Paul Campfield


Paul Campfield’s Motor Sport CV

I started racing at Henley Motor Club in a grasstrack MG Midget, which I bought off Barry Conway at my school for £25. We eventually broke the back of the chassis and decided to move on to circuit racing after I had attended the Brands Hatch Racing School, around 1979. We bought an ex Ian Hall modsports frogeye sprite. This was a super little car but was a huge headache for inexperienced mechanics, me and my mates. The engine was a 1380 running on a single weber, constant problems with the engine and everything else, I eventually stuck it into the wall at Coram Curve at Snetterton backwards. I did 8 races and never finished one, it was very frustrating trying to run on a shoestring and do it all myself, I vowed never to approach it this badly again.

I then went out and raced my virtually standard MGCGT in the MG Car Club BCV8 championship back in the 1980s, with good results despite its interesting handling! I developed it into a road modified MGC, with which I had great scary fun, both in the UK and abroad, I still have the car to this day. I then I moved up to a rull race MGCV8, running on slicks with 300 bhp. The reason for an MGC shell was simply that one could get full equal length exhaust manifolds into the much wider engine bay, I had good results with this car, including 4 outright wins at the start of 1988. Then it all went a bit wrong, I went to Kirkiston in Northern Ireland, 25th June to be precise, was leading the race comfortably, in front of Will Corry in his 6R4 metro, when I am sure I was overcome by carbon monoxide fumes in the car, I left the track in 4th gear at over 120mph and rolled the car at least eight times, (it is on film). I was badly knocked about and ended up in Ulster Intensive care, with about three months off work and a frozen shoulder to contend with for a year. But hey it was only rolled, luckily not end over end, we rebuilt the car, I scored some more wins, a third in the championship one year, but at this time I had seen some Healey 3000s racing at Zolder and thought that looked good fun. I already had a Healey 3000 in bits, so we changed focus, Andrew Young bought my MGC and he converted it a full race MGC with the original 6 cylinder engine in it for 2003, he subsequently sold it and now Malcolm Beer has the car.

So the Austin Healey I had bought in 1983, as a rally car spec, 802YBF, ended up going circuit racing, after an extensive rebuild by me and my good friend Tim Boxell, it became my race car from 1994. I was best newcomer, first year out, third in class the next year, and finished 4th in class for 2001. We have also had good success in the Birkett 6 hour team relay race, with a 2nd in class in 1999 and 1st in class in 2001, a great team event.

For 2002 and 2003, I realised an ambition, to drive a single seater, and after a visit to the Autosport show, I bought my 1980 March 803 (an ex Eddie Jordan Marlboro sponsored car) from Mike Southin. I also continued with the Healey in a few events a year.

Suddenly I had no time! My kids had statrted Karting, first indoor every Friday, it progressed quickly and I started running all three of my boys in the ‘Super Two’ national Karting championship, plus F6 (which Marc won the pro kart class in 2002) plus a series of Sandown club races where Marc won the winter series at Sandown Park. For 2003 my 3 boys (Marc, Adrian and Jack) moved on to Junior Rotax and two Minimax Karts, racing at club level at PFI and contesting Super One and Stars of Tomorrow. For 2005 the boys moved out of Karting, Jack retired and now concentrates on golf full time, for 2006 he was Milford Golf Club junior champion, plus captain, he also came second in a the crown golf junior championship in 2006, and came second in the Milford golf club pro-am in May 2007.

Adrian finished 2005 in JICA kart racing, then moved on to Kent Formula Ford in our yellow Swift SC93, which I ran for the first time with a roll of yellow tank tape (it fell to bits) at the Walter Hayes at Silverstone at the end of 2005. We surprised ourselves by getting to the grand final first time of him driving it. Andy Stapley then ran it for the 2006 season in ClubFF1600 with good results, we invested in a new Scholar engine, he came second in that championship and was very quick. We then purchased Nathan Freke’s 2006 Mygale and raced that as privateers in 2007 in the National Formula Ford Championship, we were the only people to turn up with a Sprinter van and trailer, but were always on the pace and ran consistently in the top ten, we had some help from Jamun which was nice of them. Adrian then raced at the front of the National formula ford series for 2008 with a Kevin Mills prepared Spectrum, with podiums and an outright win.

For 2009 he then moved his racing to Germany for with great success in the ADAC Formel Masters series, we ran with MA-CON racing, a great bunch of guys who we got on very well with. He narrowly came third in this championship (one point) and has made a real name for himself as a ‘wings and slicks’ driver, with podiums nearly every race and four outright wins. He is looking at German F3 for 2010.

Marc, my eldest son, started circuit racing with a road modified sprite, which he rolled in 2005 at Paddock Bend at Brands Hatch, for 2006 we rebuilt (it was only rolled) and came out with the same car but properly set up and with a good engine, he won the Austin Healey championship outright. For 2007 we purchased a beautiful Iris Blue full race Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite with which Marc won the championship again despite crashing heavily at Oulton Park. I rebuilt it within 2 weeks to then come out for an outright win at Snetterton, Pam Boxell, Tim’s wife says she always feels sick watching Marc race, the car is never in a straight line and always very spectacular. Marc also races my Healey 3000 and took it to Sweden in 2008, he won one race and was very popular. For 2009 he came 3rd in the 50th celebration race at Silverstone and is always sideways whenever on the track, hair raising. At Donnington Park in 2008, the marshalls came into our garage at lunch break and asked who was driving the green and red Healey, as they had never seen a car go down the Kramer curves sideways at that speed before.

My other activities revolve around racing the March 803. I also race the Healey 3000, but always struggle with dates between HSCC, AMOC and BARC. In 2004 I achieved 4th in the Classic Formula 3 championship, 2005 was sporadic, but for 2006 I came 3rd overall in the HSCC Classic Formula 3 Championship, with three podiums, including 3rd at the Oulton Park Gold Cup, which was a great race…

For 2007 I raced my Healey 3000 and also raced the F3, plus supported my kids in their racing which I always find very enjoyable.

I raced the Sprite in 2008 and won the Austin Healey championship, it is quite a remarkable car and is built to a very high specification originally by Nigel Adams, it looks a bit more ‘used’ now but we have actually developed it to be competitive and redesigned breather systems etc.

I started 2009 in great style, I raced a formula atlantic March 80a at Phillip Island near Melbourne, this was great fun with interesting weather. For 2009 I won in the Sprite at Cadwell Park and had a couple of 5ths at Brands Hatch, I got 6th in the F3 at Thruxton and 8th starting from the back at Donnington Park, but my focus has also been to help Adrian and Marc as much as I can.

For 2010, I will do a bit of Classic F3 and see what my kids can come up with to keep me entertained.

Funniest things

At Nurburgring, Nordschliefe, Eiffel Classic 1994, in my Healey 3000, I had been looking for the pits all weekend and with red flags on the Friday practice day thought the entrance at the end of the straight was the entrance to the pits (I was being thick, they use the new grand prix circuit pits on Sunday) anyway I dived down what turned out to be a narrow entrance to a marshalls post, Ian Cox from piper cams right behind me, who also couldn’t fathom where the pits were, was right behind me, only to find we were both in a narrow entrance to a marshall’s post. The marshall didn’t know what to do, panicked with these two English idiots in his access sliproad, so he opened the gate onto to the main road and ushered us out. One minute, we were driving on the track, next fully helmeted and belted up, hot car, me and Ian Cox driving on the main road in the traffic. The cars had race numbers, were hot and had L section tyres on, we swiftly made our way back to the main entrance where a very officious German asked us for our tickets! We drove into the circuit and back to the collecting area, where everybody was clapping after they had thought we were the cause of the red flag because we had both gone missing!

Best Race

Definitely, Castle Coombe 1988, MGCV8, I was a reserve, started from the back of the BCV8 championship race, won it on the last lap after a wild move on Malcolm Beer round Quarry, fastest lap, won and got driver of the day.

2nd Best Races

Sprite at Silverstone up against David Grace in his Healey 3000 in 2008, he won but a stunning race, no blue paint on his car but close for 12 laps, David (me) and Goliath race. In 2005 in F3 round Spa, beating the slower F2’s and such a great circuit. Gold Cup in 2006, Classic F3, came 3rd, but just a real bun fight to the flag and right with the winners. Last race of year 2006 in F3, wet but on slicks, the tyres were old so over inflated which worked superbly in wet, came 2nd but a stunning race start to finish. Late 1990’s Snetterton in the wet, a Top Hat race, my Healey 3000 in the rain, up against Marcos’s, Lolas, came second.

Worst thing

Dave Hardy’s accident at Cadwell Park, me and Dave Coplowe just missed T-boning him as he got out of his car broadside at the top of the hill over the blind brow, after the start and finish straight, sadly a sprite didn’t, he died 3 years later after living as a tetraplegic for his remaining years.

Worst Accident

Kirkiston, as mentioned earlier, didn’t feel too good after that, also Brands 1987 in MGCV8. I hit the tyre wall side on at the one after Graham Hill bend, after losing the lead, going on to GP circuit, I head butted the roll cage, split my crash helmet and spent the night in Sidcup hospital being woken up every hour. The clue was my long suffering wife Caterina teetered into the medical centre, before she got there I said I think she is pregnant, when she walked in she was rather large! Right, you’re going in for the night…

I have never been the same since…

Paul Campfield