Oulton Park 2 July
The second half of the 2011 Monoposto Championship got underway
with a blistering meeting on the fast and demanding Oulton Park International
circuit. It was literally blisteringly hot, with local John Loebel claiming
that, based on past form, Monoposto is somehow creating this weather in
the North West for our Oulton meetings. The on track pace was also blisteringly
quick. In qualifying the class pole man in five out of six classes was
under the relevant lap record, and in an intensely competitive Mono 2000
field the first four in qualifying were all under the existing benchmark
– which was set last year in the midst of the nationally recognised
Quite a few new faces appeared for the event, with one or two regulars missing. Chris Woodhouse couldn’t stop himself bringing along the Woodhouse Bros Dallara and Kourosh Khani came out for another run in Yunus Amiere’s Renault. Ollie Sirrell ran his very effective Mono Classic Van Diemen, and was joined in the class by a new face, David Marshall, in a slightly more recent Van Diemen. Adrian Holey had a run in the Magic Motorsport Dallara, and was supported on the day by members of Horticap, which is a charity which works with adults who have learning difficulties. We hope the Horticap students enjoyed their day, with MSVR very helpfully organising some circuit laps for them as well. Notably missing from the Mono Classic roster was Peter Venn, who had a pressing social engagement elsewhere (what!?) In the Mono 18/16/14/10 field Stephen Brooks came out for the first time in 2011, and occasional Mono competitor Martin Short was a welcome returnee, run by the aforementioned John Loebel of Medina Sport. He was joined by HSCC refugee Olly Thorpe in a Royale RP27, spannered by his legendary father, Colin. Mat Jordan returned for another bite of the Mono cherry and it was also good to see Prajesh Shah running again after his Spa problems.
In the Mono 2000/Classic session Tristan Cliffe set an astounding mark more than 3 seconds under the record, joined in beating it by Malcolm Scott, Richard Purcell and Kourosh Khani. Chris Woodhouse was next up, not very happy with the car and Ollie Sirrell gave notice of his pace by being some 4 seconds under the existing Mono Classic lap record. Tony Bishop had a close encounter with the Druids barriers and was somewhat lucky that there was enough left of the car for the Omicron team to repair for the race – Druids is not a corner that usually takes prisoners. Tailend Charlie was a hapless Steve Griffin, struggling on three cylinders, although he was able to get in some better laps to sort the car in the second session.
Dan Clowes headed the sheets for the busy Mono 18/16/14/10 session, about a second under the lap record mark, but it was Adrian Wright’s new design AW3 which set the paddock buzzing, also under the record straight out of the box. Marc Fortune was next up, but O’Farc team mate Dax Ward languished at the back after electrical problems stymied his practice. Geoff Fern bested Chris Hill in the Mono 1400s, but the OMS had dropped a valve so that was that for the smart orange car. Newcomer Olly Thorpe showed real pace, around 1.5 seconds under the Mono 1800 lap record in the Historic Royale, and Martin Short inched ahead of Jeremy Timms (who was probably finding the Van Diemen didn’t grab his attention in the same way a Dallara does…)
So with the heat undiminished the Mono 2000/Classics came out for their race. Kourosh Khani made a storming start and ended lap 1 with a 1.3 second lead over Tristan Cliffe, with Malcolm Scott and Richard Purcell in pursuit – he was using the Topmarx car normally driven by Steve Patania who was watching proceedings with a slightly anxious expression. By the end of lap 3 Tristan was right with Kourosh, passing him round the outside as they came up Deer’s Leap at the end of a lap in which there had clearly been a lot going on out back - both cars’ lap time for lap 3 were down by around 2.5 seconds compared to the previous lap. Tristan pulled away, but then went missing on lap 5 having dropped the Omicron car on the exit of Old Hall, a corner which is quite fast enough to do a lot of damage in such circumstances. This brought out the safety car for a couple of laps, and on the restart Kourosh again stormed away, this time from the attentions of Malcolm Scott’s Dallara. There was only time left for one lap at racing speeds so Kourosh took the flag from Malcolm and a closely pursuing Richard Purcell. A little further back Tony Bishop worked his way up to challenge Adrian Holey, but couldn’t quite get by, and Chris Woodhouse called it a day on what turned out to be the last lap.
As all this drama played out, Ollie Sirrell comfortably lead the Mono Classics, although David Marshall worked his way up the field, into an excellent class second which he was very lucky to hold onto because a bolt fell out of a rear upright, to the extent that by the time the car got into Parc Ferme it was completely immobile. Hopefully he will do more with Mono in future. Last lap drama saw Francis Phillips throw third place at the very last corner to a grateful (and quick) Chris Anstruther in the Bowman.
However it turned out that the chequered flag had not brought the curtain down on the drama. A post race eligibility check revealed that Kourosh Khani’s Renault was missing the required restrictor plate in its induction system, and he was consequently disqualified from the race, with the Clerk of the Course ruling that he should also forfeit two maximum Championship point scores as well. This meant that Malcolm Scott took a very well deserved win – his first in the Dallara, followed by Richard Purcell. Ollie Sirrell took third overall and the win in Mono Classic, with Tony Bishop providing some comfort for Omicron by getting onto the class podium as third Mono 2000.
There was a loooonnnngggg pause in Mono proceedings while some long-distance races circulated, and then it was the turn of the Mono 18/16/14/10s. Dan Clowes drove a quick and controlled race which he lead from the start, and was never headed, finishing 6 seconds up on Adrian Wright, who went brilliantly in the first ever race for the AW3. Both these drivers were well under the previous lap record. At the finish there was a 20 second gap before the third man turned up, and it was Dax Ward, who had started dead last and had made about 30 passes (including lapping) in 9 hectic laps round Oulton. Going up the order Dax passed team mate and Championship Class points leader Marc Fortune going down, as overheating gear change electronics ruined Marc’s race. Next up was Jason Timms, still learning his new Speads and John Rawlings similar car. John is really becoming a force to be reckoned with and just pipped Stephen Brooks’ JKS after an excellent run. Geoff Fern was next and was the only survivor in Mono 1400.
In the Mono 1800s Peter Bragg got ahead of Olly Thorpe at the start and they ran very close, sometimes maybe too close, for the whole race with Peter getting to the flag first after lapping around 2 seconds faster than in qualifying. However there was still more drama as the Bragg Mygale failed to make the weight on the post race check and Peter was duly excluded from the results. This meant that Olly took the class win on his first run in Mono followed by Jim Timms, back in Mono 1800 with an excellent result after blowing his 2 litre engine at Spa. Michael Dale took third with his FF2000 now running much better than in the first half of the season.
Bizarrely the Mono 1600 result was resolved in a similar way. Jeremy Timms got ahead of Martin Short early on and the two engaged in a very tight dice – Jeremy commenting that he had very rarely spent so much time looking in his mirrors… However the Timms’ Van Diemen also failed the weight check and so the win went to Martin followed by Nigel Davers and Dave Parkinson who also engaged in a major struggle for the whole race.
All in all it felt like a very long hot day of hard competition, with great performances from some: disappointment and controversy for others. Apologies if I’ve missed mentioning anyone whose performance should have been recognised, but I was not able to watch all the ontrack action.
There’s now a bit of gap to the next Championship event, but it will be a big one – the Club’s first visit for many years to the fabled Brands Hatch GP circuit. It’s going to be a great meeting, but personally I’m hoping for a bit less heat, in every sense of the word.
Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsover.
Stephen Brooks relaxes....
...as do the Avit Chargers.
Good to see the Dallara joining the Team Woodhouse/Tony Impieri FR. Anything to do with Chris's birthday on Sunday, we wondered?
Equipe Timms with Dane Catanzaro's FR1700
2 immaculate Omicron Dallaras didn't go home like this.
Small wonder the Mono paddock is regarded as the cutting edge of motorsport fashion. Monaco cannot keep up.
David Marshall's Van Diemen