With time rapidly running out in this year’s Arlington competition, Round 10 of the South Coast Hydraulics Banger League was a feisty affair, that saw Rob Haines remain on top but with a slender lead.
Things began embarrassingly for Haines in Heat 1, when a wheel inexplicably came off his car on the pace lap. Out of the race an opportunity beckoned for the chasing pack.
Mark Pope was looking good for the win, only to be caught by a back-marker forcing his retirement. Seizing his chance Rob Barnes, romped home for the valuable eight points. Darren Terry back from his outing at Ipswich could only manage fifth.
Current track champion Terry, didn’t have much luck in the next race. Leading with a lap to go, he was forced to retire to the infield. Luckily for him, the other contenders didn’t really capitalise. Pope was third, Haines fourth and Barnes was back in fifth.
With the usual double points at stake in the Final, Terry was keen to make up lost ground. Once again though, his best efforts met with disappointment.
From the outset, the packed grid was posing problems around the tight Arlington oval. A melee on turn two caught at least ten cars, but the top four all took evasive action.
Concern over a driver’s welfare halted the race. From the restart, the quartet was keen to impose themselves at the front. Haines and Terry in particular, were both taking advantage of their greater straight line speed on the straights.
Whilst challenging Haines for the lead on the last lap, Terry clipped a retired car and rolled onto his side. The car did roll back onto its four wheels, allowing him to recover and cross the line back in 8th.
Haines took the win, with Pope immediately behind on his bumper. Barnes capitalised from Terry’s misfortune to pick up third place.
With just the final round to go, Haines with 164 points, leads the league by just four from second placed Pope. Barnes stays in third place on 131, whilst with 114 Terry needs to drive like a man possessed and hope that others make mistakes for him to retain his title.
Top class entertainment is planned this Wednesday, when the National Bangers roar back into Arlington to headline the bill with a night of “Micro Madness”. A full grid of the sport’s biggest names will do battle in Micras and Ford Kas, including the popular Destruction Derby.
Racing starts at 7.30pm, with turnstiles open at 6.30pm.