BIRMINGHAM 20 08 2016-2016


Against a back drop of late Summer potential of unseasonably inclement weather, just seven Classic Hot Rods attended the eleventh round of the English National Series of 2016 to contest the Second City Stakes.

Fortunately, in spite of the doom laden for cast for the weekend in England, the heavy rains of the afternoon had passed by the time the evening session of racing got underway in Birmingham.
In support of the National Hot Rods in their World Championship qualifying round, the Classics were numerically dwarfed by the ultimate evolution of the hot rod division, but nevertheless, with almost a family atmosphere amongst them, the CHR drivers were looking forward to putting in a good account of themselves.

The rolling lap of the sixteen lap heat one saw an expected clean start and it was Scotland’s #TrevTheRev 12 Trevor Harris who set the pace at the wheel of Crossflow powered cherry and cream Anglia. Impressively, 257 Andrew Willis, in his A30 #PocketRocket, pulled out all the stops to give chase and in the early laps the three low graders held sway. A terrific battle developed between Willis and #TheGoodGuy 31 Steve Gooding for second place as Harris continued to set the early pace. Shortly the pace of the higher grade drivers began to show with #TheWycombeWanderer 101 Jon Bowring taking the high line to challenge Gooding. As the field closed places quickly changed for as fast as Bowring took Gooding on the outside, Jon himself was paced in similar fashion by #TheKartingKid 45 Craig Boyd. Boyd, again using his dad Graham Boyd’s car, was displaying the same determination that took him to three straight wins last time out at Birmingham, and it looked that Boyd has all the intention to repeat the feat this evening! As we approached halfway 12 Trevor Harris still led but came immediately under pressure from Boyd as 911 Harry #Harold Steward followed through in #TheRedDevil. With impressive speed, Craig repeated the high line move on the Scotsman to take the lead. The second half of the race saw 45 increase his lead and with 911 moving in to second and chasing hard. After a valiant drive 257 Andrew Willis slipped down the places, giving best to Bowring and #TheNorfolkBoy 72 Gary Goodswen.

45, 911, 101, 72, 12, 257, 31

Heat two saw the field reduced to six cars with 12 Trevor Harris the non starter. Willis made a confidently fast start from the front to keep ahead of Gooding, but drama ensued on the home straight right in front of race control as star grader 72 Gary Goodswen and 911 Harry Steward came together. Both accelerated hard for the first turn, Goodswen on the outside of Steward, but both went for the same piece of track resulting in 911 spinning out 72! Steward carried on and Goodswen returned to racing before the leaders came through. Judged a 50/50 by the meeting steward, racing continued. There was a good battle for the lead between the doughty Willis in his tiny Austin A30 and what appeared to be a Goliath of a car in the form of Gooding’s four door Avenger. This battle however allowed #TheKartingKid to close in rapidly and pass them both in a sweeping manoeuvre round the outside. At the half way stage it was 45 from 257, 31, 911, 101 and 72, with Goodswen working overtime to make up his handicap. With five to go Steward repeated his outside sweep to move into second but by then Craig’s leads was a huge one. Only one further change occurred before the flag with Bowring in a last lap desperate battle with Willis, and with tremendous skill, Jon just managed to squeeze through on the inside with no contact. With engine problems Goodswen retired to the infield on the final lap.

45, 911, 101, 257, 31, NOF

The clutch start final saw the field down to a miserable five cars, but there were some interesting features in this final race of the night; one being the undoubtable drive from #PocketRocket 257 Andrew Willis, utterly inspired by his and his car’s performance this night, and the second being the final arrival of the rain! All on slicks, it didn’t seem to slow the pace of Boyd that much, who seemed to be as indomitable as Birmingham as Usain Bolt at the 100 metres! #Harold trIed his best to chase and in the final laps appeared to do so, but by then Boyd was cruising. Bowring retired from this race in the latter half giving us four finishers.

45, 911, 257, 31, NOF

So a great night for individual drivers with Boyd taking a record six out of six races over two Birmingham meetings, Steward putting in a solid performance on what now appears to be his way to the 2016 Silver Roof, and Willis on his best nights racing so far in his short CHR career. However with only seven cars present, not a good night for the health of CHR. A position from which I can hope we can put behind us as now we look towards the latter part of the season. The Irish Grand Prix is our next big meeting at Tipperary on 3rd September, a country where the positivity is riding high. Let’s hope the English can put their downers behind them and some make the trip to enjoy one of the social and racing highlights of the year.

Rob Hughes

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