16th September 2000, Ringwood, European Championship
text from Sayell Racing Website

Rob Sayell completed a season triple when he added the European Championship to the World and Driver's Championships already clinched this season, but not content with that he went on to win 5 of the 6 races held at Ringwood bagging the West Country Challenge: Trafalgar Bearings and Cliff Davis Cups as well completing an amazing season for the 23 year old from Norfolk. Steve Piggins won the remaining race on Sunday ahead of newcomer Joe Bourn with Sayell taking 3rd place after starting a lap down.

Sayell had qualified in pole position for the European Championship but an earlier practice session was fraught with both a misfire and the car jumping out of gear. Sayell was joined on the front row by Mark Hodges who had only completed major repairs the night before following a major impact at Alwalton Raceway two weeks earlier. Row two consisted of Gary Granger and Andrew Bilby with third place qualifier Neil Clarke unable to make the race due to his car's damage at the previous meeting.

Sayell got the drop of Hodges and sped into the distance as Hodges almost immediately came under pressure from Granger. Gary Piper shot through from the back of the grid moving up to fourth by lap 5 and soon joined the scrap for second place whilst fifth placed Anthony Brewer fought off the attentions of Andrew Bilby and Steve Piggins. Sayell was in total control at the front pulling out and then maintaining a half lap gap between himself and Hodges. Granger made several attempts to go round Hodges but although he got alongside on many occasions he was not able to make it stick. Piper waited in 4th to pick up the place if either made a mistake but although they managed to close a little on Sayell the only person able to break the status quo was Piggins who passed Brewer on the final lap to take 5th. Sayell won therefore with comparative ease becoming what is believed to be the formulae's youngest European Champion and the second generation in the family to achieve a season triple with father Harry having done so in 1998. Hodges held on for second place his highest international result to date with Granger shaking off Piper for 3rd place.

Sayell then went on to achieve his first ever hat trick by winning both the support heat and Trafalgar Bearings Cup final both events run from graded order, the new champion starting at the back of the grid. Bourn was the earlier leader in the heat with Gary Piper moving ahead on lap 7 of the 15. Sayell demoted Bourn a lap later going on to pass Piper on the inside of turn 4.

In the Saturday night final Piper took up the lead from Bourn on lap 2 but again could not resist Sayell who came through the pack in just 8 laps. Once out front Sayell again stormed ahead as the rest of the field did battle over the remaining places. Piper held on for second ahead of Piggins with Granger again the first to emerge from a pack of cars fighting over 4th.

Sunday saw 3 more additions to the field including newcomers Peter Dorrell and Eric Walker. Bourn again lead in the early stages in the West Country Challenge, chased initially by Chris Phillips. Piggins was quick to demote Bourn and Sayell joined the front two in third place after just 4 laps. The three cars pulled half a lap clear of the rest whilst a 5 car battle ensued over 4th place. It took Sayell 7 laps to pass Piggins eventually doing so on the outside line. Bourn held on for third overall and Granger was the only other car on the same lap. Brewer heading John Slater and Walker who came home in 7th place in his first ever race.

Sayell agreed to a helter skelter grid in race two starting a lap down in front of the white grade. As Sayell struggled to catch up Bourn looked set for his first win when Piggins overtook him on the outside to snatch the victory. Sayell closed on Bourn as the flag beckoned but the latter held on Sayell taking third. Salter beat Granger to 4th place only just ahead of Hodges and Walker having his second good result of the day in 7th.

The final race of the season's competition was for the Cliff Davis Cup. Walker looked extremely happy in the Westfield taking the lead on the opening lap and over a third of a lap clear by the time Piggins and Sayell took up second and third places respectively from Bourn on lap 7. Piggins proved a hard one to pass with Sayell on his outside for four laps before finally gaining the ground to move into second place. It took 4 more laps to catch and pass the new but competent Walker and as the flag dropped the field was well spread. Piggins could not catch Walker who collected his first trophy at his first meeting whilst similarly Salter could do nothing about Piggins.

Sayell therefore clinched his second consecutive Driver's Championship and will collect 375 worth of Image Wheels from the series sponsor - the biggest prize in a Midget Championship for very many years with 398 points. Hodges held on to second place with 282 points whilst absentee Clarke lost third place by just one point to Gary Granger on 213 points. Andrew Bilby consolidated his 5th place ending the season on 192 points with Anthony Brewer making good his return to the formula this year with 6th place overall on 160.


European Championship: 1st Rob Sayell, 2nd Mark Hodges, 3rd Gary Granger, 4th Gary Piper, 5th Steve Piggins, 6th Anthony Brewer, 7th Andrew Bilby, 8th Joe Bourn, 9th Chris Phillips

Support Heat: 1st Rob Sayell, 2nd Gary Piper, 3rd Joe Bourn, 4th Steve Piggins, 5th Anthony Brewer, 6th Andrew Bilby, 7th Mark Hodges, 8th Gary Granger, 9th Allen Herbert, 10th Chris Phillips.

Trafalgar Bearings Cup 1st Rob Sayell, 2nd Gary Piper, 3rd Steve Piggins, 4th Gary Granger, 5th Anthony Brewer, 6th Mark Hodges, 7th Andrew Bilby, 8th Allen Herbert, 9th Chris Phillips.


West Country Challenge Cup: 1st Rob Sayell, 2nd Steve Piggins, 3rd Joe Bourn, 4th Gary Granger, 5th Anthony Brewer, 6th John Salter, 7th Ez Walker, 8th Andrew Bilby, 9th Peter Dorrell, 10th Chris Phillips

Support Heat: 1st Steve Piggins, 2nd Joe Bourn, 3rd Rob Sayell, 4th John Salter, 5th Gary Granger, 6th Mark Hodges, 7th Ez Walker, 8th Anthony Brewer, 9th Peter Dorrell, 10th Chris Phillips, 11th Allen Herbert.

Cliff Davis Cup: 1st Rob Sayell, 2nd Eric Walker, 3rd Steve Piggins, 4th John Salter, 5th Anthony Bilby, 6th Peter Dorrell, 7th Anthony Brewer, 8th Allen Herbert, 9th Chris Phillips.

The Brooklands College Project

Dave McLoughlin from Brooklands College has given us this update on their projects progress: "Over the last few weeks we have continued to dismantle the chassis and have found certain problems. As you know we are planning to produce a new chassis and also renovate the present one. We have also started to build and modify the engine for this chassis which is going well. We have a flow bench for evaluating the head modifications but it takes quite a long time as the students only get certain periods working on the car."