Lightning Rods ORC World Championship
Mark Mackenzie strolled away with the 2004 ORC Lightning Rod World Championship at Arena Essex on Sunday, June 6. Mackenzie, who came to Lightning Rods after some success in the domestic Group A formula, managed to stay out of the early crashes that shuffled the cars behind him after he managed to gain pole position with a qualifying lap time of 16.9 seconds, then jumped ahead of the rest of the pursuing field to take the main trophy of the day. He was followed by ex-SuperBanger champion Terry Shelvey, with Gary Madgewick and Incarace visitor Lee Parsons behind. Mackenzie's next stop? Well, he promised his children that he would take them to Disneyland if he won...
Mark Mackenzie pulled off maybe his biggest success since moving into the Lightning Rod formula by winning the 2004 ORC Lightning Rod World Championship, held this year at Arena Essex during their June 6 meeting.
He managed to secure pole position following the time trials, one of only three drivers to break 17 seconds, whilst defending champion Diggy Smith joined a larger number of drivers who finished dead on 17 seconds, the whole field ranging inside one second of each other. Ex-saloon driving regular Andy Brown won the first last chance, Lee Morrow the second, both having an easy time getting the last two places on the World Final grid.
Most of the result at the front of the grid was pretty much decided inside the first few laps, Mackenzie jumping away from the rest of the field right at the start, getting him clear of what happened next as Chris Foster and Dale Atkins got caught up on each other, Foster spinning out and Atkins hitting the wall, both in front of Terry Shelvey who managed to keep his car going forward to take second spot, Gary Madgwick securing third place, the order staying pretty much that way through the entire race as the first three cars negotiated the back markers in an ultimately futile attempt to catch up with each other. From there it seemed that most of the interest was behind them with Jack Overy, Diggy Smith and Lee Parsons vying for fourth spot. By half way, Overy had dropped out of the picture, eventually finishing eighth, and Smith would leave the race short of the last four laps. Mackenzie managed to avoid getting into some trouble as he passed Darren Cardy who was then to meet up with Phillip Moore by the Raceway Tavern, Andy Brown just managing to avoid the pile up. Mackenzie, Shelvey and Madgwick were followed home by Incarace regular Lee Parsons, who made full use of his experience with the circuit earlier in the year.
Rick Pannell managed an easy win in the non-qualifiers "B" final ahead of Paul Harris with Atkins making up for a disappointing World Final challenge by nipping third from Colin Murray, then Richard "Stormin'" Norman bullied his way through the field for a win in the meeting "A" final, forcing his way through to the front in a close finish just ahead of Dave "Jumbo" Kingsmill and Lee Morrow, though the officials had their hands full following a crash that saw some major damage for the front end of Mark Collins' car after he met up with Overy, also having to deal with Paul Hawke who refused to acknowledge the black flag until the starter, Sharon Ashworth, jumped onto the circuit during the waved yellow session and literally waved the flag under his nose! Hawke was loaded up as a result. Murray would come back to win the allcomers' race, shortly ahead of Morrow with a close scrap over third between Steven Willis and Madgwick going to 'Pork Pie' Willis at the end by a nose.
With all the attention being given to the Lightning Rods at the June 6 Arena Essex meeting, the National Bangers had to work for their fans. Certainly the first heat was fairly tame as Jason Jackson easily jetted home for the first win of the day, even giving Mark Johns a quick flick on the way to the line. Lee West was likewise an easy winner in the second heat, the real contact not really picking up until the final, Malcolm Fuller leading only six cars to the finish, a noticeable clash between the Colchester based Gladiator faithful and the more southerly Essex Boys dominating the race. Paul Whiteman managed to take advantage of a spin in front of early leader Paul Hunter in the Rawlins 2000 Qualifier to win the last race of the day before Jason McMahon took the last car running award, surviving Mark Bunting and Ian Smith.
|1. Lightning Rods Last chance 1||461 Andy Brown||329||431||122||188||200||501||425||NOCR|
|2. Lightning Rods Last chance 2||240 Lee Morrow||107||195||201||923||118||344||289|
|3. National Bangers Heat 1||331 Jason Jackson||308||322||552||111||242||356||589||336||600|
|4. Lightning Rods ORC World Championship Parade|
|5. Lightning Rods ORC World Championship Final||161 Mark Mackenzie||187||133||81||456||58||53||261||565||152|
|6. National Bangers Heat 2||6 Lee West||183||99||10||171||128||290||395||188||46|
|7. Lightning Rods B Final||239 Richard Pannell||302||288||203||351||305||51||218||336||232|
|8. Lightning Rods A Final||122 Richard Norman||152||240||456||81||425||161||344||188||133|
|9. National Bangers Final||46 Malcolm Fuller||183||171||10||395||508||NOCR|
|10. Lightning Rods Allcomers Race||203 Colin Murray||240||166||133||234||425||456||74||288||161|
|11. National Bangers Rawlins 2000 Qualifier||10 Paul Whiteman||46||183|
Last car: 290 Jason McMahon
|Pictures from Crashnet|
Click on photo to see full size
Also see Matthew Bull's website for more pictures from this meeting!
© 2004 Chris Johnson (Crashnet) / Promotasport Raceways