V8 Hotstox World Final 2023

Written by Pete Savage

The 2023 Scrapco BriSCA V8 Hotstox World Championship final is finally upon us! A field of 31 roaring V8 powered stock cars will take to the tight Mildenhall shale oval in what is sure to be a spectacular event!

The current World Champion Kev Stuchbury retired at the end of the 2022 season and will not be defending his title today meaning that we will crown a new World Champion. Stuchbury won an incredible 5 World Championship finals during his V8 Hotstox career and has offered his thoughts on the chances of the British drivers on the top five rows. Any of the 31 drivers on the grid could claim the title, this year’s World Final grid is as follows:

Row 16: #82. Joe Cheetham (#82) will be hoping for the chaos to begin ahead of him early on, he has become a regular points scorer in the formula and if he can avoid trouble he may well secure a good finish. Row 15: #507 & #257. Luke Smith (#507) will be pleased to have qualified for the World Final for the second time in his career, Luke is a young driver growing with confidence and will be hoping for a strong finish. Timmy Aldridge (#257) is an experienced stock car and banger driver who has competed in several classes on the ovals during his career. He has nothing to lose and is likely to be hitting hard as he tries to move towards the front. Row 14: #89 & #537. Gav Smith (#89) races the former shale car of current World Champion Kev Stuchbury. He gained attention with some impressive results on tarmac in August and could cause more surprises in the big race. Steven Stafford (#537) is capable of moving through the field ahead of him if he can avoid being tangled up early on, the unpredictable nature of the short Mildenhall track may benefit him in this race. Row 13: #552 & #130. Declan Gwin (#552) was involved in a heavy impact during the British Championship final at Hednesford earlier this year. He isn’t afraid to get stuck in and is likely to be in the thick of the action. Emma Ford (#130) made a sensational start to her Hotstox career, taking race victories on tarmac in the shale car of her fiancé Jon Brown. Although her debut at Skegness in the National Pairs meeting was intended to be a one off appearance, Emma is now a regular driver and is one of six ladies on the grid. 

Joe Cheetham (#82) and Emma Ford (#130), Eastcoaster Stockcars Photography

Row 12: #193 & #17. Ian Lewis Jnr (#193) is a fast young driver who is steadily proving himself in the formula. If he can keep a cool head, he could be in for a good result. George Riley (#17) has been particularly impressive on tarmac this year but knows how to succeed on shale also. Row 11: #376 & #182. Matthew Young (#376) is the older brother of pole sitter Stephen Young. Matthew is an experienced driver and has every chance of moving through the pack as the race progresses. Will Cheetham (#182) claims the family bragging rights by qualifying on row 11. Will is another driver who isn’t afraid to get “stuck in” and will be hoping for plenty of trouble ahead of him so he can make progress. Row 10: #350 & 577. Hannah Andrew (#350) turned heads with her impressive driving at the British Championship meeting earlier this year and will be hoping for more of the same today. Former rally driver Lee Allen (#577) will be pleased to have qualified on the tenth row in his first full season in the formula. He is becoming a much more regular user of the front bumper and will be looking to use it to great effect in this race. 

Row 9: #29 & #453 Gracie Squire (#29) is just 17 years old and recently claimed 2nd place in the British Championship final. She is capable of another podium finish today. Thomas Andrew (#453) is the second of the Andrew siblings on the grid. Both drivers are experienced in other formulas on the oval (including the Brisca Formula 1 stock cars where Thomas recently enjoyed racing in Venray). Thomas is capable of a good result in the big race. Row 8: #288 & #355 Jon Brown (#288) on row 7 may surprise some as he is undoubtedly one of the formula’s top drivers however he hasn’t raced as much this season as perhaps he would have liked. When the green flag drops, watch Jon closely. It won’t be long until he starts using the front bumper and very often when Jon puts another driver in the wall, they stay there. Bryan Andrew (#355) is a veteran of the formula but has never won the World Championship, he is likely to be pushing hard from the very start. Row 7: #491 and #525. Paul Prest (#491) suffered a broken elbow, damaged AC joint and torn shoulder ligaments after a crash at Bradford in July. Despite this, Paul plans on taking his place on the grid today. Paul is aggressive and if the opportunity arises for him to be near the front of the pack, expect him to take it. Amy Jagger (#525) is now an experienced Hotstox driver, when the green flag drops she is all business and is always raring to get involved with the action. If the opportunity presents itself, Amy will be more than happy to trade paint with the leaders of the race. 

Amy Jagger (#525), Eastcoast Stockcars Photograph

Row 6: Overseas Entrants. Row 5: #71 & #296. Jamie Rodgers (#71) has had a highly successful 2023 season and has proven himself as one of the top drivers in the formula. Jamie has climbed through the grades but has shown that he can still achieve great results from further back on the grid. Stuchbury: “Jamie is good shale driver and always up in the top 10. I can’t see why he wouldn’t be fighting for a podium position in the race.” Dan Poole (#296) has had an impressive 2023 season. He is no stranger to winning on both surfaces and picked up an impressive victory in tough conditions on the shale of Bradford in July. Stuchbury: “A good shale driver and not afraid to get stuck in. I think you could see him in the high places by the end of the race.”

Row 4: #201 & #10. Perhaps the most interesting row on the grid, row 4 is occupied by the hard hitting Bullock brothers. Evan Bullock (#201) has exploded onto the Hotstox scene in 2023. In just his first season in the formula, he has cemented himself as one of the superstars of the Hotstox. He may lack experience in the senior stock car formulas but his determination makes him a credible contender for the World Championship. Stuchbury: “I’ve only seen him race once but he really impressed me. He’s been quick from the word go. He is 100% going to be one to watch for the win.” Gilen Bullock (#10) is the older and more experienced of the Bullock brothers. Gilen is a hard driver and is happy to trade paint with any of the other drivers on the grid, including his brother. If the Bullock brothers find themselves near each other in the race, do not expect any team racing. Stuchbury: “ A good driver and not afraid to get stuck in. He is always up in the top 10. I’m sure he will use the front bumper well to make his way to the front.”

Evan Bullock (#201), Eastcoast Stockcars Photography

Row 3: Overseas entrants.

Row 2: #262 & #222. Camey Dorrell (#262) is a tarmac specialist and prefers to race on the tarmac tracks. While the British Championship trophy carries the name of female driver Phoebe Wainman, no woman has ever won the World Championship. There is every possibility that Camey will be the first. Stuchbury: “Another quick driver but she doesn’t race shale much. I’m not sure what car she will use for the world final but if it’s her own I’m sure she will be hoping for not a lot of shale on the track.” Guy Jolly (#222) is one of the most experienced drivers in the formula but is yet to claim a major championship. While he is a self-confessed “shale driver”, Guy has had success on tarmac this year and arguably has had his best season ever on his least favourite surface. Jolly will have to be more forthcoming with his bumper if he is to win and may have to leave “Mr Nice Guy” in the pits and show his aggression to get to the front of the pack. Stuchbury: “Guy’s been racing a while now. He always goes well around Mildenhall. He’s got more experience at starting world finals than most others, maybe this is his time to get a major championship.”

Guy Jolly (#222), by Eastcoast Stockcars Photography

Row 1: #176 & #329. Stephen is the current and first ever Brisca V8 Hotstox Scottish champion. If he finds himself at the front of the pack, he has the skills to work through the traffic and leave the rest of the field behind. Stuchbury: “He can have some good days and some bad days. Experience will probably help him with some of the drivers around him. He can be quick around Mildenhall and if he can get away he stands a chance of winning.” Thomas Brighton (#329) is another of the formula’s teenage sensations. In July of 2023, Thomas drove a sensational race around the huge Hednesford raceway to win the 2023 British Championship. Mildenhall may be quite the contrast to Hednesford, but there is no doubt that Thomas will be one of the favourites to win the World Championship. Stuchbury: “Now he’s got his first major championship I’m sure he will be hungry for more. I’m not sure how good his shale form is but if it’s anything like his tarmac form he’s in with a chance.”

Thomas Brighton (#329), by Eastcoast Stockcars Photography

Three overseas entrants will also take part in the World Final. #NZ1 Asher Rees will be driving a car provided by Mark Poole, if Asher can secure a position on row 3 during the time trails we could well see a New Zealand driver at the front of the pack in the early part of the race. Asher is a hard hitting driver and will proudly represent the #NZ1 in the Hotstox World Final. #NZ26 Mitch Vickery has been racing for 10 years and finished in 3rd place at the 2022 World 240s. Mitch also claimed 3rd place in the Brisca F1 stock car World Masters in 2022, Mitch will race the car of Matt Barnard. #NZ34 Bex Barr will be racing the car of James Billows. Bex races in both the Super Stock and Standard Stock classes and is one of the top drivers racing out of Palmerston North. H410 Jelle Tesselar will be a familiar name to stock car fans in the UK as he regularly races here. Jelle caused something of a shock to the Hotstox formula when he secured a superb second place at the Hotstox World Final in 2019 at a very wet Skegness. 

With no former World Champions on the grid, we will see a brand new driver crowned as the World Champion! The action from the Hotstox drivers during 2023 has been nothing short of spectacular. Make sure to give each and every driver a wave and a cheer during the pre-race parade, may the best driver win!

Written by Pete Savage