For some drivers, the end of the season means packing away the race car to enjoy the festive period, but for others the lure of racing is just too strong to avoid. The latter is certainly the case for a selection of hardy souls as they prepare to venture to Mallory Park in Leicestershire for the annual motorsport Boxing Day tradition that is the Plum Pudding Races. With the 2019 edition all ready to rumble, let’s dive in to who we can expect to see lining up on the grid for the car racing segments on December 26th.

The Plum Pudding Races feature a slightly unique way of setting the grid compared to regular series and race meetings. Instead of a regular qualifying session, the way the cars line up for Race 1 is set on the order that drivers place their entry, meaning the first car to enter either of their respective races will start on pole position as a result! To mix up the action even further, the results of the first race set the grid for Race 2 with the entire field reversed, meaning the Race 1 winner will start from the back of the pack. All this means that it should provide plenty of overtaking opportunities with two mixed up grids!

Beginning our preview with the Saloon Car entry, there’s a great mix of cars among the 20+ strong list that are currently set to appear at the time of writing. The coveted pole position spot has been grabbed by British racing stalwart Rod Birley, who has decided to bring his fearsome four wheel drive Ford Escort WRC out for one last time this year. If the conditions are anything less than bone dry, he should be a firm favourite to succeed, but his pace in the dry is known to be just as rapid and he’ll be difficult to beat if he’s on form. The car that looks to be his main opposition could be Steven Barnard’s Audi TT Spaceframe, a car very much akin to those that compete in series such as Intermarques, but you should also keep an eye on the thunderous pair of Jaguars in the hands of Kevin and Patrick Doyle; Kevin will be sporting an XJ12 Coupe, while Patrick brings an XJS to the table.

Honda fans are well catered for too, with three Civics on the entry list from Tony Markham, Rich Hockley and Jon Woolfitt alongside the Honda Integra DC5 of Garry Barlow, and if you love Citroens there’s plenty of them as well! Four Saxos will be on the grid, with the trio of cars from Marcus & Chris Bicknell and Steve Everson plus a fourth individual for Carl Swan, alongside a pair of diminutive but epic C1s with Melvin Gray and Stuart Pearson looking to push their pocket rockets as hard as possible against faster machinery. Drivers making up the field but still with cars to watch out for include Simon Ward’s Vauxhall Astra GTE, Adam Chamberlain’s more contemporary Astra VXR example and Jason Wood’s Nova ready to take on the Rover Vitesse of Brian Sale, Andy Thompson’s SEAT Leon Cupra Turbo, the Fiat 127 Sport of Martin Riman, Mark Dicken’s Hyundai Coupe Cup racer, the BMW Compact of Stuart Wright and Tony Brookes’ Peugeot 106.

With saloons taken care of, let’s wander over to the Sports Cars to see who’s bringing what. The fastest cars will surely be the sports prototypes that have elected to make an appearance, led by Dave Porter and Ashley Hicklin in a pair of Radicals plus the unique “Lotus/Radical Exige” of Paul Woolfitt – essentially a Radical chassis with a Lotus Exige body draped over the top. They are expected to lead the line, but behind them it should be a fun contest. Nicholas Smith, Mark Johnson and Jon Curry make up a hat-trick of various spec Caterhams and will be out to battle the Toyota MR2 of Tim Heron, two Mazda MX-5s from Philip Barrett and Chris Fantana and a couple of MGs in the hands of Peter Bramble and Nick Day. All of the above should make for a superb scrap among themselves!

If you fancy an alternate element to your festive period instead of eating leftovers from Christmas Day, watching TV and falling asleep, get yourself wrapped up warm and head to the track to enjoy some of the last club racing action of 2019!

For more information, head here to the dedicated event page here –

(Representative main image from Clubsport Trophy at Donington Park, taken by Jonathan Elsey)


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