Cadwell VSCC Results 310808

Cadwell Park 31st August 2008

A thick fog on the drive to in, with the promise of thunderstorms for the day, didn’t prevent a fine turn out of twenty three cars for the traditional favourite - the Vintage Sports Car Club's Cadwell Park meeting. A most welcome returnee was Geoff Gartside, health problems have forced Geoff to restrict his schedule and to Martin’s push button racing, so this was his first appearance for a year. But he was quickly back in the saddle, entertaining us on- and off-track. Also making a return was Tim Sage, with his very original ex-“Bill” Sykes Cooper Mk II. With similarly-mounted Richard Bishop-Miller, this may be the first time in decades that we have seen a brace of Mk IIs on-track. Gordon Russell had forsaken the Mackson for Pat Barford’s Cooper Mk VIII. This is the ex-Nick Leston, ex-Peter Wright car, and is still in part-reconditioned state with a mix of primered and bare panels. Last of the newcomers was Frederick Harper in a bare-metal Cooper Mk IV, possibly the Peter Collins car.

A brace of Cooper Mk IIs for Tim Sage and Richard Bishop-Miller. Photos John Landamore


Qualifying turned into a bit of a shambles, despite the mist lifting to a warm, humid morning. Most cars were away cleanly but after a couple of laps Mikes Bell and Fowler were stopped at either end of the Mountain. The Clerk a little cautiously threw the red flag. Despite the efforts of marshals and few hardy mechanics who ran down to the start line, a few cars struggled to restart. With the cars coming back onto a partially-blocked main straight, the red flag was briefly waved again, but it was quickly withdrawn once James Holland’s Cooper was pushed aside and the leaders were only briefly delayed. As most cars continued to circulate, a few recalcitrant motors were encouraged back into life in pit lane, whilst others who had returned to the Paddock with problems were also rejoining before the Hall Bends. Part two of qualifying at least allowed some to settle themselves and improve their times but the session came to an unfortunate end with Paul's collision.

When the results sheets appeared there was some surprise to see the Cousy topping the times, some ten seconds quicker than the regular fast guys, John having clearly eaten everyone else's Wheatabix. No gentleman or lady 500 racer would ever suggest that JB might have slipped the timekeepers a tanner so the little French Cousy duly lined up for it’s first pole position since...well perhaps ever.

Beside him would be Neil Hodges who had strung together a series of storming laps to drop below the two minute mark and out-qualify the Norton-engined cars of both Nigel Ashman and Mark Fowler, as well as John Turner. Roy Hunt completed the top six, followed by Simon Frost (cautiously bedding-in Mike Gilbert’s Cooper Mk IX, and fettling Mark Palmer’s similar ex-Griswold car), and a rather racy James Holland. Brian Jolliffe and Gordon Russell would make up row five.

Frederick Harper (bedding the car in and only completing a couple of laps, but posting a very handy 2’ 06”), then Darrell Woods (with some brake problems).

Mark Palmer, Hakan Sandberg and Richard Bishop-Miller all ran OK but Kerry Horan was in trouble with the Trenberth, and sadly again would not be seen in the afternoon. Marek Reichman had his Norton running cleanly at last, and a cautious session left him seventeenth. Geoff lost his clutch and cruised for his mandatory three laps, while troubles hit Shirley (magneto), Paul, Tim (misfire) and Nigel Challis.



JB looks relaxed at the thought of leading the field.....



There followed an inordinate wait for race time, compounded by a long delay for an accident in the Morgan race. Whilst a few spots fell, the predicted monsoon did not materialise (at least until the drive home), and twenty cars proceeded to the grid. Marek being the third absentee as the clutch on the Emeryson decided to expire as he set off. From the front row, Neil was looking for a quick breakaway and hoping John Jones would hold up the pack for a moment. Selecting gear on the five-second board, he was surprised to see it come out again. In a second the clutch burned out and the car was stranded on the line.

On the run to Coppice, John Turner, Mike Fowler, Nigel Ashman and Simon Frost surged around the Cousy, entering the corner in very close formation. As they returned, Mike and Nigel had passed John, and on the second pass through Coppice Nigel edged inside for the lead. just a coupe of seconds behind the leading quartet was James Holland, who had made a fast start to beat away Roy Hunt (baulked by Neil’s stationary Cooper) and Gordon, both of whom were keen to depose James and tag onto the leaders. They were to be in for a surprise as James drove a blinding race, not only holding them off, but keeping the eventual winner just in sight (and dipping under the two-minute mark in the process).

Four seconds behind these three were Brian Jolliffe and Darrell Woods in close company, then Hakan, John Jones & Mark Palmer, Geoff & Richard, Nigel & Shirley, then Tim (already with a high-end misfire) and Frederick starting slowly. Malcolm pulled over on the entry to Hall Bends with a seized engine.

Through laps two and three, Nigel eked out a gap of about two seconds, but was not able to make the break. Mike and John continued hammer and tongs, with Simon holding a car length off - keen for the fight but perhaps keener not to return a bent car to Mike Gilbert (again...). Simon shadowed the pair until the engine died suddenly on lap four. On the same lap, John took a dive inside Mike through Coppice. Both on the ragged edge this was a cracking battle. John was left with a tell-tale rubber-smeared nose and decide to hold off until a final unsuccessful lunge on the fifth and final lap. The podium positions would be Nigel, Mike and John.

Mike, John and Simon line up for the Mountain

In fourth was still James, successfully holding off Gordon (until the latter pulled over with fuelling problems, and preferring not to damage Pat’s new baby) then firmly but fairly closing out a final lunge by Roy cresting the Mountain to take his best finish on the circuits to date - at a pace he can take great pride in. It may not have been as spectacular as Mike and John, but was the drive of the day.

Brian Joliffe should have been mixing it in this group, but was hampered by a misfire. He was closely followed by Darrell's Creamer Kieft, keeping a watchful eye on the car as he had already sold it. After his poor start, Frederick Harper opened up the Cooper Mk IV, cutting through past John Jones, Mark Palmer and then Hakan Sandberg to take eighth place - Geoff Gartside holding onto this group until the top came off one of the float chambers.

In a similar vein, Nigel Challis had a fuel hose break away from the same float, fortunately parking up before the pressurised fuel could find something to ignite it. This left Richard Bishop-Miller, having a good run (despite losing third gear for two laps before it returned) to hold off Shirley, and Tim Sage (still with a misfire) to come in fourteenth and last, nine seconds adrift, but still on the lead lap.

A little lovers kiss after John closed the gap to Mike just a thou too much!

Classified Finishers

Pos Name Car Time Laps Best

Fastest Lap: Nigel Ashman - Cooper Mk XI

Only a mother could love it.....

1 Nigel Ashman Cooper Mk XI 10:04 5 1:58.19
2 Mike Fowler Cooper Mk V 10:07 5 1:58.19
3 John Turner Cooper Mk IX 10:07 5 1:58.72
4 James Holland Cooper Mk VIII 10:14 5 1:59.95
5 Roy Hunt Martin 10:14 5 1:59.61
6 Brian Joliffe Cooper Mk IX 10:52 5 2:07.69
7 Darrell Woods Creamer Kieft 10:53 5 2:07.46
8 Fred Harper Cooper Mk IV 11:09 5 2:03.99
9 Hakan Sandberg JBS 11:16 5 2:10.89
10 Mark Palmer Cooper Mk VIII 11:16 5 2:10.27
11 John Jones Cousy 11:17 5 2:10.61
12 Richard Bishop-Miller Cooper Mk IV 11:46 5 2:15.95
13 Shirley Monro Cooper Mk IV 11:47 5 2:15.70
14 Tim Sage Cooper Mk II 11:58 5 2:19.56
DNF: Gordon Russell - Cooper Mk VIII, Geoff Gartside - Cooper Mk VIII, Simon Frost - Cooper Mk IX, Nigel Challis - Cooper Mk VIII, Malcolm Bell - Cooper Mk VIII, Neil Hodges - Cooper Mk VIII            DNS: Marek Reichman - Emeryson, Kerry Horan - Trenberth, Paul Hewes - Cooper Mk VIII

Race Report Richard Hodges, photos Mike Fowler, John Landamore and James Hodges                          Championship Standings

Nigel’s seventh victory of the season confirms him as a worthy 2008 Circuits Champion. With just Mallory Park to go John Turner could still steal the runners up spot from Mike, whilst Roy, Nigel Challis, Simon (if he can find a ride) and Neil could all poach that final podium place. It’s getting closer and faster at the front, and there could be fireworks. The same can also be said for the midfield groups, and let’s hope for a good turnout for the season finale.

Old face, new car; Gordon Russell in the freshly restored Cooper Mk VIII of Pat Barford. Photo John Landamore