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The Gold Trophy - 10th June 1962 (Whit Sunday)

From 1960 to 1962 I served as Midland Area Delegate to the SMAE. This entailed attending the Council meetings held at Londonderry House (Park Lane). At one of these meetings I volunteered to judge the '62 Gold Trophy. The reason (if any) now escapes me. In those days the event was usually judged by just one person and over just one flight. Maybe I had ideas about changing things but on arrival at Barkston Heath (yes, we've been using it that long) I found that I had a fellow judge in the person of Pete Russell. No problem, but I would have been happier if someone had told me in advance.

I knew Pete by reputation as a previous Gold winner - he won when I first competed in 1957 - and had got to know him fairly well from our joint exploits in electric car rail racing. I had visited the Worksop track on more than one occasion to compete in open events.

With the unusual situation of having two judges, Pete and I agreed that we would stand 90 degrees apart around the circle so that one could judge line angles and the other the shapes of the manoeuvres. This obviously precluded any possibility of conferring - pity this system isn't used today. There were 42 entries and all of them flew. That must have been a busy day!

The entries included 'all the usual suspects' for the time plus an american serviceman in the shape of 'Jeep' Newman with a pair of 'Ares' built from the Ambroid kit. Chief among the usuaI entries was Frank Warburton with a new model in the shape of a semi-scale Kawasaki Ki61 'Hien' (Swallow), better known in the west as the 'Tony'.

Frank Warburtons 'Tony'

Frank Warburtons 'Tony'

Frank Warburtons 'Tony'.

The other regular entries included Geoff Higgs, Harold Dowbekin, Dave Christopher, Tom Jolley,etc. Dave had a twin boom model in his familiar colour scheme.

Dave Christopher's twin boomer

Dave Christopher's twin boomer.

I must admit that 'Jeeps' two models made a considerable impact on me because of the very high quality finish, in Aerogloss dope. Jeep insisted that the finish on his number two model was 'rough' and needed much more work with rubbing compound before he would be happy.

Jeep Newman's number one model

'Jeep' Newman's number one model, flown in the event.

Jeep Newman's number two model

Jeep Newman's number two model

'Jeep' Newman's number two model, not flown in the event.

I have been unable to trace a full entry list or set of results (but see below). No use asking SMAE/BMFA. When I worked in the office in 1993 I was amazed just how little was recorded. The only permanent record of Gold Trophy winners is on the trophy itself - and that lists two winners for one year!

The main contenders had quite different flying styles. Geoff Higgs flew large open manoeuvres (80 degree loops), While Jeep Newman flew very small, neat manoeuves (and much slower), with Frank Warburton somewhere between the two. The result of this was that Pete had Geoff as the winner, while I had Jeep as the winner. Frank was second or third for both of us. Adding the scores made Frank the winner with Jeep second.

One other point that needs mentioning is Jeeps habit pf performing numerous dead-stick loops after the motor cut - and it wasn't very windy. I thought this was great, but I think Pete regarded it as 'showing off'.

When we thought that the dust had settled, Tom Jolley appeared and lodged an official protest at the fact that Franks model didn't have his SMAE number on it. The rumour in those days was that Tom arrived at contests with his protests already written out, but I don't see how he could have forseen this one. After looking at the rules, we had no option but to disqualify Frank, making Jeep Newman the winner. This was a serious issue in those days but Frank appealed on the basis that he had put the number on the botttom of the wing because putting it on top would spoil the semi-scale appearance.

In stark contrast to today, it took the SMAE Coucil just 6 days to overturn the protest and reinstate Frank as the winner. Nowadays, it would take at least 3 months - the distance between council meetings.

This business of BMFA numbers is an interesting one. Nowadays, numerous people get away with flying in competitions without a number on their model - possibly the result of scrapping the 'builder of the model' rule. However, it has always been a fact that your insurance is invalid if the model doesn't carry your number.

I think Frank won the following year with the same model. Tom won in '64 and Geoff in '65.

From 1962-3 'Aeromodeller Annual':

1st Frank Warburton of Bolton 1220.5 pts
2nd J Newman of Northwood 1198 pts
3rd T Jolley of Whitefield 1095 pts
4th G Higgs of Bolton 1056.5 pts
5th R Brown of High Wycombe 1039.5 pts
6th C Christopher of Weston 1016.5 pts

Not surprising, perhaps, that the SMAE Council fell over themselves to reinstate Frank, rather than have a US serviceman win the Gold Trophy..

Jeep was an accomplished steel slide guitar player and became a great fan of ultra-light aircraft. Unfortunately, he was killed in April 2004 while trying to land his ultra-light. Go here for more on Jeep.