Mallory BRSCC Results 260409

Mallory Park Don Truman Trophy 26th April 2009

A full month later than the same event in 2008, the weather was suitably warmer, dry with a slight chill in the breeze for the traditional early-season Mallory meet. And some 18 cars made an appearance. With a somewhat limited race schedule, the 500s found themselves with not only two races (in itself a surprise to certain competitors who hadn’t read the final instructions properly) but two practice sessions - a generous and rather optimistic 80 minutes of track time. Wisely, the races were curtailed to 15 minutes each, with the second, non-championship race to start in reverse order for a novelty.

With most of the entrants from Round 1, plus a few other regulars out of hibernation, an impressive grid was expected. Mark Palmer would share the Wishart with Simon Frost, to try to diagnose handling issues resulting from the restoration. David Whiteside was back in his Cooper Mk VII, rather pleased to now have pretty conclusive evidence that this is the ex-Eric Brandon car. And with dad Roy away on show duty, Stuart Wright took over the driving duties in the Dastle for the first time in a while. Most notable absentee was John Turner, who has a viral infection. Everyone’s best wishes go to our friend, and we hope to at least see you at least as a spectator some time this season, John.


In the first, untimed session, most drivers made the effort to shakedown the cars and clear a few cobwebs from their heads. Frustratingly, two cars were quickly lost. John Jones holed a piston in the Cousy’s Triumph engine. And a loose chain on the Dastle ripped out the chassis tube that had only just been replaced, curtailing Stuart’s return. Both would take no further part.

Qualifying was both fast and close, with a track giving up useful amounts of grip. An impressive dozen cars beat the 65 second benchmark. On pole, initially was Roy Hunt with a remarkable 57” lap, until it was spotted that this had included a short cut through the Paddock! So Nigel Ashman and Gordon Russell took the front row. Richard Ellingsworth was running very well for third in the Martin with Roy beside him. Particularly impressive was Mike Bell in sixth - a very smooth, fast line through the Esses keeping him just three seconds off pole. A few old hands may be surprised by Mike if he keeps this up.

No major casualties occurred in the session, but Neil Hodges failed to get on-track with a faltering, then missing spark. Poor Andrew (son of JT) Turner arrived around this time and didn’t make it past “hello” before being dragged into fettling duties. The problem was finally diagnosed as “something in the magneto” and Bill Tull kindly rustled up a spare so Neil would start from the back of the grid.

Race 1

The grid for Race 1 was cut further as David Whiteside (loose cylinder head) and Mike Bell (undiagnosed fuel problem) failed to fire up in the Assembly Area. Quick handling by race control and the startline marshals got the start underway in record time and (for once) not a single car stumbled. Richard Ellingsworth got a flier to lead past the pits, but it was Nigel first into Gerards, and Gordon took second around the outside. From the back, Neil made a rather poor start (last only to Darrell who made an even worse getaway), but went with the “let’s try not braking around the outside of Gerards” approach to make up several spots. Darrell deciding tagging along was probably the safest option and duly recovered his position as others got out of Neil’s way.

At the end of the first lap, Nigel had established a 1-second lead on Gordon, and would drive away at that sort of advantage every lap for victory. Gordon was equally pulling away from the pack at a similar rate, and looked comfortable for second. Richard in the Martin had a small advantage over Nigel Challis and Simon in the Wishart, Martin Sheppard and Roy Hunt. Next was Shirley Monro in eighth, but Neil was right on her tail and passed he around the outside on the second run through Gerards. Darrell followed, and Mike Gilbert was a couple of seconds behind.

Richard's Martin. Photo Neil Hodges

Steve Jones had made a hesitant start, slightly spooked by Neil’s pass at Gerards, and was knuckling down in thirteenth. Thereafter, Kerry Horan was taking things carefully in the Trenberth, after a layoff and several engine failures that preceded that), and Paul Hewes was equally cautious with braking issues.

Whilst things looked settled at the front, some interesting battles were simmering in the minor placings, and these quickly came to the boil as they all merged. First, Nigel Challis moved up to Richard’s Martin, taking third place on the exit of Gerards. In that moment’s hesitation, Simon (Wishart) and Roy (Martin) made it a group of four, only to be blown apart as Neil steamed past them all for fourth on lap 3 and third by lap 4. Martin Sheppard could not quite get on terms with this group, sitting barely a second adrift. Darrell was moving up to join the party, and once clear of Mike Gilbert, Steve Jones was also slowly closing in.

Once clear into third place, Neil was already the better part of seven seconds behind Gordon. At first he took big chunks out of the gap, but a couple of moments, and not being sure of how quickly he was catching, he eased up slightly for the finish. When he realised the opportunity was there, it was just a bit too late, and he would come home three seconds adrift.

Behind him, an almighty battle was raging. Nigel, Richard, Roy and Simon would repeatedly appear through the Devil’s Elbow line astern, only to fan out down the pit straight in Red Arrows formation. Rarely did the four cars enter Gerards in the same formation as the exited the Hairpin. Eventually on the ninth lap, Simon fell back rapidly, the gearstick coming adrift approaching the Hairpin. After a slow lap spent fishing the errant metal out from under his legs, Simon got it back together and repassed Mike Gilbert for tenth place. Shirley meanwhile had parked up with a mangled fuel pump.

On lap eleven, Richard stumbled away from the Hairpin and pulled into the pits with gearbox problems. in the confusion, Darrell was able to jump the gap to Nigel and Roy. On lap thirteen, Roy finally made a move stick on Nigel, and from thereon would ease away to secure fourth place by four seconds. Darrell could not quite make a move on Nigel, but Steve dealt with Martin (despite an over tall first gear hampering his run through the Hairpin and compromising his run back past the pits), and began closing in on this battling duo. A storming final lap brought him within a quarter second of Darrell, but it was too late.

So all in, most competitors were very happy. Nigel A had his win, Neil had stormed from the back of the grid, Nigel C confirmed his return to form since the Revival with a really forceful drive, and Richard, Darrell and Steve all took a big step forward in settling into their new mounts.

Nigel Ashman trying.... Photo Neil Rice

Classified Finishers

Pos Name Car Class Time Laps Best

Fastest Lap: Nigel Ashman - Cooper Mk XI - 1:00.326

DNF: Richard Ellingworth - Martin, Shirley Monro - Cooper Mk IV DNS: John Jones - Cousy, Mike Bell - Cooper Mk X, Stuart Wright - Dastle, David Whiteside - Cooper Mk VII

Our thanks to Don Truman and the BRSCC.

Report by Richard Hodges. Photos by Harry Hodges, Kerry Anderson and Neil Rice. You can see more of Neil Rice's work at

Championship Standings

1 Nigel Ashman Cooper Mk XI C 15:18 15 1:00.326
2 Gordon Russell Cooper Mk VIII C 15:34 15 1:00.740
3 Neil Hodges Cooper Mk VIII C 15:37 15 1:01.128
4 Roy Hunt Martin B 15:59 15 1:01.740
5 Nigel Challis Cooper Mk VIII C 16:03 15 1:03.233
6 Darrell Woods Cooper Mk VIII C 16:04 15 1:02.491
7 Steve Jones Cooper Mk X C 16:04 15 1:01.790
8 Martin Sheppard Cooper Mk XII C 16:06 15 1:02.618
9 Simon Frost Wishart Mk II B 15:19 14 1:02.744
10 Mike Gilbert Cooper Mk IX C 15:34 14 1:03.992
11 Kerry Horan Trenberth B 16.15 14 1:07.481
12 Paul Hewes Cooper Mk VIII C 15:50 13 1:10.648

Simon Frost gets crossed up at the hairpin. Photo Neil Rice

A group of swingers, Wishart chases a pair of Martins. Photo Harry Hodges

So the Coopers form their own group, Darryl (a tad out of line) leads Martin Sheppard and Steve Jones through the hairpin. Photo Harry Hodges

Race 2

As a bonus, the BRSCC ran a second race late in the afternoon. The grid was decided by reversing the finishing order from Race 1. The official club reporter was absent so here is a personal view from the cockpit of the winner, Nigel Ashman.

"Being at the back of the grid, I had to wait for everyone to get started and Nigel Challis was having some trouble so not wanting to steal his spot I rolled slowly down through the assembly area once I was running with the idea of letting him through. I soon started to think he wasn’t going to get it going so I decided I had better get moving and went out onto the track and had a scary moment when I looked over to the hairpin from Gerards and saw the pack coming down to the start and had visions of the race starting before I had even reached the Esses! In the end I made it round in time and as I rolled down the grid towards my slot I looked over my shoulder to see Nigel approaching and was able to wave him through to his rightful slot. I pulled up alongside Gordon Russell and the lights went out immediately and somehow I seemed to react quicker from the back then from the front and found myself about third or fourth going into Gerards for the first time. Nigel had done more or less the same thing but it was immediately obvious that his tail was hanging off which he was later to be black flagged for!

By the time we reached the back straight with Nigel and Gordon following me and we all rapidly met Richard who was obviously having trouble judging by his reduced speed and we split to pass him on either side. I followed Nigel through the Esses and thought about a pass on the approach to the hairpin but then thought better of it and eventually managed to slip alongside at the Devil's Elbow and past by the start/finish and from there I managed to stay in front but Gordon kept me honest and closer than in race one. All in all it was great fun…"

Race 2 Classified Finishers

Pos Name Car Time Laps Best Non championship, reverse grid race

Fastest Lap: Nigel Ashman - Cooper Mk XI

DNF: Richard Ellingworth - Martin, Paul Hewes - Cooper Mk VIII

Our thanks to Don Truman and the BRSCC.

You can see more of Neil Rice's photos at

 1 Nigel Ashman Cooper Mk XI 15:23 15 1:00.460
 2 Gordon Russell Cooper Mk VIII 15:33 15 1:01.210
 3 Steve Jones Cooper Mk X 15:44 15 1:00.616
 4 Roy Hunt Martin 15:45 15 1:00.600
 5 Darrell Woods Cooper Mk VIII 16:13 15 1:03.004
 6 Martin Sheppard Cooper Mk XI 16:18 15 1:03.621
 7 Mike Gilbert Cooper Mk XI 15:30 14 1:04.059
 8 Kerry Horan Trenberth 15:57 14 1:06.791
 9 Mark Palmer Wishart Mk II 16:08 14 1:07.557
 10 David Whiteside Cooper Mk VII 15:28 13 1:07.901
 11 Nigel Challis Cooper Mk VIII 15:51 12 1:03.164

Paul Hewes and Mike Bell. Photo Kerry Anderson.

Nigel Challis leads Roy Hunt through the Devils Elbow. Photo Kerry Anderson.

Steve Jones leads Gordon Russell. Photo Kerry Anderson