Best in Britain part 1

Whistlin' Jack Smith >> 2016 >> Best in Britain part 1

Another classic night of Hot Rod racing for the Best in Britain meeting, for the 2 Litre Hot Rods Paul Wright put himself into the history books by taking his fourth title while Ashley Burkin won his first in the Lightning Rods.

2 Litre Hot Rods

The formula welcomed 2 former Best and World winners Jason Wilks and Kevin Randell. Wilks was racing a Corsa C, whilst Randell was out in a Saxo that seemed destined for his son Chris. There was also newcomer to the formula John Willis in the ex-McClure 205. Drier conditions than last year, but the track still seemed slippery.

George Turiccki stepped off pole into the lead while in-form Richard Poulter clashed with Willis at the first turn and they both spun, Lewis Shelley ran out wide here and with his car stuck on the outside the race was halted to remove the car. At the green Turiccki pulled clear while further back Damon Wellman had a smokey blow-up on the back straight, as the cars behind tried to avoid Randell ended up taking a big t-bone from Luke Stonehouse, the pair scrambled to the centre. The next yellow came out when Michael Mills picked up a puncture, although initially parked up on turn 4 he crawled along the home straight and then started to reverse back, the yellows were out again but up front nothing was going to catch Turickki.

A much quieter heat two saw Paul Wright on pole and he pulled clear of Stonehouse, this would give Wright pole for the main race ahead of Chris Crane, Turiccki and Botfield.

At the start Crane hung onto the outside for the first tour and then fell back into line. Wright edged ahead but that lead narrowed when the back-marking Willis cut across the first of him entering turn 3, Willis was hit sideways and straightened up allowing Wright to cut through on the inside with Crane and Turiccki now back on his bumper, Wright though eased clear to take his fourth Best in Britain title. After the flag Crane was disqualified for racing an unlogged tyre.

Heat 1: 186, 11, 303, 75, 565, 745, 43, 110, 330, 30
Heat 2: 43, 280, 310, 110, 71, 745, 303, 330, 133
Final: 43, 186, 303, 11, 565, 745, 110, 71, 310, 280

Image supplied by Racepixels

Lightning Rods

A good grid of 23 cars gridded for the opening race including the World Champion Gary Beggs who was the only Northern Irish competitor in either of the Hot Rod classes. Ben Furness was also racing a new car now blue and grey rather than red.

For the first heat Lee Skoyles had just taken the lead when a big crash in the midfield saw cars in all directions but notably Beggs was in the wires with Brent Tillow and Andy King. Skoyles won this with Burkin moving by Jason Busby for second place.

The controversy stepped up a level for the next heat. First Lloyd Welham took a trip off track, as he returned on the home straight it set off a chain reaction of cars moving in different directions, with Colin Murray unluckily being spun out to the wires on turn 1. Welham now a lap (or two) down was caught by leader Jordan Murray who simply punted him off to the centre green stock car style and was immediately disqualified, he carried on regardless of the multiple black flags. Next up on track was Richard Warner who won the race.

The final was the most entertaining race of the evening, yet the tactics were questionable by many. Burkin qualified on pole followed by new European Champion and reigning Best champion Roger Dormer, Skoyles, Warner, Reid Murray and Furness.

Oil was dropped early, possibly by Dale Blake which meant drivers were struggling for grip and experimenting with different lines. Dormer was the first big name to face the wrong way with a tap from Warner at the suddenly slippery turn 3, a few seconds later more bounced into the wires before getting back into the race. The oil flag was out with Burkin leading Skoyles and Warner.

Burkin couldn’t hold off Skoyles, their battle caused the other leading drivers to close in and the top 5 (with back-marking Tillow also there) lapped as one. Skoyles passed on the outside and the leading group started to disperse.

Colin Murray followed Burkin around the outside for second, Warner now fourth but he went spinning out from contact by Reid Murray, the two had been bumping the two previous corners and each hit the contact increased.

At the front Colin Murray spotted a new line with about 4 laps left, Skoyles was finding the most grip on the outside of the bend, yet Murray seemed to cut the corner markings on turn 1. This tactic gave him the lead and was copied by Burkin who instantly moved into second place. He then got a run on Murray and dived at him entering turn 3. He hit the inner tyres and bounced up on two wheels and into the lead. Skoyles took to the inside of Murray to get by him at this point, next lap round was the final one Murray lunged at him to take second on the line. There was a lot of waiting around as the stewards watched the video and it seemed that Colin Murray was the only penalised as he was pushed back to fourth place. Burkin took the win after unluckily being disqualified from first last year when he failed to slow sufficiently for yellow flags.

Heat 1: 636, 337, 387, 346, 53, 627, 591, 7, 339, 411
Heat 2: 411, 7, 334, 591, 339, 45, 337, 12, 557, 636
Final: 337, 387, 636, 53, 591, 627, 45, 388, 12, 585

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