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JMT Mono Championship Round 13
SILVERSTONE GP 10 September 2016


Qualifying

The weather forecast said steady rain in the south-east but it would be fine elsewhere. Clearly Silverstone is not elsewhere. The rain started early in the morning and eased off a little bit but it was basically there all day. For lesser drivers than those in our race, this could be a problem. But, to the joy of CoC Terry Scannell, there was relatively little trouble and no cause to pull out a safety car during the whole of our Saturday racing.

I know that Startline is supposed to give equal prominence to all of the classes, but the F3 qualifying was so interesting that I need to begin with it. For six laps it looked as though nobody could touch Chris Hodgen.  He was four or five seconds ahead of the field. But then suddenly on the seventh lap of eight Ben put in a 2.30 to snatch pole. Chris had just done at 2:30 himself; that gave him second. Meanwhile Tony Bishop did a 2.32 to and then a couple of 2.30s  to secure third spot., though the 2 fast laps meant he got Sunday’s pole from Chris. David Gillett did it the hard way. He did just one flying lap but that was good enough for fourth place. Stylish, although the plan was to do more laps as he was near the back for Sunday. James Harris in his Formula Renault recorded a  2.37 for fifth place.

Jeremy Timms took  1400 pole, and  with all the classes running together must have had an eye on an overall podium.  Jason was just behind him. Eighth place overall, was Cato Poulson, our Danish competitor in the Gulfsports RF 1000, and so 1000 pole.  The lightweight of the Jedi’s often works against them in the rain and indeed Cato’s team mate Omar Gazzaz was the next 1000, in 12th.  Reputedly, he hasn’t raced in rain before. Top Jedi was Richard Gittings, 18th overall.

Returning to the other classes “rain man” Terry Clark put his Van Diemen on 2000 pole and in overall 10th place with Kevin Otway the second 2000 , Nigel Davers 3rd. As expected, Robin Dawe  put the Vauxhall Lotus on Classic pole with the similar car of Jared Wood eight seconds behind in second.

The wet often equalises power, and it was not too surprising to see the hugely experienced Geoff Fern in the only 1600 ahead of the 1800 class. Within the latter class, Alex Fores took the first place followed by Phil Davis and Will McAteer.

Tony Gauntlett in the new PR3 withdrew after damaging a wishbone, while Alister Bell  seemed to be jinxed. He had borrowed Malcolm Scott’s F398 and not unreasonably arranged a test on Friday. Malcolm went out for a shakedown and the engine failed. Malcolm offered Alister a run in his  F3 Cup car,  whose gearbox then failed while Malcolm was driving.  Bryn Tootell  offered to share his Van Diemen with Alister but unfortunately it was damaged in the Saturday race. Alister must have wished he had stayed in Hong Kong. David Gambling had wet electrics, which explained a rear of grid start. While David Jones had wet electrics of a different vintage, which a gas oven and 3 lunchtime laps solved.

Race

After a lunchtime briefing which was heavily geared to the conditions and the rolling start, the cars came round in an excellent grid pattern behind the M3, the reds went out (and greens on) and everything went grey. Between Becketts and Chapel, Ben Cater spun, so Chris Hodgen took the lead. Unfortunately Chris spun at Club, along with Tony Bishop, which left James Harris leading, Jeremy Timms in second and Cato Poulson 3rd.  Chris was back in the lead on lap 2, while Ben Cater, having dropped to 11th at the end of lap 1 had a lot of work to do.  3 places on lap 2, 2 on lap 3, until by lap 6 he was behind Jeremy Timms, though nearly 10 seconds behind.  Chris’s progress can only be described as serene (providing you are, like me, leaning on a fence at Luffield as his lead built to 17 seconds. . Ben made up 7 seconds on lap 7, and on the last lap pulled out all the stops to get fastest lap on a  wet qualifying pace of 2.31 to overhaul Jeremy for second. Jeremy of course took the 1400 win.  Tony Bishop had a second spin on the second lap, dropping him to 10th, leading Terry Clark to point out that the lap chart showed a good race between him and Tony, but in fact his overtaking was while Tony was parked! Tony made up places and finished overall 4th, 3rd F3., just ahead of James Harris in his FR. Hayden Edmonds and Jacky Liu brought their FRs into 5th and 6th, James Drew-Williams was 7th.

Whilst Jeremy Timms was pipped for overall second on the last lap,  he reigned in 1400, Jason running a little behind and battling away with Tony Bishop to finish 2nd 1400 and overall 7th.  Third man Graham Read had an exciting few laps chasing Richard Gittings, being chased by Bryn Tootell. On lap 5, Graham and Richard stopped a but quicker than Bryn. Graham had a cracked nappy, but such is the strength of the later Dallara’s “bumper” that poor Bryn’s nose was fragmented.

In 1000, the Van Diemens looked well suited to the conditions, Cato mixing convincingly with the F3s and Omar Gazzaz in the overall top 10.  After the lap 5 altercation, Richard Gittings raced with Russ Giles, finishing 3rd in class  and ahead of Russ as the latter spun on the last lap on the way to 8th in class. Craig Hurran  and Brendan O’Brien, in the Paul Heavey – run Leastone, were 4th and 5th, with Kyle Cutts bringing the Speads into 6tt to be the 4th marque in 6 cars.

Terry Clark lived up to his reputation in the rain by winning 2000. Mark  Drew was very happy to be second “and in one piece”, and even happier to have come in ahead of long-term arch rival Robin Dawe in the Classic class.  “It’s the first time I’ve beaten Robin since 1990” he said.  2000 championship leader Kevin Otway consolidated his position at the top of the table with 3rd, despite a Brooklands spin on lap 1. In fairness, this was a spin I saw. I believe that those who didn’t spin somewhere were the exception… One was Nigel Davers who was running 3rd until a spin at Aintree on lap 4 lead to 4th.
 
Classic was undoubtedly Robin Dawe’s domain. “That was enjoyable even on concrete tyres”, he commented.  Jared Wood was second, Peter Whitmore 3rd.

Alex Fores is certainly making a name for himself in 1800, winning by nearly a minute over 2nd place man, the very experienced Douglas McLay., with Phil Davis 3rd, having had a spin at Brooklands on the penultimate lap.  Sole 1600 entrant Geoff Fern couldn’t quite match young Alex in his 1800, but was, as usual, amongst some much faster cars.

Despite being in different classes, a quick word for Doug McLay, Peter Whitmore and Phil Davis who spent the race in generally close company,.

And finally many thanks to all competitors who managed to have a safe race despite at times being able to see no more than a red light in the mist.

Doug McLay and David Gambling (who touched the pitwall late in the race) Ray Forward, new, we think, to Mono, and Jeremy Timms, who isn't David Jones, Jacky Liu, Nigel Davers and a white car I can't recognise Mark Drew
Alex Fores Geoff fern Omar Gazzaz Cato Poulsen

Sorry this is so late, some scumbag broke into my house and that took up some spare time.

Tony Cotton

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

 

A disciplined stream of cars in grid formation for the rolling startGreyJames Harris came through in the leadJeremy Timms was challenging closelyChris Hodgen approaches Cato PoulsenTony Bishop recovers from a spin and catches Terry ClarkChris Hodgen ahead of James HarrisJacky Liu and Craig HurranKyle Cutts, Jon Read and Geoff Fern