Biggest stock cars descend on Foxhall

ONE of the biggest motor sport meetings ever staged at Foxhall Stadium takes place on Saturday when the mighty Brisca Formula 1 Stock Cars compete for their 2008 Championship of the World.

ONE of the biggest motor sport meetings ever staged at Foxhall Stadium takes place on Saturday when the mighty Brisca Formula 1 Stock Cars compete for their 2008 Championship of the World.

These are the biggest, fastest and most powerful stock cars in the world. It is not banger racing, at £50,000 apiece this is serious stuff, but you do get an awful lot of car for your money.

They are huge, purpose-built single -seaters with big bumpers, big roof wings and an enormous Chevy engine under the bonnet, which gives the drivers about seven litres of pure power to thunder around the short circuit ovals of Britain, Europe and beyond. Even when standing still, they look pretty awesome, but when 40 or so of these get racing, there's no spectacle quite like it.

Despite their weight, their enormous power and superb handling means that they are almost as quick as a National Hot Rod, and when you add in all the pushing and shoving - and there's plenty of that - the action comes thick and fast, and very heavy.

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The formula is particularly popular in Holland, where the driver-base is almost as strong as in the UK, and also in New Zealand, where several British drivers have been invited to race in the major events over there during the last few years.

In the UK, the racing is mainly centred around the Midlands and north of England, with Coventry, Bradford and Northampton usually staging their World Championship meeting.

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It is always a sell-out, and has been since the mid 50's when stock car racing first became established in this country.

Each of the various promoters involved in the formula take it in turns to stage the world final; this year it was the turn of Steve Rees, the promoter at the northern-based Startrax organisation. He originally chose Wimbledon as the venue, which certainly raised a few eyebrows amongst the northern fans, but switched it to Ipswich after some highly successful meetings here over the last couple of years.

This was a major coup for the stadium - the event has never been held on a Spedeworth track before - and was a very bold move by Rees, who could have taken the easier option of a tried and trusted Northern venue but knew that Ipswich, with its fast straights and wide sweeping bends, is going to show the cars at their best.

The success of the annual Ipswich Spede Weekend also convinced him that the stadium was more than capable of coping with the demands of a big crowd at a premier event.

Advance ticket sales have been encouraging and, while Foxhall can hold a host of spectators, even this big venue is expecting a full house, so a temporary grandstand to allow even more people in has been erected.

Those without advance tickets will still be able to pay on the day, with the turnstiles opening in the early afternoon. Although the first race - which is the big one for the World Championship - isn't on until the usual Foxhall start time of 6.45pm, there's free meeting build-up from around 4pm, complete with a driver parade and interviews in an open top bus, and even including community singing during the meeting, there is also a £10,000 firework and laser spectacular.

The meeting will also feature an Under-25 UK Championship, several heats leading up to a meeting grand final and the World Championship. Four of the biggest names in the sport - Paul Harrison, Stuart Smith, Frankie Wainman Jnr and Andy Smith - have qualified on the front two rows of the grid, with grids five and six being allocated to the top Dutch competitors.

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