Race History

The Under 25s Championship wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for an idea in 2005 from Dave Leonard and was based on what was being used in Speedway who had a championship for under 21s and Dave thought it could work for Stock Cars obviously maybe not a championship series but a one off race. He approached BriSCA with his idea Guy Parker, Barry Tempest along with Steve Rees then gave the green light and the idea was simple the race would be run in graded order over 16 laps with the youngest in each grade at the front of their grades with sponsorship sourced from the fans originally on a £10 per lap basis with other sponsorship in the form of prizes and vouchers.

The first running in 2006 was held at Belle Vue and with a lot of help from Steve Rees to get it going and make it happen Dave put the word out on the internet forums what he was doing and wasn’t expecting a huge amount it was basically £10 per lap sponsorship for the lap leader prizes and company sponsorship to award to the top three. Mid-way through Dave collecting and organising the race Steve Rees spoke to him and it was agreed that the race would become an annual event moving around the different tracks and possibly alternating between shale and tarmac dependent on available dates.

By 2008 the sponsorship and funding had increased significantly and some fans were selecting where they wanted their money to go with various awards ranging from best position on selected laps, awards of beer, top yellow finisher and so on plus the overall fund was growing although not a huge amount £1200 it allowed for extra awards from the fund along with the top three and with the fund increasing virtually every year since, 2013 being an exception this being due to a lot of other collections being started by various fans and groups which were a disappointment for Dave and one that nearly stopped him running altogether but thankfully he carried on until 2015 and by mid-October it was looking like the race wouldn’t be run at all due to family health problems and one thing or another but after speaking to Dave it was decided to try and get things into place and run at Birmingham on Gala Night despite it only being four weeks away and to say this was Dave’s biggest success would be an understatement it was an amazing achievement in those four weeks over £2300 in cash and a similar amount in prizes and 31 cars on the grid although Dave was always the first to say none of it would be possible without all the fans and sponsors generosity it was his race and a race for everybody to put something back into the sport he loved and one that all the drivers looked forward to.

With Dave’s shock passing in July 2016 it was unclear what would happen with the race or if it would even carry on but Dave’s partner Debbie was adamant it had to do and was what he would have wanted and asked me for assistance in organising which I was more than happy to do and we set about checking if we could carry on and nobody objected. It was agreed there would be no changes to what Dave started and organised year on year, putting the word on the forums collecting the sponsorship and arranging a prize fund with the race again taking place at Birmingham due to the success of the previous year and Dave saying after the 2015 race “Run it here every year” Then the hard part started and the worry of if we could do the big fella proud and would we get the donations or sponsorship that Dave achieved I think we managed that with thanks to all the fans donations and sponsorship a total of £4775 plus over £1500 in prizes and vouchers. Debbie and I had also had purchased a trophy The Dave Leonard Memorial that would be raced for annually in the meeting final of the night that was won by Nigel Green who took home another £500 with a number of Dave’s close friends and family pledging the extra funds.

On to 2017 and a couple of changes were made and something the first being all drivers had to have raced in three previous UK point scoring meetings during the season or start from the back in a second grid in graded order. The other change being that the race was now a recognised championship in its own right and an increase from 16 laps to 20.

Lee Lawrence