Rogers UK Oval Racing Pages

The Grand Prix Midget Club


Anne Sayell PR person of the GP Midget Club has kindly sent us this review of the 2006 season.


  Grand Prix Midget 2006 Season Preview.

The Grand Prix Midget season gets under way on April 8th with the June Cochrane Trophy at Swaffham Raceway, the first of 19 fixtures taking the formula to 11 circuits in the UK culminating with the Graham Hill Trophy on 1st October at Bovingdon Raceway. 2006 sees a return to Tipperary in June, onto shale at a Sheffield and Belle Vue double header in May and returning to Arena Essex after some time with the European Championship in July. The World Championship goes to Ringwood over the August Bank Holiday. A good mix then and something for everybody.

Interestingly it will be the first year since 1990 (with the exception of 2003) that the name Sayell will not be on the National Points Championship trophy at the end of the season. 2005 World and Points champion Rob Sayell retired from the competition at the end of last year. Rob is not discounting the odd appearance whilst the car remains unsold but he is adamant that there are no plans for a championship bid. Rob’s father Harry Sayell former multiple champion 1990-98 also discounts any chance of a return to dominant form. Harry expects most of 2006 to be involved in developing his new car a Dart hybrid, based loosely on Rob’s car but with a Vauxhall engine.

2005 European Champion Alan Buckland might well be considered next in line for the National Points title indeed when Rob Sayell took a year out in 2003 Buckland lead the points for quite some time, pipped to the post at the last meeting by Harold Lowe. But Alan is intimating he may not do a full season and a less than 100% turn out has been more than one challenger’s downfall. The rivalry on track between Rob and Alan has thrown up some excellent battles particularly last season’s World and European events with nose to tail charges through the field. Let’s hope that without his adversary Alan can keep up the momentum.

Jonathan Pooley was third overall and the 2005 Best Newcomer. A stock rod racer of some note Jonathan took Andrew Hinch’s car to South Africa in 03 (just 17 at the time) and soon showed himself to be a very talented young driver. The meeting at Dunswart near Johannesburg, his second outing of the tour saw him declared the team’s most improved driver and earned him admiration from British and South Africans alike. His car aptly named the Scorpian had a sting in its tail from the off – another build from the prolific Pooley camp. It handled remarkably well straight out of the box and if it had any problems they tended to be brought on by a slightly heavy right foot and little too much enthusiasm on occasions but overall Jonathan had an excellent season. One to watch in 2006 especially with a new engine in an improved chassis.

Jonathan’s main rival as the competition drew to a close was veteran racer Neil Clarke who has a reputation for being the bridesmaid but never the bride. Neil must have had a podium place in every championship several times over but the big international or points championship win just keeps eluding him. Vastly experienced before coming into Midgets he has been with the formula for many years now and is also turning into a prolific builder of late tending to sell on the last season’s car as he builds a new car each year. Alan Buckland started out his Midget career in a Stealth of Clarke origin and 2005 saw Club Chairman Barry Goldsby in a car built by the man from Brum. Neil’s enthusiasm for the formula is blatantly evident to anyone visiting the Club stand when attending the Autosport Show at the NEC ask him a question and he bubbles over with helpfulness.

Cliff Bunn joined the formula in 2005 with a Fireball and went home from the presentation night with an armful of awards. After a bit of a slow start Cliff soon became a main player and he brought in brother in law Steve Young into the formula as the season drew to a close and will be joined by his brother Geoff in 2006. Geoff Bunn is a former Supastox Champion from Alwalton Raceway. (“Supastox” were a non contact version of the Superstox class). Geoff has purchased a Mk18 Dastle from Ez Walker (Vice Chairman) and will be putting his own slant on the car for his debut. A talented driver and builder Geoff has also competed in Brisca F2 and Oval Legends so should quickly adapt to Midgets and will no doubt be giving more than his brother a run for their money.

Another new driver last season was Jason Carnwell who drove Evan Stone’s splendid Cheetah. Jason took the immaculately turned out side engined midget to the chequered flag at his first outing on his home circuit of Buxton prompting its owner to forecast a challenge for the World Championship later in the season. It wasn’t to be but Jason has signed up to do a full season in possibly the only car being driven on loan. On paper the finely engineered Cheetah is more than capable of winning so another interesting combination to watch in 2006.

They used to say that the Supastox at Alwalton Raceway was an excellent formula in which to learn but also to wind down – it could now be said to be the same with Midgets. Certainly there are those who come back again and again to Midgets; the Lowes, Harry Sayell, and Scott Roth have all left and returned to the formula. 2006 sees two more of these in the form of Gary Granger who is returning after a spell of V8 Stock cars with Spedeworth and Toni Scheepens who has been out of racing but hopes to make a number of outings from Holland to race in another Ez Walker purchase. Gary Granger is another one of a growing band of participants opting for a Vauxhall power pack in a self built car not dissimilar to Jonathan Pooley’s. .

Another new driver expected out is Paul Turrucchi from Earls Barton who purchased Steve Baker’s Gazelle at the end of last year. Paul has been around the ovals for 20 years, with roots in Banger racing and assists his brother Mark who has Hot Rod and Lightening Rods. Baker had a win at his first meeting in the car so all eyes will be on Paul in April.

Finally Gavin Terry plans to make a more regular showing having raced father Steve’s Dastle on occasions he will now have a car of his own. Gavin at 20 would be one of the youngest drivers on the track so may make up in energy what others have in experience. Steve who headed up PR in recent years, also plans to race this season and as well as assisting Gavin will be busy as assistant scrutineer and Fixture Secretary.

The annual general meeting was a relatively painless affair this year with minimal changes to technical spec or rules. There will be increased emphasis on booking in and safety generally. A spin off from the heavy shunt at last year’s World Championship meeting between Cliff Bunn, Rob Sayell and Alan Buckland when Bunn failed to make the start, was that wet weather lights are to be replaced by brake lights.

Anyone interested in the formula can get information from the Club’s Website : www.gpmidgets.co.uk
 
 

 

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