Mildenhall 14th May 2016
The third annual visit of the V8 Hotstox to Mildenhall once again saw their Supreme Trophy up for grabs and the meeting a world qualifier and this helped raise a cracking field of 28 cars, their best at Mildenhall to date and a number made all the more impressive given the distance the majority had travelled to attend with several making their maiden trips to Mildenhall in the formula.
19 cars for heat one with early spins for 182 Dave Cheetham, 500 Scott Bodily and 352 Rory Foster as 575 Darren Cottrill fenced 498 Olly Spencer leaving 117 Rob Scriven to take the early lead before 82 Ashley Geary collected the spun 456 Jedd Stirk, the caution flags then flying to assist the stricken Geary. A lap sheet order restart began with 409 Luke Maw fire into 482 Martin Fletcher only to come under immediate fire from 157 Adam Joyce in the race for second while 288 Jon Brown attacked 394 Chris Claire. Scriven led the field to half way with Joyce now second ahead of Maw, 298 Tom Spencer and Brown with the latter spinning Spencer for fourth as Joyce eased into the lead just ahead of the five to go signal. Claire removed Fletcher as Maw and Brown joined Scriven in an excellent fight for second and behind 222 Guy Jolly, Cottrill, 1 Kevin Stuchbury and 211 Pheobe Wainman were battling over fifth. Brown sent Maw spinning to second third as Joyce raced to the win with Scriven in second, the final action coming when Foster fired into Claire and Joyce celebrated his win.
Result: 157 117 288 409 222 575 1 211 281 394
One less for heat two with 450 Sam Mee, 535 Nick Jagger and Claire early spinners, the latter collected by Maw before Bodily and Cheetham also went round leaving 478 Shane Geary at the front and 281 Lee Summers already into second as 355 Bryan Andrew removed Maw, and Brown climbed to third before he slipped passed Summers for second before the race hit half way with Jolly into fourth and Cottrill fifth. Geary then got tangled with the back marking 26 Hayley Williams, Claire and Andrew which allowed Brown to close in but Geary would not be moved and produced a superbly determined drive to keep Brown at bay and their scrap allowed Summers to close in and with five to run there was also a great scrap raging for sixth between Tom Spencer, 137 Sam Jacklin and 328 Michael Bowell. The battle between Geary and Brown not only allowed Summers to close but Jolly and Cottrill as well setting up a thrilling five way fight for the lead. Brown landed another hit on Geary but still the latter would not be moved as Jolly fired Summers wide for third which allowed Cottrill to slip through. Having survived another hit from Brown, the pressure finally got to Geary who drifted wide on the road bend and Brown was through with Jolly on his heels but he would also go wide in the last bend with an ambitious last bend lunge and Cottrill grabbed second but there was no catching Brown who marched to the win, Geary’s efforts earning him fourth after a superb effort.
Result: 288 575 222 478 281 298 328 450 355 26
One less again for the third heat with Fletcher setting the pace this time until he was spun aside for the top spot by Shane Geary but Fletcher held on for second before Stirk and Scriven crashed out at the end of the home straight in their race for third and with the cars locked together and seemingly unable to part the caution flags were again thrown. Geary led the restart with a pair of back markers between him and the second placed Jacklin and Wainman already into fourth, the first action coming when Boswell tangled with Fletcher costing the former time as Jacklin charged at Geary to take the lead just before half way with Wainman third ahead of Stuchbury, Joyce and Foster before Geary cruelly expired. Andrew then tangled with Fletcher and they both span as Wainman stepped up to challenge Jacklin for the lead as the race entered the final five laps and she eased into the lead but Jacklin charged at her on the road bend which saw them both crash out and Joyce happily inherited the lead. Stutchbury was second and fired Fletcher wide as he tried to chase down the leader who moved the recovered Jacklin out of his way as he stormed to his second win of the night, Stirk ending things when he span into the infield wall, Stuchbury was second and Mee third.
Result: 157 1 450 352 328 26 211 242 137 355
The Supreme Trophy was open to all cars and saw all but one of the original field for a packed field, the biggest grid for the formula since their return to the stadium and it did not disappoint. Fletcher, 242 Joe Nickolls and Stirk were early spinners leading Bodily to set the pace as a back straight pile-up claimed Summers, Mee and Claire and with seemingly no chance of them getting out of their predicament the reds were thrown and a complete restart order which saw the field reduced to 24, Joyce among the early retirements. Jagger got the ball rolling by firing Cheetham into the fence as Bodily span Stirk to regain the lead and Summers dumped out Scriven. Jagger moved into second ahead of Fletcher, Claire, Cheetham and Jolly as Cottrill fired into Shane Geary and Summers attacked Williams. Claire had climbed to third and Jolley to fifth with Jacklin sixth and the latter continued his progress with a big attack on Cheetham as Jagger muscled his way into the lead on lap four. Maw lunged at and span Wainman as the race for second reached fever pitch between Jolly, Claire, Jacklin and defending champion Cottrill with Jacklin emerging in the spot before he was overhauled by Jolly with Brown now bursting into the scene and establishing himself in third. The race hit half way and as it did Jolly hit the front from Jagger, Brown, Jacklin, Cottrill, Summers, Mee, Tom Spencer and Williams but a hit from Cottrill sent Jacklin down the order as Brown connected on Jagger to take second while Summer charged at Mee to gain a place but things came to a grinding halt when the yellow flags flew to assist Jagger who’d come to a halt on the road bend and just before they did Brown was sent spinning by the back marking Stirk which ended his hopes. With just over five to run Jolly headed the restart with Cottrill on his bumper, two back markers between them and the third places Tom Spencer who had a one back marker cushion between him and Mee who also had one back marker between him and the race for fifth between Stucthbury, Mew, Boswell and Summers. Jolly made a clean get away to break away from Cottrill as behind Williams sent Jacklin to the fence as Jolly romped to the win ahead of defending champion Cottrill and Tom Spencer in a quite brilliant race.
Result: 222 575 298 1 450 409 355 281 26 137
The decision to run fifth race for the V8s, offering the drivers a fourth race was more than vindicated when a quite superb 21 drivers returned for the Grand National and they ended their night in quite ballistic fashion. Foster tangled with Claire from the start all but ruining their chances and leaving Fletcher to set the pace as Joyce fired Brow wide and Shane Geary battled his way to second ahead of Bodily, Cheetham, Maw and Williams who had made an electric start. Maw now charged into third only to tangled with Williams which handed places to Olly Spencer and Joyce before Foster fired 136 Rob Jacklin to the fence with a bit hit. Olly Joyce then did the same to Joyce which allowed Williams to leapfrog them both as Geary dumped out Fletcher in a bid to take the lead but span himself and was collected by Foster and Williams burst out of the chaos on the road bend to take the lead only for the reds to then fly with concern for Geary. A lap sheet order restart saw Williams lead with Olly Spencer second and a back marker between them and the race for third between Joyce, Wainman, Maw, Boswell, Stuchbury and Cottrill. The race resumed with some absolutely storming laps as Spencer delivered a big hit to Williams but she dug her heels in and held on for Spencer to deliver a second, even bigger hit which took them both wide and Joyce was able to power through on the inside for the lead. Elsewhere and Bodily span aside Cheetham as Williams tangled wheels with Stuchbury. Into the final five laps and Olly Spencer charged at Joyce for the lead with Wainman able to squeeze past them both to get her nose in front but Spencer fired Joyce into Wainman entering the road bend and it took all three crashing out and Maw emerged to take the lead with Stuchbury on his heels. Mee sent Andrew spinning as Maw held off Stuchbury to win another quite brilliant race, the recovered Spencer third.
Result: 409 Luke Maw, 1, 498, 26, 575, 157, 222, 328, 450, 298
For the third week in a row, this was another hugely entertaining affair with all three formulas enjoying some fine form and hardly a bad race among the bumper 15 race programme. Arguably it was the visiting V8 Hotstox who took top billing on the night but much like the Saloon Stockcars the previous Saturday, not because the other formulas weren’t on form but simply because they were that good, the drivers excelling on a circuit which is seemingly very well suited to them, their Final and Grand National as good as any stockcar race we have seen this season.
With thanks to Michael Coventry for his report.