• The Bill Morris Memorial Trophy



    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



    HEDNESFORD 25/5/15


    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.

    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.

    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.

    5 Craig Boyd 198 Andy Steward 8 Darren Owen
    333 192 58 72 31 57 121
    Rob Hughes
    CHR PR.




    On an evening which once threatened rain, the skies improved when it came the time for racing and Northern Ireland enjoyed its first proper classic hot rod racing in over four years in setting spring sunshine at Tullyroan Dungannon.

    The Classic Hot Rods generated substantial interest in the pit area ahead of their track debut, with many in awe of the beautiful machines. Unfortunately Kenny Wilson didn’t make it past practice.
    “It was ok in practice,” Kenny reports, “but after six laps it started missing and banging. When I looked at the engine in the pits I could see the number two spark plug was soaked in petrol.” On the bright side Kenny was delighted about the amount of attention the fans were giving to the Classic Hot Rods in the pits. “A number of fans told me they were here tonight especially because of the Classics.” Wilson declared. The 937 pilot was forced to watch the racing rather than compete in it but upon returning home wasted no time in examining the engine. By 1pm on Sunday Wilson had realised the damage – broken rings.

    Tipperary’s 175 Andy O’Donnell raced to the first victory of the night in his Mk2 Escort ahead of Meath’s 100 Kevin Feeny and the superb Mk1 Escort of Portavogie’s 777 Jackie Harris. 156 Gerry Rothwell brought up the rear with a car that Gerry admitted was ‘pushing on’ dreadfully.

    Heat One result: 175 Andy O’Donnell, 100, 777, 25, 156

    25 Trevor Cusack held the rest at bay to take the win in heat two over Feeney and O’Donnell, with the magical Anglia 100E of Gerry Rothwell next up. Trevor was naturally delighted. It had taken him Four and a half hours flat out to cover the 250 mile north to Tullyroan from his Cork home. He also thought the reception he received from the Ulster crowd was superb.

    Heat Two result : 25 Trevor Cusack, 100, 175, 156

    Rothwell set the early pace in the final, before Cusack swept his black and white liveried Mk2 by to take up the running. O’Donnell recovered from his yellow grade handicap to get right on terms, circulating side by side with Cusack for the lead. “I was doing the best I can, “Cusack said afterward, “just lacking grip through the corners. I reckon fresh tyres will cure that, these are quite old!” The fans were really enjoying the sight of the two Mk2’s battling door handle to door handle, before O’Donnell edged ahead for a very popular win over Cusack and Feeney. “I’m delighted in how the car is handling.” smiled Andy, “this has been the perfect preparation for our visit to race in England in June.”

    Final: 175 Andy O’Donnell, 25 Trevor Cusack, 100 Kevin Feeny, 156

    In conclusion, in spite of only six cars present, the Classic Hot Rods in Ireland once again punched above their weight appeal with quality over quantity. Race director Darren Black was very pleased with the impression the Classic Hot Rods made in their Northern Irish. “Some good close racing but more importantly some massive interest created amongst the spectators.” Black summarised.
    When the CHRs next race at Tipperary on 18th July and Tullyroan on 9th August, car attendances will be higher as other drivers complete their projects. Any more competitors seeking to race the Emmerald Isle in the coldest class in oval racing will be made very welcome.

    Rob Hughes and Darren Black
    CHR PR

  • RACE REPORT. IPSWICH 2/5/15-2515

    Posted on by admin




    Sixteen out of the eighteen drivers booked in attended the cool spring evening meeting at Ipswich with the absentees being Dave Fry and Colin Chambers. Nevertheless, the number of cars present were sufficient to put on some excellent high speed racing over the three race schedule in front of the Ipswich crowd, which is always very appreciative whenever the Classic Hot Rods come to visit.

    My journey as CHR reporter started early in the morning as I made the 260 mile journey from Liverpool. I was taken from Derbyshire by the Tim Foxlow team. This distance paled into insignificance when compared to the mammoth 500 mile journey that 247 Graham McCabe undertook to compete at this meeting. Leaving his home in Bo’ness near Edinburgh on Friday night, he stayed over near Darlington, before completing his journey on Saturday. “Us ol’ boys need to take it steady!” Graham quipped. “Years ago I’d do the journey in one go.”

    A far more local man also making his debut tonight was former National Champion 161 Dan Holden. Dan, who won the title on a rain soaked afternoon at Hednesford in 2013, made the switch to National Hot Rods last year when he effective swapped cars with Ken Marriott. He was out at Ipswich as he still enjoys racing the older cars and because not to race what was his brother Lee’s old CHR on his local track would really be a missed opportunity. It would also allow the car to return to the public eye because Dan will sell the car if some one wants to buy it.

    444 Gary Andrews was also to make his 2015 debut at Ipswich. Andrews had terrible luck this year when he brought his iconic Anglia to Ipswich for practice in Febuary, only for the car to receive severe damage when he was accidentally put in the wall by a young driver in a different class of Rod. To say Gary was upset was to put it mildly, but the work he had put into the car with re-jigging and new panel work was magnificent. The car was still waiting sign work but it still looked a beauty. To then take the old girl out in practice and suffer a broken differential really summed up Andrews’ luck so far this year. This ill luck is bound to change!

    Only fourteen cars took to the track for heat one as another casualty in practice was 14 Steve Stallwood. The Stig was hoping for a busy night race wise as he had also brought his Historic Saloon Stockcar to race as well. Unfortunately, Steve came off track after practice claiming severe problems with his two litre Pinto. Hopefully this set back is something that Stallwood can overcome for his next meeting.

    The green flag dropped on heat one after two warm up laps and McCabe went into an immediate dominant lead from his advantageous pole position. It was a position he was never to be caught from. The 247 car left his immediate pursuers of 271 Jamie Johnson and 31 Steve Gooding for dust. The most interest angle of the race came from the excellent battle between 198 Andy Steward, 58 Steve Lumley, 144 Tim Foxlow, 333 Lee Wood, who had worked hard on fixing his Viva after his horrible crash at Northampton at the beginning of April, and 45 Craig Boyd. All these drivers were very tightly matched and although the most successful driver out there, Steward’s eventual second place still had to be worked extremely hard for. In the distance, McCabe took his first ever victory in Classic Hot Rods and the delighted Scotsman felt his incredibly long journey was made very worthwhile indeed!

    247, 198, 58, 144, 45, 333, 6, 271, 121, 22

    Heat two saw McCabe fail to repeat his heat one feat as he retired to the infield with a loose exhaust manifold. Again the five drivers previously mentioned sought to better one another lap after lap in a very closely fought contest but Andy Steward saw the gaps and really went for them. Anyone, like National Champion Lee Wood who tried the outside line, soon found the pace too hot and the grip clearly insufficient at this meeting and found that strategy without dividend. After a really hard battle with 58 Steve Lumley, Steward got through to cross the line first, however the meeting Steward declared that Andy had used excessive contact and consequently docked the 2014 Points Champion two places, therefore giving Lumley his third race victory of the season. The former circuit racer has made quite in impact this season. He took two victories from white grade the previous week at Northampton and now this win from Blue grade. Steve’s next meeting will see him competing as a Star man amongst the Red Tops.

    58, 333, 198, 45, 144, 121, 6, 271, 265, 31

    McCabe had concocted a fix to his manifold issues for the East Anglian Championship Final. Only ten other cars made the grid as 161 Dan Holden and 6 Graham Fulker had called it a night with cars they declared to be evilly handling and 72 Gary Goodswen also saw his good fortune desert him as he had discovered that the rear suspension mountings had broken. With race underway McCabe again left yellow top starters Johnson and Gooding, both of whom also stated their cars not to be on the pace this night, but they still wanted to be out there. From the back, the lone novice in this race, competing from that position for the last time was 265 Ray Harding. Harding, very impressed with the formula he has joined has in turn made a positive impression on his fellow drivers who have remarked on how well Ray is settling in and progressing. Ray himself remarked that every race he has been in he has got smoother and faster. Indeed in this final Ray kept on the lead lap and was able to follow the Star men for a majority of the race. The Star men themselves once again battled for supremacy, but absent from that battle was non other than 198 Andy Steward who suffered his first mechanical failure for a very long time as a half shaft broke on lap one! This left the the remainder of the Stars to see which of them would catch MCabe. It was in face 45 Craig Boyd who did so, finding the outside line on a number of occasions in his bespoke two lite powered A40 built by Polleysport. As 45 passed 247, the Scotsman’s manifold began to come loose again, and Graham debated retirement as Boyd broke away but the car was still motoring well and no warning signal was issued by the start Marshall and McCabe resolutely held the inside line and defended his second place ahead of Lumley, Wood and Foxlow. and that’s how it stayed with the A40 winning ahead Vauxhall Chevette, Mk2 Escort, HB Viva and Mk2 Escort. An excellent variety of high speed Classics telling the story the Final at Ipswich.

    45, 247, 58, 333, 144, 121, 271, 265, 31

    A delighted Boyd to the Championship but the wee man from Scotland, 247 Graham McCabe drove away from the Stadium feeling he was William Wallace having his very own Bannockburn!

    Rob Hughes
    CHR PR





    Twelve competitors returned to the Northampton circuit to compete to this year’s Midland Championship. In gracious and timely manner, the meeting to place on a dry and reasonably sunny warm spring Saturday night just ahead of a cold front that was racing down from the north bringing rain!

    It was a well run meeting by the incarace promotion with a good turn round of races and the meeting final itself being completed by 8.30pm.

    Several of the drivers had arrived early in the afternoon including 144 Tim Foxlow and 192 Ken Marriott who enjoyed some quality practice laps in the afternoon sunshine. This was Ken’s first meeting of 2015 and was keen to try out his new Andrew Parker prepared two litre race engine.

    Amongst the drivers competing there were other first time entries for the season. Displaying an absolutely gorgeously prepared Mk2 escort was former long circuit racer 58 Steve Lumley. Steve entered the sport of Classic Hot Rod racing in the summer of 2014 at the wheel of the former Glen Moore race car. Other the winter this was was overhauled at the workshops of Sonny Howard and the power unit converted from xflow to two litre pinto. The car was completed with a baby blue and black colour scheme to match the livery of the trucks he runs topped off with retro sign work from Dan Klyn signs. The 58 car looked a peach!

    Also joining Classic Hot Rods at this meeting was current National Hot Rod Star driver 42 Shane Bland. Shane has always hankered a desire to have a race of the type of car that his dad Gordon enjoyed so much success with in the seventies and eighties and to contrast just how different an ‘original’ National Hot Rod of the day compared with the space frame specials that he races today. He was certainly looking forward to racing Darren Owen’s spare car.

    Our third first time racer for 2015 was 275 Chris Caton. Chris, absolutely inundated with work this days had had no time to prepare his car this winter but realising that there was a meeting on and his presence appreciated, he cot the green light from understanding wife Donna to cancel a meal out they were going to take to go racing instead! “I will scrape the rust off the brake discs on the rolling lap!” Declared Caton.

    Making his return for 2015 was defending champion 6 Graham Fulker from Oxfordshire. Graham’s Anglia and kit defies his budget approach. He is very much a one man band who over the winter had completely rebuilt his Anglia and race engine. He has devised the car to be much more maintenance friendly this season with a bespoke front end fabricated by Tim Barnes and detachable front wings that are bolted in place just like a Morris Minors were back in the day. Also Fulker has built a mould to make new fibre glass wheel arches for his Anglia. The completed car looked fresh and new and is a real credit to Fulker.

    On track smartly before 6.30 in the evening bathed in spring sunshine, the drivers took their cars out for heat one. It was a race that turned the form book that had so for been established for 2015 on its head as the field, well spaced within grade, dispensed with the warm up laps and headed without no science in the opening laps of this twenty lap event. From this first time position as a white top C grader, Lumley wasted to time in getting into was smooth rhythm as establishing a comfortable lead. Indeed, such was the grade spacing that within a few laps, he had passed novice driver 265 Ray Harding and was within a few lengths of the star drivers at the rear of the field. It was refreshing to see such a different complexion to the race as to the first time in 2015, it was clear that National Points Champion 198 Andy Steward was not going to win this one. In fact it look Andy until three quarter distance to overcome an impressive drive from 31 Steve Gooding was racing from yellow grade. The man chasing valiantly the 58 car though was fellow B grader 275 Chris Caton. It was was the case of the home brew special chasing the factory prepared racer but Chris with rusty brakes and very second hand tyres did close the gap on Lumley.. But it was quite enough and Steve Lumley won a competent flag to flag career first CHR victory. “Even if I had caught him, I would never have had the grip to pass him!” Caton laughed in the pits afterwards.

    RESULT. Ht 1 58 Steve Lumley 275 198 31 121 20 144 8 6 42

    Heat two was almost and replay of heat one with Lumley once again taking the race from the front with Caton in pursuit. Andy Steward earmarked his intent for the championship by making sterner progress in this race overcoming other high grade opposition as the field swamped the hapless Gooding on this occasion. There was plenty of determined close racing as the top men impatiently sought for a way past the 31 car. Marriott dived and Foxlow took his favoured outside line. Charlie Schembri was put out of stride with some accidental contact from 8 Darren Owen with resulted in some clear kinks in Darren’s outside front wing, and although damage was less severe on the 121 car Schembri was a little displeased about the ‘rubbing’. As for Owen, Darren described the car as ‘more of a real hot rod’ with a few battle scars.

    RESULT. Ht 2 58 Steve Lumley 275 198 192 144 8 6 121 265 42

    The occasion took an atmospheric feel as the drivers came out for the twenty five lap Midland Championship Final in the post 8pm dusk. Bright paint jobs and polished sign work illuminated by the floodlights. The cars parked up against the fence to be summoned to their points order grid position. Naturally, as winner of both heats, 58 Steve Lumley lined up on pole position with second place finisher in the Heats 275 Chris Caton alongside. Row two was made up of 198 Andy Steward and 144 Tim Foxlow, and from this position it was clear that Steward would become favourite to take this title unless Foxlow could do something about it.

    It was a false start but the field swiftly came under instruction from the steward and lined up again. No problems for the second time of asking and the twenty five lap title race was underway. Lumley took them away with Caton scrabbling from grip on the outside. Steward made his time honoured lunge, dived for second, followed by Foxlow and Caton was regard to fourth within two laps. As expected, Steward at the wheel of the other SHP prepared machine used his guile, experience and authority to pressure Lumley and found the gap through turn four and Steward look the lead. Tim Foxlow in 144 followed through and for the next five laps a remarkable power struggle took place as the screaming Anderson Xflow sought to out drive the grunt of Steward’s Toovey Pinto. On the shorter tracks like Northampton though, it’s always the grunt out the corners that counts and remorselessly Steward began to pull away. Tim found himself defending his second place from the increasingly confident Lumley who has invested well in his classic hot rod commitment and will certainly make quite an impression this season. That’s the way it stayed to the flag with 8 Daz Owen catching Caton to nab fourth place, defending champion Fulker getting more in the swing of things recording a seventh and Shane Bland really getting to grips with the Owen Classic in the final and collecting eighth.

    RESULT. Midland Championship 198 Andy Steward 144 Tim Foxlow 58 Steve Lumley 8 275 192 6 42 20 121

    So despite a small field it was again Classic Hot Rods doing what they do best. Good close racing, good atmosphere both on and off the track, banter amongst the drivers and cakes from Racey Tracy Killick! A perfect night.

    Rob Hughes
    CHR PR