Monoposto Championship Snetterton 20 March 2010, 1000,1400,1600,1800
One can only be impressed by the improvements that MSV have made to the UK circuits that they own, and on Sunday 20th March Monoposto competitors experienced Snetterton 300 for the first time. There was universal praise for the latest incarnation of the Snetterton circuit. Unprompted, drivers sang its praises. Spectators, especially those accessing the new spectator banking at the eastern end of the paddock are offered an excellent raised viewing position. Given the raw earth nature of many of the areas that will be grass, it was fortunate that the weather was exceptionally dry for March, a bit cool, but overall excellent weather for racing.
Qualifying. Your scribe was not at the track for qualifying, but learnt of several incidents. Dan Clowes set a pole time of 1:52.422, the only Monoposto car to average more than 95mph, but problems with the engine's cam tensioner were diagnosed, and despite a heroic attempt to change the engine before the race, the team failed to make the grid. This left Dax Ward on pole with Mark Fortune three quarters of a second further back. Darren Freeman and Dave Connor were next, all Jedi mounted. The first non Jedi was Adrian Wright's home constructed GEM, the AW2 version, Adrian said that the debute of the AW3 is imminent.
The large field of Mono1000s include the Jedi of Stuart Digby and Len Turner, and the Aztecs of Daniel Rowbottom, and James Tanser, the latter in his first race. A cloud of smoke indicated that Peter Whitmore's season got off to a very poor start when his Mono1400 Hayabusa dropped a valve after only two laps. That left Geoff Fern and Christopher Hill as the two Mono1400 runners, starting eighth and tenth respectively.
Two immaculate bright yellow Aztecs caught the eye in the paddock but only one was on the track because Daniel Rowbottom's version refused to start. Cooperative officials enabled him to make the race, starting at the back of the grid, the prelude to an impressive drive through the field.
The Race. Marc Fortune won the start but ran wide at Melbourne letting Dax through, and into a lead that he held throughout the race. The lead was greatest mid-race, it reduced to 1.5s at the finish, perhaps Dax was pacing himself. Adrian Wright took third place from Darren Freeman on the first lap at Melbourne when the latter ran wide (deja vu, I have just written that), by lap five Darren had caught Adrian, and was lining up to overtake when a misfire started, he retired his Jedi to the garage where it resumed running perfectly. After taking third place in class and overall the Gem stopped, it was towed in without its engine cover.
David Connor's Jedi finished fourth comfortably ahead of Daniel Rowbottom's Aztec, the latter drove through the field with some panache. Daniel caught the Woodhouse-run Speads of John Rawlings on the last lap, they rounded Coram together, but the traditional Snetterton sprint to the line never occurred because the Speads broke a drive shaft at the last corner and crawled across the line losing a place to Geoff Fern's 1400 as it did so. Thus John Rawlings split the two 1400s as Christopher Hill was next up. Geoff had recovered from a first lap incident that delayed some slightly, but put Peter Bragg's 1800 Mygale into last place, (for the first lap only).
On lap five James Tanser suffered a tyre failure on the Bentley Straight which gave David Parkinson as well as himself an interesting moment before he parked the Aztec neatly on the inside of bombhole with a spectacular tyre failure that threatened to destroy his rear bodywork. The car was at least fifty metres away from the track, on the inside of the circuit, but regulations dictate that while James or the marshals were
trackside of the Armco the corner was covered by waved yellows, and while the car remained trackside the corner had a static yellow i.e. for the reminder of the race.
Stuart Digby and Len Turner bought their Jedi home in tenth and twelfth places respectively, while Dan Levy retired on lap three for reasons unknown to your scribe.
Qualifying. The Mono 1800 field looked significantly different from the entry list I downloaded on the 16th March, Simon must have had a busy few days keeping up with the changes. A loss to the class since last season is the defection of Jim Timms and his Van Diemen FX to the Mono Classic 2000 class. Hopefully Jim will soon see the error of his ways and re-defect.
As one has come to expect, Peter Bragg set the standard with a time of 2:04.288, he was in class of his own, about 6.5s faster than second in class Michael Dale. Michael was in his familiar orange RF82, looking resplendent after its winter rebuild, it must also be said that Peter's Mygale was also looking good, its driver having finally invested in some blue paint. James Chapman's smart Van Diemen qualified third in class, followed by two directors, Jonathan Baggott just edging out Doug McLay. Jock Sergison, doing his own spanner work this weekend, headed the final qualifier Marcus Sheard.
The Race. Peter Bragg naturally lead away but took to the rough to avoid spinning motorcycle engined cars, the commentators judged him to be an innocent victim of the incident, when he came through Nelson on the first lap he was dead last, a situation that changed as he rounded Corum. Peter’s speed advantage was such that he rapidly worked his way through the field of 1600s and 1800, and a few 1000s as well. He had a dominant win in the 1800 class and finished ninth overall, the last unlapped car.
James Chapman took second in class comfortably, entertaining himself by chasing Stuart Digby's Jedi. Jonathan Baggott, in the familiar green Van Diemen, just had the upper hand in the competition between the two directors, but Doug retired on lap three when his gear linkage failed. Jonathan was third in class, the new circuit suiting him. After Doug's retirement he won a private contest with 1600 victor, David Parkinson, the pair chasing Len Turner’s Jedi.
Jock Sergison reminded the crowds of the old days by spinning as he entered Senna Straight exiting Murray's (nee Russell). Marcus Sheard was the final finisher, Michael Dale's immaculate RF82 finishing its day on a tow rope. He was reported to have suffered some sort of failure on lap 2 and pulled off on Bentley Straight.
Qualifying. Current champion Nigel Davers demonstrated his class by qualifying nearly four seconds ahead of second in class David Parkinson. David had made it easy starting his season with a collision, deranging AVIT's shiny new bodywork, diffuser and rear wing. The Reynard was to make a rapid return to Ewen's emporium on Sunday night so Ewen could redo his work. Tony Davies and Michael Wilkinson in their Formula Renaults were the third and fourth qualifiers, while Eddie Guest's Lola was the final healthy car, Joe Venor's version managed two slow laps and blew its engine, naturally it failed to make the race.
The Race. Favourite, Nigel Davers, failed to complete the green flag lap. One must presume an electrical glitch, because after the race he drove theTeam Fern RF89 back to the paddock. This left the race to David Parkinson's somewhat battered Reynard. The Formula Renaults could not challenge David, Tony Davies, running without a rear wing was second in class, but Michael Wilkinson's version retired on lap 6. In the latter part of the race Tony kept close company with Jock Sergison’s 1800. Last on track, Eddie Guest in his smart but misfiring Lola picked up third in class.
Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view and opinions of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsover.All pictures by kind permission of Norwich Photo except DP which is Nigel Bland
"So that's what they mean by trailing edge" (an aerodynamic pun)
Michael Wilkinson in lo-drag config
Len Turner, Dan Rowbottom
Jonathan Baggott, Doug McLay., Jock Sergison, Stuart Digby
Dave Connor, John Rawlings
Chris Hill, Geoff Fern