Mallory BRSCC Results 240308

Mallory Park Don Truman Trophy 24th March 2008

The first round of the season produced a pretty good turnout of fourteen cars, in spite of the conditions which varied between bright spring sunshine and snow showers throughout the day! We were rewarded with an offer of a second race at the end of the day, views on the sense of this varied according to each competitor's mechanical maladies and the precise weather at any moment but a few brave souls stayed behind to continue play.

The star of qualifying, Nigel Ashman back in his Mk XI.


Most managed the difficult job of starting without too much difficulty, some resorting to a liberal dose of Easy Start or a tow. Qualifying was cold but the track was almost dry and it was Nigel Ashman, this year in his Mk XI Cooper Norton, who showed he'd had everybody's share of Wheatabix by claiming pole with a 1:00.367, an excellent time in the conditions and a few hundredths ahead of our resident "Mallory Master" John Turner in his faithful Mk IX. Last year's champion, Mike Fowler, was third a couple of second back, Mike easing himself back into racing with his Mk V. Alongside would be be Martin Sheppard with a respectable 1:03. Row three was made up of coach builder Rod Jolley making a guest appearance in Brian Joliffe's Mk VII and Neil Hodges, struggling with magneto problems in his similar car. Next up were Mike Gilbert and Shirley Monro, followed by Roy Wright, who didn't take the start after discovering a badly cracked chassis, and the Cousy of John Jones. They were followed by Darrell in the Creamer and Richard Bishop-Miller in the early Cooper Mk II. The final row would be taken by Humphrey Collis in the JLR Triumph and Hakan Sandberg in his Cooper. Post-session there were a few problems to resolve. Hakan could not fix the JBS, but was generously offered Brian Jolliffe’s second Cooper Mk VIII (the royal blue car, Rod having the BRG model). Richard Bishop-Miller set about salvaging his clutch, reasoning that for once it wasn’t some broken JAP internals to contend with. Neil Hodges’ problems were traced to a spooked magneto failing to provide a spark.

Forming up Photo Anne-Marie Hodges.

Race 1 Don Truman Trophy

Thirteen cars set off on the green flag lap, but we suddenly lost Mike Fowler, diving for the back entrance of the Paddock (and nearly distracting a couple of others into following him!). Mike spotted what looked like the brake pedal clevis pin rattling around the foot well. Although the brakes were working fine, he rightly decided to check from the safety of the Assembly Area rather than the approach to Gerards. The offending part turned out to be the rev counter drive spindle, and Mike raced to pit exit to tag on to the passing field.

Except that didn’t quite go to plan. Hakan and Darrell both died as the lights changed and were pushed to the pits for inspection. Richard had encountered more clutch trouble in assembly, and hoped to make the most of the promised generous starting procedure. He trickled through the Devil’s Elbow, hoping to see the field already underway, but was met by marshals waiting to guide him into position. He had no choice but to stick the car in neutral and try to bash it into gear when the red lights went out. The Norton box took exception to this ill treatment, broke, stuck in gear, and left him stranded on track unable to be pushed to safety. A red flag was inevitable.

Quickly, the problem was sorted and the race restarted almost immediately - much to the chagrin of Mike Fowler, who was hoping to at least rejoin at the back of the grid. As at the first start, John Turner just took the lead into Gerards from Nigel, followed by Rod and Neil. Martin Sheppard had failed to engage first gear on the line and found himself last away. Mike Gilbert led Shirley by half a car’s length as they came around for the first time, but Shirley would ahead second time through. Mike Fowler clearly had the red mist down and was charging hard, quickly on these two. Martin was also progressing well, a few second back and past John Jones’ Cousy.

Of the non-starters, Hakan was out with unknown fuelling problems. Darrell’s kill switch had fallen apart, and after some bodging by Simon Frost he would get out a few laps behind, keeping in sight the battle between Shirley and Mike, until his carburettor fell off. John Jones couldn’t quite keep the pace of these two and motored quietly to finish some thirty seconds behind them. Humphrey completed three tours before a loose magneto and damaged plug lead caused a bad misfire and retirement.

The leaders

They're off.

Photo David Bishop-Miller

On lap 2, John looked in control, easing some two seconds from Nigel, who in turn was about four seconds ahead of Rod and Neil, the latter clearly looking for a way through. For the next couple of laps Neil looked for the opportunity, but on lap 4 a rear brake pipe fractured. He would nurse the car home, with a few tyre-smoking moments as he incorrectly guessed his early braking point for the hairpin.

At the front, John eased up a fraction. In his own words “I looked over my left shoulder and saw nothing, looked over my right shoulder, and thought “Great, he’s gone.” But Nigel was still there, caught John napping out of the Hairpin, and surged past at the end of the fourth lap. On the same lap, Shirley missed a gear at the same place, and Mike took his chance, running side by side past the pits, and inadvertently blocking in Martin Sheppard who had quietly eased up to them. Martin would need another lap to dispose of the two of them, by which time the still charging Mike Fowler was out of sight in fifth. Mike was still 15 seconds adrift of Neil’s injured Cooper, but he was only losing a couple of seconds each lap and was able to nurse the car home still eight seconds ahead.

John had a clear target right in front of him and set about the silver Cooper again. Sixth time into the Esses, John seized the apex, leaving Nigel no choice but to fall in line behind. He would hold close to the flag, but his only opportunity was when John came up to Shirley at the last time into Gerards. Whilst he lost a little time going around the outside, it wasn’t enough for Nigel to get a run, and it was a delighted John Turner who took the flag and received the Trophy from Don Truman himself.    -   Report by Richard Hodges

Classified Finishers Main Race

Pos Name Car Time Laps Best


Fastest Lap: John Turner - Cooper Mk IX - 1:00.482  80.35 mph

DNF: Darrell Woods - Creamer, Humphrey Collis - JLR, Richard Bishop Miller - Cooper Mk II, Hakan Sandberg - Cooper Mk VIII

DNS Roy Wright - Dastle

Our thanks to the British Racing & Sports Car Club.

Points after Round 1

1 John Turner Cooper Mk IX 10:18 10 1:00.482
2 Nigel Ashman Cooper Mk XI 10:21 10 1:00.546
3 Rod Jolley Cooper Mk VIII 10:40 10 1:02.331
4 Neil Hodges Cooper Mk VIII 10:48 10 1:03.222
5 Mike Fowler Cooper Mk V 10:57 10 1:03.139
6 Martin Sheppard Cooper Mk XII 11:19 10 1:05.039
7 Mike Gilbert Cooper Mk X 10:23 9 1:06.981
8 Shirley Monro Cooper Mk IV 10:26 9 1:07.136
9 John Jones Cousy 11:02 9 1:11.099

John Turner takes home the laurels (again). Photo Anne-Marie Hodges

Martin Sheppard and Rod Jolley.

Humphrey's JLR-Triumph


Frosty the Snowman by James Gray.    Simon Frost fettles while Mike Gilbert struggles to give morale support during one of the less pleasant times of the day.....