21st August 1988, Peterborough, World Championship
Report by Dave Cox from October Short Circuit

The British drivers' fears that they would be overrun at the Verrolec-sponsored World Championship at Peterborough on August 21 proved largely to be unfounded. Although West German, Klaus Killianski took the title for the first time, it was only after mechanical troubles had sidelined Basil Craske when he looked as though he had the race well under control.

Overnight rain had left some puddles around the Alwalton raceway and the track sweeper was out early in an effort to dry the track for the timed lap trials. Not surprisingly the quicker drivers were reluctant to venture out until a dry line appeared. Killianski was the first star man out and posted a time of 16.95s which was to prove to be the quickest of the day. Craske secured a front row position with 16.98s and Basil was one of the drivers who thought he would be blown into the weeds! European Champion. Henk Hanssen, had to settle for third spot on 17.24s sharing the second row with Harry Lowe on 17.74s. John Lowe (17.96) and Willi Thissen (17.96) were on row three. When all the runs had been completed prospects for a British win looked a little rosier. One notable absentee was defending Champion, Jan Schraets. who apparently felt that spending time with his new girlfriend was more rewarding than 40 laps of Peterborough in a Midget. Fancy that'

Two warm up laps preceded the clutch start of this year's Verrolec Grand Prix Midget World Championship and when the green flag dropped it was Clarke who made the best start. diving into the pit turn just ahead of Killianski. Hansen took the outside line and passed Killianski down the back straight and at the end of the final lap the order was Craske. Hanssen. Killianski. Harry Lowe. John Lowe. Harry Sayell and David Wesbroom. The first three were pulling away from the fourth place battle and by the end of the second lap the leaders were already lapping the backmarkers.

The third lap saw the first major incident when a backmarker spun when exiting the pit bend. Wesbroom slowed to avoid the spinning car and was punted into the armco by Thissen Wesbroom's race was over with his chassis damaged while Tinssen struggled round for another lap before calling it a day. The repercussions of this incident were not over yet. When the leaders came round Hanssen was challenging Craske on the outside line. Henk saw Wesbroom's stranded car and tried to pull over onto the inside. However. the closely following Killianski went for the same piece of track launching Hanssen into the air. Killianski continued in second place with minor damage but the unfortunate Hanssen was forced to pull off with his steering awry.

The race settled down for a while as Craske now had a 30 yard buffer to Killianski while John Lowe had passed his brother to go third. Sayell was now fifth and running in close company with Anthony Brewer and Marcus Retchless. Further down the order there was a fraught struggle going on between Chris Keltyens and Steve Jobson which came tol an inevitable conclusion when they tangled and slammed into the armco. Meanwhile, Harry Lowe's luck once again ran out when he was forced out with suspected fuel pump failure. The battle for the lead was hotting up again as Killianski was now gaining on Craske. John Lowe was still in touch but Sayell, Brewer and Retchless were in danger of being lapped as the halfway point approached. The race then took a turn for the worse as far as the British fans were concerned. Craske's engine cut out halfway through the pit turn and he spun off with smoke coming from his engine bay. An electrical short circuit had finished his chances of a third World title.

Killianski was in front for the first time, a comfortable distance ahead of John Lowe, and it looked as though we were in for a procession to the chequered flag. The drama, however, wasn't over yet as Lowe suddenly started gaining hand over fist on the leader. Killianski had picked up a slow puncture in his nearside front tyre - fortunately for Klaus the one that carries the lightest load on a Midget, although it was enough of a handicap to slow him in the corners. John was soon sitting on his tail and had several attempts to get alongside before he drew level as they crossed the start/finish line for the 34th time. Lowedidn't have the horsepower to pull ahead before the pit bend loomed up and they turned into the corner side-by-side. What happened next is a matter of conjecture, either accidently due to his soft tyre or as a deliberate move - and some observers thought it was the latter - Killianski drifted wide taking Lowe with him. John's quest rot his first World title disappearing when he clipped the Keltyens/Jobson wreckage.

The only question left was whether Killianski's tyre would stay up long enough to get him to the finish. He was the best part of a lap ahead of new second place man Sayell and his fan-club had their fingers and everything else crossed, hoping the leader would tire (sorry!) out, but it wasn't to be. Harry reduced the deficit by a quarter of a lap in the closing stages but it was a relieved Killianski who crossed the line for his first World Championship victory. Harry Sayell was a very popular runner-up and Anthony Brewer was delighted to finish third, after burning the midnight oil to complete a major chassis rebuild literally hours before the event. Marcus Retchless ran a steady race to finish fourth with Eddy Ricketts and Gerald Smith completing the top six.

SUPPORTING RACES.

The Alwalton East of England Championship was sponsored by J.R. Photography over 20 laps. Harry Lowe took the lead on the second lap with Toni van Krellenken ard Paul Rodgers in pursuit. Hanssen, Craske and Killianski made rapid progress through the pack to join Lowe in a tremendous dice for the lead. Lowe narrowly held the initiative until the halfway point when Hanssen slipped by although he couldn't shake Harry off. Lowe retaking the lead when Hanssen found himself boxed in behind an accident. Killianski also took advantage to slip by while Craske had hit problems and was out of the race. Try as he might, Killianski couldn't pass Lowe and was himself repassed by Hanssen in the closing stages in a blanket finish, Harry Lowe taking a narrow win from Hanssen. Killianski. Sayell. Brewer and Ricketts.

Kevin Stanford. Brian Wright and Rodgers all had brief spells in the lead of the final race before Craske took up the running with Killianski in hot pursuit. Klaus was alongside Basil on a number of occasions but he couldn't make it stick and Craske won by a whisker. his only finish of the day. Rodgers was a safe third ahead of Sayell. Phillip Retchless and Nigel Brake.

 


Harry Sayell on the grid


Klaus at Speed


Klaus wins!