Supreme Championship & Ben Fund trophies

Written by Pete Savage.

The rumble of the V8 Hotstox returns to Northampton on May 13th with the Supreme Championship and Ben Fund trophies up for grabs!

The Hotstox started their season at Northampton in March. Steve Thompson (#485) began the 2023 season in a similar fashion to how he ended 2022 by taking the first win of the year. Thompson was forced to work hard for the win with Marcus Brookes (#365) able to match the National Points Champion for pace around the shale oval. Thompson was victorious again in heat 2 with Brookes chasing him all the way to the chequered flag. 

The meeting final saw Thompson and Brookes leading the pack once again. Thompson faced his biggest challenge of the evening as Brookes had settled into a good rhythm and was showing fantastic pace. Thompson crossed the line in first place to make it a fantastic two heat wins and a final win, a far more successful evening than his brother Craig (#490) who was plagued with car troubles throughout the meeting. 

Thompson is no stranger to the challenge of attempting a Grand National win from the one lap handicap, a feat he has achieved in the formula before, however issues with the car meant that he pulled off mid race. Brookes found his way to the front of the pack and needed to put in some quick laps to pull away from the hard charging Guy Jolly who had found a new confidence after his engine over heating in the heats. The #222 driver was unable to catch Brookes who claimed his first ever race win in the formula to end a fast and frantic first meeting of the season for the formula. 

May 13th will see the drivers competing for both the Supreme Championship and the Ben Fund trophy. National points champion Steve Thompson, who won the meeting final at Bradford on May 7th, won the Supreme Championship in 2018 and after his performance at the March Northampton meeting will fancy his chances of taking home the title again. The Supreme Championship was first competed for in 1988 and was won by Paul Lomax (#69). 2016 winner Guy Jolly will also fancy his chances and will be eager to get on the shale after missing the meeting at Bradford.

The Ben Fund trophy is currently held by the retired World Champion Kev Stuchbury and as such will be presented to a new driver this year. Stuchbury’s awesome shale shifting machine is likely to be at Northampton with new Hotstox driver Gav Smith now piloting the ex #131 machine. Gilen Bullock claimed the Ben Fund Trophy in 2019 and after the superb start to the 2023 season for both Gilen and his brother Evan there is a real possibility that we could see one of the Bullock brothers take the trophy home.

Other drivers to look out for will be Richard Smith in his superb new car that made its debut at Bradford. Paul Prest will be looking for success and the sound of his screaming V8 always turns heads. There is also a possibility that the Hotstox’ own creator of chaos James Billows will take to the Northampton shale for the first time this year and will be certain to provide plenty of entertainment.

Pete Savage.