I freely admit to being grumpy. I'm an accountant, so it's what I do. For the last 2 years I've had a hostility to Snetterton. The paddock used to be a disaster of disorganisation and one notorious official – to the frustration of CoC's – would make up rules as he went along. So I entered Snet expecting the worst. I was delighted to be proven wrong. In fact, except for a personal issue (destroying my car), Saturday would have been a near perfect event.
But back to Friday. Simon (as always) did a great job rranging the paddock and parking was a pleasure. One grump gone. The frost on the Golf's screen at the B&B (characterful, nice rooms, great breakfast and – get this Parky – FREE CAKE) was a sign that a cloud free day was coming. And when the sun shines on an autumn day, Snet has a unique charm, possibly because the air is clean, bright and fresh. At 8.00am on the dot, things got better still. I'm really a hillclimber on an 11 year circuit sabbatical so it was great to see a team of friendly, efficient, knowledgeable and risk-oriented scrutineers come to our cars. This happened at my first sprint in 1981, nice to see the junior side of the sport catching up. Thanks, gentlemen and to Simon for arranging it.
2000 / Classic Qualifying
The surprises were in the entry rather than the grid. Andy Water's milling machine must have been glowing white hot with the work in making a new engine mount for Malcolm Scott's Dallara after the Silverstone incident. I was surprised to see Malcolm in the black beauty, but this shows how little I know of the determination of Malcolm and Andy. He was, of course, second. Ben Cater (5th) was a newcomer to Mono in an F4 Van Diemen, one of the most sensible and pretty cars available. Another sensible car is a Vauxhall Lotus – basically an armour plated Formula Ford. Jeremy Timms was driving Nick Catanzaro's immaculate Mark 1 and put it 4th. He really is obscenely fast. Mike Hatton, in another (new to Mono) FVL built from “a load of bits and some more bits from Dermot” was at the back of the grid but still very welcome in a cra which looks like it will rapidly move up the grid.
Pole? Obviously, it was Tristan with team-mate Anthony Bishop 3rd.
Barry Smith (accompanied by fellow Tyneside Mafiosi Mick Kinghorn and Neil Gregory) had an exuberant moment after 2 laps coming out of Williams (back end of Sears to oldies like me) and knocked the nose off, parking up neatly. The usual improvised repair bits had it back on and looking good for the race.
There were 15 entries in total, smaller than usual but very competitive.
Some tow cars (actually, they were rather well driven Mk2 VWGTis) needed to be tidied away before the session started, and they had left a cement covered oil trail around Palmer. This didn't seem to concern anybody, and looking at the infield section the only visible “misbehaviour” was Prajesh Shah spinning at Hamilton.
The session was quite tense with Adrian Wright, Jonathan Reed and Jason Timms trading places, and finishing in that order. Olly Thorpe was at one point 3rd in the classic FF2000, beating some 1000's, but finished 6th, only just ahead of Ewen Sergisson in the Swift. 1600 championship leader Nigel Davers just edged out Prajesh Shah, with championship challenger David Parkinson a further 3 seconds in arrears.
New to Mono Alan Fincham brought a lovely Senna-style (yes I know he
drove an RF81) RF80 and, in what was apparently FF trim was remarkably
2000 / Classic Race
Four drivers had a bad start, and for two this was to have later implications. Jeremy Timms slipped way down the order, reason unknown, and embarked on an epic drive to make up places. Jennifer Scott and Tony Cotton (me - directly behind her on the grid) also had bad starts, slipping towards the absolute back of the field. We had a good fight on lap one, and I passed her thanks to the excellent brakes on a Dallara. Coming into Riches for the second time, Jeremy, driving hard, went a bit wide but with no ill effects. A couple of places behind, Nigel Davers, looking comfortable in the Geoff Fern Van Diemen, had a twitch going into Riches which developed into a spin, leaving him square across the road. I was following and slowed dramatically, with the objective of avoidance. Sadly, Jennifer had absolutely nowhere to go and hit my back wing, removing her left front upright. My back wheel launched her over me, giving me an excellent view of the underbody diffuser which I intend to draw and sell to her F4 rivals (that was a joke). For me, the accident was over and I parked up, being thankful that my head protected the car from more serious damage (joke copyright: S Davey). For Jennifer, the drama continued because on landing the two right hand wheels dug in and she nearly rolled. Fortunately she didn't and I believe that the marshalls were out of their post before the car had stopped moving.
Obviously, a safety car ensued, while Jennifer was extracted. I'm pleased to say that although she was bruised she was otherwise unhurt when we jointly visited the CoC for there to be a 3 way agreement that it was a racing accident.
Back to the first lap, the fourth driver to slip places was Francis Phillips who retook his position from Terry Clark when the race restarted and gradually caught Kevin Otway who finished sixth, but not quickly enough to take the place. Jeremy worked his way through the field, and just took the Classic win and overall fourth from Ben Cater on the penultimate lap. Terry also lost out to Antonio Impieri on lap 5. Fourth in class was enough to keep Antonio's position of championship third secure for another day. Sunday could be exciting....
After avoiding contact with me, Nigel Davers made up a couple of places from dead last to lead in Lou Watts and Barry Smith in a closely fought group. Barry brought up the rear, which is unusual for the Donington Sunday winner, so I guess the car was less than ideal after the qualifying bang.. Mike Hatton's FVL expired after a lap, whether this was anything to do with the Cotton/Scott debris I don't know. As with all the other queries in this (limited knowledge) report, email me and I will correct.
The observant reader will note I haven't mentioned the front. Tristan, Malcolm and Tony (Bishop) had a clockwork-like procession, beautifully smoothly driven by all three, with little visible chance of changing places, from grid to parc ferme. Which I imagine is how they must like it.
Adrian Wright took the lead and seemed to be in a comfortable, commanding position with a steady two second lead until on lap 7 of 8, Something Happened. Keep reading. Behind him, Jonathan Reed kept second place for a lap until Jason Timms passed him. A fine advertisement for Mono's diversity, we had GEM, Speads and Jedi in the first 3 paces – 3 very different bike engined concepts, equally effective. For much of the race, Jason and Adrian swapped fastest laps.
Geoff Fern was in the leading group at first, but had a bit of an off at Hamilton on lap one, setting him back for a bit. The commentator believed there was some aero damage, and Geoff dropped behind the leading group, eventually finishing just in front of Mike Scott in the ex-Chris Vinall Speads.
Activity visible on the infield section included formation offs by Jock Sergison and Jonathan Baggott on lap 2, who went onto the grass but continued. A dangerous, but seducing corner, that Hamilton. Rather like the lady after whom it is named. Fifth was held by Ewen Sergison, ahead of Olly Thorpe. Considering Olly's giant killing in the past, Ewen can be rightly pleased.
Prajesh Shah and Len Turner did a fair bit of cross-class dicing with the former taking the lead on lap 5 at the same time demoting Jim Timms who was to retire with a misfire which made the Lola sound like a public firework display. Prajesh finished second in class.
Hamilton came into play again on around lap 6 when David Parkinson had a bit of a moment and was caught by Alan Fincham, though he took the place back. Sadly for David, this wasn't enough to depose 1600 champion elect Nigel Davers, who finished 1st 1600 and just ahead of Phil Nicholson's 1800, third in that class.
The big news of the race happened on lap 7. Mat Jordan spun going into Hamilton (where else?), tragically at the moment when he was about to be lapped by Adrian Wright. Adrian spun in sympathy/avoidance and accordingly lost the lead to Jason who won overall, Adrian recovering to second.
Michael Dale, one of the paddock's deceptively relaxed members, swapped
places with Jim Timms and finished 4th in 1800. Nova leader Marcus Sheard
Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsover. Subheadlines and captions are not originated from the named author. We are unable to reproduce results due to copyright reasons. If any pictures are copyright and the owner wishes them removed please email us.
Ben Cater and Terry Clark
Antonio Impieri leads Barry Smith, Nigel Davers & Lou Watts
Jim Timms leads Prajesh Shah, Michael Dale and David Parkinson
Mat Jordan kicks up the dust