Psychomania – 16/09/2009 – Sheffield
Report by Paul Toward
Sunday September 16th was the date of perhaps the most talked about meeting of the decade in banger racing. The news had broke in early 2009 that Andy Holmes was to retire and soon after it was announced he would have a farewell meeting to celebrate his career. Months of speculation and rumours followed about absolutely anything from who would be doing it, which cars would be going and many rumours about what Andy would be piloting for the day – some even suggesting he would have up to 5 cars on the day so he could compete in many races. As it was he ended his career with 2 cars – a Jag XJ6 and a Daimler DS420 Limo.
As said above there were plenty of rumours about who would attend the day. Many drivers made their Sheffield debut and many drivers raced who either retired long ago or don’t tend to do many meetings any more. It was great to see old faces such as 428 Richard Regan, 236 Karl Grey, 293 Paul Ashley, 404 Rob Mills, 502 John Wallace and plenty of the old Barton Boys who had warred with Andy throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s. Amongst the rest there were top drivers everywhere in the pits with the majority of the best drivers around at the moment present. Tin wise the top cars were the DS420 Limo’s of 152 James Dillon and 09 Andy Holmes. There was a smattering of other impressive motors though which was a huge contrast to the Battle of Britain event earlier in the year. We save a Rover P5,a Mk2 Granada Hearse,2 Mk5 Granada Hearses (a first for the sport), 5 Datsun 300’s (2 estates and 3 saloons) ,a Toyota Crown, a Vauxhall Senator Limo, a well crusty Mk10 Jag, an XJS and a late Buick estate which failed to race. There was also plenty of the more normal Jags, Volvos, Granadas, Lexus, Supras and Omegas as well as the used tin.
The day started with a lap of honour for Andy where he received a huge stadium standing ovation, all showing their appreciation to one of the north’s finest wreckers. This was then followed by a parade of all cars to what was a huge crowd, the biggest ever seen at Owlerton for a banger event by quite some way.
Heat 1 was to be a poor start to the afternoon. 341 Andy Jones was squeezed out and up a post before the green snapping his Volvo and sheering a wheel off in the process. The reds were called pretty quickly as he had been collected by traffic and was in a bad position. 455 Ricki Finney was to provide the only other action of the heat as he nailed the fenced 440 Pete McVay under the red flags.
Heat 2 was much better and more like what the fans had expected. It did start slowly as cars were spun out and everyone got into their rhythm but then it quickly livened up as 742 Ian Gregory picked up 808 Steve Tyson and put him in hard on turn 4 getting good airtime in the process. This was quickly followed by young gun 360 Jack Reynolds following 451 Willy Blackwell in near the aforementioned follow in which meant he collected the 742 car. This left Jack’s Volvo open to a shot from 114 Adam Jackson which blocked the track. With no where to go 266 Alan Roskell piled in on Jackson’s Supra but he was nailed instantaneously by the flying 148 Ian Redden. 456 Steve Allen delivered a fine shot to the reversing 451 Blackwell but this was avenged by a speedy shot from 51 Simon Heilds which carried him on to a shot on the rear of 148 Shorty’s Volvo. The pile then started to clear and the cars circulated for a lap or two until 501 Steve Kaye misjudged the pile of cars and put himself into the Jackson Supra leaving 456 Stevo with nowhere to go but up the back of 501 Basher which was then followed by a big shot from 239 Steve Carter. The leading Shorty then piled in to create a hole in the pile up and put 239 Nemesis’ roof up in the process before he was then given a shot from 51 Heilds. 7 Keith Greenwood was the last man in giving Basher a t-bone shot. The cars again broke free from the pile although by now only a few remained. Stevo managed to clip a fence post on the back straight in his heavily damaged Volvo and almost rolled himself before 7 Greenwood homed in for a shot over the rear. The two then had a play with each other on the back straight before Heilds cut the grass and arrived with a savage shot to Greenwood. Somehow the win was given to Heilds despite the trip across the grass with the shale master Shorty also qualifying.
Heat 3 was the old boys race and was Andy’s first outing of the afternoon in his ultra smart Xj6. From the drop of the flag we saw a pile up form on turn 3 with 209 Andy Brough having no where to go and snapping himself nicely off a post. 213 Marc Watkins started a lively day for him with a heavy shot on 08 Mick Holmes who was stuck in the pile whilst up on turn 1 269 Dean French delivered a shot to 69 John Cope taking them both out of the race. 8 Darren Owen wasn’t having a good time of it as he nailed 422 Chris Ault but was then given a meaty t-bone by 502 Hoagy and then dealt a head on by 311 Darren White which ended his afternoon. 09 Psycho was however flying round and trying to bury anything which was blue – he finally managed to pick up 185 Lenny Smith and plant him into the fenced 555 Sam Gelsthorpe estate which was slowly becoming a mess. Similarly 236 Nobby buried the 304 car of Dave Bennett into 312 Woka’s XJS who was still stuck in the pile up. The 555 Gely car then took more punishment as a flying Hoagy took the corner too fast and ended up taking one of the rear pillars out of the Gely car. 236 Nobby was meanwhile escaping from putting away 304 Maddog and was blasted by 136 Clyde Williams before managing to give a head on to the spun 517 Scott Weldon. The Gely car was to receive more punishment as 166 Lee Lawson planted the Hoagy Granada into it which left it looking a sorry state. Elsewhere 55 Graham Smith managed to post 08 Alko on the back straight which snapped the 08 Jag nicely. Turn 1 had seen Psycho turfed aside and he sat up nicely for 428 Grumpy to t-bone him and this was followed by a follow in from 318 Wilf Speak on 311 Ozzy with 222 Matt Logan picking up Speak as they went in. 94 Andy Heilds then nailed the Logan car before he could escape which pretty much ended the race with only 404 Mills almost rolling off the 94 car worthy of a mention from then on in.
The consolation race was next and was perhaps race of the day, going down to last car running and containing some stunning hits. It started with 225 George Coates posting the well repaired Gely car on turn 3 whilst on the home straight 117 Steve Ellis was having a rather hairy roll which thankfully saw him roll onto the infield rather than out into traffic. This was followed straight away by an almighty follow in from 409 Carlos Pears on 215 Chris Bull which totalled the Bully Granada and even more so when Woka piled in on the Carlos Jag. The reds were then thrown to help Bully out of his monstrous wreck but not before Blackwell nailed the slowing 225 Coates which was a bit naughty especially as it was in the same area as the Carlos follow in. Bully though climbed out unharmed to a hero’s welcome from the crowd. The restart saw some minor spins before 742 Taz got things going by planting the rotten 48 Mark Cassidy Jag into the rear of the spun 136 Nicky Simpson hearse which took out the rear pillar of the hearse and collapsed the roof. 304 Maddog then picked up 360 Reynolds and posted him near where Carlos had posted Bully, the Jackstar wreck being damaged further as the entertaining Taz blitzed Maddog and caught the 360 car squeezing it against the post. Meanwhile the 474 Matty Threlkeld/730 Dean Mayes war continued as Matty picked up Deano and managed to plant him into the 136 Simpson hearse which spun Mayes and resulted in 4 or 5 cars ending up in the fence. Taz was the next man round and continued his epic display with a monstrous shot on 478 Chris Spears. 917 Derek Jones managed to reverse his hearse out of the pile but got stuck on the rear of the Taz Volvo before he reversed out into the racing line and 455 Finney was only too happy to oblige and splintered the late Granada hearse with a spectacular blitz. With the field now dwindled right down all eyes were on turn 2 to see who would join the train. 266 Big Al was next man in giving Finney a shot before he was nailed by the ever keen 439 Danny Sutton who was then nailed by 293 Paul Ashley. The one remaining car was 304 Maddog who despite having already been given the win drove past the Ashley Volvo twice and received a very hostile reception from the crowd for doing so. Quite a shame as he had been lively earlier in the day!
The final was another lively affair and started with yet another big one! Nobby was picked up by 401 Chopper with Psycho on the back of him ad they all went into the turn 4 fencing at quick a speed. The force snapping the Nobby Volvo in style and rolling the Chopper P5. 114 Jackson piled in on the Psycho Jag and he was then blasted by 152 James Dillon with a late shot before the race was stopped to assist Chopper out of his upturned motor. Elsewhere 422 Caulty had taken a heavy impact into a post on the back straight and was knocked out leaving his car to roll in front of the unfortunate 190 Steve Bailey who could do nothing but collect the Volvo hard in the door. This was before the traffic all went into turn 3 and many cars collected poor Caulty who had to be cut out and taken to hospital. On the restart 181 Jason Pole managed to make the same mistake as Caulty and hit a post leaving him open to a shot from Chopper meanwhile on turn 2 a whole host of cars went into the fence including 190 Pikey who was blown up by 51 Heilds but he then took a similar package from 801 Jack Foster. On the exit to turn 2 166 Dogga was having a hard time first being t-boned by the lively Woka and then again by Foster. A pile up then formed thanks to 146 Davey O’Connor planting 32 Matt Small into the stricken Woka. A whole barrage of hits then followed as 808 Tosh who had done well to repair nailed O’Connor,78 Enda Mckiernan claimed Irish revenge with a shot on Tosh,478 Chucksy got Leveller revenge with a shot on 78 Livewire,76 Ryan Scott zeroed in with a hard shot to Chucksy. Nemesis was the next man in with a shot on 76 Jailbait before 428 grumpy got airtime with a nice blitzing on Nemesis followed by Livewire who was limping around by now. This left O’Connor with no where to go and so he was stuck in the back of his team mate and was a sitting target for Small. Hit of the pile then came as Matty blasted the Small 300c which totally reshaped the car. It went quiet for a lap or two until Maddog found himself caught in the pile leaving Matty with a nice run up shot which seemed to please the crowd. Shorty went on to win showing his class on the shale surface.
The Alcomers is what most people will remember from the meeting as it contained what I would describe as the biggest hit I’ve ever seen! Comedy was provided by Psycho as he wheeled out his hidden DS420 Limo which received a warm welcome from the crowd, who were pleased to see him out in one last banger with his earlier Jag wrecked. However, the limo had not been filled with petrol and so in an embarrassing situation the limo had to be filled on track which was put down to Andy’s old age! Other talking points were the hard work which had gone into getting one or two cars back out onto the track including Levellers Chucksy and 917 NSD who lived up to his nickname by preparing for the DD but sadly his hearse just wouldn’t start. Straight away Alko picked up Chopper who picked up 688 Wayne Morphett going down the back straight at some speed. Luckily for Morphett he managed to spin out of the impact before Chopper was launched up a post with a colossal impact which shattered the P5’s passenger A pillar and squashed the Rover beyond belief. The stadium was then silenced as many feared the worst and a great section of the crowd flooded the track to try and free Steve from the ball of metal which was once a P5. After a few moments of that heart in the mouth feeling Chopper was freed from his almighty wreck to a now buzzing crowd. He’d escaped yet another unbelievable wreck and would be branded the luckiest man in bangers. The crash was easily the biggest I have witnessed and by far the most scary with the P5 leaving the ground completely on impact and quite literally folding around the driver. As the race got back under way the crowd were now at the tops of their voices knowing that they had just seen perhaps the greatest escape in banger racing, Ashley got the action restarted with a shot on the rear of the spun 179 Shaun Rushton who was then also nailed by Carlos with a head on followed by 340 Jonathan Atkinson piling in on Carlos. Grumpy was going hell for leather now trying to bury the DS of Psycho, you could see he was wanting to be the last man to nail Psycho. As it was Psycho pulled off and Grumpy was caught and spun before 341 Jonesey, who was one of those who had worked well to repair, nailed him with a t-bone. The flag went down for the DD to commence and Psycho went off his head taking out anything in his path, Finney was the first to be brushed aside by the flying limo before he delivered a shot to Dogga on turn 2 which broke his steering and landed him in a post where Matty blew the DS up and became the last man to nail the legend. The DD wasn’t over yet though as 260 Keith Reynolds who had went well all day picked up 11 Darren Race and followed him in near where Choppers wreck still lay, this ripping the steering wheel out of 11 Daz’s Jag on impact which was followed by Nobby planting Matty into the stationary 260 Keefy leading to all 4 cars getting airtime and bringing an end to one of the years best meetings sadly with some ugly scenes off track. Certainly a historic day for the sport and a one which few will forget, especially the Alko follow in!