Stock Rod Split
Originally on Whistlin' Jack Smith 2014
After many happy years the formula has cracked wide open for 2014, in essence the majority of the drivers are still racing for the same promoters at the same tracks but for the occasional fan it can seem confusing as two formulas with the same specification and name exist running for the same named titles.
Image supplied by AG Photos
What a mess Stock Rods are currently in, a rift between leading promoters has caused the formula to split into two. In terms of the number of cars racing and type of cars racing the class is looking better than any point of the 21st century but politics is holding back the formula.
Towards the end of 2013 Spedeworth got the ball rolling by announcing the formula they promoted would no longer be the ORCi version of Stock Rods which was instantly followed suit by Incarace, GMP, HRP, DMC and SORA – this meant Autospeed, PRI and Interspeed Promotions (Ballymena) were left with the carcass of the formula – Interspeed seem the biggest loser of this split. Those three had a formula with 30+ years of history and titles but far smaller band of drivers which included lots that were reluctant to travel.
The breakaway version is still called Stock Rods, it is recognised by the ORCi as all drivers will hold an ORCi license but is not the version they recognise–most people would assume Chris Lattka is the World Champion but he won the ORCi version, if he wants to defend that crown he will have change promotions and race at Arena Essex over the August Bank Holiday. The World Championship event held at the Spedeweekend will essentially be the first time that title is ever run because it is a brand new formula, regardless of what the history may suggest. The rules between the pair are almost identical.
Providing you haven’t been confused by the above, read on. The remaining band of promoters then decided to amalgamate with more promotions to add some strength. This included bringing the formula back to Buxton (a track where Mel Cooke won his second World title), this will be as a guest formula and will host the ORCi Championship – same day as the breakaway Stock Rod’s World Final. Then a few fringe tracks that need their current cars to change specification are included– Grimley (who called them Superstock Rods), Barford (Hot Rods) and Ringwood (Euro Rods). Ringwood is a contentious one as there is a lot of unjustified hatred towards the promoter, although not a member of the ORCi they have been included within the group. That poses the question could Swaffham also be included?
This is not the first time a split has happened, Spedeworth tried a name change as well in the mid 1990’s but it didn’t last and they fell back into line the following year.
Exactly the same has happened with Lightning Rods but even less information has been given out regarding the formula. There were several moans that running the World Championship in April at Cowdenbeath was not fair on Nigel Jackson (only holds his title for 6 months) but the same applies with this formula because being non-ORCi this will be the first time the event has been run.
If the formulas were to ever merge together they will stronger than ever before because new/ returning tracks will be brought back into the fold and plethora of new drivers. For the 2014 season this is unlikely to happen, so how long until they make up…..only took Spedeworth and Brisca 30 years to get to a resolution.
Crispen Rosevear statement:
Stock Rods under the umbrella of the Oval Racing Council look set to go from strength to strength in 2014, where there is a refreshed landscape for the formula. Whilst there have only been some minimal changes to the rules and regulations of Stock Rods, with regards to car specifications, there is very much a newness to the tracks which will run racing for Stock Rods this year.
The westcountry remains relatively unchanged, with a dozen race meetings split evenly between St Day in west Cornwall, and Smeatharpe in east Devon. Indeed, it is at Smeatharpe that the British Championship will be contested, with that particular title event returning to the circuit for the first time since 2006.
In the south east of England, Arena Essex have reported an exciting surge of interest in Stock Rods for 2014, no doubt boosted greatly by the announcement that the World Championship will be held there on August Bank Holiday Sunday. This will be the first time that Arena Essex has hosted the race for the gold roof, for Stock Rods.
Elsewhere in England, Buxton will welcome Stock Rods back to the Peak District. Indeed, the ORC Championship will be raced for there in early July. Moves are afoot at Buxton to progress towards combining assorted Rod classes at the venue, into full blown ORC Stock Rods at some point in the future. That some process is much further advanced at Barford in the north east of England. This year is the last at which some independent Rod cars will race in with the Stock Rods, at Barford, where numbers continue to increase regularly, and the standard of car preparation has also advanced markedly. The English Championship will be held at Barford in September.
Fears of the demise of Stock Rods in Northern Ireland have proven to be unfounded with both Ballymena and Nutts Corner set to stage racing for the class. The highlight will be the two days of action in June – when the European title will be contested at Ballymena, and then the Irish Open the next day at Nutts Corner.
To complete the season, the National Championship is going to be contested over a Grand Prix series, with drivers due to be rewarded with attendance points for each of the rounds they compete in, and for their results in those National Championship series rounds.
A further bonus for Stock Rods has been the move to encourage drivers from independent venues, such as Grimley and Ringwood, to join in with the mainstream formula. Accordingly, there are some dates at both of these independent venues, where National Championship series points can be accumulated. This is a trial move for 2014, the benefits of which can only be evaluated much later in the season.