Saturday 21st October, Wimbledon, National Championship

Meeting Report by 'Man on the Terrace' from Programme no 42/43

In another memorable Wimbledon meeting on October 21st, Spedeworth again resisted an invasion by outside drivers, on this occasion in two separate formulas. In the National Midget Championship Rod Tanswell regained his title from a field which in addition to the top Spedeworth drivers also included a large number of the members of the Midget Auto Racing Club. Then the Spedeworth Hot Rod drivers completed the task they had begun the previous Sunday by beating for the second time the drivers from Hednesford.

Let's look at the midgets first. 31 cars lined up for the 40-lap race. When the draw was made five MARC numbers came out first, followed by Rod Tanswell driving his new Fireball Mk. 3 for the first time in public. Other favourites for the title, Frank Boyles, Paul Emery and Tony Stubbs were drawn 14, 17 and 5, with ex-British Champion Mick Bonner at 30, the holder Bob Elson last of all at 31 and Barry Martin at 27.

Peter Stapleton
Peter Jopp
David Underhill
Tony Bostock
Rod Tanswell
Tony Stubbs
John Graham
Neil Thomas
Cliff Davis
John Holtham
Brian Spicer
Tony Gale
Frank Boyles
Basil Craske
Joe Therstappen
Mick Fairweather
Pete Smith
Paul Emery
Julian Bye
Trevor Stearn
Bob Burridge
John Smith
Martin Robertson
Mick Avery
Derek Johnson
John Houghton
Don Bray
Barry Martin
Mick Bonner
Colin Byrne
Bob Elson

Peter Stapleton went straight into the lead, David Underhill was the first casualty into the fence but Rod Tanswell only needed a lap or so to take first place. With 24 laps to go Rod led from Frank Boyles, Tony Stubbs, John Holtham, Paul Emery and Barry Martin who had made up a lot of ground. Fourteen laps to go and Tanswell led from Boyles, Emery and Martin. Just as Emery was looking a real threat he dropped back and Bob Burridge came up to 4th. Constant pressure from Boyles paid dividends and he passed Tanswell. With only 5 laps to go he looked a certain -winner, when John Harmer spun by the pit gate, Boyles went wide and Tanswell was back in the lead. On the next bend Boyles and Burridge tangled but recovered very well, but it was too late to have any hope of catching Rod Tanswell who won the title with Barry Martin second. Barry has now finished 3rd, 2nd and 2nd in 3 years, a fine record by any standard. Frank Boyles finished 3rd in his earlier Fireball, Bob Burridge 4th and the veteran MARC drivers Cliff Davis and Paul Emery 5th and 6th.

Race one (Novices race): 1st 36 Ben Davies, 2nd 13 Fred Mutch, 3rd 56 Alf Skingley, 4th 10 Geoff Hughes, 4th 26 Ken Adams, 5th 19 Mick Davis, 6th 15 Matt Samuels, 7th 22 Tony Evans

Race two (National Championship): 1st Rod Tanswell, 2nd Barry Martin, 3rd Frank Boyles, 4th Bob Burridge, 5th Cliff Davis, 6th Paul Emery, 7th John Holtham, 8th Mick Bonner

Race three (Consolation): 1st 36 Ben Davies, 2nd 069 Peter Jopp, 3rd 10 Geoff Hughes, 4th 208 Hedley Leyton, 5th 2 Colin Byrne, 6th 128 Arthur Knowlton, 7th 24 Mick Bonner, 8th 19 Mick Davis

Race four: 1st 24 Mick Bonner, 2nd 10 Geoff Hughes, 3rd 69 Bill Boarer, 4th 34 Frank Boyles, 5th 128 Arthur Knowlton, 6th 48 Bob Burridge, 7th 16 Martin Robertson, 8th 12 Barry Martin

Final: 1st 21 Basil Craske, 2nd 48 Bob Burridge, 3rd 34 Frank Boyles, 4th 24 Mick Bonner, 5th 12 Barry Martin, 6th 74 John Houghton, 7th 10 Geoff Hughes, 8th 2 Colin Byrne

When I wrote my article for the Wimbledon programme I did not know that the MARC drivers were to compete for the first time in a championship event. Let us hope that next year the fixture list can be arranged so that they take place in all such events, and that our drivers can race on some of the other tracks where MARC appear.

Rod Tanswell now holds the National, British, Southern and four last year’s London titles. Well done Rod. The supporting events for Midgets were won by Ben Davies (2), Mick Bonner and Basil Craske (final).

Report by ‘The Informer’

Saturday, 21st October saw the National Championship for Midgets at Wimbledon. With 34 Midgets lined up along the back straight awaiting the public draw it was a spectacle that no Spedeworth supporter should have missed. To make the event a true championship this year the MARC were invited, and were represented by their top fifteen cars. The first five cars drawn from Barry Lee's helmet were all MARC cars which was quite a turn up for the book. Rod Tanswell in his very smart Fireball Mk. 3 was drawn sixth which cheered up the Spedeworth supporters a little. Frank Boyles also had a fairly good draw but East Anglian star Barry Martin and Mick Bonner were not so lucky.

A rolling start was the order of the day which makes a change from the usual clutch start. Rod Tanswell took an early lead after four MARC cars had drifted wide on the second lap closely followed by Peter Stapleton who put up a good show in the early laps. However Frank Boyles came through the field fairly fast and was soon in second place behind Rod, content it seemed to let Rod make the pace. There was some fairly hectic driving going on back through the field with Cliff Davis coming through the field along with Paul Emery. Barry Martin was also coming through the field well taking the outside line which 1 think took a lot of nerve closely followed by Bob Burridge who was also now making progress.

By the time Rod who had been leading for over 30 laps started to slow somewhat and Barry Martin had dropped in behind Frank Boyles who by now had pressed right up to Rod's bumper. On the next lap both passed Rod on the outside with Frank in the lead where they stayed in that order right up till the 3-lap signal had gone out with Rod in third place. At this point fate took a hand because John Harmer spun in the middle of the pit bend forcing Frank Boyles and Barry Martin wide to the fence, Rod going somewhat slower managed the inside line and so once more took the lead followed by Barry and Frank in third place.