5th April 1973 - Aldershot - Southern Championship

Preview by the Informer from Spedeweek number 5

Here at Aldershot tonight we have the first Championship of 1973, the Southern Championship for Midgets. With all the stars from Spedeworth and the Midget Auto Racing Club it should be a first class meeting,. This is somewhat of an historic meeting for the formula as it is the first all Midget meeting staged in this country, another Spedeworth first. Make no bones about it the Midgets have now come a long way from humble beginnings. The cars have improved over the years to what you see racing today. The formula has produced its own stars from a dedicated group of drivers who have the sport very much at heart.

The MARC have also progressed the sport a great deal. Last November twenty odd drivers and cars went to Jamaica for a three week racing tour and I understand they are going again this year. Last year we had some very good racing against the MARC with some very close finishes.

Now to tonight's programme and to who I think will do well. With so many new drivers going well this year the results I think will be difficult to predict. From the Spedeworth drivers who I think will be in the money, Frank Boyles must have the best chance of all. Frank finished up top of the points last year and looks like doing it again this year. Rod Tanswell the reigning champion defends his title tonight and will have his work cut out to retain the title. Rod has had some awful luck so far but always seems to manage that little extra when there's a championship around. Last year he won three of the Championships and second in the other.

Newcomer to Midgets Keith Fransella could do well but as yet has to prove himself with the opposition that will be here tonight. Keith is currently second in the points chart. Good luck Keith, you will need all your Superstox experience tonight to get you through. Mick Bonner former British Champion is going extremely well this year as is Bill Boarer in his nicely prepared Midget, both will be a force to be reckoned with. Malcolm Brockhurst I think is the dark horse. His Dastle, last time out at Wimbledon had the legs on most of the other cars. If things run right and he stays in one lump he could easily win. Other up and coming stars john Hawkins, Peter Gutsell, Ray Perry and John Houghton are going very well and piling on the points, they all bear watching.

Now, what about the MARC drivers who will be competing in tonight's programme. Paul Emery always gives his best and could well win the title as could Tony Stubbs. Both, you will remember, started their Midget racing on Spedeworth circuits and know Aldershot well. Then there's young Martin Robertson who also drives an Emery team car. Martin always gives a good account of himself and proved a true sportsman when he lent his car to Rod Tanswell last year. Martin stands a good chance of winning. Pete Jopp and Cliff Davis, two more very experienced drivers along with John Holtham and Brian Spicer should provide a good back up team so to speak, ready to take advantage at any time. Two more experienced drivers who know Aldershot are Pete and John Smith, both ex Spedeworth drivers of the two I would expect Pete to shine as he has had more experience than John. Joe Therstappen at the end of last season took a lot of beating and if on form should be in at the finish. David Niven (no, not the film star) should be here along with David Underhill, Fred Fretten, Mick Avery, John Graham and Dan Hornby. Rumour has it that Charles Levens will be racing as well in a new Midget. By all accounts if things go according to plan we are to see a couple of Midgets with Rover V8 engines installed one of which will be driven by Paul Emery, should be quite a handful.

A fortnight ago I stated that Neil Thomas's wife Shirley had given birth to a daughter, well, Roland Parker's wife has done the same. Congratulations to them both - according to me that's another Midget. Well, enjoy tonight's racing and give the lads your support by cheering them on.

Race report by 'The Informer' from Spedeweek number 7

What a meeting the 5th April turned out to be at Aldershot. We were treated to a very good turn out of cars well supported by members of the MARC and a fairly good crowd considering the bitterly cold weather. I think all the midget drivers would offer a vote of thanks to all who supported their first all midget meeting.

The first races of the evening were graded races for white, blue and red grade drivers respectively. Winners were Keith Fransella, Bill Boarer and Rod Tanswell. The first three in each qualified for the Southern Championship. Races four and five were mixed grade races of which the first seven of each qualified, winners being John Hawkins and Geoff Hughes who was out for the first time this season.

The Southern Championship race followed and proved a real scorcher of a race with plenty of excitement. Rod Tanswell retained his title followed home by Keith Fransella who drove the race of a lifetime and Frank Boyles who followed in third place. The last race of the evening was won in fine style by Geoff Hughes who proved he is going places this year.

Race report

April 5th will go down in history as the first time the midget cars had a full meeting to themselves. On the tight Aldershot raceway the crowd were thrilled by seven very fast races. The first three heats were for the three grades Keith Fransella, Bill Boarer and Rod Tanswell proving best of their own grade. The two consolation races were won by John Hawkins and Geoff Hughes. The final for the Southern Championship was won by Rod Tanswell with Keith Fransella in second and Frank Boyles in third. Geoff Hughes won the allcomers race making his second win of the evening in the old Rod Tanswell car. It was nice to see our friends from the MARC and I look forward to their next visit to our raceways and also to visiting them when our drivers meet them elsewhere.

Race 1 (white grade): 1st 41 Keith Fransella, 2nd 47 Ray Perry , 3rd 7 Pete Gutsell,
4th 10 Geoff Hughes, 5th 98 John Hawkins, 6th 51 Dave Conway

Race 2 (blue grade): 1st 69 Bill Boarer, 2nd 74 John Houghton, 3rd 14 David Niven, 4th 39 Tony Gale, 5th 55 Neil Thomas, 6th 32

Race 3 (red grade): 1st 1 Rod Tanswell, 2nd 1 Paul Emery, 3rd 34 Frank Boyles, 4th 24 Mick Bonner, 5th 73 Bob Elson, 6th 45 Derek Johnson

Race 4: 1st 98 John Hawkins, 2nd 45 Derek Johson, 3rd 7 Pete Gutsell, 4th 39 Tony Gale, 5th 55 Neil Thomas, 6th 56 Alf Skingley, 7th 32

Race 5: 1st 10 Geoff Hughes, 2nd 24 Mick Bonner, 3rd 4 Malcolm Brockhurst, 4th 16 Martin Robertson, 5th 6 Tony Stubbs, 6th 29 Brian Spicer, 7th 43 Glenn Baker, 8th 14 David Niven

Race 6 Southern Championship: 1st 1 Rod Tanswell, 2nd 41 Keith Fransella, 3rd 34 Frank Boyles, 4th 69 Bill Boarer, 5th 24 Mick Bonner, 6th 45 Derek Johnson

Race 7: 1st 10 Geoff Hughes, 2nd 69 Bill Boarer, 3rd 39 Tony Gale, 4th 7 Pete Gutsell, 5th 32, 6th 38 Larry King