Croft, Sunday 26 September 2010, Round 11
With slightly less cold weather greeting us, and a dry day in store, the assembled Monoposti embarked on the second day at the challenging and friendly North Yorkshire circuit. All the other races had their grids already sorted but we practiced as a meeting opener at Midday.
The grid ended up with few surprises, just a few incidents. Pole went again to Malvern's fastest bank manager Arty Cameron, hoping to "bank" another win.. (leave the jokes to the professionals- ed) Brother Dave brought Tim's car in early with more overheating and oil problems. It was typical of Mono that oil was lent by Arty's championship rival Len Turner so that Dave could start the race.
Also cutting practice short was Martin Byford. When asked, the Gateshead College team manager said "The car's a 97 Van Diemen and I think the tyres we put on came with it in 1997. Martin knew he couldn't go any faster so he came in." It was good to have a famous name with us again, and also good that he and his team joined in with the prizegiving.
Mono2000/Mono Classic, Qualifying
Tristan Cliffe captured pole by 0.2 seconds, and Richard Snuggs in his RT30 which he's owned since 1990 took an overall 4th and Classic pole. Kevin Otway had a few problems and only did 5 laps but was persuaded by Simon over lunch to carry on. He would be pleased he did... With Malcom Scott out of action, daughter Jennifer took over the Van Diemen and was a bit shell shocked after practice, never having been to Croft before.
Away from the line, Arty Cameron took a huge lead, about 20 car lengths ahead of Pete Bragg. Arty controlled the race at his own pace, having shown how to wring a Jedi's neck for a couple of laps, drifting round Sunny 2 at 3 figure speeds looked fun if you can do it. He then settled down, but chose to get the comnmentator excited on the last few laps by "Stigging" it round the hairpin, tail out, wide and actually quite a slow way of driving, but spectacular. Reward was a points tally to bring a challenge to Len Turner in 1000; reward for Dave was a blown engine after less than a lap, symptoms similar to Mallory.
Stephen Brooks left the line so slowly that the CoC nearly penalised him for starting the 2litre race early. But Stephen's never one to give up and even the prospect of the indomitable Peter Bragg ahead of him didn't dim his enthusiasm. From 9th across the line he was 4th by the end of lap 1 and took Pete Bragg on lap 5 for second. Pete, of course, drove as only he knows how in 1800 to win the class. A fastest lap of 1.27.23 would have been respectable in the 2 litre class and it was, of course, a record.
This week's awning provider, Peter Whitmore, had a cracking start but was passed on lap one by Geoff Fern who took 3rd overall and 1400 victory. Martin Byford made up 5 places from qualifying for 6th. Jim Timms, Michael Dale and Rupert Reader spent the race fighting hard for 3rd in 1800 from Martin, the podium going narrowly to Jim from Michael. Meanwhile, Nigel Davers crusied throughh to a customary 1600 win from reigning 1600 champ David Parkinson. To show there's no class distinction in Mono, Dave spent much of this race and Saturday's dicing with 1000 class championship leader Len Turner. Phil Nicholson entertained as usual on his way to 6th in the increasingly popular (and cost effective) 1800 class. Jock Sergison, Richard Evans and Geoff Cowell had a close and exciting race, albeit from 3 different classes, to finish in that order, with Eddie Guest just behind them.
Marcus Sheard didn't start (despite a good qualifying position of 5th in class) and Henry Fryer's run of bad luck continued when a battery which read perfectly gave way after 5 laps leaving him stranded.
As the lights went out, Jeremy Timms passed Tristan Cliffe. Thereafter they were scarcely separated for the race, running closley together at record pace. The record to Tristan, at an incredible 1.20.425, faster even than qualifying. Jeremy held the lead until lap 5 when Tristan took a deep breath and did one of the many things he does so well - a bit of planned off track locomotion. Along the pit straight, with 2 wheels on the grass, he took the lead. Click here for a short scary video from Tristan. Jeremy didn't give up, and chased him in to finish just over 3 seconds behind. Even Richard Purcell was unable to match the pace of these two and, having been troubled by Richard Snuggs off the start he soon regained the place and cruised to the final podium step. Richard Snuggs was demoted by Nick Anstruther for the Classic win on lap 4, while Adrian Holey slipped between the two of them and came in fourth in 2000, under a cars length separting him and Nick at the flag. The pace at the front was so hot that 7th overall, and a delighted third step of the Classic podium, Barry Smith was the last unlapped runner. He had a terrific first lap, rising from 12th on the grid to 7th and never looked like losing that place.
Tony Cotton once again had an active race. After a decent start he was trapped behind a spinning Graham Read at the chicane and spent the race making up places, again. Fortunately, Russ Giles and Jeremy Goodman decided that their "fight of the Brummies" for 4th and 5th in Classic was such good fun - and vital to the Championship - that they sportingly let Tony past so he wouldn't get in their way. They certainly spent the race ducking and diving, and finished half a second apart. Graham recovered from his spin to be dead last, spun again on lap 6, did a fastest lap 1.4 seconds faster than qualifying, and oh-so-nearly nabbed a dozing Tony at the line.
Kevin Otway recovered from his troubled practice to finish12th, and win driver of the day. Jennifer Scott was just behind him and proceeded to go faster all day on this her first Croft visit. Unfortunately, your scribe didn't catch too much of Mick Kinghorn or Graham Probyn, but both appeared smiling in parc ferme.
Chris Anstruther retired on lap9, and Terry Clark parked his FVL at the chicane with a deranged front wheel on lap 6, reason unknown. Lou Watts made the start but didn't do a lap.
Although Arty took a big lead, the main field was tightly packed as seen here...
Geoff Cowell, Richard Evans and Jock Sergison
Henry Fryer and Jock Sergison
Arty Cameron laps Len Turner
Rupert Reader and Nigel Davers