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Whistlin' Jack Smith >> Fixtures

WJS Meeting Preview - 1st December - Wimbledon
Added 25th November 2013

Some say National Hot Rods returning to Wimbledon is the last hooray for the track before its demolished, some say the formula has developed too much for the track to handle; all we know is National Hot Rods are coming back to Wimbledon on the 1st December.

During this year the 50 years of Hot Rod anniversary almost never happened – a few stickers were thrown on National Hot Rod headlight apertures after they realised what has point of history they were in but barring that the year continued as planned. The Wimbledon fixture however was a gasp attempt at bringing back a traditional track to National Hot Rods.

For many years qualifying for the World Final has been of utmost importance to a National Hot Rod driver and the previously prestigious championship races failed to attract a decent grid that meant titles like the Best in Britain, NHRPA and the English Championship were either cut added into a points based format to full in line with the World Final. Racing at Wimbledon for fun was also suffering and once the Low Emission Zone came into play it seemed that Wimbledon would never see the premier Hot Rod formula again.

But out of nowhere the potential for National Hot Rods in London appeared a few months ago with the provision that 12 cars must be booked in before the 31st October, a significant date for some as that was the date of the first ever appearance of Hot Rods at a Spedeworth track or at Wimbledon. Coincidence maybe but it forced drivers to book in and now with the meeting approaching the grid has swelled to 15 cars.

Race fans now have the chance to watch National Hot Rods at Wimbledon, yes there might be the threat that this is the last time to see them but the rumour of Wimbledon closing has been knocking about for years so if you can get there, enjoy it. Which drivers are making the trip to the capital:

Leading the entry is one of the drivers of the year, those has sadly taken the tag of being Mr second place, 174 Jason Kew has come a long way since making his Wimbledon debut in the 2L Hot Rods 10 years back but has never raced at Wimbledon in a National. Former World Champion 718 Colin White has successfully raced at Wimbledon taking the Best in Britain title in 1989 and 1997 but not in current machine. If you thought that was a long time ago both 31 Dick Hillard and 160 Frank West raced at the Plough Lane venue in 1988, West though was numbered as 560 when he piloted a Talbot Hot Rod.

The last time Nationals raced at Wimbledon for the 2007 Best in Britain title it was an open event where 100 Dick Burtenshaw who was at the time still an Outlaw racer took second place, the third placed that year (Micky Pagden) is now the car that 155 Lee Pepper races. Pepper as a former 2L Hot Rodder has experienced the track so falls into the same category as 44 David Garrett, 113 Stuart McLaird and 209 Kym Weaver. Other racers who have had Stock Rod experience at the venue are 152 Shaun Taylor and 316 Paul Frost. The rest of the entry who are braving the wire and post fence are 39 Terry Hunn, 136 Ivan Grayson, 141 Martyn Ginger and 287 Greg Moore.

WJS Meeting Preview -
21st June - Ipswich - Thunder 500

Added 20th June 2013

The Thunder 500 is the only time that the two premier formulas from the contact and non-contact short oval World get to race together in 2013; however as a supposed added benefit this year will also include Brisca Ministox. This creates two different trains of thought – the first being that more cars will race, last year the Brisca F1 Stock Cars were pretty dire and having their children racing alongside will apparently allow more of them to race. Numbers are definitely up but this has caused an issue for National Hot Rods who will be race as an all-in format (usually split grids during the heats at Ipswich). So the National Hot Rods drivers/ fans are now losing a race, potentially a shorter final all for a formula that has never raced at Ipswich before, also pretty insulting for the Spedeworth registered drivers in other classes who want to race at Ipswich but only get a few fixtures over the year. Both the Brisca based formula are expected to have 4 races each compared to 3 for the National Hot Rods

It’s not just the one less heat that becomes the issue but having more cars on track in the heats does cause more damage, just looking at the last 8 races at Ipswich the average heat has 21 cars and is stopped every other race, while the final has 27 cars on average and stopped twice….meaning the additional of 6 more cars track makes the races 4 times more likely to be stopped. Is damage really required this close to the World Final?

With the negative issues cleared the race itself is seen as a guide to the World Final but don’t think about putting all your money on this one when picking a winner for gold. There are three previous winners of the title booked in to race – Chris Haird, Gary Woolsey and Colin Smith. The first of those to win was Colin Smith in 2003, he didn’t qualify for the World that year. When Woolsey won in 2008 he had a decent WF grid position a few weeks later (10th) but fell back to 11th by the time the chequers fell. Winner of the last two Thunder 500 events has been Haird who in those years nosed ahead during the World Final but wasn’t at the front when it mattered.

WJS Meeting Preview -
9th June - Hednesford

Added 4th June 2013

The final round for National Hot Rods has become more and more intense over the past few years; it seems that huge pressure is added to the drivers to push forward in a group or even make the World Final – the system of blocks has worked very well since its conception back in 1994 but has perhaps ran its course now (for other scenarios read this here). For the newbies to the sport an English registered driver that qualifies in the top block will have a guaranteed place within the first four rows irrespective of the lap time during qualifying for the World Final. Maybe next year will be different, but in the mean-time there’s the task of getting 22 drivers down to 20 – this preview is not an article of who could do it (no need to jinx anyone) but more to give those an understanding of what will happening during the day.

If you think a driver is safe in their block they are not, if you think a driver is safe in qualifying for the race they are not, nothing is certain – this is sport, no matter how much you think you know about it – the phrase “you couldn’t make it up” is often coined with sport due to the uncertainties that happen. Would you want to watch sport if you knew what was going to happen, hence sport being more exciting than going to the theatre.

The last day of the year is not just about scoring more points than closest rivals because there’s the added twist of “dropped points” – this is not exactly the correct wording as within England your best scores from 15 meetings are used, those drivers that miss a meeting do not drop a score; so the drivers that are consistent throughout the year have the potential disadvantage of dropping a larger score. This in turns creates frantic calculations to work out these scores as each race finishes, these kind of last minutes changes has been very well handed by Sky for football but in the world of short oval racing the ball has been well and truly dropped– as a year’s worth of work is poorly rewarded. As an example Chris Haird was announced as the English Champion last year after the lap of honour when the majority of fans had left the stadium – an ideal way to get around this would be to make sure the National Hot Rod final is not the last race of the day.

Looking back to the past few years to the corresponding fixture there has been several examples of having a great day or having a day to forget. Last year Jason Kew was heading into the meeting aiming for a group one position, a disastrous day ended with his car catching fire whilst racing – if that wasn’t bad enough the other drivers around him scored well and was bumped down to group three. Shaun Taylor entered the final round in ninth place but ended up being the final qualifier in equal eighteenth place. Steve Burrows and Carl Waller-Barrett on the other hand were prosperous, both jumping from group four to two.

The year before (2011) didn’t see that many changes during the final round at the top but a second place in the final for Ralph Sanders got him onto the grid for the World Final displacing Mike Loosemore who was disqualified from the meeting final. A problematic day for Dick Hillard saw him drop to the final qualifying position.

2010 was a great final round as Lee Pepper went around the outside in a thrilling all race manoeuvre that gave him second place on the road, the brilliant drive was made much sweeter as it catapulted him unexpectedly into the top group after previously being placed in group three, Matt Simpson sat this meeting out due to being banned that pushed him back to group four as a ban can’t be counted as your dropped score.

2009 was the first year that Chris Haird clinched the English points championship though entering the meeting there was 9 drivers with a mathematical chance of being crowded the champion. Only 18 drivers made the cut that year, John Holtby maintained his 18th position in the points while Steve Thompson (who was banned for 2 meetings during the qualifying campaign) only managed one top 10 finish that day and couldn’t overhaul him.

2008 was another year where banned drivers suffered in the final round – this time held at Birmingham, Malcolm Blackman and Stu Carter were out of action so the final block was made up of Boardley, Simpson, Steve Thompson and Andy Holtby. Colin Smith was out in the loaned Mitsubishi Colt of Billy Wood, keeping out of danger he finished last in both heats which enabled him to consolidate a group three grid position.

The cynics amongst you might think that certain drivers play the game and fix their grid position, which is a risky game; you would need a poor average throughout the year to gain a good starting position in the final round but have a deficit that can be overcome.

With those exciting final round moments there is definitely the argument that more emphasis needs to be added to the day, a good argument may be to have semi-finals to spice up the day– those that are old enough will remember those from the 1980’s but there was disappointment for some drivers as potential front runners like Nigel Murphy, Andy Harris and Neil Facey missed out.

Just a final one of memories, going back 22 years Steve Skitmore took his first points title on a Wednesday night at Eastbourne, edging out Steve Burgess who needed to finish ahead of him. At the other end of the scale Derek Luke missed out on automatic qualification by a single point but later qualified through the semi-finals. Imagine everyone bundling down there in this day and age to see mid week National Hot Rods action.

The National Hot Rod are not the only Hot Rod formula on the bill as the Lightning Rods are racing for the English Championship that was won last year by a Scottish driver Frankie Cunningham at Arena Essex (he qualifies as he is registered with Incarace), this year he is still one of the favourites in an event open to all drivers who graded blue and above from PRI, Spedeworth or Incarace.

Following on from the above with the history lesson the last time the event was held by Incarace it was at Northampton which coincided with the final round at Northampton for National Hot Rods in 2010, which was won on the road by Mick Walker who later failed scrutineering handing the win over to Steve Santry. Walker although Spedeworth is pretty handy on the Incarace tracks taking the National Championship last year, the last major to be held at Incarace was the World Final where Frankie Cunningham took another title.

WJS Meeting Preview -
26th May - Northampton

Added 24th May 2013

Over the past few years Northampton has been the track to end the quest for points in England, before that Ipswich had the honour but once the Thunder 500 was reshuffled to the summer Round 16 moved on. This year Hednesford will be host for the points show-down with Northampton hosting the penultimate round – that move doesn’t mean that Northampton will have less excitement as all positions are just as important for winning the points title, getting into certain blocks or even making the cut for the big race.

Although it might be mathematically possible for drivers within the top 27 to qualify it is more like the qualifying positions are being fought out by 22 drivers; reasoning being that although a driver may be able to score a maximum of 70 points others drivers will still be scoring points and that makes it harder for drivers to recuperate the difference.

At the previous round Chris Haird showed everyone the way by winning the final from the back but he only moved a point further clear of Rob McDonald who scored well in the heats. Those two are again expected to do well and Haird has already tasted success at Northampton in 2013 but the winners are more than likely to come from the front. After decent starts to their qualifying campaigns both Kym Weaver and Colin Smith have fallen down the order, considering their grid positions for this round and previous form at the track they will be the favourites. Forget your Betfred odds – WJS odds for winning the final at Northampton 4/1 on either one!!!!

  • Entry
  • Kym Weaver

    WJS Meeting Preview -
    13th / 14th April - Ipswich / Aldershot

    Added 11th April 2013

    A pinnacle weekend in the 2013 calendar, this weekend is the closest to the 50th anniversary of Hot Rods first appearing on an oval track and what have the promoters given us?

    First up is the 2L European Championship and with the inclusion of Scottish and Incarace drivers suddenly this title begins to have more meaning (going back to the 1600 crossflow days of the 1990’s the formula there had been representation from mainland Europe as well as Scotland). It is quite interesting how much flack the NHRPA has been given for running their European Championship so early when the same title for the 2 Litres will be run 2 weeks ahead of that.

    It is great that a title of this status will be held at Ipswich as that is a real hot rod track and over the past few years has really suited the Northern Irish drivers, in particular 70 Shane Murray who will be one of the favourites after winning the British Championship when he last raced at Ipswich that was followed up by the European on home soil. He will be joined by Adam Hylands who was second in the British and Best in Britain last year.

    Making the trip from Scotland will be 972 Willie Hardie who has raced plenty of times at Ipswich when in the National Hot Rods but before that was a 2L Hot Rod racer. 17 Kenny Purdie also makes the trip down south as well.

    The Incarace entry is gradually becoming stronger and their most successful driver so far is 928 Dave Leech who won earlier in the year at Northampton. Barry Limer will be looking for a much better performance than his last championship venture when he crashed out within the opening laps of the first heat during the 2012 Spedeweekend.

    That leaves Spedeworth who fill the majority of the grid with drivers graded blue and above (including honorary grading) and there’s so many that could take the title but the top two in the points 65 Mark Willis and 565 Dan Smith are really beginning to out-shine the competition.

    Jump to the next day and the National Hot Rod circus moves to Aldershot a track where overtaking is limited and there are probably more suitable tracks that are not used for the class but it is important that the class race at different tracks. From a spectator point of view Aldershot is brilliant and unlike Northampton you can be right up the front of the fence yet still look down onto the track. Add onto that a flat centre to stop impeding your view across the track it makes a track that you have to visit.

    Limited overtaking does mean wins from the front of the grid are likely but doesn’t mean the racing will be boring as the outside line is the key to making up several places and points but is a risk that some drivers thrive on, 155 Lee Pepper as an example has nothing to lose (being so far away from the qualifying positions) so expect him to go out wide and scrap the Armco chasing that chequered flag. 100 Dick Burtenshaw is aiming to be back in action after writing off his car whilst practicing at Northampton, his team has spent the last 2 weeks working on a brand new Tigra, fairy-tale finish if Burtenshaw wins!

  • 2L Hot Rods European Championship roll of honour
  • Shane Murray

    Fixture change - 17th March
    Added 12th March 2013

    Hardie Race Promotions (in association with Spedeworth Motorsports) wish to inform drivers, teams and fans of the following fixture change. The Rookie Bangers have been removed from the programme this Sunday March 17th – this is due to driver feedback suggesting that this event will come too early for many of them to be ready to race.

    The Rookie Bangers will be replaced by the National Hot Rod World Championship Qualifying round that was postponed on March 10th due to the adverse weather conditions at Lochgelly Raceway. So join us this Sunday at 2pm where the action will feature the debut of the 2.0 Hot Rods, the National Hot Rod World Championship Qualifier, Ministox and 1300 Stock Cars.

    A perfect 50/50 blend of non-contact and contact racing meaning that there will be something for everyone! The green flag drops this Sunday at 2pm at Scotland’s most modern short oval motorsports facility, Lochgelly Raceway!!!

    WJS Meeting Preview -
    9th/ 10th March Birmingham/ Northampton

    Added 7th March 2013

    What defines the start of spring - the clocks going forward, the sporadic clumps of bluebells or the oval racing season beginning? This weekend the winter blues are definitely kicked into touch as the National Hot Rods World qualifying series in England returns to action with a double-header weekend at Birmingham (Saturday 9th March) and Northampton the following day.

    Although National Hot Rod racing has remained fairly healthy through this current economic crisis it is wise to combine midlands meetings to cut down on travelling expenses. This type of meeting planning will always have the issues of drivers that may pick up damage during the Saturday meeting and can’t race on Sunday, but it should be remembered that although the time between the meetings is shorter damage is always a potential danger for any driver when racing on a short oval. The only other issue sited has been working out grid positions for the Sunday meeting, if someone wants some tips on being more efficient on Excel please ask!

    Now with the negative comments put to one side, the positives are the racing. For National Hot Rods fans this time of year means they have been starved of racing in England for 5 months and they are hungry for action. The winter does create the opportunity of seeing something new. Sammy Shudall will have a new Tigra, Mikey Godfrey has moved over to Duratec power, Ken Marriot and Warren Farazmand are returning, in this ultra-competitive formula it is likely all drivers will have stripped down their car over the winter as they attempt to qualify in the all-important top 20 qualifying positions – so prepare for a lot of shiny paintworks before the green flag drops. The current points see the top 4 as Haird, Kew, McDonald and Stimson, with another 4 drivers further down the points who have qualified through group 1 before so will want to get into that group.

    The opening meeting of the year has often provided lots of new machinery – last year was no exception when 4 new cars/ owner combinations arrived at Northampton, it 6 the year before that. That meeting being quite memorable as Mark Paffey’s brand new car was wedged underneath Ralph Sanders before winning the next race; then Jason Cooper’s new car ended up on the top wire when he crashed. The final last year was won by Matt Simpson from the back of the grid ahead of Sanders who had won two heats.

    The weekend is not just about Nationals, they race alongside Brisca F2 and Bangers at both meeting but the Northampton fixture also has 2 Litre Hot Rods added to the bill racing in their first Incarace promoted meeting. Spedeworth drivers can race and pick-up points which will definitely help numbers, making their debuts will be Ian Gould, former Lightning Rodder Roger Dormer and Jon Wood (experimental Zetec power). The entry also includes former World Champion Jason Wilks will be back after 2 years away in a new Vauxhall Corsa C and Northern Irish racer Bradley Dynes. There will be 13 meetings for the 2 Litre Hot Rods during 2013 at Incarace tracks of Hednesford, Birmingham and Northampton – that has been rebranded as the PR1MO International.

  • Drivers booked in
  • Feature: 2L Hot Rods at Incarace
  • Jason Cooper Jason Wilks

    WJS Meeting Preview - 17th February Wimbledon
    Added 11th February 2013

    Don't believe everything in a newspaper is probably the same as believing everything you read in an online forum. This is the first big meeting of the year for Spedeworth and already people have started whinging that a championship event should not be held this early in the year. From a fans a perspective, there should be racing all year long. Perhaps this shouldn't be within these pages as its the Superstox British Championship that is the talking point and it is supported by two hot rod formulas.

    First up the Classic Hot Rods are making their annual trip to the capital to start their 2013 season. Last year was a great year for the class and hopefully 20+ cars at each meeting will be the norm this year. Last year at Wimbledon the winner of the final was Stuart Wright but he hasn't raced since his car was seriously damaged in the 'Stars of the past race'.

    The entry for this first meeting has no new drivers and at the time of writing, though all 15 drivers have completed their mandotary 3 test meetings from the back of the grid. 2013 will see Ford Anglia drivers Dean Hunt and Dan Holden make a full attack on the points championship. The likes of Tim Foxlow and Stu Donald will be racing at Wimbledon for the first time in 20ish years. Although Hot Rod racing has never been a team sport now it is now the time to choose: Pinto or Crossflow. Foxlow's Crossflow is already being dubbed as the 'Pinto Spanker'.

    Then there's the Rookie Rods that are often overlooked (burger formula?), for this meeting they have a quality line-up. The likes of Darren Wolf, John Smith, Malcolm and David Burton have all returned to the class, but while they have been away the rest have upped their game. Geoge Fitkin is now the silver top and the likes of Matt Farren, Paul Freeman and Dan Harris dropped down classes (to the Rookies) and become very competitive. It was this corresponding fixture last year where Harris started his run of winning 4 races in a row.

    With bangers as the final formula of the day the half of the Wimbledon stands that are still accessible should be full, those attending should pack thermals.

  • Drivers booked in
  • Stuart Wright

    Classic Hot Rod practice press day
    Added 11th February 2013

    2nd march at Hednesford Raceway is the Classic Hot Rod practice press day & passenger rides from several drivers to the press - Retro Ford mag, Classic Ford & Motoring News etc .so if any other driver would be kind enough to help promote the formula by giving the press and photo boys a few laps that would be really good. Seats are being put in 8 Daz Owen, 144 Tim Foxlow and 333 Lee Wood.

    Also new drivers can do their assessments on this day.

    Tim Foxlow

    Speed Sunday
    Added 11th February 2013

    Swaffham Raceway's 2 Litre Hot Rod formula will be featured in a all-new Speed Sunday’s in 2013 featuring all of their non-contact “rod” formulas on one bill. They will have three championships – the East Anglian, the Gold Roof and the Track Points Championship.

    The Swaffham Speed Sunday’s will feature racing from: 2 Litre Hot Rods, Stock Rods, Lightning Rods, Mondeo Rods, Junior Rods, Classic Modifieds and Street Rods (new for 2013).

    2013 Speed Sunday early season fixtures (all meetings start at 1.30pm)

  • 24th March – all 7 formulas
  • 7th April – 6 formulas (no Classic Modifieds)
  • 28th April – all 7 formulas
  • PDF download: 2013 Swaffham 2L Hot Rods fixtures
  • Fixtures
    Added 11th February 2013

    The sub-title to this page should read 'promoters not promoting' as only one class has made an effort to let fans know when the meetings are on, however links are shown to the promoters websites below.

    Autospeed (St Day, Taunton) - Ballymena - Buxton - GMP (Cowdenbeath) - Grimley - Incarace (Birmingham, Hednesford, Northampton) - Hardie Race Promotions (Lochgelly) - PRI (Arena Essex) - Rolling Thunder (Arena Essex) - Spedeworth (Aldershot, Eastbourne, Great Yarmouth, Ipswich, Wimbledon) - Standlake - Swaffham - Trojan International (Ringwood) - Tullyroan

    Previews written by WJS will be shown on this page, don't expect predictions; don't expect promoters to send any previews in either.

    Site built and maintained by Paul Ballard, Copyright 2004 - 2013. If you want to reproduce any part of this website please contact WJS
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