I had the opportunity to pop up to Arena Essex for a couple of hours on the afternoon of bank holiday Monday to watch some oval racing. It was the perfect day to go as the classes of cars booked in for the days events really weren’t the sorts of things I would often talk about on this blog. It made a nice change!
Headlining the day were the micro bangers. Micro bangers are a great way of getting into the banger racing scene as the cars used have to have a maximum engine size of 1.4 litres and there are literally hundreds of thousands of small sub 1.4 cheap cars scattered across the UK.
The most common car on the field was the K11 Nissan Micra. A robust, reliable little car on the road of which millions were made. It makes sense that they are so prevalent in this class of racing.
The Ford KA was also a popular choice. If you’ve ever wondered what a Ford KA looked like with it’s back end pushed up here you go!
Car preparation didn’t seem overly extreme in comparison to the ‘unlimited’ class bangers I’ve covered before. The drivers doors are reinforced and smaller squares of metal bridge the gaps between the doors and the frame of the car permanently holding them closed.
Inside the cars are of course completely stripped. The roll cage is a fairly simple structure that protects the area around the ‘b’ pillar and the centre of the roof from caving in on the driver. These cages fascinate me as they are so different from what we see in other types of racing where the cage protects the whole of the passenger compartment. I suppose it means under heavy impact the car can crumple and take the brunt of the impact whereas a more traditional cage will try to limit that crumpling as much as possible.
In terms of drive train and suspension they are totally standard cars. That means this Formula produces some close, fun racing to watch between similar cars and is a fairly affordable formula if you want to go banger racing.
Of course there were other Formulas in support to allow the bangers time to repair their cars. Here we have a chap with a very technical and precise tool to realign the body work on this Ford KA.
The first of these support Formulas were 2 litre Lightning Rods. These are a little more akin to what you will be used to seeing in this blog.
The cars used in the Lightning Rod class are Ford Sierras and BMW E36s with Ford’s 2.0 Pinto or 2.0 Zetec lump fitted. The Sierra was most definitely the more popular car.
Yes, the negative camber on the left hand wheels is on purpose.
Although the cars are very similar the rule book is a little bit more open to head work on these engines than in the other Formula’s ran today. They are a quick quick class and remind me a lot of historic NASCAR when the cars were actually based on a production vehicle.
The other two supporting classes were both junior classes. The first of which is the Ninja Karts. These are for drivers aged 6-11 and are based on a MSA go-kart chassis.
They are AMAZING to watch!! They run in a anti-clockwise direction and because the cars are so small the track looks massive so they can really let the karts get up to speed!
We need to make a grown up version of these like now please.
The final supporting class was ministox. Again this is another junior heat and is for kids aged 11-15.
I love the idea! sub 1 litre full contact stock cars for kids to learn their craft in and make their way up the 1.3s, 2 litre and even purpose built BriSCA purpose built machines.
Where on earth do you find cheap Mini shells to build into stock cars though? I know millions were built but they have become so collectable and seem to be fetching ridiculous money!
Still, it’s always nice to see Minis racing. I always enjoy seeing them be that in a circuit race, on a oval or rallying. I think they make superb little road cars as well. One is most certainly on my hit list of cars to own.
All in all it was a fun afternoon’s worth of racing. It’s nice to be able to cover some stuff that is a little bit different too! If you would like to see more of these posts make sure to follow this blog or follow me on the following social media platforms