In a high stakes game with drivers going all out, two racers squared off both on and off the track at the Heroes of Speed Meet, held at Dover Raceway, St Ann, on Monday. Doug 'Hollywood' Gore and Kyle 'Speedy' Gregg nearly came to blows, with security having to step in at the end of race 1 of the Thundersport 2 category.
The race was well set up. Gore had managed to unleash more power from the belly of the Audi DTM.
Gregg was working his car so hard in practice that he broke an axle, but was lucky to fly in a new part by Sunday night and set up just hours before the meet.
'King' David Summerbell was all set with new brakes, new suspension and a dash of salt and pepper in his Evolution VIII. Peter Rae had the Mazda RX 7 cackling and wailing like never before.
When starter Lloyd 'Dale' Brooks dropped the green flag, the roar of the crowd was drowned out by a crescendo from the well prepped cars, swallowing the atmosphere and even the bugs in front of them, belching fire and burning all the real estate beneath their tyres. "By the time we came up the brow and got the green flag we hit the gas and the wheels just started to spin. That made Kyle get the jump on us," recalled Gore.
The cars of Summerbell, Gore, Gregg and Rae formed a perfect diamond, with Summerbell out front like a bullet. Gore and Gregg were battling it out, the older man muscling his way through and the Young Turk having a lot to say about it.
"I went down and Doug came up beside me on the inside, forced his way through and when he came on the inside, he kinda clipped me over into the right, the same thing he did to David in the last meet." Gregg said in a post-race interview.
Gore confirmed the story, offering that any contact was unintentional.
"Half-way down the track, Kyle started to come over. I was looking at the wall and saying, 'Do I abort the start?' I basically held it and, coming down to the first corner at the end of the braking zone, the two cars touched slightly," Gore reported.
The pre-race drizzle turned to a shower as Gore was now in his element. Summerbell dropped out at corner 3 with braking problems, gifting Gore the lead, with Speedy Gregg seething in second. Rae was nursing worn tyres back in third.
Things came to boil after the race as Gregg complained that Gore's tactics were "totally uncalled for dirty driving". He was not in a mood to listen to any explanation. "We got into a huge argument after the race, a very heated one" Gregg said. The police intervened to prevent the two from coming to blows.
Gore tried hard to explain himself, but tempers flared. "I said to him that I didn't do it on purpose," Gore said, explaining that things escalated.
By Friday, tempers had cooled, with Gore holding out the hand of friendship in the face of a protest lodged by the Gregg camp. "I wrote back an apology to his Dad, saying that a lot of things that were said should not have been said and that we all should just get along since we are racing side by side in very high-powered vehicles," Gore offered.
Whatever happens, it will not stop Gore from being crowned Thundersport 2 Champion for 2016. He copped two wins and a third place on the day, which was enough to place him at the top of the heap with 108 points. "Winning the Thundersport Championship was a lot nicer for me. It is no more a two-car battle; there are now three cars that can win at any time on any given day. It was very nice to pull out that win, especially taking two out of three," Gore said.
Fraser 'Frazz' McConnell ducked out of classes at boarding school in Canada to secure the overall drivers' championship with 124 points. The 2015 champion swept his rivals with a hat-trick of class victories, securing him the 2016 Dover Circuit Racing Championship. This means Frazz has created history beyond his young years by becoming the first back-to-back driving champion at Dover.
"Last year it felt ecstatic, especially since we weren't expected to win, and coming back this year with a completely new car and everything and to win again we just can't describe the feeling," an overjoyed McConnell said.
He came into the meet knowing that there was little to no room for error. McConnell said he had every race planned and managed to qualify on pole to give him a shot at maximum points for the day.
As expected, the 'Young Guns' of Fraser McConnell, Nicholas Barnes and William Myers put on a strong show. Barnes and Myers won the Modified Production 1 and 2 categories respectively.
The championship results for the 2016 racing series are:
Motorcycle Class A - Kyle Reynolds (108 points)
Motorcycle Class B - Mario Woon (81 points)
Bracket 45N - Cory Walters (48 points)
Bracket 45T - Patrick Patterson (52 points)
Bracket 39 - Cecil Munroe (42 points)
Bracket 35 - Brian Shor (116 points)
Bracket 29 - Fraser McConnell (124 points)
Improved Prod. - Gary Barrett (74 points)
Modified Prod. Class1 - Nicholas Barnes (92 points)
Modified Prod.Class 2 - William Myers (82 points)
Thundersport Class 1 - Joslyn Crawford (14 points)
Thundersport Class 2 - Doug Gore (108 points)
Series Driver Champion - Fraser McConnell (124 points)
Series Rider Champion - Kyle Reynolds (108 points)