Bears national banger team return to spiritual home

Bears team captain Nigel Riley on his last visit to Smallfield
Bears team captain Nigel Riley on his last visit to Smallfield

The country’s largest and most feared National Banger team, The Bears, are returning to their roots this weekend as they visit Smallfield Raceway near Crawley, to support the new management team that have recently taken over the famous venue.

Whilst Sunday’s meeting (18th) is being held on familiar territory for The Bears, the cars they will be racing in, promise to be anything but familiar. Regular race fans will be very surprised to see the sport’s leading lights appear in something incredibly unusual for the team based at Arlington Stadium.

As long as they have been in existence, which is now over 30 years, The Bears have only driven Unlimited National Bangers that are traditionally rear wheel drive, large cars with large engines.

For one meeting only, team captain Nigel Riley, and several of the team’s top stars, will be running out in of all things, Nissan Micras!

Yes, some of the fiercest drivers ever to race National Bangers will be competing in, what are affectionately known as ‘Noddy’ cars.

The cars being used maybe unfamiliar to the guys, but the track at Smallfield Raceway certainly isn’t. Smallfield is the spiritual home of The Bears, being their home track when they first formed back in the early 1980’s.

Captain Riley, who goes by the moniker of ‘Nutty Nige’, last led his team out onto the dirt raceway in 2014. On that occasion the team were driving Volvos and large American cars, with engines of a minimum size of 2.6 litres. In comparison the popular entry level small car Micra, tends to have a more conservative one litre engine.

“Racing to us has always meant either something big and fast, or something a little different,” said Riley. “By different I mean either something old and unusual, or what we call Yanks – American cars such as Cadillacs.”

“Sunday is going to be a totally different challenge for us. We’ve got to get into the things first.” Riley joked with a huge smile. “Some of us are neither as young, nor as slim as we used to be.”

“The meeting is raising money for the charity Rockinghorse that is the fund raising arm of The Royal Alex. It’s a bit of fun for us and the huge crowd that is expected.”

With an exciting card of Micro National Bangers, Rookie Bangers and a variety of Prod Stocks, racing is due to start at 11am.

It certainly promises to be a meeting not to forget.