Donington 2/3 April 2011 Quick Report
Back from the brink
Donington has returned from its illness stronger and fitter than before. Whilst some will mourn the passing of the Redgate Lodge bar, it adds to the spectator banking and the move of the chicane away from the start finish straight seemed a good thing.
2 litre practicing started about an hour after a shower and with sleet as the cars were in the pit lane, all but Richard Purcell tiptoed round a greasy track on slicks. Pole went to Ian Hughes running in the former championship winning Harrison Dallara, ahead of Tristan Cliffe and a delighted Barry Smith third, and first classic. The gap between them was under a half second. In the race, Tristan quickly established a 5 second lead and circulated at a steady speed to retain it - or so he thought. In fact, he slowed a bit too much and Richard Purcell caught him, only for the throttle linkage to fail with a lap to go. Peter Venn came up from a qualifying position of 8th to win Classic, second overall whilst Ian Hughes dropped as low as 8th overall but fought back to second in class, behind Peter Venn on the road. After his Snetterton worries, everybody was delighted for Graham Read finishing third in 2000, and to show there's still life in the FVL, Terry Clark and Kevin Otway took second and third in classic.
The entire paddock's sympathy went out to Malcolm Scott who was debuting his beautiful, and immaculate ex-Tim Spouge, Andy Waters built Dallara 398 Vauxhall. Whilst lapping Mark Schfield, they tangled and the left rear and rear wing were damaged, with no harm to either driver. Another non-finisher was Tony Bishop who spun at Hollywood on the last lap, having run as high as 5th.
The 10-18 grid practiced in fine conditions, with the Az1000 of Daniel Rowbottom on pole, Pete Bragg fastest 1800, Gary Hill on 1400 pole and Nigel Davers heading off former front runner in Mono 1600 Jason Timms. Geoff Cowell appeared in a Jedi, bedding it in for his son to race later in the year, the lovely HiTech in abeyance rather than retirement.
The race was won by Dan Rowbottom with Marc Fortune second and Adrian Wright third. Geoff Fern claimed fourth on the road and first 1400, whilst an exciting duel between Pete Bragg and Matt Hayes was resolved in Pete's favour. Qualifying form read into the race as Nigel Davers won the 1600 class, with Jason Timms in retirememt.
Heavy rain in the assembly area caused a wet 2 litre race to be declared, and (often with help from other teams, such is Monoposto) slicks were changed for wets and the grid attacked the treacherous, slippery blacktop which is Donington in the wet. An amazingly controlled and disciplined Mono brotherhood raced for 15 minutes with a few spills - none too damaging, I believe. There was a safety car period (where the authorities were very understanding indeed to at least one driver), a brightening of the sky, a darkening again and after what seemed a nail biting eternity, the race was won outright by a spaceframe Classic - Barry Smith's VDFireland, despite a 10 second penalty. Second on the road was Tristan Cliffe, with Peter Venn third (I think that's right, but as I was quivering in my wet seat and forgot to pick up a result sheet I might have made a mistake). Malcom Scott was second in 2000, a scant reward for what must be described as a character building weekend. I suspect Barry doesn't realise quite how popular his win was, and many congratulations, but it has to be said - if you were in this race and finished - congratulations and well done. On Sunday for the 2 litre race, Donington was an unconrollable wild animal. And Monoposto not only tamed it, it thrashed it.
With the clouds moving away only slightly to the flatlands of the Leicestershire prairies, and the track still wet, the 10/14/16/1800's took up the challenge. From third, Adrian Wright took a dominant lead in the GEM while Jeremy Timms (back in the premier class of 1600) stormed through to overtake Adrian within a couple of laps and lead. Geoff Fern over-ran Godards on lap one and so Gary Hill led 1400 without opposition, but still driving the OMS as if he had stolen it, while the classic VD FF2000 RF83 of Malcolm Cook led 1800. An unexpected and hairy spin by Jeremy handed the lead back to Adrian and the race was red flagged due (I believe) to a harmless but unfortunately placed Peter Collier at Godards. Peter had chanced slicks (I'm told) on the drying circuit, but there was scant reward for his brave gamble. This was an exciting and fascinating race for spectators. The comparisons with Senna at Donington, 1993, were inevitable.
MSV F3 suffered some attrition. Race 1 was won by Louis Hamilton-Smith from Chris Needham and Dave Karaskas, and Race 2 by Chris Needham, from Dave Karaskas and Neil Harrison. Unfortunately my own racing timetable prevented spectating, but if any F3 competitor / supporter wishes to have a report published, we will be only too pleased.
Results HERE AND POINTS ARE ON THE INDEX PAGE LINKS
Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsover.
Apology: Forgot to take a decent camera, and so no racing pics just mobile phone paddock shots.
Malcolm Scott's new Dallara 398...
..ex Tim Spouge and with ex- British F3 transporter
John Rawlings and Antonio Impieri are run by the Woodhouses - Roy seen here
A group of very fast drivers