Gould leads the way at Foxhall

DESPITE a bitingly cold wind, a decent-enough crowd assembled at the Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich on Sunday afternoon for the annual ORC Championships. This is always a very lively meeting but it's often been run on a wet, slippery track in the past so it was pleasing to see it dry this time - even if it was only the wind that was keeping the rain away.

DESPITE a bitingly cold wind, a decent-enough crowd assembled at the Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich on Sunday afternoon for the annual ORC Championships. This is always a very lively meeting but it's often been run on a wet, slippery track in the past so it was pleasing to see it dry this time - even if it was only the wind that was keeping the rain away.

The ORC Championships involved representative Banger teams from 11 of the UK's top oval racing promotions, and while the original intention was that each of the promotions would take it in turns to stage the event, it's been local promoters Spedeworth who have been asked to run it for the last seven years. Despite that, they have never managed to make home advantage count, and you have to go back to 1993 for their last success.

Hot favourites this year were the PRI team from Arena Essex who have won it for the last two years, and returned this time with most of last season's successful line-up still intact. They got off to a good start when World Champion “Boxer Jack” Jason Jackson took the opening heat, but with Spedeworth drivers in second and third it was also looking pretty good for the locals.

It was still close after heat two, with Carl Gould winning for Spedeworth from PRI's Jimmy Randall, in a very lively race which saw a stoppage when one of the Scottish cars caught fire, and a major pile-up towards the end which accounted for around half the starters.


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Things took a decisive turn in heat three; although Jackson won again, his team-mates got into all sorts of trouble along the way, while Spedeworth got second, third and fourth, and eighth for good measure. Randall and Jackson did their best for PRI in the final, but Jackson got taken out just before the end when he was caught up in another spectacular multi-vehicle incident that once again wiped out many of the cars.

Gould did well to avoid it all to take the win for Spedeworth, thus securing that elusive victory for the home team. PRI had to settle for runners up this time, while fourth place in the race for Bristol's Scott Weldon was enough to snatch third place overall in the team championship from their West Country rivals Autospeed, whose home tracks are in Somerset and Cornwell.

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Scott Hill from the Startrax promotion up in Cheshire (who had failed to score at all in the racing) at least gave their supporters something to cheer about when he outlasted them all to win the Destruction Derby. PRI's Matt Fuller was the runner-up on a day when his team had arrived with such high hopes but had to settle for second in everything.

The mighty Two-Litre Saloon Stock Cars were in support where it was also their ORC Championship. They used to be very popular at Foxhall back in the 1960s and 70s but are rarely seen here nowadays - in fact this was their only visit this year.

Their racing is all action, with big, fast, heavy cars in the traditional style, despatching everything in their path in the time honoured way. East Anglian driver David Aldous stormed through from the back of the grid to win heat one, getting past long-time leader Dan Harris with just one lap to go, and then repeated the treatment with another win in heat two.

The little known Irish driver Andy Stewart went well to win heat three, which was enough to give him grid five for the championship, although with Aldous on pole and joint-favourite Shane Brown in grid three, plus defending champion Shane Webster in grid seven, it looked like third or fourth might be the best he'd get.

Aldous went out fairly early on, and although he came back he was too far adrift to stand any chance, although Brown was making the most of his demise. Stewart had passed Brown at around halfway, and then there was a stoppage to rescue some injured drivers.

When they restarted, it was ruled that Brown had spun a back marker out of the way before the green flag, but he was allowed to race on, went past Stewart and then pulled clear to take the chequered flag.

However after a stewards' inquiry he was penalised two places, which gave Stewart the win for the biggest surprise in the event since it started in 1996, with former Superstox driver Todd Jones in second. Brown appealed the decision, but was unsuccessful.

Foxhall results

Saloon Stock Cars

Heat One: 1 David Aldous (Diss), 2 Dan Harris (Newton Abbott), 3 Shane Brown (Bridgewater). Heat Two: 1 Aldous, 2 Todd Jones (Wallington), 3 Brown. Heat Three: 1 Andy Stewart (Portadown), 2 Todd Jones, 3 Murray Jones (Wallington).

Final - ORC Championship: 1 Stewart, 2 Todd Jones, 3 Brown.

Bangers

Heat One: 1 Jason Jackson (Romford), 2 Dean Mayes (Scole), 3 Matt Fuller (Dartford). Heat Two: 1 Carl Gould (Norwich), 2 Jimmy Randell (Dartford), 3 Dave Spooner (Plymouth). Heat Three: 1 Jackson, 2 Mayes, 3 Gould. Final: 1 Gould, 2 Randall, 3 Adrian Clifton (Ashford).

Destruction Derby: 1 Scott Hill (Crew), 2 Fuller.

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