2L Hot Rods at Incarace

Whistlin' Jack Smith >> Features >> 2L Hot Rods at Incarace

2012 was an interesting year for the 2 Litre Hot Rods, the World Final was run in South Africa which caused plenty of controversy. The main issue being the South African rules are a different specification of car within the UK. Putting that aside the class was also launched under the radar at the Incarace tracks.

Since Spedeworth and Incarace have tied linked the formula has been gradually weaned to the Midland race fans. The World and National Championship were both held at Hednesford in 2009 but were not well attended by fans and drivers. More meetings have been held at Northampton (than any of the other Incarace tracks) and the formula is suited to that track.

For 2012 Incarace were ready to license drivers for the 2 Litre class. Spedeworth drivers were welcome to race but would not score points plus the class would only race alongside the Lighting Rods. It does seem quite weird to add another formula when Stock Rods and Lightning Rods are seriously struggling for numbers. The cheaper Hot Fords and Incarods are racing together as the credit crunch is squeezing the amount of drivers that can afford to race. To get drivers into the Incarace 2L Hot Rods where are the drivers going to come from? The class that is most similar (cost/speed/engine) would be the Classic Hot Rods who are finally getting consistent numbers and have now achieved 20+ drivers at race meetings. It is almost worth remembering that several open Hot Rod meetings have been cancelled this year, one meeting only included 2 cars.

It does seem obvious that Spedeworth are trying to create an easily identifiable two-tier hot rod ladder; National Hot Rods and 2 Litre Hot Rods. Some might argue that Outlaws are a better stepping stone because the cars are very similar to a National Hot Rod. With the formula being run at the same tracks across the UK (Scotland and Holland also to take up the formula in 2013), this is becoming the Brisca F1 and F2 versions of Hot Rods. The grid positioning is also similar to that of National Hot Rods (pre-defined grids before the meetings to stop first out of the gate to line-up at the front) but hopefully grades continue as that is a key feature of short oval racing.

2013 will have stand-alone meetings at Incarace but who will be these new drivers? When the autumn approached one driver raced within Lightning Rod fixtures.

99 Barry Limer
The first driver to race at Incarace and even made it to the heats of the British Championship at the Spedeweekend. A former Lightning Rod racer has raced at non 2L tracks (Buxton and Arena Essex) to get more miles under his belt, this car was then sold on. A new car is expected for 2013.

When the 2 Litre Hot Rods visited Northampton at the end of October 3 new drivers raced, all Incarace based.

5 Marc Gould
Previously raced at Buxton in the Hot Rod class (up to National spec.) and then made a few appearances in the open meetings at Incarace. His 2 Litre Hot Rod is a Peugeot 206.

81 Lee Parsons
The 2007 Lightning Rod British Champion raced the Fiesta that started the year in the hands of Limer, now in his familiar purple colours. Quick on the Incarace tracks but won the Lightning Rod British at Ipswich.

928 Dave Leech
A superstar Stock Rodder that was quite good in Lightning Rods as well. Always in yellow has a Tim Barnes built Peugeot 206cc painted in….red and blue.

Spedeworth have stated four more drivers are interested

6 Graham Fulker
Moved into the Spedeworth 2 Litre class from Standlake originally as 666 in 2003. The nine year stint ended when he raced a Classic Hot Rod in 2012.

8 Steven Clark
Former Hot Ford racer and Lightning Rod driver for the past few years. Qualified for the Lightning Rod World Final for the first time this year.

136 Ivan Grayson
Raced a SHP built Peugeot 205 for many years at Buxton, taken this car to the Incarace Open Hot Rod meetings over the past few years.

150 Robin Ashman
Former Alwalton Hot Rodder made the occasional appearance at Spedeworth in 2011. The self-built Citroen Saxo has been raced at Swaffham during 2012 in their 2 Litre class.

Who could else move into the class?

67 Chas Farrer
Before becoming Lightning Rod World Champion in the late 1990’s Chas used to race in the Spedeworth 1600 Hot Rods, back in those days he raced as number 12.

45 Mark Edwards
Has raced Lightning Rods, Open Hot Rods and National Hot Rods. The Tigra he last used in Nationals is for sale at present.

829 Stuart Fox
The Midlands based Stock Rod World Champion of 2009 has raced in 2 Litre Hot Rods but only when he was a guest in South Africa racing their version.

924 Stuart Wright
Red top Stock Rodder for many years and very fast on his occasional appearances in Classic Hot Rods that race with the same Ford Pinto engine.

22 Mark Cooper Jnr
Stepping out of Ministox to Lightning Rods he has already finished second in the British Championship. His father Mark raced successfully in Lightning Rods and then 2 Litre Hot Rods. Although based in the south of England he has chosen Incarace over Spedeworth in Lightning Rods.

88 Dale Atkins
Known as Datkari from his Banger days he became a force to be reckoned with once in Lightning Rods registered with PRI. Upgrading to 2 Litre Hot Rods he won the National Championship in 2012 but has performed well at Northampton in the occasional meetings that have been run there.

40 Gerry Evans
The Midlands based racer for many years at Spedeworth in the one and only Nissan Micra (mk2 version) and latterly in a more conventional Vauxhall Corsa.

74 Chris Neal
Current Grand Prix midget driver raced for Incarace in their Incarod class until 2010.

For 2013 Incarace have announced 11 fixtures for the class on their provisional fixture list, its not that any more meetings are being run by the promoter but the other formulas have less meetings. Incarace are definately showing full support for the class as the National Championship will be run at Hednesford but not as part of the National Championship weekend, it will be held on the 8th September.

Over the past decade or so there have been a few formulas that have failed, notably the Grand National Coupes and F1 V8 Hot Rods – why? Because drivers were forced to buy from one manufacturer and there was nothing else available to be modified. Looking back to 1997 when PRI adopted a 2 Litre class there were plenty of National Hot Rods that could be converted to suit the rules. Roughly half of those drivers came from existing formulas at Arena Essex, while there was a few that made the move from grass tracks – i.e. Dave Hitchen. This new formula has the ability to attract drivers from non-ORC tracks like Grimley and Standlake. Some of those are Spedeworth cars of old and they may not be of the highest spec but would only require minimal changes to fit into the current rules.

Is there anything else that could get more drivers into the class? Spedeworth could bring the formula to the fans, a race series that has one round at all tracks: Aldershot, Birmingham, Eastbourne, Great Yarmouth, Hednesford, Ipswich, Northampton and Wimbledon (the latest Banger World Series will follow this format).

If Incarace is not enough, Scotland will be a new venture for the formula too. Lochgelly has now been taken over and will be run by Hardie Race Promotions, again it will suffer from the same problem of too many formulas and not enough drivers. For this formula to succeed in Scotland, it will mean drivers moving out of National Hot Rods, Lightning Rods and Stock Rods. Robbing Peter to feed Paul springs to mind.

658 Chris ‘Gunner’ Lattka
Will have a new McCall built car at the 2013 Autosport show that will be ready for the start of the season. Lattka is one of the most successful Stock Rod drivers of all time and has tasted success in Saloon Stock Cars as well; so far the only driver to publically sign-up.

Although interest in apparently high in Scotland names haven’t been provided though you could look towards Willie Hardie as a potential driver, before racing in National he would travel to Northern Ireland to race in the 2 Litre Hot Rods. Both his Tigra National Hot Rods have now been sold, the Spedeworth built one is actually racing on the larger circuits in the silhouette series.

The development of the formula in Holland is interesting as the cars will be run in a clock-wise direction (all other formulas run anti-clockwise). Being space-framed cars they would all be purpose built anyway so direction becomes irrelevant. It also allows for further uniformity Europe-wide, just needs South Africa to run to the same rules.

As further notes; when the formula changed from the 1600 crossflow the biggest mistake was not using the newer Zetec engine, the Pinto is too old now and was too old in 1997. The tyres should be wider as well but we can’t have everything. National Hot Rod and Lightning Rods have international numbering system and hopefully this will be taken on board with the 2L class; the repetition of numbers in 2012 were: 50 Jamie White/ Wayne Woolsey and 81 Micky Jowers/ Lee Parsons. While we are at it, Stock Rods could do the same thing as well.

Paul Ballard - 2012

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