2016 Season Review
The 2015 was a great year for the formula, would 2016 be able to build on that success? It sure did!
As in 2015; the trend for increase in car numbers continued, improving numbers at all meetings meaning for varied formats, varied winners and some great racing! New for 2016 was the double points jokers on National Points, each driver getting two to play – one on shale and one on tarmac; what impact would they play on the season’s racing?!
The season began in early March at the Coventry stadium, good numbers ventured out of the Winter slumbur but it was Tom Spencer (298) who was star of the night, taking his first shale V8 win in the meeting Final to kick off the season in commanding style. A couple of weeks later it was to Stoke in torrential weather; Adam Joyce (157) took a hatrick of wins signalling in 2016 he meant business, particularly with this being the opening World Qualifying round of the season.
The start of April saw us journey back to Coventry; contesting the John Cottrill Memorial trophy and World Qualifying points up for grabs, the first trophy of the season. Track specialist Rob Scriven (117) wining the opening heat ahead of Guy Jolly (222) taking the second. Seasoned tarmac specialist Nick Blach (160) venturing on to the loose in a rare shale appearance took a popular victory in heat 3. The final was a fast and furious affair with a race long battle between Darren Cottrill (575) and Adam Joyce (157). Jolly was making tracks pulling out a lead with Wainman battling amongst the other stars for second. Eventually Joyce was spun around leaving Cottrill to fight up to third with Kevin Stuchbury (131). Jolly taking the trophy his first ever Coventry final victory, Wainman in second and Cottrill finishing third. Jolly the first to make optimum use of his joker taking an almost triple figure points haul! April finished off supporting the massive Stan Woods Classic Banger celebration meeting; Rory Foster (352) took the win in the feature final here, his first win since returning to the V8’s after a brief spell in F1’s. 4 meetings in and the average car turnout was well above expectations at nearly 30 – a great start to the year!
Into May and it was our annual visit South to the Mildenhall Shaleway – our third visit to the Suffolk oval and certainly the best – the tight track definitely suits the V8s! 28 V8’s made the long journey South racing for WQ points and the stunning Supreme Championship trophy; one of the oldest trophies in the formula. Adam Joyce (157) swept his two heats and Jon Brown (288) took the other, but it was local driver Guy Jolly (222) who stormed to his second final of the season; seeing off stiff competition in the form of Darren Cottrill (575). The Grand National rounded off the night with probably the best race of the season up to that point, with multiple lead changes and big bumper action; Hayley Wiliams (26), Kevin Stuchbury (131), Luke Maw (409) and Olly Spencer (498) all being the main challenges, but it was Maw taking the eventual win. The traditional end of Month bank holiday weekend saw the V8’s at Skegness with the National Pairs trophies at stake; day 1 saw a different winner each in the form of Kevin Stuchbury (131), Marc Radforth (149) and Simon Sykes (64) in the heats, Adam Joyce (157) then took the final. Day 2 and the wins were shared between Sykes and Joyce, this time it was Sykes taking the win in the final after an early race skirmish saw the superstars wipe each other out. Sykes and Anna Williams (102) took the Pairs trophies.
A handful of weeks later it was back to Skegness, this time contesting the British Championship. 37 V8’s journeyed back to the Fun coast –the biggest turn out for a number of years outside of the World Final. Heat 1 went the way of Phoebe Wainman (211), Marc Radforth (149) and Dean Laird (469) taking wins in the next two heats. The evening had been interrupted by rain on and off and come the final, whilst a dry line had appeared the clouds emptied once more, a short 10 minute delay to allow the drivers to change their tyres to wets; Wainman started pole, Radforth on her outside, Adam Joyce (157) and Kevin Stuchbury (131) then locked out row two. Whilst Wainman did take an excellent flag to flag win, she was never allowed to let off. Joyce and Stuchbury always only a handful of car lengths behind keeping the pressure on, particularly with out of control backmarkers so easily could’ve wiped her out. Wainman though held her nerve to take her first Final in the formula, not least her first major title.
The week after and it was the first of Shale/tarmac double headers; Saturday 18th at Coventry and Sunday 19th at Northampton. Saturday saw Joyce again a top of the podium, taking heat, final and national; Terry Hawkins (275) taking the other heat. Sunday; World Qualifying points and the Jon Maw memorial; white grade Tristan Jackson (101) found form in his new self built tarmac machine, taking both heats. The Final – the Jon Maw Memorial – went the way of the ever improving Olly Spencer (498), Brother Tom (298) finished second in Olly’s shale machine and Michael Scriven (12) rounded out the top three in an excellent race. Olly the second driver to sneak under the radar with a Final win with a joker! After a disastrous day for Simon Sykes (64) including a back axle change, a small reward by winning the Grand National.
Into July, the first Sunday was the first appearance of the season at Belle Vue, WQ points on the line along with the Belle Vue bowl trophy – a trophy steeped in history going back to the heyday of the Hyde Road Stadium. Adam Joyce (157) and Luke Maw (409) took victory in the opening heats, with enough cars attending to allow for a Consolation race, Sophie Maynard (154) drove a mature race to take the flag – her first in the formula! The Belle Vue bowl Final was a chaotic scene; George Shone (414) picked his way careful through the carnage to win; and in doing so winning his first final in the formula in his second season. The Grand National was another dramatic race and this went to Adam Joyce (157).
A few weeks later, it was the annual pilgrimage to the Norfolk arena in search of the European Championship. 34 cars in attendance, a massive improvement on the 18 that raced when we returned in 2014. Rory Foster (352) took heat 1 after a great battle with Dean Laird (469) and Jedd Stirk (465), Laird and Stirk both taking the other two heats; Stirks first win in the formula since moving up from Ministox. The European Final was a great race, lots of action and battles down the order. Once the race settled down, it was a straight fight between Kevin Stuchbury (131) and Adam Joyce (157) for the lead, Stuchbury biding his time, struck at the opportune moment to take the lead. Joyce was then duly reeled in by the fast white grader Stirk. Stirk planted an attack on Joyce in the last bend to snatch second in a drag race to the line, to round off an excellent race.
To round out July we supported the F1 Semi Final at Sheffield in a WQ round, a few years hiatus for Sheffield due to low car numbers previously, but 26 cars in attendance made for a perfect two thirds format. Sam Mee (450) inherited the heat 1 win after a disqualification for Luke Maw (409), with white graders Tristan Jackson (101) and Sophie Maynard (154) picking up the wins in heat 2 and 3. Adam Joyce (157) stormed to the front in the final, Joyce almost certain for victory, but a fast charging Maw was reeling in Joyce, the final bend and Maw duly lunged in, but Joyce held firm and took the win, Maw second. The Grand National went the way of Jackson after surviving a last bend assault.
August and the annual mid week special in Skegness was packed full of holiday makers with a tremendous 21 cars racing; the most of any mid-week meeting for us, probably ever. Rory Foster (352) went the distance first in both opening heats. Just missing out on the win in the final to Adam Joyce (157) after a duel for the end part of the race. The 14th August the formula journeyed to Buxton for thrills in the hills racing alongside the F1 Semi Final; 27 cars all in meant for some eventful action. Heat 1 Phoebe Wainman (211) was back to winning ways holding her nerve against Kevin Stuchbury (131) and Adam Joyce (157), much like the British Championship, neither were far away at the end! Marc Radforth (149) stormed his way to heat 2; just beating Wainman to the win. Wainman though wasn’t to be denied in the final and once again charged to the flag, Joyce and Rory Foster (352) unable to stop the 211 train. The Grand National then went the way of Olly Spencer (498) to round out the day. 20th August was the next fixture and whilst the F1’s were in Holland, the V8’s were shining at Coventry, Joe Nicholls (242) stormed to his first V8 win in the opening race, Rory Foster (352) took the second. Nicholls then went on to win the Final, his first V8 win and then first Final in the space of a few hours, excellent! ‘Veteran’ racer Les Spencer (98) made his annual appearance taking second place with former European Champion Michael Boswell (328) taking third.
For the first time, the V8’s supported the World Masters event and some high impact action stealing the show. First up was the second staging of the Under 25 championship, Matt Barnard (69) stormed a flag to flag win, lifting the trophy and his first V8 win to boot, Stephen Young (176) came home second and Jon Brown (288) third. Kevin Stuchbury (131) took the win in heat 2 with Ben Kearton (517) taking his first ever V8 win in heat 3. The World Masters Final went to Olly Spencer (498) winning his second Northampton final in a row, an excellent drive from white grader Stephen Young (176) took second place and Jon Brown (288) third. Young continued his good form to win the Grand National. The week after it was Stoke; ‘calm before the storm’ the last meeting before the World Final. Kevin Stuchbury (131) and Luke Maw (409) took the opening heats, but it was again Phoebe Wainman (211) who took charge in the final, Wainman under constant pressure from Stuchbury all the way to the flag, winning her first shale final. Darren Cottrill (575) took the Grand National; his first victory this season.
The first Saturday of October and it was the big one; the 2016 World Final event! 46 cars in attendance; 32 competitors in search of the gold! As in 2013, the Golf roof event was a fantastic race with drama throughout. The race saw a number of lead changes and bumperwork; Kevin Stuchbury (131), Adam Joyce (157), Jon Brown (288) and Sam Mee (450) all fighting over the lead at some point, Simon Sykes (64) and Stuchbury then suitably battling over second place later on the race, it was a great one to watch! Joyce taking the eventual win; Sykes second and Rory Foster (352) coming home third. Well done Team Joyce! Olly Spencer (498) and Darren Cottrill (575) taking the following two heats. The Bob Radforth Memorial was the feature final; a tradition of World Final night and it was a fitting tribute. Rob Scriven (117) used all his race craft to take the win after losing the lead to Terry Hawkins (275). Scriven surviving the worsening conditions lifted the trophy and his seemingly customary Coventry win.
With the passing of the World Final, the Challenge Series kicks in – an end of season competition where points are scored on a multiplier basis. Skegness 9th October was the first round, Tom Spencer (298) opened the day with victory in heat 1, Kevin Stuchbury (131) taking the win in heat 2. The Final went the way of new world champion Adam Joyce (157), Stuchbury runner up and Lucy Olorenshaw (245) rounded off the podium in third place –an excellent result for Lucy! Round 2 of the series and the first leg of the Northern and Midlands, it was back to Buxton the week after, Adam Joyce (157) dominated with two heat wins before taking the flag in the final. Bryan Andrew (355) finding some end of season form with a second in the final and followed that up with victory in the Grand National. The following weekend it was our second shale/tarmac double header, again at Coventry and Northampton. The Saturday Coventry session and the second/ final date of the Northern Midlands trophy, Gary Jackson (423) took his first win of the season in heat 1, Jon Brown (288) taking the flag in heat 2. The final went to Olly Spencer (498) – his third final win of the season and his first on shale, much like in June Spencer was on double points playing his joker, excellent to come away unscathed with two double points final wins! Brother Tom (298) finished behind Olly in second and Sophie Maynard (154) completed the podium with a third. The last race of our season at Coventry was then won by Guy Jolly (222) with a storming victory. Olly Spencer (498) came away top point scorer over the Buxton and Coventry meetings, lifted the Northern and Midlands trophy. Day two; Northampton with 2017 WQ points up for grabs and the Incarace Gold Cup; Tom Spencer (298) took heat 1, but then the rest of the day belonged to the lower graders, Nick Blach (160) stormed to heat 2, before doing the same in the final to take the Incarace Gold Cup, Shaun Bowman (324) came second and Terry Hawkins (275) third. Bowman would then go one better in the National taking victory.
The penultimate meeting of the season and it was back to Belle Vue for the annual huge Firestorm meeting, round 4 of the challenge series and 2017 WQ points. Matt Barnard (69) took heat 1 in trying conditions – his first Shale victory in the V8’s, Adam Joyce (157) then took the spoils in heat 2. The Final was the Harry Smith Memorial trophy, Sam Mee (450) though, wasn’t to be denied; hitting anything that moved to win the trophy for the second year in a row; Barnard carried on his good shale form to second and Darren Cottrill (575) coming home third.
The final meeting of the season and our first at Birmingham; racing for the Dave Atkinson memorial, Dave lost his battle with illness in Mid October and as a lover of hard tarmac racing, Birmingham seemed very appropriate for the tribute race. Shaun Bowman (324) carried on from Northampton to win the opening race. Then the Spencer Brothers Olly (498) and Tom (298) took heat 2 and 3. The memorial final was a fitting tribute, hard and fast racing; young gun Matt Barnard (69) was away and gone in the lead looking set to take his first final win, only to be taken out by a maker, leaving a battle between Olly Spencer (498) and Adam Joyce (157) raging and it would be between these where the final winner came from. The battle went right to the flag with Joyce just missing an ambitious last bend lunge, Spencer won, Joyce 2nd and Simon Sykes (64) third, a great way to round off a great night racing and a great year for the V8’s.
A big thank you to all the drivers, teams and fans for making this year one to remember. Keep checking the website as theres’ still some trophies to be decided by the way of driver vote at the Awards Presentation evening, plus 2017 news coming soon!
The young talent within the formula continuing to grow and achieve great things, they are challenging the ‘old guard’ ever more. What will 2017 bring? See you in March for the new season, bring it on!
2016 Roll of Honour:
National Points Champion – Adam Joyce (157/1)
World Champion – Adam Joyce (157/1)
British Champion – Phoebe Wainman (211)
European Champion – Kevin Stuchbury (1/131)
25 and Under Champion – Matt Barnard (69)
Challenge Series – Matt Barnard (69)
Whites and Yellow Series – Matt Barnard (69)
Novice Of the year – Sophie Maynard (154)
Northern and Midlands Trophy – Olly Spencer (498)
National Pairs – Simon Sykes (64) and Anna Williams (102)
John Cottrill Memorial Trophy – Guy Jolly (222)
Incarace Gold Cup – Nick Blach (160)
Supreme Trophy – Guy Jolly (222)
Belle Vue Bowl – George Shone (414)
Jon Maw Memorial – Olly Spencer (498)
Bob Radforth Memorial – Rob Scriven (117)
Harry Smith Memorial – Sam Mee (450)
Dave Atkinson Memorial – Olly Spencer (498)
Driver – Final wins
Adam Joyce (157/1) – 7
Olly Spencer (498) – 4
Phoebe Wainman (211) – 3
Guy Jolly (222) – 2
George Shone (414) – 1
Sam Mee (450) – 1
Kevin Stuchbury (131/1) -1
Simon Sykes (64) – 1
Rob Scriven (117) – 1
Tom Spencer (298) – 1
Rory Foster (352) – 1
Joe Nicholls (242) – 1
Nick Blach (160) – 1
Thank you and credit to the photographers:
Colin Casserley, Martin Fitzgerald, James Bowles, Jonny Goss