Sunday morning and round 3 of The Lackford Engineering Midget and Sprite Challenge was eagerly awaited in the two day M.G. Car Club meeting at Brands. After the trials, tribulations and excitement of the previous day it would be interesting to see if this could be bettered or indeed if any of the previous days retirees had managed to sort their problems.
Well, we were obviously missing Stephen Pegram who went home the day before, Nick Day with his gearbox issue and sadly sponsor Robin Lackford with his broken engine but how had everyone else faired in sorting their problems. Dean Stanton had sorted his clutch, Graeme Adams had a couple of new fan belts to replace the ones wrecked the day before, although he was concerned that there was something about the pulley wheels that was tearing into the belts.
Dave Weston had repaired that broken battery lead and Andy Southcott had established there was nothing untoward after his ‘off’, nothing a wash and polish hadn’t cured, and Phil Attwood was pondering his cars misgivings, the consensus being that it’s a rotor arm issue shorting out once the engine gets hot. He was going to have a go though and see how far the car goes.
The second fastest qualifying time once again decided the grid for this race and Weston had pole again from Dunkley. Day was out so next up was Reeve with Adams, Perry and Cow, another gap with the missing Pegram before we had Southcott and Campfield. Chadwick, Collier, no Lackford R., Stanton, Harris, Burgin were as the day before then came Lackford N ahead of Hilbery, Attwood and Walker. Easton, Homer and Jenkins completed the order. We still had 20 starters then!
So, after lunch our grid formed and the talk was of the anticipated battle between Dunkley and Weston with both quietly confident of the win, quite a buzz in fact, we haven’t had that for a couple of seasons.
As the lights went out the front row took off as one, but it was Dunkley who made it first into Paddock. As they swept up the hill to Druids Weston was in a close second with Adams right with them, Perry was ahead of Reeve with Campfield, Collier and Chadwick. Southcott, Cow, Walker, Harris, Stanton, Lackford N., Hilbery, Burgin, Attwood, Homer, Jenkins, Easton completed the order.
Into Paddock to start the second lap the order at the front was the same but further back Hilbery’s car let go right in front of Lackford N and Burgin, young Lackford must have felt some de ja vue after his car was written off a couple of years back in a similar incident, he managed to miss the spinning car as did Burgin but Ian was unlucky in his avoidance which took him into the gravel along with Hilbery.
This incident brought out the pace car as both cars were deemed to be in an unsafe position and it took several laps to drag them to a safe place with the field meanwhile trundling around. A similar situation to last year’s race you may recall. Homer pitted feeling his car had a puncture, it hadn’t and he rejoined.
Eventually we were racing again and as the leaders came into Druids it was a three car battle between Dunkley, Adams and Weston, with Perry and Reeve close behind. Reeve would get past Perry on that restart lap with Perry eventually coming under attack from Campfield to renew their previous day’s battle. Attwood’s atrocious weekend continued as he was once again sidelined with his electrical issues.
That three car battle up front would soon become two as Adams fell foul to that fan belt issue once again, but the fight between Dunkley and Weston was to become the best we have seen in a long time. They would enter Paddock alongside each other on several occasions with Weston incessantly on the attack.
Meanwhile there were more battles throughout the field, Perry and Campfield, Southcott and Chadwick, Walker and Harris, all providing the usual entertainment as lap after lap they would squabble for their respective placings. Southcott pulled alongside Chadwick but failed to make it stick, he was subsequently penalised for exceeding track limits at the end of the race. We also lost Stanton with gearbox problems and Homer was out on lap 14.
Then suddenly the lead changed with Weston having taken over around Clearways, however, Dunkley had the inside at Druids and the pair went into Graham Hill Bend alongside each other with Weston holding the inside line to keep the lead.
A lap later and Dunkley was back in front but now it was Weston who dived up the inside at Druids to retake the lead once more, great stuff!
Then suddenly Dunkley was out in front on his own, Weston’s car had jumped out of gear at Clearways and he had spun, James was on his way to the win or was he? Into Clearways and so close to the flag his car faltered, it was a blown fuse and suddenly Weston was there and through to take the flag. What a race, what a finish, a movie script couldn’t have come up with that one.
Reeve took a comfortable second from Perry and Campfield who just couldn’t find a way through. Chadwick was ahead of Southcott with Cow next, not quite as close as the day before. Collier came next from Walker and Harris after their epic battle. Lackford N, Easton and Jenkins completed the order.
What a great weekends racing we had witnessed and with Silverstone up next the A class cars should be able to stretch their legs on this power circuit. Lets see!!