Charlie wins the showdown

Regular readers will remember our prediction that the national banger meeting at Arlington would be the biggest held there for 40 years and that proved the case.

There were two World Finals wild card places to be determined over the evening and more than 80 drivers from right across the country descended on the Sussex oval to compete in round 8 of the Spedeworth Banger World Series.

And home county drivers were well represented in a last bid to make it to the Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich, in October.

Haywards Heath’s Tim James was in a Jaguar XJS, while Charlie King from Burgess Hill opted for a Granada Estate. From the drop of the first green flag, it was hard-hitting action all night, and typically our guys were right in the thick of things, causing chaos with their crazy antics.

In their first race, coming out of the pit bend, James was hit hard and spun around. He found himself facing the wrong way and thrust into a mass of oncoming traffic.

From there, he was lucky to get away with a light buffeting but the damage to his engine left him with no alternative but to sit out the rest of the race.

King meanwhile was having a much better start to his evening. Despite being royally thumped into the safety wall on the pit bend, he ended up coming home fourth.

Back in the pits, James discovered the distributor cap on his Jag had well and truly smashed, and without a spare his night was over.

Asked what it was like being turned around and facing a mass of Lexus, Jags and Granadas coming at him, he replied: “The first time somebody whizzes past you, it is natural to be a little apprehensive. By the time 20 have scraped your paintwork, your heart is pounding like a thing possessed.”

King was back out again in the next race with the chance of a World Final place. As is is well documented, King does not take any prisoners in his quest to either win races or simply entertain the massed terraces.

Slightly hampered by a few engine gremlins of his own, he finished just outside the podium places in fifth.

Undeterred by the chaos and carnage of the evening, the No 204 car rolled out once more for The Showdown – a 10-lap dash to the line where anything goes.

As visiting drivers from across the country fell by the wayside, King kept his Granada Estate trundling around the oval raceway. Clearly his local knowledge was an asset as the laps counted down.

Slowly but surely, he picked his passage through to the front of the pack, where he cemented his position to take the win.

The season continues at Arlington Raceway every Wednesday evening through to the end of September.