It's that man again....or: same winner, shorter circuit.St Cross Electronics Monoposto Championship Round 5 Brands Hatch MonoMoto, 1600,1800,Ztec. 1 June 2013
Harold Wilson (another down with the kids reference there..) said a week is a long time in politics. Well 3 weeks isn't a long time in Mono racing, it positively flew for those getting ready for Brands. And if Harold meant that a lot can change, it didn't at the front, because Adrian Wright continued to dominate the MM/16/18/Z field.
Saturday : Qualifying & Race
Adrian's domination began as the cars left the pit lane for practice. Established at the front, he made space and got in some banker laps, got a 45.66 pole mid session and then spent 10 laps practicing. Mike Scott - flames spectacularly coming from the exhaust on the over-run into Druids - was second for some time, but as Jason Timms and Geoff Fern got into the rhythm, Mike dropped to 4th. Adrian had a second on Jason, Jason a second on Geoff and Geoff half a second on Mike. Quite a big spread for this competitive class - was the race going to be dull? No chance. This is Mono at Brands, not F1 at Monaco.Another Mike (Reed) was a little further behind while Nigel Davers - circulating for a while with Le Patron d'Equipe Geoff Fern - was in amongst the 1800s.
John Whitbourn led the 1800s on a 50.09, edging out Paul Britten, Ztec spec Julian Hoskins and Marcus Sheard. Mat Jordan led the 1600's, with Luke Rosewell and Adrian Heath behind a group of 6 covered by 2 seconds. I was a bit surprised to see circuit specialist Kevan McLurg in 4th, as he not only knows this place like the back of his hand, but he was very enthusiastic (that's polite for sideways) into the chicane. Then I remembered that the car was in pure FF1600 spec ready for Champion of Brands. It was ironic that David Parkinson was mortified to find himself in fifth, while Eddie Guest was delighted to be 6th, within half a second of the old maestro. (It's a Reynard, not a Maestro - ed). Last 3 places were Doug McLay (Ztec), Peter Bassill (1800) and Joe Venor (1600).
Qualifying Quotes (as remembered by your reporter):
Adrian Wright: "It's all down to the tyres. They were new 3 weeks ago so they're very little used with the weather we had. I think they were worth 1 1/2 seconds."
Mike Scott: "It was slippery at Druids, I was all over the curbs in Graham Hill bend, there's no grip and I've got a stinking cold."
Mat Jordan: "I've blown the 2 litre so thought I would come back to the 1600."
John Whitbourn: "There was some oil down and I understeered off. There's more to come, Paul's just behind me so we'll see what happens in the race."
David Parkinson: "I've been blown away by the Fern boys. Oooh, is that a cake?"
Michael Dale: "David's expecting me to help him. I only came here for the cooked breakfast."
Kevan McLurg: "I lost some water which explains the steam when I stopped on the slowing down lap. But it wasn't the water that stopped me - I'd calculated the fuel and not allowed for going a bit faster than I was expecting. I ran out."
As the lights went out, Adrian Wright took the lead and the next time he crossed the line he was a good 100m in the lead - maybe more. He was unchallenged for all 19 laps and won by nearly 20 seconds. Geoff Fern and Jason Timms were close for lap after lap, Geoff keeping the lead. Side by side into Paddock Hill bend is always thrilling. Geoff started to put the pressure on as the new Dunlops began to come in, and hoped to pursue Adrian, but the gap was too big. After 7 laps Jason had a bit of a delay and lost out to Mike Scott. They began dicing in much the same style, nose to tail and although the lap charts show Mike consistently ahead, it was far more interesting with numerous place swaps, mainly on the run to Paddock Hill bend. Mike re-caught Jason in the traffic, which around the Indy circuit is dense. Sadly, it came to an end on lap 15. Jason had run wide on Paddock Hill and it's an unforgiving environment. A pushrod stopped pushing, with the result that Jason's car became a sledge as he approached Druids the next time round. With thoughts of a big bang, Jason was relieved when the gravel stopped him with no significant damage other than a deconstructed wing, fixed for Sunday with the Wrights' help.
Mike Reed initially led the pursuit but slowed during the race as the car got noisier - from the grandstand we thought it could be the undertray, but whatever it was, Mike dropped down behind Nigel Davers and into the 1800s. And what 1800's. John Whitbourn was right to predict a close race between himself and Paul Britten. Right from the start Paul was as close to John as you could be without a civil partnership, and it stayed like this for the whole race. They were never more than a quarter of a second apart, a real credit to Mono. Julian Hoskins won the Ztec class, circulating with Marcus Sheard but all the while building a slightly bigger lead.
Luke Rosewell won the 1600 battle and did so in style, building a lead which never looked to be threatened. Not only that but it was obvious he was courteous to the MotoMono drivers as they lapped - as indeed were almost all competitors - allowing plenty of room. Afterwards he said "I'm pleased with that win - it was a smooth race." It looked it. Mat Jordan began the race sandwiched between Luke and Marcus, but developed a misfire when the carb fell apart so very sensibly brought the RF86 into the pits for at least 2 reasons: (a) he didn't want to lunch 2 engines in 2 meetings (b) Simon Davey had built the engine and he couldn't face the wrath if he blew it up. This left Adrian Heath to uphold Team Fern honours with a class second.
3rd in Ztec Doug McLay and 3rd in 1600 Kevan McLurg had some interesting racing. Kevan started ahead, lost out to Doug, regained the advantage, and lost it again. Traffic certainly played a part, but once more it was a good race within a race to keep an eye on. 4th in 1600, and mortified to miss a cup, David Parkinson had dices with Peter Bassill (1800, 3rd), a particularly memorable one being when they were being lapped so Gentleman Dave gave the leaders room into Druids whilst the Buccaneering Bassill tagged on to the leaders and snuck past as part of the pack. DP considered adding a sticker to his car "If you can read this you must be in the 1600 class", to ward off these evil interlopers from other, lesser, classes. (David's bribe to Tony must be bigger than Peter's - ed).
Joe Venor lost a mirror, so was soemwaht circumspect, not wishing to cause an incident. His fellow Lola owner Eddie Guest also had mirror problems. In his case, he saw Geoff Fern in the mirror approaching Surtees, and went a little wide. The resultant spin caught the nose box, happily later recovered with little damage, but with the aluminium scraping under the car he didn't wish to "do an Alonso", so pulled off as a precaution.
Brands Indy usually gives exciting races. Today was no exception, and the enjoyment of the participants was testament to the fun factor of this popular track.
Tony Cotton (words, pics, but some pics by AFotos)
Paul Britten leads Geoff Fern, Julian Hoskins and Doug McLay out of Druids in practice.
Geoff Fern went a bit wide in practice
Adrian Wright laps Luke Rosewell
Mat Jordan leads Doug McLay into Druids....
...but lags him out