Monday 30th May, Kaldenkirchen, European Championship

Report by Bob Burridge from Short Circuit July 1977

Once again the 6 top drivers of the Club loaded their cars onto transporters and trailers accompanied by mechanics, friends and other interested parties, headed by various routes and even more varied transport to Posterholt in Holland. I personally arrived the preceding Saturday and adjourned to the local track in the afternoon for the 'training', the Dutch version of practice. Several Dutch and German competitors were out on the track in their various grades soon to be joined by Roland Parker (1500 BMC Fireball) and Malcolm Goodman (1300 BMC Fireball). Roland's session was without incident and the car seemed to be handling well but Malcolm was plagued with misfiring and some funny brake problems made lift interesting for the spectators and Goodman alike on the approach to and through the bends. Several of the Dutch Midget drivers turned up and the Dutch points leader, number 43 with his Scirrocco engined Dastle was especially impressive.

Come Monday, the convoy assembled outside Jan Bakkes' garage and accompanied by our friendly Dutchmen set out for the German track. After heat races for several classes in the morning the all important draw for the Championship took place. Roland Parker emerged triumphant having drawn pole position. Mick Bonner (1300 BMC Scorpion) drew number 2 with Derek Johnson, our Anglo/German/Scottish competitor drawing number 4 for his 1600 twin cam. Last year's winner, Peter Loff, claimed number 6 with Malcolm Goodman halfway down the field. Alf Boarer and Brian Harding, both with 1300 BMC Arrows drew 15 and 16 and poor old Basil Craske with a 1300 VW got last on the grid. Two more dramas with Bonner having no clutch and Craske deciding to change his gearing were sorted out in time and all 6 English competitors made the grid.

Come the start and Bonner surged into the lead with Johnson taking Parker within 2 laps to hold second. As the initial laps sped by 1 thought we were going to have the Championship in the bag at last but our patriotic fervour was soon stilled when with Mick slowing down and then dropping out of the race with a bent exhaust valve. Johnson took up the lead only to be blown off by number 43, the Dutchman, who was screaming round the track as though on rails. Further down the field Parker was slowing with engine problems and Goodman was getting into all sorts of problems with his car's handling. Alf Boarer and Fred Harding were having a private race on their own until Fred made a baddy and took them both out.

Basil Craske was slowly climbing through the field although he appeared to be over-geared for the occasion, then he got mixed up with a German driver and Goodman on the top bend and was left sitting on the sand with broken suspension. Looking round I could only find Malcolm still on the track although completely outclassed by the Flying Dutchman, Jan van Rengs. Peter Loff was by this time lying second and could make no impression on the leader, Derek Johnson had dropped back some way due to some over enthusiastic cornering techniques, and the race looked like being a procession. Then suddenly two laps from home the Dutchman started slowing and urged on by the frantic German spectators Peter Loff could be seen cutting down the lead. On the last bend with Jan practically willing his car along Peter Loff took him on the outside in spite of an oil soaked track and accelerated to a well deserved victory in the last 50 yards. The crowd went mad and the English started looking forward to 1978. Jan finished second and Malcolm Goodman the only Englishman to finish the course came home sixth.

In the 3 heats that followed Johnson took a second and a first, Alf Boarer collected a 2nd while the best Goodman could manage was a 4th. All too soon however, it was over and with a long joumey home it was 'Auf Wiedersen' and see you soon.