Given how tight the Championship points were between second and third places in Mono Classic it was obviously imperative that both Kevin Otway and Francis Phillips got good qualifying runs. It was therefore a bit of a shock to see that Kevin was missing from the timing list, until it became clear that it was a transponder malfunction causing a virtual absence. The same malfunction also put him on a virtual pole position, although the timekeepers corrected the error after the session finished. Actually it was again Tristan Cliffe on the pole, from team mate Anthony Bishop, albeit some 6 seconds back, but well clear of his points rival Toni Impieri who was seventh overall. Malcolm Scott was third Mono 2000 but his not great weekend got worse when the car had to be pulled in early, showing all the signs of a head gasket failure or worse. Jeremy Timms got the blue Vauxhall into third overall, just behind Tony Bishop, and well ahead of Ben Cater and the real Kevin Otway. Nigel Davers was getting the hang of Mono Classic in third ahead of Terry Clark and Francis Phillips, who now faced a big ask if he was overhaul the Otway Vauxhall in the race.
It was getting a bit warmer as the Mono 1800s and their friends came out to play. In what is to become MotoMono next year, Jason Timms and Jonathan Reed resumed their roles as pace setters, in the absence of Adrian Wright, who had had to give Sunday a miss due to other commitments. Early on it looked like Chris Scott would be up at the front as well, but the red Speads popped a drive shaft at the crucial moment, so it was an on-form Geoff Fern who was third up. Mono 1800 was tight, with Olly Thorpe just ahead of Ewen Sergison, followed by an improving Phil Nicholson. Olly also joined the sidelines early when the gear linkage on the Reynard broke, the resultant over-rev popping a cam follower off and also doing damage to the gearbox, which only emerged in the race. Newly crowned class Champion Nigel Davers had Mono 1600 well in hand, but Prajesh Shah continued to show his growing experience by pipping David Parkinson for second slot. Len Turner was just ahead of these two, Len scenting the chance of a third place in the class Championship, an ambition which was eventually thwarted because there were not enough starters in the class to award the “full” points set.
Both Barry Smith and Ben Cater elected to start the Mono 2000/Classic race from the pit lane, and both for the same reason – a clutch which wouldn’t clear – although Barry seemed the worse afflicted of the two. Everyone’s determination to fight for every place became apparent in the early order. Cliffe lead OK, but it was Jeremy Timms behind him from Tony Bishop, and Toni Impieri had the Renault up to 4th overall. Behind them Kevin Otway was 5th, but Francis was right on him after what must have been a storming getaway and Ben Cater was already starting to catch up. By lap 3 Francis was past Otway and it was getting very tense indeed, but next time round Kevin had the place back and Francis never recovered the initiative. He never let the Vauxhall get far away, but in the process both Nigel Davers and Ben Cater found their way past both the podium contenders in what was an impressive train of cars for much of the race. Ben eventually took second in the class and Nigel his first Classic podium in third. They weren’t going to catch Jeremy Timms though. He had had to relinquish second to Tony Bishop’s Dallara, but also didn’t give up and relentlessly reclosed the gap, until on the run in to the flag he launched a final assault, failing by 9 thousanths of a second to regain second overall form Bishop, and with Cliffe again the runaway winner this meant that Omicron had its one-two as well. Barry Smith’s persistence with the clutchless FX was repaid a little when he took the Magic Motorsport Driver of the Day Award – at least some reward for a long journey and a battle with the car for much of the weekend.
It must now be recorded that this was Francis Phillips’ last race, as he intends to retire from the sport. Francis is one of the longest established and most successful of Monoposto racers. In the true spirit of the formula has competed and won by racing cars of his own design and construction, as well as many other types. He is surely a legendary figure in UK single seater racing and both he and his family team will be sorely missed. Hopefully he can be persuaded to recap his competition history for StartLine Online, (yes please - asst ed)and certainly we wish him a long and enjoyable retirement.
There was a very long gap in Mono proceedings before the Mono 1800/1600/Moto race took to the track, and it had got so overcast and chilly that several teams were cautiously pumping up their wets. Eventually after the delinquent Minis had been scraped up, the Mono field took to the track. As the red lights went out Mike Scott could only watch as the other drive shaft on son Chris’s Speads failed, and the car didn’t budge. Fortunately everyone behind missed him and the very efficient marshals quickly pushed the car to safety. Jason Timms took an immediate lead from Jonathan Reed, which he was never to lose, but it never grew to more than a second or so either. These two engaged in one of those relentlessly fast contests where the slightest mistake by either driver is critical – very impressive motor racing. Geoff Fern continued his good form to take a comfortable third, but couldn’t match the leaders' pace. In Mono 1800 Ewen Sergison got ahead of Olly Thorpe at the start, but the Thorpe Royale didn’t last long as hideous noises from the gearbox announced the hidden damage left over from practice – this mechanical failure unfortunately costing Olly a class Championship podium position. Phil Nicholson moved up to a very good class second, his car sounding fitter than it had the day before, and in third it was Marcus Sheard, getting onto his first race podium and also deservedly triumphing as the winner of the Mono SUNBAC Nova Awards. Mono 1600 was always going the way of Nigel Davers, although Prajesh Shah had put in the fastest lap on Saturday he couldn’t quite get on terms. Behind them Dave Parkinson, Mat Jordan and Alan Fincham enjoyed an excellent dice, with Mat Jordan doing enough to take both 4th place in the class and 2nd place in the SUNBAC Awards, just pipping Prajesh for the free races in 2012. Final award winner was Jonathan Baggott, who pedalled his familiar green Zetec Van Diemen up the order to take the Aztec Driver of the Day Award.
The day was darkening as the race awards were presented and everyone packed up; after a season which has seen the Club grow both numerically, and in the status and quality of its racing. Although quite a few people were already talking about their plans for next year, first we should congratulate this season’s winners, and enjoy the Annual Awards Dinner in February. The Club is hoping for another good turnout at the Annual Awards as we celebrate the 2011 season and anticipate 2012 – the calendar is taking shape and looks to be even better than this year…
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.
Tristan gets away well, Tony B and Jeremy follow
Mono legend Francis Phillips leads Kevin Otway
Um, this would be a close finsih then? This is what 0.009 seconds looks like when a brilliant photographer is there.
Is this the last finish for Tristan in Mono before he moves elsewhere? Only he can know.
Mat Walters passes the stricken Speads of Chris Scott
SUNBAC Nova Trophy victor Marcus Sheard