempting to cleanly race Taylor by trying determined to out race the Cheshire man on the outside line. For lap after lap they raced neck and neck and at one point 159 got his nose in front, only to be baulked as the two leaders leaped the Irishman Rothwell and Taylor escaped. close behind 175 Andy O'Donnell was driving a brilliant race and only got passed by 198 Andy Steward in the last two laps. There was more contact further back as the packed chased the leaders. 22 Rob Montagner tripped over 144 Tim Foxlow and 100 Kevin Fenney and the contact caused panel damage to all three. Foxlow retired where the other two gamely continued. After a brilliant race 222 Shane Taylor just held on to win and looked absolutely delighted on his lap of honour as this was his very first race victory in Classic Hot Rods. Heat One Result: 222, 159, 198, 175, 333, 45, 20, 58 Heat two saw, understandably, a slightly depleted field. Both Goodswen and Oliver had loaded up and Montagner and Fulker where trying to solve engine problems. positively, Foxlow was back out and remarkably, so too was McCabe. The Chevette with looked initially severely damaged, fortunately had received no chassis leg or steering damage and the bodywork was extensively taped up and ready to go again! What was also so positive was the attitude of the McCabe crew in the pits. As they worked to repair the car they were found laughing and joking and set a great example of what racing should really be all about - friends, and banter with fellow crews and drivers. The drop of the green saw the lift of the clutch and the drop of the hammer and all got clean away. It the high speed procession didn't last long though as Tim Foxlow once again found himself in the wars again, tangling out on the West Bend with 445 Graham Boyd. Their prone position caused yellow flags and both were instructed to the infield as they were the cause of the stoppage. Green flag again and the chase for Taylor was again resumed by Caton and O'Donnell with Feeney not too far behind either! It was a fascinating battle again with clean fast exciting racing being displayed by the top three. Further back, Steward was storming through along with Boyd junior, while Wood and McCabe continued a tussle of the Orange cars..and 210 Hughie Weaver was going a hell of a lot faster than he was in heat one. Teething problems being solved, Weaver was brushing off the rust and remembering how to drive! Up ahead Taylor was hanging on and hanging on and hanging on! Caton's challenge was usurped by Steward who had elbowed his way up the inside of both 175 and 159. But credit is to be heaped on Taylor in the way he withstood the challenge of the faster Steward. 222 maintained a tidy inside line and made Andy work for it. Maybe with more laps Steward would have made it count, but the laps ran out and an ecstatic Shane Taylor took his second win! As it was Steward was not awarded second as the meeting steward had decided his had jumped the restart and was demoted accordingly. Heat Two Result: 222, 45, 159, 175, 210, 333, 275, 198 The Bill Morris Memorial Trophy Final saw the finalists take to the track to be instructed to their correct row of the grid dependant of the points they had scored in the heats. Consequently, the row one starters where 222 Shane Taylor and 159 Mick Caton. Row two saw 175 Andy O'Donnell and 45 Craig Boyd. Row three was 198 Andy Steward and 333 Lee Wood. Surely the winner would come from these first three rows with Steward and Boyd junior clearly earmarked as favourites. prior to the installation laps and rolling lap start, it was poignant moment when the daughters of Bill Morris came out to the centre green to commemorate his memory and after the brief ceremony Paul Gerrard announced, "Gentlemen, start your engines!" The pintos and Crossflow burst into life and with the pace car diving to the infield the race was on with a hell for leather charge! It was late braking supreme into turn on and everyone just going for it. On the exit to turn two Steward, with the hammer down made contact with O'Donnell. The Irishman spun at speed and sorrowfully crashed into the infield Tarmac rostrum causing serious rear axle and suspension damage. It was a sad end to what had been an excellent day for O'Donnell, who had proved that he was a competitive as the best of the Englishmen. The race suspension for the extraction of the stricken 175 machine saw the exclusion of Steward from the restart. But from the drop of the green again, we were to bear witness to another incredible race. Taylor led them off but 45 Craig Boyd was there challenging immediately Bon his outside and in third and going extremely quickly was 210 Hughie Weaver. The ultimate dark horse pounced on the unsuspecting leaders. Up the back straight in the second lap later the restart he stormed up the back straight causing an unnerving three-wide move cutting a swathe between 222 and 45. Amazingly as all three sought for grip through the West Bend, 210 powered out first and 68 year old Hughie Weaver was in the lead! Boyd recovered next ahead of the power sliding Taylor. What followed was the incredible battle between Weaver and Boyd and Craig clawed back the lead Weaver had grabbed and beyond half way in the 25 lap race Boyd saw his opportunity as came upon the cluster of back markers which included Mick Caton, who had never got into his stride after the lap one incident, and Steve Gooding. With Weaver momentarily baulked, Boyd whipped round the outside on the West Bend and took the lead once again! And that's the way it stayed to the flag with Shane Taylor attaining third place after a long clean duel with 20 Dave Fry. Final Result: 45, 210, 222, 20, 275, 445, 144, 121 As the Bill Morris Memorial Trophy winner, 45 Craig Boyd took this third Final of the 2015 season on the trot. A fantastic meeting with perhaps more car damage than anyone would have wanted. But, as they say, 'That's racing!' Rob Hughes CHR PR.
  • RACE REPORT. HEDNESFORD 25/5/15-25515

    image CLASSIC HOT ROD RACE REPORT HEDNESFORD 25/5/15 NATIONAL SERIES ROUND FIVE In spite of the unseasonably cool weather that has encompassed the merry month of May, sixteen competitors of the eighteen booked to race attended the spiritual home of Hot Rod racing. The absentees being 22 Rob Montagner and 6 Graham Fulker. Tim Foxlow, Andy Steward and Charlie Schembri maintained their one hundred percent commitment to the sport by their presence at this meeting. It was also pleasing to see an number of drivers making their 2015 debut. Cheshire's 222 Shane Taylor had put in an absolutely stunning job on the former Winterton Mk1 Escort over the winter. The amount of work involved in rejigging the car and rebuilding the front end of the bodyshell is testament to Taylor's ability as the car looked as fresh as the day it left the factory. Resplendent in its fresh white and green paintwork, the Shane proudly had the car on pole position for heat one. Another debutant at Hednesford was 57 Mike Oliver. The Welsh Wizard, who hales from Aberwystyth, last competed in Classic Hot Rods in 2012, but after a short stint in BriSCA F1, Oliver was cajoled back into Classics by the Owen brothers. In the winter Oliver invested in the former John Hendy Mk2 Escort which he purchased from Jason Hunn. Bedecked in the unusually distinctive livery of orange and brown, which was the colour combination his farther used in the seventies (well it was the decade that taste forgot!), Mike's car looked unique and unmistakeable! Oliver has had not time to shake the car through its paces, he was going out in track raw and see how things went, hoping he hadn't forgotten how to do it! The trio of returnees was completed by 88 Dave Owen. Certainly a part time racer these days due to family commitments, the lure of racing at his local track in a classic hot rod was too great for Darren's brother. Dave had great success at the big circuit in 2014 with three race victories in the all white ex Steve Train machine. The brother planned to re panel the Escort over the winter and stripped it....only for stuff to get in the way. Consequently, some last minute work was put in on Darren's 'Old Nail', the car he had raced the last three years by Dave's team Steve and Craig...and grinning from ear to ear he was ready for action! Indeed Dave was looking forward particularly in racing Mike Oliver as the two of them had had some excellent closely contested races down the years. All sixteen classics made the grid for heat one featuring the afore mentioned Shane Taylor on pole. The yellow grade slot was populated 31 Steve Gooding, CHRs had trying happy go lucky Hillman Avenger racer and 444 Gary Andrews, who's Anglia was looking superb sporting new sign work. Gary had put as much work in on his car as Shane had after the damage it had received at Ipswich in February. Utterly dedicated, Gary is a credit to Classic Hot Rods. Amongst the star grade, we welcomed back 445 Graham Boyd and 20 Dave Fry. Boyd was returning from suspension after an infringement incurred at Northampton's Easter meeting and was a delight to see both him and son Craig present racing their wonderful Austin A40s. They were in for a busy day as they were racing Lightning Rods also at the meeting! Also present was track debutant 72 Gary Goodswen, the 2015 experienced novice now upgraded to blue and the high riser for this season 58 Steve Lumley who having begun the season in April in the whites, was now starting as a superstar! With the drop of the green Shane Taylor took the challenge fresh out the box and set the pace from the front. In spite of a quick start from Andrews and Gooding, their pace was swallowed by Oliver and Dave Owen who were wheel arch to wheel arch right from the start. There was quite a melee as Oliver and Owen sought to get past Andrews and scrabbling evasive action saw the all red 88 car of Dave Owen get very side ways as he escaped from turn four. A lap later it all went horribly wrong as Owen suddenly experienced engine failure. Dave takes up the story; "Out turn 3 going into 4 I lost power. I know now my cam has snapped and ripped the middle carrier of the head. After loosing power I made the decision there was to much traffic on the inside and didn't want to get spun round and hit in the door, so I hugged the wall. Unfortunately Mike in 57 had sunk his foot to the coming out of the Bend resulting in him hitting me." Ken Marriott in 192 also lost control taking evasive action and was collected by Owen just as he came to a halt. Both cars received damage in this racing incident, but it was not as bad as it could have been. The steward of the meeting took the decision to disqualify Mike Oliver from the restart. On the return to racing 222 Shane Taylor still had it from 444 Gary Andrews but the Gold roofed National Champion 333 Lee Wood was on his way and after making short work of Andrew's Anglia, Wood set about out racing Taylor. It was exciting clean racing as Lee worked the outside line for two to three laps to out pace Taylor who's Mk1 Escort was beginning to get increasingly tail happy out of the bends and as Wood disappeared into the distance the 222 car was also passed on the outside by 198 Andy Steward and a very quick looking 144 Tim Foxlow and 45 Craig Boyd. That's how they finished heat one and hopefully Shane would have felt quietly pleased about his fifth place - his best ever race result. HEAT ONE RESULT 333 Lee Wood 198 144 45 222 8 58 31 444 445 Heat two was redemption time for Mike Oliver. With Taylor not griding for this race because of clutch trouble, yellow graders 444 Gary Andrews and 31 Steve Gooding led them away but Oliver looked supremely fast and particularly confident in the former Hendy Mk2 and like Wood did in heat one, Oliver worked the outside on Andrews and cleanly got into a lead which he was not to relinquish. A fascinating battle evolved behind as the top men in the sport sought to pass 31 Steve Gooding's Avenger which on this day was proving to be no slouch itself. To see the classics jostling for position in a race like this is a great attraction as each driver tries to out psyche the opposition and dive and feign, look inside and out to move up the places. As it was Oliver maintained his healthy advantage to take the win, not bad in this first meeting in three years! Andrews held on for a good second place despite some intense pressure and side by side racing from Lee Wood. It was just a pity that on the cooling down lap Andrews detected a tone in his crossflow that suggested a dropped valve. Andrews regretfully but perhaps wisely withdrew from participation in the meeting final. HEAT TWO RESULT 57 Mike Oliver 444 333 8 198 144 45 445 192 58 The twenty five lap meeting Final was a clutch start affair and it was one which featured 222 Shane Taylor use his repaired clutch to good effect and make an excellent start. Indeed everyone was going great guns in this final...with the exception of Tim Foxlow. Tim was to fall off the pace in the early laps with a mis-fire and was soon to retire to the infield. Ken Marriott was looking impressive in this race, particularly when the damage and the hasty repairs that he had to to to the bodywork, steering and track rod ends are taken into account. The Anglia may well have looked like a wounded animal, but this bull was still charging! Even more impressive though was 45 Craig Boyd. Boyd, defying the expect ion that his arms would fall off in a gruelling six race double formula afternoon was absolutely flying in his Polleysport Austin A40. After making short work of passing his dad in 445, Craig found gaps in non existent places, particularly when squeezing between Marriott and Gooding and incredibly coming out the other side! The way he caught Oliver and long time leader Taylor and passed them both on the outside in the length of the back straight was quite simply awe inspiring! It was an incredible final, the shine on which was erased slightly by Oliver's near side front wheel catching Taylor's off side rear as 57 challenged 222 round the West Bend. The contact caused Shane's car to bounce and unfortunately both cars received damage. Taylor promptly retired whereas Oliver gamely continued but well down the field. In the last few laps Andy Steward bettered both Lee Wood and then Daz Owen to take second place but Craig Boyd's victory, his second CHR final on the trot, was quite emphatic. FINAL RESULT 5 Craig Boyd 198 Andy Steward 8 Darren Owen 333 192 58 72 31 57 121 Rob Hughes CHR PR.