St Cross Electronics
Monoposto Championship Round 13 Snetterton 7 September 2013
I confess to not liking the infield of the long Snetterton "300" track any more than I like the "New Bus Stop" at Spa, for the same reason. They feel awkward and un-natural when I've driven them. But the same thing applies to both - (1) they are capable of producing interesting racing (2) it doesn't matter what I think because I don't race. (1) meant we had a very interesting race on Saturday.
With Kevan McLurg 9 points ahead of Robie Watts in the championship, Robbie needed to pull something out of the bag. Pole by 3/4 second was a good start. Kevan was 4 seconds behind, with Malcolm Scott being the 0.75 second neighbour. Russ Giles was 2 seconds behind and Tony Bishop, out again in "Old Faithful", the world's best value 398, despite what the timekeepers thought (304), a further second behind Russ.Completing the 2000 grid were Nathan Corridon, with an ex-Magic Motorsport Reynard 883 and Lee McCrumlish in an F395. In case you're wondering why an 883 is not a Classic, it's got injection. Lee's car looked from a distance to be in F3 spec, but I didn't get a chance to ask. Email confirmation/denial is always welcome! Tony Bishop came in on the flatbed, having completed only 4 laps with a hub failure - he asked that I mention the work Dan did in fixing it.
Daryl Jones showed that the age of the FVL is far from over as he took Classic pole, half a second ahead of the always rapid Ben Cater, and only 3/4 second behind his genial mentor, Kevan. In fact, the FVL is having a bit of a renaissance as Kevin Otway took third on the Classic grid and Mike Hatton 5th, just behind Damon Bland's pretty Van Diemen 01.
With Ben Cater looking fairly safe for the Classic championship, his closest rival was Alistair Bell who was languishing in 9th in class. Daryl Jones started the day 18 points behind him, so Alistair's spreadhseets must have come out at lunchtime to work out just what was needed to be safe for second in the championship. If he was capable of working the mathematical possibilities out, I reckon he could easily fly his 777 with a compass, stopwatch and calculator.
The front of the grid had a clean getaway, Robbie Watts and Malcolm Scott keeping formation. Kevan McLurg made up a bit on Tony Bishop off the start, and I think he also got Russ. He was trying to dive inside Malcolm at Montreal when the back got away and Ben Cater had nowhere to go. He clipped Kevan with his rear right, wishbones mangled, Ben was out. Kevin Otway also got involved, front wing and endplate chewed up but not beyond repair. He believes he hit the back of one of a gaggle of the Dallaras around him. More serious was that Russ had nowhere to go, and as he slowed he was rear ended by Tony Bishop. Both cars were driveable, but the damage to Russ's diffuser was severe, particularly sad after the Combe incident with the same part.From the spectatior bank we saw what looked like a secondary plane from a rear wing fly up. Peter Whitmore told me that there were also some red parts on the track, and so it is feasible that after the safety car came out it was decided to red flag the race to enable the cars to be inspected , though this is just speculation. Whatever the reason, with some slight shortening it restarted, and nobody could have been more relieved than Kevan McLurg whose punctured tyre had been swapped by two Good Samaritans (who he asked me to thank.)
And so the race re-started with only Ben Cater and Nick Catanzaro non-starting, Nick I believe for incident unrelated reasons. From the spectators'point of view, this was much better than watching a safety car drone round, though I admit that's a purely personal opinion. Again, all got away cleanly. This time Daryl Jones got his gears properly so came through where he should be rather than slipping down the field as on start one. Kevan McLurg moved up to 3rd, behind Robbie and Malcolm by the time the pack hit the infield, but Robbie Watts was well away. Russ Giles challenged Kevan at Agostini, but in turn he lost out to Daryl Jones. At the very front, Robbie proceeded unthreatened, in control of the race, gaining a second a lap on Malcolm who in turn was no less than 4 seconds a lap faster than the championship leader. Russ got back his place by passing Daryl into Riches on lap 2. "That's an excellent demonstration of the finely honed aero of the Dallara" I said smugly as Russ approached the corner at undiminished speed and simply drove round. Daryl needed to slow as good through the FVL is, it isn't that good. Only later did I learn that the aero had been hobbled in the first lap incident, so a lot of the "excellent aero" was Russ's fine car control. I must stop being smug. Russ was soon on Kevan's tail, but being there is one thing, passing another. On the last lap, however, Russ was past, as indeed was Daryl. So the podium was Robbie, Malcolm and Russ. "I'm happy, but I'll be even happier if I can do the same tomorrow", said the Essex shopfitter. "Part 1 done, Part 2 to do....".
Behind Russ, with Daryl winning Classic, Kevin Otway also overcame aero issues to finish second in class. He had started the race battling with Tony Bishop who had had a disappointing start. Tony went ahead on lap 5, and was then fighting hard to pass the other indecently quick FVL of Daryl Jones. Tony believes Daryl missed a gear while they were nose to tail which caused him to lock up and suffer an off, dropping back on lap 6 of 7 behind Nathan Corridon. It went from bad to worse on the last lap when more off roading led to finishing dead last, though he remained upbeat. Nathan, of whom more later, started behind Kevin and finished just behind him, which sounds like an uneventful race. It wasn't, though, as he diced with Tim Tudor in the first few laps, thereafter reeling off rapid laps.
Tim Tudor, Damon Bland and Mat Jordan had a good race in midfield, Damon dropped a couple of places in the first lap but moved past Tim on lap 3, to finish as 3rd Classic.Tim managed to keep ahead of Mat to the finish, during which he had a hairy moment around the treacherous/testing Hamilton corner. A little behind Mat came Alistair Bell and Charles Adrian, in wildly differently conceived but, in practice, well matched cars, the carbon tubbed 883 and the spaceframe F4-style RF93. They were within a second for all of the race, Alistair staying just in the lead. This kept Alistair still in second in the championship - all to play for on Sunday.
Dave Gillett, Lee McCrumlish and Mark Schofield started out as another closely matched group. Lee slightly spoilt the fun with a bit of autocrossing on lap 3 coming out of Agostini. Mark, driving the ex-Gerrit Van Kouwen RT30 for one of the last times, got the advantage on lap 5, but then dropped out on the last lap, seemingly low on petrol but also concerned about power loss. Lee's spin allowed Peter Whitmore past, the developing 903 Toyota getting quicker all the time.
Terry Clark was the other non-finisher, out on lap 2 after being part of the midfield fight, with a deficiency of teeth in the final drive department.
I spoke to several drivers. Some of the comments are used above, but others are more about the cars or the club than the racing:
Charles Adrian:"I was 2.5 seconds faster in the race than in practice and went from 17rth to 12th, so I'm very happy. It was good fun. I've been racing for 30 years, and I'm helped immensly by William Bland, though he does have the disadvantage that his son Damon is faster than me in a similar style of car." Charles also commented on how friendly the club is.
Nathan Corridon: "It's been great. I wanted to get out at the start of the year at Donington. I bought the car from Ireland where it was racing in Libre with a tuned engine. I swapped to a standard XE but had some issues which meant I couldn't do Brands either. The car's on the injection system from the Libre engine which means it's ok for the 2000 class but not Classic. I tested last Friday, and it all seems to be ok now." This is only Nathan's second race.
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.
First start, Robbie & Malcolm are ahead of the incident.
Russ Giles looks ok. Sadly not so.
Tony Bishop with deranged front wing (below)
Right rear puncture and left front in the air for Kevan
Close midfield at the start.
Charles Adrian, RF93
Kevin Otway pursues Tony Bishop
Tim Tudor hides Damon Bland
"Can't quite read that gearbox serial number..."