ORGANISERS had predicted the National Banger meeting at Arlington would be the biggest held at The Old Lady for 40 years - and they were correct.
At race time, a huge crowd were still struggling to get into the stadium.
More than 80 drivers from across the country descended on the Sussex oval to compete in round eight of the Spedeworth Banger World Series, the last opportunity to win a wild card into the world final held in October at the Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich.
Among drivers involved was Midhurst driver Jack France – or Gentleman Jack as he is commonly known - in a Jaguar XJ.
From the drop of the first green flag, it was hard-hitting action all night, and France was right in the thick of things.
In his first race France set about his task. Coming off the back straight he was royally thumped into the safety wall on the pit bend, and ended up limping around the perimeter.
Undeterred, he was back out again in the next race with the chance of a world final place at stake.
France does not take any prisoners in his quest to entertain the massed terraces and - slightly hampered still by a misaligned outside wheel - France went on the attack much to the pleasure of those crammed into the stadium.
Out of the blue, a driver from Cornwall, Andrew Jones, thumped him into the safety wall, further hampering his progress.
Being forced to retire and having his evening’s fun ended left France far from impressed.
“Rob my mechanic, had the engine running well tonight and I thought I had a strong chance of winning one of the wild cards,” said France
“The first race went well, but given the number of cars on track in the second, it was always going to be difficult,” he added.
“We were all desperate for an entry into the big one at Ipswich in October, but once Jonesy (Andrew Jones) took me into the wall, the engine was dead.”
France will be racing in his Mk ll Cortina in the Historic Stock Car class over the next few weeks.