Olde Davey’s Almanake 2013
Average Monoposto race entries were up about 4% compared to 2012, and with just shy of 50 cars coming along to each event, Monoposto was right at the front of the pack in terms of UK motorsport success and growth in 2013. There was more good news as well. MotorSport Vision Racing helped us again to put together an excellent Championship calendar, and there were thankfully few serious incidents; although the car-splitting accident which befell Kevin Mason - happily without injury - at Spa he frightened the life out of his friends as they negotiated some of the bigger remaining pieces of the Dallara...
There was one sadness off-track, which was the death of Club Founder and President Emeritus Frank Tiedeman. This prompted the Club to arrange two non-Championship Tiedeman Trophy races in Frank's memory, the initial one of these being very appropriately run in co-operation with 750MC.
As well as delivering an excellent season on its own account, 2013 laid some foundations for an exciting future. The Club had a very welcome influx of quick new drivers, especially in Mono 2000 and Mono Classic 2000. They quickly found their feet (wheels?) in Mono racing, with several now gearing up for a major assault on Mono 2000 in 2014. What's more the success of the Tiedeman Trophy series has enabled the Club to apply for a second Championship Permit, which will see two Monoposto Championships in 2014. The major 14 round/7 meeting title chase will again be sponsored by St Cross Electronics, with a short, low cost 4 round/2 meeting Tiedeman Trophy Mono Championship in the autumn.
But Olde Davey must now turn his misty eyes away from the beckoning
future, and cast his blood-shot visage upon the jousting that was the
2013 Monoposto Racing Season.
For the first couple of St Cross Electronics Mono Championship meetings it looked like the Mono 2000 title was going the way of Adrian Holey in his Topmarx Racing Dallara. But after a dominant start his challenge faltered and a disastrous engine failure at Oulton put an end to what could have been an excellent season. Meanwhile Robbie Watts elected to concentrate on the clashing F3 Cup event at the Donington season opener, so started his title challenge with an immediate two-round points handicap. However an excellent run of results of 6 wins from the next 8 races saw him establish a front-running position, and even some engine problems in the second half of the season did not prevent the very attractive (and different) RawPower Lola achieving a well-deserved Mono 2000 Championship title. However the demise of Adrian Holey did not leave Robbie without a challengers. The irrepressible Kevan McLurg also gave himself an early points handicap after opting out of Race 2 at Donington, but took his first win after a strong race on his "home" circuit at Brands Indy. He went on to collect three more wins before losing out in the last-round title shoot-out when a combination of an over-ambitious overtaking move, and a catastrophic engine failure scuppered his chances of taking the title. Second place was no mean feat however in such competitive company. Third place went to 2012 Champion Malcolm Scott, who was spannering the car himself this year and on something of learning curve. Nevertheless he had the Dallara on the pace and was finally rewarded with a win in the very last race, after a season in which he finished all but one race and was on the podium more times than he was off it. Spice was added to an already frantic season for him with a win in one of the non-Championship Spa races.
The pace of the Mono 2000 season can be judged by the presence of two established drivers in fourth and fifth places, albeit each having a different approach to their racing. Russ Giles self-ran his beautifully prepared Magic Motorsport Dallara but needed to minimise his exposure to potentially risky (and costly...) on-track situations, and this imperative undoubtedly cost him positions and points on his way to a good fourth in the title race. Behind him the hard-trying Tony Bishop ran in his Chris Dittmann Racing prepared Dallara F302, but was maybe distracted by his parallel campaign in the F3 Cup. Although he certainly had front-running pace on numerous occasions it never quite joined up to deliver what would have been a deserved race win. Mark Smith did very well to get his Dallara to sixth in the title race - the car being properly reliable at last, and probably run on the lowest budget in Mono 2000. Just behind him in the points was meteoric newcomer David Gambling who produced an immaculately prepared ex-Magic Dallara. Once he got to grips with the car he demonstrated that he has real bite as a racer, culminating in a superb second place in class on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. He is now well above the foothills of the learning curve and will be interesting to watch in 2014. The season saw cameo appearances by several well known faces, including Richard Purcell, Steve Patania, Tony Cotton, Ray Rowan and Amnon Needham. Kevin Mason would have run more often but he had a frightening accident in qualifying at Spa, and it was amazing to see the car back in one piece (literally!) for the Silverstone GP event. Neil Corridon, Lee McCrumlish and Richard Evans all ventured out at the end of the year, hopefully in preparation for a fuller campaign in 2014.
Various non-Championship races had a win at Spa for Neil Harrison in the same Dallara that Russ Giles ran in the title chase - this being a welcome fillip for Neil after a character-building F3 Cup season. Chris Dittmann took over Tony Bishop's ex-Moore Dallara to deliver a couple of dominant wins in the Tiedeman Trophy races, with lap records to boot. It's a pity that Chris is so busy running F3 and F4 cars during the main season...
Mono Classic 2000 was once again the most strongly supported class in
the Championship with no less than 34 points scorers, so even Olde Davey
can't remember everything that happened in a very busy season. That being
said it was clear from early on that ex-F4 racer Ben Cater was going to
be the man to beat in his business-like black Van Diemen, and after a
sticky start at Donington his 5 wins from the next 6 starts were enough
to put him in a dominant position by mid-season. This was just as well
because his return for the last round at Snetterton fell over when he
was the principal and innocent victim of Kevan McLurg's aforementioned
overtaking faux-pass. Ben is planning to run in 2014 Mono 2000, which
could put a seriously quick cat among the pigeons. Monoposto newcomer,
and new racer, Daryl Jones was next up in his Vauxhall Opel - a car which
is still a great workhorse for Monoposto racing. Daryl was also clearly
going to be fast from the get go, but ran in into the sort of problems
often encountered as a quick driver ascends the learning curve - in this
case a gigantic Paddock-Hill bend accident which just about wrote the
car off. This didn't prevent him getting to the next round on the Brands
GP circuit, and taking a second place, but he did then have to miss the
next four races. However on his return a strong run on the Silverstone
GP circuit and two brilliant wins at Snetterton secured second place in
the Mono Classic Championship table; and perhaps more importantly, meant
Daryl is also the very deserving winner of the Mono SUNBAC Nova Award,
which is two free entries (ie four free races) in 2014. Equal on points
with Daryl was another new(ish) Monoposto member, Alistair Bell, who increasingly
got to grips with the ex-Bennett Reynard F3 car as the season progressed,
with the highlight being a good class win at Castle Combe. Alistair built
up a solid base of experience on his way to third in the Mono Classic
2000 title and should go even better next season.
Having left out many who certainly deserve reportage, mention must go to Lenny Coleman, who retired from racing mid season, and to Terry Clark who so often saw car problems rob him of a good result. Most especially mention must go to Monoposto stalwart Nick Catanzaro who finished a dazzling third at Oulton: dazzling because it was his best ever result in the Vauxhall Lotus, but most importantly because the whole back of the car was enveloped in a fireball as it crossed the finish line!
Numbers-wise Mono 1800 was much reduced in 2013, due to the separation of Zetec powered cars into their own class. Paul Britten, who races on the tightest of budgets, gained the title which eluded him last year, in his smart Van Diemen. He overcame a fright at Donington when the car was inadvertently filled up with diesel fuel (!) to take a brace of wins there, plus a couple more at Silverstone GP; with John Whitbourn, Ewen Sergison and Mark Jackson also taking wins during the year. Ewen only came out for Oulton but certainly proved he is very much on the pace by taking a new lap record on his way to a brace of wins. John Whitbourn in fact was the most consistent front-runner in the class with 5 wins and 2 seconds from 7 starts, but he couldn't do enough rounds to make it stick, and at the end of the season he suffered a nasty (non-racing related) injury which has put him on crutches over the winter. Mark Jackson brought along his immaculate Reynard to the last Snetterton round and convincingly won the class in both races despite a last minute engine change before qualifying, expedited by the super-calm expertise of Wally Lisles. A worthy-winner mention also must go to Jonathan Baggott who got his best ever result on the challenging Brands GP circuit early in the year in his trusty green Van Diemen. Despite all this frenetic activity, second place in the class title standings went to Peter Bassill in his HRT Swift with a remarkably consistent season in which he finished all 12 of the races he started, including a second place and three other podium results. In the process everyone, not least the drivers, were entertained by repeated dices involving Peter and Joe Venor in his Lola for which they have been justifiably awarded a "Spirit of Monoposto" trophy. Finally, we were all very pleased to see Michael Dale once again take to the track in his Avit-rebuilt Van Diemen after his nasty 2012 Brands GP accident, and he also showed that he has not been discouraged with podium places at all three of his outings.
Mono Ztec was introduced as a class for Formula Ford Zetec cars, one of the first time Monoposto has included a "spec" class. Although it did attract 7 runners during the year these were existing Monoposto members, with no new blood at all, which was a bit disappointing. Previous SUNBAC winner Marcus Sheard took the honours in a Mygale which had been very well rebuilt over the winter, with 3 wins and 5 podiums from 11 finishes, with long-time Monoposto member Douglas McLay taking a win and no less than 9 other podium places on his way to second. Matt Hayes had four Championship class wins in his Jamun, but his very talented son Ryan could only manage one top step, at Silverstone, because his Jamun was plagued on almost every outing by mysterious electrical gremlins. Ryan did have the consolation of another win and a new lap record at Spa though. Elsewhere Brands specialist Julian Hoskins duly took the honours at both Indy races, and Dane Catanzaro took two lonely but nevertheless deserved class wins at the last Snetterton Championship event.
The 2013 competition in Monoposto's Premier Championship Class - Mono 1600 - was always likely to centre around David Parkinson in his familiar FF1600-based Reynard, but this year his main adversary came not from Team Fern's Nigel Davers (who was away with the Motos in 2013), but from Adrian Heath, albeit also Team Fern mounted initially in a Vauxhall Junior. Adrian had ended his 2012 campaign with nasty shunt at Cadwell, so he did well to hit the ground running (as opposed to another Marshal's Post) in 2013. Also expected were contributions from last year's SUNBAC winner Luke Rosewell in his spec FF1600, whenever finances allowed. In the actual events, for the first part of the season Luke held the upper hand, with four wins in the first eight events, compared to two for "Parkie" and and one for "Adie" (Parkie & Adie? Good grief). However in the second half of the year the balance of power shifted. Luke's Monoposto appearances became less regular, and Team Fern Racing equipped Adie with the team's favourite Van Diemen RF89, with which he proceeded to take five wins on the trot, and a very deserved class Championship title in only his second season, from a still determined Parkie.
Eddie Guest took his first Championship podium result with an excellent third, after a very consistent season during which he also showed some real speed, most notably on his first visit to the daunting Spa circuit. He also took a class win at the inaugural Tiedeman Trophy event. Prajesh Shah made a return to Monoposto in a spec FF1600 and went well at his initial outing at Oulton, but then had a nasty shunt at Combe which disrupted proceedings somewhat. Jim Timms took in a couple of Mono 1600 rounds to keep his hand in between very successful outings in a Historic F3 screamer and Adam Quatermaine enjoyed a final class win while sampling the category - hopefully to return in a 2 litre car in 2014.
2014 saw steadily increasing support for the bike engined Monoposto class, MonoMoto, with a total of 20 drivers scoring points. Perhaps most interesting in overall terms was the wide mix of cars that proved to be competitive in the class, with the benchmarque Jedis only scoring one Championship class win during the year - Dan Clowes at Oulton - although Dan also dominated Spa outright. Adrian Wright started the season as favourite after his shattering performances in 2012 and he did indeed take 5 wins from his first 9 starts. He was however faced with very determined competition from the Speads/JKSs (whatever!) of Jason Timms and Geoff Fern and when reliability gremlins hit the GEM he was passed on points by both the black cars. In many ways this was a real shame, it was great to see a self designed and built car leading (and screaming round...) the entire 54 car field on the Silverstone GP circuit; but to finish first, first you must finish...So Jason deservedly took the title with 5 wins and a second from his last six races with Geoff grimly hanging on to gain second in the title chase, despite a disastrous outing at his "home" Castle Combe circuit. The evergreen Len Turner (actually the immaculate car was painted a tasteful lime green this year) had a quiet but successful year to take fourth in the standings ahead of Mike Reed who had just enough reliability problems to make him break stride at critical moments.
One of the unusual features of MotoMono is the number of very quick competitors who - for a range of reasons - don't manage a complete season. The first race saw a very welcome return by Chris Woodhouse who blitzed the field and set a new lap record, and then didn't appear again. Championship sponsor Dax Ward only managed 3 outings, albeit with at least one podium finish every time, and his O'FARC team-mate Marc Fortune was a similarly infrequent attendee. Mike & Chris Scott, Dan Levy, and John Rawlings were even more rare sights, although Nigel Davers did manage four (usually spectacular) outings and seemed to hugely enjoy the whole Jedi experience. Olde Davey has been heard to bewail that if only more Moto competitors could race more regularly we would be close to our objective of a separate grid for the bile engined cars...
And what of 2014, mutters our aged sage? Well - with a 14 race St Cross Electronics Mono Championship visiting all the major UK circuits, plus a 4 race ultra low-cost Tiedeman Trophy Mono Championship in the autumn, and with the bonus of another visit to the Spa Summer Classic it's got to be looking good. The season starts with exclusive Monoposto test sessions at Donington on 20 March, and then excitement really starts to build...so be there or be square*
*Olde Davey understands this to be a modern phrase encouraging participation...
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.
Kevin Mason at Spa. He looked in the mirrors after the accident and thought "I think I've got the parts to be able to make the race...."
Nick Catanzaro was undoubtedly the most spectacular of Mono's drivers