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St Cross Electronics Mono Championship
5/6 April, Rounds 1 & 2
Snetterton 300


Saturday

With much anticipation more than 40 Monoposto drivers gathered at Snetterton for the start of the 2014 St Cross Electronics Mono Championship. The outstanding feature of the entry list was a superb Mono 2000 and Mono Classic 2000 field, with even more cars expected as the season gets into its stride. On the other side of the equation the Mono 1800 could definitely do with a boost, and the new Dtec class got off the ground with a singleton entry. We lost the father and son team of Mike and Chris Scott in Friday testing when their Speads fell victim to a recurrence of the mysterious electrical problem which blighted it last season. Marcus Sheard also had to go home with a major oil leak from a newly rebuilt Zetec on his Mygale, despite splitting the car in an effort to solve the problem. But again on the other side of the balance there were several new cars and drivers; some of which would play a central role in the weekend.

Saturday Races

Against expectations it was bright and nominally dry when the Moto/Dtec/1800/1600 grid took to the track for the first qualification session of the year. These days Snetterton doesn't dry out and warm up as quickly as it used to , and it was certainly still slippery out there on slicks. Nevertheless it was no great surprise that reigning Moto Champion Jason Timms took pole in his familiar and quick black Speads, but the sensation was that new driver Kevin Waring ran lnto the second grid slot in his Wingnut Racing Jedi less than half a second behind Jason, and ahead of both Geoff Fern and Jeremy Timms, who was still coming to grips with his ex-Stephen Brooks Speads It was already apparent that Kevin's expertise in Kart racing was going to be put to good use with the Jedi. Just behind this quartet was Graham Read's fascinating Dallara Hayabusa which was already coming up to the leading pace on only its second race event. We then had the Van Diemen FF2000 mounted duo of Chris Levy and Michael Dale, at this point quicker than Douglas McLay's ex Enigma Duratec Mygale. In Mono 1600 Andrew Colebrooke used his Team Fern Racing Van Diemen to lay down the gauntlet to regulars Dave Parkinson, Jim Timms and Eddie Guest by taking the Class pole from them, while newcomer Tom Hayward had to qualify out of session after his newly-finished Swift SC92 popped its throttle cable off the carb.

It was definitely dry and somewhat warmer when the massed ranks of 2 litre cars came out for their first bite of the cherry this year. Robbie Watts put a stamp of authority onto the meeting straight away by taking pole by almost a second in his familiar RawPower Lola F106, but the other news was that the following pack of Dallaras was headed by Ben Cater's new Shard Capital supported car, ahead of a quietly determined Malcolm Scott and Tony Bishop in a strikingly re-finished and CDR tended car. There was then a small time-gap back to another Dallara trio of Peter Venn, Dave Gillett and Russ Giles, with the first Mono Classic entry, Daniel Hands' Van Diemen interloping into this group, this car being one of several with a smart new finish. In fact overall the field looked very impressive, and caused quite a stir among watching Elise drivers and teams. Behind Russ Giles' Dallara came the second and third grid placemen in Mono Classic: Adrian Holey (in Russ's previous Reynard) and Mike Hatton in his ex-Topmarx Vauxhall Lotus. This grouping was to race closely with each other for much of the weekend. Inevitably with such a large entry there were several people with problems. Welcome Mono returnee Ian Hughes was still Just Plain Sexy, but was if anything too hot, and David Gambling's Dallara suffered mysterious engine mapping gremlins. The driver in real trouble was another very welcome Mono returnee, former Mono 2000 Champion Neil Harrison; whose ex F3 Cup car was refusing to complete more than about half a lap at a time.

Saturday Races

So out came the first Mono race of 2014, and Jason Timms starting from pole held off new man Kevin Waring for a lap or so, before the yellow jedi buzzed by, to take Kevin to a very impressive debut car race win by 12 seconds. Jason could not stay with him, and in fact began to fall back towards the clutches of third placed Geoff Fern in his regular Hayabusa powered JKS. Geoff had pulled away from Jeremy Timms but nearly threw away his place when he caught sight of Jason Timms ahead, and Geoff's enthusiasm to go for second ended with a quick spin at the tight lefthander at Russell (or whatever it's called these days). Chris Levy took the Mono 1800 honours, putting in a very quick 2.01 lap on what was probably a slow track, ahead of Douglas Mclay's Dtec, Len Turner's Jedi and Michael Dale's orange FF2000. Len had run in a newly rebuilt motor in qualifying and his subsequent rise up the race order earned him the inaugural Bath Road Garage Driver of the Day Award. The wily David Parkinson started an excellent weekend by holding off Andrew Colebrooke, with Tom Hayward starting from the back of the grid to take a podium place on his first ever race. Jim Timms and Eddie Guest's pair of Mono 1600 Lolas expired with electrical and fuel problems respectively, but everyone else made it to the finish.

Robbie Watts stormed away at the start of Saturday's Mono 2000/Classic encounter, but he couldn't get away from Ben Cater, who put in the only sub 1:52 lap of the weekend as he strove to get on terms. It came to a head mid race at Riches as Ben towed up the inside into the corner, but literally came unstuck when he came across the trail of fluid left by Lou Watts Van Diemen when its head gasket had suddenly let go on the previous lap. Riches is a very fast corner in a Dallara and Ben was lucky to escape the ensuing moment with car unscathed, although he lost several places and had to recover back to fourth, taking the place on the line from Tony Bishop - by all of 0.048 seconds. Finishing in second, Malcolm Scott also put together a strong recovery drive having lost out early on, passing Peter Venn in the process. Peter still took a strong third and is now clearly making good progress in getting the Yale Dallara right onto the pace. Russ Giles came in sixth behind Tony Bishop, and only half a second clear of Daniel Hands who showed his pace last year was no flash in the pan as he headed a very competitive Mono Classic field. with Mike Hatton and Adrian Holey next up. David Gambling and Neil Harrison both had repetitions of their practice problems and didn't finish, along with the head gasket-less Lou Watts, who had been going extremely well before the problem. Dave Gillett was the other none finisher, in this case a surfeit of enthusiasm resulting in a race-ending but otherwise harmless off; after a promisingly quick drive in his first Dallara- mounted race.

Simon Davey

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.

Ben Cater in his Dallara F301, probably the prettiest of all Dallara shapes.

Terry Clark had a reliable and competitive weekend. A sentence that is a joy to type.

Aerial view of Robbie Watts. The Startline helicopter again.

 

Close racing from Kevin Waring and Jason Timms

Chris Levy RF83

Tom Hayward Swift SC92

Doug McLays Duratec Mygale leads Michael Dale and David Parkinson

2litre assembly

Ben Cater's Dallara

Mike Hatton leads Adrian Holey

ALL PICTURES NORWICHPHOTO WITH THANKS