Silverstone, 12 October. Tiedeman Trophy, Round 2
The second round of the Tiedeman Trophy was even more popular than the first, with the same mix of regulars and welcome newcomers. A big talking point was the weather - it rained heavily overnight and rained a bit in the morning resulting in a damp track. The Met Office said an 87% chance of rain at 5.00pm (5minutes after race start) , though the well respected Northants FM said it would be dry - we held our breath.
The entry was as usual interesting. Graham Read returned with a Dallara F300 with a Hayabusa, the rear suspension cleverly mounted on a custom built frame in lieu of the gearbox. Also notable was that the gear change is air operated using a 12v compressor, which can run from the 'Busa's generator. Clever stuff. Another familiar face after some time away was Tim Cameron in the well known Jedi. Peter Venn was again running but rather than the trusty Anson was in a newly acquired ex-Richard Purcell Dallara F301, fitted with an Opel which he was bedding in for an ex-rally, ex-Nurburgring friend. Although seen at Snetterton in a FF, Adam Quartermaine was in Phil Wills's VanDiemen RF01 F4 (1800). The car is the one driven by Damon Bland; Adam got the final ok that he was driving when Phil rang him from the A11 while driving his 1960's vintage John Deeere tractor. "I like vintage tractors. I've no interest in these racing cars", said Phil from behind the immaculate car he has rebuilt from a pile of bits. Jeremy Timms was in Jim's FIreland, a cynic commenting that as the car has just been put up for sale he was acting as Mono's equivalent of those advertising blokes you see wearing boards saying "Massive Golf Sale".
Qualifying was dry with the track wet; I think just a brave Tim Cameron and the brave Timms were on slicks. First incredibly unlucky victim of the track was John Whitbourn on the first flying lap. With a car either side exiting Luffield he made a small adjustment and hit a puddle. What looked at first a harmless spin ended in the pit entry Armco with a bent steering arm, soon remedied but a start from the back. Daniel Hands had an issue going into Luffield, and careered off into the foam barriers, the gravel doing virtually nothing to slow the car. It was a heavy front corner impact and surprisingly the wishbone speared into the car; Daniel emerged with a limp after a worrying interval. I'm not supposed to comment, but I feel I need to, in that I was disappointed to see several drivers either fail to see or ignore the waved yellows. Almost as disappointing was that one of the drivers summoned to the CoC for transgression was one I had photographed in a sequence being overtaken by exactly the car he was accused of overtaking.
Back to the grid, it wasn't a surprise that Chris Dittman was on pole in Tony Bishop's F302/4. I hope Terry Clark won't be offended if I say his second was a surprise, the car looking completely planted, apparently so all round the circuit from what my on track correspondents tell me. Terry had a fuel pump failure at the end of the session. Third was Adam Quartermaine in the VD RF01, "the first time I've driven the car"' he said, "It's brilliant, with loads of grip." Malcolm Scott was fourth, and Jeremy Timms fifth. "As it was over 3 hours since it rained, I expected a dry line, but it wasn't really ready for slicks", he said. Jason, also on slicks, languished in an unaccustomed 14th, the slicks being even more unsuited to the lightweight Speads in the conditions, especially following a big moment on some oil on the back straight. Geoff Fern was the first Moto, ahead of Graham Read in class and Jim Blockley on the road, leaving Jim an unprecedented 4th qualifier in class. ("Jeremy beating me when he's on slicks is just not good enough"). In the 1600 class, polesitter was Andrew Colebrooke, new to Mono, I believe, in the TFR FVJ. Andrew seems to be young (really young, not just by Mono standards) but has obviously had considerable racing experience judging by the way he was driving.
Bryn Tootell showed how he'd been scuppered by a broken gearchange linkage bracket, which I explained couldn't be a Dallara bit as it had broken. In turn Bryn explained how his replacement would outlast the 398.
Incident packed? Check. Close racing? Check. Good to watch? Check. What a way to end the Mono season.
A combination of an early start and Northants FM being right meant the race was dry. The action started before the lights went on: Graham Read pulled off on the grid. Then as the lights went out, Terry Clark was slow away and slipped about 8 places.. He stayed cool and got away, and seemed to be making up places when progress stopped on lap 2 when he spun at Luffield. Whether Terry knew that there was a nice little fireworks display from the exhaust as he restarted, I don't know. Anyway, he got going again from dead last, and made up some places to finsih 15th overall, 6th Classic. More predicatbly, Chris Dittman got away cleanly, and had a smooth and apparently effortless run to win by 17 seconds. A bit Vettel like, really.
Second on track was a bit more of a fight. Geoff Fern had a great first lap and was second by Luffield, a position he held until lap 15. But even the taker of second place was a bit of a surprise. Jason Timms (now on the right tyres) rose quickly from 14th to challenge Geoff. As the race progressed they got closer and closer, but on lap 13 Malcolm Scott, who had been shadowing them, sneaked by Jason and a couple of laps later past Geoff. A lap later, Jason nipped past Geoff, who retained 4th place.
In the Classic class, Adam Quartermaine, 3rd on the grid, had a disappointing first lap, I'm afraid I didn't find out why, and slipped down to 9th. Possibly power had something to do with it, a loss of 200cc's a lot on Silverstone National. Third and fourth on the road at the emnd of lap 1 were the Stroud Nobility, Jeremy Timms and Jim Blockley. There was some reshuffling throughout the race as Jason Timms (more Stroud Nobility) and Malcolm elbowed (politely) through. The two Classics put on a superb show, Jim getting the advantage on lap 9, and building a lead which lasted to the end. Third in class (overall 10th) was Adam Quartermaine, who had a bit of action with Jonathan Reed and kept ahead of Shane Kelly, who was 4th Classic.
John Whitbourn repaired the Ray to take an 1800 win in a solo class, as did a delighted Joe Venor in 1600. Joe's tale was a bit complicated, though. There were 4 starters in his class and for 8 laps, Andrew Colebrook (TFR FVJ), Alan Fincham (Londis VD RF80) and Eddie Guest (Lola T640) circulated as one, at least 2 of them side-by-side for much of the lap. For several laps they came through the complex with barely an inch between them, Eddie would pull out to try to pass at Woodcote but the engine hadn't enough grunt and the status quo resumed. Then Eddie saw some oil smoke and so drove gently back to the pits to retire. Andrew and Alan continued but disaster struck at Maggotts where they touched. Andrew went high into the air, and out on the run off. He was taken to the medical unit, as always happens after a significant incident at the very professional Silverstone, but all was well. Alan drove to retirement in the pits. A sad end to a fantastic dice. (Or is it trice when there's 3? Andrew Cliffe or Lee Bennett will know.)
It was a great race to watch, with something happening throughout the field, and was a fitting tribute to Frank Tiedeman.
With class wins at both races from Chris Dittman, Jim Blockley and Jason Timms it was difficult to split them for the Tiedeman Trophy, which is awarded on the decision of the club and not points as it's a series. But it was felt that as Jim had to beat a bigger class entry than Chris or Jason, the trophy should go to him. After a slight scrutineering delay which caused some general bemusement more than anything else, we were again delighted that Sue Tiedeman ably assisted by Joe presented the cups and a big cheque to Jim.
Photos by TC, except * by Andrew Cliffe/Norwich Photo
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