Silverstone GP circuit is one of Rich's favourite circuits so we were looking forward to having 2 races of 20min each. John couldn't make it but the sun did and so did another 23 drivers in the midget and sprite challenge.
Rich: 2 Poles, 2 Wins, 2 Fastest Laps, New Lap Record. 2 Pig Buns.
No Summer Break for the Drivers in the Midget and Sprite Challenge
Squeezing an in extra race meeting between the MGCC's Donington Park and Oulton Park events, the Lackford Engineering Midget and Sprite Challenge joined the Bentley Drivers Club for two additional championship rounds at a scorching Silverstone track (and a hog roast).
Returning Class A driver David Morrison was back to challenge for wins for the first time since last years' start-line incident at Mallory. Young Connor Kay was back as an official championship entry having won the wet race at Donington, and Alex Tyler, son of long time Midget racer Max Tyler, was out for his first ever car race (after many years of karting).
It was already hot on track for qualifying, with most observing understeer, but times were at least on a par with the previous visit to the national circuit. Richard Bridge took double pole, closely followed by lap record holder Morrison. The season-long Class E battle of Tom Walker and defending champion Pippa Cow looked poised for another round as they lined up next to each other at the head of the class. Ian Burgin was on Class D pole by the smallest of margins from Kay.
Race one was in the heat of the day, and with track temperatures soaring, the organisers changed all races to rolling starts to stop cars overheating on the grid. Despite the unusual start, everyone got away cleanly, with Pippa getting the jump on Tom. The mid-field rolled through Copse corner two- and three-abreast with the battle continuing down to Becketts, where an error from John Bridge saw the pack dispersed and saw an end to his weekend with a split radiator.
At the front, Richard Bridge and Morrison quickly built a gap despite repeatedly swapping places for the lead, Bridge finally triumphing by 0.6s over the line. Cow's start and first lap had gained her a four second advantage over Walker, but he slowly reduced the gap until he passed on lap 10 and went on to take the class. Hugh Simpson kept his nose clean to lead home Class D after early leaders Kay and Burgin suffered engine issues in the heat.
A depleted grid of cars lined up for Race 2, with the heat remaining unabated despite a breeze. After a strong start from Walker to lead into the first corner, a minor entanglement between the Class E car and Morrison ended the latter's race beached in the gravel to the outside of Becketts. Bridge had a leisurely run to win despite suffering with a slow puncture. As we have seen so often this season, Cow and Walker were fighting for position constantly, with Pippa seeming to just have the edge. But on lap 10, as the leaders came round to lap Alex Tyler, his Class D midget span on the entry to Luffield and an unsighted Walker hit him heavily, resulting in an early end to the race. Both drivers were declared fit after a trip to the medical centre, but the cars looked rather the worse for wear.
With more cars suffering in the heat there were only 7 finishers: Bridge (A), Cow (E), Hughes (E), Kennerley (E), Collinson(D), Wright (D), Caldwell (D)
With the sun out, qualifying was very close for class E with just 10ths between Pippa Cow, James Hughes and Rich.
Despite no testing and only having driven the car once at cadwell last year we arrived at the first race of the season with a positive attitude and no pressure as this season is 'just for fun'.