The Parkinson Line............. on The 1600 Class at Brands Hatch
The first meeting of the year took place on March 28th at Brands Hatch. Dry conditions prevailed for both qualifying and racing much to the surprise of the majority who had expected inclement weather.
We are very pleased to welcome two new drivers to the championship this year apart from the all our old friends from previous seasons.
Joe Venor has raced previously in other series, and is known by Simon Davey. Joe had an unfortunate start when he lost his Lola, during qualifying, at Paddock Hill bend and finished up in the gravel trap. No real damage and Joe was quite philosophical and admitted that the half a ton of gravel, still left in the car after the clean up, would come in handy in his garden. In the race Joe had a consistent run to 6th in class.
The other new driver was Nigel Davers driving the Geoff Fern RF89 Van Diemen and mentored by Geoff Fern. It was Nigel’s first ever race and I’m sure he was pleased to complete the distance in view of the safety car episodes. He was even more pleased as he collected third place in his first outing. Well done Nigel.
Another Nigel, this time, Nigel Smith was back and on form and took a comfortable win. Nigel is an ex BTCC and F3 competitor but is one of those people who just enjoy racing. He joined us in the latter part of the season last year but had good enough results to finish third in the championship despite only contesting the latter rounds. I believe Silverstone was his first meeting with us.
Henry Fryer was very unlucky as an incident in qualifying stopped him competing in the race. I’m not sure exactly what happened other than the car was ready but the CoC wouldn’t let him race as he hadn’t completed the mandatory three laps. I’ll get the full story at Thruxton but tough luck Henry.
I was very pleased to see Tony Davies, he’s Welsh you know, return for another season. When you’re in this guys company you know that you’re going to laugh. Again, with being a late race and packing up, I’m not sure what happened to Tony other than he disappeared on the safety car lap. I’m sure it was nothing to do with sheep, as various people have implied, as Tony told me earlier that the counselling is going very well and he’s not like that any more.
I was very lucky to finish in second as I picked up a front wheel puncture in the second safety car episode. When we stopped on the grid I was praying we’d finished.
Richard Evans was another driver returning for another season with us in his very smart Swift Formula Renault. Hopefully some of the reliability problems that plagued him last year have been resolved as he completed the race on this occasion.
Eddie Guest is a driver who started with us last year at the Mallory Park round and has returned for another season. It was the first time for Eddie at Brands but he managed a finish with his Lola which is now slick shod.
We were short of three regular drivers from last year. Sara Hughes didn’t race as hubby Ian returned to compete in his 2 litre car and the two cars couldn’t be transported to this first race. But their trailer is being adapted so both cars will be at Thruxton and the 1600 grid will be up to strength. Needless to say the cakes were on offer at Brands. I hope Sara realises that the cake business has now become part of the Mono tradition and cannot be halted without the approval of the Board of Directors.
Another missing driver was Tony Cotton. The long time 1600 stalwart has gone and bought himself a Dallara and will therefore compete in the lower classes for this season. His Vauxhall is not up for sale though so I am confident he will return to the premier class in the not to distant future. Basically as soon as he realises that those damned 2 litre chaps just aren’t as nice as the 1600 brigade. I hope he enjoyed his last Sara cake as it’s the last one he’ll get for some time.
Jonathan Baggot was the other missing man but last season saw him compete at only certain rounds so I’m sure we’ll see him through the year.
Peter Beasley, the racing detective has only done the Snetterton rounds with us in the past, if I remember correctly, so we might see him when we visit Norfolk again.
Pedro Ferreira and James Chapman were two other guys who had a race with us last year. We might see them again this year as we will hopefully see Dave Brady. He competed in the Mallory round but hasn’t been seen since. His sense of humour is missed.
New Monoposta Joe Venor pressing on
Joe's garden on Monday
Nigel Davers was another to join the Mono elite squadra
Nigel Smith took a comfortable win for the underrated Vauxhall Junior
A hypothetical Safety Car scenario (from MSA instructions to Clerks of Course)