Monoposto Championship Cadwell Park, Sunday 22 May 2011
Cadwell woke to a bright blustery morning which seemed to encourage the officials to crack on with the programme, given a forecast of 'rain by mid-day' it was probably a good idea, but it did catch out one or two teams, especially those outside the range of the PA.
The majority of the field had repaired the ravages of the previous day, notable exceptions being the F397 of Tony Bishop with a comprehensively blown up engine, and Gary Hill's OMS with the consequences of the CV joint fire. Better news was that Jeremy Timms had sorted out his CV joint problem. Geoff Fern had replaced the missing bolt in his suspension, and the RF 82 of Michael Dale, which had been the subject of much attention in the paddock, was running well for 99% of a lap, work on the car having effected a cure without a diagnosis.
Various cars had crash damage repaired overnight, so grids were not depleted (as has occasionally happened at Cadwell). Graham Read arrived with his F300, and hard work by Mick and Dave had Richard Purcell's F301 running on four cylinders.
Most competitors only see Cadwell from the paddock area, but if one
drives round the circuit its undulating scenic nature can be fully appreciated.
At certain positions one can see several sections of circuit simultaneously.
From my vantage point alongside Park Straight I was entertained by harmless
spins by Peter Bragg at Charlies 2 exit, and Jonathan Baggott at Mansfield.
But fourth fastest overall, amongst the 1000s was the impressive Mono1800 Swift of Ewen Sergison, under the lap record with 1:31.096, Peter Bragg was two seconds slower, 0.2s faster than Matt Hayes bright green Jamun.
Jeremy Timms headed the Mono1600s with 1:34.811. Followed by Jason Timms, David Parkinson and Geoff Fern. Geoff was driving an 8v Formula Vauxhall Junior with a smart metallic blue livery.
This area of Lincolnshire has had no significant rain for two months but when Monoposto visit Cadwell Park rain is usually in the mix. A torrential rain squall marked the latter laps of the race preceding this Monoposto race. When the rain ceased, a brisk wind immediately started to dry the track, the higher parts of the circuit drying first, but the paddock, from Hall Bends to Coppice is low lying, remaining wet or at least damp, until the start of the race, tyre choice was a problem. The CoC generously instructed that should conditions require competitors would be allowed to return from assembly to the paddock to fit wets.............or slicks as conditions dictated. The CoC specified two green flag laps, and the rain ceased.
Pole sitter James O'Reilly chose slicks but demonstrated the problems
they represented by having difficulty getting mobile for the green flag
lap, and then dislodging a front wing end plate, this was removed on the
grid. However, although Marc Fortune won the start James took the lead
on the first lap, he then won the restart, to drive on to an unchallenged
Before the start most would have chosen intermediates, if they had such tyres available. Dax Ward, Marc Fortune & Steve Cave made this choice and had good races to second third and fifth positions respectively, Dax and Marc raced for second position, Marc initially occupying second position but losing it to Dax at the restart. Running without wings Steve's JKS had a curious appearance, with only 750cc available fourth in class was a decent result.
As on Saturday, the two fast 1800s were in the leading mix, but Ewen had chosen wets and rapidly fell away from the leading group as the track dried, somewhat inexplicably Ewen took to the pit lane on the last lap instead of taking the chequered flag, losing a secure second in class, it was not a good day for Team Avit. The irrepressible Peter Bragg won the 1800s in what was arguably the best drive of the race, his fastest lap was only 8s slower than his fastest qualifying lap. He spent much of the race keeping Dax and Marc's Jedi honest. Ewen's retirement promoted James Chapman and Michael Dale to second and third in class, they raced each other all race and finished 0.5s apart. Marcus Sheard (Mygale) and Prajesh Shah (16v Formula Vauxhall Junior) had an entertaining race for the next two 1800 places, Geoffrey Cowell (Jedi on this occasion) made this pair a trio. Schoolboy Prajesh handled the giant step represented by moving from indoor karting to circuit racing on a damp Cadwell circuit with maturity, He does not have a road licence and indoor karts don't have a clutch pedal or gears!
Matt Hayes parked the Jamun on Park Straight on lap 3, the car slowing after the restart. Jonathan Baggott spun his Van Diemen 1800 down to last place on lap four. Less fortunate was Adrian Wright who damaged the Gem's rear suspension on lap six while in fifth place.
The leading 1600s circulated as a compact trio throughout the race but every time they came through the Mountain section there was daylight between them, the order remaining unchanged: Jeremy Timms ( fastest lap), James Timms, David Parkinson. Dan Levy's Jedi spent much of the race working his way through this trio. Dan had lost out at the start dropping to twelfth on the first lap, he worked his way up to finish sixth overall.
In the mid-field John Rawlings slipped back to a lonely 12th in his Speads while Geoff Fern and Len Turner (Jedi) had a race long dice, they finished alongside each other, Geoff ahead by 0.056s.
Tristan Cliffe took pole with an impressive 1:25.912, the best part of 2s ahead of the black F398 of Malcolm Scott. Malcolm was last out and used this position to give himself clear track. Steve Patinia's F301 was third fastest, it had a minor but inaccessible oil leak all weekend, the occasional smokescreen giving spectators cause for concern. Richard Purcell (F301) and Graham Read (F300) were the next up.
Jim Blockley continued shaking down his Ralt RT3 for Spa by dominating the Classics with 1:28.400 to take third on the grid. Peter Venn took the Anson round in 1:29.182, followed by Francis Phillips (Reynard) with1:32.627, but the bulk of the classic field was headed by Kevin Otway (FVL) on his first visit to Cadwell. This section of the field was covered by one and a half seconds. Spectators could expect a close race in the midfield. Geoff Fern in the solitary Mono1400 was part of this group.
By the time the 2l cars took to the track conditions were perfect for racing.
With the exception of Antonio Imperie's FR, the Mono2000 class was an all Dallara affair, overall numbers were maintained , Tony Bishop's blown up F397 being replaced by Graham Read's F300. Graham had been otherwise engaged on Saturday.
The lap charts indicate a fairly static race, Tristan Cliffe leading
from start to finish, it sounds boring but it was a tense affair (a bit
similar to the final F1 laps in Spain), Malcolm Scott chased hard taking
fastest lap, a new lap record (1:26.260). Malcolm's best chance to lead
came at the start, although second on the grid he outdragged Tristan to
be alongside going into Coppice, but Tristan held the inside line to retain
the lead. The gap between the two Dallarae was largest at the end of the
first lap, throughout most of the race Malcolm reduced Tristan's lead
by a few yards every lap, setting fastest lap in the process. But when
the pair started lapping backmarkers the gap became elastic. On the penultimate
lap Tristan put the outcome beyond question when he put a backmarker between
himself and Malcolm on the run into Hall Bends. Hall bends don't lend
themselves to overtaking so Tristan's lead became a secure couple of seconds.
Richard Purcell finished fifth overall, up from ninth on the first lap. Initially Richard's progress was rapid, he outbraked Graham Read into Mansfield, but after passing and pulling away from the Anson he went autocrossing on the exit to Charlies 2, rejoining just in front of Peter Venn, the two raced nose to tail until the flag, the F301 leading the Anson across the line by 0.2s. Mick Kinghorn was the final unlapped runner, third in class with the Mygale Novis.
Jared Woods (FVL), Richard Snuggs (F387), Geoff Fern (Mono1400 JKS) were the survivors of the mid-field group who had straightforward runs from flag to flag. Something happened within this group on the second lap (in Hall Bends?) which put Jeremy Goodman, Francis Phillips, and Kevin Otway to the back of the field. All of these cars appeared to be undamaged, but Kevin did one slow lap before retiring his FVL to the paddock. Jeremy Goodman recovered to overtake Terry Clark (FVL) for 12th position, while Francis Phillips (Reynard 923) overtook Jim Timms (Formula Ireland) to take 14th position.
Meanwhile, Antonio Impieri's FR took the snake own to last position on lap 7, an attempt to outbrake Jared Wood into Mansfield failed.
The results give Steven Griffin's Van Diemen joining Kevin Otway as a retirement.
Prajesh Shah gets ready for qualifying
Ewen Sergison again
Peter Venn, Anson SA4
Jim Timms, about to be passed by the leaders
Mick Kinghorn, Mygale Novis
L to R, Malcolm Scott, Tristan Cliffe and Jim Blockley. 3 owners of the finest F3 marques of all time.(Controversial to Reynard or Cooper 500 owners)
Pix by Andrew Cliffe