Thursday, 15 November 2012

Midget Newsletter 05 – Autumn / Winter 2012

The recent-ish visit to Aldershot has reminded me that it’s time to put pen to paper (metaphorically) once again. My apologies that it has been so long since the last issue - it’s been a very busy year. Thank you to those of you have been in touch – even a one line ‘thank you’ is good to hear.  If you have news of anyone who was involved in the formula from days gone by I would be very pleased to hear from you. My email address is gpmidget@gmail.com.

Aldershot Meeting 2012
With all the classic road and racing cars heading the other way (to the Goodwood Revival) it felt like we were going in the wrong direction on 16 September but the meeting at Spedeworth’s Rushmore Arena turned out to be a good one.

The words Aldershot, Dastle and Fireball evoke some strong memories for many of us and it was a treat to see all the cars in action, not just the classics.

Peter Perry was back with the club in his mk4 Fireball (car 99 pictured below) – recently bought from former club chairman Barry Goldsby. Peter started the races from the back of the grid as he re-acclimatised himself to the racing. You may recall that Peter’s Dad, Ray, raced for Spedeworth, initially in a mk2 Fireball and later in a mk4. I never knew until recently that the well known character Keith ‘Bomber’ Wells was Peter’s uncle who raced Superstox and F1.  The Dastle mentioned is the Fireball bodied mk7 (above, right) belonging to Terry Baimbridge and driven by Tony Smith which has taken a race win this year.

I’m sorry if I did not catch up with everybody at Aldershot but there were a lot of visitors including Norbert and Margaret Dietsch, Gary and Louise Piper, John and Rosemary Weston. I think I also saw somewhere that Brian Gough and his wife were there too.

Peter Dorrell
The races were excellent and won by Pete Dorrell (keeping the front engine fans happy), Dave Dollin and Marc de Land. Dave’s car is pretty much a bit of a classic as well – it’s the ex Harry Lowe Spartan Formula Ford conversion which I first saw racing back in 1986 (and it’s probably older than that too). Dave has really got it going well and took four wins at three different tracks this year.

In addition to getting all nostalgic about Midgets we had the chance to see the excellent 60s / 70s based Historic Stock Saloons racing (‘new formula’ Stock Saloons started the same season as Midgets, 1968).

It was particularly good to see the much respected motor racing journalist Dud Candler in the pits at Aldershot. Dud had travelled up from the coast to see the meeting and was taking a keen interested in the Midgets.


70s & 80s
Down at Brands Hatch a couple of weekends ago I met early 70s Spedeworth driver Malcolm Brockhurst who raced the only Dastle mk4 and was runner up in the first proper European Championship back in 1973. Malcolm’s son, Chris, had won the Intermarque (circuit version of current hot rods) race on the Saturday.

The Brands Hatch meeting had a bit of a Midget theme for me as David Jenkins (who raced with the Midgets in 1987) was competing in the British Truck Racing Association Champion- ship which, along with the Intermarques, we were filming for the Motors TV ‘Last Lap’ series.  Two weeks later I was commentating on another programme in the series which fea- tured multi Midget champion Rob Sayell racing his Formula Jedi at Donington.

After the last issue I was thrilled to hear from Natalie Stubbs, daughter of pioneer racer Tony and his wife Vererna who I am pleased to say are now also recipients of these missives.

Current Scene
The season passed all too quickly but I think it must have been one of the most competitive in terms of the number of different race winners for many seasons. Congratulations to the Pooley family on taking the top three places in the championship. A remarkable feat.  Clifford Bunn once again secured the front engine title and was fourth overall.  Top newcomer to the championship was the aforementioned Dave Dollin. I think this year saw a record percentage of race winners which pays testament to the skill of all out there on the tarmac and also the grading system.

Looking Back…

45 years ago…  Spedeworth had completed a few demonstra- tion runs for the new formula Midget cars and were planning to introduce the class in the following season (1968)..

35 years ago… Basil Craske had wrapped up the 1977 cham- pionship in the formula’s third season as an independent club. Mick Bonner won the first World Championship race in Sep- tember over at Posterholt. The Midgets began to get regular coverage in Short Circuit magazine (sadly ceased publication this year) which was in its first season.

25 years ago… Basil Craske was still the top man in 1987 winning the championship in his VW ahead of a brace of Arrow-BMCs, driven by the Sinclair brothers, Graham and Paul.
15 years ago...
There were 27 points scoring drivers in the 1997 season and it was still VW power at the top of the table as Harry Sayell took the points title from the Arrow of John Weston and the Dastle mk18 of Gary Granger.

Thank you
Many thanks to thank Ben Bostock for sending me scans of some superb pictures of his dad’s Midget days which you might not have seen before and also for allowing me to use them in this issue. I think the first picture is from the demonstration events in 1967 at Wimbledon and the third one most likely from Brands Hatch in 1970 - the first season the cars ran with full roll cages.



Internet

Many thanks to thank Ben Bostock for sending me scans of some superb pictures of his dad’s Midget days which you might not have seen before and also for allowing me to use them in this issue. I think the first picture is from the demonstration events in 1967 at Wimbledon and the third one most likely from Brands Hatch in 1970 - the first season the cars ran with full roll cages.


Just a quick reminder that the club has its own website which is www.gpmidgets.co.uk.  From there you can also access the extensive history site which is www.ovaltrack.co.uk/gpmidgets/tome.

Wanted!  Photos, results and programmes from any era – I don’t have to have your originals as scans are just as useful.

In closing, as ever, I apologise if I have missed anyone out of this newsletter – It’s not intentional! Please pass on any news when you have it – I will try and maintain a balance between the various eras represented.  Please also let me know if you have contact with anyone from the Midget scene who might not be getting a copy of this bulletin. Don’t forget to keep in touch. I hope to issue another newsletter in the new year as soon as the 2013 fixtures are announced.

Richard – gpmidget@gmail.com