Donington, 21 September. Tiedeman Trophy, Round 1
Gloucestershire Drivers Triumph
I think the last time I watched Mono as a spectator at Donington as opposed to competing and watching the other race was in about 1982. Things were so different then, David Cox, Peter Venn, David Dudley, Francis Phillips and Jim Blockley were all competing, whereas today.....they were all competing, except for Duds, who was overseeing Peter. This meeting was a bit of a time machine, combined with some Mono newcomers testing the water, and of course a core of regulars. The race was for the Tiedeman Trophy and it could not have been more appropriate that it was run by the 750MC, with whom Mono started, and where Frank Tiedeman raced into the 2000's.
Despite the weatherman assuring us a bright sunny day, it was drizzle that greeted those who puzzlingly drove through BSH Xtreme: The Custom Bike Show on the Donington car park and in the exhibition centre. Fat blokes with long beards and women with funny coloured hair did nothing to dispel stereotypes.
The track looked exceptionally greasy - damp and Easyjet unburnt fuel from the airport are an uneasy combination. First victim was Lee McCrumlish who didn't even manage a lap before spinning at Redgate, to return to the paddock on a recovery crane. A helpful CoC allowed him to qualify out of session. A few laps later, Pedro Ferreira, in the familiar Swansea car spun at Hollywood, but was able to continue. Even more spectacularly, Chris Dittmann in Tony Bishop's F302, did a perfect 360 and continued without pause.
Further around the circuit, at Coppice, David Cox, making his 2013 racing debut, spun on lap 4, and as he was rolling back, poor Peter Venn had nowhere to go. The RT3 escaped with only superficial damage but the Anson's front right was pushed right back, resulting in wing, wishbones, rack end and bodywork damage. It was especially unfortunate as until now it has suffered no damage while in Peter's custody. Thre team worked calmly and methodically, and taking advantage of their spares which had been specially built to be symmetrical, they produced a virtually immaculate car ready fior the race.
Jim Blockley qualified well despite a slow puncture which meant the car had an increasing tendency to oversteer until late in the session it effectively became a 3 wheeler.Simon Lonnergan suffered a repeat of his earlier electrical woes with a suspected ECU issue.
The treacherous conditions weren't disliked by all. Dan Levy said he wished it could continue as it suited him; it was fun driving with sensitivity, knowing that too much input could ruin everything, but sensitivity would be rewarded. Peter Bassill complained that he would have been much closer to the 1800 record if it wasn't for everybody spinning in front of him. One of these 2 was serious, the other wasn't.
According to the time sheets, Lou Watts did a lap at 4,400MPH, which
makes us wonder what Richard Noble is messing around at. Then James Rimmer
got told off for having 2 transponders. Obviously, this gives an advantage
if you mount one on the rear wing and spin across the line.
Jason Timms had a very good start, moving up to third off the line, and passing Shane Kelly for second by Redgate. Jim Blockley also managed to move up a couple of places to fifth. Daniel Hands kept third, the big loser, almost certainly due to power, was Shane Kelly in the rare Van Diemen FR. By the end of lap 2, Jim hand displaced Daniel for third, but the shock was that, having come through on lap 1 side-by-side, Jason had nipped past Chris for the lead. He had a second lead by the next lap which he held on to until lap 6 when the gap came down as Jason negotiated back markers. Chris re-took the lead, Jason unable to live with the legendary Dallara downforce, and thereafter took control of the race, doing a bit of a Vettel by slowing down and then putting on a spurt at the end. He came away with a new lap record. (Note to Tristan: time to return to the One True Race Series and recover your records...).
Once the order at the front of Chris/Jason/Jim had been established, it stayed there to the end, Jim capturing the Classic lap record on the way from Peter Venn. A Gloucestershire 123. Peter, in turn, had a reasonable start, along with fellow Classic man Francis Phillips, both gaining a place by the end of lap 1 at the expense of Dan Levy. Peter passed Ollie Sirrell on the second lap, Daniel Hands and Shane Kelly on the next, and spent the next few laps dicing with Geoff Fern, eventually gaining the advantage when Geoff came off at the chicane on lap 10. He was 2nd Classic, 4th overall. Next Classic was Daniel Hands. My guess is that the conditions favoured his car and driving for qualifying and the rain dance didn't work for the race. For much of the race, he shadowed Bryn Tootell in the ex-Tony Bishop 398, until gaining the lead on lap 11, shortly before Bryn pulled off at Hollywood with a suspected wobbly left rear. Thereafter he and Geoff Fern, recovering from his chicane exploit, ran together to finish overall 5th and 6th, Daniel 3rd Classic and Geoff second Moto.
Francis Phillips, Shane Kelly, Ollie Sirrell and Simon Emmerson spent most of the race grouped together, a very well match foursome. Francis nipped in front of Shane on lap 8, and Simon made his race more interesting by racing with Jedi mounted Craig Hurran (3rd Moto) and Dan Levy, between whom he finished. Dan later told me that he dropped back in the race as understeer set in.
First of the lapped runners was James Rimmer, with David Cox and Lou Watts just behind. Pedro Ferreira had been with them until a grassy moment at Hollywood delayed him. Lee McCrumlish made up no less than 10 places to finish 16th overall, but second 2 litre after Bryn dropped out. Like others in F4 trim, Adrian Charles suffered from power shortage, finishing 17th overall. Jonathan Reed and Len Turner completed the Moto class, while Eddie Guest took the top step in 1600, finishing on the road just ahead of 1800 winner Matt Hayes who had a problem towards the end of the race. And it goes without saying that Peter “Niki” Bassill and Joe “James” Venor had a great race, unusually finishing not-side-by-side.
With 3 different classes in the first 3, great looking cars, good racing and only 2 non-finishers, neither of which appeared to be major dramas, Mono put on a great show. Our founder Frank Tiedeman would, we hope, have been proud to see today's race. We were delighted at the prizegiving to welcome Frank's widow Sue Tiedeman and her son Joe along with Frank's mechanic Andrew. Sue gave the prizes out, and we hope to see her, as well as all of the competitors, again at Silverstone.
Apologies for the picture quality - Donington is great for watching but thanks to the safety fences awful for photgraphs.
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.