Monoposto Championship Cadwell Park, Saturday 21 May 2011 1600, 1800, 1000
It's probably fair to say that I learnt quite a lot about how little I know at Cadwell on Saturday. I deliberately came as a pure spectator, so apart from a few quick conversations, everything I report is based on what I saw and I heard no significant paddock gossip.
To start with, I thought the paddock was very difficult but Simon seemed to have managed to squeeze most teams onto the concrete with only a few on the grass. Hopefully they survived on Sunday when, unlike the glorious sunshine that bathed the beautiful parkland on Saturday, there was some rain. Next, the entry. Cadwell's difficult to get to, and is never very popular, right? Well, no, because there was an entry of 47 – more than Donington.
On, then to qualifying. Formula Fords are usually reliable, so I was proven wrong again when the first sight in the assembly was Jeremy Timms bent over a disconnected drive shaft and a kit form Lobro. Unable to fix it, Jeremy qualified at lunchtime but didn't make the race.
As track action began, newcomer to Mono, and Cadwell kart record holder, James O'Reilly came over the mountain in his ex-John Carding Speads and had the car very sideways – he caught it magnificently but I decided he was too wild to be really quick. Wrong again – he had pole from Marc Fortune and Dax Ward. Ewen Sergison was fourth, ahead of no less than 6 1000's (and more importantly for him, Pete Bragg). A hugely impressive result, especially as the cooling system was innovatively improvised, and that rumour had it that the car was really being run in for his other half to compete in at a later date.
Finally, I got something right. Cadwell's a bit heavy on cars, especially the transmission when they go light over the mountain. One of the smoothest and most mechanically sympathetic drivers in Mono is Adrian Wright and sure enough he lifted just enough to stop the revs rising every time he crested the ridge. 5th overall, 4th 1000, was the reward. 1600 pole was Dave Parkinson.
Steve Cave had an incident which broke the front wing, so the rear was quickly removed to balance the car. Other problems were misfires with Michael Dale, Jason Timms and, I think, Matt Hayes.
As well as the poleman, we welcomed Prajesh Shah into Mono, his 16v FVJ qualifying 21st.
James O'Reilly had agood start and seemed to be dominating the race with a 10 second lead by lap 3. Ewen Sergison made a stunning start to pass Dax Ward for 3rd, who rapidly took the place back. Marc Fortune started in second but had an issue on lap 2 which dropped him to 8th. Michael Dale came into the pits at the end of lap 1, misfire apparently uncured. Meanwhile, Jason Timms was attacking Dave Parkinson into the very high speed Coppice corner and took the lead in the 1600 class.
The relatively wingless Steve Cave went off on lap 2 in the Hall/Hairpin complex. Damage was such that the car was repaired for Sunday, but unfortunately it was difficult to move – a deranged wishbone – and so the safety car came out. From the angle I was watching, it seemed surprisingly close to James as it entered the circuit, but this was probably an illusion. The first of 2 safety car laps was less than half the previous pace of the leader, but it bunched the cars effectively. Unfortunately for James, his car didn't seem quite the same again after the safety laps and he slowed considerably when the cars were released. A lap later, Dax catapulted out of Barn, and fighting James all along the start finish straight took him just before Coppice, for them to finish in that order. Adrian Wright showed tremendous consistency and speed to finish 3rd, having overtaken 1800 winner Ewen Sergison for the place just after the restart.
Marc Fortune passed John Rawlings and Pete Bragg to recover from his delay and end 5th. It was a bit more complicated than that as John re-passed Marc into the mountain (brave) and Marc got him back over the line. Dan Levy was close behind Pete, and pulled a couple of seconds a lap away from James Chapman, who in turn kept around 2 seconds from Matt Hayes. 1600 class winner Jason Timms was next in the order. He was followed by Dave Parkinson right to the last lap when Dave dropped out, doubtless with a story for the next Parkinson Line. Marcus Sheard benefitted from Dave's misfortune but was 25 seconds away. In his haste to catch Marcus, Geoff Fern in the bewinged FVJ driven at Brands by Mat Jordan, had an off at the bottom of the mountain and ceded places to Len Turner and Jonathan Baggott. Both squeezed past Jock Sergson, who was a little delayed. Eddie Guest looked to have a lonely run to 3rd in the 1600 class, whilst the same couldn't be said for Joe Venor, Prajesh Shah and Geoff Cowell who had a close and exciting dice through to the end.
Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsover.
Work on the Jeremy Timms Van Diemen
Dax Ward, Jedi6
Ewen Sergison, Swift sZ99
James O'Reilly, Speads
The grid moves off
Dax and James
Pix Nigel Bland