Classic Hot Rod Meeting Report. Birmingham Midland Championship 25.5.13

Well we had it all tonight, the weather, the evening sun, the heady sent of racing oil, the screaming tune of race engines and the action….oh the race action! There was almost too much of it fellas!

17 cars took to the circuit for heat one on this prestigious championship night and the omens looked good for some good racing.

Heat one looked to follow the current form book with 244 Fil Gambome well placed from his B grade starting position but he didn’t count of the form of pole position starter his very one team member 03 Brian Starr. The two team liveried drivers put on some nerve jarringly thrilling racing to the flag, but not before early lap shenanigans ruffled every bodies sense of rhythm. First off new boy to Classic Hot Rods 2 Colin Chambers found things very diff rent despite over twenty years race experience in other Rod classes and BriSCA F1 stockcars. He raced off the back Tony to be caught swiftly by 222 Shane Taylor and 03 Brian Starr and then the yellows were brought out courtesy of 79 Gary Winterton continuing to have a lack of luck so far this season. Gary’s engine blew in a big way throwing oil everywhere on the back straight and poor Chambers spun on it. Both new boys retired to the in field. Once the race got underway proper Starr out raced Taylor, but the 222 pilot put up stiff resistance to Gambone before Fil finally got through. In a thrilling conclusion to the heat, amidst plumes of cement dust, 244 whittled down 03’s lead and finally forced the lead. 244 took the flag, but Fil was deemed too forceful by the Steward and was docked two places and team mate Starr took the win after all!

Gambone made no mistakes in heat two grabbing the lead early from Taylor and Starr and stormed off into the distance. But it was still a great race for second as one of the sports most determined drivers, the one man show himself, Mr Colin Hitch, got the better of Paul Bowring and Glen Moore early one and successfully chased down and beat both Taylor and Starr with his signature late braking and powering out wide moves. Heat two may well have been dominated by 244 but the rest of the pack made for fantastic racing.

The Midland Championship Final was fantastic, thrilling and terrible! A thirty lap clutch start event, Taylor led them away only to spin on the second lap. Gambone led the way and one could expect he would disappear into the distance. This wasn’t the case as the whole field were in hot pursuit headed by 24 Roger Wright. It was real door handle to door handle stuff, but it resulted in disaster as 10 Paul Bowring locked wheels with 39 Dean Hunt. Both car were thrown out of turn 2 and into the back straight wall to the sound of a thunder clap! It was a terrible impact and regretfully both cars looked to be total right offs. Both drivers were badly winded, Dean more than Paul and the 39 driver had a medical once over. Very very sad for the cars. Bowring’s car destroyed again inside four months after the last crash in practice at Wimbledon in Feb. Hunt’s Anglia looked terrible with what looked like irredeemable damage both front and back. Such a shame but most importantly both drivers were in the end ok.

Only nine cars took to the re-start. Foxlow had already retired with an oil pipe break. Taylor was out. 39 and 10 were forlorn in the middle….but up front it was all about if Gambone could withstand the charge from those immediately behind him. The green dropped and Gambone roared….but the pack came! 172 Colin Hitch was sensing momentum, he was creating his space and having got the better of Moore took on 24 Wright and 445 Craig Boyd who was back out in the A40 normally raced by his dad Graham. The race looked epic as each took to the challenge but three into turn 1 didn’t go. 445 leapt over each other’s wheels, Wright found the infield markers and got a flat, Hitch lost momentum and Boyd fought to get back on the pace. He found it but not before 20 Dave Fry and 333 Lee Wood took up the torch. The speed and battle for space in these powerful cars in limited room means something has to give and Fry’s outside move failed, and in the last lap it was 333 Lee Wood who was literally up Gambone’s exhaust pipe as the local man crossed the line to win the Midland Championship Final. Gambone celebrated with tyre smoking donuts. He was delighted and rightly so. It was a great race but tinged with sadness with the wrecks that lay on the infield.

So, no points tonight for Foxlow, the points leader and his nearest Challenger 29 Stu Donald was absent. Gambone obviously had a good points haul and 924 Stuart Wright quietly accumulated the points too. Hmmmm…it’s tight at the top! Interesting….see you at Northampton on 16th June for more Classic Hot Rod action.

Rob Hughes.

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