Friday, 18 July 2014

Midget Newsletter 09 - Spring 2014

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. My email address is ovaltrack@btinternet.com. 60s / 70s

Thanks to Graham Brown and Derek Smith for looking into the Kirkby programme cover that I included in the last newsletter. It seems that Midgets were not racing on that day – the promoters simply decided to put the photo on the front cover. Graham’s research also added another date to the archive however, the first Trackstar promoted meeting at Boston on 28 April 1972.

Great picture right... Guy Smith went to visit Malcolm Brockhurst in Chichester with the “Dastle Wedge”. Malcolm confirms it is the car he had back in the early 1970s. Guy’s plan is to restore it to the original specification. Guy then tried to contact another former owner of the car, Pat French but sadly found out that he passed away a few years ago.

If you’ve not heard of it before then we need to tell you about the ‘Old Skool Superstox’ which is a heritage group set up by Dean Cox and Stu Blyth. It’s different however from the classic racing formulae that you may already know about ie the Classic Hot Rods and Historic Stock Cars. The Superstox are very much about heritage rather than competition. The aim is to restore original cars or build replicas without the worry of competition with a strong social element. 80s / 90s

We’ve now added Steve Lay and Eddy Ricketts to the mailing list – good to hear from you both. Also good to hear from from former club scrutineer Peter ‘Olly’ Ollson who has been watching Midgets out in Australia – thanks very much for the postcard!

Current Scene

Very pleased to say that the ex Gary Bonner / Carl Checkley Fireball has been bought by Peter Bourn. We are trying to work out who had the car before Gary so we can document the complete history. Carl Checkley is making a welcome return to the formula in the Suzuki powered Dastle formerly owned by Darren Clark and Derek Hawes.

The first meeting of our new season was at Northampton and saw Marc de Land top the points and also win the June Cochrane Trophy. Marc lost his position at the top of the points with a ding in race two in the second meeting at Grimley – all three races being won by front engine cars – Peter Dorrell and Tony Smith. We’d like to welcome ex Hot Rod racer Leon Smith to the formula. Leon is racing in last year’s championship winning Scorpian (below) bought from Jonathan Pooley. 

The British Championship took place at Northampton on Easter Monday – congratulations to Dave Bonser on winning the title for the first time. According to our records this was the 42nd running of the title – it harks back to 1971 when both Spedeworth and MARC drivers competed for it so, like the National Championship at that time, it actually had some meaning being something other than a Spedeworth or MARC “domestic” meeting. The first few stagings were at London’s White City. It looks like following the cancellation of the 1974 event it was forgotten about for the first two seasons of the combined Midget Grand Prix Club and then re-instated in 1977 when two versions were held – one at Newton Abbot on 5th June (dubbed the ‘Speedcars’ British Championship) and the properly labelled version at Hartlepool on 28th August. That may well have been the formula’s only ever meeting at Hartlepool. Sadly I can’t find any record of the 1978 British Championship at the moment and the trophy currently raced for only goes back to 1993.

This year’s dates include the World Championship at Arena on Monday 26 May which will most likely be past by the time you get to read this newsletter. We also return to Eastbourne on 25 August when Marc de Land defends his Southern Championship title. Since then Jonathan Pooley has regained the top spot in the points table with Nick Price (last year’s top newcomer) in second and Daz Rycroft in third.

Looking Back…
45 years ago… 1969 was the second full season of Midget racing promoted by Spedeworth. Notable racing included a Walthamstow meeting on Friday 25 April where South African visitor Julian Silberman won two races. It would be interesting to know whose car he was driving – sadly that’s not recorded in any journals we’ve seen.
35 years ago… In 1979 there was an early season meeting at Lydden Hill where thirteen drivers took to the oval for two races which were won by Basil Craske and German visitor Willi Thissen. It was also reported that Brian Harding had been racing his Arrow with the South Eastern Grass Track Organisation at Funtington.
25 years ago… Back in 1989 the majority of meetings were run at Alwalton although the Bill Boarer Trophy was contested at Ringwood in April with Anthony Brewer becoming the first front engine driver to win it.
15 years ago… Although not so far back in the mists of time, this particular season is one where we don’t have too much information at this stage. Gary Bonner won the Casa Challenge cup with Andy Collins winning the West Country Challenge.

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.