NORTHAMPTON 19/3/16-19316




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

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