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2004 - A Season Review
Pictures by Mark Baulch of Ringwood Raceway (MB), Eric Bol from Venray (EB), Karsten Bielschmidt of
www.hotrodpics.de (KB). Dave Carter (DC), Colin Casserley (CC), Keith Duke (KD), Martin Kingston of www.mkpics.net (MK), Brian Lammey of NIF2 (BL), Mike Pollard (MP), Dave Smith - Smiffyman: tel 07885 281327 (DS), Kevin Wickham of KW Photos tel: 01502717614 (KW).  Reporting by Dave Carter.

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2004 - A Season Review
Pictures by Mark Baulch of Ringwood Raceway (MB), Eric Bol from Venray (EB), Karsten Bielschmidt of
www.hotrodpics.de (KB). Dave Carter (DC), Colin Casserley (CC), Martin Kingston of www.mkpics.net (MK), Brian Lammey of NIF2 (BL), Mike Pollard (MP), Dave Smith - Smiffyman: tel 07885 281327 (DS), Kevin Wickham of KW Photos tel: 01502717614 (KW).  Reporting by Dave Carter.

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Well here it is the second Rolling Start Review of the year, this time for 2004. Let me start by saying that in my opinion 2004 has been a very good year on the oval racetracks, where the pluses have far outweighed the minuses. More of this later on.

This review is as the season draws on the material that has appeared on Rolling Start and inevitably it concentrates more on some areas than others. It needs to be stressed right at the outset that everything on the site is freely supplied by a band of dedicated racefans and photographers. The success of the site is down to them and to you the visitor. Can I extend warm thanks to everyone who has helped make the site so successful.

So how has this review been put together? Over the year the site has featured in excess of 200 different galleries from race meetings not up and down the UK but also with a fair smattering of overseas events. For the mostpart just one picture has been selected from each of those galleries to produce this review. I have avoided just drawing on the top formulas, so hopefully the result is to give a fair representation of the breadth of the oval racing scene covering just about all formulas and drivers of differing abilities. I hope you enjoy the end result!

2004 has been the busiest year so far for the site, with the number of visitors easily breaking the 300,000 barrier and the total number of pageviews over two million which equates to an average of around 230 pageviews per hour, every hour of every day!

So, onto some of the highlights of the year. As usual the racing gets underway just a few hours into the New Year and by 4 January the biggest Banger meeting car attendance-wise of 2004 had taken place. This was Standlake's Heavy Metal Classic where the racing is in both Unders and Overs with no support. Always a good meeting and 2005's event takes place even earlier - on 2 January. The second weekend of the year saw the interest shift across to Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre and apart from the usual oval aspects of the Saturday/Sunday there was the return of the Saturday evening full oval race meeting. This was a hugely successful meeting introduced by the Pathe Newsreel from the first-ever stock car meeting in 1954, racing from the Heritage Stock Cars and the first appearance by Barry Lee/ George Polley in the Retro Hot Rods. Most if not all folk left this event on a high but one of the downsides of the year was that the initial impetus to the Golden Jubilee year was not maintained and by the opening round of the Golden Jubilee Series at Coventry in April had hit the ground with a rather undistinguished bump!

Also on the second weekend of January a massive crowd witnessed what had almost become the impossible dream, a southern victory in the hugely entertaining Civil War. The result of this is that Civil War 6 will now take place at Arena Essex on 23 January 2005. This is an eagerly anticipated event which will surely match the annual Firecracker at the Essex Raceway.

Also featured on this page are Karsten Bielschmidt's pictures of the National Hot Rod foray to the ovals of South Africa along with other early year action including the ever-popular London Open for Bangers.

/continued ...



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