See what cars we are running this season and how we're doing.

2015 Season Summary

Car: Midget 1330cc

Series: MG Midget Challenge

Update: One car only, No.33 Bennie

My 2015 season
   in the Lackford Engineering Midget & Sprite Challenge

In addition to work for customers, Winter work included building a new 1380 engine to act as a back up to my hard-worked 1330.

Closed Season: Bad news

The start of the season was ruined for us by the really shocking news that Richard, my son, who usually races in Class B or is my spanner man when not racing, was run over whilst cycling to work. He was a very poorly boy, but to cut a long story short, 8 months later, he is at last over the worst and making a slow but steady recovery. So a big thanks needs to go to my friend & colleague Dave, who stepped into the breach and supported me until his hockey season beckoned again.

Richard must be getting better, because having sold his beloved Gertie (Class B car) to Stephen Collier, who is doing so well campaigning it in sprints etc, he is now planning his next car. I know this because I have a shop full of bits that keep turning up --------!

Anyway, to my racing this year.

Mallory in March: First outing of 2015

Well we started the season at Mallory in the wet & the cold. Qualifying was for me at least, a scary affair as I had never raced in the wet before and that was reflected in starting last on the grid.

By the time the race started the rain had subsided, but it was still a wet start with a drying track. I got off to a good start and worked my way past the back markers and other Class D contenders, with Nigel Lackford giving me a hard time & keeping me honest. All was going well until on exiting the hairpin, there was someone on my line pointing the wrong way - so Nigel shot past me, only to over cook his entry to Gerrards on the still slippery track, so despite losing 3 or 4 secs by passing the spinner, I got my place back. The race was however cut short by a Red Light - no-one knew why at the time, but apparently someone had accidentally lent on the button. It wouldn't have changed any results though. First Class win of the season in the damp as well!

Castle Combe at Easter: 2nd meeting

Off to Castle Combe for the Easter meeting in good but cool weather. 1330 still in and 2/3rds of the bumpy C C circuit having been re-surfaced. The track really wasn't rubbered in but qualifying went well with class 2nd on grid. Didn't get a good start, unusually managing to bog down, then oh heck! Carnage in front on the entry to Quarry with Chris Southcott going backward across the front of me being closely followed by - I wasn't looking! Just aiming for the grass in the gap! Red mist descended so off we went, slowly catching Ian Burgin. But disaster struck. The nice new track had had a load of sand dusted all over to de-oil it a bit & when I started running on 2 cylinders was left with no option but to retire. Cause on investigation - severe sand ingestion damage to the head and valve train.

May and a double header at Brands Hatch: 3rd meeting

Well here we go - with the 1380 in to replace 1330 still under repair. So high hopes from the off - but weather variable so a greasy track for Qualifying & race one. Started both races 2nd on grid in class. Had a careful first race on a drying track with good close racing and all going OK. Nasty accident on spilt oil down Paddock Hill brought the safety car out, then off again to gather a class win.

Weather better on the Sunday for race 2, but still cloudy. Had a terrific early laps dice with Ian Langford, but pulled away as we went on. Another safety car deployment during the race for a Mr Sibley parked in a dangerous place - (his stub axle failed going into Clearways!). Poor Nigel Lackford who was in front of me had to retire with a broken gear stick - so another class win for me, if not fully deserved, but still a good hard run race.

What? still May & Donington already? Another unknown circuit for me: 4th meeting

So off we went to Donington. Oh what a horrible day. Qualifying at Donington in the wet is akin to driving on wet black ice, touch anything and you lock wheels, go the other way or just slither. It was terrifying.

Anyway, still managed class pole and, come race time, the track had dried out so all's well. Car feeling really good, so I took Richard's sage words of advice & encouragement "Drive faster"! Off we went feeling the way to check for any damp patches and a good dice with Phill Briggs in the early stages. Now I had never driven Donington before, so took a few dry laps to find my way properly, then got into the groove. Oh did I enjoy myself - until the oil light started winking at me under heavy braking into the chicane...... A look behind suggested I was blowing some oil from somewhere, but there were only about 4 laps to go, so kept an eye on things, crossed fingers & went touring to finish first in class. Was quite excited when I checked the lap timer log as I had also posted a new class lap record! Shame we don't get an extra point for that!

So out with the engine, re-set the rear eyebrow, new oil seal kit. Fingers crossed.

Sunny June and Silverston- for the MGCC gathering of the year Festival Weekend: 5th meeting

So here we are again in the pouring rain on a track I have never raced on (New GP circuit). Graceful spin out of Aintree (Sh*t 2 I call it!) and carry on. Lap 3 a look in the mirror tells me I haven't cured the oil leak - I can't see behind for blue smoke. Oh b****r. Limped round for another couple of laps until session red flagged then made a hasty exit for the paddock. To make things worse Dave was on holiday and long suffering wife is with me, so despite being most willing, not a lot of use changing an engine - although once back home and changing engine, there was a lot of tea and sympathy. Thank you love!

I had no choice but to put the 1330 back in. I had only got the head back on the Friday, so just stuck it on, put engine in & hoped for the best. Still back in the paddock in time to light the BBQ and enjoy a pleasant evening with a few beers and good crack.

Engine sounded fine when I lined up on the grid on a dry sunny Sunday - not last which came as a surprise, but very nearly!! But my hopes were dashed when as I hit 6K on the off the engine just wouldn't go any faster. So there I was with an engine that would normally pull a happy 8K restricted to 6K. It didn't misfire, just sat there. So although I had a great dice in the early laps with John Collinson & Kim Dear, every time I made progress through the corners, they just walked past me on the straights. I just settled down to do my best under the circumstances and finish - at least I'd get some points. So it came as a genuine surprise to me at the end to find I'd finished a class second.

Just goes to show what can be done when the chips are down, never give up. So back to the shop, off with the head & a new set of valve springs - on checking they were all down to around 55 lb seat pressure so the most likely reason for floating at 6K.

Croft in August: 6th meeting

Well I can confirm it is a long way to Croft especially after sitting stationary on the M5 for the odd hour or so. Still we got there in the end, tired, hungry & thirsty.

First time we have raced with the HSCC and there was a lot of exotic machinery on display for this their Festival Weekend. First time at Croft as well. We went up on the Friday as it is such a trek to allow time for R&R and to recover. Watched some good racing with a great variety of cars and had a relaxed time recovering as planned - even the weather was good.

Sunday was a long drawn out affair. We were first on for qualifying and last race - never ideal with such a long trek home.

Anyway, off we went on yet another new track and soon settled in to what is a lovely, flowing if tricky circuit. Qualified class 3rd, so was happy with that.

Race started well and I had a terrific time swapping places with Hilberry, Storrar and McGee in the early stages, but the Class E cars got away in the end. Still I was much enjoying the challenge until I came unstuck trying to lap Dave Jenkins. Dave dropped a wheel into the bomb hole on the exit from the hairpin - the very last corner on the very last lap when I was just creeping up. He span & I had no where to go so collected him. Drove round him looking round the mountain which used to be my bonnet & got over the finish line - just got to keep those points adding up.

So it was a long not overly joyful trudge back, getting home around 01.30 am.

No major damage done, but needed a new front & radiator - so just money :(

So before Oulton it was a quick repair on the car - terrible paint job in a hurry in the paddock on a Sunday morning - will have to repaint over the winter. Plus put the 1380 back in the car.

Oulton Park. September in the rain: 7th meeting

Oh no, not again! So off we go on a wet Saturday morning round that lovely, but slippery Oulton circuit. Ian Burgin & I just went round together and kept to the black stuff - if you break the car in qually, it's a job to start a race. We qualified with a hundreth or so between us. No blue smoke behind so far!! Blow me, another class pole!

Well I had the best start this season on a drizzly afternoon. Found myself 3rd overall as we entered Old Hall.,not for long though as Andy Southcott squeezed through on the turn in to Cascades. Track was drying by the second lap, so gentle increase in pace as the race went on, improving a second a lap 'till the end. Had a great time. Class pole, fastest lap & win. No Blue smoke!! My that IS a good engine! Good day at the office.

Snetterton - winter in the Fenns: 8th and Last meeting

The last weekend was a double header at Snetterton, the weather had been fine all week but was looking patchy for the weekend. So fingers crossed as we did the long trek east for the last outing of the 2015 season.

Saturday morning arrived, grey, cold and the odd spit of rain, but basically dry.
Qualifying was very slippy but went well with a second place on the grid in class, so basically mid pack.
Bad luck to Ian Burgin though who retired with a suspected broken crank.

Race one on Saturday afternoon was a good outing with the temperature rising and the track getting better but times were still down. Despite a poor start by missing a gear off the line, I then had a good race with John Hilbery (Class E) leading a group of three of us with Nigel in front of me and me bringing up the rear. Swapped position with Nigel a few times but couldn't make it stick then oh dear! I went farming at Murrays. No damage done but lost touch with the other two, but luck was on my side, Nigel, as was I, was running out of brakes and his tyres had gone off, so he had a coming together with John Hilbery and had to retire.

End result - I won class and bagged fastest lap.

Did a deal of analysis (of the lap telemetry) over a few beers Saturday evening and went out on Sunday with a plan!

Race two - Sunday morning. Well I decided to execute the plan on the first lap, nailing John Hilbery & Nigel on the Bentley straight and despite being air bourne through Brundle and Nelson made it stick.
A fantastic race ensued with John and Nigel behind - even though I managed to over cook Murrays a couple of times, managed to maintain my lead finishing first in class, fastest lap and (to be confirmed) posting a new class lap record for the 200 circuit.

Good day at the office!!

So at the season’s end, 10 races, 7 class wins, one 2nd, one 3rd and one DNF.
So outright Class D winner and 3rd overall in the Lackford Engineering Midget & Sprite Challenge.