I thought it would be a good idea to put a newsletter together for former Midget racers from varying eras. I cannot promise to publish with any regularity but just so long as there is some interest I will put a few notes together.
MARC / Spedeworth days
I have recently been contacted by Richard Knowlton. son of the late Arthur Knowlton (128) who was the secretary of the MARC. Ironically I had driven right past Richard's place of work on the day he called me. It was great to chat to Richard - he knows so much about the old days of the sport.
A while back I was also contacted by Ben Bostock and Rhodri Griffiths whose fathers both raced back in the day too. Thank you all for getting in touch - it is appreciated.
I would be delighted if anyone can fill in blanks on detail / results.
Being someone who is always on the lookout for unusual pictures I thought I would include the one at the foot of the page which comes from Ringwood back in 1971. It was taken by Spedeworth photographer Eric Setchell and shows a very strong white grade line up. Grades in those days were denoted by the colour of the driver's crash helmet. Looks like Dick Waldock in car 11 has been down-graded!
John Hyam will be a familiar name to many as one who has, as a respected journalist, tirelessly written about and promoted the sport through the years. He has set up an inspiring internet resource called the Midget Panorama – this goes way beyond the scope of my own archives and charts the story of the original pre-war Midget cars. The Panorama has been found by a few names from the past including Norbert Dietsch (ex 77) who still has his Dastle Mk7. Another name which came up was Biota – a car originally built and raced by John Houghton. The car. which is being restored, is owned by a guy called Doug Wright from Essex. I've tried to track down John Houghton but to no avail. You can visit the Panorama at:
There are now some third generation drivers entering the fray although not in Midgets as yet! Ray Perry's (ex 47) grandson, Jake, is grass track racing for SEGTO, the organisation based in the south east of England. Neil & Shirley Thomas's grandson, Bradley, takes part in Bambino karting .
More Recent Days
The new season fixture list shows a swing towards the Midlands which also mirrors the driver demographic somewhat. There is still a chance for south easterners to watch the class down at Aldershot in May and September plus Arena Essex in July.
Sunday 27-Mar-11 Grimley
Saturday 02-Apr-11 Birmingham
Saturday 23-Apr-11 Birmingham
Sunday 01-May-11 Yarmouth
Sunday 22-May-11 Aldershot
Saturday 04-Jun-11 Birmingham
Sunday 25-Jun-11 Northampton
Saturday 02-Jul-11 Arena
Sunday 03-Jul-11 Arena
Sunday 17-Jul-11 Yarmouth
Saturday 06-Aug-11 Knockhill
Sunday 07-Aug-11 Cowdenbeath
Sunday 14-Aug-I1 Buxton
Saturday 03-Sep-11 Birmingham
Sunday 18-Sep-11 Aldershot
Saturday 01-Oct-11 Birmingham
Sunday 16-Oct-11 Northampton
Saturday 05-Nov-11 Birmingham
35 years ago... The Midget Grand Prix Club's second year of existence started with the sad news that Derek Kisby had passed away. The early season meeting at Wimbledon on 271h March saw Frank Boyles win two races with Roland Parker taking the other. The 1975 points champion. Malcolm Goodman. headed the entry which also included Paul Emery.
25 years ago... Alf Boarer had bowed out of Midget racing having won his third points championship in 1985. Four drivers. Richard Byrne. Marcus Retchless. Eddie Ricketts and Graham Sinclair had their Midget debuts at the opening meeting which took place at opening Northampton. There was another double race winner at this meeting, namely Basil Craske, whilst John Lowe took the Eric Fretten Shield for winning the opening race of the season.
15 years ago... Harry Sayell commenced the campaign where he would be looking for a sixth consecutive title. Championship rival Stuart Haynes won the 10th running of the Cliff Davis Memorial at Birmingham Wheels.
5 years ago... The season opened with a hat trick of wins for a front engine car – the Gazelle of Martin Lamb winning the June Cochrane Trophy at Swaffham on 8t11 April.
With a few classic cars kicking around. a group of enthusiasts are thinking of putting a classic `track day' together so that the cars can have a safe run. It would be great to be able to invite as many people along as possible. I went to a similar event last year for the Heritage Stock Cars and it was one of the best days out of the year.
Another recent photographic find was the one at the bottom of the page which shows Jock McClure's Midget at Wimbledon in what would probably have been 1971. Anyone know anything about the car? Possibly a Formula Ford'?
In closing, I apologise if I have missed anyone out of this newsletter — It's not intentional! Please let me have any news when you have it — I will try and maintain a balance between the various eras represented. Please let me know if you have contact with anyone from the Midget scene who might not begetting a copy of this bulletin.
Richard - firstname.lastname@example.org