7th September 1980, Northampton, World Championship
From Short Circuit, October 1980

The first running of the Grand Prix Midget World Championships on this side of the North Sea, at Northampton on Sept 7, saw a slightly disappointing crowd, but a lot of first time visitors who were favourably impressed by a good turnout of cars and a terrific race, and said so.

All the top Dutch and German drivers were on hand, with their 1600cc cars against the English 1300's. Henk Hanssen had set some fast lap times in practice on Saturday before crashing, but hard work saw him in the line-up for the race.

The Grid:

Inside
Outside
Henk Hanssen (Hol)
Jan Litjeans (Hol)
Greg Pugsley (Eng)
Jan van Rengs (Hol)
Willi Thissen (Germ)
Chris Butler (Eng)
Henk van Rengs (Hol)
Harry Sayell (Eng)
Brian Forrest (Eng)
Basil Craske (Eng)
Anthony Brewer (Eng)
Eric Fretten (Eng)
Klaus Kilianski (Germ)
Dave Scott (Eng)
Derek Johnson (Germ)
Alf Boarer (Eng)
Ray Rapson (Eng)
Karl Peters
Jan Schraets (Germ)
John Lowe (Eng)
Alan Fretten (Eng)
Gary Pollard (Eng)
Rick Hammond (Eng)
Mick Bonner (Eng)
Geoff Hughes Jnr (Eng)
Roland Parker (Eng)

The race was run over 30 laps instead of the expected 35, and from the start Hanssen went into the lead, his car fully recovered from the previous days incident, until lap seven, when Basil Craske powered through. Jan van Rengs followed Basil through, but Henk retook his fellow Dutchman three laps on. Willi Thissen was working hard to pull through the pack and up to 4th place, shadowed by Alfie Boarer from less than half way, these two passing Schraets who held on gamely before dropping right down the field. Mick Bonner made a supreme effort from his rear-grid start, and pulled up to 7th place, but whether his recent shunt at Swaffham had affected the car or his own form, he did not seem to have his usual edge. Alan Fretten, driving the Clifton Curry Houses sponsored car was going extremely well, picking off rivals one by one until being held up by Johnson - but then Fretten's throttle stuck open, and it would have been impossible for him to carry on. As it was, Anthony Brewer had the only crash of the very fast race, and he spun onto the infield rather than visiting the fence posts. Jan van Rengs, having been worried in practice by soft tyres, had to remain behind Hanssen, and so Basil Craske, driving brilliantly as all his British colleagues later agreed, beat the challenge of the bigger engined machines with what looked like ease. Well done, that man!

Result: 1st Basil Craske, 2nd Henk Hanssen, 3rd Jan van Rengs, 4th Willi Thissen, 5th Alf Boarer, 6th Mick Bonner, 7th Derek Johnson, 8th Gary Pollard, 9th Roland Parker, 10th Brian Forrest, 11th Jan Lit jeans, 12th John Lowe, 13th Geoff Hughes, 14th Eric Fretten, 15th Dave Scott.

In the supporting events, the Vice Presidents Cup race, run minus the first three World finishers, Chris Butler took the honours after a good start by Eric Fretten, while Alan Fretten took second after passing Gary Pollard on the last lap. Basil Craske really rubbed in his win in the last two races being given a rear grid handicap in the final, and again soundly beating the visiting continentals. Yes, Baz should get the World Champs job done very well during the coming year!

Race 1: 1st 3 Chris Butler, 2nd 22 Alan Fretten, 3rd 23 Gary Pollard, 4th 24 Mick Bonner, 5th 69 Alf Boarer, 6th 45 Derek Johnson, 7th 44 Anthony Brewer, 8th 17 Geoff Hughes jr

Allcomers race: 1st 21 Basil Craske, 2nd 22 Alan Fretten, 3rd 24 Mick Bonner, 4th 42, 5th 25 6th 43 Jan van Rengs, 7th 3 Chris Butler, 8th 11 Henk Hanssen

Final: 1st 21 Basil Craske, 2nd 22 Alan Fretten, 3rd 43 Jan van Rengs, 4th 11 Henk Hanssen, 5th 24 Mick Bonner, 6th 23 Gary Pollard, 7th 3 Chris Butler, 8th 69 Alf Boarer