Saturday night’s charity event at Arlington Stadium, Eastbourne, was promoted by the organisers as the largest ‘Old School’ Banger meeting ever staged at the venue.
Incredibly, due to a lot of hard work, the meeting lived up to everything that had been promised by The Bears, and much more.
As the capacity crowd, enjoyed the scorching sunshine on the terraces well into the late evening, they were treated to a ‘Battle Royale’ that turned the clock back 20 years, to a time when racing was a much simpler affair.
Wishing to encourage the fun element of Banger racing, that made the sport such a TV favourite in the 70’s and 80’s, the country’s largest and most respected team, The Bears, wanted their third charity outing to replicate that era.
The relaxed format, with the emphasis very much on crashing and wrecking, saw drivers from right across the UK, as well as for the first time mainland Europe, sign up to take part.
From the first race, the action was thick and fast. So much so, that with crashing all around the track, it was sometimes difficult for spectators to see everything that went on.
With such a strong squad of talented drivers, The Bears were always going to do well, and so it proved. They didn’t have it all their own way, as amongst the cosmopolitan line up several local drivers made their presence felt.
Ash Riley from The Bears won Heat one, with seasoned campaigner Jack France from Midhurst sweeping to victory in Heat two. Fan’s favourite Tim James from Haywards Heath, won Heat four and the Final.
The Sussex stranglehold was broken by Keith Reynolds from Aldershot in Heat three, whilst Bear Paul Pentecost came home first in Heat five.
The last action of the pulsating meeting was the Destruction Derby. Beating young Bear Brandon Osborne into second, Ash Riley once more showed his unquestionable class, as the declared last car running.
Given the amazing variety of international talent on show, it was yet another Sussex driver, George ‘Boris’ Draper, who entertained the crowd, right in the thick of the carnage for most of the meeting.
“It really was an incredible evening’s entertainment from all the drivers” said Bears captain Nigel Riley. “With such a large and generous crowd as well, we are extremely confident we can beat our target of £10,000 for Rockinghorse.”
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