Gala Night – 04/11/2017 – Ipswich
Travelling up to Ipswich in the rain, the 4 of us feared for the worst. Keen to stress what an amazing night it was going to be, I was travelling up with my girlfriend (who I managed to convince how amazing Banger racing was a year ago in the last days of Wimbledon) and her two friends, agreeing to come up to see what all the fuss was about.
There were some excellent cars out for the parade, but the standout car for everyone was the number 418 car, all in orange, with the Welsh motif all over. Not only was it the car that everyone wanted to win for what it meant, everyone also realised just what it meant to the Orange Army, plus it was also the perfectly presented car. A worthy winner in every way. Special mention also for the current domestic Banger World Champion, 191 Kieron Greenway looked cracking with his chequered roof, and 307 Martin Kent for his Pearl Harbour design which looked spot on.
Heat 1 went rolling with 40 cars running. From the start, there was a lot of action down the back straight, and going into the Kent Cams bend on lap 2 a big hit on one of the Animals cars sent him right round and into the barrier. Not long later over on the opposite bend, 315 limping around on oppo got clattered by what I think was 876 Ronnie Hammond, who chased him round back to turn 1 for a second bite. Not to be out-done, 315 carried on with another little love-tap towards the entrance of turn 1. This back and forth would carry on for the rest of the race. When all was said and done, 385 Craig Thurlow took the chequered flag. Lots of action, more than you’d expect from a domestic meeting, showing how strong the turnout is for a gala night.
Heat 2 started with 42 cars. From 3rd row, 331 Boxer took an early lead, and over the first 3 laps made his way to the front with a good 2 corner lead. However, as car 300 went into turn 2, he hit the shale and flipped. Driver was okay as the orange army got him out, but as Dunny waved the reds, it was clear we were going for a complete restart. Harsh on Boxer, as he is now starting half way down the field. But as one person loses out, one other person must gain – in this case it was Jack Anscombe. The Little Dreamer started off from pole on the restart, and despite some hairy moments on the last few laps, Jack guided the Black and Yellow Rookie through all 12 laps from pole position to flag to take a very impressive win, Runner 305 Alfie Vince took second but quite a few lengths back. Boxer managed to make some good progress, but only could make his way up to 3rd ahead of Runners teammate Scott Cornish, who came up through the pack after a massive follow in on 151.
55 cars made their way out for the all-comers heat 3. Boxer made his way through the pack for an early lead, however as he slowed up for the backmarkers, it was clear he was slower than the two cars behind him. They were both Runners, fronted by 415 Scott Cornish, and as they both went past on the Kent Cams turn, either deliberate or not, 331 backed the pack up behind him, allowing 415 to get to the chequered flag for a deserved win ahead of 305 Alfie Vince.
Heat 4 was the final into the DD. Most drivers didn’t need the incentive of the DD and made the most of the 15 laps before the second green flag, however 455 Micky Cornish went ahead for the 2nd Runners, and indeed 2nd Cornish victory of the night. As the DD started, the speedway tyres went flying into the outside Armco of the Kent Cams turn, and as 440 Lennon Phillips followed in 903 Joff Smith straight into the stricken car of 405, the reds came out as both the 903 and 405 looked in trouble. Unfortunately Suffolk County Council and the objections of people who have moved next to a raceway but hate noise mean that 10:15PM had struck and Mr Starter Alex Dunmore had no choice but to Red and Cheq.
Overall, my two friends who had never seen stock car racing thoroughly enjoyed the evening and are asking about future fixtures, and the misses was happy to wake up at 7:45AM the next day to head down to Purfleet for Firecracker – so as a spectacle of oval racing, Rookie Bangers did their job in big numbers and again Gala Night proved to be the wonderful night it always proves to be!