Friday, 18 December 2015

Midget Heritage Newsletter 12 - Winter 2015


Sorry to report that Gary Jones has passed in November. Gary raced with the club from 1999 to 2003 and won the Southern Championship in his first season In addition to that he steered his Westfield to 10th in the points table and was also the top newcomer to the club during that season. Our thoughts are with his son Paul, his grandson Ryan and all his friends and family.

The last newsletter raised the question about the identity of MARC driver #71 from 1971. Thanks to Graham Brown, who once again very kindly dug out his records, we now know that was Martin Robertson who changed to #16 from the following season.

Further digging on my own archives shows #71 programmed as Norbert Dietsch... Both Martin and Norbert are on the mailing list so will hopefully be able to comment further! Graham meanwhile also supplied results from a couple of the MARC meetings from late in the year – one of which saw the cars on a Speedway bill at Wembley.

Thanks so much to Ben Bostock for bequeathing a mammoth amount of magazines to assist with the archives.

Since raising questions via these newsletters has generated some answers in the past, I’ll fire off an 80s one… The 1989 points table refers to #4, M Parin. Can anyone provide a first name? Also, and perhaps more of a long shot, the 1970 programmes refer to #15, A Barter (from Winnersh). Anyone remember? Thanks.

Nice to hear from Rosemary Weston recently, one of all too few ladies to have competed in the formula. Spedeworth used to run Ladies Nights back in the early seventies when wives or girlfriends used to pedal the regular drivers’ cars. To my knowledge there have only been three ladies who have taken part in the regular championship races. Rosemary (in 1995-97), Nicky Rickett (2002) and the original lady racer Linda Retchless (1989). Rosemary is the top points scorer of the three although the system used varies across the years.

Recently I have taken the time to look at the career statistics – sadly there are some gaps in the 1970s and 1980s – particularly in terms of final points tables. Harry Sayell is still the top points scorer of all time with Neil Clarke closing in.

I was pleased to get and email from Wayne Doidge who would like to obtain a ‘proper’ photo of the image which is reproduced in this edition – it’s his rollover from a 1984 Northampton meeting. The picture was originally in Short Circuit magazine so I am guessing that the photographer was either Jim Crucefix or Francis Blay. Then again it could have been Steve Dawkins? I would be interested in getting in touch with those gentlemen if anyone has contact details.

The European and World Championship races took place within a week of each other in August. The European saw a return to Holland, the event taking place at Posterholt. Jonathan Pooley won the European title. A week later the ‘World’ race was contested at Ipswich and was won by Daniel Pooley (racing his side-engine car). Lovely to see that both events had an overseas representation. Toni and Richie Scheepens racing in the Euro whilst Richie also raced at Ipswich. Clearly a lot of effort has been made to have Midgets racing in Holland once again – well done to all involved in getting the meeting together and also those who have travelled to either event to race or even support the meetings. Finally, congratulations to Jonathan and Daniel on their wins.

Wimbledon Stadium
I was just about to issue this newsletter when I noticed that the planning meeting which would decide the fate of Wimbledon stadium was due. Sadly the decision has been made to sell the site and replace it with a considerable amount of homes and a football stadium. Urban based racing stadia do not really have a place in this day and age but the demolition of the building which is now in a sad state will see the end of nearly 90 years of service. This is particularly poignant for the Midget formula as Wimbledon hosted not only the first demonstrations for the class back in 1967 but also the first competitive meeting on 30th March 1968. When the club became independent in 1975 it meant that Wimbledon meetings became few and far between and the last time the Midgets raced there was back in March 1993. The Weston name goes into the history books once again as the last Midget race winner at Plough Lane was John Weston who won the London Championship from Dick Loseby, Steve Piggins, Alf Oldfield, Rod Pashley and Keith Swift. The pictures in this newsletter show Barry Martin winning the 1973 BP Custom Car Supernational at
Wimbledon. The colour photo on this pages shows Rod Pashley and Alf Oldfield at the 1993 meeting.

In closing, as ever, 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 be getting a copy of this bulletin. Don’t forget to keep in touch. Richard gpmidget@gmail.com