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Angmering Oval Raceway
2 April 2017

A much improved Oval Raceway opened its 2017 season in fine style on April 2. The busy West Sussex track has been revitalised after a two month interruption to its usual all year round programme. The closure enabled a fresh concrete surface to be laid round much of the track, while the extensively battered and mis-shapen armco has been largely renewed. The opportunity was taken to slightly re-profile the pit gate bend, making the run on to the uphill straight a lot faster, while the sweeping top bend retains its banking, enabling the track to once more realise its potential as one of the fastest ovals in the UK. There was a bit more work to be done, in the form of general tidying and painting, so that by the “official re-opening” at Easter, the place will be looking its best as well.

 

The other big changes for 2017 concern the race programme.  Angmering was once a magnet for top Hot Rod racing in the south, but turnouts had dropped off a bit in recent years, although the varied and well-handicapped grids had still been providing excellent entertainment. This year separate classes have been added for the Outlaw and 2-litre cars, while the usual “A” and “B” handicapped groups are continuing, with the advantage of some of the quicker cars being creamed off into the new classes.

 

It remained to be seen how these changes would affect turnouts but on the evidence of a glorious sunny April day, it’s going to be a cracking season. The Outlaw and 2-litre groups each attracted 5 cars, from as far afield as Cornwall; not huge but enough to look good round the fast and challenging track. The A and B groups brought out good fields of mainly FWD cars, with a few old school Starlets mixed in, and provided their usual close racing. Big fields in some of the support classes, particularly the budget Prod Stox and the unique Micra Stox also contributed to one of the best meetings we’ve seen at this friendly and atmospheric venue. There’s no shortage of racing with every class getting an optional practice session followed by two heats and a final

 

The OUTLAW HOT RODS were dominated by Matt Knight’s Fiesta, winning both the reversed grid heats and then making short work of the opposition in the final. The Peugeots of Andy Goodman and Darren Akehurst chased Matt home, while Chris Perry and Charlie Sayers didn’t start the final.

 

The 2-LITRE HOT RODS were close fought all day, although with the programme running late they shared the track with the Outlaws after their first race. Gary Furminger held off Cornish visitor Paul Tossell to win the first race but Paul quickly mastered the track on his first visit and got the better of Gary in the second heat and final. Paul Gibbons and Paul Perry were next up, but local favourite Stuart Orford had some teething problems with his Fiesta.

 

HOT ROD A contained the usual selection of SEGTO Prod A and Prod B cars plus some local specials. The Micras of Gavin and Adrian Treagus just held on ahead of Kieran Chappell’s rapid Nova in the first heat, before Kieran took a good win in heat two. The final was a bit chaotic as Stuart Orford’s Starlet slowed with engine problems in the closing stages. Waved yellow flags meant that the first three cars slowed up behind Stuart, only to be left behind by the others. The reds soon came out and, assuming that the results would be counted back to the yellow flags, that would have made Kieran Chappell the winner from the two nicely turned out Micras of Paul Boot and Anthony Stone, while Craig Howlett’s Corsa and Les Croucher’s Civic were rapidly closing up. Others in contention during the day were Josie Johnsey’s Nova, Zi Jones’ Corsa and the ex-PRI Group A Starlets of Ben Hardy and Glen Lampard.

 

HOT ROD B catered for everything from Novas to a Toyota Supra. Pete Robinson’s immaculate Civic and Chris Dancocks’ Nova won the two heats, although both crossed the line under pressure from  Jody Withers who was coming through very quickly from the back in her Nova. Unfortunately the lateness of the hour meant Jody and Graham Goddard’s Corsa were missing from the final, together with Ian Staff’s Peugeot, Adam Fry’s Starlet, Craig Holt’s Fiesta and Sam Harris’ Honda CRX, that all had earlier problems. Pete Robinson won, chased by the equally smart Civic of Gary Horne, Chris Dancocks and Terry Clarke in the Supra.

 

The other big success story of the day was the MICRA STOX – a budget, limited contact, class for lightly armoured bubble Micras that showed promise last year, resulting in an explosion of interest over the winter and a big field of colourful, well presented cars that raced in close company with no significant damage – we can see why this local class has such a big appeal to both newcomers and drivers from other classes fancying a second (or third!) fun car. On this occasion nobody could catch former Superstox racer Chris Tullett, who came though the field for three convincing wins, chased home in the final by Stuart Beevis, Rory Tate, Danny Brett and the pioneer of the class, Chris Harris.

 

PROD STOX, despite the name, are a cheap and cheerful non-contact class largely populated by Rover 25s and MG ZRs, of which the majority appear in the yellow colours of “Team Dangerous”. Joining the ranks for a racing comeback were former 2 litre Hot Rod World Champion Shaun Proudlock and son Tyler. Despite all the battling down the field, Tommy Killick got away at the front to win all three races, while former Junior racer Tom Lindgren brought his Nissan Almera into second from James Nutbrown’s Rover, Steven Turner’s Corolla and a loads more yellow MG/Rovers.

 

The JUNIORS have two classes to choose from; Junior Rods running to SEGTO Prod A spec, which brought out one very nicely prepared Micra for Kayleigh Smith, and Junior Prods, which are a bit more basic.  Kayleigh was given a pretty severe handicap behind the other seven cars, catching up to third in the final and behind Sophie Spokes’ Micra and Jay Staff’s Peugeot 206; Jay Staff and Kyle Holman’s Corsa had won the two heats.

 

The FWD SALOON RODS are a bit more open than the Prod Stox and Honda Civics are in the majority, but on this occasion the class was dominated all day by the Peugeot 106 of Charlie Kett, an unfinished Hot Rod project that Charlie had turned out with a standard 1400 engine that exceeded his expectations! Chasing the Peugeot were the Civics of Sam Voller and Steven Mills.

 

What used to be the RWD Saloon Rods are now just labelled DRIFTING which brought out ten BMWs of varying quality of which at least three ended the day as terminal victims of their drivers’ enthusiasm! It’s not the sort of class where results matter much, but as far as we could see through the dust and tyre smoke Sean Haines and Matt May took the chequered flag twice each in their four races.

 

Refreshingly among independent UK ovals the BANGERS don’t usually take up too much of the varied programme at Angmering, but  even so, no contact lovers would have been disappointed by the antics of the 20-car Micro Banger field. Among the carnage Jamie Murrells won the first heat and the newer shape K12 Micra of Carl Davis survived the second heat and final. Three cars came out at the end of the day for a DD which mercifully lasted about 30 seconds and as far as we could see was a three-way tie!

 

Making up the programme were the CBs – the “formula” where, if you can’t guess what the initials stand for, you don’t want to know! Absolute racing for fun, no race numbers needed as there’s no lap scoring and no results, and literally anything goes, from a boxy Micra to a Jag S Type, BMW 7-Series and Suzuki Vitara! 33 cars turned out for their first two “non contact” races, but after some of the same cars joined in their contact races, there weren’t quite so many still running.

 

There were a few hiccups contributing to a long day; despite much sweeping in the week the new concrete surface raised lots of dust to begin with, but that soon cleared. The recovery crews were hard pressed by the antics of the contact class racers, but most of the packed crowd of spectators stayed to the end and a good day was had by all.

 
















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