ORCi split

Whistlin' Jack Smith >> Features >> Stock Rod split

After many happy years the formula has cracked wide open for 2014, in essence the majority of the drivers are still racing for the same promoters at the same tracks but for the occasional fan it can seem confusing as two formulas with the same specification and name exist running for the same named titles.

What a mess Stock Rods are currently in, a rift between leading promoters has caused the formula to split into two. In terms of the number of cars racing and type of cars racing the class is looking better than any point of the 21st century but politics is holding back the formula.

Towards the end of 2013 Spedeworth got the ball rolling by announcing the formula they promoted would no longer be the ORCi version of Stock Rods which was instantly followed suit by Incarace, GMP, HRP, DMC and SORA – this meant Autospeed, PRI and Interspeed Promotions (Ballymena) were left with the carcass of the formula – Interspeed seem the biggest loser of this split. Those three had a formula with 30+ years of history and titles but far smaller band of drivers which included lots that were reluctant to travel.

The breakaway version is still called Stock Rods, it is recognised by the ORCi as all drivers will hold an ORCi license but is not the version they recognise–most people would assume Chris Lattka is the World Champion but he won the ORCi version, if he wants to defend that crown he will have change promotions and race at Arena Essex over the August Bank Holiday. The World Championship event held at the Spedeweekend will essentially be the first time that title is ever run because it is a brand new formula, regardless of what the history may suggest. The rules between the pair are almost identical.

Providing you haven’t been confused by the above, read on. The remaining band of promoters then decided to amalgamate with more promotions to add some strength. This included bringing the formula back to Buxton (a track where Mel Cooke won his second World title), this will be as a guest formula and will host the ORCi Championship – same day as the breakaway Stock Rod’s World Final. Then a few fringe tracks that need their current cars to change specification are included– Grimley (who called them Superstock Rods), Barford (Hot Rods) and Ringwood (Euro Rods). Ringwood is a contentious one as there is a lot of unjustified hatred towards the promoter, although not a member of the ORCi they have been included within the group. That poses the question could Swaffham also be included?

This is not the first time a split has happened, Spedeworth tried a name change as well in the mid 1990’s but it didn’t last and they fell back into line the following year.

Exactly the same has happened with Lightning Rods but even less information has been given out regarding the formula. There were several moans that running the World Championship in April at Cowdenbeath was not fair on Nigel Jackson (only holds his title for 6 months) but the same applies with this formula because being non-ORCi this will be the first time the event has been run.

If the formulas were to ever merge together they will stronger than ever before because new/ returning tracks will be brought back into the fold and plethora of new drivers. For the 2014 season this is unlikely to happen, so how long until they make up…..only took Spedeworth and Brisca 30 years to get to a resolution.

The recent Northampton had a huge grid. Photo: AG Race Photos

Paul Ballard - 15.03.2014

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