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Summer Open Banger Championship
Ringwood - Saturday 7 August

Report and pictures by Mark Baulch


A carnival atmosphere on a very warm evening at Ringwood Raceway on Saturday 7 August signalled the start of a great weekend! The 2000 Summer Open Banger Championship was the highlight of a week that saw Ringwood Raceway sponsor the Bournemouth Carnival for the second year running.

The entertainment began with the Grand Parade and the choice of the best paint job of the evening. Twelve cars lined up on the infield to be judged by the crowd, with some really nice work on display and some unusual metal too. I fully expected Richard Aston 85 to win this contest, in his green hearse, complete with polished coffin! However, we had a surprise result, as the spectators made their feelings felt by making the most noise for John Swanborough 523, who would also have won the quip of the night award for his reply when I asked him what he was driving. “A car with four wheels” came the reply! Actually, it was a well turned out Datsun with a nice paint job and neat decals.

Then it was down to the serious business, as 24 cars lined up for the first race of the evening. After an early red flag due to a car ending up on its side on bend 2, 2004 Southern Open Champion Chris Reed 332 managed to start in pole position and repeat his feat from the final of that championship by leading from flag to flag. Behind him, current Ringwood Points Champion Mike Kilford 202 was having a far less successful evening, as his car ground to a halt and failed to reappear again at any stage, apparently due to engine failure. A fairly heavy hitting race for an initial heat saw just 7 finishers, all of them qualifying for the final, including a surprised Trevor Joyce 381. Before the race, he had said that he fully expected his Mazda 626 to go very little distance amongst the many Granadas! A slightly smaller field of 22 cars took to the track for the second race, but we saw some great action including a big hit from Stuart Dunn 231 on the 1968 Ford Zephyr Estate driven by Michael Pidgeley 177. Mitchell Mills 159 took his Capri to victory at some speed, crossing the line 6 seconds ahead of everyone else. The biggest group of the evening was the last, as 25 cars arrived on the tarmac for Race 3. There were not as many hits in this race, although we saw quite a few spins before Jack Overy 617 took the chequered flag. Brett Ellacott 162, the reigning Summer Open Champion, did just enough in this race, finishing seventh and claiming the last place to gain him qualification status. Race 4 was for the remnants of group 1 that had yet to qualify, along with half of the hopefuls remaining from group 3. Another relatively quiet race, but with plenty of speed on display, resulted in a win for Adam Eyles 452. The last heat consisted of the rest of group 3 and all of group 2 that had not booked a place in the final at this point. Despite only having 18 cars in this race, it was to turn out as the hardest yet, with plenty of drivers getting stuck in and a scrap yard appearing on the pit bend! After the dust and clouds of tyre smoke cleared, only 4 cars remained running for the chequered flag! Joe Mullarkey 19 was at the head of these to claim the win.


Race 1    332, 133, 517, 381, 24, 20, 530
Race 2    159, 348, 233, 205, 399, 198, 85, 993
Race 3    617, 99, 322, 90, 199, 523, 162, 179
Race 4    452, 67, 890, 231, 614, 62, 530, 247
Race 5    19, 998, 213, 136

Just before the drivers came along to choose their grid positions out of the hat, Jamie Guest 607 came to the newly painted finish line to claim the trophy for the best hit of the evening, thanks to piling very heavily into the back of the 740 car driven by Brian Daniel on bend 2 during the heats. There were 32 cars in the Final, a little down on numbers thanks to the maelstrom seen in the last heat! Matthew Harris 67 claimed pole position, though he looked none too pleased about it. Craig Rose 20 brought the unusual sight of a hearse in the Final to the front row, as he lined up in second place. What is more, the other hearse was on row 5 as well! Barry Collins 890 and Richard Ahernen 99 shared the second row, with the reigning Champion Brett Ellacott 162 looking comfortable in seventh. Mind you, in his mirror he had Liam Bunce 62, John Swanborough 523, Stuart Dunn 231 and Chris Reed 332. A formidable train of hitters if ever there was one! However, their brand of metal munching was not required to remove the hope of Brett Ellacott 162 retaining his Championship, as he tangled with the blue hearse of Craig Rose 20 on the pit bend, and ended up stranded on the pit gate for a while. He then tangled with the other hearse a little later, before his car expired beneath him and he limped on to the infield. Someone finally despatched the 85 hearse, by virtually driving through the side of it at the end of the start straight! Meanwhile, Chris Reed 332 and Wayne Cottrell 998 were having a great battle at the front of the race, seemingly for the lead. They changed position several times in the closing laps of the race, until Chris Reed 332 finally managed to cross the line ahead. But, almost unseen as we watched this contest, Richard Ahernen 99 had capitalised on his high grid position and disappeared off into the distance to claim victory!

Final    99, 332, 998, 617, 517, 199, 523, 136

14 drivers decided to compete in the Demolition Derby, including the top 3 from the final, who had to! Michael Pidgeley 177 returned in his Zephyr, despite having no steering! He did not go far though, as Jamie Wyatt 199 jacked him up hard enough for us to have to restart after he got his breath back! We ended up with three cars circulating the track for quite a while, until finally we were left with just Chris Reed 332 and Jack Overy 617. It took just a few more hits from this point for Jack Overy 617 to claim his second victory of the evening.

DD    617

This Wednesday, 11 August, the Western Championship Qualifying Rounds reach their climax. With the 1300 Stock Cars and Hot Rods the first to tie up their starting grids for the September finals, this is set to be the Wednesday evening to attend. Add to that more mayhem from the Ringwood Rookies to ensure a great evening of racing. Gates open at 6.00pm for racing at 8.00pm. See you then!

Then on Saturday, 14 August, the Special Rods return to settle their Western Championship grid, whilst the Ford Rods have a domestic points meeting. We also have a special Ringwood Rookies meeting, as they meet their rivals from Fleet in a return match after we beat them at their home track! Not many prisoners can expect to be taken that night! Gates open at 5.00pm for the first green flag at 7.30pm. See you then!

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