Saturday, 3 September 2011

Thunder In The Hills - Mendips Raceway

Last Sunday after I had dropped friends off at the airport I found myself with some unscheduled time on my hands. Normally I might have sauntered home to watch what remained of the Belgian GP but when I got to the roundabout of decision I headed in the opposite direction from home and went on a little drive through Somerset.

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After a couple of deviations from the main road I came to a tiny sign saying 'STOCK CAR RACING', I needed no encouragement to follow it and ended up at Mendips Raceway.

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Mendips Raceway turns out to be my local paved oval located between Shipham and Charterhouse it caters for the four formulae which collectively are often referred to as Banger racers.

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The Mendips Raceway oval, opened in 1969, dips to the east with an optional figure of 8 configuration. This year fourteen dates comprised the fixture list.

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Races are started behind a pace car with drivers starting positions usually in reverse championship or reverse previous race order.

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This series I Ford Mondeo served as both Pace Car and Victory Parade car on Saturday.

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The entry level into banger racing is known as Junior Rods featuring vehicles with engines up to 1000cc / 61 cui such as the Mini's of #14 Andy Russell and #7 Aaron Charles. Junior Rods are a strictly non contact form of banger racing aimed at attracting competitors aged 11 -16.

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BriSCA Formula 2 can trace it's origins back to 1960 when a formula for heavily armoured, usually self built cars weighing 650 kgs / 1430 lbs was introduced. Today these cars maybe powered either by Ford Pinto or Ford Duratec motors. Contact between vehicles is permitted in F2 though Liam Rowe was probably wondering if it was worth it as his front wheels get airborne. Note unlike the closed wheel cars which turn right F2 cars turn left.

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Finally there were several heats and a final for Rookie Bangers in which almost anything appears to go as #41 Sam Holdings finds out on the way to winning the Rookie Bangers trophy.

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After the races four tractors, named Thunderbirds 1 to 4 were used to clear up the mess. Thunderbird 1 is seen pushing Adrian hearts Mondeo and pulling Lee Dalton's Ford Cortina to the paddock, where repairs were made, and both cars started further races !

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Having a lifting crane on your transporter can make access to vehicles for routine maintenance and repairs easier tasks. Note the driver of the #721 Mushwacker is powered down 'a la' Jimmy Johnson at Texas in Fall 2010.

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Car of the day for me was this Pininfarina designed Austin A40 Countryman, a car of the type I first steered on a beach while sitting on my old mans lap aged all of 5, this one being a tad over enthusiastically pedalled by Dan Steeds who got himself black flagged from one of the Junior Rods races for avoidable contact.

Thanks for joining me on this Banger edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !