from Sept Short Circuit

DUTCH lorry driver Hank Hanssen bids to be the first driver to win the world midget car championship three times at Swaffham, Norfolk, on Sunday, September 12 (1 pm).

Hansen first won the European version of the sport's top title in 1978, then repeated the feat last season. Now, the 26-year-old driver wants to add a third title to his list of achievements.

In the Grand Prix Midget Car Club organised event, on the 500 yards concrete Swaffham circuit, Hansen will be in an uncompromising mood.

Forecasts GPMCC organiser June Cochrane, 'Hanssen will obviously be the man to beat and the favourite for the title. If he is to be toppled by a home driver, it will be either Basil Craske, Mick Bonner or Malcolm Goodman who stands the best chance of beating him.'

The championship has possibilities for TV coverage, with both BBC and Anglia TV showing an interest in the meeting.

Racing is over 40 laps, 10 laps fewer than a New Zealand version of the world championship, which runs each year at Western Springs, Auckland. But that will not detract from the competitiveness of the racing - although this year's winner at Swaffham is unlikely to get a cash award approaching the 3,500 top prize paid to American star Ron 'Sleepy' Tripp after he won his third 50-lap crown at Auckland in February.

England tracks 16 drivers in the meeting, including first 4Q-lap world winner 43-year-old Mick Bonner, who won at Posterholt, Holland, in 1977. Another former English world champion is 36-year-old Norfolkman Basil Craske, who won the event when it was last raced in England, at Northampton in 1980.

Also among England's fancied drivers is current National champion Malcolm Goodman, while 31-year-old West London dustcart driver Gary Pollard must be rated as one of the meeting's 'spoilers' for honours. And veteran Geoff Hughes, a former Wimbledon speedway rider, is unlikely to be overawed by the class of the Swaffham field either. '

West Germany's main hopes for honours will rest on 31-yearold Willi Thissen, who has an impressive run of 'near misses' in the championship. He will be out to make amends at Swaffham.

A popular name missing from the meeting is that of now retired Dutch ace Jan Van Rengs, the 1979 world champion, and five times European champion.

The full line-up at Swaffham is:
ENGLAND - Basil Craske, Geoff Hughes senior, Gary Pollard, Mick Bonner, Jerry Pinny, Dave Cox, Tony Brewer, Malcolm Goodman, Brian Forrest, Alan Riley, Don Bray, Harry Sayell, David Wesbroom, Dave Scott, Roland Parker, Harold Lowe.
HOLLAND - Hank Hansen, Jan Schraets, Jan Litjens, Henny Der Berkt.
WEST GERMANY - Willi Thissen, Norbert Fluern, Klaus Kilianski, Ludler Volti.