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>> Back to the seaside
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>> Jinxed Drivers
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>> Rule Breakers

Hot Rod Racing Blog

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Peugeot 205 part 4
28th December 2011

Hereís a teaser for you, the next instalment of the Peugeot 205 will be coming soon on the site. The reason for the update before I release the article is to hopefully get some of you to contact me with any updates you have. I have tried to contact a few people recently and received poor replies, the fact it has a 1.9 litre engine doesnít really help.

Part 4 was always going to be wrote but a starting point was always hard as material was becoming even more difficult to source. Then it all fell into place at the Spedeweekend when Ricky Hunn displayed his recreated Peugeot 205.

At Ringwood Donna Spratt raced her ex-Dicker 205 once in 2011 and this has now been bought by a former National Hot Rod pilot. The car however is not a SHP machine, any information on this car would be appreciated by the new owner.

Fantastic read with great input from so many drivers and mechanics. You should do another one on the Starlet!
Terry M

Part 4 has been added, part 3 has also been updated.
Webmaster: Paul Ballard

The printed word
6th November 2011

I have a space in the bottom of a wardrobe that is filled up with oval racing paraphernalia, nearly all the programmes from meetings I have attended stretching back to 1988, majority of those with the results filled in as well. The bulk of space however is taken over by Short Circuit magazines.

Before the internet was popular the magazine was awesome, full results and reports, pictures, news, it had it all. However the interactive media was able to update immediately and the demand slumped, added to that the content was also suffering as the unique features and interviews disappeared. The last copy I read was brought out after the Spedeweekend and concentrated on April/May, I had my suspicions it was game over for the publication and the recent announcement has backed that up.

Although the internet has it advantages there are still people that like to hold something to read, they arenít always logging on daily. I felt Short Circuit should have condensed the race reports and filled the magazine with features that are not time critical. My opinions are perhaps irrelevant and the decision has been made. The website will continue (but for how long?) with classified adverts. With 35 years of stories I think some of the older stuff should be added to the website to continue to draw in visitors, eg back in the mid-90ís Group A Hot Rods started to go through a boom period, now the class is set to become Stock Rods, all you need a little bit of reformatting no typing. Forums are littered with comments on how long Lightning Rods will last for, Deane Wood dropping them, BMWís being the future; Iím sure thereís multiple articles on the class that are not time relevant. For more promotional ideas, just ask me!

I may have been able to predict the magazine on a downward spiral but on the other hand it has had some great moments, the magazine first printed my work on oval racing, back when I was 15 years old in fact, they even credited my dadís pictures to me in a golden oldies sections (Mark we would them pictures back though!), those 1976 snaps were several years before my birth.

The press release for the end of the magazine has confused me slightly, it has became obvious that the web has killed the market for the market and the final line uses a phrase from an unnamed person on a internet forum. To me thatís like using the murder to write an obituary for the deceased.

So is the printed word dead? No way, Wheelspin has upped their game but still concentrates on their own tracks. There 2 more magazines are moving ahead:

Stock car and hot rod heritage magazine is being run by Richard John Neil, unlike previous attempts of classic oval magazines, it will not be released periodically just as and when material is ready and stay away from results that are time specific - shrewd move RJN.

Oval Racing News, makes it third attempt to hit the market. Originally larger that A3, it reappeared late last year and is set for another revamp. I have sent in material, lets see if Dave decides to use it.

I have personally wanted to have a magazine for years, I think if I won the lottery I would assemble one alongside the stock car and hot rod museum. The website was an easy to set-up option to get my opinions and knowledge out to the masses, Facebook has made this a whole lot easier though. So how to connect the two ideas? Each month I will put everything I have wrote or received (contributions are welcome) into a single PDF document that can be printed off. I fear that the internet is always about current information that interesting material from several months previous will disappear forever so I want readers to be able to keep this. Plus people like my father who struggle to switch on a computer can have this to read at their lunch-breaks.

Seems like Short Circuit magazine isn't dead and a printed one will be available next year.
Terry M

I noticed that on the Short Circuit website but having the magazine available at the tracks was a major advantage, at least NASCAR will be removed.
Webmaster: Paul Ballard

I invented this
20th August 2011

A few years ago I had a brilliant idea of fantasy hot rod racing. The concept was great but the running was too time consuming, the winter blues of no racing got the better of me. I ran the series for a year and then the league was taken over by Fraser Green. I competed in that opening year but failed to enter a team in the second year, year three I'm back and I'm aiming to win! The dream team was assembled headed up Chris Haird who I expect will take a fourth successive points title. If you are wondering on my team name look out for 'I invented this'. The complete league can be found at

19th August 2011

When I put together this website a few years back I was able to get news across to the public quicker than magazines like Short Circuit, however social sites have enabled instant information. What I have decided is to put Twitter onto the site so I can get results and news when I am at a track. It will sit on the front page so you don't even need to log on Twitter to read the snippets or follow me if you are on Twitter.

Seems like it is working, keep your eyes on the front page for the latest updates. Only the last 4 tweets can be read on the Whistlin' Jack Smith website, to read all of them you will need to join twitter and follow Paulwjs.
Webmaster: Paul Ballard

I'm following you on Twitter, keep the updates coming for those that can't get to the tracks.
Terry M

Not forgotten
19th February 2011

Just as a little update on the
new drivers in 2011, I apparently forgot to mention Dave Polley in the National Hot Rods and was emailed about my error! So hereís the news, Polley will continue in the National Hot Rods after a few meetings towards the end of 2010. Originally racing in the class as 138 will race as 306 the number of ĎThe Driverí George Polley Ė his father. The car is a brand new Ludlow built Vauxhall Tigra which was displayed at the Autosport Show, the old previously used machine was infact Ricky Hunnís car (will Ricky be back in 2011?).

Any other drivers with a new car and changing class within hot rods, send in your pics to wjs_hotrod@yahoo.co.uk.

More newcomers: Garry Staines Stock Rods and Mike Walmsley 2 Litre Rods Rods.

15th February 2011

Travelling around the motorway network in the UK is a common chore many workers and I have noticed a few lorries that come up again and again. Eddie Stobbart is the king but thereís plenty that have oval connects. I remember as a paperboy seeing a bright green Steward brick and block haulage and feeling slightly excited. Recently Iíve seen a few more but not as many as the Hadfield Transport fleet, thereís a lot of yellow and white trucks about. The oval racing community is closely linked to the haulage sector and probably every other hot rod has transport sponsorship on the car.

Through the week days whenever I clock a name that Iíve seen on a hot rod it does make me think (especially at this time of the year) when Iím going to get my next racing fix. Perhaps this is verging towards the eye-spy books that give points for spotting certain objects a racing car will get extra points. In the past Iíve seen Irish drivers heading across England on Friday in preparation for an international meeting, half built stock cars, ELMS cars and bangers. Going back a few weeks I noticed an old Grimer lorry dying in a field a few miles from site of a Superstock.

Head to race day and regardless if you are watching racing you will spot a race car if travelling on a main road. I reckon I see more travelling in the opposite direction no matter where Iím going. Even on a back road Iíve seen a RTS Euro Rod on the back of trailer in near identical places yet different times on a weekend. Last Sunday for example I noticed a 1300 Stock Car on the way to Wimbledon. I can usually suss out where a car is heading to but the second car I spotted got me wondering, the ex-Blackman/Oliver 205 was on the road (Hainault through Marks Gate and off to Chadwell Heath if you want more specification information) and there was no hot rod racing in the area last Sunday. Maybe the car has been sold on, thereís plenty of decent hot rodders in the areaÖÖ Pete Winstone, Pat Kiely, Barry LeeÖÖIíll let you do the thinking and perhaps the forums will explode with outrageous ideas.

The Blackman/ Oliver 205 was for sale on EBay very recently so it seems that someone has made a purchase. from EBay it looks like it actually was in Hayes.

Down here on the South Coast you do not have to drive for long to see maroon coloured trucks belonging to Dudman group. This is Steve Dudman who has been in NHR's in the past as numbers 3 and 204. I think that there was another number as well. He also did pick up's for a while. Next door to the building that I work in is Gleam Clean long standing name on the side of many 230 cars. In fact a few years back the 230 Clio 2 Ltr spent a day outside (on the road!) just before the ill fated comeback meeting at Great Yarmouth. There is also some sort of space frame slowly rusting away on their roof but I have no idea what it used to be.


Driver of the decade
26th December 2010

Previous years I have put together the driver of the year and it has been decided solely by me, a little change this time, I'll pick the nominations and let the public do the picking, just like the BBC sports personality of the year. However there is one driver who will not be in the running for that title, however I do think he deserves the title of driver of the decade - that is for legend that is Carl Boardley.

In the lifespan of National Hot Rod racing, there has been a few drivers that have gone beyond just winning the World title and won it multiple times back to back. Barry Lee won the title 4 times in the 1970's he was able to add a real professionalism to the sport; Ormond Christie changed the sport by moving away from traditional British cars and his experiments worked. After a break away from the sport he returned winning his fourth and fifth titles 15 years after his first one. At this stage in the mid-90's the cars were becoming very similar but Colin White put in the hard work and effort to become the first man to win 3 in a row. In the days of 40+ qualifying rounds Colin White was able to do all of them, something you will never see again in National Hot Rods. Fast forward a few years and new talent was emerging: Carl Boardley.

After one season in National Hot Rods moved himself into the elite group, the old guard of White, Jeff Simpson and John Steward were moving on and the gap needed to be filled. To win the first World title may have taken several years but in those years he made the Vauxhall Tigra the car to have in the class and although other shapes have been used as a replacement the original shape Tigra is still being produced as the car to have.

The Peugeot 206 was a good car it took Carl to his first two National Championships (2001 and '03), when the Vauxhall Tigra took over there was a few sceptics, Malcolm Blackman and Clive Richardson moved to a Tigra but reverted to 206's. The first World final with the Tigra saw a retirement after the first lap pile-up, the sister car of Andy Holtby was out as well. That year Boardley hadn't qualified well after refusing to let his car be scrutineered in the previous world final he finished 16th in the points and back in group 4.

From 2006 the dominance began, the first English points title was won, then the Thunder 500 (ahead of Andy Steward) and then the World title - all in the space of one month. However winning the race through a stewards decision didn't please everyone, but Boardley was able to put his critics right the following year and continued to win a record breaking 4 in a row, in 2010 he picked up damage whilst leading the race coming close to making it 5 on the trot.

To describe Carl Boardley in one word would be very difficult but it seems that no-one in this current generation of racers has been so consistently quick. His lap times at the World final show the picture, he has averaged 14.68 as a best in all his attempts, he worst time of 14.85 was still the best that year (due to poor track conditions). He has started from pole in the last 5 years which has been behind the wheel of the same Vauxhall Tigra. Although National Hot Rods can be any shape as the panels are just hung onto the car to mimic the road silhouette the original Tigra shape has been the one they all want since Boardley proved it works. In 2005 there was 2 in the race, by 2007 it was up to 9 in the race. In qualifying 5 filled the top 8 places, of those 3 without 2 have since bought a Tigra to keep up. Ludlow Motorsport must be very proud of the performance Carl Boardley has got out of the car.

He wasn't just quick at the Spedeweekend, in 11 attempts at qualifying (barring the year of being banned for half of it) he always finished in the top 3 of the English points championship. 6 podium finishes in the National Championship including 4 wins; 4 podiums in the European including 1 win. The only title that eluded him was the British as he rarely ventured to Northern Ireland, his most successful trip was a second place behind John Christie in 2008 in the Irish Open.

If Carl had won this year's World final there was a small chance he would stay with National Hot Rods, the class hasn't suffered since his department as the existing bunch of drivers are all hungry for glory, the rumour-mill is still churning out ideas of where his car has gone and ludicrous amounts of money that was paid for it. His name is never far away from the sport. One day he may return and take more titles but for the younger fans of the sport they can finally wear their rose-tinted glasses to oppose the supporters of the golden years and talk of the times when a fluorescent yellow hair-dressers car effortlessly eased into the distance leaving everyone wondering how to beat him.

Could this be something to do with Boss race engines?
Phil C

Although about 18 months out of date, I've finally uploaded footage of Carl tearing around the outside to victory. I don't normally record during racing as I miss out what is going on, however in the this race Carl zipped to the front with ease and I felt it was a moment I wanted to keep. This is just a normal heat in a qualifying round but the speed of the car is what the fans love about Carl Boardley.

Biased and Inconsistent
27th April 2010

Yet again I'm angered by the inconsistency from the NHRPA. At the recent Ipswich meeting for National Hot Rods the ugly side of racing reared its head. In the heats 303 Matt Simpson was spun out, the blame later being pointed towards 41 Carl Boardley who was disqualified from this race a week later. Those incidents normally go unpenalised when there is a large group of cars racing together (probably because its hard to blame one culprit). Revenge was extracted by father 3 Jeff Simpson who punted Boardley into the wall underneath the scoreboard during the final.

Several theories have been flung about and they usually depend on how bias the fan is. Raging from Boardley was out of control because of the dusty to the track, Simpson barged him out wide, or Deane Wood is paying the drivers to start a feud which gains steam until the end of the season when Wimbledon hosts the first ever boxing match between two drivers "pain from the lane" (only joking I made that one up, but remember when you heard it first!).

Feuds between drivers is nothing new, every sport needs some friction between competitors, but they need to stick to the rules and make sure nobody gets hurt. At this point the promoters/ stewards need to step in and take control of the situation. Here is where the problem lies, back in August 2009 519 Luke Armiger retaliated against 333 Lee Wood taking him into the fence and ended up with a 10 meeting ban, which I thought was adequate punishment for the crime. In a very similar incident Jeff Simpson received just a load-up and only a 3 meeting ban (though it was originally 1 meeting). Boardley got a one meeting punishment for hand gestures and Matt Simpson again one meeting for agressive behaviour in the pits (but raced under appeal at Aldershot).

I've wrote about this before in this blog about the inconsistencies in penalties in
rule breakers. I believe Jeff Simpson should be banned for a lot longer, throughout this qualifying series he has been clashing with 72 Willie Hardie and somehow the pair have received no penalties - not even a black cross. Simpson has been in hot rods for longer than any driver out there; bringing the Vauxhall 16 valve engine to the class was the greatest thing to ever happen - better than the Starlet or converting to RWD. Nationals might have died if it was not for him, but his behaviour sucks and he should not be allowed to act like an untouchable mafia figure. The NHRPA need to man up and ban him, I do believe that Simpson Exhausts putting money into this event and subsequently the NHRPA has changed the outcome - this is not right, money shouldn't not rule in sport, talent should shine through.

NEC Show
17th January 2010

For those that have been asking if I have any pictures or know where to see pictures for the Short Circuit part of the Autosport show at the NEC unfortunately you've come to the wrong person. I didn't attend this year and I haven't been for a few years.

Going back a few years the Brentwood was good but that was back in the pre-internet days, you knew that Spedeworth would have a few cars there but not really know what they were. You could wander about collecting all your fixture lists for the forthcoming year and plan everything the following evening. Now everything is streamed through the world wide web. I personally can't see the appeal of driving 200+ miles to see the cars from the sport I love NOT RACING. I go to meetings for the racing not what the cars look like. I know there's the indoor arena but it's not the same, as value for money I don't think it matches any stock car/ hot rod meeting. I know some of you may disagree but hey we're all entitled to your own opinions. There is the other type of person the people that couldn't attend but wanted to be there, so for those I'm asking if you have some pictures from the show send them in or a link where your fellow fans can enjoy them.

Just another year
30th December 2009

Stuck in the void of that time after Christmas and New Years Iím contemplating putting together a list of the best performing drivers of the year, itís something Iíve done for several years but Iím getting a little sick of seeing and hearing every list thatís flying around at the moment. The best of the year, the best of the decade, blah. Perhaps my attitude will change as I get bored of seeing another episode of Friends on T4 and feel I need to contribute something to the masses.

Every year I can easily put a spin on the good aspects, mask the bad ones and hype up the future of the sport. In all honesty the promoters will have to work harder than ever to keep the three sports of bangers, stock cars and hot rod racing continuing. Bangers are definitely dropping in numbers and Iíve personally lost my interest in them. Iíll watch them if they are racing at a meeting Iím at but I wonít travel to see them. Firecrackers and world finals are just a distant memory of what used to me. Blame the recession, blame the scrappage plan, blame drivers who donít want to crash, blame the sport becoming too professional, blame the rodders; whatever the excuse drivers racing are less and this has a knock-on effect to stock cars and hot rods. It is bangers that make money from the punters through the gate and they are the meeting that actually make a profit to compensate the low attending hot rod and stock car meetings.

The fans of stock cars and hot rods are usually the hardcore ones that travel across the country to see their favourites week after week. I salute you, you are the people that are keeping the sport ticking over. Your continued support is needed. My year ahead has some big plans, Iíve set some targets (remember if you donĎt specify a date and a measurable target your goals will become less achievable - fact!). For the site I do want it to become bigger and better, Iíve always thought that this site was unique and can link together all the hot rod racing unlike the other oval racing sites. Enter problem number one, I can not do everything. My recent survey wanted pictures and reports, I canít do both, but with the fact I donít have a fancy digital camera the reports take charge. Iíve compared my reports against other writers and although I may not have the same contact they have with the drivers I am not attached to any promoters, formula or drivers and can give unbiased view. However, YOU CAN HELP, if you have photos then send them into the site (thanks to Keith Duke, Clive Merchant and Buxton Racepix for your pictures in 2009), if you can string together a sentence or two for a meeting review/ result go for it. These little touches help, do you have a new car for 2010 share it to the world-wide-web.

Stepping away from what the site will offer next year the people that come to this site for information do it because they love the racing. They want to ingest more information, catch up on a meeting they have missed or see when their favourite class is racing next.

Fixtures are already being put together and Spedeworth seem to have put something pretty special together, 3 World finals (National Hot Rod, 2 Litre Hot Rod and Lightning Rod) at the Spedeweekend as well as the Stock Rod later on. This is to celebrate 50 years of promoting from Spedeworth. Arlington is now changing to Saturday thatíll pack out the terraces even more, while the National Hot Rods are a provisional fixture at Great Yarmouth. Wimbledonís current refurbishment means the owners have some faith in the venue.

FMC are ready to roll at Paices Hill (Aldermaston) for 2010 and Lochgelly Complex in Scotland should also be running by Easter, everything is not all doom and gloom. The questions thatíll be answered during the course of the year: Can Boardley do it again in the Nationals? Can Woolsey do it again in the 2 Litreís? Will there be a Lightning Rod race without any contact? Will the Starlet ever win another hot rod race? Which country will dominant in the Stock Rods? Will the blue flag stop being shown to a driver leading a hot rod race? Roll on 2010!

I have to say I always enjoy most of your reports as they are written very well without the big slagging but still critical to whats going on on and next to the tracks in all rod classes. Your reports about the Peugeot 205 got me going for more informations about the NHR on the mainland and by now with the help of fans and drivers that are on ovalrace.com we got some pretty informations get together that I will try to use to setup a history page on ovalrace.com for Frank Dorau (owner of the side)

Keep up your very good work and writting and all the best for a superb season 2010


Back to the seaside
12th December 2009

An argument that has been going on for many years, should the premier hot rod class (National Hot Rods) race at a handful of the top tracks or tour the country racing at more tracks? In my opinion there are several tracks they could race at but politics has held them back.

The recent revealing of the provisional fixtures on
nationalhotrod.com has Yarmouth as a round after an absence of around 15 years. Wimbledon is a much better choice for the class but Iím in favour of the class racing at more tracks whatever they are. This doesnít mean I think they should be bouncing around some dirt oval in the middle of nowhere the tracks do need to be of a reasonable standard. Though I can think of tracks that are not within the ORCi that are good enough for the class e.g. Ringwood or Swaffham. This is a topic Iíve previously covered in the feature what tracks can be used?

Although a provisional fixture there is the class that the drivers will stomp their feet and refuse to race, Ipswich becomes a better option or a tornado will sweep off the North Sea and destroy the track. I hope this meeting goes ahead, if it does Iíll be there though I imagine it will clash with the Banger World at Arena (yes I do like Bangers as well) on that day.

To be honest I canít think of time Iíve been this excited about the class venturing elsewhere. I travelled down to Lydden Hill when the class returned there in 2007 (could be there again in 2010) but it doesnít have the close proximity that a typical short oval has, what I see as one of the points that makes the sport so great. Even meetings at the new Aldershot didnít get me planning as much as this one has, I can make a weekend away and take in the delights of the East coast sunshine.

The Fantasy Returns
9th August 2009

Fantasy Hot Rod Racing is back as an evolution from the first series that I ran, this time it will not be run by me. To see the new league and sign up for a team go
here. As a slight change it will have 6 drivers being picked instead of 5, these groups are different to mine. The points scoring system is also the so-called Carole Longhurst scoring system which will create some huge scores. I've already signed up with my team name of 'Sex, drugs and sausage rolls' and it contains the drivers Carl Boardley, James Jamieson Jnr, John Holtby, Jason Kew, Tony Moss and Russell Wilcox. Time will only tell if my experience in running the league helps out or if it's purely luck.

Taking a step back to the league that I ran it does give a good look into the form of drivers over the past 6 months. The top scoring team consisted of Chris Haird, Dick Hillard, Carl Boardley, Willie Hardie and James Jamieson Jnr but that doesn't mean they were the top 5 scoring drivers, they were the top of their respective groups. The top 20 scorers through my scoring system were as follows:
41-122 115-86 155-78 85-69 491-62
72-94 14-84 305-77 192-69 601-61
31-92 519-82 61-71 3-63 911-61
278-89 734-80 427-70 6-63 95-60

They say if is a big word, but IF my system was used Jamieson, Moss and Smith would have been in the World Final instead of Murray, Simpson and Kew. Blackman tied in 18th place with Newall. In the real series Blackman jumped up from group 2 to group 1 from the winter to the summer but went the other way in my fantasy league, why's that? He was aided by the fact he didn't have to drop a score as he missed a round but Blackman gradually picks up points instead of getting random wins, he is consistently starting from the back. A driver like Gomm or Haird seem to yo-yo up and down, at the end of the day Haird's grid position at the final Northampton round probably helped him to the English points title. The points system that I used favoured drivers having plenty of decent finishes (top 10 instead of top 15), the new one will favour those who win races.

The National Hot Rod Fantasy League has been moved to a new home nhrfantasyleague.webs.com/
Fraser Green

Vote Now
24th July 2009

There are many upís and downís Iíve had from this site. The days of no hits on a poorly designed site are behind me, the biggest problem I still face is lack of co-operation from the promoters. Getting annoyed about their lack of vision doesnít bother me anymore I still have plenty of ideas to keep this site improving. Bouncing around the head are several unique ideas thatíll be interesting for all the visitors. Although I can gradually plod on and get these into public domain Iím after a bit of feedback. What I think are good ideas are not what the majority of people want to see, so thereís no point in me wasting time if itís not wanted.

Please vote in this poll. I want to know what you the viewer would most like to see on this site. Doesnít require much work from you, just click with the mouse. You may have to disable some security measures to view the poll.

Interesting results!

Nothing Compares
21st July 2009

Iíve been watching oval racing for about 20 years, I follow a lot of National Hot Rod meetings and plan my weekends around it at the start of the year. Even the excitement of Blur reforming would not hold me back from seeing my beloved sport. Iím not trying to find a better form of motorsport but felt surely it canít hurt seeing anything when I have the opportunity. This year I ventured to France to see the Le Mans 24 hours race. Going on the Wednesday and spending 5 days there. It would also be slightly different to my oval racing experiences due to the fact I will be staying with 6 other guys drink would be a key theme. I don't drink when watching hot rods and stock cars, never felt the need for it.

When I first arrived the speed of the cars was awesome, the V8 Corvette passing was immense, but thereís only so much you can see. As the days passed the highlight was probably watching the regular public completing burn-outs. The race was fun, but I couldnít be bothered to stay up all night. Iím not sure I even saw an overtaking manoeuvre for position which included the use of a hand-held television. Perhaps I was being biased but I canít see how this type of motorsport can compete with the short ovals for pure entertainment. Painting an old Jaguar with a chequered roof and building beer mountain probably surpassed the quality of the race, which is slightly sad considering how long Iíve thought about going.

The previous week I was at Northampton, for the final round of the National Hot Rods World Qualifying. Like Le Mans there was a Peugeot coming out on top, Hairdís 206cc probably contains as much standard Peugeot parts as the LMP version that trashed Audi. Sitting on the banking with my father is nothing new, but this time we had three of my friends. What did they think of the hot rods, stock cars and bangers? They loved it, I was bombarded with questions: Why do these race the other way? Why do they line up this way? Will Podge be out in the next Banger race? When is the next meeting? Being an oracle I answered all the questions. It made me feel good that I brought these people into my world and loved it and wanted to come back again.

Whilst the cars were practicing I asked which driver they would support, without any prior knowledge they picked Carl Boardley. I hadnít explained anything about grading at this stage but they liked the gold roof. Even though these are adults I took, his name and number werenít remembered heís just known as Ďgold topí. When I went to the World Final I was asked if Ďgold topí would be racing, of course he was he won again!

When you compare these two meetings that happened only days apart which won did I prefer? The hot rods, even though this was a bog-standard meeting where the highlight was Boardleyís move on Murray in the heats. I know in my heart that the short ovals rock, I should make more effort into getting new fans to the ovals.

Jinxed Drivers
31st March 2009

Have I cursed drivers or have the choices of the
fantasy hot rodding managers done that. In a previous post I mentioned that of the race winners at Birmingham only one driver was picked, the others werenít. I predicted the winners at Aldershot would come from more unpicked drivers. Turns out my guess was right the top three in the final were Mark Fuller, Tony Moss, Luke Armiger . All these drivers were not picked; the other race winner of the race was Shuddall who has only been picked by two teams. On top of the three I mentioned I did predict one more: Hughie Weaver, get ready for him at Northampton he should be starting near the front.

The most picked driver Carl Boardley had terrible luck (continuing from the end of 2008), more spins at Aldershot. If I am the direct cause of certain drivers winning I canít help that, but if you know a shaman or dabble in voodoo magic get in contact to remove the curse otherwise Boardley wonít qualify for the World Final.

New Track Ahead
26th March 2009

Something I get excited about is the prospect of visiting a new track; this Sunday will be no different as I venture to the new Aldershot track. I only went to the old track once and to be honest canít remember much of it, but do remember being picked up from cubs in the daytime and heading there. Strange how that bit still sits in my memory.

The National Hot Rods having a different track for a qualifying round is a move in the right direction for the formula; there are too many meetings at Ipswich. The class should be more a travelling circus that has a buzz as it hits another track. There certainly are tracks that are good enough to host the class.

For 2009 the rounds have been sponsored and named, I really like this, it is a positive move forward. Looking back the named meetings give a chance to compare who was once winning. The opening meeting at Birmingham was sponsored by Titan Motorsport but was not named. The next meeting at Aldershot will be the Southern Championship; I have been gradually collating the championship winners in the class but donít have that much info on this one. As far as I know the title was last held in 1990 at Aldershot but donít know who won. The ones I do know are Steve Burgess won the title in Ď86 (in an Escort mk2) and George Polley won in í68 (Wimbledon) í73 (Walthamstowe) and í84.

Fantasy Racing
22nd March 2009

The entries flew in faster than I expected for
this series, I thank you all that have entered, 76 so far and more could enter. I expected about 25; if someone wants to put some money towards this by sponsoring it get in contact. The selections though have surprised me, most going for the Blackman/ Boardley/ Spinks combo from groups 2/3/4. With Spinks he may be quick on the day, goes for the outside move and is the only driver to make some progress in a World Final but never qualifies well. In the class the for about 10 years now he historically qualifies lowly because he doesnít pick up enough points during the year, this fantasy league is all about points scored in the qualifiers, not the reputation the driver has.

The driver picked most was Carl Boardley (60 times!), but his season is not going so well and thatís why he isnít at the top of the points. Over 8 meetings he has been outscored by Carter, Pepper and Austin yet people still believe he will do well. Again it is his reputation that has him up there. Iím not trying to say he is slow, he will be a favourite for the World come July but I just think people have failed to realise he sits back there because the drivers are doing better than him (or being luckier).

The last round of 2008 Boardley won the final yet his lap times werenít the quickest 24th overall during the day. Perhaps this is a bit unfair to compare as the track was affected by weather but does show whoís quick. Thompson and Jamieson were the top dogs followed by Hillard. Dick Hillard has really got his Tigra flying and scored well in the fantasy league (albeit after one round), and moves into second place in the National Hot Rod standings. One of the 6 people that picked him they could be the winners of the fantasy hot rodding. The team that should have been picked would be M Simpson, Hillard, Pepper, Sanders and Edwards; which would have amassed 119 points; the top scorer so far has 63, Theoretically 188 points could be scored by one team in a meeting, the average score is 26!

After the first meeting Martin Kingstonís Just 4 Fun leads the way, Mark Edwards scoring well for him, Martin being the only person to pick him. Final winner David Newall and heat one winner Russell Wilcox was not picked by anyone. Has this league jinxed drivers? Will the winners of the next meetings be the unselected drivers like Armiger, Weaver, Moss and Fuller? The next meeting at Aldershot may lack overtaking more big points hauls for the drivers starting at the front of the grid.

Give us what the fans want
15th February 2009

Best hot rod class in the UK? The super fast National Hot Rods with its roots as the original class, the competitive Stock Rods that race throughout the UK or the rough and ready Lightning Rods that have earned themselves the nickname of Frightening Rods. Personally Nationals on their day nothing compares, yet there is another formula that sits nicely underneath it, the Spedeworth 2 Litre Hot Rods.

Putting together the ideal meeting would need the National Hot Rods and then stick the 2 Litre Hot Rods on the support bill. The cars are like a scaled down version of them, similar build and style just a cheaper version. Although a one promotion formula in England they have a large register of drivers, no other promoter with their own formula has the same quality line-up.

Seems obvious they should run together yet they only have one meeting together in England in 2009 which is the Spedeweekend. Instead the Nationals have bangers as their supporting role most of the time. This strange way of laying out the fixtures also appears at Hednesford. With Incarace now controlled by Spedeworth Deane Wood has kept the Incarace formulas in tact and added a few meetings for the Spedeworth formulas on those tracks. This sees the Superstox and 2 Litre Hot Rods having a few away days. Last November the 2 Litre Hot Rods hit Northampton for the National Championship. This year they have their World Championship at Hednesford, the first time the class has been there since 1991 when they used the 1600 crossflow engine.

Hednesford has fewer fixtures this year compared to years gone by and the National Hot Rods have suffered by having only 2 qualifying rounds and the National Championship. Yet the 2 Litre Hot Rods have three for this year, but they are the only away days for the class, none at Birmingham or Northampton. So what you might ask, but to me it doesnít seem logical that the track with least meetings available hosts this class when the National Hot Rods are losing meetings. Then you also have to consider being the most northerly of all the Incarace tracks it will also be the furthest away for the drivers.

In Northern Ireland things are a little different; the Nutts Corner track normally has many formulas racing at one meeting. During 2008 Nationals hit the circuit 8 times and 2 Litreís were on the same bill 8 times, this is likely to occur again in 2009. This year at Rolling Thunder the Outlaw hot rods venture there 8 times and every time the almost identical 2 Litre Hot Rods race with them.

It seems a real shame that the two classes that compliment each other so well canít be seen together in England. Do the promoters not care about the race fans that having been coming year on year, are Bangers more important to put alongside the Nationals. Itís obvious that Bangers draw the crowds, but the top end formulas do have their own fan-base. Why not have the bangers out with the regular formulas so the tracks can be cleaner when the faster cars are out there.

To end I would like to stress that I do like Stock Cars and Bangers. Iíve been to the big meetings and like a crash. I wouldnít want them to separated and never run together just limit those meetings they are together. More nationals and 2 litre in the future please.

Rule Breakers
8th February 2009

Looking back over a year of National Hot Rod Racing there has been some good racing and some poor. The points that stand out are perhaps not the highlights but this year might be remembered as the one where the promoters failed to adhere to the rules.

I was one of the fans that were left wondering how things are meant to be run at the World Championship. I wrote the qualifying farce as I saw it being wrong and it seemed like I wasnít the only person who thought would be different as the official souvenir World Final programme also thought the top Irish drivers should have been slotted into group one.

In Nationals plenty of drivers have been banned over the years for a multitude of reasons. Some of them bounce back stronger, some brush it off, some drivers are still considered squeaky clean and it was all an accident.

It seems that the drivers who are favourites with the crowd can take the ban and continue as a liked driver, whilst others become hated/ disliked figures. For those that have come through it still smelling of roses are John Steward and Ricky Hunn. Steward raced with an illegal engine and duly took his ban; Hunn has been banned a few times amassing too many penalty points and just ramming another driver.

While the popularity of Colin White seems to have dropped since he was banned for bringing the sport into disrepute. Blackman also seems out of favour as well.

So what differences do those drivers have, all have been world champions, but Steward and Hunn took a lot longer to get their world titles. When favourites they didnít take their chance and eventually took gold a few years later. Did this help create their legendary status? Is this the British attitude of always loving the underdog, building them up and knocking them down when they eventually make it?

Those in trouble this year have been Boardley, maybe not banned but he was effectively loaded-up for having his car run under the legal limit of inside weight. Due to running so close to this limit when weighed he was under. Matt Simpson had an illegal engine at the World but somehow the NHRPA decided they shouldnít ban him even though it seemed the same as the Steward situation in 1999.

The National Championship also threw up the problem where most of the Haird built cars being illegal due to using tubing being too thin on the rollcage, this was rectified but how long had these cars been running illegally, surely they should have been spotted in the World Final the month before and removed from those results.

Blackman got himself into trouble in the 2 Litre Hot Rods, though collecting a black cross he wasnít docked places and only lost out on a trophy when the carburettor was larger than the rules permit. He took a one month ban in that class yet could race in other ORCi formulas. Gordon Moodie lost out on the World Final due to illegal tyres and carburettor he is now sitting on a 15 month ban. The fans have their favourites and the promoters seem to have theirs as well which doesnít seem very professional.

When running on the edge or looking for a loophole in the rules sometimes the drivers go a little too far, in these situations they should be banned. Even if they have bought the part from a recognised supplier. Itís the driverís responsibility for the car to be legal when they race the car and buck should stop with them. There needs to be far more consistency in breaking the rules, the percentage rules in Nationals allows a small discrepancy to be amended through the meeting and larger one result in a ban, yet other problems do not have a system with the same logic. This needs to be applied across all of the ORCi formulas.

Can 2009 be better? Will Deane Wood and co get rid of the grey areas in the sport or do we thrive on controversy?

Definately there are, and will allways be, favourites amongst fans but also amongst promoters. I'm sure promoters will say otherwise but I honestly don't believe there is anyone out there that can say with hand on heart that they are impartial in all cases. Also there is a distinct lack of consistency punishment across the board.

I think that the reason for the goodies and baddies amongst the rule breakers is the punishment they get, the way they handle their punishment and in their possible intention. John Stewart and Carl Boardley for intance. Both seemed to have made a mistake and not intentionaly meant break the rules. Both took the hit on the chin without complaint and resumed racing after the end of their punishment. Other drivers moan and complain to all who will listen and throw their teddies out.

Also others effectivley get caught, even if it isn't intentional, and get away with it.


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