Sunday 28 May 1978, Tilburg, European Championship

The Spring Bank Holiday produced glorious weather, temperatures in the 70s for the Midget European Championships at Tilburg in Holland, so it was obviously to be a great test of men and machine with 40 laps off the big, tight cornered raceway ahead of the them.

The day didn't start well for the British contingent when Mick Bonner and Basil Craske collided leaving Mick with a very bent exhaust system, resulting in a lack of power.

The grid for the main event was drawn and it favoured the Continentals, with local hero, 'the Flying Dutchman' Jan van Rengs drawn on grid 6 and reigning European Champion Peter Loff drawn 4. As for the British, Malcolm Goodman was drawn 2, Fred Harding 7, Alf Boarer 8, Mick Bonner 10, Brian Harding 12 and Basil Craske on the back at 13. As you can see a pretty disappointing turnout of cars.

Malcolm Goodman led the lack away, with Loff second and van Rengs storming up to third in his VW Scirocco powered Dastle. By lap seven Jan hit the front with Malcolm second. Peter Loff and Henk Hanssen were doing a spot of team driving behind these two, baulking the rest of the British drivers. Goodman and van Rengs opening up almost a lap. It wasn't until lap 20 that Craske managed to split the Loff / Hanssen duo, and by this time van Rengs was right behind. Mick Bonner retired on lap 25 with a broken plug - it wasn't his day, and as soon as Alf Boarer took over the vacant 4th place, he crashed.

The race was beginning to tell, with only four runners left and Jan van Rengs won by a clear three quarters of a a lap from Goodman with Craske third and Loff fourth. The two Harding brothers had retired. Fred with a puncture and Brian with transmission troubles.

European Championship: 1st Jan van Rengs, 2nd Malcolm Goodman, 3rd Basil Craske, 4th Peter Loff

The two remaining Midget races suffered from lack of competitors too. Henk Hensen led the first, pursued by Basil Craske, who took 7 laps to hit the front, but Jan Van Rengs was coming through fast, and although Basil held for a while, the Dutchman slipped by to win. Malcolm Goodman capped the days racing by winning the supporting Final, but it wasn't easy. Craske made his usual flying start, and looked all set to walk away with it, until a driveshaft broke on lap 11. Malcolm went back in the lead, but Van Rengs powered by on the outside. Goodman hadn't finished yet, though, and three laps later outbraked Van Rengs, who couldn't hit back, his engine had gone badly off song. Jan finished second, Hensen third. Considering the difference between the 1300 British formula and the 1600 Continentals, I don't think we should be too disappointed.