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PRI/ORCi World Championship 2018 – 23/09/2018 – Arena Essex

The 2018 and last ever running of the ORCi PRI National Banger World Final at the Arena Essex Raceway raised around forty cars – slightly disappointing given how this was the last time to win Gold in the ‘original’ World Final. However, there was still some of the sport’s biggest names in the pits and even the returning 158 Shane Davies, whom you don’t often see at Arena anymore.
The choice of weapon was the Ford Mondeo, as has become the norm in the last ten or so years of this Championship. 78 Lee Macey, 449 Bill Crittenden and 592 Mark Marchant were the only drivers in the field who piloted Ford Cougar’s with defending Champion, 74 ‘Scratchy’ Adam Hitchcock racing a MK3 Ford Mondeo estate with number 11 James Spriggs racing a used Saloon version previously raced at last weekend’s Mildenhall vs Trackstar head-to-head. 440 Lennon Phillips dared to be slightly more different racing a Vauxhall Astra as did 418 John Harris who raced a Ford Focus.

Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ):
Before the World Final, there was a last chance qualifier for those drivers wishing to get a grid slot on the back of the grid. With the rain continuing to fall, as it had all morning, sixteen cars took to the track and started with 366 Gunter sliding out wide on a greasy track and colliding with the armco barrier on the outside of turn four as 82 Ben Beasley was spun onto the shale by 203 Darren Nash. Gunter then got pushed into turn one by 347 Dave Bull and 11 James Spriggs making slight contact with the armco there also, before getting hit over his rear right wheel by 114 Liam Lake bringing out the red flags.
The restart saw very limited amounts of action until 688 ‘United’ Steve Collings followed in 158 Shane Davies on turn’s one and two – getting revenge for when Shane spun him out on the entrance to turn three a couple of laps prior. 347 Dave Bull overtook Midnight Runner teammate and long-time race leader 305 Alfie Cornish coming out of turn two only to get a little push back from Alfie as the pair headed into turn’s three and four for the final time. However, it was Bull who would hang on to the win followed very closely home by 305 Cornish.
Race Result: 1st 347 Dave Bull, 2nd 305 Alfie Cornish, 3rd 114 Liam Lake, 4th 2 Georgie Lee, 5th 688 Steve Collings, 6th 571 George Goodearl, 7th 270 Mark Hutton.
All finishers would get a place onto the rear of the World Final grid.

48th ORCi PRI National Banger World Final:
Westcountry man 45 ‘Lips’ Anthony Crowshaw led them away on the rolling lap from pole position with 212 Dave Daws on the outside of him. 305 Alfie Cornish followed in 418 John Harris going into turn’s one and two for the first time. Meanwhile, there was a big push going into turn’s three and four which saw 623 ‘Tricky’ Ricky Hutton getting spun into the armco, and also saw 240 Charlie Korpiela hit the armco after he was pushed into it by Trackstar representative 87 Damien Matthews. Also involved in the scuffle was pre-race favourite 331 ‘Boxer Jack’ Jason Jackson. The red flag was brought out after a frantic first lap with 418 John Harris needing some medical assistance. This allowed some drivers to repair their cars, including 331 ‘Boxer’. However, defending Champion 74 Adam Hitchcock ‘Scratchy’ bowed out of the race at the end of lap one along with 240 Charlie Korpiela – both of whom could not repair the damage to their cars in time for the complete restart.
The restart saw some gaps on the grid of which drivers could not fulfil due to damaged cars that they couldn’t repair. It was331 ‘Boxer Jack’ who led the very early stages after he got a fantastic start at the green flag. 592 Mark Marchant and 186 Sophie Fasey got into a tangle on turn three resulting in the later going backwards into the armco but otherwise continuing with only a damaged boot lid. 114 Liam Lake was then followed in by 157 Dom Hall on turn’s three and four acting as a catalyst for 78 Lee Macey’s spin as well. 284 James Head was then hit by 157 Dom Hall on the exit of turn four before getting pushed hard into the turns three and four armco by another TMT driver – this time 623 ‘Tricky’ Ricky Hutton. 284 Head was going very slowly down the home straight and was jacked by 720 Kenny Gabriel. Meanwhile, 348 Sonny ‘Mushy’ Sherwood overtook long-time race leader 331 ‘Boxer Jack’ who looked like he was struggling for speed. But with TMT driver 271 Dean Goodearl getting closer to the lead of the race, his TMT teammates started lurking on opposite on turn four. 592 Marchant reversed clipping the rear right corner of 348 ‘Mushy’ making him lose momentum on the exit of the turn leaving him vulnerable for an attack by another TMT driver in the shape of 599 Matt Butcher. 348 ‘Mushy’ meets the 157 car of Dom Hall on the nose as a result of the contact. This allowed 271 Dean Goodearl to move into the lead of the race, however he was being hunted by 186 Sophie Fasey who worked her way back through the field after her moment earlier in the race. 347 Dave Bull overtook Midnight Runner teammate 331 ‘Boxer’ on the back straight to take third position. However, with a great bit of driving, ‘Boxer’ sacrificed his teammate like a sacrificial Lamb and gave him a little nudge going into turn’s three and four, sending him crashing into the 592 Marchant Ford Cougar. With Sophie continuing to apply pressure to race leader Goodearl, 157 Dom Hall attempted to take her out but couldn’t make any meaningful contact with her. Over on the exit of turn two, 267 James Steele delivered a stiff T-bone through the passenger doors of 720 Kenny Gabriel. With only a few laps to go, second placed Fasey went for a do or die move at turn one but was squeezed by TMT pairing 270 Mark Hutton and 449 Bill Crittenden leaving Fasey no where to go but into the stationary Gabriel car on the exit of turn two. 449 Crittenden then tried his best to slow up second placed 331 ‘Boxer’ on turn four and took out 688 ‘United’ Steve Collings simultaneously. With 577 Alfie Lee lurking on opposite on turn four on the final lap, 271 Dean Goodearl slowed up and went around the outside. 577 Lee tried to reverse but Goodearl’s TMT teammate Dom Hall blocked the Team Cheeseburger driver allowing 271 Goodearl to take the double Chequered flags. 623 ‘Tricky’ Ricky Hutton delivered a hard head on to number 2 Georgie Lee on turn’s three and four as Alfie Lee hit 623 ‘Tricky’ gently as revenge. 270 Mark Hutton then jacked the number 2 car of Georgie Lee. On the slowing down lap, 271 Goodearl done the same to 577 Alfie Lee. The action didn’t stop there as 348 ‘Mushy’ delivered a head on to TMT driver 599 Matt Butcher just as the red flags came out.
Race Result: 2018 ORCi PRI National Banger World Champion 271 Dean Goodearl, 2nd 331 Jason ‘Boxer Jack’ Jackson, 3rd 571 George Goodearl, 4th 242 Ricky Korpiela, 5th 599 Matt Butcher, 6th 384 John Golden, 7th 688 ‘United’ Steve Collings, 8th 270 Mark Hutton
Best Entertainer: 186 Sophie Fasey

After the race, the stewards kept all cars out on track for around twenty minutes as they reviewed video footage to make sure the result stood, it seemed they were looking at the team racing with TMT that took place in the World Final. Seeing as it was an individual race, many deemed it as unfair – however World Finals at Arena have always been notoriously difficult to win with the likes of the Suicide Squad, Condoms and Cream Team taking out any visitors to make sure their teammates had a better opportunity of winning. Despite the rule in the ORCi handbook with team racing at individual events, the rule has very very rarely been enforced over the last twenty years, so it would have been harsh to punish Dean Goodearl in the last ever PRI World Final.

Allcomers Final:
It was sad to see so many drivers load up after the World Final race and even head home meaning the allcomers Final raised around twenty cars. The race started with 720 Kenny Gabriel going head-to-head with 623 ‘Tricky’ Ricky Hutton on turn four. 141 Garry Lee then turned it around to deliver another head on to 720 Gabriel. 592 Mark Marchant then jacked Gabriel with a hard shot before 114 Liam Lake delivered the killer blow with a solid head on. 449 Bill Crittenden then attempted to follow in 114 Lake on turn’s three and four but failed to really make the impact he intended for leaving Lake to T-bone the armco. With the rear end of Lake’s car looking vulnerable for and ‘jack up’, 449 Crittenden obliged with a shot over his rear left wheel. After repairing his car from the last chance qualifier earlier in the afternoon, 158 Shane Davies’ engine blew up in spectacular fashion on turn’s three and four.
Race Result: 1st 331 Jason ‘Boxer Jack’ Jackson, 2nd 571 George Goodearl, 3rd 186 Sophie Fasey, 4th 348 Sonny ‘Mushy’ Sherwood, 5th 599 Matt Butcher, 6th 242 Ricky Korpiela, 7th 592 Mark Marchant, 8th 305 Alfie Cornish, 9th267 James Steele, 10th 270 Mark Hutton.

Dash into Destruction Derby:
The dash raised just over ten cars with 720 Kenny Gabriel showing a great ‘never say die’ attitude managing to get his car repaired for the Destruction Derby. The outgoing World Champion 74 ‘Scratchy’ Adam Hitchcock finished off a miserable day filled with bad luck with his front left wheel coming off on turn’s three and four three laps into the ten-lap dash. 240 Charlie Korpiela spun 592 Mark Marchant on turn’s one and two leaving him to get a small head on from his teammate 95 Lewis Armstrong who had nowhere to go. 240 Korpiela then set about on 270 Mark Hutton on turn four, however the pair got stuck on each other leaving 240 Korpiela vulnerable for a jacking from 95 Lewis Armstrong. 267 James Steel took the chequered flag in the last race of the day followed closely home by a train of cars.
The DD started with 720 Gabriel meeting 592 Marchant on the nose on turn four. Simultaneously, 270 Mark Hutton and 271 Dean Goodearl piled in on 720 Gabriel with Hutton on the front and Goodearl on the back. 267 James Steele then piled in over the rear left wheel of Gabriel before going in again. That left just 267 Steel and 592 Marchant left to battle it out for the win. The pair exchanged a couple of small hits on the home straight before 592 Marchant managed to get some speed up and jack 267 Steele getting a bit of air time.
Race Result: 1st 267 James Steele, 2nd 331 Jason ‘Boxer Jack’ Jackson, 3rd 271 Dean Goodearl, 4th 305 Alfie Cornish, 5th 240 Charlie Korpiela, 6th 242 Ricky Korpiela, 7th 95 Lewis Armstrong, 8th 592 Mark Marchant, 9th 270 Mark Hutton
Destruction Derby Result: 592 Mark Marchant from 267 James Steele

All in all, it may not have been the best PRI World Final or the type of meeting that many would have wanted to see with this being the last ever one at Arena Essex, but for a forty-car meeting, it wasn’t that bad. Stand out performances on a day dominated by TMT and the Midnight Runners go to 186 Sophie Fasey in the World Final and 720 Kenny Gabriel for his ‘never say die’ attitude all day long! Well done to Dean Goodearl on the World Final win with a great drive.
Hopefully the World Final will continue to run next year at a different venue, with Arena Essex admitting that they have had a number of approaches from promoters willing to take it on.
By Jordan Hollands

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