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Caged! National Banger Awards 2023 – The Results

Driver of the Year
1st – 178 Kieran Bowman – 31.92%
A superb year for the Predators man saw him claim the ‘Driver of the Year’ accolade for a second year in a row. ‘Slim’ spent the first half of the year continuing where he left off in 2022, putting on some top crashing displays with some cool machinery, but it was July where his defining moment would come. Kieran is the golden boy of sorts at Kings Lynn, a local lad and thus very popular among the home crowd, and he was certainly a favourite to take the honours for the 2L Shale World Final. You could argue it was destined when he drew pole on the grid, but naturally it also provides a lot of pressure. Slim lapped it up and raced to his biggest win in what was a thrilling race; the emotion of the win evident with the amount of congratulations he received both at the event and in the day’s proceeding, and it’s not often you get that level of complete support across the community. He showcased he’s at the top of his game once again at the PRI World Championship, racing to nearly a half lap lead by the point the stoppage came out, which inevitably scuppered his chances at that point. It’s not often a Trackstar registered driver is involved in the discussion of potential race winners prior to the Unlimited World, but Slim was one many tipped to be up there, and he proved them right guiding his stunning Mercedes W210 Estate to a third place finish. Slim then piloted that same Mercedes to the 25 & Under GB Championship a couple of weeks later at Kings Lynn. We discuss those successes, but off-track Slim remains a likeable character regularly making sure he acknowledges fans – the queue for his autograph signing post World Final win evident in his popularity.

2nd – 348 Sonny Sherwood – 16.14%
‘Showing it’s not just a young man’s sport’ is a comment made by one of the voters of Mushy, and the veteran racer has certainly showed this year that experience can triumph on multiple occasions. It’s as if Mushy has wound the clock back. A driver that boasts one of the best CVs in the business added even more titles to his resumé. He lifted the 2L World Championship at Mildenhall back in May, and continued that fine form taking the Mildenhall Track Points showing his consistency throughout the year. Mushy came close to winning the Champion of Champions at Hednesford, falling foul of a last bend lunge from our third place finisher in the DoY category, 455 Ricki Finney, but made sure there was no repeat of that when he drove to a dominant victory at a very wet Kings Lynn in December taking the Nutcracker title.

3rd – 455 Ricki Finney – 15.08%
Ricki is a driver that’s been among the top names in Bangers for several years, but had one of his best years to date in 2023. He started the year securing the Unlimited Icebreaker team titles as part of the Silver Boys ‘A’ team. Ricki’s defining moment came at the World of Shale in September, where he put a full contact performance in took take the honours in what was one of the hardest hitting banger races for a long time. Ricki followed that up by winning the Champion of Champions at Hednesford to cap off a top season for him.

4th – 388 Stevo McGrath – 11.57%
What a year for Stevo. He wore the Gold Roof with pride, showcasing it all over the UK as well as a trip to Holland in all forms of banger classes whilst ticking off new tracks to him – racking up an impressive 29000 miles on route. Stevo has put some top displays on with some top motors to boot. Whilst parading the gold roof, Stevo has still managed to find time to sweep the DMC Points Championship and remains one of the fastest Unlimited pilots in the scene. We have been blessed to witness one of the best World Champions in a long while, and he’ll be hard pushed to be beaten over the next few years.

5th – 639 Tye Williams – 7.01%
Tye is another that continues to impress. Tye won the Supreme Championship once again at Mildenhall early on in the year, and continued that form from there as well as putting on some solid entertaining displays. Tye raced some impressive machinery, including the sport’s first Bentley Arnage, as well as a Mk10 Jaguar at Northampton’s Tarny Memorial, the stunning Bentley S3 Cloud at the Kev Waller Reunion and the awesome Toyota Crown MS88 Estate at Warton’s Metal Mania which he put to good use including a DD win. It hasn’t just been about getting stuck in with cool cars for Tye though, taking podium places in the Autospeed World Final, National Championship, Chalkarma and Suffolk Open, as well as his second place in the Northampton BWS round securing his spot in the World Final. 

6th – 262 Rob Bugler – 3.5%
Roona has had a stellar year! One of the best all-rounders in the sport, he can race and crash with the best of them. He secured his spot in the World Final early into the season winning the Northampton BWS round and then went on to enjoy himself. It was business as usual at his home track of Mendips, where he took the silver roof and came second in the PRI World Championship. Off-track, it was a win too as he welcomed baby Bonnie in to the world, and Roona will be hoping for another top year in 2024.

=7th – 67 Rickie Beasley – 3.15%
It was back to winning ways for Rickie in the 2023 season. Consistency was the key, especially where the Banger World Series was concerned, where Rickie had a race win at most rounds, but it was the PRI World Championship where Rickie had his defining moment, taking the win and wearing Gold on his car for the second time in his career – it certainly aided the look of his beautifully presented Mk2 Ford Granada on World Final night! 

=7th – 69 Brad Bartran – 3.15%
Brad remains one of the most underrated drivers in the scene. Brad was the ‘best of the rest’ at Trackstar which downplays his achievements somewhat, in a season that would have typically seen him win the Trackstar Points had it not been for Simon Smith’s dominance which will discuss in more detail further down. Brad is one of the most capable FWD pilots on shale, with regular race wins on the Norfolk shaleway, whether it be Micros, 1500s or 2 Litres. He has stepped out of his comfort zone into the Unlimiteds, and featured heavily at the Halloween Carnival meeting at Kings Lynn, and didn’t look out of place among the usual suspects in his Mercedes W210 Estate. Even with taking second in the main points, Brad found time for plenty of crashing – not often would you see Brad refuse a DD, and that was rewarded with 5th in the Trackstar Entertainers League. It would be great to see in the Unlimiteds on a more frequent scale.

9th – 456 Nathan Roberts – 2.8%
Nathan dominated the first half of the year, taking multiple Wild Card wins and getting that big of a point haul at the top of the Spedeworth charts that he could coast for the last few rounds and still managed to secure the silver roof. He was a favourite to win the World in October, and when he drew pole, many thought the chances of that happening were even more likely. Nathan would have been among the front-runners had it not been for his engine giving way, and you’ll expect another solid season from him this year.

10th – 133 Terry Hill – 2.1%
‘Terz’ took his biggest win to date lifting the Autospeed World Final, and whilst the title may have lost a bit of prestige in respect to the overall scene, but for Terry being a local lad, you could tell it was one he wanted to win. He’s worn the gold with pride and travelled a lot more this year which always welcomed. Terz was one of the standout drivers of the brilliant World of Shale meeting, and came close to winning the race at one point, showcasing his abilities on both surfaces.

11th – 589 Simon Smith – 1.75%
‘Utterly dominant at Kings Lynn this year in what is a packed driver base’ – that was a statement made by a voter and dominant is definitely the correct term to use. Simon won the Trackstar National Points by a staggering 271, accumulating 9 race wins on route as well as securing the individual class points for Micro and 1500 Bangers in what has been a great season for both Simon, and the Gladiators team as a whole.

12th – 881 Kevin Mulder – 1.4%
The Gas Hoal’n driver had another great season. Kevin remains one of the best Dutch drivers behind the wheel of his Volvos. He was on top form on his appearances at Emmen this year, as well as some Autorodeo appearances at Lemele and Hoonhorst. Mr Mulder may be one of the fastest, but he often ends the day taking a good wreck home, which was evident with his Destruction Derby victory at the Blue Oyster this year.

13th – 327 Mick Maskell Jnr – 0.35%
Micky has had another top season, and has continued to cement his status as one of the big names in the sport following his World Final win. Micky raced to victory in the World Cup up at Cowdenbeath and was on the podium for the 2L British at Northampton also, as well as taking second place in the Spedeworth Points.

14th – 459 Blake Platts – 0%
Surprisingly, Blake received no votes after another strong campaign from the Silver Boys youngster which saw him claim the Unlimited World of Shale Points at Trackstar as well as being part of the victorious Silver Boys team at the Icebreaker. Blake displayed tremendous race-craft to come through the field for a win at the Skegness Unlimited Old Skool meeting in August when there was an array of talent drivers in the mix. Blake will be hoping for more success in 2024, a driver we are sure we’ll see higher up these votes in the future.

Entertainer of the Year

1st – 24 Mark de Laat – 12.81%
Devastator has had a blinding season, competing in every class possible at Emmen with a 100% record. He has also been on form on his visits over to the UK, with a particular highlight being the Saturday of the Life of Riley meeting. Mark wasn’t shy of killing off motors and hitting anything in his way and we are sure they’ll be more of the same for him come 2024.

2nd – 77 Aaron Charles – 12.14%
Aario is the epitome of a bread and butter banger driver. He hits anything and anyone and does all his racing off the back of a transit; you can’t help but admire his dedication and determination. He always puts on a top show and was arguably robbed of a spot in the World Final getting overlooked in the Entertainers League. There’s not many drivers still using Lexus’, let alone smashing one to bits on a frequent basis. Anyone who wasn’t a far of Aario before will now surely be after his performance at Taunton on New Year’s Eve!

3rd – 211 Jamie Pole – 8.09%
Jamie remains one of, if not, the hardest hitter in bangers currently. The Barton Boys driver really stood out with some solid displays all season and was rewarded with the BWS Entertainers League title. His hit on 16 Michael Flaherty at the Ipswich BWS round was the singular hardest hit seen in a while, and maintained that style at all rounds with the first Mildenhall and Yarmouth rounds also being particular highlights.

4th – 262 Rob Bugler – 7.58%
5th – 828 Jordan Sharpe – 7.41%
=6th – 99 Lee Clarke – 7.08%
‘Raced many times with cracked ribs, goes up and down the country to race throughout the year. Raised money for Children’s charities each year which is phenomenal!’
=6th – 199 Shaydy Gough – 7.08%
8th – 611 Joe Geeves – 6.4%
‘No brainer – been outstanding all season’
9th – 214 Connor Osborn – 5.39%
10th – 51 James Licquorice – 5.05%
11th – 305 Berry Knoeff – 3.87%
=12th – 178 Kieran Bowman – 3.54%
=12th – 252 Steven Bugler – 3.54%
14th – 59 Mike Hamley – 2.52%
15th – 827 Sjirk Hansma – 1.51%
=16th – 281 Aaron Pole – 1.34%
=16th – 834 Jan Van Osch – 1.34%
18th – 410 Jake Calvert – 1.18%
19th – 829 Jay Sharpe – 1.01%
20th – 99 David Spooner – 0.84
21st – 58 Joe Brown – 0.16%

Most Improved Driver
1st – 389 Deano McGrath – 27.87%

2nd – 337 Giel Koorn – 16.37%

3rd – 577 Alfie Lee – 9.4%

4th – 12 Troy Cobbett – 9.05%
5th – 28 Mac Bell – 8.71%
6th – 374 Sam Markham – 8.36%
7th – 790 Nathan Young – 4.52%
=8th – 74 Jamie Sangster – 3.83%
=8th – 84 Jack Ansell – 3.83%
10th – 634 Ben Green – 3.48%
=11th – 6 Troy Jones – 2.09%
=11th – 494 Jack Harris – 2.09%
13th – 625 Joshua Gooch – 0.34%

Best Newcomer
1st – 827 Laiton Disdle – 23.07%

2nd – 869 Jamie Steele – 15.78%

3rd – 363 Billy Jarvis – 13.36%

4th – 44 Alfie Hill – 11.74%
5th – 444 Harvey Law – 10.93%
6th – 920 Kaelan Blakeman – 8.9%
‘Shown what a driver he is with plenty of crashes and solid drives throughout the year’
7th – 232 Levi James – 6.07%
8th – 19 Reggie Turnbull – 5.66%
9th – 347 Rhys Barrow – 4.45%

Team of the Year
1st – Predators – 22.22%

2nd – BRCM – 15.05%
‘For a 4 man team, they don’t half steal the show’

3rd – Sharpe Boyz – 13.62%

4th – Levellers – 11.46%
5th – Silver Boys – 8.6%
6th – Barton Boys – 8.24%
7th – Seedless Squad – 6.09%
=8th – Gladiators – 3.94%
=8th – The Bears – 3.94%
10th – RAL 6005 – 3.22%
11th – CrashZone – 2.5%
12th – TWT – 1.07%

Dedicated Driver
1st – 388 Stevo McGrath – 44.5%
‘The dedication throughout the year has been unreal!’

‘Best World Champion in a long time’

‘Best World Champion there has been; his efforts to get over from Ireland should not be overlooked’

2nd – 178 Kieran Bowman – 19.07%

3rd – 828 Jordan Sharpe – 13%
‘The meetings he has done this year and multiple cars at same meeting not seen that done by anybody else this year.’

‘fresh car nearly every meeting; most meetings racing 2-3 cars on the same day and always goes home with scrap cars – some effort!’

4th – 611 Joe Geeves – 10.98%
5th – 214 Connor Osborn – 10.4%
6th – 505 Josef Locina – 2.02%

Mr Material
1st – 611 Joe Geeves – 34.92%

2nd – 40 Lester Freestone – 22.53%

3rd – 639 Tye Williams – 15.49%

4th – 192 Gregory De Luyck – 10.7%
5th – 194 Johan Spiessens – 9.57%
6th – 439 Daniel Sutton – 3.38%
7th – 99 David Spooner – 1.69%
‘Cracking effort with all those motors from the depths of Cornwall’
8th – 476 Ross Coleman – 1.12%
9th – 67 Marcel/68 Vincent de Bruin – 0.56%

Car of the Year
1st – 194 Johan Spiessens – 1959 DeSoto Fireflite Stretch – Blue Oyster – Emmen – 18.51%

2nd – 639 Tye Williams – Toyota Crown MS88 Estate – Metal Mania – Warton – 16.16%

3rd – 639 Tye Williams – Bentley S3 Cloud – Kev Waller Memorial – Mildenhall – 14.14%

4th – 40 Lester Freestone – MkV Jaguar – BWS – Mildenhall – 11.78%
5th – 476 Ross Coleman – Austin 18 Ambulance – Kev Waller Memorial – Mildenhall – 6.39%
6th – 158 Shane Davies – Cadillac Calais – Life of Riley Day 1 – Kings Lynn – 5.38%
‘probably not the rarest on the list but it looked spot on’
7th – 192 Gregory De Luyck – Fiat 130 Hearse – Credits to the Legends – Emmen – 4.71%
8th – 40 Lester Freestone – Mk7 Jaguar – World Final – Ipswich – 4.04%
9th – 439 Daniel Sutton – 1960 Chevrolet Impala Hardtop – Nutty Nige Testimonial – Kings Lynn – 3.7%
10th – 88 Alan Read – Mk1 Ford Escort – Pre 80 – Kings Lynn – 3.36%
=11th – 366 Carl Stacey – Chrysler New Yorker – Kev Waller Memorial – Mildenhall – 2.69%
=11th – 428 Richard Regan – Nissan Cedric Estate – Life of Riley Part 1 – Kings Lynn – 2.69%
13th – 449 Will Guppy – Mk11 Cadillac Fleetwood Hearse – Unlimited Heavy Metal Classic – Standlake – 2.02%
14th – 48 Foppe Minnema – Opel Admiral Ambulance – Season Opener – Emmen – 1.34%
15th – 61 Hendrik Domine – 1959 Lincoln Premiere – Blue Oyster – Emmen – 1.01%
=16th – 45 Jan Thijs Snijder – Mercedes W115 Hearse – Credits to the Legends – Emmen – 0.67%
=16th – 402 Wesley Spijker – Wartburg – Autorodeo Rouveen – 0.67%
=18th – 192 Gregory De Luyck – 1963 Buick Electra Hearse – Blue Oyster – Emmen – 0.33%
=18th – 344 Jaron Schra – 1953 Daimler Conquest Century – Blue Oyster – Emmen – 0.33%

Meeting of the Year
1st – Kev Waller Memorial ‘The Reunion’ Weekend – Mildenhall – 27.77%

‘From Race 1 on the Sunday to the last race on the Monday the weekend was spot on’

2nd – The Life of Riley Weekend – Kings Lynn – 27.4%

3rd – World of Shale – Kings Lynn – 11.85%

=4th – Blue Oyster – Emmen – 9.62%
=4th – World Final – Ipswich – 9.62%
6th – Teams – Emmen – 5.55%
8th – Bright Sparks – Taunton – 2.96%
‘Most fun I’ve had at a meeting all year’
=9th – BWS – Northampton – 1.85%
=9th – Chalkarama – Ringwood Cheetahs – 1.85%
11th – Metal Bender – Emmen – 1.48%

Best Promotion
1st – Trackstar – 70.35%

‘Trackstar Racing. The autograph books and posters, sweets etc for kids is second to none and Matt Black; love him or hate him is the best!’

‘Trackstar all day long, they actually look after the drivers!’

2nd – ASE – 13.02%

3rd – Spedeworth – 10.74%

‘Huge grids at virtually every meeting’

‘Has to be! Packed all year and huge investment in the future of the sport’

4th – Ringwood Cheetahs – 2.6%
5th – DMC Race Promotions – 1.62%
6th – YorStox – 0.97%
7th – Standlake – 0.65%

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