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The Parkinson DoningtonPark 27/28 April 2013

The first meeting of the year and although rain was expected we had the relative comfort of the garages. Thanks to Eddie Guest and Stephen Brooks who chose to use their awnings to allow the rest of the cars into the garages.

Simon is doing the race reports so I agreed to do a sort of gossip column. To this end I was wandering round the garages trying to pick up all of the dirt. Unfortunately, I missed some of the drivers as they were involved in such activities as stuffing their faces, sleeping in their motor homes or had just gone for a walk. If I missed you I apologise.

I was chatting to Adrian Holey, who had a good weekend in his Dallara, and he was telling me that he raced an F2 sidecar outfit until 2012. Mono seems to attract ex sidecar men.

Gentleman Jim Timms had an off in the Saturday race. I know there was oil on the corner but don’t know if that was the cause. Anyway waved yellows were shown and Mick Kinghorn hit the oil and went off the track but managed to keep control and rejoin the circuit. I obviously don’t know all of the circumstances but felt sorry for Mick when he told me that he’d been hauled up before the COC and given four penalty points and excluded from the results for driving in an unsafe manner.

I can’t read some of my notes but I believe I was talking to David Gambling who was having his first ever race in a Mono Classic car. He and his mechanic said they were enjoying the weekend and were impressed by the friendliness of their fellow competitors.

Malcolm Scott had a number of problems which included starting the Saturday race from the pit lane as his clutch was inoperative. He also had further ignition problems but still managed to pick up an award if my memory serves me correct.

Richard Evans was out for his first race in the newly acquired but still nicely prepared Toms. I’m not sure if he’s doing the full season as he’s only done the odd meeting over the last couple of years.

I spoke briefly to Robin Dawe who was seen, I’m informed, sitting in a Dallara. Be concerned boys. Many people remember when Robin won what would now be the Mono classic championship in a black Formula Vauxhall. I think I’m right in saying that he was the first driver to bring a Dallara into Mono.

Other resting Mono drivers present were Michael Dale who came to assist me and Ollie and Colin Thorpe who were looking after Malcolm Scott. I also saw Peter Whitmore wandering about the pit-lane along with his long-time mechanic Ollie Olsen..

Tony Cotton, funding a new wing

I repeatedly tell Tony Cotton, who’s an awfully nice guy for an accountant, that he should get rid of that Dallara thing he’s got and come back and race in the 1600s where he was happy. He’s still got the Vauxhall Junior so could be out at Brands. Unfortunately in the Sunday race in the closing stages he smashed his front wing. Get rid of it Tony. Come back to the premier class.

Matt Jordan was pleased with his weekend. The 1600 refugee was out in the Fern team Van Diemen and was happy that he was getting faster and faster every session as he got to grips with the car.

Lou Watts was telling me that he’d bought the ex Barry Smith Formula Ireland but according to the programme he was driving a Van Diemen. Another cock up by yours truly.

Asking drivers how things went in qualifying is a total waste of time. Ninety five percent said OK but for a misfire. Very few said everything went OK. Richard Purcell was one of the few who had no problems. (pardon? asst ed)

Jonathan Baggott was out in the AW1 1600 for the first time in an age. Unfortunately an engine knock and clutch problems sent him home after Saturday qualifying.
Chris Woodhouse returned to Mono in his Speads. Other than a slight strategic error in Saturday qualifying, where he finished fourth, he topped all the other sheets. It was as if he’d never been away.

Len Turner has repainted his beautifully prepared Jedi. Instead of the stylish blue and crimson it’s now a ghastly yellow green colour. What have you done Len?

Geoffrey Cowell has rebuilt his Hitech, including new engine, and was moving considerably faster than in the past. Watch out Len.

Nigel Davers, who I understand is only doing one or two races this year, due to a new house, a new baby and the wife must come into it somewhere, had DNFs in both races in the ex Cowell Jedi now owned by the Fern Corporation.

Technical Corner with Harry Ganderson

Ben Cater's performance was aided by innovative aerodynamics seen above in exclusive spy shot. Convection and radiation from hot tea energises airflow causing Coanda effect onto second wing element. Half eaten sandwich (B) traps air forming a small Gurney flap, whilst (C) plastic sarney bag can optionally be attached to string for DRS.

Eddie Guest went out on hastily thrown on wets for Saturday qualifying and drove from his awning to the pit lane where a wheel fell off. Ewen Sergison ran back to the awning and found no nuts so followed Eddie’s path and found all four nuts on the way allowing Eddie to go out. That’s Ewen’s story but I must check my wheel nut case.
Peter Bassill was a non finisher in the Saturday race in his Ray. When I asked him what the problem was he admitted that he’d forgotten to charge the battery and had run out of sparks. He deserves a point for being honest. He never seems to stop smiling but this season will probably fix that.


Jason Timms broke a driveshaft on his Speads during Sunday qualifying but managed to source one and install in it time for the race. He had a third to add to his second place the previous day.

Geoff Fern was moving his caravan in his garden when it got away from him and was heading for a bank which led down to his neighbour’s house. Fortunately it hit a Ford Focus and came to rest. I think I’d rather it hit the neighbour’s house personally.

John Rawlings was out in a red Speads. I think that there were five Speads out over the weekend. I’m sure he told me that he was a novice and it was his first drive in Mono but I could have been mistaken as I’m sure I’ve seen him before.(yes, he did a season a couple of years ago - asst ed)

Paul Britten topped both qualifying and race sheets on Saturday then proceeded to fill his race car up with diesel prior to Sunday qualifying. It wouldn’t start and the problem was soon diagnosed and draining took place aided by Ewen. Unfortunately he only got one lap in and had to do his three laps with the 2 litre grid to qualify at the back of the grid. He must have had a good drive as he passed Stephen Griffin to take the 1800 win but also beat all the Zetecs in the process.

A headmaster who is not Simon

Adie Heath went well on wets on Saturday. Perhaps that’s why I kept seeing him doing a funny sort of dance outside the it garage on Sunday. He also told me a story regarding Brands last year where Geoff was running four cars in the one race. Adie had an ignition problem and the car kept stopping so he’d park it up only for it to start a little later. Back on the circuit again and the same problem happens again so pull in again. He tells me that he broke down on four or five occasions. Meanwhile, Geoff is circulating and sees, what he believes are all his cars broken down on the circuit, so comes in at the end of the race and tells Joanie he’s had enough of team managing.

I’ve got to mention Simon Davey as he does such a fabulous job organising the weekend. So thanks a lot Simon for all your hard work. My little pal, Michael Dale, calls him Simon, the headmaster. I’m not sure if that’s because Simon is always telling us what to do or we, the drivers, are just a bunch of kids.

David Parkinson