Pace Motorsport Directory 1981
Martin Cliffe recently found his copy of the 1981 Pace Motorsport Directory, from which Andrew scanned a few pages about the Monoposto Racing Club and about A Current Leading Light of our club. For the benefit of anybody under 45, the directory was edited by Mike Kettlewell, better known in recent years as the proprietor of the much-missed Mill House Books. It covered all areas of motorsport, from club to F1, and was an invaluable reference. Like most paid for year books, it only lasted a couple of seasons. Amazon have links to several copies from £1.45 to £12. Pace Petroleum was a sponsor. Those of a certain age will recall that genial Victor Gauntlett's company sponsored the Formula Ford 2000, RAC Hill Climb and Rally Championships and were also personal sponsors of Nigel Mansell. VG also owned 50% of Aston Martin.
The book gives a brief summary of the 1980 Monoposto season. Perhaps most surprising is the reference to prize money:
Formed during 1958 at the instigation of properly consultant Frank Tiedeman, the Monoposto Register (now the Monoposto Racing Club) was set up with the intention of providing cheap single-seater racing. This it still does admirably with a strong emphasis being placed on home constructed cars, although proprietary chassis are allowed if greater than five years old. The engine regulations have altered over the years to keep the formula up to date in terms of maintenance and ease of obtaining replacement parts, pushrod engines of up to 1600cc now being allowed, with the Ford 'Kent' engine being the most widely used.
Last year, after a sluggish start when grids tended to be rather on the thin side, the Varley Batteries sponsored series picked up steadily so that there were generally at least 15 cars in the field, while battles for the lead were hard fought between at least four drivers who were quite capable of winning.
Liverpool's Alex Lowe, who has been a front runner in Formula Vee, Formula
4 and Monoposto for many seasons now, was right to the fore in many races
and, despite a heavy crash at Oulton Park, took his beloved Chevron B20
to the series title, beating off the immaculate Brabham BT21/23 of Peter
Hughes and Tony Broster's Lyncar, which appeared only spasmodically.
Further on in the book, there's a club history/summary. The secretary is named as Sean Ross at Eastleigh, and should you wish to join the sub is £10 racing, £5 non-racing. Membership numbers are quoted at 140 and Startline is the monthly magazine. Whether anybody in Mono thought that Formula Junior would blossom from some experimental races to be one of the biggest, best supported, and exciting historic race scenes around I don't know, but the club must be pleased that it played a small part in relaunching such a vibrant area of the sport.
Monoposto Racing Club
Cheap single-seater racing is no longer a dream: thanks to the efforts of the Monoposto Racing Club, now 22 years old, it has been within reach of a dedicated bunch of enthusiasts who could not afford to purchase proprietary chassis and instead built their own on a shoestring budget. And by admitting commercially produced chassis that had outlived their competitiveness in Formula 3, those not so handy at rolling their own could also have a go.
One of the instigators of the Monoposto Formula was property consultant Frank Tiedeman, now the club's President. who was a competitor in 750 and 1112 formulae races. He did not see the point in building sports cars purely for racing purposes and proposed a single-seater formula along 1172 lines in a letter to the press. He won support from Autosport's John Bolster and Martyn Watkins and Motor Sport's Denis Jenkinson and formed the Monoposto Register in 1958.
Right from the start the accent was on home-built machinery, although proprietary chassis could be used If they were made before 1953. Engines could be up to 1000 cc (two-stroke or overhead valve) or 1500 cc (side-valve), but overhead camshaft units were banned. First race was at Brands Hatch in July 1959 and was won by C. Scott MacArthur's 1 litre BMC engined Saxon from Frank Tiedeman's 1172 cc Millecent. The Monoposto Register was supported by the 750 MC for some years, but broke away on its own in the late 1960s, being renamed the Monoposto Racing Club.
Over the years the formula has developed, yet at the same time kept at club level to encourage amateur participation. Regulations have changed to keep pace with trends. The 1500 cc Ford pushrod engine was adopted, later being replaced by 1600cc pushrod engines (including a Renault unit used successfully some seasons back), while the 1172 side-valve Fords are long gone, replaced for a while by a 1000 cc class. However, as it conflicted with the 1·litre Formula 4, the smaller class was dropped. For 1981 a new class has been introduced which caters for Formula Ford 1600 engined cars.
In recent years the Monoposto Racing Club has taken the old Formula Junior of 1959-63 under its wing, reintroducing it as a historic category. This, too, has proved successful, providing another way of going single·seater racing on a modest budget.
A second historical class, for 1 liitre Formula 3 cars built between 1964·70, is under consideration and there may be a short pilot series of races in 1981, running together with Formula Junior, to assess interest and the strength of support for a full series in 1982.
Also....we have a small article about a young man who was making quite a name for himself on the Formula Ford scene. The directory helpfully gives full contact details for the drivers listed so that sponsors can get in touch. It also gave personal details such as date of birth, which have been omitted here. A couple of things: the pre-74 Formula Ford class went on to become another highly successful historic entry formula - albeit now with some cars costing more than a Mono 2000. Secondly, see who he beat in that Castle Combe race? Andy Wallace, who went on to F3000 and to be a leading LeMans sports car driver.
Biography of a Future Star
Works as a Management Consultant in Royston. Member of BRSCC. Hobbies and interests: industrial archaeology and squash.
Since graduating from Cambridge with a degree in Materials Science in 1972, Simon has actively competed in both racing and rallying winning many events in each branch of the Sport. His rallying exploits have been as a navigator with Mike Rawson in a succession of Opel Asconas and Kadets, principal results including a win on the 1976 Crystal Stages Rally and third overall in the 1974 BTRDA Rally Championship.
On the circuits. Simon has competed whenever funds would allow, commencing with a 1 litre Mini·Cooper S in 1973. with which his highlight was a class win in the 1975 Northern Special Saloon Car Championship.
In 1977. he bought an unfashionable Nike Formula Ford car and performed well against the established names. especially in some mid-season races at Brands Hatch. which brought him into sixth place in the Kent Messenger Championship. Two years later. he had exchanged the Nike for an old Dulon MP15 and this he took to victory in the newly established Carlton & Bullen Low Cost FFI600 Challenge, a series which proved very successful partly due to the efforts of Simon himself.
The BRSCC took the idea on in 1980, establishing a full 12 round championship for cars built prior to 1974, and Simon was again a front runner. Indeed. he may well have taken Ihe series again but for a couple of annoying retirements. These were brought about when the petrol cap fell off at Cadwell Park and then a plug lead came adrift at Snetterton. He had been leading both races at the time! Looking back on the year, though: “It was my most enjoyable season ever .. particularly the Pre-74 round 01 Castle Combe where Andy Wallace and myself dead·heated for first, followed by Peter Bell and Miles Brough all within 0.1s!”
In conclusion.....tracks change, tyres get better, specs change etc, but have a look at these records. I thought I was going OK when I took the F300 round Mallory in a 45. That was done by Alex Lowe in 1980 in a Chevron B20, a 1971/72 F3/FA car. These were, as I've said in the past, quick cars and even quicker drivers. Also, interesting to see that in thse days we visited some tracks not seen by us for some years -- Lydden and (even more so) Aintree.
Apart from the Chevron picture, these pictures are from the 1981 Pace Motorsport Directory.
Alan Baillie, champion in 1974, 75 and 76 , "enjoys a spin at Mallory" according to the caption in the Directory. Look carefully and you can see the lack of run off at Gerards.
Monoposto has always been close; the Directory says this is Mono "10 years ago" (ie 1971) with Brian Colvin's Merlyn Mk10 leading Chris Featherstone's Lola T60 and Brian Jordan's Brabham BT15. Wonder how much that lot would fetch now as historics?
Terry Mills's Revoray Mk3, "a top Monoposto contender until a crash".
A Chevron B20 with Chris Skeaping in Britsh F3, 1972. (Chevron Hertitage)
Simon Davey, yesterday (1980)
Text and most illustrations are from the 1981 Pace Motorsport Directory. Research by Martin and Andrew Cliffe. Introductions by Tony Cotton.