Night of chaos blows title race wide open

Rob Haines (left)
Rob Haines (left)

Just when you think motorsport has become predictable, you get a night like last Wednesday at Arlington Raceway.

Round six of the South Coast Hydraulics League was expected to be a walk in the park for those currently top of the table, but that is not quite how things worked out. With representatives from the league’s sponsor in the building, it was clear that some of the lesser drivers were out to impress. In doing so, the championship was blown wide open again.

Darren Terry from Hailsham’s Dreamers was the most consistent on the night, with three third place finishes that cemented his position at the top of the league.

The first race of the evening was not for the faint hearted. Thirty five cars started on the grid, which around the tight bends of ‘The Old Lady’ can only mean one thing: chaos.

Before the first lap had been completed, over ten cars were involved in a melee in front of the pit gate. The league leaders were able to carefully pick their way through, but not for the first time this season, the racing became a matter of attrition.

Haines stormed home first to take the win, with Terry and Rob Barnes (Seasiders) crossing in third and fourth respectively.

Coming from the back of the grid as is traditional for those at the top of the league, Terry and Haines found things a little harder in the second race. Terry finished third, with Haines just inches behind in fourth. Barnes was back in sixth.

With double points to race for as always in the final, the pressure was on from the green flag. Haines got the jump on Terry, as they did their best to avoid the carnage around the oval raceway.

While they played a game of cat and mouse, visiting driver James Vockins from Worthing snuck through for the win.Haines stormed home for second position and Terry crossed in third.

The happiest guys in the raceway by far, though, were from South Coast Hydraulics - the league’s new sponsors.

After these results, Terry leads Haines by just seven points. Barnes is in third on 86 points, while Mark Pope remains in fourth place with 74 points.