Friday, 18 October 2013

Midget Newsletter 08 - End of Season 2013

Welcome to the latest newsletter – I am sorry it has taken longer to put together but this proved to be a very busy year. Thanks to everyone who has been in touch to ask for copies of the newsletter and also to those who acknowledge that they’ve got past the email spam filters. 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.

60s & 70s
The day after the printed copies of my book arrived I received an email from Dan Hornby with some scans of some late 1972 MARC reports which rendered the publication out of date straight away! Thank you Dan. I’ll have to start work on the second edition.

Duncan Adams has been in touch, Duncan’s dad, Ken, raced Midgets with Spedeworth back in 1971/72 but sadly passed away in 2010. Duncan tells us that his dad was not really one for keeping memorabilia and he only has two photos from the time (one of which is reproduced here. We found a cutting from a 1971 programme and if anyone has photos of Ken from the time then please get in touch!
In the previous newsletter I mentioned that I’d found out about an advertised 1971 Southern Championship at Harringay. Graham Brown once again very kindly looked into his records and found the results of the event which have been recorded on the history site. Thanks Graham.

A top man in the BriSCA Heritage scene is George Rimmer who has kindly sent through a DVD of racing from New Brighton which includes a short clip of the infamous incident with Clive Carter’s Dastle in the fence. George has also sent through a couple of programme covers including one reproduced here from Kirkby. Buyers of my book or those familiar with the history site will know that there is no mention of the track so it’s good to be able to add it to the archive. Anyone able to tell us the date (or results?)

I am extremely sad to report that a 1973 Fireball mark 4 that was racing with the current formula has unfortunately been scrapped. The driver concerned did try to advertise the car on Facebook but such adverts drop down the listings very quickly. Had he contacted the club we could have advertised it on site and also used the Midget and general Heritage grapevine to find a home for the car. It’s a good thing to advertise on Facebook and the like but club officials cannot be expected to trawl the internet for such listings. There are two other mk4s for sale on the website – it would be a crying shame to lose them so let’s hope that some positive news can be reported in the next newsletter. Incidentally there are likely to be some opportunities for restored Midgets to have some track time (demo only) so perhaps now is the time to think about having a heritage project.

80s / 90s
Again, thanks to Dan Hornby who kindly loaned me some video footage from 1983 – racing at Alwalton and Ipswich. I’m still trying to put the exact dates on them but that’s difficult as I think that’s the season I have the least information on. If anyone has the full fixture list from 1983 gathering dust somewhere please let us know. Guy Smith has been in touch about the Dastle Indy which his dad, Gerald, raced in the late 1980s. He is looking for information and photos of the car from any stage of its’ career. I have put him in touch with Malcolm Brockhurst who I think was the original owner. Hopefully more progress will be reported in future newsletters.

Current Scene
Many congratulations to Jonathan Pooley on winning the points championship as well as the World and European Championships. Gordon Pooley won the National Championship whilst Dave Bonser and Daniel Pooley were second and third in the points (Gordon fourth). What’s more they were all racing Pooley-built and designed Scorpian chassis. This year’s top newcomer, Nick Price was also racing a Scorpian. The front engine championship went to Clifford Bunn (congratulations Clifford) after pipping Tom Keep to the top of the points in the very last meeting. Very sad to lose Dave Dollin from the driver listings. Dave’s car was a real credit to the club – no surprise that he won the best presented award as well as being 2012 top newcomer. We wish Steve and Tom Keep both speedy recoveries from their incidents. Both had been going really well with Steve winning the British Championship and Tom, as mentioned, leading the front engine category and setting a new lap record at Aldershot.

Great to see Richie Scheepens coming over from the Netherlands to add an international element to the World Championship and we hope that he can make it over again in the future.

Looking Back…
40 years ago… Results for the 1973 season are a bit sketchy at best but Frank Boyles won the National Championship race at Wimbledon on 3 November and also secured the Points Championship. Rod Tanswell retired from the racing at the same meeting.
30 years ago… Basil Craske was the points champion and again there was some late season racing at Wimbledon with John Seamark winning the London Championship from Dave Scott and Anthony Brewer.
20 years ago… The end of season races at Northampton saw some guest drivers in the fun races. I am fairly sure this was Gary Piper’s first time racing a Midget.
10 years ago... In 2003 Harold Lowe won the points championship from Alan Buckland with Daz Rycroft third and Neil Clarke in fourth. John Salter had enjoyed a good run in the later stages of the season winning the National Championship at Buxton in October.

Internet
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 or photocopies 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.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Midget Newsletter 07 - Summer 2013

Thanks to everyone who has been in touch to ask for copies of the newsletter and also to those who acknowledge that they’ve got past the email spam filters.. 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 ovaltrack@btinternet.com.

From what I can gather people are finding these newsletters useful to find out about upcoming events and the Southern Spedeworth meets seem to be attracting a lot of former drivers and fans. If you are coming along to Aldershot in September please let me know as it would be nice to meet up. 2013 races I made it along to Arena for the Jet Fuels Trophy and enjoyed the racing as always. The grading system seems to work very well. OK, it’s hard work for the guys at the back but it seems to ensure a fair spread of winners as well which is good for the spectators and the morale of the ‘occasional winner”!

I was pleased to see the very newest GP Midget hit the track – the SJR of Steve Young (main picture, above). Sadly I had to miss the Southern Championship down at Eastbourne but was pleased to see that Mark Hodges and Marc de Land got the wins. The latter grew up watching his dad race hot rods down at Arlington and I understand the meeting was the first time that his mum has seen him race, so to retain the title was very special. With regard to the Southern Championship I thought that it was first contested by Spedeworth in 1972 but I’ve recently found a 1971 (MARC) date at Harringay. No information about who won it unfortunately as yet. 60s & 70s


We were very sorry to learn that Doreen Tanswell passed away in March. Ian Tanswell very kindly posted a photo from the 1972 Ladies Night at Wimbledon on the Stock Car and Hot Rod Heritage group on Facebook and I am able to share that here.

Also from Facebook, a stretched mk4 Fireball (above) which has been used for hillclimbing and is up for sale at the moment. The car still has its chassis number, FB474, so would be a good restoration project. Old Skool Midgets anyone?

For anyone interested, I have collated all the information that makes up the first part of the history website (1967-1979) into an A5 size paperback book so that all the material is available in one place. It’s mostly text and came out at 174 pages which I can sell for £6 plus £1.10 second class postage. Please contact me if you are interested in getting a copy.

1980s
Alf Boarer has been in touch and has supplied some superb photos for the archive - one of which is reproduced above - without question a superb set up. Thank you Alf.

Looking back through some 1980s text I found a reference to a Fireball bodied Dastle belonging to Brian Forrest. I wonder if that’s the car now owned by Terry Baimbridge and raced by Tony Smith?

1990s It was good to hear from early 90s driver Keith Swift. Congratulations on becoming a grandfather, Keith. I think that probably qualifies you to return to Midget racing.

Current Scene
Jonathan Pooley is leading the points championship – some continued hard driving from the back of the field race after race. At the time of writing it’s Dave Dollin in second position, ahead of Dave Bonser. Dave B missed the first meeting of the season as well so that’s a good performance by him. The front engine trophy seems close this season with Tom Keep just ahead of Darren Clark and Clifford Bunn.

Looking Back…
40 years ago…
Rod Tanswell won the 1973 Southern Championship at Aldershot – it was a Fireball 1-2-3 as Keith Fransella came second ahead of Frank Boyles. Rod also won the European Championship over at Kaldenkirchen.
30 years ago… Gary Pollard won the 1983 British Championship at Northampton. The World Final took place at Kaldenkirchen with Wilfred Hofer taking the title. The European Championship was also at Northampton. Jan van Rengs won from Henk Hanssen and Alf Boarer.
20 years ago… The 1993 World final took place at Warneton in Belgium, Klaus Kilianski was the winner from Harry Sayell and Stuart Haynes. Harry won the European at Peterborough from Klaus and John Calladine.
10 years ago... In 2003 John Salter was in good form, winning the Ace Communications Shield, the Simon Pashley Trophy and the National Championship.

2013 Remaining Race Dates (following Scottish ‘tour’) Sun 11 August 1:30pm, Northampton, Graham Hill Mem. Mon 26 August 1:30pm, Hednesford, World Champ. Sun 1 September 5:30pm, Yarmouth, Derek Kisby Trophy Sun 22 September 1pm, Aldershot, Bill Boarer Trophy Sat 5 October 6pm, Birmingham, Dorrell Flooring Trophy Sun 13 October 12 noon, Buxton, Simon Pashley Trophy Sat 2 November 6pm, Birmingham, iFactor Final

Internet
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 or photocopies 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.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Midget Newsletter 06 – Winter 2013


Thanks to everyone who has been in touch to ask for copies of the newsletter.  Some new faces are included in the relevant sections of the newsletter.

The new fixtures are now available and see a welcome return to Arlington on bank holiday Monday The recent-ish visit to Aldershot has reminded me that it’s time to put pen to paper (metaphorically) once again. 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.

2013 race dates
The new fixtures are now available and see a welcome return to Arlington (Eastbourne) on bank holiday Monday 27 May. Incredibly this is the first club visit there for 27 years – the last one being August 1985. Winners last time out were Dermott McGivern (2) and Alf Boarer. Dermott was top points scorer on the day with second in the third race to add to the two wins.  This year’s date is the Southern Championship, only the third time it’s been run at Arlington. Well done to the guys who put the fixtures together and also thanks to Spedeworth for the opportunity.

I would like to thank the committee for very generously awarding me the Steve Piggins Trophy for last season. It means a lot to me and my wife as we still think of Steve a great deal.

60s
Dell Stickings
Delighted to make contact with Dell Stickings who was actually the first ever driver to top the points in Midgets when the first chart was published back in 1968. Thanks very much to Rick Moss for helping us to get in touch.

70s & 80s
We’re pleased to have added Brian Harding and John Lowe to the list of recipients of this newsletter. 

I picked up a programme for the 1973 European Championship from eBay – nothing particularly unusual about that except it’s from Kaldenkirchen and overseas stuff is hard to get at the best of times.  Along with Roger Fennings’ excellent photos and report from that event we now have a reasonable record of it although it would be great to have some photos of the other drivers.

90s
In the last newsletter I mentioned the filming we did at Brands Hatch but forgot to mention ex GP Midget racer Nic Grindrod who was gunning for the 2012 title. Ultimately the Pickup Truck racing championship was decided on the line of the last lap of the last race of the season with Nic just losing out on a third Pickup title by two hundredths of a second – possibly the closest championship finish, after a full season of racing, anywhere in the world. A similar scenario was played out in 2011 as well incidentally. Nic can consider himself the ‘TV champion’ though having won five of the six televised races during 2012,

Current Scene
Peter Perry has sold the mk4 Fireball to newcomer Keith Minshall. Welcome Keith and enjoy the car - a real piece of oval racing heritage.

Looking Back…

45 years ago…   Spedeworth’s first competitive race meetings for Midgets were underway. The first was at Wimbledon on 30 March 1968.

35 years ago…  The 1978 season was underway with the calendar including venues such as Thanet and Funtington

25 years ago… Basil Craske had topped the 1987 points table and started his defence well with a win ahead of John Lowe in the Eric Fretten Shield (traditionally the first race of the season) at Peterborough.

15 years ago...  
James Jenkins and Harry Sayell shared the wins in the season opener in 1998 at Northampton.

Thank you

Many thanks to thank Rick Moss for sending me scans of some superb pictures from the Dastle brochure of 1968 – Rick was in his teens at the time and wrote off to them of his dad racing and also for allowing me to use them in this issue.

Internet

Just a quick reminder that the club has its own website which is http://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 or photocopies 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.

Richard – gpmidget@gmail.com