Donington Park Results 170312

Donington Park 17th March 1012

Donington Park was the host to the inaugural race in the 500 Owners Associations circuit racing calendar. The first race always brings out some new cars and plenty of intrigue and admiration for the handwork and development resulting from the dark winter months. Several cars were sporting new additions; JB Jones was moving to a new twin carburettor setup and revised front brakes. Current circuit champion Darrel Woods has moved back to his Cooper Norton, Mike Fowler was entered in his Mk X Cooper equipped this year with a short stroke engine to take on the dominant long stroke motors.

Amongst the familiar faces were a couple of new faces, Hill climb regular Mark Riley has decided to see what all this going round in circles racing is all about. Mark insisted that he was out for only a signature and to take things easy. Pat Barford was driving the well known white Kieft CK52. The intriguing little Whitfill special was out again after being first seen in England at the Goodwood Revival. The absence of a few regular cars and drivers was also noted, although I am sure they will be out later in the season.

Pat Barford wearing shades, must be qualifying.


Mike was unfortunately our first casualty before practice as during early morning test runs the Manx motor was failing to scavenge oil, when the oil was later drained it appeared to have the consistency of strawberry jam, with an engine full of Jam Mike decide to scratch. Either the Castrol R40 was off or Laura had put a handful of go faster jelly babies into the oil tank !

The sun was out and the track was dry making perfect conditions for the practice session, all the cars assembled on the Melbourne loop and after the regular pantomime of pushing and starting all cars made their way out onto the circuit.

The Cooper of Mike Bell was the first to decide it didn’t want to play, with fuel problems being the cause, the Cooper was retired by the end of the first lap. JB was soon seen in the pit lane checking plug colours and mixture, once satisfied all was good he was quickly out again. Another visitor to the pit lane was the Creamer of Mark Riley, although again only in for precautionary checks before heading back out.

The Swedish coloured Cooper of Hodges was sounding a little off form and completed 8 laps before deciding to park up. The Revis was hot on the tail of the well known JBS of Richard Utley, both cars looking healthy. The major casualty was Martin Gartside, after putting in some very competitive laps, only 0.8 seconds behind eventual pole man Steve Jones, the Cooper Norton was to coast along Wheatcroft straight sounding like a bag of nails. Later paddock investigations revealed an engine with everything moving as it should except the piston, which didn’t any more!

The Whitfill special was making steady progress and the appearance of a pit board was somewhat optimistically willing the micro Indianapolis style car on.

The engine failure of Martin Gartside left Steve Jones comfortably on pole with Darrell and Pat filling the next two key slots.

The Race

Once again the cars assembled on the Melbourne loop, The darkening clouds brought in the rain, with no time for revising tyre pressures or gearing, the rain was certainly going to shake up the order of things.

After two precautionary green flag laps the cars were greeted by sun and a spectacular rainbow over the circuit for the start of the first race of 2012.

As Steve Jones approached the line the lights went out for a rolling start, by the time the pack approached Redgate for the first time Steve had an impressive lead, followed by Darrell, JB and the Revis who’s wheel enveloping front bodywork looked to be the accessory to have in the wet conditions. Neil Hodges had also made a very strong start and was quickly making up places, the smoother power delivery of the JAP being to his advantage in the wet conditions. Avoiding trouble and aiming for a bruise free knee ride in the Kieft, Pat had dropped back down the grid. The Trenberth was to give up at Redgate, after some protesting from the Vincent engine a final pop marked the end of Kerrys race. Heavy spray and slippery conditions meant that the race quickly spread out, with survival being the main objective, those with novice plates were keen to stay out of trouble to earn the all important signatures.

Nigel Challis, Cooper Mk VIII through the chicane.

Steve was soon maintaining a dominant lead with the late model Cooper, leaving the key battle for second and third place. The Cousy of JB, Darrell's Cooper and the Revis were all having a look at the podium with Hodges close behind.

Neil was to be taken by the wet conditions on Lap 5 when moving up the grid passed Darrell, a moment caused the two Coopers to come too close together, after a tyre kiss Neil was on the grass and his race was over. Darrell recovered and was quickly in pursuit of the Revis and Cousy.

By lap 5 the Cooper of Bell was missing and all the action was in the battle for the podium places, the second pack was comfortably led by Chairman Challis with the Creamer Special looking very tidy and the Dastle sounding good and close behind , an adventure onto the grass at the bottom of the Craner curves lost the Dastle 2 places that he was not able to recover and would settle for 8th place and a finish.

Steve continued to have a lonely race up front and was beginning to lap some of the back markers. On lap 7 the battle for second was to be decided, as the Cousy and the Revis approached Redgate with the Cousy holding second place, an avoidance move from Bishop Miller meant the Revis was sent into a dramatic spin, avoiding the kitty litter the JAP engine expired, putting the Revis out of the race, leaving the Cousy in second and allowing Darrell to have a chance of a Podium finish.

The race would continue without drama and Steve Jones crossed the line unchallenged in first place, The Cousy finished with a well earned second place to the cruel commentators comment “that’s probably the best that things ever done!” Mark Riley continued to a finish, first JAP home and a class win for his circuit debut in the Creamer.

The rain had stopped and celebrations continued in the paddock. The rain always shakes up the grid and presents a new challenge. The ever popular Cadwell Park is next on the calendar and once again the 500s will rise to the occasion and put on a fine and varied display of 500 F3 cars.

 Classified Finishers

Pos Name Car Class Time Laps Best

Fastest Lap

Class B: Mark Riley-Creamer-Kieft-JAP

Class C: Steve Jones - Cooper Mk X-Norton

JAP: Richard Bishop-Miller - Revis-JAP


DNF: Richard Bishop-Miller - Revis-JAP, Mike Bell - Cooper Mk X-JAP, Neil Hodges - Cooper Mk VIII-JAP, Kerry Horan - Trenberth-Vincent


DNS: Martin Gartside - Cooper Mk VIII-Norton



Our thanks to the HSCC

Report by George Shackleton


1 Steve Jones Cooper Mk X Norton C 20:04 10 1:56.919
2 JB Jones Cousy-Triumph C 20:10 10 1:57.684
3 Darrell Woods Cooper Mk VIII-Norton C 20:29 10 2:00.156
4 Nigel Challis Cooper Mk VIII-Norton C 20:44 10 2:00.938
5 Mark Riley Creamer-Kieft-JAP B 21:42 10 2:07.495
6 Pat Barford Kieft-Norton B 22:04 10 2:09.630
7 Richard Utley JBS-Norton B 20:04 9 2:06.807
8 Stuart Wright Dastle-JAP C 20:25 9 2:10.389
9 Rudolf Ernst Whitfill-Triumph D 20:34 9 2:12.542

"No grip, everything was wrong, gutted really ...... " NOT - JB Jones

"Well, Marcus......." Steve takes his moment of glory.