Arena Essex Firecracker XXV 2016

Chaps and Chapettes!

Every year people tell me that the Firecracker event at Arena Essex is one of the best banger of the year. I’ve meaning to go for the past few years but for one reason or the other had never made it down, however, with a rare weekend off of work I decided that this year would be my year!

It was rammed! I used to think King of the Ring was a good turnout for down there but I would say there were the best part of 2000 people there! The crowd went right the way around the track so I didn’t get my usual quite spot out on the far side of the track haha! It was really nice to see people turn out to support grass roots motorsport!

The schedule was a full days racing of Unlimited Bangers, 2ltr Stock Cars and Reliant Robins each of which I will look at in a bit of detail and in the evening there would be a big firework display.

The weather was good for most of the day. It was bright but cold until about 3 when it started to drizzle. Arena in the wet is like an ice rink though so the rain made for some interesting racing, especially for the Robins who almost tipped over when the back stepped out!

Unlimited Bangers

I haven’t been to watch bangers at Arena in years! They totally exceeded my expectations!

A phrase that I’m told is thrown around in bangers a lot is rodders and wreckers. Rodders who build fast cars to race and wreckers who build heavy cars to smash into people and do some damage. This philosophy was certainly present at this meet. There were a couple of really fast cars; a blue Mk3 Toyota Supra springs to mind who in the second race of the day was flying around the track and managed to stay out of all of the big crashes to take the win!  There were a few big heavy hitters for the wreckers as well including this Rolls Royce


(apologies for any on track pictures by the way, I’ve never been able to get decent photos through that catch fence haha!)

And this old Cadillac

The most common car on the grid was the XJ Series Jaguar. They are big enough to take a beating but by the time they are all stripped out they can still get round the track fairly quickly with the 3.4ltr inline 6.


Volvo 940s, Ford Granadas and Mk4 & 5 Ford Cortinas also fell into that kind of midfield role.


The variety in the field made for some great racing and some good crashing! The marshalling for the bangers was amazing too! They were able to read the meet well and flags only ever really came out when there was a driver stuck in a car or following a particularly big hit so they could check everyone was ok, it kept the flow of the racing really good and entertaining! They did a fantastic job!

I’ll definitely be back for some more banger meets next year!

2ltr Stock Cars

I’ve briefly touched on these in my article about Oval Formulas at Autosport Show which can be found here:

Not really a lot has changed from my perspective haha! I don’t know a lot about them and I think they are beautifully prepared.

90% of the cars at Firecracker were Ford Sierras and Sierra Sapphires with, obviously, 2ltr Ford engines and an intricate tubed chassis.


They just look so cool inside!


They were fun to watch and provided some good wheel to wheel racing! I’d imagine they are so much fun to race though, nose to tail and door on door all the way around! There’s some serious serious skill in racing one of these competitively!

There is a company that will prepare a Sierra for you for £2800 which is pretty good considering the amount of fabrication involved. They had an advert in the programme but I’m struggling to find it! If I do I will edit their name in here!

Reliant Robins

Ah the Reliant Robin, the 3 wheeled gem of the north. 750-850cc, rear wheel drive with one steered wheel at the front these things would roll over in a breeze on the road so it took a real group of mad men to decide to race them haha!

They were great fun! In the dry they just flew round door to door and as soon as two touched they would be wobbling all over the place haha! Later in the day when it started raining and the track started to get slippery they were almost drifting though the corners! It was an amazing display of car control by the drivers wh were able to keep these things sideways and upright!

They were the highlight of the day for me! One car in particular stood out as a highlight too… This:


If Mad Max had a Reliant!

It kept out of trouble during its races but I would imagine in an impact that custom metal body would hold up better than the fibreglass factory shells. It jut looks funny 😛 The sticker on the roof to say it past tech inspection made it for me. A quality little car!

I need one!

All in all it was a really really fun day out. I most certainly want to get involved in more oval racing next year and will do my best to support Arena outside of drifting too! It’s just so much fun! If you live in south Essex there really is no excuse not to go as it’s easy to get to and a cheap days fun for the family

Thanks for reading and as always be sure to follow me on Twittube and Faceagram!

Twitter: @Garage_RFrancis
Instagram: @motorsport4mentalhealth

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