The National Saloon Stock Cars returned to the Ipswich Spedeweekend after a 27-year absence and contested the Golden Helmet – last raced for back in 1998. That year it was Steve Santry who came through to win.
The winner when the Saloon Stock Cars last raced at Spedeweekend back in 1992 was Darren Atkins.
This year though, it was Northern Ireland’s Matthew Stirling who came through to win – spinning British Champion Andrew ‘Diggy’ Smith for the race lead at around the half-way stage. Michael Allard was second after getting the better of Smith with a last-bend lunge on the last lap.
Joe Parker led the field away with a big coming together on the exit of turn four involving Aaron Totham and Scott Greenslade amongst others, which brought the race to a halt at the end of the first lap.
Tommy Barnes took the lead when the race resumed as Joey Palmer lunged at Parker, spinning him out.
Bradley Compton-Sage attacked race leader Barnes as they went into turn three but wasn’t able to make sufficient enough contact with the rear of Barnes’ car.
Meanwhile, Tam Rutherford attacked George Morphey causing both drivers to retire from the race.
Stirling managed to overtake Barnes to grab the race lead demoting him to second. Allard then came in with the bumper as they went into turn three, pushing both Barnes and Deane Mayes out wide to take second place.
Barnes then fell further down the order on the next lap when Smith pushed him out wide to take third.
The race was halted once more for debris on the racing line on the back straight. This closed up all the gaps that had been built up, none more so than for Stirling himself.
When the race restarted, Smith made his move pushing Allard out wide as they went into turn three to grab second place.
Barnes then went in with the bumper on turn one pushing Allard out wide to take third as Northern Irishman Ryan Wright was shoved into the armco hard on turn three.
Smith then laid the bumper in on Stirling on turn three to take the race lead, but Stirling re-paid the favour the next time around. Fortunately for Smith though, he managed to keep his foot in and retain the lead of the race only for Stirling to spin him out just under the start line.
Smith manged to re-join just behind Barnes and spun him on turn two dropping him to fourth as Smith managed to take second.
Lying in wake for Smith though was Allard who waited until the very last corner to put the bumper in, taking second at the last possible opportunity so Smith couldn’t repay the favour.
Mayes came through to finish fourth with Compton-Sage fifth and Ian McLaughin sixth.
Seventh was Daniel Parker with Barnes eighth, ninth was Charlie Lobb with Barry Russell rounding out the top-10.
Congratulations to Matthew Stirling on a well-deserved win after some great stock car driving.
By Jordan Hollands.