Channel 4 star Guy Martin joins Birstall's Collins family at stock car racing launch

Birstall stock car enthusiasts Tim and Eddie Collins were thrilled when world record holding speed-freak and Channel 4 television personality Guy Martin recently lent a hand to their cause at a promotional day at Elvington Airfield, near York.

By Tony Harber
Friday, 25th February 2022, 8:00 am
Eddie Collins, right, explains the intricacies of a Formula One stock car to television personality and speed freak Guy Martin.
Eddie Collins, right, explains the intricacies of a Formula One stock car to television personality and speed freak Guy Martin.

The father and son duo, alongside fellow local devotees of the fast and furious full contact sport, Gary Entwistle and David Allison, took two of the thunderous 600 horsepower cars to the well known North Yorkshire speed testing ground, which has a three-mile runway, to help advertise the new season at Odsal, Bradford, which begins on Saturday, March 28.

Motorcycle ace Martin, who has no fewer than 17 Isle of Man TT podiums and numerous world land-speed records on an extraordinary variety of vehicles to his name, showed more than a passing interest in the Formula One stock cars, which are powered by huge Chevrolet engines.

Collins showed their famous guest, who had his own series “Speed with Guy Martin” on Channel 4, over his car before firing it up inside one of three huge marquees provided by drag racing enterprise ‘Streetliners’ for the occasion.

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“Guy’s a heavy vehicle mechanic by trade and showed a genuine interest in the F1 stock cars, which have seven-litre V8 engines in them,” said Tim Collins.

“He was especially interested in the suspension and mechanical aspects.”

Collins jnr, who drives car 147 during the season, would love to race on his local track, but might need to borrow a car as the set-up and suspension of his own is designed for use on Tarmac tracks like Skegness, whereas the West Yorkshire bowl, reinstated on the stock car calendar a year ago after an absence of almost a quarter of a century, is loose shale.

The Bradford track is under new ownership this season after original promoter Steve Rees, who defied disbelievers by investing heavily to relaunch the sport at Odsal, sold his interests to Russell Andrew and Graeme Robson.

Their company Yorstox are determined to continue the largely acclaimed work that Rees started, but admit their first hurdle was to overcome any bad publicity caused by the very last meeting in 2021 – a monster truck and firework spectacular which was savaged by torrential rain.

Andrew, a Peak District-based travel and transport company director, explained:

“We have are putting down a different tyre of shale but the main problem was the drainage.

“When we investigated we found that all the drains were unconnected but they have now been repaired and we’re confident that we shouldn’t have the same problem again.”

Other improvements, including a concrete strip between the straights and the rugby pitch, will also be finished in time for the opening meeting on Saturday, March 26.

“We are a brand new company and both of us have a son and daughter who race and we are putting a lot more investment into carrying on the good work that Steve did in bringing stock cars back to Bradford.”

Yorstox plan to hold 17 meetings at Odsal between March and November, while also running events at Sheffield’s Owlerton Stadium.

Odsal dates 2022:

Sat March 26: F1, F2 stock cars.

Sat April 16: F1, V8 stock cars.

Mon April 18: F2, Ministox, Bangers.

Sat April 30: (Bangers, UK Mods.

Mon May 2: F1, Ministox.

Sun May 28: F1 (World Champ QR), Saloons.

Sat June 11: Pre-70 Bangers, Bangers.

Sat June 25: F1, V8 Stock Cars.

Fri July 15: F2, Ministox, Reliant Robins.

Sat Aug 6: F2 (World of Shale Final), Rebels, UK Mods, Bangers.

Sun Aug 7: Rebels, UK Mods, Hot Rods plus support.

Sat Aug 27: F1, V8 Stock Cars.

Mon Aug 29: Ministox, UK Mods, Bangers including caravans.

Sat Oct 15: F1, Ministox.

Sat Nov 5: F2 Heritage, Ministox, Bangers, Fireworks.

Sat Nov 12: F1, F2 Stock Cars.

Sun Nov 13: Grasstrack, UK Mods, Saloons, Bangers.