Mallory Park, Sunday, 29 August 2010, Round 7
According to a recent Channel 4 documentary on fraudulent insurance claims, Geoff should have called an ambulance, and started filling in claims forms. Instead, he took his Mono1400 out to qualify for race 4. Perhaps Insurance assessors should view incidents like this before they start paying out our money to fraudsters. However, there is no doubt the Geoff was badly knocked about, and his continued participation in the meeting was an act of stubborn determination.
With the Monoposto field split over three grids the loss of three entries was unfortunate.
Conditions were changing during qualifying from greasy to near perfect. Jeremy Timms and Richard Purcell were in the 44s, Tristan Cliffe, nursing a misfire in the 45s, followed by the fourth Dallara of Graham Read, Tony Cotton in the fifth Dallara was behind Anthony Bishop's Formula Renault. Tony was just ahead of the first Mono1600, he would get faster as the weekend progressed.
Nigel Davers headed the Mono1600s with a 49.426s in the remaining Team Fern entry in this race, Dave Parkinson’s Reynard was next up about a second adrift. Henry Fryer qualified just head of Richard Evan's Swift Formula Renault, the Lolas of Eddie Guest and Joe Venor were in the mid 55s, Jonathan Baggott took the last place on the grid with a sick sounding AW1.
Those of us with long memories, who were around in the1950s, can remember being disappointed as Vanwalls retired from race after race with throttle linkage failure. Development ultimately eradicated the problem, Team Cliffe seem to be recreating a deja vu situation. From third on the grid Tristan struggled round for half a lap before parking up. Disappointing because he should have been part of the excellent race going on at the front. Richard Purcell lead away, but immediately Jeremy Timms put him under considerable pressure, and eventually took the lead. Jeremy slowly pulled away and had a significant lead when the Safety Car came out after thirteen laps of this 20 minute race. The Safety Car picked up the leader, unfortunately the leading Mono1600, a situation that was slowly sorted out.
When the race was reactivated, Richard won the restart. Jeremy initially challenged but thought that his tyres lacked grip. Richard had no such problems driving into a 1.6s lead and taking fastest lap, to the Dallara driver’s immense satisfaction.
Graham Read annexed a good third place, initially he paced the two leaders but lost them in traffic to finish 10s behind at the flag. Tony Cotton had a good run in his immaculate F300 to fourth in class, lapping 2.5s faster than in qualifying. Last Mono2000 was Anthony Bishop, a spin at Gerards on lap one (which delayed a closely following Tony Cotton) dropped him to dead last, he spent much of the race catching and overtaking Mono1600s.
Nigel Davers had a serious race with David Parkinson for the lead of the Mono1600s, eventually he took the class win by 4.1s. Richard Evans had a good run to third in class. For the first half of the race Henry Fryer kept him close company but when the bodywork on Henry’s Formula Vauxhall Junior came loose Henry fell back as he attempted to race one handed. By lap thirteen, one hand securing the bodywork was not enough, and the car shed its panels onto the circuit. It was this incident that bought out the Safety Car. Eddie Guest won the Lola competition, Joe Venor being the final finisher, Jonathan Baggott's AW1 being another first lap retirement.
Richard Purcell and Nigel Davers took the fastest laps.
The motorcycle engined cars produced slow qualifying times because the track was damp and difficult. There was consternation in the Woodhouse camp when Chris disappeared after one lap, but his problem was restricted to a blown fuse, with the co-operation of the officials he made the grid, but last year's champion was in an a typical mid- grid position. It's good to see how helpful CSCC are when there's a problem, thanks. Tim Cameron took pole with 52.334s. He was followed by Dax Ward in the 52s, and Arty Cameron and Stuart Digby in the 53s, Peter Whitmore had done a 55.4 before he crashed, and became a DNS, (see the introduction), Geoff Fern was thus the sole Mono1400 with a time of 57.6s. For the benefit of the assistant ed, who got confused, Stephen Brooks has reverted to 1000 spec from 1400.
On lap six Chris Woodhouse caught and passed Dax Ward.
The Cameron family Jedi retired on laps four and six with engine failures bought about by lack of oil. Both cars had lost oil in identical ways. The cause of these near simultaneous failures is known but is unexplained. Following these failures the Club Co-ordinator will issue a sheet of recommendations with the race instructions for the next championship round. Arty Cameron's car suffered an oil fire as he parked up. After several laps the Safety Car was put out, it failed to pick up the leader. Being bright red with the figure 1 on the nose, Chris Woodhouse’s Speads is difficult to spot, eventually, the other cars behind the Safety Car were released so that Chris was able to lead the restart.
Chris made no mistake with the restart and lead Dax Ward's Jedi over the line. After a further three laps the chequered flag was shown, Chris won by a scant 0.341s from Dax Ward. Six seconds further back third place was taken by Stuart Digby. Stephen Brooks in his familiar Speads was fourth and Geoff Fern fifth. Geoff had the hoped for steady race, braking for the Hairpin being extremely painful. Len Turner, who had been delayed behind the Safety Car, and eventually released to motor to the finish on an empty track was sixth. The final finisher in the depleted field was Geoffrey Cowell in his immaculate Hitec.
Conditions had settled down by the time the Classic and Mono1800 field took to the track, it had become a blustery day, the cool wind persisted for the remainder of the afternoon.
Peter Venn with the Anson SA4 set down the classic standard for the weekend with 45.956s. Jeremy Goodman and Russ Giles were in the 46s while Francis Phillips Geoff Fern, and Richard Purcell were in the 47s. Geoff Fern’s Van Diemen was obviously a DNS. Ian Hughes, Barry Smith, Nick Catanzaro and Peter Bragg, the latter in his Mono1800 were next up, all in the 48s. Pete Bragg lead the Mono1800s, second in class was Jim Timms, but third in class: Phil Nicholson, was another DNS. The majority of the 1800 field set a time in the 51s bracket which signalled an interesting race.
By the second lap Russ Giles had a clear lead with Goodman (RT3) by himself and Purcell, Smith, and Venn three abreast, I did not know that the circuit was that wide! Peter Bragg had his 1800 in a commendable eighth place, mixing it with the Classic cars, but when Nick Catanzaro caught him there was a collision, Nick lost his nose and the Safety Car was sent out, on this occasion it did pick up the race leader.
Russ Giles lead after the restart but his car inexplicably cut out at the Hairpin, eventually it restarted but the lead was long gone, and Russ finished a distant sixth twelve seconds behind Ian Hughes in his home brewed Van Diemen, but ahead of Lenny Coleman in the red Reynard 883. On Monday we asked Russ how many races he had led outright. "Including Sunday? " - "Yes, including Sunday" - "One." Despite the massive disappointment of the car hesitating, Russ was still grinning at the memory of leading. And remember, he was leading somebody with an outright Spa podium.
Jeremy Goodman inherited the lead from Russ but eventually lost it to Peter Venn's Anson, this car having the performance to drive round the competition at Gerards. Francis Philips was initially credited with third place but it really belonged to Richard Purcell. When the lap charts were corrected Francis was fourth and Barry Smith fifth. Eighth, ninth and tenth were FVL territory, the order being Terry Clark, Kevin Otway, and Louis Watts.
Peter Bragg's Mygale dominated the Mono1800 class, he finished five seconds ahead of Jim Timms. Initially Doug McLay’s Mygale occupied third in class but after the restart he seemed to slow allowing the battling pair of Rupert Reader and Michael Dale through. Jock Sergison was next up setting a fastest lap that was faster than many in front. Richard Reeve took the last position. Mick Kinghorn missed the action as he retired on the first lap.
Fastest laps went to Peter Venn, and Pete Bragg.
It was fortunate that the miserable weather that preceded the Bank Holiday weekend relented, this allowed the Summer BBQ to be run successfully. Thanks are due to Mike Hinman and his team for the catering, Jonathan Baggott for the organisation, Simon Davey for administering the ticket sales, and to Ewan Sergison for providing music that suited the era of most Monoposto competitors, he must have sought advice from Jock!
The Baking GP was well supported, and most entries in this competition had been consumed before the night was out.
Despite the early poor weather, and a few unfortuante mishaps, this was a meeting which seemed to be enjoyed by almost everybody, well run and friendly with great racing . But can we arrange for it to be warmer next year?
Pics by Andrew Cliffe/Norwich Photo and Nigel Bland