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A Welcome Return

09.07.14 2142 The BAS goes back to a renewed Javelin Park.

The  hype and excitement in the run up to round three of the Kent Cams/Simpson Race Exhausts British Autograss Series has been months in the making, as the party goes back to Stroud’s Javelin Park venue.
This is a different kind of anticipation to that we all felt before Cwmdu: there had been too long a wait in the run up to round two with a number of disappointing cancellations in the previous weeks due to bad weather, and despite the Cwmdu venue always being a good place to visit, for many the excitement simply came from an overdue chance to go racing. The Stroud track has been missed in the two years since the series was last there in 2012 and the new layout looks great, having been built up again from scratch. The club promoted the new venue well with a number of photos at various stages of build and an excellent video of the finished layout filmed from a quadcopter, always self-confident in the knowledge that there was real excitement to be returning to what was always a popular venue after a long time away.
The new track still lies partly on top of the old one but is on a different angle, and is longer and narrower than the old oval, and of course, being in the same field, the racing surface is of the same loose texture that everyone will have become familiar with. In a recent conversation with Stroud member Dave Bennett, he described it as being as wide as Evesham’s Dodwell Park venue, but with the first bend starting where the perimeter barrier is, level with where the St John’s Ambulance crew are situated. This gives a clear picture of the length of the new straights, and immediately differentiates it from the old track, which was so big – ‘too big’, according to some drivers – that it could almost be driven as a large circle for the faster classes, an observation which was also made about the Cwmdu track at round two. There were good reports from the UKAC’s first round meeting, and though the track was a little bumpy in places then, it has now been worked and flattened with a motorway grader and looks in superb condition, with a thin layer of grass showing on the surface.
This meeting could easily have one of the best turnouts since the revival of the series at the start of 2013. The rounds on the old track in the years previous, when we still anticipated anything up to 800+ cars, were always some of the best attended, and this weekend could potentially be the event that we see the largest number of unregistered drivers making an appearance to try the new track against some of the best names in the sport. The club have held a number of committee meetings in recent weeks and discussed the running of the event at length, and we can expect the kind of smooth organisation that became familiar at the numerous BAS and National meetings prior to their sabbatical. So many people, drivers and spectators, will surely have abiding memories from attending the old track such is the spread of quality racing and excellent events enjoyed over many years.
If you ignore the rain showers that are forecast for both Saturday and Sunday afternoon, we are in for another hot weekend. The problems of round two should by now be a distant memory, and with a different set of experienced personnel this should be the kind of smooth, fluid meeting that we had hoped for at Cwmdu, on another spacious venue with excellent facilities and ample spectator areas. This was always one of the bonuses of the old venue; the huge spectator areas created a brilliant atmosphere, and the track is still of a configuration that will encourage some good racing. It would be unsurprising to see semi-finals again for classes seven and eight, and provided poor driving standards across any of the classes don’t begin to spoil another meeting, at the end of the season this could easily be the best event in hindsight.