HEDNESFORD 30 02 2016-2016

CLASSIC HOT ROD RACE REPORT ENGLISH SERIES ROUND 6 HEDNESFORD 30/5/16. THE SPRING CLASSIC A seventeen car attendance at the spiritual home of Hot Rod racing in sunny warm spring weather. A variety of cars, new faces, returning faces, all in good spirits. No wonder the opening meeting at Hednesford was called the Spring Classic! With Dave Owen’s return to racing thwarted by his wife’s trip to hospital after an ice skating accident the previous day, Graham Boyd a non racer courtesy of sitting on the naughty step after post race drama the previous meeting at Ipswich and Gary Goodswen missing his first meeting since the start of the season, the seventeen car attendance was still the largest attendance the CHR series has had so far this year. It was pleasing to see 24 Roger Wright return after his nasty crash at Lochgelly, 265 Ray Harding was also returning after a few meetings absence and was really looking forward to this, his Hednesford debut. Scotsman 232 Brett Sneddon had raced at the Staffordshire Oval before, but today would be the first at the wheel of a Classic. 257 Andrew Willis continued to attract interest with his super looking little budget racer Austin A30 and the fellow yellow liveried car of 20 Dave Fry had ditched his experimental Crossflow and plumbed for Pinto power once again. Local man 8 Darren Owen was keeping his fingers crossed for a good day as he has promised his son James a trophy and a ride in the pace car if he won today to celebrate his son’s eighth birthday! But the biggest news belonged pre racing belonged to the season debutants. Cheshire’s 222 Shane Taylor, known as #TheOutlaw thanks to his first name(!) had, with his son Matthew, been quietly beavering away over the winter and early spring on his all new Ford Escort Mk2. Resplendent in bright yellow (what another one??) with black highlights, Taylor had produced a strikingly clear, no nonsense machine. Both he and Matthew however still had last minute work to complete with a new bottom arm for the outside front wheel being fitted in just the nick of time. The required part was provided by Tick Steward in another fine example of drivers helping each other out. The coupe de grace came from double National Champion Lee Wood, #ThePrinceOfPop. The driver of the famous 333 HB Viva had worked miracles. Since his horrific crash at Wimbledon, it has been the considered opinion that the stunning Viva in its DTV colour scheme had effectively been written off. And yet, here she was, beautiful and sinister in a gun mettle colour scheme with orange and silver contrast. The work Wood had put into the rebuild effectively made what we saw at Hednesford – a brand new car. The entire front end had been rebuilt from the chassis legs upwards. The wings and bonnet had been especially made from fibre glass using originals to make the mould. The front valance was hand made. The list goes on, and Lee, in the run up to the meeting, had had little in the way of sleep, so desperate was he to make this meeting’s deadline. But the result looked superlative and Wood maintained his pinnacle reputation as a bespoke builder of race cars. All seventeen cars made onto track for heat one as the fans basked in the warm afternoon sunshine and into the opening of the twenty racing laps front row starter 31 #TheGoodGuy Steve Gooding made a promising start at the wheel of his Hillman Avenger. The B graders of #TheLittleGreenMonster Harding and #TheWycombeWanderer 101 Jono Bowring were soon challenging, but their momentum was initially thwarted by a spinning 333 Lee Wood getting tagged by 210 Hughie Weaver. #TheMusicMan came off the worst and under caution retired to the infield. On the restart the Anglia racing duo were soon joined by 911 #Harold in his #RedDevil. The attack of the trio of Anglias looked like a swoop of Spitfires diving for the kill homing in on Gooding’s bomber, but the three seemed to get in each other’s way as soon as they had the 31 in their sights. Harding in particular was looking very impressive in the early laps in his very first Hednesford race, choosing a brave sweeping outside line. After two or three attempt his style as about to bear fruit as he went high to get his nose ahead through turn three. But as soon as he was there the 265 car began to slow and poor Ray was at a complete stop, exposed at the end of the home straight. Something that was later diagnosed as a loose battery lead! Fortunately the yellow flags came out to avoid any nasty accident and as Harding was removed to the safety of the infield the new leader 911 Harry Steward found a new challenger ready to pounce on the recommencement of racing. 8 #Deadly Daz Owen, the local hero of racing with the Scottish CHR title the latest of his major victories, was looking in fine fettle. The car looked dialled in and the driver, although now taking a more relaxed approach to his racing with fewer appearances, was looking very confident. It was his son James’s eight birthday, and dad in car 8 had promised his son a trophy as a present. He certainly didn’t want to disappoint! On the restart, both 911 and 8 looked markedly superior to all other cars on track and what followed was a fascinating battle for supremacy. Maybe #Harold’s car was a little ‘tight’ but the way #DeadlyDaz looked for the inside line in such a tail out fashion would have got many an admiring glance from Barry Lee! Owen took his opportunity when passing back marker #PenelopePitstop Little Miss Boydy in her Woolsley. Diving again to the inside, Daz made it stick and he was through! The remaining laps saw some good close racing for the lower places between #TheKartingKid 45 Craig Boyd, and 20 #TheSilverFox Dave Fry, both of whom got the better of 198 Andy #Donut Steward who seemed to be suffering with an ‘off’ engine and a sore ankle which he received at work only a few days before. However non of the chasing pack could get near the racing red rockets of Owen and Steward! HEAT ONE RESULT 8, 911, 45, 20, 198, 924, 101, 232, 222, 333 A lengthy gap between races ensured that sixteen cars were ready for heat two. Hughie Weaver had undertaken extensive repairs. Only 24 #RogerTheDodger Roger Wright missed out. In a clean start similar to heat one, 31 Gooding started strongly only to find the three Anglias buzzing round his tail like angry wasps. Their stings on his tail were alleviated by #TheItalianStallion 121 Charlie Schembri, suffering a return of ill fortune, blowing his engine and spinning out on the west bend. Charlie was prone right on the apex of the turn so fortunately the yellows came out to come to his rescue. On the restart Gooding again started well but both Bowring and Harding went to the attack, 101 on the low side and 265 on the high. #TheLittleGreenMonster’s style was especially flamboyant truly racing on the edge of adhesion, but coming like a train like a knife through butter came #Harold in #TheRedDevil. 911 hit the front but behind #DeadlyDaz was leading the charge of the stars with #Donut in tow. As the Escort pilots overcame the Anglias they sought to chase after Steward junior. Behind, fascinating battles continued in close quarter as Steve Gooding undertook a protracted rearguard causing the chasing field to bunch. Nearly every lap there came a change in positions as Craig Boyd, Dave Fry and Shane Taylor jostled. Equally #TheWrightStuff 924 Stu Wright and Harding battled with Weaver until #TheMusicMan was able to break away. At the end of twenty laps Harry Steward was a clear winner ahead of Owen and Andy Steward but it was adjudicated that 911 had jumped the start and was docked the standard two places. HEAT TWO RESULT 8, 198, 911, 210, 265, 924, 45, 20, 222, 31 The Spring Classic Final again featured sixteen cars with 24 Roger Wright returning and the unfortunate Charlie Schembri having to take the early bath. Could Daz Owen take a hat trick of victories or would Steward junior or senior foil the local man? The final commenced with the traditional clutch start which proved delightfully clean with 265 Ray Harding eager to chase down 31 Steve Gooding, who, at the drop of the green, had executed a perfectly quick start. As 265 and 166 #TheGent Dave Stevens persued #The Good Guy, 101 Jono Bowring retired to the infield. For the first eight laps the 31 pilot impressed but as Harding caught Gooding, he was in turn caught by #Harold, Stevens and Owen. As all five grouped, the chase down the home straight erupted all drivers went for the lead. Harding floored it down the straight and took the high line leaving his braking as late as possible. As Ray went neck and neck with Steve, the 265 Anglia went loose and in his over correction, 265 tagged 31. In the split second that followed as the cars careered though the East Bend, Gooding’s grip was unsettled and went fence ward, but ‘saved’ from impact by Ray’s tank slap which saw Gooding spin. Harry and Daz dived tight to the inside and shot to the front hotly persued by #Donut, #TheKartingKid and #TheMusicMan! Incredibly, Ray Harding quickly recovered and continued racing. The dynamic of the race proceeded with 8 Darren Owen once again chasing down 911 Harry Steward. As 45 Craig Boyd retired, and a close tail end battle was engaged between Wright, Sneddon, Taylor and Wood, Owen again went toe to toe with the young Essex ace. Displaying sure footed speed and balance, #DeadlyDaz was able to once again work the low side on #Harold, and after three laps of pressure, the local man took the lead. The rest of the race saw Harry never give up trying to wrest the lead back from Owen, as both were clear from #Donut and Weaver with Fry and Harding some way further back. To popular acclaim, Daz Owen grabbed the Spring Classic. It was beams all round on the pace car, with the biggest grin coming from Darren’s son James, sitting in the passenger seat, waving energetically, and feeling as proud as punch of his dad. What a way to celebrate his eighth birthday! SPRING CLASSIC FINAL RESULT 8, 911, 198, 210, 20, 265, 232, 924, 222, 333 Rob Hughes CHR PR

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