St Cross Electronics
The 2013 Monoposto racing season launches at the end of April with the first two rounds of the St Cross Electronics Mono Championship at Donington Park. For the first time in recent history the Club held a pre-season test day at Donington on 11th April, which was booked to capacity with 40 drivers taking part, and this gives us the opportunity and excuse to preview the coming season.
Mono Moto attendees at Donington were headed by multiple Champion Adrian Wright in the GEM AW2, and it’s clear that Adrian is again going to be hard to beat – but that’s OK because it’s also clear that his challengers are going to be trying hard. Top of this list could be former Champion Chris Woodhouse who tested his familiar red Speads very effectively, after the Dallara alternative had caught fire during a rolling road session after a cooling system leak. Apparently anti freeze is flammable – how many people (like me) don’t know that? Lapping close on Chris for much of the time was Jedi mounted newcomer Tony Gauntlet, who looks like he will be in the mix from the get go. Most unfortunate man at the test was John Stewart who was testing the GEM AW1 alongside Adrian. John, a successful Formula Ford competitor, had flown in from Ireland for the test and adapted well to the bike engined car and its sequential gearbox. He went quicker and quicker only for disaster to strike when a broken exhaust comprehensively set fire to the car – John emerged unscathed which is more than can be said for the car which certainly needs work if it’s going to be ready for Round 1.
Geoffrey Cowell was running well at Donington in the Hitech, which has been completely rebuilt over the winter. He has sold his Jedi to Team Fern Racing and it seems likely that Mono 1600 quick-man Nigel Davers is not going to be able to resist racing it, especially after a storming run at the season closing meeting last year at Castle Combe. There were several other strong Moto contenders who weren’t at Donington including the Jedi’s of O’FARC team mates Dax Ward and Marc Fortune (his car reportedly sporting a smart new paint scheme including a green chassis – tasty!). Dan Clowes Jedi is also expected to be running at the front again this year, along with Craig Hurran in his smart black version – hopefully Craig will have a smoother ride this year than last. We will also again be seeing Len Turner in his very smart Jedi – another car with new paintwork for the season, as well as the Wingnut Racing Jedi of Mike Reed and new Moto Board Rep Jonathan Reed. Another father and son team, Mike & Chris Scott will also be racing in their very effective Speads. Moving into the realms of rumour, the Speads company have set up up a manufacturing operation in the UK and this is expected to herald a rise in the number of these cars racing with us.
Mono 1800 was, surprisingly, not represented as a class at the Donington test. It’s going to be an interesting year for this popular class as many of the FF Zetec cars look to be opting to run in the new Mono Ztec class, and this could well leave the way open for FF2000s and other non-Ford powered cars to move their drivers onto the winners step of the podium. Michael Dale was at Donington and reports that the AVIT rebuild of his heavily damaged Van Diemen is well underway. It would certainly be good to see more FF2000-based cars running regularly in this class, as was the case a few years ago. One class newcomer that we do expect is our very own resident heart surgeon Steven Griffiin with his Van Diemen, now modified into Mono 1800 trim having run as a Mono Classic 2000 for quite a few seasons.
What we did see at Donington were a brace of very quick Mono Ztec contenders in the form of Paul Britten and John Whitbourn. Unfortunately both these cars were damaged in the last session when John had a throttle jam wide open on the Ray resulting in a quite sharp collision. Peter Bassill and his father David had a run to check out Peter’s immaculately refurbished Ray, and it’s rumoured that David will be out in Mono 1600. Despite a couple of trips into the gravel during the day the car’s good looks remained unblemished. It will be very interesting to see which way Ewen & Jock Sergison, Douglas McLay, Matt & Ryan Hayes, Marcus Sheard, and Jonathan Baggott take the development of their cars, and how many Ztec newcomers such as Mark Edwards and John Chapman decide to join the fray on a regular basis.
Mono 1600 was represented at the Donington test by current SUNBAC Nova Champions Luke Roswell in his familiar Ray. Luke was well into the test, not even put off his stride when the Ray’s quite capacious engine cover parted company going into Redgate – fortunately it was recovered with little damage. Eddie Guest tested his Lola, now even smarter after a very nice respray and – unless I am mistaken, bright plating the driveshafts! The Mono 1600 testing contingent was rounded off very effectively by David Parkinson’s Reynard. David was already showing distinct signs (eg buying tyres..) that he is going to have a real go for the title again this year. He may have to deal with Adrian Heath who is clearly bouncing back from his Cadwell misfortune last season in one of the Team Fern Vauxhall Juniors.
The main reason for the relatively small numbers of Mono 1800s and Mono 1600s at the test day was the large number of 2 litre cars which booked very early. No less than 27 Mono 2000 or Mono Classic 2000 cars turned up, including about a dozen Dallaras and several intriguing new drivers.
Mono Classic 2000 is set to take on the mantle of the Club’s most popular class, and the testers at Donington fittingly included Club President David Cox who was blowing the cobwebs off his trusty and quick Ralt RT3. The Ralt responded by trying to vibrate David’s head loose, so some careful work with seat padding was rapidly deployed! Lou Watts, co driving with Will Arif, and Jim Timms were both running their Van Diemens. Lou’s car was handicapped by an idiosyncratic choice of ratios (running out of breath at 7000 rpm in 5th on main straight…) but Jim got right down to it and certainly embarrassed a number of the Dallaras out there. Francis Phillips and his team were very welcome participants in the familiar Reynard which was hampered by a curious clutch pedal action but otherwise seemed very fit. Lenny Coleman was also in his regular Reynard, tended by James Symonds and also running well. Terry Clark was a no–show in his Reynard as he’s a bit off colour – take it easy Terry and get well soon! New member Alistair Bell ran the ex-Lee Bennett Reynard, helped by Lee and his father (who we were all pleased to see was looking very well…) and seemed to settle in quickly and effectively. Nick Catanzaro impressed with his smart Mk1 Vauxhall Lotus, but hadn’t been able to get enough time to also get son Dane’s new Mono Ztec sorted out. Simon Lonnergan and Jared Wood both run quick Mk2 Vauxhalls and showed clearly that they could be regular front runners this year. They were joined by two new drivers David Gillett and Daryl Jones both in smart examples of this very cost-effective race car, David’s car sporting Harlow Truck Centre graphics. (Welcome to the heart of Monoposto racing to both of you!). Mick Kinghorn brought along his interesting Mygale Novis, which also showed the form which could well bring more podiums. Last to be mentioned in this preview, but I suspect not in future race reports, we had a trio of quick spaceframe Van Diemens. Ben Cater has raced with Mono on occasion before and has always gone well. He’s now fitted a full 2 litre Zetec to the car and looked really on top of it throughout the test. Also Van Diemen mounted we were very pleased to see experienced racer Bryn Tootell join us, and he is also likely to figure strongly during during the year. Simon Emmerson has had one exploratory Mono outing and is now being run in his Ashmei supported Van Diemen by Edginton racing, the car being turned out to their usual very high standard…Add to that lot the similar number of already-registered Mono Classic 2000s which didn’t attend the test day, and it is beginning to look like an amazing year of competition ahead in this class, which is very much at the heart of Monoposto racing.
It’s much the same story in Mono 2000, with a very impressive number of cars out testing. Monoposto can claim more Dallaras running in it than in British F3...Looking really very strong was Tony Bishop in his AW Tracksport tended car. Tony was clearly pleased with the feel and the pace of the car and could well be the man who sets the benchmark in this class, although he’s going to be busy doing F3 Cup as well. Current Mono 2000 Champion Malcolm Scott was happy with his familiar black Dallara, until it developed a worrying transmission noise. He will be doing selected rounds this year as family and business commitments allow. Topmarx racing had no less than four drivers testing in newly liveried Dallaras: Team leader Richard Purcell plus Steve Patania, Adrian Holey and Amnon Needham. They are all extremely quick guys so one does wonder whether Richard is going to have to wrestle with Red Bull style team orders at any point…(You mean ones that will be ignored, then? Asst ed) They may need these to fend off Russ Giles who looked formidable in the Magic Motorsport Dallara – the car is now getting well sorted and is certainly going to be a leading contender. Talking of Magic Motorsport brings us to David Gambling who has acquired an ex-Magic Dallara and ran very sensibly in his first outing as he explored the car on a cold and slippery Donington track surface. David is professionally involved with motorsport and it certainly showed in his systematic approach to the considerable learning curve presented by an F3-spec Dallara. We were also pleased to see another Monoposto appearance by Race Car Warehouse proprietor Kevan McLurg, who went well in his smart green Dallara. Monoposto Treasurer Tony Cotton was initially plagued by a fuel issue as he spluttered around, but this was soon resolved by Ray Rowan who happened to have a complete set of carbs already set up and ready to go. Tony shared the driving duties with experienced Ferrari racer Chris Butler (355 for hillclimbs, where he is their champion, and 328 for circuits), who quickly came to grips with the single seater having never previously driven one.
Finally it was great to see Mark Smith enjoy a trouble-free day in his blue/yellow "Renault F1" livery Dallara – he persevered last year in the face of some horrendous problems and does really deserve some clear runs this year. As with Mono Classic 2000 there were numerous likely Championship contenders not present, perhaps most notable being Robbie Watts in the Rawpower Lola, but also Kevin Mason’s Dallara and several other regular runners. So Mono 2000 could well also be looking at a vintage year in 2013.
If I’ve accidently omitted you, or misrepresented you in the above please email me the correction and I will persuade the editor to mercilessly insert suitable amendments!
But runners and riders aside, this season the Club has possibly our best-ever race calendar to enjoy. However it’s very important for everyone to realise that we can only offer such good venues and cost-effective entry fees if we maintain large entry numbers. Every penny of our entry fees is spent on track time, so it is in everyone’s interest to encourage people to race with Monoposto, to ensure that they feel welcomed when they join us, and to help them get a head start up the motor-racing learning curve if they are new to the sport.
If you haven’t already put your entry in for Rounds 1&2 on 27/28 April at Donington Park please do so as soon as possible! This will really help us in assembling the first Race Programme of the season and – for Donington – arranging the allocation of Pit Garages for our entries.
See you at Donington!
Not driving...asst ed reports enigmatically:
The eagle-eyed observer spotted Jeremy Goodman, ostensibly present to buy tyres for a French Historic F3 venture from the ever-helpful BMTR truck. Since Bournville to Donington goes past BMTR, we think he may have been on a spying mission.
It was good to see Mono Stalwarts Peter "Ollie" Olsen and Patrick Huston present, both having travelled a considerable distance just to watch.
Malcolm Scott was accompanied by daughter Jennifer, now Mrs Sirrell.
Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsover. 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.
Alistair Bell and Team Bennett
James Abbott's Sinter Formula Ford 200
Chris Dittman Racing BRDC F4 car. Probably the only time rival series FF200 and F4 have shared an event.
Ben Cater ahead of Chris Woodhouse
David Gambling Mono 2000
Malcolm ScottNick Catanzaro