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Unlimited Bangers Championship of the World – Meeting Preview

The big one, the Unlimited Banger Championship of the World takes place at Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich on Saturday, and is set to be another top display of banger racing.

217 Sid Madgwick is set to defend his title, and looks to join a very elite club of drivers to win the World Championship for the third time; with only 331 Jason ‘Boxer Jack’ Jackson and 27 Dale Hughes previously achieving that feat. Equally, should Sid go on to successfully retain his title, he will be the only driver to have won the race three years in a row, with only four drivers having done in back to back previously. Stats aside, it is no secret that Sid is looking to slow down his racing exploits having welcomed daughter Maeve into the world with partner Lauren in June. He has proved he can mix it with the best of them, with dominating displays on both his wins in what were vastly different conditions, and it can not be put past him that he completes the hattrick. 

(AC Photos)

Sid is one of 57 qualifiers set to take his place on the grid. The field sees eight debutants, and four previous winners of the event.

The aforementioned 331 ‘Boxer Jack’ is the most decorated driver in the event. He’s garnered a wealth of experience having competed in 19 previous World Finals. Boxer could also set records tonight if he wins, being the only driver to have won the race four times. It was Boxer who won the BWS round here back in June, and although the bangers have taken a back burner to his 2L Hot Rod exploits, he still remains one of the biggest names in the sport. Speaking of his hot rod exploits, Boxer claimed the English Championship at Spedeweekend earlier this year. Tonight’s Championship race is unlikely to be as smooth for Jackson, with potential hazards coming from all angles of the raceway. He will certainly be hard pushed to take the title for a record breaking fourth time, but his talent behind the wheel is undeniable.

158 Shane Davies is back on the World Final grid having won the Arlington World Series Round at the start of the year; the perfect result for Shane really as it meant he could relax on that aspect and focus on his on track battles with 247 Lee Clarke and the Damage Inc team. Shane is a two-time winner of the event, and took his first title in the midst of one of banger’s most prolific wars when it was Shane against Jack Overy. Shane will be making his sixteenth appearance in the World Final tonight, and certainly knows his way around a banger race. He boasts all the capabilities to make it number three tonight should he keep out of the way of his Damage Inc rivals. 

It’s superb to see ‘Mushy’ 348 Sonny Sherwood on the grid. Another veteran racer with huge amounts of experience in big races. It may be surprising to see, but Mushy has never one the ‘big one’. He came close in 2000 at Wimbledon, where he came runner-up to 382 Danny Hunt. Mushy has won pretty much every other major championship in his highly decorated career, and although he is probably a little bit beyond his racing peak these days, it would be great to see him finally get that gold. 

4 David Wilde was the first driver to book his spot on the grid, taking the Wildcard at last year’s World Final night, and he’ll be one of the only people hoping for similar conditions to last year in what was beyond torrential rain. Although Wildy has been around the banger scene for several years, this will be only his seventh appearance. His best finish was a sixth place in 2001, and it’s probably fair to say he’ll be hard pushed to beat it.

455 Ricki Finney is a driver that many have tipped on social media to be the man that secures gold this year. Fans will remember Ricki was involved in the major controversy of the 2017 staging, where he was originally awarded the win before lap sheet and video checks showed that it was in fact 59 Steven Bolton who took the win. Ricki was a top sport about the result that night and has been putting up a valiant effort ever since to try and win it the right way. Ricki guided his Mk2 Granada to victory lane at the Hednesford BWS, and nearly had a taste for gold in the World of Shale at Kings Lynn last month, where he came out second place. Ricki typically turns out a pukka looking motor and is usually on rails too, so he will be one to look out for that’s a sure bet.

887 Rob Browning is a driver that has always been there or there abouts. Rob won the Aldershot Wildcard and will be looking to improve massively on his best finish of a 9th. He is more than capable of taking the gold here, and that will be his main focus tonight.

577 Alfie Lee and 459 Blake Platts could probably never fathom that they’d be seeded directly into the main race based on Wildcard wins, taking Wildcards at the two shale rounds. 577 ‘Fonzo’ was the last car running at a lively Northampton round, and thus booked his spot in the main race. The Team Cheeseburger man has been in two previous World Finals but is yet to record a top 10 finish, whilst 459 Platts is one of the newbies to the grid. He guided his Jaguar to second place behind 460 Clifford Friend at the Mildenhall round, and duly inherited the win after Cliff was docked for jumping the restart. Blake proved valuable at the World of Shale for Silver Boys teammate 455 Finney, adopting team tactics to try and get Ricki the win and will be interesting to see whether those intentions are the same tonight.

‘Kezza’, 123 Kieran Gray is having his best season to date. He is among one of the year’s standout drivers and hit a solid run of form in the summer which saw him take third place in the 2L Shale World Final at Kings Lynn in July before winning the Wildcard round at Yarmouth in August. Kezza could certainly be overlooked by many tonight, but he is a very composed driver that races with his head and if he stays out of trouble, could be a World Champion come Saturday night.

178 Kieran Bowman is now among one of the biggest household names of banger racing. The Predators front man has had another stellar season, which saw him win the BWS Entertainers League whilst heading the Trackstar variant also. Slim has produced some stunning looking cars and material over the course of the year, and although opting for a Mercedes W210 for the main race as opposed to some of the material we have seen so far this year, the signage on the car is truly a work of art. When Slim and Chris Signs combine, often a masterpiece is created, and with homage paid to his pit crew, it really is a top looking car. ‘Slim’ isn’t just about fancy looking cars and top crashes though, having come close to two World title wins already this year. Slim lead a large portion of the World of Shale, before mechanical gremlins let him down, getting spun by eventual winner 828 Jordan Sharpe, and he also lead a solid chunk of the PRI World Final down at Mendips too. Slim would be a very popular winner; I know many people feel a World title would be rather fitting given the level of dedication over the past few years.

You can’t mention dedication without mentioning 211 Dennis Vorkink. Mister Nös has certainly become Mister Volvo, and finally gets his World Final place after 2020 saw him work his ass off to qualify, only to have his dreams shattered by COVID. It was great to see him back this year and focused once again on securing that dream of being on the World Final grid, whilst entertaining the crowd at every BWS round with his never say die performances in his Volvos. It looks set that he will have another Volvo for the World, and that means one thing, and one thing only, good luck to whoever is sat up first. Dennis will certainly be looking to put a show on tonight.

77 ‘Aario’ Aaron Charles bodes the perfect mix of top entertainer and top driving ability. Expect to see Aario in a trademark Lexus 200 tonight. Aario can certainly pedal a motor as we have seen on many occasions, and should he not be in a significant race place, it’s inevitable to see Aario driving through something. Aario is an asset to the racing community, one of very few drivers booked in to compete tonight that operate solely off the back of a transit recovery truck. The epitome of a banger driver and always with a smile on his face, Aario would be another popular winner.

We have already briefly touched upon 247 ‘Bro’ Lee Clarke, the Damage Inc man will be taking place in his thirteen World Final race. Bro booked his spot via this year’s Entertainers League, but hasn’t had it all his way this year. Bro has won several major titles over the years including the World of Shale, 2L Shale World, Supreme and English titles, but has never had much luck when it comes to the big one. Bro is a highly talented driver and is more than capable of converting that talent into a win tonight, should he avoid some of his rivals. That being said, should the likes of Shane Davies or Boxer Jack be among the front runners and Bro isn’t up there, expect some sparks to fly. Bro is joined on the grid by running mate 548 Alex Utting. ‘Big Al’ is an ex-English Champion and represents Skegness on the grid for his third World Final race in a row. Big Al will likely prove gunner for Bro, but will also go for gold himself should he be up amongst the top runners.

It’s doubtful 100 Callum White, more affectionately known as ‘Cock’, will be looking at chasing any Gold roof. He will have his hands full occupying a fleet of Team Black, with several members qualifying. Keep an eye out on Cock, as he certainly look to upset some people’s night.

Mendips based BRM trio 252 Steve Bugler, 262 Rob Bugler and 440 Macauley Mills find themselves on the grid after another successful campaign. They have a few scores to settle and drivers to stop, and as proved at the PRI World Final, can work very effectively as a cohesive unit. Should one of them be among the front runners, which is a high possibility, keep an eye out on the other members whereabouts on the track. If Boxer is up among the runner, it won’t be long before a Bugler is on oppo; definitely great additions to the grid whichever way you look at it.

360 Jack Reynolds shocked the scene when he opted for a Ford Scorpio at the 2019 World Final in his maiden appearance and guided it to a second place finish. Jackstar has been one of the sports best entertainers of the past decade, but he’s also made it apparent that he can pedal a motor and it will be interesting to see where the mood takes him this evening.

341 ‘Jonesey’ Andrew Jones is another that fits into that category. He booked his spot in the main race via the BWS Entertainers League likewise to last year, but it was last year where we saw the DWO man’s best finish with a 7th place. Jonesey can be very much on pace when he is Toyota Supra powered, and is typically more crashy when at the wheel of one of his Chrysler’s, so I guess it’s a case of wait and see what he turns up in on the night.

400 Lee Kingsnorth secured the Spedeworth points title at Aldershot last month in what was a lively final World Qualifier. Lee is no stranger to the main grid; tonight shall be his fifth World Final since 2018 and he has quickly cemented himself as one of the top names of the national scene. Lee will looking to secure the win at his local track to fully put a stamp on that.

699 Stacey Holdsworth is not only the leading lady of the sport, she is one of the biggest names in the Unlimited scene. Many have tipped Stacey to win gold, and I personally think she stands one of the best chances of doing so tonight. Stacey keeps herself out of trouble on track and lets her racing do the talking. With no rivals or skirmishes throughout the year that could come back to bite her badly, she really could cement her legacy as an all time great by taking the World title. 

‘Tye Pirate’ 639 Tye Williams is a sure contender for driver of the year. He lifted the Supreme Championship at the start of the year and has been on fine form ever since. Tye is well respected within the banger scene and often works that little bit extra rounding drivers up for meetings high and low around the country; it would be great to see that effort rewarded with a World Final win.

114 Liam Lake is no stranger to donning a gold roof. Last year’s chameleon effect Toyota Custom Crown Coupe to complete a season of fresh Crowns at every round will certainly be a feat that will struggle to be beaten. Lakey is an ex-Autospeed World Champion and came close to winner the main one here in 2017. Lakey will be looking at going one better and securing the win tonight.

717 Jack Tuffen is another driver that is always knocking on the door of a major title. It will be interesting to see whether the event’s that took place at Aldershot last month will hold any bearing here tonight, as Jack would have likely been one of the favourites prior to that. For those that are unaware, Jack traded some heavy blows with 331 Boxer Jack, 456 Nathan Roberts and 552 Karl Douglas. If everything was all squashed there and then, Jack could certainly take his biggest race win here this evening.

456 Nathan Roberts is a previous 2L World Champion, and will make his seventh appearance in the World Final tonight. He is yet to record a top 10 finish, however don’t let that mislead you. Nathan is among the sports elite talents and boasts the capabilities to take the win.

Previous World Champion 327 Mick Maskell Jnr continues to be at the peak of the Unlimited scene, once again mounting a serious challenge to the points title. Micky has been here before, and could quite easily do it again tonight.

570 ‘Dino Jnr’ Jordan Cumming has probably never had as better an opportunity as he has this evening to take the Unlimited World Championship. The current 2L World Champion is also a previous 2L Shale World Champion, and thus knows how to keep his cool when it comes to winning major championships. With no Barton Boys in the main race, Dino Jnr is one of my tips to take the title.

625 Joshua Gooch is another young driver having one of the best year’s of his career. ‘Gucci’ took fourth place here last year and could easily better that tonight. Josh was runner up in the Autospeed World title in July and has been a consistent front runner in the Unlimiteds all season.

We mentioned that Team Black have qualified en mass, but with 103 Jack Deacon, 356 Harry Overy, 384 John Golden and 739 Jason Moore, as well as defending champion Sid and other affiliate members, it would appear the numbers game favours the gold going back with one of the above. 103 Deacon has already published photos of his stunning Mk2 Ford Granada Estate, and its great to see him out in the main race after the private stresses he has had this year. There is plenty of the team qualified to deal with 100 Cock, or so you’d like to expect, so it will be interesting to see whether they have any team tactics pinned if necessary.

Jacobs brothers 317 Callum and 817 Kurt are on the grid once again after another top season at Mildenhall. They are steadily improving on the tarmac too, and although neither have recorded a finish in the main race, they could change that feat tonight.

328 Daniel Lathan is a well known name among bangers these days. The current British champion is also a former Supreme and 2L Shale World winner. Dan has proven himself on the lose stuff and is well overdue a major tarmac title. He has proven he can do it; Dan was Alcomers winner on World Final night here in 2014.

Trackstar have had a strong season, and look the likely candidates to take promotion of the year once again in the Caged Awards. They have three seeded entries this year. 107 Taylor Pratchett marks his debut in the event; hopefully Taylor stays true to Gladiators style and turns up with the usual ‘yard brush’ look. You’d have to expect Taylor will out for a crash, whilst the racing focus will be on his other Trackstar comrades. 299 Tommy Callaghan has had a prolific season which saw him top the Unlimited World of Shale qualifying points which is no mean feat given the quality of drivers we have seen at the Norfolk shaleway this year. Tommy will be looking to record a strong finish on his first appearance in the World. 830 Lee White, or ‘Stretch’ as he is better known is another that has had a standout year. Having said that, Stretch no longer has a title roof having lost the 2L Shale World honour. That may be because he’s making way to go after the title at Ipswich tonight, which certainly would be the icing on the cake for the Team Mates driver.

TMT driver 741 Charlie Daniels has already technically donned a gold roof, when he turned up on World Final night in a fresh Mercedes with ‘Real PRI World Champion’ on the side after having the win taken off of him following post race checks. Charlie can salvage a piece of justice tonight, and gain a true gold roof of his own. There are no Bears to clash with on the grid, so keep an eye on Charlie. 

‘Lemon’ 440 Lennon Phillips is one of the sport’s top youngsters. Having come from the Junior ranks, before concentrating on learning his craft in the 1600 Bangers. He now focuses his main attention on the Unlimiteds and has been a race winner throughout the year, taking a heat win at the Yarmouth BWS. Lemon has been a podium finisher here in a World Final, when he took second place in the 1600 World last year. Lemon will be looking for a strong result tonight and could easily be among the front runners.

There’s not many drivers that can pilot a modern Jaguar on tarmac quite as well as ‘Bodja’ 243 Pete Osborne. He has mastered the craft of the X300s and has been competitive all year, seeing him qualify for his first World Final. The Jag’s are notoriously better in the slightly more greasy conditions, where Bodja will be dangerous amongst the front runners.

South-West based Spedeworth qualifiers 460 Clifford Friend and 372 Jay Matthews have put some miles in this year. Cliff nearly claimed the Mildenhall BWS round but luckily didn’t have to rely on that. Both are able drivers and typically stay out of trouble, which is half of the battle when trying to claim the gold.

28 Fred James is an experienced driver, so it may come as a surprise that this is only his second appearance in the main race. Jamesie will be looking to secure a strong finish tonight.

388 Stevo McGrath is the most likely candidate to take the title away from mainland UK. Stevo is a very talented driver as was displayed at the World Cup meeting earlier in the year at Cowdenbeath. Stevo has been a world final night winner when he took the wildcard race back in 2020, so could mount a serious charge tonight.

Fellow DMC seed, 16 ‘Fagass’ Michael Flaherty is another well known name from Northern Ireland. This is only Fagass’ second appearance on the World Final grid and he’ll be looking to make an impression.

133 Terry Hill has a pukka looking Mk1 Granada for the big race. ‘Terz’ is now a veteran of the banger scene and has been a star within the Autospeed even when DWO had a chokehold on the south-west tracks. Terz took a 7th place in his first appearance and certainly had the capabilities to improve on that tonight.

278 Shaun Brokenshire is Autospeed’s other seed. ‘Bean’ is one of the sport’s top entertainers and will likely be Mercedes powered. Bean is another driver though that can do the perfect mix of racing and crashing and will be one to look for.

166 Andy Armstrong, 180 Sean McConachie and 222 Colin Riddell represent the respective Scottish promotions of HRP, GMP and Crimond. It’s fair to say that none of the above are expected to mount much of a battle for the title.

‘Westy Jnr’ 171 Tommy West is Buxton’s hope of claiming the title. This is his fourth time on the grid and he has certainly matured racing wise since his debut in the event ten years ago. A previous non-finisher but that could change tonight.

88 Randy Mulder is the driver with the biggest chance of taking the title to mainland Europe. He is usually very competitive on his appearances in the UK and boasts the skill needed to take the title. 60 Laurens Van Dijk is another top talent and represents ASE in the event. 61 Henrik Domine and 611 ‘Ghostrider’ Kurt Baes make their debut in the event; Ghostrider bringing an immaculate looking Scorpio for the event.

Shifting our attention to the last chance hopefuls, there is a huge crop of talent lurking, waiting to add themselves to the back of the grid. There is four ex-World Champions amongst the list. 617 Jack Overy has had an off year by his very high standards. One of, if not, the GOAT of bangers will be looking to work his way through a last chance to get on the grid. Three time champion 27 Dale Hughes and brother 294 Lee Hughes are also not yet through to the World and will be hoping that they can win a last chance race. 33 ‘Magic’ Gary Madgwick is a very talented driver, and although we haven’t seen much of him in an Unlimited of recent, he still makes regular appearances in the 1600s and back to basics and hasn’t forgotten how to pilot a motor. 673 Darren Fendley is a previous BWS winner at Ipswich and can’t be overlooked. 175 Hayden Ballard is a top hot rod talent and it will be interesting to see how he converts that into a banger. 186 George Turricki is another hot rod talent who has been competing on the circuits and will be another driver to watch out for. 947 Gordy McKee is the current King of Aghadowey, a similarly sized track to Ipswich and he’ll be fast round here. Usually I’d have said to keep an eye on 224 Lewis Canham. He always goes well at his local track, and given his performances so far this year, would have been a strong candidate to add himself to the grid, however, I doubt his choice of a Mercedes W210 Limo is to go rodding in. The talent doesn’t end there with both PRI World Champion 2 Jack Hodges and 828 Jordan Sharpe set to compete. 32 Callum Reed, 69 Harry Steward, 195 Reece Marsh, 208 PJ Collins, 309 Michael Lane, 362 Johnny James, 516 Carl Gould, 634 Ben Green and 714 Paul Smaldon are all other drivers that are capable of taking the win. 622 Harvey Webb and 670 Max Eaton are too young talents looking to make a name for themselves.

Keep an eye on the likes of the Barton Boys, The Bears, Gladiators, Bye’s, Filmer’s, 162 Brent Shaw, 306 Marc Doughty and others to provide on the entertainment front. 747 Bradley Dee tries his luck again with the Ford Scorpio Hearse he took to the World of Shale. 777 Arian Vorkink will be bringing a Volvo 9 Series Hearse, and 222 Kieran Norton has a Ford Fairline Limo. 834 Jan Van Osch will be lively in his Chevrolet Impala Coupe, so there will plenty of material to whet the appetite.

We are very excited for Saturday, and pray the weather gods keep the rain away!

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