THE Easter Sunday rain failed to dampen the spirits of the Rookie Banger racers, who turned up in their droves to Arena Essex.

A fair proportion of the 70 or so entries were genuine Rookies to the sport, which made the first couple of heats destructive affairs, writes Matt Bull. 

Dan Skinner was an early victim in heat one getting his car wrecked by Sam Watson on the QE2 bend, as the pile of fenced cars gradually grew by the lap.

Karl Jarvis, one of the newcomers, took the win in style. Veteran racer, Sonny Sherwood, won the second heat.

Danny Clarke’s first race, having been gifted the drive as a raffle prize, ended in heavy contact with TJ Powers and the fence.

The non qualifiers had another chance of making the final in the consolation race. Dominic Boden went steaming in with a big crash, as did Jamie Barnard who sent Jack Barwick spinning. Grays’ Billy Reeves booked his final place with the win. But Reeves luck didn’t hold for the final. He was then hit head on. Grant Kilburn and Micky Hamer came to blows at the same time.

Sonny Sherwood's apparent win in this race was later overturned when he failed post race scrutineering, leaving Paul Chapman to inherit the spoils. The Destruction Derby was an action packed finale with Martin Cheeseman wrecking Jamie Barnard, also ending Skinner's involvement. Dominic Boden's attack on Daniel Nichols made the crowd jump as it was accompanied by the huge bang of his airbag being deployed. Airbags are usually removed before the cars get raced.

And it came as just as big surprise to the driver when his went off. Hamer went head-to-head with Barwick, then reversed into James Shrimpton, Shrimpton fighting back with a hit of his own before being attacked by Jay Brown.

Hamer made sure of Alfie Lee's demise before turning his attention to Alfie's brother Georgie and despite having burst into flames at this point, Hamer managed to finish the job before bailing out of the flaming car to collect his trophy!

Small grids prevailed in the supporting events with Nathan Roberts taking a clean sweep in all four SuperBanger races as Tony Ring suffered a number of maladies, many of them involving fence-bound mishaps.

The Lightning Rods saw a heat and final win for the unique Pick-Up styled car of the on form Dan Guidotti. Dave Imber won the first heat, despite clashing with Kiereen Thomas.