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JMT Mono Championship Rounds 11 and 12
DONINGTON GP 13 August 2016
F3, 2000, Classic


It’s a tribute to the gritty determination of Mono drivers and their teams that both Ben Cater and Tony Bishop had their cars, which ended in the gravel at Brands (Tony’s upside down) back, looking good and going as well as ever.  There were a few dropouts, notably Chris Davison who had a belt failure in testing which hopefully won’t be too troublesome.

Qualifying was disrupted by a safety car period after 3 laps when Mark Smith and Tony Gauntlett came together and Mark couldn’t restart. Chris Hodgen snatched pole on the last lap by 0.3sec, demoting Ben Cater who looked to have it in the bag.  Responding to scribe’s comment that the 301 was nicely repaired, but did show signs of its accident: “It’s like golf balls – they go better with dimples.” He went on to say “I haven’t done any testing and the safety car meant I was in traffic for my best lap”.

Tony Bishop and Simon Tate were next up, a second behind while Russ Giles was pleased to be 5th. Ex-Mercedes F1 mechanic James Densley, whose day job is running early 21st century F1 cars at TDF, was delighted to be 6th in his Formula Renault. He’s done “some” karting (and I note TDF are based at Bedford and run simulators), but this was his 1st race. Mike Hatton was also pleased that the Piedrafita now seems to be coming good, though he’s sure there’s more to come.

Neil Harrison withdrew after qualifying as an oil pump seal had gone, (explaining the cloud following him around) and James Drew-Williams destroyed his nose on Mark Schofield’s F397, resulting in a mad dash to Cambridge for the spare by his team, and a mad dash by JD-W to find Mark to shake hands. Ben Cater,

Nigel Davers took 2000 pole from Bryn Tootell and Mark Drew, while Robin Dawe was ahead of even the rapid 2000 boys in his Classic FVL, over 6 seconds ahead of Chris Lord (“If I was a teacher I’d give myself “must try harder”. I hope the horns will come out in the race.”) and Will McAteer. 2 surprises in the grid were Marcus Sheard, back in the ex-Tristan Cliffe/Lenny Coleman 883 with advice from Tristan, after 2015’s big bang, and Lee Cunningham guesting / assessing in new dad Kevin Couling’s FR.


Chris Hodgen got away well and made the most of his pole, while Ben Cater seemed to hesitate slightly, but not enough to let Tony Bishop in  despite a good start. During the first lap, Simon Tate passed Tony, while Chris finished the lap nearly 2 seconds clear. Ben closed up on lap 2 and at Goddards on lap 3 he got ahead. There then followed 7 consistent and fast lapped, only disturbed by lapping. Ben held the lead to the end, Chris was second.  In a symmetrical story, Tony also re-passed Simon, though on lap 2 for the finishing order. Russ Giles was Mr Consistent and smooth for 5th from grid to flag., while 6th place James Drew-Williams had a real story to tell. From 13th after his qualifying mishap, the re-nosed Lola man made upn 4 places on lap 1. He disposed of Nigel Davers, albeit from 2000, on lap 2, and Robin Dawe (Classic) on lap3. Lap 4, it was James Harris’s turn to be deposed, while lap 5 was a rest(!) until getting past Mike Hatton on lap 6. Mike himself followed James in for 7th. 

A gap in the overall results, but continuing the F3 class, 8th and 9th was a James Renault fight.  James Densley started his FR from 6th on the grid, but was worried that it was his first race start. As he dropped 6 places on lap 1, maybe that was justified, but after a bit of a dice backwards and forwards with Nigel Davers, he slotted in behind Robin Dawe, while James Harris had 5 laps  where he lost only 1 place to James D-W then slipped down a bit behind the 2000s and Classics, reason unknown to me. James D and the always quick Robin Dawe slipped by on the last lap. Mark Schofield, back out in the ex-Bryn Tootell F397 came through to 10th, with Scorpio’s other Renault pilot Jackie Liu in 11th. Neil Tomlinson pulled into the pits on lap 5.

The mention of Nigel Davers among the F3’s might have given a hint as to who won 2000. But he didn’t have it all his own way. Bryn Tootell had a good start and crossed the line in front of Nigel on lap 2. Quite what then caused the TFR Mygale to put on a spurt and knock 2 seconds off his laptime on laps 4 and 5, and then speed up more must remain an enigma. Suffice it to say that he was in Bryn’s mirrors by lap 7, and filling them a lap later. The experienced Welshman held the lead for another lap, but even he couldn’t keep it to the end, finishing in 2nd  as Nigel passed him at the hairpin on lap 10.  Wing’ed Van Diemens continued to rule in the class as Kevin Otway caught up with Mat Jordan after 4 laps and took 3rd from him on 5. Kevin had started out leading a 2000 group consisting of himself, Lee Cunningham, Terry Clark and Chris Lord. Chris seemed to be having problems as he slowed and withdrew on lap 8, probably cursing your scribe for speaking to him at lunchtime praising the rock solid FVL reliability. Terry kept the pressure on Lee, getting ahead on lap3. He then chased Nathan Corridon who withdrew on lap 6, but succumbed to Mark Drew, who had risen from 19th on the first lap, on lap7. Mark went on to pass Mat Jordan for 4th. Mat’s times slowed as the race went on just as his team mate Nigel speeded up, but he managed to keep out of Terry’s clutches. Mat ended 5th and terry 6th in class., with Lee Cunningham just ¾ second behind. After a slow start from the back, Mark Smith completed the class.

Robin Dawe raced against Nigel Davers, James Drew-Williams, Bryn Tootell, James Harris and James Densley in finishing an overall 10th. As we have intelligent readers, it will be noted that all of them are from the other classes.  So “dominant” is probably the right adjective. The Reynard Owners Club formed 2nd to 4th, with Will McAteer having a close race with young Jacky Liu's Renault, Peter Whitmore stalling, fighting his way past Mark Smith,  and then catching up with and passing Marcus Sheard. Marcus was fourth in class, faster all the time, and bringing the immaculately repaired 883 back looking still immaculate.

Words:Tony Cotton

Race pics Andrew Cliffe/Norwich Photo, Quali pics Tony Cotton

Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsover. .

Neil Tomlinson

Chris Hodgen

Will Mcateer

James Densley


The race start, Chris Hodgen ahead while Tony Bishop challenges Ben Cater

Bryn Tootell and James Densley

Bryn Tootell and Robin Dawe

Marcus Sheard and Jacky LiuJames Harris, Robin Dawe, James Drew-Williams, Bryn Tootell and Nigel DaversSmoke from Neil Harrison

All that is left of J D-W's nose...