Nottingham – Mick Wyld Memorial

Two weeks after my last visit, it was another trip up to Nottingham Autograss Club. This time round the meeting was host to Round 1 of the Stock Hatch Tour Series and also the club’s annual Mick Wyld memorial race.

With all of last weekend’s meetings cancelled and only Nottingham and Scunthorpe running this Sunday, it was again a busy meeting with over 160 drivers in attendance. Despite the weather having caused all the cancellations over the past month, Nottingham has appeared to be unaffected with both their scheduled meetings having taken place. Another sunny meeting, with the water tank making a frequent appearance to keep the dust at bay.

We saw the first round of the 2017 Stock Hatch series take place this Sunday. This was the most attended round in the tour’s history with 20 drivers signed on. The final was a close three way fight, but it was Paul Harrington (SL90) who was to complete the meeting unbeaten ahead of York’s duo of Cliffy Baxter (Y109) and Ryan Baxter (Y67). There were only 2 ladies taking part and unfortunately it was only the local TJ Wortley (N77) who was able to complete the final.

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The Mick Wyld Memorial is contested every year, and it is the winner of the champion of champion’s race that takes this title, this is each of the A final winners. This year it was Clare Horner (M62) in her class 8 who worked her way through the field to take the victory, showing the boys how it’s done.

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One of the closest classes of the day was the Class 3 boys, with a four car contention in each of the races. In the final we saw the possibility for each of the four drivers to take the final victory. With positions being swapped numerous times over the laps it was Phil Thompson (Y51) who took the win ahead of Martin Beaney (IK316) and the two Radford boys of Lee Wakefield (R388) and Mick Sumners (R169).

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With an ever growing field, Class 8 is one of the strongest classes across the country. This time out we saw the reigning UKAC champion, Alex Hall (R411), and Nottingham Chairman, Simon Reeve (N8), go head to head in the final. A battle which saw the lead change more than once throughout the race, resulted in Alex taking the win ahead of Simon, but not far behind was Dave Palmer (ARC4) in third place. This promises for an exciting class to watch over the course of the 5 round of the UK Autograss Championships. 

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With unexpected numbers the Nottingham team pulled off another great meeting. I look forward to going back again sometime later this season.

Once again a big thank you to Ted Shillitto for the use of the photographs. Please take a look at the album of this meeting on the Nottingham Autograss Facebook page as there are plenty of great snaps which made it very difficult for me to choose the ones to use.

The next stop for me is this weekend at Brands Hatch for the first round of the British Touring Cars. Tarmac softie time.

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Nottingham 12/3/17

Here we are again, and about time too some might say. After two weekends of meetings being cancelled due to the extremely wet weather that has been experienced across the country, the 2017 Autograss season finally got underway at Nottingham Autograss Club. Despite the weather that has prevented the season’s start, the track conditions were superb, with the water cart even making a regular appearance throughout the meeting to keep the dust at bay. Who would have thought it! This meant for close racing from the start.

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With this being the first opportunity for anyone to test their cars, as the Scunny Shakedown was cancelled twice, it was a very busy meeting with 161 drivers signed on. Not only were there plenty of drivers but spectator land was also full of people who had made the journey to get the first glimpses of the cars we have all seen pictures of. With plenty of switches of class and a number of new cars, it was set to be an interesting day.

The first win of the season went to the class 1 driver, Simon Hawthorn (R76). This stands him in good stead as last year it was Nottingham driver Mat Howard who took this crown and went on to win his club championship. We hope to see Simon making this same feat in 2017.

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One of the big talking points since the Autosport International Show was Andy Holtby’s (SC61) new class 7 which was on display on the NASA static stand. Andy always turns out an impressive looking car and one that is always in contention at the front of the pack, proving this with 3 National titles over the last 4 years, including the 2016 title. So, myself along with the rest of sport, were waiting in anticipation to see how the 2017 car would perform. Over the course of the day there was no denying the speed of Andy and the car, the only problem was that in all 3 races he was last out of the starting blocks and was playing catch up. Personally I reckon if he can get the starts, then we could very well be seeing Andy taking his fourth title in August.

However, he looks to have some very strong competition, and this is just from the handful of cars that were at Sunday’s meeting. The stand out driver and car combination over the day was the most decorated man in our sport, Phil Cooper (ARC5), returning to the class with a Mini Pick-Up. Taking both heat wins, with no real challenge, and finished first on track in the final, again with no real threat, however collecting a green flag along the way. Phil is always one to watch, no matter what car or class he is driving, but the battle between Phil and Andy will definitely be something to watch out for, especially come the beginning of August at the Men’s National Championships.

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The closest races throughout the day came from the class 6 boys. In each of the races there was a number of position changes, and also a number of drivers that stood out, including: this was a Lloyd Elliot (N200), Brad Ellison (Y1), Ben Gadsby (P7EM), Jorden Hampson (P70EM), Jordan Spavins (SN451) and Dave Gilder (R61), to name just a few. What Sunday showed us with this class is that the competition is growing ever stronger and that the 2017 titles will be wide open for the taking.

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One of the closest finals of the day was the class 8 A final. Going into the final Simon Reeve (N8), the Nottingham chairman, would have been a firm favourite, having won his two heats convincingly, with no one seeming to match his pace. Although come the final, he did have some close competition from Mitch Wells (IK356). Mitch had improved over the course of the two heats and when it came to final it was clear he would be a contender for the win. Hot on Simon’s heels from the start, it was a close battle between the two, with the positions switching over the laps, but it was Mitch who battled past in the end to take the victory.

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Well done to the Nottingham Team who put on a smooth running meeting, a great way to kick off the 2017 season. Hopefully we will be back at some point over the year.

Thank you to Ted Shillitto for the use of his photos. For more of Ted’s images check out the Nottingham Autograss Facebook page, where there is an album full from Sunday’s meeting.

At the moment the next meeting I will be attending will be Round 1 of the British Touring Cars at Brands Hatch at the beginning of April. But who knows what can happen in the meantime.