F1 & F2 European Championship 2022 at Dentona Speedway

1/12th Oval

4 Championships up fpr grabs, but Who's taking home the red and yellow chequers?........... 

 

 

 On Saturday the 22nd of January, 49 drivers headed north in pursuit of the European championship title
for 2022. There could only be one winner though! Current holder of the title Robert Teuke 14 from
Rugby was only available for the Sunday qualifying therefore making it an extremely difficult task to
qualify from the word go!
The format, over the course of the weekend was 6 qualifying rounds. 3 on the Saturday, 3 on the
Sunday. Your best 3 lap scores counted towards the cut off point in which the top 16 drivers qualified
for 1 of the 2 semi finals. The top 4 from each semi final would qualify for the European final, along
with the winner of the last chance race. This gave us a 9 car grid for the big one!
60 heats were jammed packed into the weekend’s racing alongside the F2 stockcars who were also
competing in there European championship for 2022. A fantastic number of cars from all over the
country made for a brilliant weekend.
Prior to the meeting, a practice time slot was available for drivers to get their wheels in motion and try
to get used to the track. A bumpy service made racing a challenge for many drivers, with springs
jumping around in the pit area left right and centre to try and get the best set up for the track.
Racing got underway just before 6pm on the Saturday evening with the F1’s kicking things off with
their first round of heats. The racing was electric from the start with bumpers flying in from the first
buzzer .. No surprises there!
Not too many real shocks during the opening night of racing. Rugby’s Ben Harding 471 and Alfie Jones
629 along with Hathern’s Noah Bailey 117 were all down the order after 3 sets of heats. All top drivers
on there day, knowing full well that they all needed to try and step it up for the morning. The overall
night leader after 3 rounds was current world champion Brandon Eccles 531, followed closely behind
by Anthony Wyper 30 and David Smith 54. It was an Urmston lockout overnight as 1st to 6th place was
all covered by Urmston drivers while Rugby’s Matthew Bennett 413 and Richard Harding 291 were
sneaking up the rear.
Day two and racing was back in full swing as early as 10am .. Maybe a little too early for some as
quoted by Allan Inness 13 “I was the last out the bar last night!”. Good to see some had a fun night
either way! 30 more heats soon flown by mid-day with a 30 minute break in between to work out the
semi final grids. It was Anthony Wyper 30 who set the bar high before the semi finals by qualifying
pole overall after 6 sets of heats each.
Current holder of the European championship Robert Teuke 14 unfortunately just missed out on the
qualification spot after a couple of difficult heats therefore meaning that there will be a new European
champion for 2022. Who was going to grab themselves a trophy to take home for the cabinet? All to
play for as we headed into the semi finals.

Semi final 1 was quite a tense affair with drivers trying to get the better of one another, with no real
opportunity for mistakes to be made with so much up for stake. Ben Harding attempted to throw some
early punches with a couple of hits to his nearest rivals, unfortunately for him not really paying off as
planned. His brother Rich however managed to sneak through cleanly and was able to grab himself 4th
spot ahead of Scotland’s Gary Riddell crossing the line just a second behind Rich with the same
number of laps. James Ecccles, Matt Bennett and eventual winner Anthony Wyper managed to pull clear early on and
sustained their race pace throughout. Sadly, it was not to be for Seb, Ben, Max or Gary meaning that
they will take their place in the last chance race.

Semi final 2 was very much a different story to what semi final 1 was… And that might have well been
due to myself doing what I do best .. Making my presence felt!
Knowing full well my car wasn’t handling how I would have liked it to have been, I knew I had to do
something to try and upset the flow.. From the first buzzer I made sure that everyone in that semi final
knew I was in it. Bumpers flying in left, bumpers flying in right, some bumpers even flying straight out
the track and into the crowd that was eagerly watching!
The fact that I got half way through the race and had seven drivers dare pass me, knowing full well
what was heading their way .. I think my job was done! Safe to say, I certainly had good fun in that semi
final .. Even though I ended up stone dead last. Respect to Brandon, Graham, Steve and Paul who came
up after the race and had a laugh and a joke with me afterwards. That’s what stockcar racing is all
about, hard hitting, rivals on track, friends off it.
As for the rest of the results, it was Graham Eccles 530 who managed to pull away from the chasing
pack, beating runner up Steve Curley 189 by two laps ahead of Brandon Eccles 1 and Alfie Jones 629
both one lap further behind.
David Smith 54, Gordon Mutch 226, Paul Jenkinson 901 and Stuart Clarke 150 all headed for the last
chance race.

Last chance saloon for these 8 drivers certainly made it a close call knowing full well only the winner
would progress to the European final. Bumpers once again were flying in early on as you’d expect in
these circumstances. The race began to settle down half way through once the initial nervous opening
couple of minutes had cooled down a little.
It was however Paul Jenkinson 901 who managed to just about hold on for the win ahead of Scotland’s
Gary Riddell 600 and David Smith 54. A second was all that it was between 1st place .. And the end of
the road! Stockcar racing at it’s finest. Congratulations to Paul, who managed to complete the final line
up and starts the main race at the back of the 9 car grid.

9 eagerly young juniors took centre stage for their big race of the weekend, the Junior European final
for 2022. I bet not too many of these names have even been racing long enough to compete in a
European championship, yet alone winning one! So it was very much all to play for as the lights went
green for the main race.
Carnage!!! That’s all you could say to describe the opening couple of minutes with drivers crashing into
each other as they tried to make their way through the pack and challenge for the lead. It was an early
break for Noah Bailey 117 and Seb Taylor 426 who managed to sneak through the mess and gain those
precious laps as the race began to take shape.
Noah began to extend his lead the longer the race went on, with Sebastian running into trouble every
now and then which made the task a much trickier challenge now. Lennon Cuthill 71 was quietly
making his way through the carnage and was within touching distance of the top two.
However, the talent of Noah Bailey very much began to show as the race reached it’s conclusion. The
buzzer goes off and the chequered flag comes out for the new Junior European champion for 2022. A
fantastic achievement for a young star who certainly has a bright future ahead of him.
Second place went to Sebastian Taylor, with Lennon Cuthill rounding out the podium positions.
A big big well done to every single junior who raced over the weekend. I’m sure each and everyone of
them went home with a smile on their faces after a long weekend of racing. These are the kids you’ve
got to watch out for in the near future.. Maybe a future champion in the making?

2 days of racing, 60 heats, 2 semi finals, 1 last chance race … Finally, it was time for the main event of
the day .. The European Championship for 2022.


Gentleman, start your engines!!!


It was green, green, green and the handbrake was off as the cars roared into turn one all guns blazing
as the front runners tried to make the break from the chasing pack that was hunting them down.
Matt Bennett 413 managed to make the early get away with a small lead over Anthony Wyper 30 and
the Eccles family as the pace began to quicken lap by lap. Youngster Alfie Jones 629 was very much
holding his own against an extremely tough line up, all with bags of experience in comparison to the
early pace setters.
Rich Harding 291 and Paul Jenkinson 901 began to drop back slightly as the race reached it’s half way
point, with Matt Bennett still leading the way with only a few minutes remaining. Steve Curley 189 and
James Eccles 532 were very much attempting to keep within a close distance of the front three while
going under the radar, but with the pace being as fast as it has been all weekend, this was a challenge
which was becoming a real battle.
With only a few minutes remaining, disaster struck for Matt Bennett 413 as he caught a car mid
straight and flipped onto the infield where he was stuck on the corner for what felt like forever in
stockcar racing. He managed to get pushed onto the infield where he was able to re join the track on his
own accord. This however was the turning point in the race as into the lead stormed Urmston’s
Anthony Wyper.
Minutes soon turned to seconds as the time remaining slowly reached 0 and the buzzer at race control
sounded for the final time. The results were hidden on the big screen so drivers and spectators were
clueless as to who has become the champion.
You could feel the tension in the air as the results were finally read out during the presentation. The
costly mis-fortune of Matt Bennett’s trip to the infield seemed to be all that it took for him to miss out
on the title sadly for him. It was eventually Anthony Wyper who sneaked past Matt and became the
new European Champion not only for 2022, but a third time in his racing career. An absolutely brilliant
achievement to have on his CV… As Toe said, “It sounds better than an in second place”.
Graham Eccles rounded off the podium with a brilliant finish ahead of son’s Brandon and James,
Urmston’s Steve Curley, Rughy’s Alfie Jones, Paul Jenkinson and Rich Harding.

Review from Sam Jacklin
Well what a weekend, with it being mine and the tracks first national I wasn't sure how it was going to
go.
Huge thank you to Emma Parker and Allan Inness for running the PC and keeping everyone on track.
Thank you to Adam Gilbertson and Chris Taylor for keeping everyone legal.
We started with 49. We worked it down to 9 to make a great final line up. Each one of them 9 drivers
could have won it.
The racing was hard and extremely fast but massive well done the Mr 2nd who can enjoy his time as
the euro champ once again Anthony Wyper.
Matthew Bennett gave him such a race but a costly trip to the infield meant that toe just did enough.
Massive well done to Noah Bailey who took the glory in the juniors. That in itself was a hard race and a
well deserved champion once again.

 

Interviews
1st place in the Junior European final – 117 Noah Bailey (Hathern)
Stuart: Noah Bailey, 1/12th F1 Junior European champion for 2022 … How does that sound?
Noah: The same as it sounded in 2020. Awesome!!
Stuart: Tell us a little about how the race itself went?
Noah: The race was okay. I just dodged the crashes haha.
Stuart: You just missed out on the semi final qualification for the overall European championship by a couple of laps. Some really tough competition to deal with though. Were you a little disappointed not to make the cut?
Noah: Yes, of course.
Stuart: Nevertheless, you certainly made up for that narrow miss in the F1’s by not only winning
the F1 Junior European, you also won the F2 Junior European AND the overall European championship
in the F2’s. That is amazing for someone as young as you! 13 years of age and already mixing it with
the best in the business!! I bet you were over the moon with the weekend’s results! How did you
celebrate?
Noah: I was really happy with my results. Back in 2020 when I won the junior F2 European I really wanted to get matching stripes on my cars. So I really tried and went onto win the F1 junior European
too.
This time I just wanted to enjoy the day .. So no pressure. It was awesome to defend and keep my
matching stripes. Going on to win the F2 European was brilliant, I was really happy. After a two hour
drive home I celebrated with a big fat cheeseburger with chips, a hot bath and an early night.
I also spoke with Noah’s mum Emma later on after the event.
Stuart: Emma, your son has managed to win 3 titles in 1 weekend! Not many people can say that. You
must be very proud of him. How do you feel?
Emma: Well, what can I say. He’s just a little superstar. We always tell him “do your best, enjoy your
racing and have fun” and he always does. If you watch him race, he’s always smiling, usually talking or
laughing. And he genuinely loves his racing. He makes me and his dad very proud. He’s achieved a lot in
his short career as an F2 driver. We’re all looking forward to seeing what else he can achieve this year
and in the future.

 

Interviews
3rd place in the European final – 530 Graham Eccles (Urmston)
Stuart: 3rd place in the European Championship for 2022, how do you feel?
Graham: Tired! Looking down the list of drivers entered showed that the competition for positions in the Euro Final race would be very tough. So, I am pleased to have made it and got a rostrum finish but disappointed with my car setup in the final. Would really have liked to be able to take the challenge to Toe and Matt but I had to make a tyre change and it just wasn’t the same as it had been in the semi race. Awesome to be part of a great weekend of racing and meet up with people I haven’t seen for some time.
Stuart: Team Eccles all managed to make the European final after tough semi finals to deal with. I bet it felt good to get one over both of your sons! How is the mood in the Eccles camp?
Graham: Before lockdown the competition between us was intense and we have a whiteboard in the
garage where we keep a record of wins along with an appropriate level of banter. We haven’t raced
much this last 22 months, but the rivalry is still there don’t worry. So, on this occasion I came out on
top but admit Brandon wasn’t his usual best due to some new car niggles and James got very unlucky
in the final when he was placed just behind Toe and Matt but lost time when his car was on its roof for
a while. For us all to make the final takes some doing, and we are all happy with that but if one of us
had won then I think the mood would be ever so different!
Stuart: What are your opinions on how the meeting was run?
Graham: A joint F1 / F2 meeting with circa 80 cars and 10 heats per round is always going to be a
challenge to get through smoothly, but Rob and Sam did a cracking job. Track in one room, pits in
another and clear communication to drivers to take their car to scrutineering in advance worked very
well. Personally, was glad of just over an hour per round of heats as we were running 4 cars. Must be
mad and probably the last time we do that.
Stuart: What’s next for team Eccles?

Graham: Lockdown took away something we all enjoyed doing, but gave us the time for other things
which we have enjoyed. There was a point where I didn’t even want to look at the cars and had lost
interest. But we have done a few meetings now and have enjoyed them so will hopefully do some more
national and club racing.
Brandon has his world and British titles to defence, me the national series and I know James is waiting
to pounce and snatch them from us. So, we will be around for a while longer and see where the
appetite for racing takes us next. I might have been the oldest in the Euro final race, but don’t worry I
am not retiring just yet.
Also have some great ideas and plans for ISTOX (www.istox.co.uk) with the parts, spares and cars we
supply to many racers.

Interviews
2nd place in the European final – 413 Matthew Bennett (Rugby)
Stuart: 2nd place in the European Championship for 2022 .. How do you feel your weekend went?
Matthew: Obviously I would rather have won than finished second but before the meeting I  wasn’t even sure the car would pass scrutineering as it is so old and bent, so happy to still be in the mix with so many quick drivers racing.
Stuart: How did you feel the European Championship race itself went for you? You were very much on the pace all weekend.
Matthew: I had sneaked into the lead but got beached on the infield after a couple of minutes and lost a lap. That’s stockcar racing.
Stuart: How did you feel the event was run? Thiswas the first time that Dentona Raceway held an F1 championship (not forgetting the F2’s either) with over 70 drivers booked in. An extremely busy weekend of racing for all involved.
Matthew: I thought it was ran brilliantly, with so many cars it needed to run like clockwork, and it did.
Stuart: Event number one of the year is now done and dusted. What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
Matthew: It will be a combination of 1/8th and 1/12th meetings as time allows.

Interviews
1st place in the European final – 30 Anthony Wyper (Urmston)


Stuart: Anthony Wyper, 2022 European champion .. How does that sound?
Anthony: Well, it sounds better than ‘and in 2nd place” …

Stuart: Tell us a little bit about the European race itself? It looked like you were under threat all race from some real tough competition.
Anthony: It was definitely one of the toughest races I’ve been in. Racing against the best the section has to offer .. From current world champions to former world champions .. I think we all found it a tough race.
Stuart: This is the third time now that you have become European champion. Does this victory feel as sweet as the previous two?
Anthony: Sweeter. I had actually sold up a few years ago due to personal reasons at home. I wasn’t
going to return until Billy and Michael Clague convinced me to come back racing. I forgot how much it
costs to get going again. New car, handset, charger etc. But it wasn’t the racing I missed the most, it was
meeting up with a great bunch of people, having a laugh, catching up on old times.
Stuart: What’s next for the European champion?
Anthony: Well, it’s known that the gold roof is the only championship I haven’t won and that is where I
get the name Mr 2nd place so that’s the aim.
Stuart: Well done again on the win. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Anthony: I have to give a big shout out to Rob and Sam Jacklin and the rest of the Dentona team for
putting on a great event. This is the first event for this new club and I’m sure it’s agreed we all had a
good time. My driver of the weekend has to be little Zella Harding in the Pepper Pig car. She’s only been
racing a month and she’s able to get it around the track at a major championship meeting and also
managing to put me in the fence. Hats off to her! (I think Uncle Ben told her to do that). Well done.

On a personal note, I’d like to say a big thankyou to everyone involved in Dentona Raceway for a
fantastic weekend of racing. It was a brilliant occasion and it was lovely to see so many faces
supporting the section after a difficult couple of years due to Covid 19. Thankyou also to everyone who
has allowed me to use a photo of there’s in this report. It’s much appreciated.
Meeting report by Stuart Clarke.