Snetteron Results 290913

Snetterton 29th September 2013

It says it clearly on the ticket but it isn't nice when it happens. Our sincere sympathies to the friends and family of a kindred spirit.


Round nine of the championship was once again with the VSCC, using the shorter Snetterton ‘200’ circuit. Early birds were able to spend the Saturday evening chez Paul & Jenny Hewes, who hosted another fine party. Fully twenty cars were turned out (especially impressive when you look at who hadn’t come out to play). Regulars were joined by Charles McCabe, with his duPont Cooper Mk XIII, whilst it was juniors’ day as Simon Hewes reappeared in Paul’s Cooper, and David Kingsland piloted the Staride. Notably, more than half the filed were non-Cooper.

Sunday began as well as can be expected for late September, dry, reasonably warm, but with a strong wind coming from the direction of the Bombhole, which would affect speeds on both long straights.

Early panics were aplenty. First Richard Bishop-Miller’s fuel tank split again – Richard being most pleasantly surprised that the combination of Araldite and aluminium tape volunteered by others not only worked, but set fast enough that he was able to run in the correct qualifying session. A couple were caught out by the (admittedly rather haphazard) noise tests and were late arrivals in Assembly, and Simon was unable to get the Cooper Mk VIII to fire.

Several cars hit trouble on track. Neil Hodges again hit magneto trouble and cruised round his mandatory three laps. Team Joliffe were in worse trouble – Brian had dusted off his Mk IX, but the JAP motor holed a piston. Meanwhile Häkan was reduced to his final motor, this time a mint JAP. So the JBS had to get more creative with frustrating its pilot, first ditching its clutch cable to curtail his first attempt, then slipping its throttle cable when he attempted to complete his laps in a later session. The other tale of woe was poor old Kerry. Oulton’s “seized piston” had been re-diagnosed as lunched big end, but this time it was the gearbox that locked up and yet again we saw the Trenberth head home early on the back of the pick-up.

But for those running cleanly, practice times suggested this could be a corker of a race. The first four cars were covered by a shade over half a second, led by George Shackleton and Simon Frost, while Roy Hunt was within shouting distance. John Turner completed the third row, a surprisingly large four seconds off pole, but two more clear of the pack. That comprised anther very tight group, Pat Barford’s Arnott heading a group of five covered by less than half a second. Nigel Challis would be close enough for a tilt at this group in the race (yet only twelfth fastest) while Brain would surely been in the mix had his engine held good.

Gaps opened in the final few places. John Potts was another ten seconds back at a round two minutes, but the Mk IV was running well. And it was good to see Maurice van der Brempt out again in the Fillingham – now able to clock up some miles as he stuck with the JAP-methanol motor.

Three leaders battle, Roy and Simon's Martins and George's Cooper.

Sadly the day took on a different tone soon after qualifying, as Bugatti driver Stephen Jewell lost his life in a later session. The VSCC and marshals did a good job of managing the two-hour delay, although unfortunately no one had informed us that the 500 race would be shortened by a lap. Nineteen cars presented at Assembly, all hale and hearty, but Charles McCabe’s car promptly refused to fire as they were released on track for the now normal rolling start. Mike Fowler made a blinder of a start to leapfrog the two Martins, then ran around the outside of George at Riches for the lead. The pair of Martins were catching down the Revett Straight, and it would be Roy leading over the line, from Mike, George, and Simon. Gordon had a bit of a stinker on the first lap, and was being chased by John Turner, the pair already three seconds from the lead group, and a little love tap at the Chicane had John ahead. They were closely tailed by Ian Phillips, David Kingsland, Richard de la Roche and Neil Hodges. Neil had gone great-guns on the first lap from the last row of the grid to tenth in just one lap, and snatching ninth just as they crossed the line. A small gap behind these were Brian, a poor-starting Pat in the Arnott, and Nigel Challis, covered by a blanket.

Missing from this group was Richard Bishop-Miller. Richard made a decent start, but at the Esses ‘someone’ rushing past managed to throw a block pass on him – nothing wrong with that, but in trying to minimise the losses Richard found 1st gear instead of second and bust a valve spring. The engine ran of a sort, but with negligible power, and he decided to chug around for the flag at much reduced speed. He would come home last, but with no more damage to the engine.








The other battle. Neil's focussed on the next apex but Brian has taken a very tight line into Nelson....







and mugged Ian!

Completing the runners on the first lap were Simon Hewes (who would be absolutely thrilled to finally get a finish from the car), John Potts (dropping under the 2-minute barrier), Häkan a second or so off his pace (it’s easy to forget the JBS and Mk IV are contemporary chassis, and H was enjoying his longest unhindered run in a very long time), whilst Maurice finally got the thrill of passing someone, even if it was the crippled Revis. These five would finish in the same order, gaps gradually easing out.

At the front Roy seemed to have this sorted. Halfway around the second lap he had eased a big second of a lead. Mike and George were side-by-side down Revett straight with Simon preparing to join the fray. Mike held the place through the Esses but George then made an heroic run around the outside from the Bombhole, through Coram and to the Chicane. It’s a much longer trajectory, but George carried astonishing speed and gained a good half-second to take the place well before reaching the Chicane. Quite how the Cooper hung on is anyone’s guess.

Lap 3 began with Roy still a quarter of a second ahead of George, but Mike‘s older car was struggling to maintain the pace, he could console himself with the knowledge that he was extending his lead in Class 2 to the point of being unassailable . Simon was threatening up the front straight, but only got ahead halfway down the back. George’ Cooper seemed to be struggling for ultimate speed on the straight, but again he came right back around Coram and was alongside Roy and with the inside line at the Chicane. Regulars will know that Roy doesn’t give up at this new chicane (although it usually ends with him spinning or spearing off to the infield) and he tried to hold an outside line. This compromised George sufficiently that Roy was able to out-drag him to the line, but in the meantime Simon had jumped them both, gaining three places in one lap.

 Nigel Challis (Petty) and Pat Barford (Arnott)

Next through were Gordon who nipped past John on Lap 3. Gordon takes it up “I heard squealing tyres at the Chicane. I was just wondering if I’d locked up the rears when I got thumped by JT.” The Mackson didn’t spin around and in fact held the position. Gordon was rather surprised to not find any body damage after the race, more so to hear that John had got some air as he bounced up off the wheel. He quickly regrouped, but in the melee probably buzzed the engine, which eventually broke a valve spring and expired at the top of the straight. Remarkably, this would be the sole retirement of the nineteen starters.

This left David Kingsland in sixth place, too far away to catch Gordon, but probably safe from the rabble behind. At the end of the third lap, said rabble was now led by Neil’s yellow and blue Cooper. Ian was having a little trouble in the early laps, claiming the Norton was not quite running cleanly. He had been passed by David on the second lap and Neil on the third before the motor cleared its throat and he hung onto Neil’s coat-tails for the remainder of the race – within a second or so but never quite able to get alongside with the extra power.

A fraction behind, Brian closed on Richard de la Roche, making a pass on the third lap. In the melee, Richard went around between sections, coming to a halt facing the wrong way, and facing “Challis, with a big grin on his face” appearing round the blind corner (Nigel corroborated this story, albeit describing a distinctly different look on Richard’s face!). So Brian now ran ninth, Nigel tenth with Pat right back on his tail. Richard got going again in twelfth.

With Mike falling away, the lead battle was between the Martins and the deep blue Cooper. George could do nothing around the first part of the lap, but again used his demon line to storm around the outer edge of Coram, not only easily passing Roy but closing down the gap to Simon ahead. Lap five went the same way as he initially edged fractionally closer to the blue Martin, then steamed past on the final loop. George held the line into the Chicane and seemed to have it confirmed, but Simon got the better exit and edged alongside as they approached the pits. There they were all surprised to see the chequered flag out a lap earlier than expected (for reasons we mentioned earlier) – this was it. They flashed across the line two abreast. No, make that three abreast as Roy had made the cleanest run through the Chicane and was pulling alongside. The Cooper was outgunned and Simon was the clear winner, by just 0.2”. George had just held second, or at lest that’s what he (and the commentators) thought. He picked up the 2nd place award, but when the official results were collected, Roy had it by just four hundredths. With only Cadwell to go, Roy leads Class 3 by six points from Steve Jones and ten over Frosty, so Simon must win and hope Roy has a bad day.

Hakan final got some luck

A couple more drivers were caught out by the early flag. Neil looked to be edging up to the Staride and might have had time for a surprise lunge, he could console himself with being first JAP home. Behind them, Ian’s car had recovered and he nipped past Brian with a good run out of Sear’s onto the back straight. We know Brian doesn’t take that, but the flag caught him out. Behind these two Pat had used the de la Roche incident to re-catch Nigel, and followed him over the line by half a second. Richard himself came in alone in twelfth, then Simon Hewes and John Potts, still on the lead lap. John took another class win in P1 for pre 1950 cars, cementing his second place overall.

Classified Finishers

Pos Name Car Class Time Laps Best

Fastest Lap

Class P1: John Potts - Cooper Mk IV-JAP

Class P2: Gordon Russell - Mackson-Norton

Class P3: Roy Hunt - Martin-Norton

JAP: Brian Joliffe - Cooper Mk IX


DNF: John Turner - Cooper Mk IX-JAP


DNS: Kerry Horan - Trenberth-Vincent, Charles McCabe - Cooper Mk XIII-JAP


Pics: John Landamore & Robin Shackleton

Words: Richard Hodges


Points Table

1 Simon Frost Martin-Norton P3 8:33 5 1:40.68
2 Roy Hunt Martin-Norton P3 8:33 5 1:40.41
3 George Shackleton Cooper Ml XI-Norton P3 8:33 5 1:40.77
4 Mike Fowler Cooper Mk V-Norton P2 8:37 5 1:42.06
5 Gordon Russell Mackson-Norton P2 8:39 5 1:41.13
6 David Kingsland Staride-Norton P2 8:48 5 1:42.79
7 Neil Hodges Cooper Mk VIII-JAP P3 8:55 5 1:44.38
8 Ian Phillips Cooper Mk X-Norton P3 8:56 5 1:43.55
9 Brian Joliffe Cooper Mk IX-JAP INV 8:56 5 1:44.23
10 Nigel Challis Petty-Norton P3 9:04 5 1:45.28
11 Pat Barford Arnott-Norton P2 9:04 5 1:46.37
12 Richard de la Roche Smith-Buckler-JAP P2 9:18 5 1:45.96
13 Simon Hewes Cooper Mk VIII-Norton INV 9:39 5 1:49.80
14 John Potts Cooper Mk IV-JAP P1 10:15 5 1:58.89
15 Hakan Sandberg JBS-JAP P2 8:35 4 2:06.22
16 Maurice van der Brempt Fillingham-JAP P3 9:20 4 2:14.33
17 Richard Bishop-Miller Revis-JAP P3 10:05 4 2:01.39

Look 'appy!

Tail piece; Mike and George join the Revett straight.