Brands Hatch Iota Trophy 30th June 2007

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first post war motor race in Britain, at Gransden Lodge, Richard Utley very kindly sponsored the Iota Trophy at Brands Hatch. The event was the HSCC Superprix and gave us a chance to use the full Grand Prix circuit. As Ken Gregory said “Brands Hatch certainly became the hub of the (500) movement, greatly assisting its expansion…” So it was entirely appropriate that we should return to our spiritual home to celebrate such an important anniversary. As well as the series regulars, we enjoyed the good company of our friends from Sweden, some new boys and some rare cars, including two Cooper Mk IIs, two Effyhs, the Comet, an Alfa Dana and the Monaco, one of the few remaining cars from the very early period. The hardy arrived on Friday, to enjoy the friendly paddock atmosphere and a barbeque, which by a small miracle remained dry. Saturday was an early start for the 9 O'clock qualifying and, while there was rain in the air, the circuit remained dry for the whole of the session. Nigel Ashman (back in a Cooper), Rodney Delves (Kieft), Roy Hunt (Martin) and Dave Lecoq (Petty) were well to the fore. Tony Steele (Kieft) shared the second row with Tim Llewellyn (Cooper Mk IV). Neil Hodges was on the front row, in the Swedish Cooper Mk VIII, but it was Mike Fowler, this time in a Mk XI, firmly on pole with an impressive 2:06. Most enjoyed good reliability but Simon Frost was struggling with his Norton, John Chisholm's magneto disintegrated and Richard Bishop- Miller had a fuel leak.

Graham Murdoch's FMS had stranded him at Surtees when the clutch expired and Patrick Morin suffered a misfire but all bar Simon and John would make the start resulting in a very full grid for the race. One of the highlights of the entry was the re-appearance of the Monaco, a quite astonishing machine of a mere five foot wheelbase. Its solid Fiat wheels looked as if they should have graced a large lawnmower, and it only needed a big key in the tail to complete the look of an over-grown toy. But it was clearly giving the Baldock-Potts Equipe a great deal of satisfaction.

That first race at RAF Gransden Lodge was organised by the Vintage Sports Car Club, a tremendous achievement so soon after the end of the war. It was won by Eric Brandon in his Prototype Cooper (T3), followed by Frank Aikens and Frank Bacon. 500s were the only "modern" cars to be invited. The race proved to be a catalyst for motor racing in general and, particularly for 500s.

Richard Bishop-Miller's Cooper Mk II

Not actually raining so this must be practice!

Inevitably the weather broke by mid morning and the rain continued for the entire day. In very dismal conditions thirty-seven hopefuls faced the starter. There were two green flag laps during which the field became somewhat strung out, so that, while the properly gridded front few rows were released together, some of the back markers were still coming to the end of their rolling laps.

Mike led away with Neil and Tim close behind and Tony Steele and Nigel Ashman waiting to pounce on any mistakes. Poor Shirley didn’t even complete the opening laps, coming to rest out on the circuit with engine problems and James Holland and Daryl were not long in following her departure. Meanwhile, the leading group changed as Dave Lecoq moved into fourth behind Tim, and Roy Hunt also moved up to have a brief tussle with Dave. However, he didn’t stay there long, disappearing before the end of the lap thus allowing Nigel Ashman back into fifth place. Tony Steele, Brian Joliffe and Rodney Delves followed, with the rest of the field stringing out behind them.

As if the weather wasn't giving the spectators enough entertainment, someone kindly laid a significant trail of oil around much of the circuit. Graham Hill bend saw many run wide but Paddock turned into a new adventure on each lap. Drivers were forced to try a range of lines in a vain attempt to find one with a little more grip. The leading trio held station, if at varying gaps as Mike made a number of excursions onto the grass. He later admitted that the first few were down to exuberance but then he found himself with no brakes as a pipe had broken at the master cylinder. Twice, Tim managed to get his Mk IV alongside Neil's Cooper on the run up to Druids but each time had to give best as they turned into the hairpin. Next time round, Neil was in the lead from Tim, with Mike third, but this was not to last, and Mike pulled off - first his exhaust pipe had come adrift.

All this confirmed Dave Lecoq’s third place with Nigel Ashman in fourth. Further back there were incidents and changes. Duncan was coming along strongly in the Comet, seemingly oblivious to the wet, and the Monaco pottered round with John clearly determined to finish. Nigel Challis was clutch-less, and Mark Palmer, perhaps with nasty visions of his Pau experience, pulled off. JB could not get to grips with Hakan Sandberg, who was in turn trailing the Scandinavian phalanx which was still, curiously, mostly in a group. And so it ran out under a final downpour to round things off. In the dreadful visibility, Tim mad one last effort at Clearways and briefly got his nose ahead but Neil had better drive out of the corner to take the flag by .179 seconds, then Lecoq, Ashman, and a very happy Peter Kumlin in the Effyh upholding Scandinavian honour splendidly.

The wonderful Monaco of David Baldock.

Hakan Sandberg's Mk VIII.

Classified Finishers

Pos Name Car Time Laps Best

Richard receives a present from the club in gratitude for his efforts.


Fastest Lap: Mike Fowler 2:22.261

DNF: Tony Steele, Patrick Morin, Mike Fowler, Tim Sage, Graham Murdoch, James Conyers, Brian Joliffe, Roy Hunt, Gordon Russell, Mark Palmer, James Holland, Darrell Woods, Shirley Monro

Our thanks to Richard Utley and to the Historic Sports Car Club

1 Neil Hodges Cooper Mk VIII 19:42 8 2:23.545
2 Tim Llewellyn Cooper Mk IV 19:42 8 2:23.590
3 David Lecoq Petty 19:59 8 2:23.304
4 Nigel Ashman Cooper Mk VI 20:17 8 2:27:057
5 Peter Kumlin Effyh 20:43 8 2:29.387
6 Martin Sheppard Cooper Mk XII 21:06 8 2:33.548
7 Rodney Delves Kieft CK52 21:14 8 2:30.384
8 Per Hageman Cooper Mk XII 21:27 8 2:32.502
9 Duncan Rabagliati Comet 21:28 8 2:33.862
10 Richard Utley JBS 21:34 8 2:37.667
11 Mike Gilbert Cooper Mk IX 21:54 8 2:36.800
12 Nigel Challis Cooper Mk VIII 21:58 8 2:32.509
13 Roy Wright Dastle 22:11 8 2:38.308
14 Geoff Gartside Cooper Mk VIII 22:16 8 2:36.149
15 Olle Linde Cooper Mk IX 22:17 8 2:39.826
16 Paul Hewes Cooper Mk XI 22:26 8 2:41.542
17 Lars Hageman Swebe 22:29 8 2:37.048
18 Thorkil Simonsen Alfa Dana 22:35 8 2:38.685
19 Hakan Sandberg Cooper Mk VIII 19:59 7 2:35.125
20 John Jones Cousy Mk II 20:09 7 2:40.502
21 Bill Needham Cooper Mk IV 20:13 7 2:43.719
22 Rickard With Effyh 20:14 7 2:44.268
23 Richard Bishop-Miller Cooper Mk II 21:34 7 2:49.242
24 John Potts Monaco 21:56 6 3:25.661

A nice, if damp, display of 500s. Cooper, Petty, Martin, Monaco, Cooper, Kieft et al.


Race Report by Humphrey Collis. Photos courtesy Richard Bishop-Miller, Neil Winter and Anne-Marie Hodges.


Per Hageman looking very damp in the dreadful conditions at the end.




After the race, we retired from the rain to enjoy the hospitality which Richard had laid on, followed by the prize giving. Trophies were presented by our guest of Honour, Roy Golding, Chief Mechanic of Cooper Cars.

Neil Hodges receives the Iota Trophy.

David Lecoq (non production car

Peter Kumlin gets some fizz

Duncan Rabagliati (non production car)


James Hodges collects the award for JAP engined cars.

Christine Utley's Flowers

And Mr. Pye's kind words.

Our thanks to Marcus Pye and Autosport magazine.