Spridget 60 Meet at the Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix Circuit
Spridget 60 Meet Review by John Moon.
The Spridget 60 Meet will surely be remembered as one of the most commemorative events ever. If there were a more memorable way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Sprite, it would probably take another six decades to organise.
Pieter Bakker’s race weekend at Zandvoort to celebrate the birthday of our favourite little cars was also a convenient way for many former participants in Bakker’s original FISC championship, for 1380cc Spridgets on control tyres, to reunite.
But no-one could have predicted what mother nature and the lottery of mechanical luck could have thrown at the enthusiastic Spridget 60 Meet group.
Perhaps more enthusiastic than the rest were the pair of Japanese drivers who were the first to commit to the event, despite the challenge of shipping a pair of cars 9000 km. That one of those was ‘ TFR5 ‘ the ex works Targa Florio car, complete with 8 port head and 5 speed gearbox, made for an even greater level of expectation.But no-one could have expected the combination of 40 degree heat and near hurricane which decided to add even more challenge to the drivers. Already pushed to the limit from the gearbox blow ups, oil leaks and the traditional Spridget head gasket fun which tends to afflict these highly developed cars, the weather could have been the last straw. But Spridget racers are a hardy bunch and decided it was just all part of the fun.
Sadly, it was TFR5 which suffered more than anyone might consider the worst of luck, yet Yasuji Morizumi and Shigeru Tanaka were calm and accepting of the situation, their efforts seemingly rewarded by the pleasure of simply being part of the event. The latter had the added frustration of being unable to race due to a broken collar bone, but dealt with the disappointment with traditional Japanese manners and good will.
After all the dramas, the 2 races on the last Saturday of July might well have been an anti-climax. but wins by both David Gibson in his Lenham Le Mans GT and Adam Cunnington in his more traditional Sprite from the back of their grids, added yet more to the special feel of the event. Whilst most of the cars at the front were running on modern Yokohama tyres, there was a useful contingent on traditional Dunlop Historic, led home in both races by John Moon.But perhaps the overriding memory most will take from the event is the importance of relationships. Bakker’s FISC innovation had already created life long bonds between drivers, which most other series or championships could barely comprehend. The opportunity to renew those bonds and create new ones with likeminded souls from around the globe was what the event will be remembered for, notwithstanding the crazy weather, great racing and the wonderful circuit of Zandvoort.
Spridget 60 Meet continued
Given the positive feedback, perhaps Pieter Bakker will be encouraged to make this an annual event? Follow the links below and keep in touch …
The above thought is an interesting one and I am now in the process of exploring the possibilities of organizing a “1st Spridget World Meet”. To make this a viable option, we’ll be needing the support of our British Friends. However the Brexit developments or the lack off, puts us in a difficult position for the time being, as we cannot currently estimate how the UK and the EU will relate to each other after the Brexit and more specific what problems will arise with regard to border traffic, more explicit the import and export of race cars, between the two nations.