Stock Cars: a raft of Arlington drivers at the World Final in Ipswich

Steve Anscombe of Hailsham made it on to the Final grid by winning the Last Chance Qualifier
Steve Anscombe of Hailsham made it on to the Final grid by winning the Last Chance Qualifier

With a whole raft of top Arlington drivers making the long drive up to Ipswich for the inaugural Spedeworth World Final last Saturday night, a lot was expected including a potential champion.

Despite being some of this country’s top drivers in the domestic bangers, weather and track conditions on the night, coupled with the antics of drivers from the Norfolk/Suffolk area conspired to ultimately defeat our lads when it came to the Final race.

Things had begun well for the Sussex drivers when Steve Anscombe qualified for the main race, by winning the first Last Chance Qualifier. Despite being spun out, using all of his years of experience, he re-joined the race and fought back to the front to take the win.

The second Last Chance Qualifier on the night, saw Arlington new boy and former karting star, Craig Hook just miss out on a place on the Final grid, when he came home a very credible second.

By the time of the big race, conditions were pretty awful. Rain for the most of the afternoon and early evening, meant the track surface was incredibly greasy.

Arlington’s top drivers including Mark Pope, Rob Haines, Harry Balchin, Mark Almeida, James Vockins and the new track champion Darren Terry, were joined on the grid by Anscombe.

Fifty-five cars started the race, but it became apparent very soon that things were going to be difficult for our drivers. Imagine Bambi wearing roller skates, going across a pool of marbles, and then you are able to visualise how our drivers felt. Arlington Champion Terry slid off on the first lap, with Haines and Vockins only fairing a little better. Pope, Balchin and Anscombe were holding their heads as others spun and slid all over the track.

With just a few laps remaining, Pope was looking good at the front, but then he got caught by a back marker taking him out of contention. He rejoined the race and did well to finish third. Anscombe ended a great night for him, finishing fourth. Rob Barnes recovered from a poor showing by his standards in the final, to come out and win the All-comers race.

Whilst another Arlington stalwart, Jack Strudwick from The Animals team was the last car running, at the end of a ferocious Destruction Derby.

Haines will be hoping for better luck on his next return to the Ipswich stadium, as he goes to win the one track championship that has eluded him to date.