Mallory Results 210713

Mallory Park 21st July 2013

The heatwave took a day off for Round 4 of the series, once again on the VSCC ticket. Another impressive entry of twenty five – despite the likes of Nigels Challis and Ashman. Maurice van der Brempt was back with the Fillingham, now sporting a methanol-fuelled JAP donated by Simon Frost (attending, but not with the Martin). Meanwhile a blast from the past was Colin Warrington returning to 500s after many years away – invited to try David Baldock’s Cooper Mk IV.

The most noticeable sight from qualifying was that fully twenty one cars qualified in under sixty seven seconds – five years ago that figure would have probably gained a top ten start, and with no-one breaking the minute, the track was not at it’s absolute best. Whilst all twenty five cars set times, the sessions was not without incident and several were swapping engines in the break. Ian Phillips would have to scratch. Hakan pulled the misfiring Triumph from his JBS, but the replacement Norton could not be made to work, and he too would not make the start. The Gartsides had been hopeful of finally solving their self-destructing Norton (or at least recognising the symptoms quick enough to avoid too much damage). It didn’t quite work out that way, although driver Martin did manage to pull up before the worst. Back in the Paddock hopes were raised again when it was finally spotted that the fuel tank breather was blocked (and so leaning out the engine at speed). With piston rings rooted, the motor ran very smokily, but they thought it worth running to hopefully confirm the problem was behind them.

Darrell was again the pole man, with Roy Hunt beside him - Roy has been particularly handy in qualifying this year. Richard de la Roche again looked good in the Smith (62”, 7th), and Xavier had clearly been taking tips from the lad David (63” 11th). Pat Barford’s Bueb-Arnott was also looking very effective (63” 11th), despite a weight penalty – not of the driver, but the astonishingly deeply upholstered seat he uses! Seriously, it is very pleasant to see so many mid-period, non-Cooper cars actually in the mix rather than towards the back.

All very neat for the start....

So twenty three cars lined up for the rolling start, although Paul Hewes and Maurice struggled to get going and were some way behind the field (it is worth noting that both had the good sense to tonk it round the formation lap to at least try and make the grid, rather than assuming everyone would wait). Both would still motor to the flag – Paul setting better times than of late (and in normal circumstances 1’11” laps would have been considered quite decent) whilst Maurice was enjoying the opportunity to run so many laps without problem.

As for the remainder, well, what a race! 2013 has already marked the largest grid of 500s for fifty years, and this race would match in quality pretty much anything since that first run at Gransden Lodge.

With several of the regular hands now sussing the VSCC’s rolling start procedure, half a dozen cars bid for the lead into Gerards. Darrell and Roy went in side-by-side and it was Roy who came out the stronger. Mike Fowler had third, but fast-starting George Shackleton and Neil Hodges dealt with that, and followed through past Darrell for second and third respectively at lap end. Mike dropped to eighth in the confusion, just behind John Turner who had fluffed a change at the start and been swallowed up. The remainder of the pack had all gone for ninth place, and were still sorting out positions at the end of the first of eight laps.

Completing that first lap, it was still Roy in front entering the Devil’s Elbow, only for three others to fan out (as we see so often in competitive 500 battles at Mallory) and get even commentator Marcus Pye super-excited as they crossed the line four wide. Simon Brown was back with Freddie Harper’s Mk IV Twin, and here its extra horses paid off, taking the lead for Gerards. Roy was still second, but Neil took the brave outside line to pass George around the outside – to no avail as the Norton power reversed the positions on the return down Stebbe Straight. Darrell and Mike had regrouped and soon back on Neil’s tail. After a good start, Richard de la Roche could not quite keep with this group, but would soon have John Turner to keep him alert. If not John, then he could worry about Nick Powell, or a charging Richard Bishop-Miller (making amends for a poor fifteenth grid position), or Xavier, or Stuart Wright’s Dastle, all in close formation. After a small gap (about a second or so), JB (in the Mk IX rather than Cousy) was side-by-side with Pat’s Arnott, a larger gap paused for Fred Walmsley, James Gray, Rodney Delves and Mark Riley. Shirley led the older cars with Colin some distance behind but building confidence with each lap (the Mk IV picking up reliability and speed over its first few outings, and starting to look like a racer more than just participant), with finally Paul and Maurice. Sadly Martin Gartside’s smoky engine had given up the ghost after one lap, still not certain whether this was a remnant of the fuelling problem or proof that it had still not been resolved.

Still quite tidy (this is lap 1)


A lead group was starting to form, and it was George who had taken the lead, although this would be short-lived, as Simon’s Twin-power took him back past in time for a dab of brakes into Gerards (as a side-note, although we always mention the Twin advantage, Simon is no mean driver, and fair with it, and is running a considerably more primitive chassis). These two now had a relatively large gap as, having got through the pack Darrell had a discombobulating moment at the Hairpin as his engine fluffed at just the wrong time. As he span around, the immediate pack fanned in all directions. Roy was reasonably OK, Neil took to the grass, Richard B-M more so (earning a trip to the CoC for wilfully trying to avoid an accident), himself now heading the second pack from Richard dlR (more grass), John Turner and Xavier. The next group found their way through, but at the tail Shirley was the unlucky one, unsighted and locking up in avoidance of Darrell’s car – not so much an issue, but as a result she lost the tow of Rodney’s Kieft and she was unable to rejoin the battle. Out of all this Darrell was able to get started again, never actually hit, but the engine was now ‘off’ and he peeled off into the back of the Paddock on the fourth tour, the second retirement.

Simon and George now had a second lead over the four chasers, which lasted a lap and a half. But as soon as George made the pass, the delay brought them immediately back onto their tale (inevitably George’s, as the Twin won the drag race back across the line). Neil passed Mike again for third, but the favour was returned. Neil and Richard then went for some more formation grass-tracking, this time on the exit of Gerards, and for no particular reason other than not being willing to let go of the accelerator pedal. Richard come out of this best, taking fifth.

If that suggests normal race structure had been resumed, it hadn’t. at half distance, Richard de la Roche was still within a car-and-a-half’s length of this group, and still had John Turner held in behind him. A gap had opened up behind, Xavier now a couple of seconds off, but with Stuart right alongside, almost making the move into Gerards. Two seconds further back, JB took advantage of a little grassy moment for Nicholas for eleventh, but that fight was far from over. They would swap positions pretty much every lap from there to the end, in fact until the final lap when Mark Riley (having got away from the Barford-Walmsley-Gray-Delves group and closed up four seconds) decided to join in and split them at the flag.

And that group of four was also a fine scrap. Pat’s run came to an end on lap six when the clutch cable went. At Cadwell, plugging on without a clutch had mauled the gearbox, so Pat had decided that discretion was the better part of a large cheque and retired from the head of the group. The three survivors battled to the end, coming through in a different sequence every time. James Gray felt he could have had more, but was having to use first gear at the hairpin, which was costing time on entry, and on the drag race out of the corner. At the death it was Fred who got the upper hand, taking fourteenth place and the better part of a second from Rodney, with James barely another car-length back. The final four (Shirley, Colin, Paul and Maurice) were spread out beyond.

Ah, not so neat now, Darrell.

Which leaves just the final decider at the head of the race. Simon in the Twin was trying to make use of the two straights, and was doing so successfully as he was never quite headed by the later, smaller 500s. But it was close, as there was never more than a car’s length of clear air, even at the end of the straights. At half distance, George seemed to have the upper hand, but where with a clear track he might have been able set some tempo laps to forge a gap, the Mk IV relatively slow progress in the corners stymied that option. On lap six Roy came past, but a lap later he was behind not just George, but also Mike, who get the fractionally better drag from the hairpin. Every single lap we saw the classic Mallory ‘fan’ out across the track as the four passed the Devil’s Elbow, occasionally with the desperate dive across for anyone who had the a run on the others. It was a particular glorious sight as we had four different, but equally pretty cars participating in this spectacle.

It all came down to the final sprint. Simon went in first and looked favourite to be first to the flag, and so it would be. But had Roy got the run on George? It seemed so and the three cars were side-by-side and difficult to tell from pit wall (everyone there craneing out for a view), but as they crossed the line it was George’s hand that went up, Roy’s head that dipped. The winning margin was eight hundredth’s of a second, just a foot or so. Mike came fourth on track, third of the 500s, within half a second. Richard Bishop-Miller was fifth but on the final lap Neil’s gearbox had played up, letting Richard de la Roche and John Turner through before he cruised over the line.

This report cannot really sum up how competitive this race was – your reporter couldn’t keep track of the action even from his spot on pit wall, much less the many moves that could be seen through Gerards, or anything less visible on the return leg. It was best summed up by a confused JB “Can someone explain to me how I finished, what, twenty seconds behind the winner, and I’m only in thirteenth place?”

Classified Finishers

Pos Name Car Class Time Laps Best

Fastest Lap

Class P1: Shirley Monro - Cooper Mk IV-JAP

Class P2: Mike Fowler - Cooper Mk V-Norton

Class P3: Roy Hunt - Martin-Norton

JAP: Richard Bishop Miller - Revis-JAP

Invitation: Simon Brown - Cooper Mk IV JAP Twin


DNF: Pat Barford - Arnott-Norton, Darrel Woods - Cooper Mk XII-Norton, Martin Gartside - Cooper Mk VIII-Norton DNS: Hakan Sandberg - JBS-Triumph


Pics courtesy of Robin's "friend" and Mike Wood

1 George Shackleton Cooper Mk XI-Norton P3 8:22 8 1:01.48
2 Roy Hunt Martin-Norton P3 8:22 8 1:01.02
3 Mike Fowler Cooper Mk V-Norton P2 8:22 8 1:01.30
4 Richard Bishop-Miller Revis-JAP P3 8:25 8 1:01.28
5 Richard de la Roche Smith-Buckler-JAP P2 8:27 8 1:01.97
6 John Turner Cooper Mk IX-JAP P3 8:28 8 1:01.85
7 Neil Hodges Cooper Mk VIII-JAP P3 8:31 8 1:01.89
8 Xavier Kingsland Staride-Norton P2 8:33 8 1:02.65
9 Stuart Wright Dastle-JAP P3 8:34 8 1:02.39
10 Nick Powell Cooper Mk VIII-Norton P3 8:34 8 1:01.47
11 Mark Riley Cooper Mk IX-JAP INV 8:39 8 1:02.33
12 JB Jones Cooper Mk IX-Triumph P3 8:41 8 1:03.18
13 Fred Walmsley Cooper Mk VII-Norton P2 8:45 8 1:03.19
14 Rodney Delves Kieft CK52-Norton P2 8:46 8 1:03.47
15 James Gray Comet-JAP P2 8:46 8 1:03.23
16 Shirley Monro Cooper Mk IV-JAP P1 8:59 8 1:05.86
17 Colin Warrington Cooper Mk IV-JAP P1 9:23 8 1:08.55
18 Paul Hewes Cooper Mk VIII-Norton P3 8:42 7 1:11.64
19 Maurice van der Brempt Fillingham-JAP P3 8:55 6 1:25.36

Points after round four

The Hunt and the hunter .....