St Cross Electronics
Monoposto Championship Round 10 Castle Combe. 3 August 2013
Tyres were very much the thiung to think about before the race - Adrian Wright had a puncture, everybody was thinking about slicks or wets as they watched the skies, and in the 1800 class tyre cosies were being used - this was serious. The grid assembled, went out with the track still damp, a wet race having been declared, and a small storm broke out. There were 2 warm up laps, Jason Timms entered the pits aftert he first, it looked as if he was changing cunningly to wets and starting from the pitalane, but the plan went wrong (or did it?) and he reappeared on slicks at the tail end of the field.
From 6th on the grid John Whitbourn looked to be having a dream start. With Geoff Fern and Jason Timms missing, a gap opened in front of him and with probably the ideal car in the conditions - a big, torquey engine compared with the bike engined cars- it was no real surprise to see John take the lead - it would have to have been eithter John or Paul Britten, and in fact they came round in that order, John with a 3 second lead which he gradually built up until lapping started when ~Paul was on his tail. Then, lap 6, Paul spun at the first chicane and dropped to third behind Nigel Davers, who until then had been trying hard to disprove my theory that bike engined acrs are nowhere in the wet by running a challenging 4th, and then 3rd.This stayed the order until Nigel spun on lap 8, arriving after the race with a tow to the paddock.Paul made up some time, but the order was fnally John and then Paul.
Slap on the wets, disconnect the roll bar and slacken the dampers and you'll find difficulty in getting a better car in the wet than an 8V FVJ. Adrian Heath made use of this approach and from 9th on the grid ended the first lap in 3rd. After a battle with team mate Nigel Davers, Adrian got back to 4th when the rapid Nigel dropped out, to win the 1600 class.
The Ztec class stayed together half of the race, with Marcus Sheard starting ahead, overhauled by Doug McLay. Towards the end Doug's speed increased noticeably, Marcus less so, and at the end Doug had a comfortable lead.
Jonathan Baggott was the first finisher to be lapped, and he and Eddie Guest had spent much of the race within shouting distance - a couple of seconds or so. JB made a break for freedom mid race, and put in some impressive lap times, but a "whoops" on lap 7 brought them back together. As well as 6th overall, JB was 3rd in 1800. Dane Catanzaro was next up, 3rd in ZTec and had a little escapade late in the race which dropped him back without actually losing any places. Peter Bassill and Joe Venor were the next 1800 and 1600, whilst Mike Reed and Len Turner nursed the difficult Jedis back without a scratch.
And within that result lay an importnat "chess game" of a race concerning the pole man and the man who started last. Adrian Wright and Jason Timms were on slicks. As a result, Adrian was left well behind at the start and came round at the end of lap 1 20 seconds behind Eddie Guest, which I hope Eddie won't be offended if I say is unusual.Jason was just behind and after another lap had passed Adrian. Both were lapped after 4 laps, and their lap times were amongst the slowest. But - guess what - it didn't matter. These 2 have more intelligence in their driving than most F1 drivers, because they knew what was needed. Points. Jason wanted to beat Adrian to close the gap in the championship and Adrian needed to score to keep the championship in his hands. Both succeeded and the key thing wasn't winning, but not losing. As it happens, Jason got probably the slowest class win of his time in Motos, and Adrian got second.
Craig Hurran, Michael Dale and David Parkinson pulled off after the green flag laps, and nobody could blame them.
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Tyre covers for John Whitbourn
Jason Timms comes into the pitlane - for new tyres or to ensure a safe start?
Getaway was mercifully safe
Lap 1 gap John Whitbourn to Paul Britten
Douglas McLay and Mike Reed