Monoposto Championship Thruxton 8 May 2010: 1600, 1800
As explained in the 2 litre report, the tragic accident in the GT Cup delayed the meeting by over 3 hours.
The 1600 class is undoubtedly the premier class to which all Monoposti aspire (David Parkinson tells me), with the 1800 class only just behind. It's therefore a shame that it is rare that one of these cars crosses the line first. As an experiment, it was decided to try a 16/18 only race at Thruxton. The logic was that this was a long lap, and a wide track, so the 2 litres and 1000/1400's should be adequately separated here.
In practice it was the Men With A Background at the front. Pole was a 1600, Pat Blakeney in his 1995 Vector. Pat is, of course, an Ards examiner and leads the Thruxton Motorsports Centre, so he should know his way round. Former Mono champion Rob Manger, who was running him, tells us Pat's son is even quicker.Pat edged out no-Mono regular, ex-F3000 driver Nigel Smith, just ahead of the 1800 contingent of John Whitbourn (another driver who is now a fixed asset of Mono) and evergreen Pete Bragg.
Jim Timms has emerged from a spell in hospital for a shoulder operation. Would this give a problem, hauling the car round the high-G corners of Britain's fastest circuit? 5th said no, it wouldn't. Further back current 1600 champ David Parkinson languished in 12th - unusually low for him.
We welcomed 4 newcomers, Marcus Sheard who we met at Race Retro and returning after a 20+ year gap, Michael Wilkinson in a FR Swift, historic FF racer Jonathan Greenwood in a very pretty little Dulon MP15, and Malcolm Cook in an RF83, which was a little odd as he wasn't on the qualifying sheet but was in the results.
There was a lot of sympathy for the organisers' efforts as a result of the dreadful accident, and many teams were both surprised and pleased to get a race at all, albeit a slightly shortened one. It was therefore a shame that the grid marshalls made a mess of setting up the grid, Peter Bragg having initially been omitted from the qualifying sheet. As engines overheated, and most switched off it was determined that the only answer to sort it all out was a second green flag lap, which was flagged away as one car was being push started.
Come the race, Pat Blakeney established a 20 second lead after 4 laps and never lost it. Not much more to say really, he showed how it should be done. The expected challenge from Nigel Smith failed to materialise when he pulled into the pits at the end of lap one following some trouble at the chicane. Jim Timms provided the initial challenge until a lap before the end when Pete Bragg passed him, and then, despite remarkable consistency from Jim, he was overhauled by Nigel Davers and David Parkinson, who put in storming final laps of almost unbelievable pace, especially after risng from 11th and 12th on the grid. Perhaps they work to each others' mutual benefit? The end result was of course that Jim kept his second place in the 1800 class as these two were fighting for second in1600. Despite Pat's dominance, the group described above plus the RF82 Owners' Club of Michael Dale and Geoff Pashley made a fantastic sight; close, clean, fast disciplined racing being the order of the day. It was particularly impressive to see Dave Parkinson running a strong third for most of the race in his Reynard. (As this is now unrecognisable as a Reynard following the new featherweight bodywork by Avit, I think he should rename it the "Parvit" and claim entry to the Eigenbau Trophy.) Tony Davies was originally up with them but dropped out on lap 4.
With the top 7 playing by themselves, after a gap John Whitbourn, Phil Nicholson and Rupert Reader came through next. They effectively came together after other private battles, Phil originally running as high as fifth until a 20-second incident dropped him back on lap 4.
Unfortunately, my viewpoint on the pitwall didn't spot anything further, so no more comments except to add a comment from a respected champion from another class: "Don't the Mono cars look smart these days?".
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No action pix yet.
Phil Anstruther explains to Sara Hughes that despite defecting his team to a lesser class he really would like some cake.
Jonathan Greenwood and Dulon MP15