• Cowdy 12 05 18-18

    COWDENBEATH 12/5/18
    A triumph of matter of substance? The opening round of the Scottish Series could have been threatened with viability just days running up to the date of the meeting, but with drivers working hard and showing commitment above and beyond the level many could have expected, this Saturday night session, bathed in that unfamiliar thing – Scottish sunshine, proved to be pretty satisfying.
    With Alex Wilson, Matt MacPerson, Wullie Millar, Graham McCabe and John McFarlane still chasing all manner of practical things: time, logistics, costs, to enable the completion of their Classic Hot Rod builds and rebuilds, Kenny Purdie indisposed and Graeme Callender and Mike McKain on holiday, the Scottish CHR membership available took a real hit in advance of the Cowdenbeath meeting. Norfolk’s Gavin Taber, an arch fan of racing in Scotland, had said he was really looking forward to race. Despite the desperately long journey endured, Gavin has always found the welcome in Scotland to be warm, and he really enjoys racing round the super-fast Cowdenbeath oval. However, despite a journey of 500 mile in pursuit of replacement parts to give his Pinto a fighting chance of repair after it threw a wobbler at Aldershot, Taber found that time would still defeat the opportunity to fit it all back together and test it prior to the long journey. Gavin was understandably dejected, but the plan had always been for Gavin’s father Adrian to race as well! Taber Senior has enjoyed a roller coaster ride of his first season in Classic Hot Rods and the majority of his races had seen smooth accomplished racing gently accumulate early season points. A disastrous crash at Hednesford had required many man hours of work to put right, but after a quietly successful Aldershot, the 116 Zetec powered 105E Anglia was dialled in ready. So, #TeamTaber was still up for coming to Cowdenbeath! They may have been a car down, but they were still coming! North of the Border, Trevor Forrester and Brett Sneddon responded to the call. Trevor, nominally looking to put this season more on the back burner as he concentrates on business issues and home building, loaded his car and care of a stop off to Brett Sneddon’s place, the pair made their way to Cowdenbeath for a specially commissioned practice session on Friday afternoon to see if Trevor’s engine mis-fire could be cured, and Brett could dial in his Escort of a track he rarely races at. After an hour’s practice, and even more ‘trial and error’ electrical solutions sought at Brett’s garage later in the day, Forrester’s issue was still not fully cured – but he was still coming! Sneddon prefers Lochgelly, but for this meeting, he was still coming too! Adding their support, Keith Chesher, the first to book in, in the weeks prior, was really looking forward to racing at his favourite track and really opening up his newly competitive Pinto. Marc Spence was coming too, all the way down from Inverness to race his Pinto powered Talbot Sunbeam, and Jock Campbell too, his Mk2 Escort looking resplendent, was looking for to his first meeting of the year.
    So, six cars were present for the opening meeting. Two heats and a final under super springtime sunshine. The cars had been allowed to bunch perhaps a little more than they should as the CHRS settled into the rolling lap for the opening heat of the night, and when the green flag dropped it was always going to be a question of whether Sneddon caught Chesher. Keith, so long a driver beset with misfortune, mechanically or incident wise in his previous two seasons racing in Classics, now, finally, looked in his element. In other words he was flying, and in the bright evening sunshine his speed was a pleasure to watch for his great many fans who hold a strong affection for Keith having followed both his legendary late father, and then Keith himself for many years. Keith held the lead to half way, but at they point Brett caught him and through ‘Scotch Corner’ made a successful dive on the inside to cleanly take the lead. Keith was far from finished though and throughout the second half of the race tracked Brett’s every move and into the final lap made quite a stab of it to pinch the lead back! Brett was not to be denied though and the two tone blue 232 machine to its first win at Cowdenbeath.
    232, 162, 26, 756, 222, 116
    With the correct graded starting positions more firmly reinforced for Heat Two, Keith’s White Grade advantage was affirmed over Brett’s half lap chase from Red grade. Despite slicing through those ahead of him, including Jock Campbell, who is certainly no slouch, Sneddon found Chesher’s advantage in Heat two too great and Keith’s win was a dominant one. The post race smile on Keith’s face certainly confirmed why he is known as #TheChesherKat! Down the places, Adrian Taber was getting to grips with the peculiar racing line at the Racewall, and was pleased with his fifth place. Forrester however was indeed struggling with s misfire that was getting progressively worse with every lap.
    162, 232, 26, 756, 116, 222
    The Scottish Thistle was something Keith Chesher was in no way reluctant to grasp! He stole the meeting Final with another dominant display from the front! This however would be the final time that Keith would enjoy such and advantage. Next time out at a graded meeting, the 162 car will be starting in the Blue grade!
    162, 232, 26, 116. NOF
    In conclusion, a quiet affair true, but a triumphant night for Chesher – and for a change of fortune to be so forcibly displayed, he certainly deserved it. Stick with us Scottish fans, the numbers will be up next time out!


    Posted on by admin

    TIPPERARY 24/4/16

    The red carpet treatment was truly rolled out for the Classic Hot Rods at Tipperary on the 24th for the opening round of the Irish Series for 2016. The division was left in no doubt as to what high esteem it was held in by Damien Brennan, the man at the helm of the new promoting organisation for the fastest oval raceway in the Isles – Oval Racing International.

    Eleven Classics enrolled for the opening meeting which was held under favourable Irish Spring skies. The seven drivers from the Republic were joined by three from the Province and one from Scotland. Trevor Harris, the veteran racer who concerted from a long service career in BriSCA F2 who was famous for his travelling exploits, clearly intended to continue in the same vain upon joining the Classics. Truly enamoured by the speed of friendship he made with the visiting Irish contingent when they visited Lochgelly for the Scottish Open, #TrevTheRev made the arrangements to travel over to Ireland and meet up with Gerry Rothwell and crew for the journey down to Tipperary. He didn’t care that ‘it was a long way!’

    One Irish driver very disappointed on the morning of race day was 671 Alan #Leopard Leonard. Alan has built the most gorgeous of race cars in the form of an Opel Kadett but the his two litre pinto cried foul at the last minute and reluctantly the driver whose car had caused a flurry of interest on the Classic Hot Rod Facebook Page had to pull out.

    Alan was one of many new Irish faces joining CHR in 2016. Several, like Podge McQuaid and Damien Corrigan had already made their debuts in Scotland but delightfully there were still more breaking cover for the first time. Ulstermen 925 Gary O’Neill and 976 Clive Richardson arrived at Tipperary with stunning machinery. Richardson would be competing in the former Mike Oliver Mk2 Escort now sporting an RS2000 droop snoot and O’Neill was in the former Holden/Marriott Anglia which was now sporting Gary’s trade mark bright yellow livery. From Southern Ireland came 19 Anthony Morgan, with a Mk2 that looked like a beautiful Irish version of Andy Steward’s SHP car.

    The atmosphere in the pits was almost converging on one of a party prior to racing as the OMI supremo Brennan made himself busy personally welcoming every driver and Gerry’s wife Ann was busy in the Rothwell truck ensuring that many drivers were enjoying the comprehensive picnic she had laid on!

    The drivers were organised by former driver Paraic McCormack who laid on a clear prep talk prior to racing getting underway so everyone understood the respect that was to be expected out on the raceway. Following this was the grand parade with the drivers being introduced to the crowd, a crowd which appeared sizeably appreciable.

    All eleven were out for the twenty lap opening heat and after the installation laps the drop of the green saw Scottish visitor 12 Trevor Harris scream his Crossflow pleasingly and set off in the lead several car lengths ahead of 156 #Rocker Rothwell, who was driving the Kevin Feeney Escort, and #TheWhiteKnight 362 Austin Wilkinson. #TrevTheRev may well have been singing sweet, but the loudest music was coming from the Anderson built #Spanker in the engine bay of Thomas Dilly’s all red racer. Dilly, a returnee to CHR after several years in Nationals, had made his return with no half measures thanks to the purchase of Tim Foxlow’s famous Mk2, and now, following a triumphant third place in the Scottish open, here he was on the big fast Tipperary oval, spanking hard! Flying the outside line with aplomb, #TheDungannonCannon shot past FItzgerald and Rothwell and ate into Harris’s lead. As Morgan, Richardson and McQuaid duelled cleanly in their own private battle in the pack, 175 Andy O’Donnell sought gamely to chase the flying Dilly as the Ulsterman overhauled the Scotsman. Next up, defending Irish Points Champion 25 Trevor Cusack was giving it his all in an experimentally geared car… In an experiment which was clearly feeling not satisfactory! With the retirement of O’Neill and Rothwell and the spinning of Corrigan all on his own, Dilly extended his lead as Harris and Fitzgerald slipped down the field. In spite of a split second distraction which caused Dilly to ride the Tipperary wall when adjusting the brake bias, he was lucky to get away with it and take a clear and confident victory.

    HEAT ONE RESULT : 966, 175, 25, 10, 19, 976, 362, 12, 43

    Heat two followed a similar speedy patten to heat one but for a remarkable performance by #GoDaddy 10 Podge McQuaid. McQuaid, in only his second meeting in Classic Hot Rods was racing like he had lived in his green and black Escort for years. Coming from the back, he scalped fellow ‘novices’ O’Neill and Morgan and then incredibly got the better of the Points Champion Cusack. Admittedly, Cusack was struggling with the wrong gears, but nevertheless Podge was driving like he stole it, taking his nearest challenger #TheDiggerMan 976 Clive Richardson with him. The challenge from the all orange machine was strong but not only did the 10 pilot fend it, he even drove away in the latter part of the race. Dilly won a quarter lap clear of O’Donnell but there was McQuaid enjoying the highs of racing with a superb third!

    HEAT TWO RESULT : 966, 175, 10, 976, 25, 925, 19, 12, 362, 156, 43

    Good fortune deserted Podge McQuaid in the Final as engine problems caused his retirement in the early laps. As per the heats, the Scotsman Harris set the early pace, but impressively, Gerry Rothwell came back at Trevor and by lap eight the 156 car swept up the inside of 12 and the backbone of the Irish scene was now at the head of affairs. Gerry’s lead however was momentary as on came Thomas Dilly in the screaming #Spanker. Again the Northern Irishman was dominating but the challenge this time was closer by the local hero #TheIrishWolfhound O’Donnell in 175. As Rothwell as Harris again began to give way to the chasing field, Morgan and O’Neill continued the battle they had had all meeting, but this time the big battle involved 25 Trevor Cusack and 976 Clive Richardson. Their battle was especially close, side by side. It came to a climax in the final laps as the passed Rothwell. Through turn three and out of four, #TheDiggerman went for the outside, #TheIrishThoroughbred the inside. Gerry was squoze and had no option but to take the centre line as all three made a ‘three wide’ onto the home straight. The blue and orange machines clashed arches and Clive backed off. Cusack was through but a blue and grey plume was ominously escaping the black 25 and with the engine failure, Trevor dived for the infield. The final laps were fortunately without further incident and a delighted Thomas Dilly celebrated his triple with donuts!

    FINAL RESULT : 966, 175, 976, 925, 19, 362, 43, NOF

    The opening meeting of the Irish Series was deemed by all to have been a tremendous success, not least by the promotion itself. The overall meeting had been slick, well organised and well presented and Classic Hot Rods are already looking forward to our return in July!

    Rob Hughes
    CHR PR




    LOCHGELLY 9/4/16 & 10/4/16


    What a welcome the Classic Hot Rods received when they travelled from near and very far indeed for the inaugural CHR Scottish Open. The weather was kind when everyone was expecting a deluge, the fans were delighted and the promotion was the slickest the Classic racers had ever encountered. All this made the key components of what was going to be an epic weekend.

    Many had undertaken their journey as early as Thursday. Charlie and his from Buckinghamshire got their heads down half way through their 400 mile journey north in Carlisle before continuing early Friday morning. Irish Points Champion Trevor Cusack did similar, having to travel the entire length of Ireland from Co Cork to Belfast to firstly make the ferry, then travel across the width of Scotland to arrive in the Kingdom of Fife with is usual Irish jocularity un diminished!

    A spectacularly impressive 22 teams arrived to compete at Lochgelly. Four came from Scotland, with Graham McCabe, so long the only Scottish competitor, revelling in the fact that he only had twenty miles to travel, whereas usually it is hundreds! An achingly delightful eight racers came from Ireland, with Gerry Rothwell particularly instrumental in being the powerhouse of car building in Co.Meath over the winter and arranging the Irish convoy. Of course the reminder were the English competitors, with #Deadly Daz Owen leaving it till Saturday morning to make is way north from his Midlands base.

    Never before had CHR had such a solid representation of Nationalities congregate of a meeting and it spoke volumes from the superb progress the class is making all over the Anglo-Celtic Isles.

    The drivers were naturally in the Lochgelly pits in plenty of good time for competition on the Saturday with all making very positive comments on how much they were impressed by the tarmaced paddock area and they indoor scrutineering bay. Everything about Lochgelly looked so professional and organised and, indeed, tidy. There were plenty of staff and officials, all in staff coats and uniforms, there was the building were entry tickets were purchased which compared to what many fans were used to, looked like the entry to a cinema, and their was even an employee collecting litter during the meeting! Everything about Lochgelly looked the part and all drivers were saying so.

    The challenge though was getting used to the track. In hot rod terms, this shorter oval with irregular bends was challenging and it was going to take the quick and the brave to establish whether they had chosen the best gearing ratios for the unfamiliar oval, and learn the fastest way round and discover if there was also a workable outside line.

    Practice was fully utilised by the visiting CHR drivers on both Friday and Saturday, and although some racers like Schembri and Scotsman Keith Chesher would have been very happy if their rain dance had worked, the majority had their setting right, in bright and dry conditions, for the first of four qualifying heats on Saturday evening.

    Naturally, all twenty two competitors took to the oval for heat one, and what a full field it looked! The installation laps, where cars show they are ready for racing and take the opportunity to inject some heat in their Avon Tyres proved all too brief and inconsequential as so many cars on such a short track really denied any opportunity to but any power down.

    Nevertheless, all cars were ready and the first qualifying heat, racing over twenty laps burst into life. Ireland’s 156 Gerry Rothwell, piloting is distinctive Aqua green 100E Anglia, the oldest style of car racing in CHRs, broke into an impressive early lead. Fellow row one starter 31 Steve Gooding was soon swallowed up by the rest of the field which was headed by Ulsterman 966 Thomas Dilly, at the wheel of the former Tim Foxlow ‘Spanker’ and local man 247 Graham McCabe. Whilst the Irishman and the Scotsman ballot led closely all through the race, 911 Harry Steward was the prime mover, and once past the battling Celts, the youngest driver in CHRs led the race. With Darren Owen, Andy Steward and Hughie Weaver engaged in their own mid race battle, it looked like Harry was on his way to his first ever win in Classics. His undoing however was an errant spin of back marker 24 Roger Wright. Harry crossed the line first but was penalised for contact by the steward of the meeting. The win therefore went to Scotsman Graham McCabe who in the last lap had got the better of #The DungannonCannon Dilly, by powering around the outside of the red Mk2, and to natural appreciation of the big crowd at Lochgelly, a delightful #Proclaimer look his lap of honour, grinning all the way!

    247, 198, 966, 72, 210, 8, 445, 924, 175, 232

    The damaged Roger Wright was absent from heat two, but his nemesis, young #Harold Harry Steward was out once again amongst the ‘A’ grade starters to prove, that his time, imbued with the confidence in his own ability and the power of an all new Toovey race engine provided by former National Hot Rod World Champion Malcolm Blackman, that he had what it takes to this time make it count. It was a very exciting race with Rothwell once again leading Gooding from the off and McCabe and Dilly resuming the battle they had in heat one. It proved to be a brief contest however on this occasion as Dilly, the only Crossflow powered car present, suddenly died on the back straight baulking McCabe who was hot on his tail. This allowed a train of top grade racers to pass in predominantly their red coloured race cars, headed by Steward junior. As Weaver, Goodswen and Owen battled for mid pack dominance, #Harold in 911, swept up the leader #Rocker Rothwell and from there he was away, engine singing sweetly, and he began to extend his lead. This momentum was suddenly terminated thanks to a crash in the chasing pack. The Red train of 72, 210 and 8 had successfully got by the Avenger of #TheGoodGuy 31 Steve Gooding but was caught off balance as he sought to return to the inside line of the back straight and was caught by Irishman 175 Andy O’Donnell. The 31 car swung fence-ward and proceeded to slide down the plating with a sickening crunch. The yellow flags came out and the stricken Avenger was returned to the pits looking very sorry for itself. The restart saw the all red train resume and as Weaver, Goodswen and Owen returned to battle, this allowed Harry to get away. An interesting counterpoint was the battle in the remaining laps between 247 Graham McCabe, 198 Andy Steward, 924 Stu Wright and 232 Brett Sneddon. Graham just sat there making those around him really work for it. If they wanted to pass they would have to take the outside line! A frustrated Steward looked far from his normally invincible self in this race and was in turn under intense pressure from #TheWrightStuff and new boy 232 Brett Sneddon joining the fray. Sneddon, in the former Lee Holden Mk2, first time in CHR competition, looked very impressive, using his extensive Lochgelly track knowledge and previous Stock Rod experience to the full. The chequered dropped to Steward who won his first ever race, this time cleanly trouncing the opposition.

    911, 210, 8, 72, 445, 198, 247, 924, 232, 25

    The third and final heat of the Saturday evening proceedings saw an absence of C grade competitors and consequently Graham McCabe and Thomas Dilly headed the line up. Upon the drop of the green the Ulsterman got the drop on the Scot and the shrill scream of the Anderson Crossflow could be heard as it headed the field. Yellows came out within two laps to come of the assistance of the beleaguered #RogerTheDodger 24 Roger Wright who had crashed across the infield curbs on turn one, losing a rear wheel in the process and caused Points Champions #Donut 198 Andy Steward and #TheIrishThoroughbred 25 Trevor Cusack to take avoiding action. As the yellow Mk1 of Wright was recovered to the pits, Steward also returned to the paddock with panel damage and handling issues. Cusack was ready for the re-start which saw DIlly lead McCabe and the fastest man on the track 911 Harry Steward. #Harold worked the outside line brilliantly and shot past McCabe making the Scotsman look pedestrian and then driver of the Red Devil Anglia set about the #DungannonCannon in 966. For two laps they raced side by side, with neither prepared to give way to the other. They momentum was unbalanced in lapping #PenelopePitsop Kara Boyd in 44, forcing Harry to turn across Dilly’s path. They both snaked down the back straight and Steward desperately sought to put the battle to bed and take the lead diving across the path of Dilly who promptly T-boned him. Fortunately, both drivers quickly recovered as McCabe and Goodswen shot through but Dilly was quick to retire with tracking problems. In the pack #TheMusicMan 210 Hughie Weaver clashed with the now ragged Steward junior causing damage to both whilst #TheCowboy 445 Graham Boyd, under attack from 8 #Deadly Daz Owen, chased hard after Goodswen and McCabe. Once again the Classics proved that with Avon Tyres there certainly is an outside line at Lochgelly, as Goodswn did the trick on McCabe and look the lead. Behind, Boyd seemingly took exception to the manner of the challenge Owen was putting in and anchored up to howls of shock and delight from the crowd. Incredibly a major crash was avoided and both 445 and 8 continued. By now #TheNorfolkBoy 72 Gary Goodswen was away and became the third different winner ahead of McCabe and 924 Stuart Wright. In a race of attrition it was heartening to see 44 Kara Boyd and #TheOmen 43 Damien Corrigan record their first CHR points of their careers.

    72, 247, 924, 8, 25, 43, 44, NOF

    After a very enjoyable social evening when many of the drivers congregated together to drink and joke the night away, Championship day arrived with grey and threatening skies. After a hearty breakfast the competitors arrived in good time at the track for final adjustments and practice. Even Kara Boyd was ready, make up still on face, after partying in Dunfirmline until five in the morning!

    The final qualifying heat was the first race of the day with the racers taking to a damp and greasy track which was beginning to dry as the grey clouds and rain headed out to sea. The different track conditions clearly suited some drivers more than others. Rothwell led them away and led for laps until Thomas Dilly took over, looking very comfortable. Weaver was the man in the groove and the oldest man on the raceway made short shrift of passing the youngest, Harry Steward, whose car looked far from happy in the damp. As Weaver set about chasing down Dilly, #Harold succumbed to the dual Escort challenge of Daz Owen and uncle Andy in 198. All three passed McCabe with outside passes as Weaver challenged Dilly in a similar move. In the final laps some fantastic side by action took place as the battle was on for the lead, but on the final lap it it all came unstuck for #TheDungannonCannon as the battling duo sought to pass the now lap down #Rocker Rothwell in the perilously tight exit to turn two. Weaver had no choice but to squeeze on Dilly as they dived for space on the inside of 156 only for the two Irishmen to make contact and Dilly went skating over the infield kerb and spun out of the race! Weaver was now the fourth different winner of the weekend.

    210, 8, 198, 911, 72, 445, 924, 247, 100, 232

    Such a degree of variance in race results made for a fascinating points order line up in the inaugural Scottish Open Championship Final for the Classic Hot Rods.

    INSIDE. 72. 247. 445. 924. 25. 121. 44. 162. 10
    OUTSIDE. 8. 911. 210. 198. 966.100. 232. 43

    Goodswen earned poll thanks to a heat win and a consistent performance, Owen on his outside even without a win, but high places in all heats. McCabe was delighted to be boxing above his weight with an inside row two start whereas pre-meeting favourite Andy Steward was languishing on row four.

    In a superb clean and fast race, #Deadly Darren Owen wound up car 8 to get the drop on 72 Gary Goodswen as the green was shown and powered the outside line to take the lead. The train proceeded in the early laps with 911 Steward challenging Goodswen and McCabe racing on the limit. As 911 past 72 , 210 Hughie Weaver was coming like a train from the second block of starters with #Donut hanging on to the old man’s shirt tails. Beyond the mid way point in the race, as Goodswen was slipping down the field and Dilly was on his way forward, Weaver managed to ‘rub’ McCabe wide but as Steward Senior tried to follow, his ‘rub’ caused the 198 car to veer fencewards. Evasive action unbalanced the SHP built machine and as Stu Wright went for the gap on the apex of turn one and two he spun the hapless #Donut. With the exit of uncle Andy, nephew Harry went on the attack for the lead and racing out of his skin caught the Owen juggernaut. But just as the challenge was starting to go in, out came he yellows for Stu Wright who had crashed the plating on the home straight! The drivers were able to gather their thoughts as the 924 car was returned to the paddock. The re-start was all about whether Harry had it in him to out race the experienced Owen to the flag. Well, for a lap he tried, but the engine went ‘tight’ and with 911 retiring to the infield the race was over and Owen was off the hook and clear to the flag. The last time he raced Owen took a championship, and on his return his Deadly Warhorse had taken him to another. It was a red car white wash with 210 Hughie Weaver second and Ulster’s 966 Thomas Dilly delighted with third.

    8, 210, 966, 72, 247, 445, 121, 43, NOF

    The weekends superb racing was rounded off in the All Comers Finale in an almost poetic balance with 247 Graham McCabe taking a flag to flag victory to plenty of cheers from the Scottish fans. Darren Owen capped a top weekend for him with a closely paced second with 100 Kevin Feeney recording his best ever race abroad with third. But the story of the race was new driver 232 Brett Sneddon. In a race from the tail of the grid the CHR ‘novice’ scalped Boyd and Goodswen on his way to an incredible fourth.

    247, 8, 100, 232, 72, 445, 25, 175, 43, 44

    The drivers made it clear that they loved the weekends racing at Lochgelly, and such was the impression the Hottest Stars in the Coolest Cars made on the race fans and the promotion that the green light was given to commence a six round Scottish series in 2017.

    Good news begets good news!

    Let’s keep it going!

    Rob Hughes
    CHR PR

  • NORTHAMPTON 19/3/16-19316



    NORTHAMPTON 19/3/16

    A cold and crisp early spring night welcomed thirteen CHR competitors to the East Midlands venue of Northampton as part of the ‘Turning Back The Clock’ meeting which also featured the Heritage F2 Stockcars and the Historic Saloon Stockcars.

    An attractive nights racing was put on in dry conditions were the speed of these smartly turned out race cars only had their speed and classy appeal accentuated by the brightness of the stadium floodlights.

    Every driver had there reason to be featured. Double National Series Champion 198 Andy #Donut Steward was debuting his immaculate state of the art race car built by Sonny Howard Preparations. Andy immediately demonstrated in practice that the car was already dialled in demonstrating incredible speed particularly through the corners. As the cars slowed at the end of practice the #Donut machine received an accidental clout from another competitor (fortunately to very little damage) but Steward was both jocular and philosophical. “Won’t be the first and it won’t be the last!” he declared.

    The other driver to receive the most attention from fans in pit lane was a CHR debutant. Team Boyd had a new addition to the Classic Hot Rod team in the form of Graham’s daughter and Craig’s sister, the diminutive, breezy and feisty Kara Boyd. Already an experienced racer care of junior rods and Lightning Rods, Kara, racing under the number 44, enters CHRs in 2016 in her eighth season of racing at the age of twenty! Her car had been the talk of the formula. A pinto powered BMC Woolsley built by Pollysport, this race car shaped and period painted to perfection is a real peach and arguably the car of the Autosports Show at the NEC in January where the car first broke cover. It was only on the Wednesday before the meeting that Kara took the car to Northampton for practice and following an impressive turn of speed with the pinto sounding sweet, team Boyd then took the car to Birmingham Wheels and Kara was swiftly signed off in her assessment after eight swift laps! “I’m so pleased with the car.” Kara said. “The grip the tyres give me is amazing compared to what I have been used to in Lightning Rods.”

    Another new driver to welcome to the formula at Northampton was the driver of the yellow and blue Mk2 that had been through the hands of Graham McCabe and Chris Caton: racing under number 4, Karl #Dudley Jones was making his debut. Seasoned in assisting Karl Boardley racing in National Hot Rods and on the big circuits, and crafting his own racing career in seasons past in 1600 and two litre hot rods, Karl was making a return to racing for fun in a very smart repanelled machine and it was clear in practice that he would have no problem settling in.

    Also worthy of note was the revamped a refreshed Anglia of 101 Johna Bowring. The car looked absolutely superb in its new midnight blue and pearlescent grey combination topped off with stunning graphics fro TW Signs.

    So to the racing and with the first regrading of the season, Brighton’s #FamilyGuy 419 Dave Murphy was honoured to the the privilege of pole position for the evening as the meeting’s lone C grader. Dave, so called #TheFamilyGuy due to his prominent tattoos which declare a love and dedication to his family, took his superbly presented Anglia out on track. It had been touch and go if he was able to make the meeting in the days preceding as a hairline crack had been found and repaired in the engine head. Buoyed by the support he has received from John Jackson of BTA Car Sales and Misty Racing, Murphy was hoping for a good night.

    With the drop of the green Murphy headed the field. There was a scary moment when 72 Gary Goodswen accidentally spun 721 Steve Kite. Fortunately the field skilfully avoided the stricken #BlackKnight and the race continued with Kite tagging on at the back of the field. Murphy hung on for an impressive eight laps before Harry Steward forced his way by quickly followed by Andy Steward. Steward senior made short work of passing 911 and #Donut went on to take his fourth victory of the year and the first in his brand new car winning ‘straight out the box.’ Aside from Steward’s victory, the most impressive out there was 924 #TheWrightStuff Stuart Wright. Booted with tyres well beyond their sell by date, Wright had set the car up in a manner that forced him to drive the car hard and get every once of grip out of those tyres in a car perfectly balanced. It was delight to watch Stuart challenge and pass those ahead using the outside line. Boyd, Bowring, Goodswen and Murphy were picked off lap after lap and his third place was considered the drive of the night.

    HEAT ONE RESULT: 198, 911, 924, 72, 445, 101, 419, 4, 721, 44

    Heat two was a race of a similar complexion but with a refreshing result. Confidence further boosted by his early laps success in heat one, but also his annoyance at letting things slip in the final laps, #TheFamilyGuy Dave Murphy cut a fine swathe from the drop of the green. But taking full advantage of the absence of Kite with shock absorber damage as a result of his heat one spin, and Steward junior’s early laps demise thanks to a busted gearbox, #TheNorfolkBoy 72 Gary Goodswen showed greater speed in heat two and cleanly took the lead from Murphy and began to open up a significant gap. #Donut inexplicably took longer to settle into his stride in this race and ahead of him once again the 924 Pilot from Cheshire was once again proving that he was made of #TheWrightStuff! With a sweeping flamboyant style Stuart Wright once again out braked and out paced Graham Boyd and Johna Bowring before taking a sudden sweep to the inside to pass Dave Murphy. Stu’s second place was short lived however as the Double National Champion followed through before blasting past Wright thanks to his powerful Toovey engine, newer rubber, and of course a car set up to take advantage of both attributes. However, such was Goodswen’s lead that even on this occasion, the gap was to great to bridge and Andy had to give second best to a delighted #NorfolkBoy, taking a victory made all the more sweet thanks to Hot Rod Grid Girl Molly Dutton being present to issue the trophies to all CHR victors on this chilly Spring night.

    HEAT TWO RESULT: 72, 198, 924, 419, 101, 445, 121, 4, 31, 44

    Just eleven cars made it out for the 25 lap Final. One who was relieved to make it out was new CHR driver 4 Karl Jones as #Dudley had dropped his exhaust from its mountings in catching it on a pit lane pot hole! With seconds to spare Karl had successfully re-attached the exhaust and made it out just in time! Equally happy to be out was the junior duo of team Boyd. Craig had had a shocking night so far with gremlins resulting in DNFs in both heats. Kara, the #PenelopePitstop of CHR, has suffered with air in her brakes all evening and had nearly frightened herself to death on the opening lap of heat one by just avoiding running up the back of her brother’s race car!

    It was a race that ran to form. #Donut was dominant – ultimately, though he was initially involved in a warm up lap errant contact with 121 Charlie Schembri which unfortunately resulted in #TheItalianStallion retiring with damaged steering. Once racing actually commenced #Donut had to dig deep using all his guile and speed to catch #TheNorfolk Boy Gary Goodswen who had once again overhauled #TheGoodGuy 31 Steve Gooding and then Dave Murphy’s early laps lead and had built himself up quite a cushion at the head of affairs. Finally, Craig Boyd, known as #TheKartingKid due to his career of acting crew chief for career Kartists in the USA, had a ride under him that this time, although nor perfectly handling, was at least behaving. Craig did his level best to stay with #Donut but Andy’s pace was just too strong. Although successful in following Steward past 924, 101 and 419, Boyd could not match Andy’s pace, and thanks to the extra laps in a Final, Steward had to time to reel in Goodswen. Molly Dutton was on hand to present the chequered flag and trophies to three very pleased gentlemen!

    FINAL RESULT: 198, 72, 45, 419, 101, 924, 4, 445, 44

    So ended a tidy little meeting which saw Andy Steward effectively dominate proceedings again, thus benchmarking his favourite status as we go north to Lochgelly Raceway in the Kingdom of Fire in Scotland to the Scottish Open Championship on the 9th and 10th of April. Will anyone be capable of stopping in at CHR’s official Scottish debut? Be sure not to miss being there to find out!

    Rob Hughes
    CHR PR

  • WIMBLEDON 21/2/16-21216



    WIMBLEDON 21/2/16

    The opening meeting of the Classic Hot Rod season proved to be an outstanding success. Thirteen classics made their way to south London to put on a show, which in the context of the of the overall slick presentation of the evening’s events set against the background of the iconic stadiums’s impending future, which felt memorable and indeed historic.

    With the continual rise in the popularity of the CHRs, channeled through the successful platform of social media, Dean Cox, PR of Spedeworth, had been very early to realise the leverage of such a marketable Motorsport. The end result had been the creation of relations between the promotion and Retro Ford Magazine, and we at Classic Hot Rods were delighted that the magazine took on the sponsoring of the meeting.

    With a regular feed of publicity, the expectation was for a good crowd at Wimbledon eagerly anticipating not only some top class racing, but to see the return of the Legends of Hot Rod racing, Barry Lee, Mick Collard and George Polley, together with the best Scottish driver of the era, Kenny Ireland. With the impending fate of Wimbledon stadium, it seemed fitting that on this night, these legends would come together one final time and be there to revive the memories of the halcyon era of the seventies – a true Golden Age in oval racing, and for the Classic Hot Rods to provide some 21st Century action in these iconic race cars which so many people, young and old, can relate to.

    To the reverberating rasp, roar, and rumble, the seven Anglias, two A40’s and four Escorts made there way out on track through the famous Wimbledon tunnel. With engines deliberately revved to emit a snarl, the crowd clearly enjoyed the sight of the Classic Hot Rods coming out on track as they prepared for Heat One.

    All drivers were keen and ready for this race, none more so than Scotsman Trevor Harris who had left his Kinglassie base in Fife on Saturday to make the journey “whey doown teh Englandshire” a two day affair. A warm and genuinely funny guy, Trevor, now nicknamed ‘Revver Haggis’ by the CHR fraternity, was keen to try the pace of his Crossflow powered Anglia for the first time in the dry. His first meeting at Lochgelly in early Feb was in typical Scottish rain!

    Fellow Anglia racers Steve Kite and Ray Harding were equally keen. Both cars looked polished and resplendent, still looking new after their trip to Blackpool to promote the CHR cause at the North West Rally Stages indoor show. Ever the showman, Ray Harding had purchased a neat little piece of kit for his green and white Anglia; a neon blue Ford badge brake light, that was mounted pride of place in his car’s rear window. “What do you think of that?” Ray said proudly to his mate and on track rival Steve Kite. “Beautiful,” Kite remarked, “though just as well I’d seen it now, as I’ll never see it on track!!” The penny dropped on Harding as Kite darted for the safety of his van!

    Steve himself was also feeling well pumped in readiness for racing. Such had been the compliments his Anglia had received in Blackpool, and the number of ‘likes’ his car receives on the Classic Hot Rod Facebook page, that Kite has taken on his new nickname in readiness for the new season – ‘The Black Knight’ with joyful aplomb!

    Taking the task far more seriously was the young ‘Red Devil’ of Harry Steward. With a driving style matching the hot intent of the underworld, with the car’s deep lustful livery to match, the Steward team have made it clear that they race to enjoy, but the best enjoyment is winning, particularly if it means beating uncle Andy Steward! Harry lined up for heat one, for the third and final time as a tail grid novice, determined to show all and sundry that he was certainly no novice!

    With the green flag dropping on the opening race of the 2016 Classic Hot Rod season, pole sitter Kite found his progress slightly impeded by the pace car’s dive for the infield and outside row one starter Dave ‘The Gent’ Stevens wasted no time in powering his pinto powered Mk1 Escort, a car first driven by non other than Barry Lee when it was first built in 2004, into an early lead. In the opening laps the166 pilot enjoyed an advantage of several cars length and Kite defended from a challenge from Harding who in turn was being hounded by 72 Gary Goodswen. The story of the race however was the storming of the field by non other than the most successful driver in CHR in recent years, current National Series Points Champion 198 Andy Steward. Donut’s pace and forceful style was undeniable round Wimbledon. He is incredibly fast and he makes it stick lap after lap. In catching English Champion Craig Boyd napping in the opening laps, Andy roared past John Bowring and Ray Harding, eased out Goodswen and said goodbye to The Gent and the Black Knight with relative ease. Not that Andy had it easy though, oh no, with Boyd hanging on to his shirt tails as if in a high wind, 45 was set to challenge at very opportunity and Red Devil Harry was right there too. It was certainly no easy victory – indeed it was one hell of a race!

    HEAT ONE RESULT: 198, 45, 911, 72, 166, 721, 265, 924, 445, 271

    Following the legendary Fab Four’s stadium entrance and on mike repartee, with Barry Lee being, well, Barry Lee (!), the Classics returned for heat two. It was a race of different proportions to the first. True, Stevens again got the better of Kite on the drop of the green but this time Goodswen was able to take the lead in this race and hold it for several laps before the inevitable charge came from Andy Steward. With Boyd a retiree early in the race with starter motor problems it was though that Harry would chase his uncle all the way. Indeed early laps seemed to suggest this until he attempted to follow his uncle past the battling pair of angry Anglias driven by 924 Stuart Wright and 101 John Bowring. Caught on the outside line, Bowring and Wright gave no quarter to the young Devil. That though the three way fight for the lower places with Harry side by side with Wright and then Bowring, bore all the hallmarks of a fascinating hot rod clash, young Steward left the track clearly frustrated with his eighth place!

    HEAT TWO RESULTS: 198, 72, 166, 721, 265, 101, 924, 911, 445, 419

    The London Championship Final followed the match race between Leapy and Duffy, a sight to warm the heart of every seasoned hot rod fan. The fact that Duffy managed to rub the back of the 351 replica, owned by current CHR National Champion Lee Wood, not only illustrated the old boys zest for the old days, but brought a rye smile to Lee Wood’s face. “I’ll not repair the dent,” Wood remarked, “this is character, it’s added value to the car!” Wood promptly had the legends autograph the boot lid by the dent for posterity!

    So to the London Championship itself. If the heats were good, the final, raced still in graded order, proved to be an absolute belter. The Black Knight was determined that in this race he was not going to be beaten by “the damn pace car!” and in flooring the accelerator at the drop of the green 721 avoided the pace car, held his line as hard and as fast as he could into the bends, and this time out powered Dave Stevens . ‘Kite the Knight’ was roaring like a typhoon into an early lead and was desperate to hang on. He lead the race for five or six laps, holding out challenges from Harding, who spun out, and Goodswen. But on the arrival of the 198 car, Kite had no answers and was swept aside. Forced to the outside line, the train followed through, most notably led by Craig Boyd with Harry Steward in tow. The final laps of the twenty lap event saw Boyd try every trick in the book to try and unsettle Donut Steward, but the veteran stoutly held his line and a blanket could have been thrown over the top three as they crossed the line. The crowd just lapped it up!

    LONDON CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL RESULT : 198, 45, 911, 924, 721, 445, 101, 166, 265, 419

    So, the Classics raced at the grand old lady of Stadium racing in London for what appears, sadly, to have been the last time. But what a note to race out on; the Hottest a Stars in the Coolest Cars, giving it all in front a packed, appreciative crowd and witnessed by the finest, most Legendary drivers in the history of the sport. It is of little wonder that Dave Murphy, still a new driver to the sport who had his third and final meeting from novice grade on this night in a drop dead gorgeous race car, summed up his thoughts in a most perfect way, “I may be way out of by depth, but I’m SO in my element!”
    Rob Hughes
    CHR PR




    TIPPERARY 18/7/15

    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



    BIRMINGHAM. 11/7/15.


    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.

    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.

    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!

    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