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52nd PRI World Championship World Final – Meeting Preview

The 52nd running of the PRI World Final takes place in the glamour of the Mendip hills on Sunday 18th September. If recent years are anything to go by, this should be a top day of action. The PRI World Final has firmly reestablished itself on the banger calendar, and the previous couple of years have been among meeting of the year contenders.

The top two in last years’ event traded blows in the Alcomers (LimeJelly Photography)

Last year saw 743 Jake Bond raced to his biggest career win to date, adding his name to the impressive list of some of the sports’ elite and his marker in the history books. Even Jake didn’t expect to win the race, with the win taking almost a week for him to sink in, but that just shows the beauty of the track. It really can be anybody’s race and last year displayed just that with numerous lead chances throughout. The frantic pace and carnage highlights the excitement surrounding the meeting, and this year is no exception.

743 Jake Bond will be back to try and defend his title

Jake will be back to defend his title, and has been a great champion displaying the gold on his travels up and down the country, and has certainly grown further as a driver over the past twelve months and will put up a fight to keep that gold. He currently leads the ‘Rookie’ points here at Mendips, so his confidence will be high going into the meeting. 

There is an array of top talent stacked up in the main race looking to claim the title for themselves. 440 Macauley Mills leads the Mendips points, and is a previous PRI World Champion. ‘Big Mac’ has all the capabilities to reclaim the title, and will be going all out to do so. His running mates 262 Rob and 252 Steven Bugler are next in line in the points standings, and are other mainstays of the Mendips scene. If they can stay out of trouble, they can mount a serious challenge. They will also be joined by 333 Charlie Randell to complete the BRCM line up.

Local faithfuls BRCM all have the capabilities to bring the gold back to their camp (LimeJelly)

154 Joe Odhams is having his best season to date. Joe is among the contenders for most improved driver this year and could provide an outside bet to keep the title at home. 284 James Head returns after being seeded into the main race via his win in the Thunderbolt last year. ‘Heady’ is certainly an underrated driver, and it will be interesting to see how he fairs in the 2L division, as it’s been a while since he has been at the helm of a front wheel drive. Hopefully we see him return to defend his Thunderbolt title next month also. 616 Ian Jones makes his maiden appearance in the World Final race. The Harvey’s are the bread and butter example of banger racers, with their never say die attitude, and it’s paid dividends with them qualifying once again. 720 Kenny-Joe Gabriel is a driver of a certain unpredictable stance. He can certainly motor a Mondeo when he’s in the mood for it, but his main focus is having a good ol’ crash, so keep an eye on him at the business end of either.

284 James Head will be looking to replicate his success from last year’s Thunderbolt (LimeJelly)

Autospeed have seeded some top talent, with a new crop of drivers continuing to emerge from the post-DWO era. It’s no secret DWO dominated the Autospeed scene for several years, but the likes of 2 Jack Hodges, 133 Terry Hill, 278 Shaun Brokenshire and 355 Aaron Dark have really cemented their own stamp at Taunton and St Day. The beauty of all four is that they display great overall qualities; all are races winners on their day, but can equally deliver the most brutal hit of the day too. Terry is arguably the most experienced driver from those from the South-West, and he’ll be keen to get his head down and be among the front-runners towards the end.

2 Jack Hodges is always a lively visitor (AC Photos)

178 Kieran Bowman returns after another standout season for the Trackstar man. 2020’s visit to the south-west wasn’t kind to Slim, but he got stuck in to the action at last year’s event. Although Slim is renowned as entertainer, his racing form has improved significantly over the past couple of years and could mount a serious challenge today. Slim is joined on the grid by running mate 191 Kieran Greenway who is always a lively customer.

178 Kieran Bowman will be hoping for a better visit to the Mendip hills

Another strong contender to take the title away from Mendips is 570 Jordan Cumming. ‘Dino Jnr’ always turns up at the big meetings, his podium finish rate is very consistent and he’s already claimed the 2L World at Northampton in May. Jordan will complete a bit of modern history too if he were to win the title, being the only driver to win all of the ‘Mondeo era’ World titles having previously one the Shale/Trackstar variant too. 114 Liam Lake was one of the front row sitters last year, but couldn’t convert that into a result. ‘Lakey’ is one of the best all-rounders in bangers at the moment and could be a serious threat for the title. They are joined by 341 Andrew Jones in representing Spedeworth, who did officially take second place in the race last year, but viewed that he should be given the win and duly removed himself from the result. Modern technology is superb these days, and footage showed that the result is correct and evidently Jonesey has put all that in the past and will be looking to definitely secure the gold today. He and Lakey, alongside the BRC lads and others contributed to one of the best races of the year this time last year, as they stole the show with an incredible wrecking display in Alcomers 2 which left 252 Boogie with a savage wreck. Will Boogie get the chance to repay the complement?

341 Andrew Jones and 114 Liam Lake will likely be among the forefront of the action (LimeJelly)

623 Ricky Hutton will be looking to improve on his second place from last year. It looked like the TMT man had the title in his clutches, but the unpredictability is the beauty here at Mendips Raceway and after getting caught up in the pile up, it just wasn’t to be. 592 Mark Marchant provided gunner to Tricky last year, but the veteran also has the capability to secure the gold today. It will be interesting to see how the pair fair today, and see whether there is still any animosity remaining from the 2020 event where running mate 741 Charlie Daniels originally took the win, to later have that rescinded.

The action usually follows TMT wherever they go (LimeJelly)

The third tier of Spedeworth’s group; Mildenhall Stadium, sees a trio of Team Stig drivers heading down from Suffolk. 817 Kurt Jacobs is the current points leader over at Mildenhall. The Jacobs are more known on the banger scene than 732 Macauley Free; all of whom lack a bit of tarmac experience although have competed on occasion at their local of Ipswich in the 1600 class. Team tactics can work well here at Mendips mind, with the nature of the track, so if they can work together well as a unit, one of these three could be there come the end of proceedings.

Top looking Mk4 Ford Mondeo for 317 Callum Jacobs

192 Gregory De Luyck gains an honorary overseas seed into the World Final, with Mendips themselves actually donating a car built by Boogie and co. The car should be built spot on; but one would assume Pavarotti Jnr is just happy to be a part of the day!

Pavarotti Jnr in an Unders front wheel drive is not a familiar site, so it’ll be interesting to see how he goes (Pewi.NL)

Looking at the support races, and whom is likely to get involved at either end of the spectrum. The Scrapyard Screamers are booked in with strong numbers, as is usually the case at the bigger 2L based meetings. 299 Dale Locker came very close to the win in the 2L World at Northampton earlier in the year and will be dissatisfied if he doesn’t make it on the grid today. 601 Lee Usher is another big name from that camp and it’s a rarity to see him in the front wheel drive cars. We typically see ‘Usha’ in the Unlimiteds as echoed by his ‘Mr V8’ alias, so it will be good to see how he fairs. Brothers 214 Shane and 314 Luke Rawlings are top emerging talent, having really put themselves on notice over the last couple of seasons. Both can pedal a car, but can also mix it with the best of them on the crashing front as was seen at Kings Lynn in July.

The Scrapyard Screamers are always great value for money (LimeJelly)

Talking of Kings Lynn, there’s a nice little showcase of support from drivers associated with the Trackstar venue. 99 Shaydy Gough is back after his Alcomers win at last year’s event, and he’ll be looking for similar fortunes once again. It’s clear that Mendips is a track Shaydy favours, as he is already among the early entrants for the Caged Open next month. Shaydy brings with him running mates 50 Simon West and 73 Dean Cruickshanks. Dean was a surprise package of the 2L Shale World Final. I don’t think many would have had him down as being a contender pre-meeting given his typically crashy nature, but he led a large portion of the race before his engine began to expire and he could easily catch people off-guard once again and book his spot on the main grid. Added to that is a quartet of  Predators/The Entertainers. Both teams are closely affiliated, with 595 Drew Burdett being son of 294 Alan Tarn, one of the originals. He and son 594 Mason are booked in alongside Predators duo 25 Matt Black and 307 Martin Kent. All are capable race winners, with 307 ‘Pretty Boy’ being the current Trackstar white & yellow champion, as well as taking a third in last weekend’s World of Shale and all will be looking to make it on the grid to assist 178 Slim. It will be good to see Trackstar frontman Matt Black make his racing debut here. He spends so much time behind the scenes making sure the Trackstar engine continues to turn, and it will be great to see him ‘let his hair down;’ that is if he had any!

99 Shaydy Gough was a race winner at this event last year (LimeJelly)

396 Callum Woods is one of the leading names that spring out when you think about 2L Bangers. ‘Ginner’ is an all out performer. He can win races on both shale and tarmac, and has delivered some solid shots too. I’m sure he’ll initially look to go for the win, but if that ends up out of reach, expect somebody to be wearing it.

Another track ticked off for the lively 396 Ginner (AC Photos)

714 ‘No Show’ Paul Smaldon is another strong candidate to secure a spot on the grid. He certainly has experience on his side, and the same can be said for 908 David Brown, who took an Alcomers win at the 2L Shale World Final back in July. David is a running mate of defending champion 743 Jake Bond, so it would mean a lot for him to be on the grid alongside Bondy.

908 David Brown will look to book his spot on the grid (LimeJelly)

961 Brad Deeprose shall be one to watch. He’s had one of his best seasons yet with a great start to the year which saw him take second place in the 2L UK Open at Ringwood on his first visit to the track, as well as the 2L A1 Open title too, a meeting where he also won the dash. That form bodes well for today, with Mendips being a track he is more than familiar with.

961 Brad Deeprose has shown strong form in 2L meetings this year (LimeJelly)

221 Ted Harfield is one driver making his debut at Mendips this year, having been rapid at Ringwood in his V-Tec powered Astra. It’ll be interesting to see how the Ringwood specialist fairs in the hills. He may be very quick, but he can definitely crash too as was showcased at Ringwood Cheetahs back in June, where he won the 2L Banger DD.

221 Ted Harfield is another making maiden Mendips appearance (AC Photos)

Theirs several factions out in force as well today. TYB are a top bunch of people, with a perfect attitude to all things bangers. They are born and bred entertainers, with the Warrs, 160 Jamie and 240 Courtney, as well as 962 Josh Pidgeley and 76 Matt Hodgkins, always game for a crash. They crossed paths with 2 ‘Patchy’ last year, and it will be interesting to see whether they’ll come across one another again at some point this year. Team Sexpot are well represented also. They will be looking for better fortunes than last year. Troy had an awful last chance race, and Simon put himself away whilst leading the same race, so fingers crossed they have a better go this time around. The Equalisers make the trip from Standlake in strong numbers, and they’ll be looking to make an impression.

Expect the support races to be entertaining with the likes of TYB, Sexpot and others out in strong numbers (LimeJelly)

13 Lee Radford is a top contender from our friends down the road at Autospeed, being a previous Devon Champion, whilst 648 Jamie Smith is one of the sport’s top entertainers and will be looking to put some boots up in the air.

Keep your eyes on 648 Smithy (Jayracemedia)

The list really is looking great, and I’m sure the 52nd running of the PRI World Championship will be another memorable occasion. We hope you enjoy your day, and we hope to see you for the first ever Caged Weekender across the 15th and 16th October.

Sunday certainly looks set to be a top day of action (LimeJelly)

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