The Parkinson Line.....at Donington
We arrived at Donington fearing the worst from the weather reports but found that Saturday, though cold and cloudy, remained dry. The good news was that eleven drivers turned out for the event which almost doubled the Brands entry. The five who had their first drive of the season were Richard Evans, Dane Catanzaro, Matt Walters, Joe Venor and Alan Fincham. Alan actually races in a BARC championship but comes out with us now and again. They have a meeting in a couple of weeks at Donington so Alan got some useful wet and dry testing prior to the event.
It’s obviously nice to see Richard, Dane, Matt and Joe back with us again.
Tony Cotton brought a very nice fruit cake to the circuit on Saturday and whilst I and Michael Dale sampled it he went off to see somebody or other leaving the said cake in our custody to be given to any Mono drivers. He’s a nice guy, Tony, and after some time had gone by and not a soul had requested any of the cake we decided to eat it ourselves simply to save his feelings. Then Simon Davey and a posse arrived and the cake vanished. You put yourself out trying to be nice and what thanks do you get.
It’s nice to see some of our ex drivers who are not currently racing attending many of our meeting. Three such, and I’m sure there were more, were Ian Hughes, Lee Bennet and Geoff Pashley.
When I rose on Sunday morning it was to find my canopy destroyed. I purchased this one before the start of last season so it’s lasted me just over a year. I bought the thing at the Stoneleigh show for a reduced price of £260. A canopy is excellent when it’s sunny. When there’s wind and rain and you really need them they’re rubbish. I’m now debating if I can rig some type of cover off my trailer or put a roof on the car.
Nine of us went to our normal Donington eating house on Friday night and found that it’s changed hands and wasn’t as good. So on Saturday we tried a different venue. It was only a couple of miles away but it took us over half an hour to find it. That, with five drivers in the car. Little wonder that half didn’t finish on Sunday.
Nigel Davers took pole by a country mile from myself, Luke Rosewell, Matt Jordan, Matt Walters, Alan Fincham, Richard Evans, Eddie Guest, Joe Venor, Dane Catanzaro and Adrian Heath. Adie had a few problems and only managed 4 laps. Not good when you’re trying to learn a circuit. Dane also must have had problems because he only completed six laps.
I could just about see Nigel on the grid but he was three rows in front. After the start I never saw him again until Parc Firme which is not really surprising as his best lap was a massive 3.7 seconds faster than my best. Due to the red flag, final race positions were as the previous lap and final results were Nigel from me with Matt Jordan a couple of seconds in arrears to take the final podium position comfortably from Luke who finished fourth. Fifth was Alan followed by Richard, Adie, who had a good race and passed Dane and Joe who finished eighth and ninth? The two non finishers were Matt Walters who decided to check out the circuits gravel traps and Eddie who had a coming together with Jason Timms whilst being lapped.
Because of the wet and two red flags the field was restricted to a limited number of laps but Nigel qualified on pole and fourth overall beating many fancied drivers in faster cars. Then came Luke, Richard, myself and Adie in front of Mat Jordan, Dane, Eddie, Alan, Joe and Matt Walters.
I was really looking forward to the race in the wet having new wets and a full wet set up. Generally it’s throw the wets on at the last minute and go out on a dry setting. Fourth on the grid in class but with other class cars in between my aim was to pass Richard and Luke for another second place. Optimistic but in the wet anything can happen. Lights off and I got it just right. It’s so easy to get to many revs and sit there with the wheels spinning. I’m off and yards in front of the car that started level with me but calamity as I missed second. In on the second attempt but then felt a glancing blow on the right of the car which tipped me into a spin directly in front of Douglas MClay who had no chance of avoiding me. I parked my car on the grass safely out of the way as it was still running but with damage to undertray and radiators etc could not continue. Nigel Davers took the win and also second overall in the race. The only drivers who lapped faster than him were Adrian Wright, in his AW3, who won the race and Jason Timms in the Speads who must have had a moment as he finished in fifth. Luke took second in front of Dane with Mat, Eddie, Matt, Richard, Adie, Joe and Alan following.
I have to say something about Nigel. He’s obviously a very good driver but as he gets more experience he’s moving up a gear and at Donington, in both the wet and the dry, he proved his undoubted talent by beating some people he shouldn’t really have done. The little git.
Prototype roof for the DP Reynard