The year ahead
6th February 2013
Some people might have read the fixtures lists that look all too common to the previous year and have already made their minds up what will happen.
Forget about predictions of who will win - this is fresh from the time machine as what happens in 2013.
Lightning Rods are the first formula to be brought up a higher standard and the amended rules require grilles on all cars, the Wimbledon meeting
has only two cars passing scrutineering due to their appearance.
Outside the World of oval racing a new channel is set-up, ITV 5 is a reality manís channel. The NHRPA decide that the 50th anniversary is something
that should be on terrestrial television and start to collect funding to television to years racing ahead.
ITV like the idea of Hot Rod racing on the television but require a slight revision to the sport, that change is a female only class. The TV show
has footage every night of the female racers as they get attempt to qualify for the World final, actual footage of racing is at a minimum.
The format of the National Hot Rod World Final is amended to allow 2 female drivers in from the mini-series. National Hot Rods have a far more
presentable look now including a compulsory windscreen on each car; that is sponsored by the channel.
After a poor start to the Lighting Rod season Ford Mondeos are written into the rule book using the Zetec engine. Some drivers immediately walk
away from the class complaining that FWD and RWD will cause more damage.
West Hamís failure to land the Olympic Stadium gives other sports a chance to use the Olympic Stadium, Spedeworth attempt to expand their empire
further by putting in a bid for the oval.
Also bringing racing to a new market is Trojan International Ė after many failed attempts at going to new venues the Newport track in Wales is
used. Numbers are poor for the opening meeting and only 2 bangers race but being Mondeos but PRI decided these two Welsh drivers can race in the
Lightning Rods World Final later on in the year to make the event even more international.
Other new formulas to hit the tracks at Easter are the Ďnot quite classic hot rodsí that are also nicknamed Jubilee Rods or Retro Rods. The
class straddles between the Classic Hot Rods and modern National Hot Rods by allowing the cars of the late 80ís/ early 90s to compete in a
dedicated series. Ricky Hunnís Peugeot 205 and the former Starlet of Lewis Hill are the first to hit the track.
In an attempt to capture every incident in National Hot Rods cameras are affixed to every other fence post at Ipswich allowing for a continuous
360 degree view. Having 74 cameras around the track had the potential of creating 18 and half hours of footage per race but all were damaged in
the preceding meeting when the Bangers raced on the track.
Arena Essexís suffers the lowest crowds ever; all drivers are staying away from the tracks as it has become un-raceable from the drifting events.
PRI decide to cut all losses and stop promoting with immediate effect. Spedeworth take over the track with immediate effect, the World Final for
Lighting Rods is moved to Ipswich.
Buoyant from the successful acquisition of Arena Essex, Spedeworth run a publicity stunt allowing Bangers onto the running track at the Olympic
Stadium, this ends in disaster as Bangers damage a lot of the track. Spedeworthís bid now hangs by a thread.
The reformed Super Rod class and Classic Hot Rods have had packed grids for the first half of the season and given the amber light for returning
to the Spedeweekend, their target is average 20+ cars per meeting up to the end of May. Both classes hit this target and everyone assumes they
will be racing but instead the Spedeweekend will feature Pro wheel-barrow racing, unlimited unicycle racing and celebrity Stock Car racing.
Following the previous error with cameras outside the track they are substituted by cameras in the cars, the opening meeting for this system (final World
qualifying round) runs incident free and no replays are needed. The other news of the day is Jason Kew misses out on a qualification for the
top group again, this time he fails to get the car on track when distracted by updating his status on Facebook.
The finalists for the World Final are confirmed but an administrative error means Sammy Shudall is mistaken as a female driver and qualifies for
the race. The other female qualifier is Sarah Cooper who has taken over brother Jason's 206cc.
The Thunder 500 suffers with a huge down pour which makes for some poor driving standards, the new cameras are all unable to be used as evidence
due to the misting of windscreens Ė the internal car cameras are immediately wrote out of the rule book for the World Final.
The Spedeweekend is the usual centre piece for the year of Hot Rod racing and a huge crowd assembles. The 2L Hot Rods race for the British
Championship but time delays mean both heats are only 5 laps in length and the title race is just 15 laps. This weekend was originally meant to be
for the World Championship but it had been moved back to December to allow to event to be held in Poland; with multiple available shale tracks
it is seen as the next market for Hot Rods. Jimmy Carr wins the celebrity stock car race on the Saturday night and buys a Lightning Rod for the
following days racing.
The National Hot Rod World Final has a quiet race that Colin Smith leads from the opening lap to final corner of lap 75 when he is shunted by a
back-marker. The impact is enough to take him off line and into the fence that takes off his wheel, his cars bounces back across the track.
His lead was so great that even when he engaged reverse he was the first across the line but this triggered a further crash on the home straight
that needed an instant red flag.
This now threw up a host of problems as the cause of the stoppage was indeed Smith, so he was disqualified. The result was reversed before the
meeting closed using the last completed lap for the result, the so-called Malcolm Girling rule being applied.
More drama was to come as the following day Smith failed scrutineering, the loss of a wheel meant the car was heavier on the inside so failed on
the percentage ruling. Smith duly returned the trophy only to be reinstated as the car was not in this state on the last completed lap. This
angers the drivers who had been dropped places with Smithís return to the top. The answer was to wait for all international drivers to return
to England and argue their case about the legality of his car Ė this would take several weeks so Smithís car impeded until then.
Geoff Bowen decides to race a Ford Mondeo for Lightning Rods racing it at Ipswich. Handily for Geoff, Bangers on the bill. After the Lighting Rod
race he doesnít return to the pits but stays out for the next Banger race Ė it is the first any driver has raced in two different classes with
the same car.
After waiting 8 weeks it was declared that Smith had been removed from the result of the NHR World as finishing the race in reverse is not
acceptable, the final line in the rulebook ďif it says you canít do it, then canít do itĒ apparently supersedes all rules and sense. Unsavoury
language used by some parties meant that they were also taken out the result and handed bans, ultimately the result was declared void.
The next day the NHRPA decide the loyal and vocal following online should choose the winner. The chosen format is a simple Ďlikeí button used for
voting in the new World Champion via Facebook, however an error means that only the drivers with lower numbers could collect likes. After a week of voting
Mikey Godfrey takes this honour even though he never qualified for the World Final.
Carl Boardley makes a return to Hot Rods this time in a Fiat 500, he states it is even better than the Tigra or the Mercedes but his full time
return is in his old Tigra citing the issue of developing the Fiat. It is the only new shape model for the class during the season.
With the 2 Litreís making their shale debut in a few months the Stock Rods were getting in on the act. A 3 meeting mini-series has the heats on
tarmac and final on the shale. Rounds were planned for Ipswich, Arena Essex and Eastbourne but ditched after the opening round when drivers raced
around the outside of the shale on the tarmac because it was quicker.
Spedeworth lose out to Leyton Orient on the Olympic Stadium bid and immediately look towards their old football ground as the next potential venue.
The Lightning Rod World Final at Ipswich sees the Trojan based qualifiers arrive at the track only to be turned away on the basis that they are
non-ORCi licensed drivers; day licenses are not accepted either. The race itself was very quiet but the huge news was Jimmy Carrís sensational
speed that won him the race. The female Hot Rod TV programme is now over and replaced by Carrís journey to being a World Champion, he is invited
to race in the 2 Litre title in Poland.
Ralph Sanders buys two more National Hot Rods to bring his total to 11, he even enters the local football league with his army of Hot Rods.
The Jubilee Rods make their final appearance ever at Wimbledon. Although fans did like the fact Mick Collard and Ralph Sanders were able to
dig cars out of their yards and race them numbers were always less than 10 at a meeting. This was made worse when half the grid were banned
after racing at non-ORCi tracks (Ringwood and Swaffham).
Even with extreme weather conditions Poland gears up for the 2 Litre World Final but on the eve of the meeting Jimmy Carr is kidnapped from the
pits, the local police close the facility until Carr is returned. It was a dark ending to the year but at least Incarace made a lot of people
happy by selling chips throughout the season.
This is not intended to offend anyone and has been written as a light-hearted start to the season.