Cadwell Park Results 250411

Cadwell Park 25th April 2011

The weather at Cadwell has not been kind to us for the last few years, so planning on an Easter weekend visit seemed to be just asking for trouble. But there was just enough heat left in the air from a summer-like week before Easter weekend, and despite a debilitating wind off the North Sea trying to blow any joy out of the day, we ultimately had one of the best opening weekends for many years. The event was a new meeting, with the Historic Sports Car Club trying to establish a regular outing at the Lincolnshire Circuit. The theme this debut year was 60 years of the Autosport Formula III championship (like some others, conveniently ignoring Ken Carter’s 1950 HLCC win), with races for all the historic series from 500s, through Juniors, one-litre screamers and 1600s to the 2-litre championship. It is rare to see such an impressive collection of small-bore single-seater machinery around a very busy paddock.

The late start to the season also helped encourage a fine turnout from the 500 brigade, with a welter of new faces and machines. It seemed that the majority had something new or changed, or in the pipeline. At the front, champion Nigel Ashman had reverted to the Cooper Mk XI, perhaps to face up to Richard Ellingworth’s mighty Parker-Kieft. That left Mike Fowler to return to his Mk V for the first time in 18 months, although he also has another American Mk XI under preparation.

Hakan traditionally provides a Swedish presence at Cadwell, this time the JBS again partnered by Brian Jolliffe and his Mk IX. We were also joined by Peter Kumlin in the Effyh (which must be an interesting performer around the fast sweeps of Chris Curve). Richard Utley was out to give us a brace of JBS. We also had a brace of Starides; first, Darrell Woods had his pretty ex-Phillipson car (into which he had craftily inserted a Norton), debuting it on a circuit after a couple of year of hillclimbs. The second car the ex-Fenning, ex-Streets car, which has been repatriated to the UK by new boy Xavier Kingsland. Xavier, quickly rechristened “Bob” to avoid confusion, was on a swift learning curve, and absorbed huge amounts of advice and help (a complete clutch rebuild on the Sunday), but his story (“ I took early retirement and bought a 500”) suggests he’ll fit right in. Richard Bishop-Miller is pressing on with completing the Revis, but in the meantime runs the Mk II.

Being with the Juniors also encouraged a couple of entries. Gordon Russell would be in Pat Barford’s Junior, and it was opportune that he could bring the Mackson - Portimao burn marks now part of the patina, and another to defect to Norton power. A similar opportunity finally allowed Vernon Williamson to make his 500 racing debut. It’s a long trek from Doune to pretty much anywhere, but Vernon packed his Junior, Hesketh-Dastle F3, and the Cooper based original JP prototype into the truck to make the most of the weekend. The rest of the entry included most of the usual suspects, although local girl Shirley Monro was not racing due to problems with her foot, although she would drop by to spectate. Even the Frosts dropped in, on their way from delivering a customer car nearby.

Darrell Woods' Staride


An early practice session showed that the warm track was giving up a lot of grip – four cars dipping under the two-minute barrier. Ashman and Hodges would lead, from Russell (benefiting from also running the Junior in the previous session) and Ellingworth, then Fowler and Jolliffe barely over the 120 second mark. Martin Sheppard was seventh with a very good 2’04” and Kerry Horan equally so with a 2’07” (although causing some alarm to following drivers who were sprayed with methanol from where a float bowl was supposed to be. George Shackleton and Roy Hunt completed the top ten, the former surprisingly off his expected pace due to fuel issues, the latter as usual saving himself for the race.

Missing from this batch was John Jones, the Triumph motor losing oomph. Its replacement would be the most serious project between practice and race, as most came in with few or minor problems. Darrell was focussing on learning the Staride (quickly coming to the view that all you could worry about was the front end that you sit over, as the back was too far away; also, being so exposed over the front of the car, it’s a good idea to ensure the brakes are absolutely au point and not binding or grabbing). Nigel Challis was a little off in twelfth, but the surprise was the rookie – with competitive experience and just a test session on the Saturday, Xavier’s 2’10” was an excellent run, although the thrill of starting his first race mid-pack was slightly tempered by the thought of starting his first race in the middle of the pack…

Peter Kumlin posted a respectable 2’13”, despite a small misfire, while Richard B-M’s 2’14” is pretty much as fast as a Mk II has gone around Cadwell. Richard Utley and David Stevenson both had fairly quiet sessions, whilst David Whiteside tried to bed in a new gearbox and Paul Hewes lunched his. Vernon and Hakan both had more significant engine troubles, and completed the pack.

With most maladies quickly resolved, there followed a long, long wait for the 4:30 flag off, the wind getting stronger and colder. The race would be for the Philip Robinson Trophy. Phil won the Sheffield Telegraph Trophy at Cadwell on five occasions, and was on hand with his family to present awards.

Richard Bishop-Miller - Cooper Mk II


A late call was made by the Clerk of the Course to change the start procedure to “almost a rolling start”, although as the message was passed further down the grid it became more “just do whatever the guy in front does”. A gentle parade lap had all the cars lined up in very tidy two-by-two ranks even before they reached the Mountain, in fact so slow it was rather a relief to see all the weaker engined cars make it over the top. Martin Sheppard, who had stalled exiting Assembly, had ample time to catch up and retake position, while Hakan recognised the Triumph engine was still not right and courteously dropped fifty feet off the back to keep out of the way. The JBS would not complete a racing lap. Poor Kerry did not even make it that far and did not take the start.

Nigel brought the cars to the line very slowly, not totally sure how the procedure would pan out, and that not helped when a 5-second board appeared. But before they came to a halt, the red lights went out and he made a decent start. Neil got a better start and had a sniff to the inside, only to be cut off by Richard who got it all just right and stormed to the front. But it was Nigel who held his nerve at Coppice and took the lead from Richard & Neil. Mike got the jump on Gordon, but was already a couple of car lengths away from Neil.

The first lap saw Nigel, Richard and Neil in a frantic battle to establish some order. Richard would make a move accelerating out of a bend but when the overtake failed immediately have to cover Neil under braking. These three had a couple of lengths over Mike for most of the first lap, but a mistake at the hairpin dropped Neil back into his clutches on the start straight and Mike passed before Coppice. The older car then struggled on exit and through Charlies, and Neil carried more speed to overcome the Norton power advantage and outbrake Mike at Park. As we’ve seen before, this one was going to run.

But let’s not forget the first two. No longer bothered by Neil, Richard could focus on getting the lead. He was past before the end of the second lap, but Nigel was not giving up easily. The Kieft may be faster on acceleration and top speed, but the Cooper has an advantage under braking and cornering. Repeatedly he would bear alongside the Kieft, not quite completing the overtake, but disrupting Richard’s line and compromising his exit speed. Eventually Richard eased a second or so ahead but it wasn’t until Nigel caught a backmarker at just the wrong place that the elastic was finally snapped. From lap 4 the gap was increasing by around a second each time around and victory was assured, Richard slowing on the final run in after ten laps.

That simple description understates two very good drives and a mighty fight, but there was much, much more going on behind. Neil & Mike’s battle had them swiftly dropping away from the leaders, and Brian Jolliffe joined them, confident he could go faster but choosing his moment. Gordon’s Mackson was unable to hang on to their tails, but holding off (for now) Martin Sheppard (great run), Roy Hunt, and new boy Xavier. Behind them, though, were a pack of marauders, led by JB. From his lowly 18th start, JB was flying. By the end of lap two he was already on the tail of Martin & Roy, in ninth place and one later he was passed. He would have caught Russell, but the opportunity for that battle to play out was lost when the Mackson’s gearbox packed in nearing the end of the 4th lap. Too far from the Neil-Mike-Brian group, the remaining laps were run alone, but a best lap of 2’01” is an awful lot quicker than many of us ever through that little blue car could manage.

JB wasn’t the only person on the move. George and Darrell were tracking the Cousy from a short distance. They disposed of Xavier, then Nigel Challis (who had passed the rookie) and set off after Martin and Roy. George was driving much more aggressively than we usually see, his signature smoothness replaced with more dramatic movements on the wheel. Perhaps he had a touch of red-mist, and Darrell having the temerity to overtake on lap 3 probably wasn’t helping.

Vernon Williamson in the Prototype JP

Battles continued right through the field. Peter Kumlin had a fight with David Stevenson for the first few laps until the latter expired. The two Richards ran in close company for a while (Bishop-Miller losing the oil from his gearbox trouble followed inevitably by the gearbox), and Paul Hewes and David Whiteside were having great fun passing and repassing for several laps. This came to an end when Paul retired on lap 6 with gearbox woes, pulling up at exactly the same tyre stack as in practice. Vernon’s JP developed a serious misfire, but he plugged on as tail-end Charlie. He would get the finish, two laps down.

But returning to the front, the final podium place was far from decided. Mike passed Neil, but the latter fought back. Three laps running, the pair had a head to head at Park Corner, neither willing to brake early. Climbing the Mountain for the fifth time, Neil got a run. He tracked through Hall Bends, then pounced over the crest to the hairpin, a superbike trick. Mike closed the door, but the yellow & blue foot was already there. Neil got past, Mike got a clout in the pannier fuel tank for his troubles, both taking to the grass, and Brian laughed all the way into third place.

Brian was confident he had the speed to hold the youngsters at bay, but didn’t get the chance to prove it. Just half a lap later on Park straight, a clattering noise and no drive ended his run. Neil had 2-3 seconds on Mike, but as so often at Cadwell, a little traffic at the wrong place can make all the difference. On lap 8, Mike was back on his tail through the Mountain. He got a run along the bottom straight and had his nose ahead entering Coppice. But Neil knew his later car was much faster up through Charlies, and refused to cede. Mike hung on around the outside of Coppice but had to give up in the shuffle between the two corners. The Norton could open up on the straight and a braking duel followed at Park corner (not for the first time). Neil prevailed. This was pretty much repeated on lap 9, and as they completed the final lap. Neil pretty much had Mike licked, but trouble loomed as they completed the final trip from Mansfield to the Mountain. Neil was catching Xavier at a rate of knots, but not fast enough. The one place you wouldn’t want to lap someone is up the Mountain, and sure enough, he couldn’t. It would be unfair to place any blame on Xavier, especially on his first appearance, but the upshot was that he, Neil and Mike crested the Mountain almost abreast, and Mike already had the advantage of momentum and the inside line. He was not going to leave a gap at the hairpin again, and took third by a quarter of a second.

Some thirty seconds later, JB stormed in for fifth place, as already described. The next group had been Martin and Roy, but on lap 4 Roy had pushed a bit to far and spin-&-stalled to retirement. Darrell and George had been racing up to this pair, and Darrell duly collected seventh place. But George had a more exciting time. He sensed a gradual loss of power, and looked over his shoulder to check for signs of the engine overheating. Charlies 2 was perhaps not the best place to do this, and a bumpy spin ensued, dropping him behind Nigel Challis. He began catching Nigel, but the clutch gave up the ghost and he coasted into retirement on lap 8. That should have left Nigel in a comfortable eighth place, but he suffered a curious and most unfortunate end when he was shown the black and orange flag – Nigel says he saw the same sign for Neil, and whilst it was suggested that the flag was for loose bodywork, nothing was seen to be amiss. So eighth place, one lap down, was Xavier. After a good start he had drifted away from Nigel, but this was a very, very good maiden race of which he can be proud. “Bob” already looks to be a useful addition to the Paddock, and there’s a few drivers who may get a shock or two once he gets up to speed…

Ninth place went to Peter Kumlin, some 20s behind Xavier and hampered by a missing third gear. Tenth was Richard Utley, and David Whiteside had a quiet run to eleventh after Paul’s departure. Last man home in a sick JP was our other race rookie Vernon.

 Classified Finishers

Pos Name Car Class Time Laps Best

Fastest Lap

Class A: Peter Kumlin - Effyh-JAP

Class B: Mike Fowler - Cooper Mk V Norton

Class C: Richard Ellingworth - Parker-Kieft-Norton

JAP: Neil Hodges - Cooper Mk VIII-JAP

DNF: Nigel Challis - Cooper Mk VIII-Norton, George Shackleton - Cooper Mk VI-JAP, Brian Joliffe - Cooper Mk IX-JAP, Paul Hewes - Cooper Mk VIII-Norton, Gordon Russell - Mackson-Norton, Roy Hunt - Martin-Norton, Richard Bishop-Miller - Cooper Mk II-JAP, David Stevenson - Cooper Mk VIII-Norton, Hakan Sandberg - JBS-Triumph

Our thanks to the HSCC      Report by Rich

Points after Round One

1 Richard Ellingworth Parker-Kieft-Norton C 19:29 10 1:54.731
2 Nigel Ashman Cooper Mk XI-Norton C 19:31 10 1:55.651
3 Mike Fowler Cooper Mk V-Norton B 20:03 10 1:57.573
4 Neil Hodges Cooper Mk VIII-JAP C 20:04 10 1:58.108
5 JB Jones Cousy-Triumph C 20:33 10 2:01.029
6 Martin Shepherd Cooper Mk XII-Norton C 20:44 10 2:01.047
7 Darrell Woods Staride Mk III-Norton B 20:44 10 2:00.519
8 Xavier Kingsland Staride Mk III-Norton B 20:08 9 2:07.178
9 Peter Kumlin Effyh-JAP D 20:26 9 2:12.453
10 Richard Utley JBS-Norton B 20:57 9 2:15.474
11 David Whitehouse Cooper Mk VII-Norton B 21:22 9 2:14.850
12 Vernon Williamson JP-Vincent B 22:00 8 2:40.988

So a big field, lots of great racing, and no major damage at the end. What more can you ask for? The next race is a high profile event with the VSCC See Red meeting, and at Donington Park, a circuit I do not believe we have visited for five years. It looks like the story of the season is going to be the second group of drivers – Darrell, JB, Roy and more. Not only is the competition here getting fiercer, they seem to be edging closer to the leaders. We already have a couple of new drivers and new cars (and they’re not late-model Coopers, adding some variety). This could be a very interesting year – even if your car isn’t ready, it will be worth making your way to Donington.

Neil Hodges - Cooper Mk VIII