SWAFFHAM RACEWAY
Rolling Thunder Show Round 2 - 2 April 2022

  

The second RTS meeting of the 2022 season attracted a smaller turnout than the first in some classes, but still had a good varied programme that produced plenty of interesting and close racing, even in those classes that still had small grids. A dry track helped and, although there was a chilly breeze, the sun shone for most of the evening, while the big black clouds that drifted over did nothing apart from spoiling the light for photography – despite the odd sleet shower earlier in the day.

 

The 1 LITRE HOT RODS were as ever well supported with 18 cars lining up; no separate races for the novices this time, but after a thorough pre-race briefing, the racing was pretty well incident free. The first heat saw the immaculate car of Abbie Read leading all the way to the last corner, only to lose out in the final result to Jamie Tanner Jnr. The two white graders stayed safely in front of the star drivers coming through the pack, with Alfie Hunt taking third from Kyle Wells, Alfie Freeman, Riley Shackleford, Tom Badger, Archie Mucci, Callum Woolgar and Stanley Crittenden.

 

The second heat started unfortunately with Abbie Read spinning in the first corner and collecting Lewis Renwick. Jamie Tanner was passed for the lead by Caitlin Chandler, who’d missed the previous meeting due to the family team’s Britcar commitments but was now driving well to stay with the pack, although she was shuffled down the order after Tom Badger came though to lead. Alfie Hunt took over the top spot in the closing laps, but had picked up a black cross for contact, as did second place Riley Shackleford, dropping them to third and fourth as Alfie Freeman took the win from Kyle Wells, with Tom Badger, Jamie Tanner, Archie Mucci, Lewis Williams, Stanley Crittenden and Alfie Waller completing the top ten.

 

Jamie Tanner made a perfect start from the second row in the final to grab the lead, and he held on all the way, despite losing his hard earned advantage when a mid-race yellow flag came out to rescue Caitlin Chandler. The battle behind got a bit too close entering the final lap, sending Alfie Freeman spinning into the fence, so the reds came out early with Jamie Tanner holding off Archie Mucci for the win, and Alfie Hunt taking third at the head of a big pack comprising Kyle Wells, Riley Shackleford, Tom Badger, Abbie Read, Callum Woolgar, Lewis Williams, Stanley Crittenden, Reece Checkley, Alfie Waller, Danny Coombes, and Noah Buckett, with Lewis Renwick completing the finishers and Riley Murrell joining Alfie Freeman and Caitlin Chandler as retirements.

 

11 cars turned out for the FWD HOT RODS with Dean Fuller’s immaculately refurbished 1600 Citroen C2 and Kev Head’s Fiesta having their first outings of the year, while Ryan Mawer made his debut in the Saxo he’s been racing in the “Junior Screamers” – RTS had created a new “Economy Rod” group for him to move up to, but we hear he’ll soon be out in a competitive FWD Hot Rod as the class continues to grow. The first race had an early stoppage as Pete Meekings’ Corsa spun onto the infield kerb, sidelining him for the day. Leon Retchless led the restart away in his Saxo and held on for several laps before Kev Head found a gap on the outside, while Kev soon had Chris Head’s newer Fiesta on his outside, as another family duel developed behind between Leon and Luke Retchless. Chris Head eventually edged in front to win from Kev, while Wes Graves brought his Fiesta in third ahead of Luke and Leon Retchless, Jason Cox, Dean Fuller and Mark Rogers, while Ryan Mawer did well to finish a couple of laps adrift of the full race cars.

 

After trying his car from the back in the first race, Dean Fuller was promoted to pole position for the second, and he led in fine style all the way, chased by Leon Retchless. A battle behind culminated with Kev and Chris Head and Luke Retchless three abreast down the back straight, but they somehow all made room for each other and Luke emerged to hold off Chris and Kev for third, with Jason Cox next up after Wes Graves slowed with a misfire.

 

The final provided another faultless drive and flag to flag win for Dean Fuller, while Leon and Luke Retchless raced side by side for lap after lap. Eventually Luke got the better of his brother and also cleared Kev Head, closing right up on Dean to take second, with Kev third and Leon fourth. Jason Cox was next up but some front bumper damage was reflected by a two place penalty, dropping him behind the still off song Wes Graves and Ryan Mawer. Mark Rodgers’ Corsa went out with a puncture and Luke Cundy’s Nova had problems in all three races, while Chris Head was unfortunately missing from the final with a driveshaft problem.

 

It was good to have some RWD Hot Rods present as well, under the guise of SLICK CARS, although of the six car entry the only ones to turn up were three totally contrasting cars, all in matching livery of Autoshine Coachworks. The three Canterbury-based drivers were looking for some track time between Lydden meetings and put on a good show despite not having suitable gearing for the much smaller Swaffham track. Jason Anderson (better known at Swaffham in his trusty Sierra) was out in his Redtop Vauxhall-powered Corrado, Shay Anderson in his 1800 Zetec-powered Nova and Gary Austin in his Starlet-Pinto. They took turns leading and each of them took one “race” win.

 

The LIGHTNING ROD grid was on the way up, with seven cars this time. Danny Ellis led the first race all the way, just holding off a last corner challenge from Dave Imber, with Brian Smith fending off Sam Shirmer’s smart Sapphire for third. George Morris missed the first race but joined the grid for the second, while the field included his old Euro Rod sparring partner Billy Stickley, making his class debut. This time Dave Imber caughr up quicker and took the lead at half distance, while Danny Ellis then battled with George Morris, George just taking second from Danny, Sam Shirmer and Billy Stickley. The final was hard fought, with Danny losing his advantage after a yellow flag when the new car of Russell Thornton spun out. Dave Imber again managed to get past Danny and pulled out a small lead to take the win, while Danny successfully defended second from Sam Shirmer, Billy Stickley, George Morris and Brian Smith.

 

The NINJA KARTS as usual opened the programme, with eight in the line-up. After an early battle with Jimmie Bye, Max Payne led the first heat until the last couple of laps, when Jack Garrod came through from the back to win from Max, Rosie Taber, Jimmy, Charlie Jnr, Freddie Taber, Daniel Holland and Ralphie Hendy. The second race again started with Jimmie Bye and Max Payne battling, but they eventually tangled, letting Jack Garrod through for yet another win, with Rosie Taber taking second from Charlie Jnr and Max Payne recovering to fourth ahead of Daniel Holland and Jimmie Bye. In the final, after Freddie Taber led the first lap, Jimmie Bye took over and again had a close duel with Max Payne, but Jack Garrod continued his winning ways and passed them both for the victory, with Max second and Rosie Taber just snatching third from Charlie Jnr on the line. Jimmie Bye, Daniel Holland, Freddie Taber and Ralphie Hendy completed the order.

 

The JUNIOR SCREAMERS grid this time just comprised five of the basic build spec cars the class was designed for, without any Junior Hot Rods in the mix. Emilie Smith, with fresh pink paint on her Micra, led the first heat all the way, but a slight accidental nudge exiting the last corner sent her off line and into a spin. Max Constable crossed the line first but was docked two places, leaving Jack Garrod, again doubling up in two classes, the winner from Ryan Rumney. In the second race, Max’s Micra held off Jack’s Corsa all the way, with the other Micras of Ryan, Emilie and George Colvin chasing them home. The final was the day’s problem race, with cars spinning out and restarts being disrupted by flat batteries in the drivers’ radios. Eventually Max Constable led home Emilie Smith, the only two to finish.

 

The final class, the SCRAPYARD SCREAMERS, attracted 17 cars at the previous meeting, but was down to six this time, of which one, Mark Davis’ Sunny Coupé, didn’t make it off the trailer. Only two survived the first corner in the first race, with Liam Webster’s Mondeo beating Ross Lucan’s Rover Coupé while Mushy Cornell rejoined a few laps down in his Astra. The top two were repeated in the other two races, with Glen Olley’s Focus Estate in third and Sasha Rumney’s 206 fourth.

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