St Cross Electronics
Monoposto Championship Round 9 Castle Combe. 3 August 2013
It's over 6 years since the Championship last raced at Castle Combe. The day was memorable for the debut of Tristan Cliffe, and it rained. So far as I know, we had no debutees in the Moto/16/1800 race, but we did have rain. That came in race 2, qualifying and race 1 was dry.
If I have a long-ish memory, the commentators' was even longer - they introduced Geoff Fern, Mono stalwart, as "a former Castle Combe FF competitor", which is a bit like introducing Stirling Moss as a "one time hillclimber". However, his local circuit knowledge and a high degree of driving skill took pole on a 1.07.8 by a quarter second from Adrian Wright. This would be a race to savour....especially with Jason Timms just behind. Craig Hurran gets quicker at each round and lined up 4th, in front of the experienced Nigel Davers. John Whitbourn and Paul Britten formed the front of the 1800 grid, while Marcus Sheard beat his regular sparring partner Doug McLay to ZTec pole. But he also beat a new entrant to the ZTec class, for in second spot was former FR1700 driver Dane Catanzaro. It's tautology to say a car is run by a Catanzaro and then say it's immaculate, so I won't. I'll just say it's a Mygale SJ00, and I'll quote Steve Griffin: "the mirror finish makes Formula 1 McLarens look a bit shabby."
1600 saw Adrian Heath on pole, separated from "Mr 1600" David Parkinson by welcome returnee Prajesh Shah. Prajesh was competing for the first time in his newly acquired Mygale SJ01 1600, and sadly got Quarry a bit wrong. The previously sleek car looked distinctly combat weary, and poor Prajesh was mortified. He brought out the red flags 3 minutes nefore the session ended.
Finally, sit down, and get the smelling salts ready. Joe Venor's had his ex-Mark Blundell Lola repainted, and very nice it looks too.
Adrian Wright took the lead, and as Geoff Fern's tyres took a while to come in, it looked as though Adrian was going to have an easy run to 15 points. But then Geoff's tyres came into "the window" (I'm slowly getting this F1 Pirelli talk). Geoff came through on lap 6 only 0.3seconds behind Adrian, helped, it must be said, by traffic. On lap 9 he was ready to have a go and got ahead at Quarry, but a bit like those demon F1 manoevres when they get ahead but can't make the next corner he had a problem at the chicane, and touched the tyre wall as they went in side-by-side. A racing incident, and Geoff was out with a deranged front right, Adrian went on to an "easy" win (There is no such thing - ed). With no spare, Geoff was out for race 2 as well.
Jason Timms was a couple of seconds slower than Adrian Wright, so sensibly strolled through to second place. Jason was initially chased by Nigel Davers, but Craig Hurran came past Nigel on lap 3 to take his first Mono podium. I predict it's the first of many. Len Turner came in fifth in class having circulated fractions of a second ahead of frequent sparring partner Michael Dale. Len told me that he haadn't been to Combe for 10 years and it seemed like a new circuit, though the bumps seemed familiar. Interestingly, Len hasn't had a DNF in the last 3 years, which is a hugely impressive record.
In the 1800 battle, John Whitbourn had the edge over Paul Britten to finish 4.7 seconds ahead; it was a little closer during the race, but it never looked as though John would be bettered. The previously mentioned Michael Dale filled the third step, looking (him and the car) like he'd never been away. Fourth 1800 was Club Secretary Jonathan Baggott who had an excellent wheel-to- wheel race with ZTec third place man Dane Catanzaro. Class doesn't really matter when you aren't fighting for a champiosnhip, and just want to have fun and these two looked like they were having a great fight. The same comments apply to Peter Bassill who came in 5th in 1800, but had a good duel with Eddie Guest, the Lola looking as good as ever. Peter had some sort of problem at the end of the race but I forgot to ask him what it was.
Marcus Sheard and Doug McLay were pretty close mid race, but unfortunately traffic, both faster and slower, broke up the fight, which went to Marcus, Dane having slipped away at the start and never made up the time.
Finally, in the 1600 class Adrian Heath was never threatened for first, nor David Parkinson for second, although he had the odd inter-class battle along the way. Eddie Guest, having had the duel with Peter Bassill, got third place, whilst Joe was the only class entry without a cup.
Probably not a classic race, but it looked good fun for the competitors, and it was a great pity that the entry was "only" 20 cars. Some grids would sell their granny for 20 entries - including one present at Combe with 10 entries where I'm told a seat in a car which does Mono 1800 lap times costs a minimum of £67k. But we're used to a few more and it was a shame to miss some regulars.
Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsoever. 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.
Michael Dale : business as usual.
Eddie Guest's Lola: always smart
Dane Catanzaro and Jonathan Baggot duelling
Adrian Wright and Geoff Fern pass Adrian Heath in close formation
Jason Timms passes Dane & JB
Eddie and Peter were close