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St Cross Electronics Mono Championship
6 April, Round 2
Snetterton 300


Sunday Qualifying

Sunday was definitely another day, with the weather cooler and damper. When the Moto/Dtec/1800/1600 field came out to qualify it was certainly wet and slippery, and you really did need wets to be on it. Jeremy Timms has known form as a Rainmeister and took the pole away from his hard-trying cousin Jason on the very last lap of the session, but only by 49 hundredths of a second - on a 2.5 minute lap. Not at all close then. Graham Read clearly has found good balance and traction of the Dallara Hayabusa and took an excellent third, commenting that he only needs to trust the car more to get a similar pace in the dry. Geoff Fern worked his way diligently into the fourth grid slot, ahead of Kevin Waring who had gone out on slicks to find it wasn't the best choice. Douglas McLay was the best of the rest, demonstrating the potential of the Duratec ahead of Andrew Colebrooke, who once again showed that he has a very deft touch on a slippery track as he took the Mono 1600 class pole from a pretty eager following pack. It wasn't a good session if you had a Lola: Eddie Guest's car went off-song towards the end with what turned out to be a carburettor problem, and Jim Timms trusty version had a rotor arm fall apart right at the start.

It wasn't any grippier when the Mono 2000/Classic field came out to qualify a little later in the morning. In fact it started to drizzle after the first couple of laps of the session which meant you really had to be on wets to be near the front. Robbie Watts held the pole slot for most of the lappery, until again right at the end an established Rainmeister worked his magic and took the prized slot - and this time it was a delighted Terry Clark in the Mictel Hillpress Mono Classic Reynard. Robbie was still well placed in second because the next two slots were also occupied by the Mono Classic cars of Daniel Hands and Kevin Otway respectively. Kevin was driving his newly acquired ex-Robbie Watts Van Diemen, and despite zero seat time in the car was going gangbusters. Kevin had missed Saturday as he was attending a family celebration, but made amends for this strange behaviour by bringing along an excellent sample of the food from the family feast, which (although it wasn't cake) was gratefully consumed. Three of Saturday's quick men, Peter Venn, Malcolm Scott and Ben Cater gave themselves a bit of a mountain to climb by venturing out on slicks, but they all faired better than Tony Bishop whose Dallara ground to a halt on the opening lap when the injection fuel rail mysteriously came adrift. Fortunately the car did not catch fire, as others have done in similar circumstances.

Sunday Races

There was drama just before the Motos etc went down to the assembly area for their race when Eddie Guest's Lola refused to start with what turned out to be a flooded float. With time running out an unusual pyrotechnic approach eventually helped to fix the problem and Eddie was able to take a class podium with fastest class lap to boot. Meanwhile at the sharp end Jason stormed into the lead, followed by Jeremy and a fast-starting Kevin Waring, who by lap three had a lead that he held to the end. It was a really impressive debut race weekend for Kevin, and hopefully just the start of his car-racing career. On the same lap as Kevin took in the lead. Jason somehow managed to acquire a seriously bent front push rod. He had no idea how this had happened, but the car became basically undriveable and slipped right down the order, leaving Jeremy in a good second place in a car he was still not entirely comfortable with, and Geoff Fern in third. Chris Levy worked his FF2000 up to an excellent fourth overall and a class win, and David Parkinson took his second win of the weekend, holding off local man Alan Fincham's Van Diemen by less than a second.

The wets/slicks choices made in qualifying had really stirred up the Mono 2000/Classic grid order, but it was definitely dry and slicks for the race. Robbie Watts used his second place slot to blast clear of the gravity exerted by the mass of Mono Classics near him at the start, and had a massive 6 second lead at the end of the first lap. Peter Venn's Yale Dallara also achieved escape velocity and pulled clear but he wasn't in the same orbit as Robbie who steadily extended his lead to cruise to a convincing 20+ second win - all the more impressive since he had to fit a replacement engine after a mechanical failure in testing the previous week. Peter Venn looked like he had second sewn up, but a very determined Malcolm Scott closed him down from an initial 8 second deficit to take second place on the last lap. Behind these three established Mono 2000 runners Dave Gillett made amends for his Saturday indiscretion by taking an excellent fourth place in the ex Lippitt ex Rowan Dallara, and Tony Bishop stormed up through the field to fifth, winning a very deserved Driver of the Day award for his efforts. At the unhappy end of the order David Gambling continued to struggle with obscure electrical problems on his Dallara and Ben Cater disappeared from the charts on the first lap, for reasons unknown, which was a disappointing end to a weekend which started full of promise.

Meanwhile the Mono Classic competitors produced an extremely exciting race. Daniel Hands retired early on with unknown problems, and both Kevin Otway and Mike Hatton got past Terry Clark in the melee of the first two laps, as Adrian Holey also moved up to challenge. it was very close exciting stuff, which got even tighter when Russ Giles' Dallara got caught up in the lead Classic dice. Eventually, just when it looked like he had really got a grasp on victory, Kevin Otway dropped the car and had a quick spin on the exit of Murray's, letting Mike Hatton through to take a memorable win from Terry Clark and Adrian Holey. Kevin was rightly philosophical afterwards - realising he has his hands on a winning proposition now.

So the season got underway with some excellent racing, some expected and some new winners, and without any major on-track incidents. It's quite a dense start to the season with the second event at Donington following on in the same month. All the indications are that the Donington entry is going to be massive, with several additional front runners making their season debut.

The heat is definitely On.

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.

     

 

Kevin Waring won

Jason Timms. Jim Timms and Tom Hayward.

Terry Clark on pole

Kevin Otway's ex-Robbie Watts Van DiemenBen Cater pulls into the pits

Tony Bishop and his old car now with Bryn Tootell.