After Castle Combe the next round in the Lackford Engineering Midget and Sprite Challenge had been a round at Silverstone. There was a short break before round 7 at Donington Park at the beginning of August. The Championship was being lead by Paul Campfield in his Healey class E Sprite.
There were 17 entrants for this round and as well as Campfield most of the front runners were here, Class A’s Paul Sibley, David Weston, Ed Reeve, Martin Morris, Stephen Pegram and finally Richard Perry in a new mount which had been brought back from Slovenia before being re built to compete in this class.
Class B had Andy Southcott, Stephen Watkins, Dean Stanton, Phil Attwood and Robin Jones out for the first time this season. Joining Campfield in Class E was Darren Harman, only two runners would affect the points for Campfield. In Class D we had Neil Cameron and Richard Bridge was out in his dad’s blue Sprite just to get a feel of how the car performed. Class C had Carl Chadwick and Richard Homer.
Qualifying saw everybody circulating with most people getting in 8-10 laps, an exception was Robin Jones who only completed 4 laps and he wouldn’t make it out for the race.
Pole went to Sibley with Weston, Reeve, Campfield only just behind, Watkins and Southcott .02 sec behind with Morris a similar distance behind them. Perry wasn’t far behind, although he did have a mysterious misfire, however a close race looked in prospect.
The usual pre race checks and fiddling went on in the paddock after qualifying with nobody reporting any major issues other than Campfield’s crew fixing a leaky diff and Perry sorting that misfire, a ‘dicky’ dizzy cap was the likely culprit with the starter also playing up, one would be cured by a process of elimination, the other all by itself apparently.
And so to the race with the cars completing the green flag lap and forming on the grid, the lights went out and Sibley made his usual slow getaway with Weston shooting into the lead as the field sped into Redgate. As they came around to complete the first lap Weston was still there with Sibley now into second place, close behind in third was Perry who had made up a lot of places with Campfield in fourth.
Behind them Southcott was ahead of Reeve who was being challenged by a charging Morris, Watkins was next before a slight gap to Pegram and the rest as they filed through. At the back a slow Stanton came round to retire.
Sibley was through by the next lap and the battle behind was warming up with Morris still looking for a way past Reeve. Meanwhile, further back Cameron was ahead of Attwood and Richard Bridge, although Attwood would finish ahead of both by the end.
By the end of lap 3 Morris had passed both Reeve and Southcott and was right on the tail of Campfield, pushing hard out of the chicane, he would be ahead and chasing down Perry in third on the next lap. Chadwick had a quick spin at Redgate but continued.
Morris was right with Perry at the chicane next lap and it was getting close behind with Reeve, Southcott, Watkins and Pegram all getting together. Morris was certainly quick out of McLean’s and up to Coppice he was alongside Perry, forced to go around the outside he didn’t make it and spun. He would recover to mount the same attack a couple of laps later after another charge only for the same to happen at the same corner.
Meanwhile Reeve had an issue, slowly coming out of the chicane allowing Southcott, Watkins and Pegram to all get ahead. Next time through Pegram was ahead of Watkins and appeared to get too close to Southcott entering the chicane as the yellow car quickly went into a spin.
Perry was slower now by at least 2 seconds and that allowed Campfield to close right up and take third spot out of Coppice onto the straight, Perry shooting back ahead braking for the chicane. Perry and Campfield were embroiled in a fight that would see Perry back ahead. Morris once again charged up to pass Campfield into Coppice but ran wide this time, crossing to the inside, he missed hitting anything but it allowed Pegram to get ahead. Down into the chicane on that final lap saw Campfield force the blue frogeye ahead of Perry, this time to hold it to the flag.
Up front Sibley and Weston were serenely unaware of all this action and both completed race distance after 15 laps, behind came Campfield and Perry, then Pegram and Morris. Watkins wasn’t far behind ahead of a slower than usual Reeve. A disgruntled Southcott finished ahead of Attwood with Bridge finishing ahead of Cameron, Harman, Chadwick and Homer.
What a race, by far the best of the day with Coppice or the chicane the place to be. My report can only try to convey the excitement and ferocity of the battles, it really was intense. Let’s hope for more of the same at Oulton on September 9th.
Scoops momentous moment (s) : any one of those moves at the chicane!!