The Parkinson Line.....at Snetterton
What fabulous weather for the opening round at Snetterton. I envisaged a cold and wet day on Friday followed by much of the same on Sunday. Instead it could have been in the middle of summer.
Along with many others I tested on the Friday firstly as it’s almost a new circuit and secondly because I haven’t been in the car for six months. The older I get the harder these circuits are to learn. Anyway I enjoyed the testing and was looking forward to the race day.
Because some drivers had not tested, myself and my little friend, Michael Dale, decided that we would get to the assembly area early for qualifying so that we would not be held up by these guys. Unfortunately everyone had the same idea and we finished up at the back. No problem. I was ready for it and felt confident. The pit lane opened and off we went. I think I passed someone at the end of the pit lane and saw Marcus Sheard in his 1800 Zetec, who hadn’t tested, in front so I nipped to his right to pass him round the first corner. Unfortunately someone squeezed him from his left and over he came into me. Crunch. What a start to the season. But the car still seemed to be going alright so I continued though I could see the rear wing hanging down vertically. I enjoyed the next two or three laps chasing Michael until the engine suddenly lost power. Game over so I pulled into the pits and was surprised to see Sarah double-barrelled-name waving at me to pull in to the naughty box near the pit lane end. This I did and watched as Sarah ripped off the dangling wing and waved me out. I told her that I had finished as the engine was missing and pulled into the paddock. It later transpired that due to the broken wing I had been black flagged though I hadn’t seen it. Prompt action by Sarah meant that if the engine had been alright I could have gone out and finished the session so well done Sarah.
The loss of power turned out to be a plug cap that had come off. The
coming together with Marcus was not as easily fixed but was much better
then I’d first thought. The front wing pole was bent badly and though
I straightened it as much as I could it remained at a funny angle. My
brand new diffuser was bent and broken and there was nothing I could do
about that. The rear wing was broken and couldn’t be repaired so
I left it off. I,m not sure that that was caused by the collision as it
had been repaired several times last year and I’d forgotten about
Which not all of my fellow 1600 competitors were. Joe Venor blew the engine in his Lola and ended his weekend. He hopes to be ready for the Brands Hatch meeting but doesn’t think he can get it ready for Donington. Jonathon Baggott who registered for the 1600 class had problems getting the AW1 ready so came out in his 1800 car instead (and went rather well - asst ed). Both Dane Catanzaro and Richard Evans didn’t enter as in Richards case, the car wasn’t ready. I trust they’ll both be at Donnington. Jeremy Timms was in attendance but not racing as his car is not ready. He was looking after Jim but also running the Kiwi in the F3 race.Andrew Sweet and Tim Watts also didn’t enter. I was speaking to Lou, Tim’s father, who advised that his son had changed his mind and would not now be racing this year. Hopefully we’ll see Andrew at the next meeting.
The final qualifying positions were Nigel Davers from me followed by Tony Davies, Michael Wilkinson, Eddie Guest and Joe Venor who would not start the race. I didn’t get a full session in for qualifying and also carried some damage but even so I would have had to gone some to beat Nigel who had had, as far as I know, done no testing but just arrived and drove. I think he’s a Fern clone.
The race. I was looking forward to it as I had Nigel just in front and Tony Davies, an old rival, just behind. Off we went on the warm up lap only for Nigel to pull in half way down the back straight with what turned out to be electrical problems. Although that put me into 1600 pole I was genuinely sorry as I would rather have a good race and finish second then a poor race and win. Lights out and off we went. I got a good start and was watching the mirrors for signs of Tony Davies. It turned out that he was never a problem so I just had to cruise round to pick up the win. I did have one moment when down the back straight a yellow Aztec got a puncture and pushed me onto the grass.
Tony Davies finished in second place. I couldn’t understand his lack of pace as he’d tested on Friday. The reason, we believe, is that as he’d come by his self he’d had to carry his wallet during the race. This additional weight would have been too much even for Vettel, Schumacher, Alonso or Hamilton. Tony has an ambition to own Wales. He’s recently purchased half of Bets-y-Coed in the form of a house, a shop and a hotel. He tells me that any Mono members will be welcome at the hotel and will be charged the normal rate with only a 25% uplift.
Eddie Guest was third and was the final finisher as Michael Wilkinson crashed out on the right hander leading to the back straight.
I’m not sure what happened to Michael as I didn’t have time to go and see him. I had arranged to drop my car off at Ewen's and agreed to follow Jock who was dropping his car off. Unfortunately Jock had won some free beer tickets at the previous weeks quiz. These had to be spent by 9pm on Sunday night or became invalid. If Jock had managed the same speed in the race as we did going home then he would have taken the outright victory.
This is supposed to be a 1600 round up but I must just mention my little pal Michael. He took the car into URS at the beginning of winter and they have done a complete rebuild. Engine and car. It was quite expensive as you would expect. Imagine my dismay when during the race I saw him pull off onto the grass down the back straight. I’d already started to plan the suicide watch but fortunately the problem was only very minor.
Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view and opinions of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsover.
DP with dangly wing
Joe Venor in practice
Tony Davies gets ready
Invaluable last minute advice is given to Eddie Guest
pics: Nigel Bland, Norwiuch Photo, Alelys Heavy Haulage