Castle Combe: Monoposto 2013 Preview Trophy Race
With the 2013 season already beckoning Adrian Fawdington of Castle Combe Racing Club suggested that they run a taster non-Championship event at the popular Wiltshire venue, to get Monoposto accustomed to the idea of a Championship event there next year. There were 17 takers for the race, and Combe were indeed very welcoming. It's been several years since Mono raced at Combe. The interim period has seen quite a few improvements to the venue. There is a major building extension housing Race Admin, together with a very nice hospitality room for all competitors - a really excellent idea. Trackside sees stronger debris fencing in the pit area and exit from Camp, and the whole venue has a very pleasant feel to it. As ever there was good spectator attendance on a lovely Autumn day.Qualifying Actually the field was a bit thinner for qualifying because three people failed to make it on track. Peter Bassill found a rear hub carrier had sheared all the bearing support bolts, Lou Watts had a grump gearbox, and Henry Fryer a fuel system problem. All three did get their cars fixed and Combe very helpfully arranged for them to qualify by taking two green flag laps behind other single seater grids. The qualifying target for the front men was Jonathan Lewis's Mono 2000 mark set in 2004 at 1.06.998, at 99.4mph just shy of a 100mph lap. Jim Blockley put in a very quick looking 1.06.238 at 100.54 mph to put Combe in the 100+mph Mono club. Second up and establishing the MotoMono mark was Geof Fern, followed by Club President David Cox on his first outing of the year in the RT3. Another familiar and welcome face followed with Francis Phillips bringing out his Reynard for a run. Adrian Heath just shaded Richard Evans who was in a Brian Souley run FF1600 Ray, and Richard Reeve was the only qualifier running in Mono 1800, first time out in an extremely well presented Reynard SF84.
The bad luck for the morning centred on Craig Hurran, who has spent much of the year rebuilding the smart black Jedi after an incident at a very wet Donington, only to have his Yamaha seize, bringing out a mid-session red flag.
RaceEveryone except the hapless Craig made it onto the grid. Jim Blockley took the lead from the start, but unknown to the watchers was already in trouble as his clutch went soft straight away, calling for clutchless changes for the whole race. He still led the first lap, but Geoff Fern was ready to pounce and took a lead which he was to hold to the finish, taking a new lap record of 1.06.591 at 100.01 mph. Behind this pair David Cox was going well, just ahead of Nigel Davers again taking the TFR Jedi out for a run. There was drama on lap 1 for the mono 1600 field when both Eddie Guest and Adrian Heath were delayed by someone else's moment at Bobbies, gifting a massive Mono 1600 lead to Richard Evans. Richard Reeve went missing leaving the determined Peter Bassill to take his first ever win in Mono 1800. A lap later Nick Cartanzaro's smart Lotus also disappeared from the lap charts. Meanwhile the trio of Cox, Phillips and Davers were providing tremendous value in a race long dispute which saw Nigel get past Phillips but then fail to negotiate the approved route through Bobbies while trying to take third away from the Cox Ralt. He recovered to continue to challenge Phillips eventually getting through while they were tackling the backmarkers, and then getting back on terms with David Cox. Meanwhile Henry Fryer, Matt Jordan and Chris Chandler engaged in an almost race long dice which also entertained the watching crowd. So as the race ran out, Geoff Fern took an excellent win and a lap record to the delight of his (many) watching supporters, followed by Jim B who was still under the previous Mono 2000 lap record despite the lack of a clutch, and David Cox who was only half a second clear of the harrying Davers at the end. Nigel then ensured his finish was noted by having a water pipe come off as he crossed the line. All in all it was an enjoyable last act for the 2012 Monoposto season.
Geoff Fern, Jim Blockley, David Cox. (Simon's written a very funny caption but I daren't publish it.)
Craig Hurran, Jedi
Richard Evans, Ray
Richard Reeve, Reynard 84
Pictures:Long Buckby Daguerreotype Company