St Cross Electronics
Monoposto Championship Round 12
A challenging track with a famous hill, even more difficult when wet, which it often can be, in a magnificent natural setting. It's no wonder Spa is known as the Cadwell Park of Belgium, and for those unable to get tickets to the premier event of the weekend, Mono at Cadwell, the Belgian Grand Prix was a reasonable substitute, provided you didn't mind poor driving standards and amateurism. For those with discernment, it had to be Lincolnshire.
There was rain in the morning but it had stopped some time before qualifying, leaving the track greasy, slimy and treacherous. [Insert politician/TV personality joke to taste here.] There was an oil flag shown in the esses towards the end of practice, whether for oil or just natural causes I don't know. With the whole field on wets, after 4 laps, Adrian Wright put in a 1.46, and bluntly nobody was ever going to touch him. Geoff Fern came closest with a 1.48, with the third MM of Jon Reed some way behind in P11on a 2.02.
Ewen Sergison soon established himself in 3rd, ultimately reaching an impressive 1.50.2 in the 1800 Swift. Mat Jordan was in 4th for a while after a storming 4th lap, but was demoted by the closely matched Nigel Davers (RF89) on 1.55.0 and Dave Parkinson on 1.55.7 and Adrian Heath on 1.56.9.
Sitting watching qualifying in the mountain grandstand, I was puzzled by a large display under a solar array. I was told it was a safety car warning board, which presumably allows the circuit to run with fewer marshals. Intelligent investment.
After qualifying there was a Hamilton/Button like rivalry in the Avit! Camp, as Ewen said “I've seen me Dad's time. I could cook an egg in that.” How Jock laughed!
There was drama on the grid as a sharp eyed official noticed Marcus Sheard's rain light bracket had fractured and the lamp was hanging by the wire. Marcus was instructed to come off at the mountain on lap 1 for safety reasons, though unfortunately, on arriving back in the paddock he noted the light had fallen off on lap 1.
As the lights went out, Adrian Wright made a good start, but Geoff Fern took the decision to move to the left, and this probably won him the race. The two raced together through Coppice, with Geoff having the advantage of the inside line. He took the lead and never looked as if he was going to lose it. The wily Adrian Wright knew that he didn't need a win to secure the championship, so stayed in a safe second. Safe being a relative word, as near the end he must have decided he wanted to finish close to Geoff, so decided to overtake a dicing and closely matched Len Turner and Doug Mclay, which he did on the grass on the right hand side of Coppice, executing a very neat rejoin of the track.
After the race I asked Geoff how he had enjoyed what we think is his first win in MotoMono. “It was quite easy by comparison with one of my early 1600 races at Mallory Park” he replied, staring meaningfully at your scribe. By comparison, Ewen Sergison who had a sublime win in 1800 and clinched the championship, commented "I had to stop and shave while I was waiting to get past Jock". How Jock laughed!
Lap one proved to be exciting out at Park when a TFR car spun at Park. I was told it was Mat Jordan. Everybody managed to miss him, but one or two (Eddie Guest for example) were delayed by going onto the grass in avoidance and effectively queuing up to rejoin.
Jon Reed, in his busy bee liveried Jedi which won the Cartek trophy for both its appearance and its innovative Apple iphone based data logger, would have won driver of the day too had he not come third. He had a very busy lap one, moving from 11th on the grid to 4th, ands then after 3 laps found another gear (not literally) when his lap times speeded up by a couple of seconds. He kept going faster and faster, with fastest lap on lap 9, so that Ewen Sergison, who had maintained his 3rd position with a good start had to cede a place on lap 5.
Doubtless David Parkinson will be writing about the epic battle he had with Nigel Davers. I certainly hope so. But it was truly a classic. Initially Nigel had the advantage, but David pulled ahead on lap 3, by about a tyre width (see pictures). Nigel retook the place on lap 6, but David kept up the pressure, so that on lap 8 Nigel lost his cool (I've no idea whether he did, but it sounds good) and spun at the Gooseneck. Unfortunately, David couldn't take advantage and they proceeded to the finish in that order.
The next pair had an equally enthralling battle. Len Turner finished just ahead of Doug Mclay, doubtless assisted by the strategy advice from his grandchild (or “2017 Toro Rosso driver”) who was present. It was a highly entertaining and close battle from two old warhorses in totally different but well matched cars, and on a democratic majority verdict Doug would have won 9-1. Unfortunately for Doug, the lap Len led was the last. Len also won Eurocontrols Driver of the Day.
Adrian Heath had a bad first lap, dropping from 6th on the grid to 14th,
presumably as a result of the TFR spin. Over the next couple of laps he
moved up to be behind Matt Walters, and the FVJ 16V drivers were closely
matched and formed another spectator pleasing dicing pair, until Adrian
got the upper hand on lap 8 and kept it to the end.
Eddie Guest was a loser in the first lap spin lottery, rejoining last, but made up a place from Joe Venor in the ex-Mark “D.I.” Blundell Lola to finish just in arrears of Jock. Eddie also showed remarkable consideration in lapping, though he always does.
Luke Rosewell stopped on lap 2 with a mysterious electrical fault, solved in the paddock by Simon Davey saying that Luke and Tony needed to check the wiring for breaks, illustrating the technique by pulling a connector which came straight away in his hand. Unfortunately, Kevin Rootes was less fortunate as his Van Diemen had an obscure electrical problem necessitating a tour of Lincolnshire. When I left, they had returned from Scunthorpe and had the car running for Sunday.
Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsoever. 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.
Jon Reed makes up places from Dave Parkinson and Luke Rosewell
Eddie Guest pursues Joe Venor
Close racing from DP and ND
Geoff Fern passes Eddie Guest in the corner before the mountain
Matt Walters and Adrian Heath
Sergisons pere et fils (That means father and son )