Sunday 7 June, 2009
Arena Essex, June Cochrane Trophy

The Grand Prix Midgets made the trip to Arena Essex with the threat of heavy rain failing to deter the drivers. There were welcome returns to the field for young Leon Retchless in the Bullitt and Klaus Kilianski from Germany for the second time this season.

Marc de Land could not get his car fired up in the practice session and he had to sit out the first race leaving Leon Retchless to set the early pace from Nigel Robinson who got away well. Despite the quick start Nigel was soon caught and passed by Gordon Pooley from third on the grid. Retchless held on for a couple more laps before Gordon made it past to assume the lead he would not lose over the remainder of the 15 laps. At one stage it looked like Neil Clarke might overcome the leader in his Sidewinder but despite setting the fastest lap Neil ran out of laps and had to content himself with the runner up slot from Daniel Pooley, Klaus Kilianski and Phillip Retchless, the latter pair having had a great battle throughout.

De Land made it to the grid for the second race Ė his first ever laps of the Arena raceway but his engine was misfiring badly in the early laps. Things were not helped by two re-starts, the fist of which was down to Leon Retchless getting stuck briefly on the line. The second was down to Daniel Pooley losing a wheel. Possibly after some wheel to wheel action with Clifford Bunn. Leon was away smartly on the third start and led well as all eyes were on the eight strong pack of blue and red graded drivers whp piled around bottom bend three wide. It looked like it might end in tears but Kilianski tore around De Land to take fourth with Clarke following through from Phillip Retchless. Gordon Pooley retired from second with fuel problems with Leon Retchless still in front, now from Robinson. Kilianski was on a mission however and went into second and then the lead a lap later down the main straight with five laps to run. Clarke was tearing through the pack as well and he soon took second with Phillip Retchless having got the better of a dice with Jonathan Pooley to get into third. Jonathan was having a miserable time as well and retired with an electrical problem whilst Andrew Bilby retired with a broken rod-end. De Landís car fired into life with a handful of laps remaining and although he was at the back of the field he closed in on his rivals with a fair turn of speed over the remaining laps. To underline just how competitive things are this season the entire field was virtually all on the same straight at the finish.

Kilianski was at the very back for the final (the June Cochrane Trophy) but he was, as expected, very quick away. Leon Retchless led from Nigel Robinson with Gordon Pooley again third from a very fast starting De Land who looked like he had something to prove. Pooley deposed Robinson and Retchless in successive laps to take over at the front whilst De Land, Clarke, Jonathan Pooley and Kilianski chased the leading trio. Retchless and Robinson eventually dropped away although it was clear that their pace was increasing race by race. De Land was catching Gordon Pooley but not really quickly enough as Jonathan Pooley reeled in Neil Clarke. The latter pair engaged in a thrilling side by side stand off for a couple of laps with Jonathan eventually taking third on the inside. His next target was De Land and although Pooley caught him there was no hap on the inside, De Land keeping his SRV glued to the inside line. Pooley looked up the outside but seemed reluctant to commit as Clarke was right behind and looked set to nip back up the inside to get back into a podium position. Thatís the way it stayed to the flag with Gordon Pooley taking his second win of the day from De Land with Jonathan Pooley third from Neil Clarke and Klaus Kilianski. There was some equally great racing further down the order with Philip Retchless, Clifford Bunn, Andrew Bilby, Leon Retchless, Daniel Pooley and Nigel Robinson all having a great race which the Arena fans clearly enjoyed. Fastest lap in the race went to Philip Retchless who had traded the honour with Klause Kilianski over the 20 laps.