Saturday, 15 July 2017

Midget Heritage Newsletter 17 - Summer 2017

Hello and welcome along to our latest newsletter which I am now writing up as a blog rather than a formatted newsletter. Although I will still send out some printed copies I am going to make this internet based version the principal one.  You can also access the previous copies via the links on the right. The key thing though is staying in touch with people and I will continue to send out email to alert people to these updates. If you're a new reader then please let me have your email address.  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

The 2017 season is well underway with several more new side engine machines – I wonder if we should now be recording the “sides” separate from the traditional front engine cars trophy-wise?

Great to welcome Malcolm Fozzy Foskett, Luke Carnwell and Pete Gillett to the formula – Malx has already won a race (in only his second meeting with the formula. Such a shame that we do not have Short Circuit magazine to report such things in these days – there really is nowhere in print media for the club to feature (unless anyone is getting some local coverage).

From a promoter’s point of view it must be very difficult to get new spectators through the gates these days. Social media is all very well but it tends to preach only to the converted.  Many organisations defer to Facebook and the like for their news or results but these do not marshal the information in an accessible way for people to access the information again at a later date.

Archives
Compiling the history of the sport is throwing up some questions of late. I recently watched the Spedeworth film “The Long Black Strip” for the first time in a good while. For those who don’t know, it’s a film of some of the action from the 1968 British Superstox Championship weekend – the forerunner of the present Spedeweekend and there is a very short segment featuring the Midgets.  The problem arises because Geoff Rumble’s #3 car appears with the name Don Bird on the side. All the results we’ve accumulated over the years assume that #3 was Geoff Rumble all the time (and Don Bird does not appear on the points charts or driver listings until 1969).  So, at the moment a question mark has to remain over the results of that meeting.

If we tie up the video with the text from Rod Tanswell’s “Evolution of Midgets” chapter from Living With Spede, we can assume that the film captures John Houghton’s debut in the Black Lawnmower.

You can order a copy of the film from this web page

Another problem with 1968 results is the first meeting at Wimbledon which I was recently supplied with and shows Denis Jenkinson in second place in the first ever race. The issue here is that he does not appear in driver listings or points charts…

Midgets in Holland - 1970 at S'Hertogen Boch
I am still adding odds and ends to the archive - the latest thing of interest is the formula's first visit to Holland in May 1970. Small mentions about the visit appear in different places such as Living with Spede and Wheelspin but I've started to pull all that information together now which helps the context.

Dell Stickings 
Dell in winning form at Brands Hatch
We are sorry to report the passing of Dell Stickings. Based in south London, Dell was one of a few Stock Car formula drivers who tried their hand at Spedeworth's Midget racing when it commenced in 1968. His stay in the formula only lasted a few months but he has the distinction of being the driver at the top of the first ever points chart dated 11 May 1968. He won Midget races at Ipswich, Yarmouth, Wimbledon and Brands Hatch, dovetailing his racing with the then newly renamed Super Stock Cars. Dell first appears in the Stock Car entry lists back in 1963 which saw the first full season at his home track of Wimbledon Stadium. He quickly became a red graded driver and maintained that through to the end of the decade. He also represented London in the 1966 Team League races. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Latest News

Visitors to the website or Facebook page will have seen that Jonathan Pooley won the World Championship race at Birmingham. Congratulations Jonathan and also to Leon Smith who won this year's National Championship at Buxton.

Reeve's Return

The National Championship meeting at Buxton saw the return to GP Midgets of Tim Reeve.  I thought I recognised the name and of course a dig through the archives found him in the 1990 table. Tim was driving one of the Pooley team Scorpians. Team Pooley have done a great job in getting different drivers out on track and are clearly the people to contact if you know anyone who would like to try the present fomula.

From the Archives

Stuart Staniford's  mk2 Fireball in the pits at Buxton - taken back in 1995. Somewhat scary to think this was 22 years ago...  The picture was taken by Rod Pashley.


I am indebted to anyone who has contributed to the archive over the years in any way however small! It can be viewed online at www.ovaltrack.co.uk/gpmidgets/tome. If you are able to contribute then I would very pleased to hear from you - photos, results and programmes, etc. I don’t have to have your originals as scans which you can email to me are just as useful.

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

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