Welcome to the latest in what promises to be a long-running series of articles tenuously linked to F1 Stock Car racing!
I ambled over to Brandon Stadium last Saturday night and was surprised to see a Big Top on the Coventry side of the car park. “Stock car racing or circus?” enquired the car park chappie – the thought of Steve Rees in a red tailcoat and top hat came to mind – “Could go either way” I replied and parked on the Rugby side, part of which was given over to an overflow pits. The occasion was the multi-formula opener promoted by Startrax featuring all manner of oval racing machinery but I was there for the F2 and V8 elements of the evening – before you click “back” bear with me – this is sort of F1 related.
With heavy rain and flooding in Warwickshire during the week, I arrived with wellies and a kayak strapped to the car roof, just in case but was pleasantly surprised to find the pits reasonably puddle-free. If I was wearing a hat I would take it off to the track maintenance team at Coventry – the racing surface looked immaculate and super-smooth.
Our very own Daniel van Spijker (231) was out in an F2 (numbered 281) and netted a fine win in the consolation race. He was also racing last weekend as was F1 Gold Top Rob Speak who garnered enough world qualifying points from those two days to guarantee him a semi-final slot already. With the F2 World on the shale at Mildenhall this year is a ninth F2 gold roof on the cards?
I had a brief chat with Jedd Stirk as we both looked over the van Spijker F2 and I really wasn’t joking when I said you were going well on your V8 debut. The 465 car is a cracker, not new as I thought but, in keeping with the long Stirk racing heritage, presented to the highest standard. Anyone out there northern-based like to do a feature on the Stirk racing family – it is long overdue?
Keeping with the Ministox theme for a moment, Sophie Maynard (154) also made her first V8 appearance while Phoebe Wainman introduced us to her Keef v2.0 2016 Upgrade. Unlucky not to score well on the night, once Phoebe gets the hang of the extra speed I reckon the superstar lights will be back adorning the 211 roof before too long.
To stretch the F1 link to breaking point, Jack Aldridge (421) and brother Timmy (ex-257) were out in the micro bangers with Jack picking up a race win. Jack apparently has both F1 cars up for sale so it looks like the Aldridge name may be missing from the tracks this year. The bangers completed a rather long evening (4:30 to 11:00 but we did get 24 races for our money) with a destruction derby, most of the action taking place on the centre, dangerously close to infeld staff in my opinion and should have been red-flagged earlier. The action continued in the banger pits afterwards with a punch-up but, being after 11pm, the result of this extra event was not announced!
As I said earlier, not exactly F1 news but, hey, Speak, Wainman, Stirk, Aldridge, Maynard and van Spijker – there’s a whole history of F1 stock car racing in those names alone. Oh, and Steve Smith (40) was driving a tractor!
Words and photos: Mick Jenkins