Part of 'The Evolution of Midgets' by Rod Tanswell from
the book 'Living With Spede'
Spedeworth felt there was a need for a new style of motor sport
on the raceways. Les Eaton came up with the idea of re-introducing,
the Midget racing car once more into this country. We saw it
in pre-war days, the first steps taken with small motorcycle
engined cars racing, on speedway circuits around the country.
They were not an instant success by any means, and without backing,
they soon petered out of the picture. Since those days there
have been a number of half hearted attempts at putting, them
on the map so to speak but no concerted effort was made nationally
to promote them.
Les Eaton, Ron Amas, Harry Barnes and Tony Bostock of "Hot
Car" fame put pen to paper and designed what they considered
at that time was a basic specification for Midget cars. It was
a design that could be constructed by the average home constructor
without too much experience but was different from other forms
of motor sport competing at that time. The design of those early
cars was very simple. A ladder chassis, in-line water cooled
four cylinder engine and second hand parts from a variety of
Two of these cars were built and demonstrated before the public
in those early days. They proved to be quite a handful as they
did not have the ability to corner well and proved unreliable
on track. However they persevered with one of these cars and
got it to run reasonably well. It was dressed up and put on
display at the 1967 Racing Car Show where it received a mixed
reception from the motoring public and press. Quite a number
of people could see the potential of these cars if they were
re-designed and updated somewhat. One of these happened to be
Geoff Rumble who, having had some considerable experience in
car design, saw that there could be more to Midget racing than
meets the eye. I have no doubt that he went home a very thoughtful
man. The outcome of this was that the Dastle Manufacturing,
Co. was formed. The first Dastle rolled off the production line
sometime during the early part of 1967 and made its debut at
Hednesford Hills raceway. I quote an article from the Spedeworth
journal of that time written by Mike Shingler of the National
Hot Rod Association:
"The Dastle Midget racing car is the latest in the line of
proposed short circuit Midget racing cars in this country. I
am certain to be right in saying that it is definitely the best
I have seen so far. Our dear departed champion of short circuit
motor sports Ron Amas would have been gratified in seeing that
his own Midget race ideas have been continued and tremendously
improved by the Dastle Organisation." (Ron Amas lost his life
in South Africa).
The car was test driven by Barry Kibble of Hot Rod fame round
Hednesford; it proved to be very competitive on the banked circuit,
the lap times being very commendable to say the least.
Another quote worth a mention at this point is that a Midget
made its debut in Scotland at about this time, driven by Neil
Stevenson and I quote: "Neil Stevenson 151 is bringing out his
Midget again and says that on tarmac it will go like a bomb.
If it doesn't he can always put two handles on it and use it
as a pram for he tells me his wife Gay is expecting a happy
event in May." I often wonder why the Midget did not catch on
in Scotland. Perhaps now that the Midgets are more established
Roy Cecil will invite them for a couple of meetings in Scotland
in the near future (sorry Roy, I only asked).
Late in the year of 1967 the specification was reviewed somewhat.
The original specification was for 1,200cc but it was felt that
by going to 1,250cc they could be made more competitive. Certain
other items were worked on for safety. Brakes for example were
amended to - "One system to operate all 4 wheels, but in the
event of failure twin master cylinder with balance bar" ensured
that in the unlikely situation of losing rear brakes you at
least had brakes on one set of wheels. This applies to present-day
1967 came to a close with a number of people showing more than
a keen interest in Midgets. Geoff Rumble, Pete Smith, Tony Bostock,
Dell Stickings and myself to name but a few.
Paragraph from a late season Wheelspin
Geoff Rumble, the designer of the Dastle Midget racer, reports
good progress with firm orders for the car. He hoped to have
at least half a dozen finished and delivered before the last
Wimbledon meeting in November, in which case there will be a
special race for this class of speedster. Among those awaiting
delivery is Barry Kibble, last year's hot rod National Champion
and orders have also been received from as far away as Scotland.