The Parkinson Line.....at Snetterton 5/6 April 2014
Before I say anything about Snetterton, I do have a few observations about
the test day at Donnington Park.
I was talking to Robin Dawe and I’m sure he said that he’d procured another car for a return to Mono. I didn’t write it down though so now I can’t remember what was said. Some reporter.***
Though he has thought about it for a couple of seasons I was delighted to see Tony Cotton testing his trusty Formula Vauxhall. He used to enjoy his racing in the Vauxhall which is something he never really seemed to do in the Dallara. Unfortunately, the car developed a misfire* but on leaving the circuit Tony was confident that the problem could be resolved for Snetterton.
Another welcome returnee was Ian Hughes who has not been out for two or three seasons. He had a few problems with his 2 litre Van Diemen but that’s what testing is all about. I must confess we do have a bit of a joke with him about the number of breakdowns he has and his undisputed talent as a mechanic, (for a dentist).
As per normal I will leave race reporting to Simon as he’s much better at it than I am and concentrate on anything I heard or saw that is worth mentioning.
Tony Cotton was down on the first entry list but was removed from the second. Simon advised that he had engine problems and had withdrawn. ** Get it sorted for Donington Tony.
After the race on Saturday, my little pal, Michael Dale, was chatting to some spectators walking through the paddock. They had queried what the power unit in his car was and he was advising that it was a Pinto engine that at one time had been fitted into trucks. He stated that it was an old engine design but had plenty of torque. Old and plenty of talk. I thought you were speaking about the engine Michael, not the driver.
Alan Fincham who lives in Attlebrough, just down the road from Snetterton, was a welcome visitor on Sunday and races with us through the year on occasions.
Chris Levy is another driver whose very fast Pinto engined Formula Ford we often see at Snetterton.
The 1600 class had two new drivers for the weekend. Andrew Colebrook, driving in one of the Fern Vauxhalls, had two good drives though the wrong tyre choice on Sunday damaged his position. I believe he raced in the Tiedemen Trophy races last year but as I didn’t do them I never got to meet him before this last weekend. The other new driver in the 1600 class was Tom Hayward in a 92 Swift having his first ever car race. He finished both races but I feel that we’ll hear a lot more about this chap as in recent years he’s been racing motor cycles at a very high level.
If you heard a bang on Sunday morning and wondered what it was, I can tell you. Eddie Guest was having fuel problems so Simon was checking one of the carb. floats with my lighter when it blew up and separated into two halves. Eddie did get out for both qualifying and the race and has improved to such a degree over the last year that he’s getting to be a pigging nuisance. Flipping youngsters.
Speaking about new drivers the surprise of the weekend was Kevin Waring who had his first and second car races this last weekend. The surprise being that he won both of them to beat the likes of Jason Timms, the defending champion, Jeremy Timms who has won races in all classes and Geoff Fern who, if I remember correctly, was second in the championship last year. At the prize giving, when Simon advised that the winner of the moto class had never raced a car before and had won on his first outing I expected to see an eighteen year old whiz kid step forward with a dad immediately behind instead of which this little guy strolled out. I wouldn’t hazard a guess at his age but he was certainly not eighteen. I had a chat with him on Sunday and he is very experienced in Karting but nevertheless this was his first car race in the Jedi of Jonathan Reed and it certainly gives a message to the moto boys.
It seemed very strange to see a Dallara mentioned on the 1600/1800/moto grid but there was one being driven by Graham Read. I understand it is fitted with a Hyerbusa engine. That doesn’t look right so let’s just say it was fitted with a large motor cycle engine. 1400cc I believe.
I think that’s the first time I’ve ever mentioned Graham in any of my scribbles. It’s not because I don’t like the 2 litre guys or that I don’t know at least some of them but they’re in a different race so when we are walking and talking they’re getting ready to go out, or out, or coming in. I did watch both of the 2 litre races but Robbie Watts appeared to be on a Sunday drive once he’d built a lead over the first couple of laps. The other guys were certainly trying and several had spins trying to go faster.
Lenny Coleman dropped in for a walk round the paddock and a chat as he’s now retired from racing. I understand that one of his hobbies is model railways so we advised him to talk to Jock Sergison whose layout plus a sea shell collection prevent any car getting in to his double garage. Jock paid a flying visit on Saturday as he was in the Cambridge area for a function.
Myself and my little pal, Michael Dale, might not be as young as we once were and we don’t have any helpers at the venue but we do alright. On one side was Eddie Guest with wife Anne making us coffee whilst on the other side was Ian Hughes with partner Debs, assisted by her brother. So more coffee and a helping hand for pulling battery plugs when required. Twenty yards across was the Mono tea urn so we had no shortage of drinks.
Emma got the boiler on from Friday onwards and hot drinks were available all day, along with biscuits. Well done. On Sunday quite a lot of food appeared and Emma advised that someone, I can’t remember who, had had a function on the Saturday and had brought all leftovers, as it were, for the Mono guys to finish. I have to say I tried my best and estimate that I will not require food until at least Wednesday. What a very nice thing to do.
Tony Cotton Adds:
* After detailed analysis by a renowned expert it turned out that the misfire was caused by running out of petrol.
** Engine problems were sorted. Only then, when there wasn't time to fix it, did I notice that the fire extinguisher was flat.
Andrew Cliffe Adds:
***Robin Dawe has apparently bought Kevin Otway’s yellow FVL, but (as at Snetterton) hadn’t collected it.
Emma Cliffe Adds:
It was Kevin Otway's food donation and it was significantly substantial. It was his in-laws wedding anniversary and the food came from the party on Saturday. Thanks Kevin!
Pictures by Norwich Photo, Simon Davey and internet. Captions Tony Cotton, don't blame DP
Ian Hughes on test day. Grand Prix winner Tony Brookes was a dentist too. Though Ian tells better jokes.
Alan Fincham lives in Attleborough
Andrew Colebrooke, leading our scribe.
Eddie Guest testing his carburettor
Kevin Waring, interviewed after one of his wins. How many have a 100% record of wins?
Graham Read in his innovative Dallara, powered by a Higher Boozer engine. No, that looks wrong too. Car seems right though.
In the hope that more food appears at Donington, David has acquired a modest "wheeled doggie bag".