28th May 2000, Peterborough - World Championship
text from Sayell Racing Website

The Grand Prix Midget World Championship eventually went ahead on Monday after the horrendous weather led to Sunday's meeting being cancelled by the East of England Showground organisers. Rob Sayell took the much coveted title, becoming what is believed to be the youngest ever Midget World Champion, and the first driver to win with a BMC engine since Alf Boarer's victory in 1984. The 21 car field included two German drivers, Rudi Janssen and Werner Demundt both running 1350cc engines for the first time; Janssen using a Ford Kent and Demundt running a less commonly used Citroen.

Time trials held earlier in the day saw Rob Sayell take pole position lapping the 500-yard circuit in 17.71 seconds just 0.12 seconds quicker than Andy Collins who joined him on the front row. Neil Clarke and Mark Hodges made up the second row with times of 18.01 and 18.10 respectively, Rudi Janssen clocking 18.36 on a misfire, giving him 5th place (one cannot help wondering where all 4 cylinders would have put him).

Sayell beat Collins to the first corner but the reds were out before half a lap had been completed when Harold Lowe ploughed into the pit gate whilst trying to make up several places on the opening lap.

Sayell was again first away on the restart and so it was for the remaining 30 laps. Collins shadowed him throughout the race however never letting up the pressure but also never actually challenging for the lead itself. Neil Clarke held third place throughout the race shadowing Collins much as he shadowed the leader but dropping back in the closing stages as both Sayell and Collins stepped up the pace through the many backmarkers. It was a very busy event the leaders lapping into the back of the field from lap 5 onwards whilst several other separate battles ensued over the remaining places.

John Bilby had to be perhaps one of the unluckiest drivers in the race. Having broken down with 10 laps to go, he then saw Werner Demundt's car spin off the track 7 laps later ploughing into his stranded inflicting damage which threatens to keep him away from the next meeting at his home circuit of Ringwood.

Gary Granger fought off Rudi Janssen to take 4th place with Peter Bourn a very creditable 6th in his first World event, Andrew Bilby 7th, Gary Jones 8th, then 17 year old newcomer Chris Phillips an excellent 9th and Ringwood's recent double winner Clive Sillence 10th.

Asked about the race the new Champion said "I was not confident after Saturday's practice and when the race was cancelled on Sunday the nerves really started to take hold. But after getting pole position, I thought I was in with a good chance and once I got out in front I had Andy firmly in my mirrors and knew I had a bit more in reserve if I really had to resist him. As it was he pressured me and waited for me to make a mistake but never actually challenged me, so I could concentrate on getting by the back markers safely. The most worrying time was the very last lap when I met a backmarker on the last bend and it allowed Andy to close right up!" 4 times World Champion, Harry Sayell commented "Rob's always been expected to do well just because he's my son. He appears to have a natural talent and there were tears in my eyes as he crossed the line, he drove every inch like a champion. It was a popular win and I am very proud of him."

The East of England Championship was also held on the same day and saw the most dramatic action of the day. Run from graded order the 20-lap event saw Andy Collins come through from the red grade to third place in just one lap. After battling with Gary Granger for a further 5 laps Collins took up the lead on lap 7 from where he pulled out almost half a lap lead before half distance. Further down the field Peter Bourn moved up to second chased closely by Clarke and Sayell. The new World Champion passed Clarke on lap 10 but was forced to keep up the pace as Clarke repeatedly tried to retake the place over the next 4 laps.

But on lap 14 as the battle for second place ensued at one end of the circuit, disaster struck for Collins as the other, as he tried to overtake a pack of backmarkers going into the pit bend. His back wheel rode over another car launching the Dastle which then somersaulted around the bend coming down on the fence and back onto its wheels next to the armco. Dazed and sore Collins climbed out of the car to cheer from the crowd. Later described as the "luckiest man on the track today" by the medical staff Collins bid for his first championship title was over and the car pretty much written off.

The race was restarted with Bourn overtaken by Sayell, Clarke and Hodges in quick succession. Andrew Bilby added insult to injury one lap to take 4th place Bourn hanging on for 5th and Doug Cronk gaining his first ever Midget trophy in 6th place.

The last race of the day run over 15 laps from full graded order saw Bourn get his just deserves with a win with Granger second and Sayell third ahead of Clarke and Hodges. With all but the World Championship itself, part of the driver's championship; Hodges ended the day still leading the Image Wheels Series, Sayell closing the gap to 12 points with Clarke overtaking Collins for 3rd place just 8 points behind Sayell.

World Champoinship: 1st 10 Rob Sayell, 2nd 2 Andy Collins, 3rd 77 Neil Clarke, 4th 25 Gary Granger, 5th 145 Rudi Janssen, 6th 88 Peter Bourne, 7th 16 Andrew Bilby, 8th 72 Gary Jones, 9th 3 Ben Pashley, 10th 12 Chris Phillips, 11th 60 Clive Sillence

East Of England Championship: 1st 10 Rob Sayell, 2nd 77 Neil Clarke, 3rd 5 Mark Hodges, 4th 16 Andrew Bilby, 5th 88 Peter Bourne, 6th 50 Doug Cronk, 6th 72 Gary Jones, 7th 12 Chris Phillips, 8th 44 Brian Gough, 9th 60 Clive Sillence

Support Race 1: 1st 88 Peter Bourne, 2nd 25 Gary Granger, 3rd 10 Rob Sayell, 4th 77 Neil Clarke, 5th 5 Mark Hodges, 6th 16 Andrew Bilby, 7th 72 Gary Jones, 8th 44 Brian Gough, 9th 3 Ben Pashley, 10th 60 Clive Sillence, 11th 12 Chris Phillips.