SEASON REVIEW 2015-2015

image CLASSIC HOT RODS SEASON REVIEW 2015 There was a lot to be pleased about the way the Classic Hot Rod formula progressed in 2015. There was great racing that took place at a sensible spectrum of tracks, and on balance those occurred in favourable weather. It was pleasing to see new drivers join the formula and they were made most welcome. The camaraderie which the formula has got increasingly well known for continued and the new drivers appreciated this a great deal. The formula continued its climb in popularity via social media and in the four years the Classic Hot Rod Page has operated on Facebook, the following has grown to over 11,250 with the page's ability to reach over 70,000 people. With the awareness of the formula's popularity and its ability to appeal not only to oval race fans young and old but also in a wider reaching capacity to the car owning public who can relate to older cars in general, we were delighted to be included this year's National Hot Rod World Final Speedweekend held at Ipswich at the end of June. This was the first time that the Classics had been included on the bill of the premier Rod weekend of the year as a fully competitive formula. The CHRS raced for their National Championship and in a race full of knife edge action and controversy, defending champion 333 Lee Wood retained the title and thus continued to display the gold roof on his famous HB Viva. The other major championship honour was for that of the Silver Roof for the CHR National Series Points Championship. After competing in all of the fourteen rounds, (a feat only matched by the commitment of the Nation's number two, 144 Tim Foxlow) this year's winner by an astounding margin of over 120 points was 198 Andy Steward. Incredible consistency and committed driving at every meeting awarding Donut eight heat wins and four finals. Included in those wins were the London Championship in March at Wimbledon and the Midland Championship at Northampton in April. THE CLASSIC HOT ROD ROLL OF HONOUR 2015 GOLD ROOF. National Champion 333 Lee Wood SILVER ROOF. National Series Points Champion 198 Andy Steward SILVER STRIPES. Irish Points Champion. 25 Trevor Cusack ST GEORGE CROSS. Bill Morris Memorial English Champion 45 Craig Boyd GREEN/GOLD CHEQUERS. Irish Grand Prix Champion 57 Mike Oliver Others Titles Best of Britain. 8 Darren Owen Midland Champion. 198 Andy Steward London Champion. 198 Andy Steward East Anglian Champion. 45 Craig Boyd (Craig also won the CHR Page most liked car of the car competition as voted by you fans after a closely fought season long contest with 162 Keith Chesher!) MEETING HIGHLIGHTS Wimbledon opened the CHR season on 22/3/15 with the London Championship. 11 cars attended including new drivers for 2015; 72 Gary Goodswen and 166 Dave Stephens. Northampton's CHR opener on 6/4/15 was remembered for all the wrong reasons when the final was voided due to 445 Graham Boyd misunderstanding steward instructions! 13 cars were present including first timers 265 Ray Harding and 14 Steve Stallwood. 275 Chris Caton put in an excellent performance in an ill set up car and the meeting was also remembered for two A40's racing with son Craig joining dad Graham with his all new Polleysport built car that had been shown off at the NEC in January. Northampton played host again just a fortnight later on 25/4 as 12 cars competed for the Midland Championship under the Saturday night floodlights. A meeting noted for National Hot Rod racer Shane Bland's CHR debut and a double race win for 58 Steve Lumley from C Grade. Attendance was up to 16 cars for Ipswich on the 2/5/15 for the Eat Anglian Championship. 161 Dan Holden returned to racing in a quest to re-advertise his Classic for sale and 247 Graham McCabe made his long long journey down from Scotland worthwhile due to his heat win. Hednesford finally opened up its CHR season on 25/5/15. Again 16 cars attended with returnees 57 Mike Oliver, 88 Dave Owen and 222 Shane Taylor amongst them. Oliver and Owen wasted no time in reacquainting themselves resulting in a crash that look out 192 Ken Marriott. 45 Craig Boyd continued in his rich vain of fortune that started at Ipswich and took his second final on the trot. Into the busy summer schedule the formula went as the drivers returned to the Hednesford Hills on 21/6/15 for the Bill Morris Memorial English Championship. Attendance shot up to 24 cars for this event with numbers boosted by Irish visitors 156 Gerry Rothwell, 100 Kevin Feeney and 175 Andt O'Donnell. New English faces were also welcomed in the shape of 721 Steve Kite and 210 Hughie Weaver whereas from Scotland came 3 Graeme Alister. 222 Shane Taylor had his best ever meeting to date with two heat wins and 45 Craig Boyd made history by taking his third final on the trot and this became Champion. Just a week later and it was the eager anticipated National Championship at Ipswich on a blazing hot Saturday afternoon and evening. 25 cars including the three Irishmen and first timer 48 Gary Farrington and one off returnee 16 Pat Smith. The huge crowd enjoyed fantastic racing all round and 265 Ray Harding had a meeting to remember winning his heat at this prestigious meeting just before his birthday! What a present! 333 Lee Wood retained Gold to popular acclaim. After the big attendances of high summer the numbers racing hit a low immediately after with just 8 at Birmingham on 11/7/15. But low numbers did not mean low quality racing. Again 275 Chris Caton was consistently good but the final stood out for the high speed crash of 144 Tim Foxlow with 45 Craig Boyd. Fortunately both cars could be repaired for the next meeting. 14 cars were at Northampton on the 16/8/15 which saw 210 Hughie Weaver whitewash the results with some incredible speed taking all three race wins. Again 14 at Hednesford on 31/8/15 for the first wet meeting of the year. It certainly put a different slant on things with 121 Charlie Schembri having his best meeting of the year with three 2nd place finishers. The meeting saw the long over due return of 24 Roger Wright but it was 159 Mick Caton who got it all together for an impressive final victory. Six visitors from the mainland, including first time CHR racer 162 Keith Chesher in a replica of his late father Malcolm's car, joined the seven Irish regulars for the Irish GP on 12/9/15. A fantastic meeting not only for the racing but also for the craic afterwards! The low point was visitor 159 Mick Catons crash in heat one, the high point 57 Mike Oliver's determined drive to win the Championship. The most notable car was the completed machine of 362 Austin Fitzgerald which looked to die for in its white livery with black highlights. Jamie Johnson (271) had a fantastic day at Hednesford on 27/9/15 getting the better of 17 other racers to win both heats. Heat couldn't catch wiley ol' 24 Roger Wright in the final though! 11 were at Birmingham on 10/10/15, a meeting which saw the debut of yet another new driver, 419 Dave Murphy. Low on numbers but high on action with a regrettable crash this time involving 58 Steve Lumley and 121 Charlie Schembri. Steward polished off another final victory. 18 were at the Fireworks meeting at Hednesford on the 1/11/15. 924 Stuart Wright made his long over due return at this meeting and 911 Harry Steward made his debut in one of the most stunning CHRs ever at the tender age of 16, duet with a very old head on young shoulders. Harry rounded the night with an incredible final sixth and showmanship reigned supreme with Lee Wood's neon headlights blazing! And final to the last mainland meeting of the year, the Best of Britain at Wimbledon on 15/11/15. Again 18 cars all looking magnificent under the powerful floodlights. Lee wood made the crowd wince in agony with his back straight crash in the B o B final and cheer with delight at Darren Owen's emphatic win. But what a drive from the back by Donut! 42 CHR drivers competed in England in 2015. The average attendance wax 14 cars. IRELAND Ireland was quite a success story of the CHR formula in 2015. Still at its fledgling stage, the formula got the support of SORA in the South and DMC in the north to put on three meetings a piece. The core of Irish drivers were incredibly committed with five of the six ROI drivers attending every meeting. The points championship was very close all year and it went to the wire at Aghadowey in October when it was decided on the last lap of the last race and 25 Trevor Cusack beat 175 Andy O'Donnell by just two points. 8 Irish drivers competed in 2015. The average attendance wax 6. I want to thank every driver who has competed in 2015. Your hard work, dedication, persistence, resilience and attention to detail in maintaining these old cars for racing throughout the season does not go unnoticed by Classic Hot Rods increasing number of fans. Steward and Foxlow maintained a 100% attendance all season, as did many an Irishman in their season. Schembri, Boyd Snr and Gooding also put in a high attendance. Spare a thought for 444 Gary Andrews who had an abysmal season but would not be knocked down only to come back for more. TOWARDS 2016 With more drivers either purchasing or building cars in England, Ireland and Scotland, the upwards potential for Classic Hot Rods continues. With an excellent working relationship with the Incarace/Spedeworth organisation the publicity factor will continue to be built. This year we had excellent publicity via displays at the NEC, Coventry Motofest and the Legends Day at Cowdenbeath Scotland as well as plenty of coverage on Downforce UK internet radio and via Classic Hot Rod TV which will enhance its Periscope Broadcasts and continue its YouTube Channel. This will continue for 2016 with two CHRs booked in for the Autosports Show in January and plans for Motofest and the Legends Day well in hand. We look forward also to a new Track for CHR next season as Lochgelly Raceway in Fife Scotland will host the CHR Scottish Open on 9th and 10th April in support of the National Hot Rod European. On top of the Downforce Radio and CHR TV coverage, the coolest cars on the ovals will also enjoy regular coverage in the high street newsagents thanks to Retro Ford Magazine, so get your subscription in now! 2015 was fantastic. 2016 is going to be awesome. It's going to be a Classic season! Rob Hughes CHR PR.

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