BRISCA'S BIG HITTERS
Over the years the drivers who have used the front bumper of an F1 stock car in the way it was intended have grabbed the media headlines.
Contact is the basis of our sport. It is the vital ingedient that brings back the fans week in, week out. Where there is close on-track rivalry between evenly matched drivers, there is guaranteed excitement. The thought of what will happen the next time they meet heightens expectations and the anticipation is almost tangible; something that is not lost on the promoters who tend to put them in the same heat!
But just as some drivers will push cutting edge race technology to the limit of the rules and occasionally beyond, so will some test the rules governing contact. Some drivers will go too far, it is only human nature. Some don't get mad they bide their time and get even. Some 'lose the plot' when the red mist descends and go over the top. Some just want to win at any cost, knowing that second place is the first loser. It is up to the administrators of the sport at every level to decide what actions are within the rules and what are not. They have a thankless task at times but should be left to administrate. By and large they get it right and with big brother Health and Safety breathing down their necks that is no easy task.
It is also a fact that racing incidents in the past were publicised in various magazines and by word of mouth, while nowadays, via the web, such incidents are common knowledge almost instantaneously whether fans are at the meeting or not! This can add to the pressures on the administrators.
It should also be remembered that among the administrators are promoters and active drivers. Both groups know the intrinsic value of the contact element of our sport and the drivers in particular will have first hand knowledge of the dividing line between acceptable and non-acceptable use of the front bumper.
These are just my personal views but just mulling the subject over got me fantasising about what would have happened if the hard hitters of the past had competed directly with the hard hitters of the present day? What about a team race? I thought. Not a V8 destruction derby but real stock car racing with hard hitters showing they can take it as well as dish it out and without whinging! By now the fantasy was taking shape and I turned to my model collection for the competitors.
The past masters at hard hitting are 'The Cobras' led by 'The Maestro' 1 Stu Smith Snr and include 396 Doug Cronshaw, 190 Len Wolfenden, 199 Mike Close, 471 Bobby Burns, 175 Glyn Pursey and 293 Gordon Smith.
Below is a team picture:
Their competition from the present day hard hitters are 'The Scorpions' led by 515 Frankie Wainman Jnr and include 391 Andy Smith, 390 Stu Smith Jnr, 318 Rob Speak, 64 Kev Smith, 97 Murray Harrison and 53 John Lund.
Below is their team picture:
Now, it may only be a fantasy and you may think the team names are naff and you may even disagree with the line-ups, but just imagine the confrontation, the clash of egos, the pride at stake, wheel to wheel jousting - what a mouth-watering prospect!
It doesn't really matter what the outcome would have been because every knowledgeable fan of F1 stock car racing will have their own thoughts on which team would have prevailed and why!!
The above feature was written in 2008 and in 2012 there was a thread on stoxnet.com regarding the Ten Big Hitters Of All Time. I added a link to this page and said that four years on I would include a third team in the fantasy event described in 2008. The team was given the name The Rattlers and was led by 84 Tom Harris with the team members 197 Ryan Harrison, 4 Dan Johnson, 55 Craig Finnikin, 34 Mal Brown, 150 Mick Sworder and 37 Chris Cowley.
Below is their team picture represented by Ed Creations diecast models with all but one displaying stickers by Stox Signs:
Hope you enjoy playing around with just the thought of such an encounter but one thing that does remain true is that big hitters are a massive part of the sport and keep the crowds coming back for more. Long may they continue to entertain and feed the imagination.