Sunday – Qualifying
Marc Fortune came out in turbo jack-in-the-box mode and claimed the pole on his second flying lap, 7/10s quicker than Dave Connor’s Saturday mark. By lap four Marc had stopped when the undertray fell off, so it was short but very sweet. He was however only two tenths clear of Jason Timms who in turn was only a tenth up on Adrian Wright, with Dave Connor in fourth. Dave had gone about the same as he did to win pole on Saturday, but the others had all climbed further up the learning curve.
Olly Thorpe again headed the Mono 1800 timesheets, but Matt Hayes was
much closer and was clearly getting set to make an issue about the class
win. Ian Hughes had got the undoubtedly quick Avit Swift sorted out and
took 3rd, just shading Ryan Hayes in the second green Zetec. Behind them
came John Whitbourn’s Zetec then Jim Timms. Jim had suffered a broken
knob (on his gear lever…) on Saturday, and then his day on Sunday
was spoilt by a major engine problem. Malcolm Cook came next, having been
cleared to run by the circuit medics in his refurbished car.
It was obviously a day for tall qualifying laps because Tristan Cliffe produced a stunning 1.27.6 in his session to take the Mono 2000 pole from Malcolm Scott, as well as a very impressive 4th overall. Robbie Watts had got clear of Peter Venn’s time zone and was right up with Malcolm, followed by Ray Rowan and Tony Bishop, who was steadily quicker through the weekend as he got to grips with the circuit. Jim Blockley was a very strong second in Classic but unfortunately he then picked up a wrong gear and buzzed the engine: zero compression – time to go home. This only served to whet the appetite of the chasing Classic pack – Anstruther (C), Phillips, Scott (J), Otway and Cross – all of whom scented a podium opportunity come race time.
Sunday - Races
There was a zzzzzzzzz very long and frankly zzzzzzzz boring GT race
to open proceedings on the Sunday zzzzzzzz afternoon, and it was hot,
even by the 5 pm start of the proceedings of interest.
As the Mono 1000 race unfolded Dave Connor pulled away from the pursuing Fortune, Timms, Wright and Dax Ward, and this order was maintained until Fortune’s undertray again betrayed him (geddit?) and he was orange-dot flagged out of it. As they got seriously into the traffic Adrian Wright seemed to get more breaks than Jason and closed back up, and a close finish between these two at least seemed likely even though Dave Connor was away. Then on the last lap the picture changed in an instant. Dave Connor pulls off – out of fuel – Timms leads onto the final straight, but starts weaving the car – he’s running out of fuel too! Wright come alongside in the AW3 and takes the self designed car’s first win by 0.019 seconds, a couple of feet. Crowd goes mad. Behind them Dan Levy has worked his way past team-mate Dax Ward to take an excellent third, with Mike Scott finally getting a deserved result in 5th place from the impressive Oliver Walker.
While all this was happening Olly Thorpe was putting increasing pressure on Matt Hayes, who finally made a minor slip onto the grass, but enough to let the Royale through and away. Malcolm Cook did very well to shake of his Saturday problems and take third, in the process depriving Ian Hughes of a podium spot. In Mono 1600 Nigel Davers got involved with Michael Dale’s Mono 1800 but kept away from rival David Parkinson’s Reynard. The Mat Jordan/Richard Evans duel was resolved when Richard’s engine blew up and he span into the barriers on his own oil., Jim Timms Mono 1800 also blew up spectacularly – it’s the second Zetec he’s lost this year. It’s probably time to break the emergency glass and get out the Lola.
Other (unknown) mishaps befell Marcus Sheard – who has been the epitome of reliability so far this year – and John Whitbourn. Prajesh Shah’s Vauxhall suffered a mechanical failure and managed to pull the car off without further mishap.
It seemed like the end of a long weekend when the 2 litre grid came out, just after 6pm in the late afternoon heat. This time the heart stopping moment for the split start was provided by two of the F3 field which were very slow to get away: with 20+ Mono drivers feet twitching on the throttle behind them. Fortunately they did go, and the Mono race started cleanly. Tristan Cliffe took a lead he wasn’t to loose, but he certainly had to keep his mind on the job as he negotiated not just the tail end Mono lapping traffic, but also the slower F3 cars ahead of him. He told us that"the bolt that holds my pushrod to my right-front wishbone had nearly fallen out by the end of the race. Lady Luck was smiling on me once again!". Malcolm Scott likewise held second but in this race Robbie Watts had not got entangled with Peter Venn and was able to give Malcolm a real test for much of the race. The three leading Mono cars finished 8-9 -10 overall. Having lost Robbie Watts as a playmate, Peter Venn took up with Ray Rowan’s Dallara for much of the race. Behind him Chris Anstruther, Tony Bishop and Francis Phillips circulated closely, with Chris taking second place on the Classic podium. Behind this group Jennifer Scott had a good run and was just clear of James Cross’ Renault. James reported that he had hugely enjoyed himself: he needs to be seen in a Dallara really. Lou Watts finally got the Vauxhall running well and was delighted to take the Magic Motorsport Driver of the Day Award for his dribve up through the field.
At the time of writing the results of this race remain provisional while the CoC investigates a high speed accident suffered by one of the F3’s – Stuart Wiltshire – when he was lapping a group of cars. It was a frighteningly fast accident from which Stuart fortunately escaped without injury, but the same can’t be said of his Dallara.
Since this was the first Mono race on the Brands GP circuit for many years it’s worth just mentioning the lap record position. The track has probably got faster since the Club last visited it and prior to the event there were two existing records which match current classes. David Cox’s mark of 1;32.8 in Mono 200 was comprehensively beaten by Tristan’s 1:28.299, but Francis Phillips record of 1:39.9 in the Phoenix in Mono 1600 still stands. All the other classes set new records for the circuit.
If I have missed anything, or misreported events, I apologise. It was
a busy couple of days…
We are fortunate that Rodney Tietjen,
Steve Cave, Adrian Wright