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Donington Testing 20 March 2014

Nearly 40 drivers took part in Monoposto's test day at Donington, with four well spaced track sessions on offer to help get the car sorted out for the 2014 season. Donington very kindly provided free garages which meant most people were sheltered from the rather cold wind, although the threatened rain did hold off until we'd finished for the day.

The entry list included a dozen Dallaras, which is a foretaste of the growth in the 2 litre classes that the Club is expecting this year, but there are also interesting new drivers and cars across the whole field. In Mono 2000 the established runners were represented by Malcolm Scott's familiar and very successful car. along with Kevin Mason and Mark Smith in their confusingly similar versions. David Gambling's smart F302 was in trouble from the get-go with a misfire, while Bryn Tootell was really getting to grips with his ex-Tony Bishop car. Kevan McLurg brought along his newer orange Dallara, having already given last season's front runner an outing at the MSVR Media Day, but seemed to be a bit less happy with the 301. Chris Woodhouse showed that he has finally got his Dallara to run well, as he also did at the MSVR Media day, and Peter Venn's similar car also looked to make good progress. Ben Cater appeared in his new and smoothly sinister-looking F301, and went very well; but a major head-turner was newcomer Jonathon Hughes in his ex Topmarx car who got through an engine running-in period and then worked down to lap-record times, on what was a pretty cold day. We are definitely looking at a tremendously competitive season in Mono 2000 this year, with several of the potential front runners yet to show their hand.

Team BMTR working hard, and delighted that boss Paul Smith's tyre article is the most read this month on Startline
New member Andrew Barron with FVL in a Lotus livery
Pit lane looking bustling
Chris Woodhouse and Jason Timms

Mono Classic 2000 also had numerous established car/driver combinations taking the pre-season air; notably Terry Clark/Reynard, Simon Lonnergan/Vauxhall and Richard Snuggs/Dallara, who all seemed to have productive sessions. However then it gets a bit more complex. Lou Watts appeared in his smart orange Van Diemen FX, but he has a new steed in the wings already, and Alistair Bell produced his reworked Reynard, which looked absolutely stunning in its new livery. There was a well known quick Malborough-livered Reynard spannered by Wally Lyles which was going well in Adrian Holey's capable hands, and it was great to see returnee Ian Hughes running in his Just Plain Sexy Van Diemen - welcome back Ian! But as in Mono 2000 it was a Mono newcomer who raised a lot of eyebrows with his pace,. This time it was transatlantic commuter Andrew Barron in a very quick Vauxhall Lotus, a combination that looks set to put the cat among the Mono Classic 2000 pigeons. But also like Mono 2000, quite a few potential Classic 2000 front runners have yet to break cover, so we shall see...

Adrian Holey has acquired the Russ Giles Reynard 903 and looked happy
Also Reynard mounted is 777 pilot Alistair Bell - last year's car in a stunning Escort Cosworth Royal Blue with silver.

Ben Cater has stayed with black livery but added gold trim for his new Dallara

Andrew Barron in the pitlane.
Peter Venn's Dallara
Terry Clark, looking sinister in a black helmet with black visor (unless he's got it on backwards), stays loyal to the Reynard marque.
Mark Smith and son reach deep into their pockets for loose change
Ian Hughes is back. Just as plain sexy as ever, apparently.

Mono 1800 welcomed another returnee Malcolm Cook in his trusty Van Diemen RF82, along with the Crossle 33F of Tom White, who hadn't driven Donington before but seemed to quickly get to grips with the technically demanding circuit. F3 driver and TRS seat belt expert James Ledamun also brought out an FF2000 Crossle, and the evergreen Michael Dale had a good days running in his familiar orange RF82. Mono 1600 pace-men Luke Rosewell, Eddie Guest, Jim Timms and David Parkinson circulated steadily, with Luke getting an oil pressure problem sorted out, and Eddie finding that having both left hand side brakes binding does indeed make the car pull to the left. Jim Timms split his time with his very nice Ralt RT1which is rumoured to be going to make its Monaco debut in Classic F3 this year. Treasurer and StartLine editor Tony Cotton brought out his Vauxhall Junior for a very sprightly run, until a misfire intervened. The Mono 1600 class regulars were joined by a gaggle of Classic FF1600s who were sampling the Monoposto ambience in preparation for their first race at Donington on the following Sunday, including frequent visitor to Mono Alan Fincham in his smart Ken Thorogood-tended RF80.

Bryn Tootell's Dallara
Ian again
Ollie Sirrell advises Malcolm Scott
Jeremy Timms looks very pleased with his new car

Current Mono Moto Champion Jason Timms shook down his very quick and effective Speads, but the big news was that cousin Jeremy has acquired Stephen Books' similar car, with a view to launching a joint onslaught on the class. Jeremy slightly frayed a front wing as he came to grips with the car, commenting on the stunning mid-range grunt these very light cars have: "they are lightning-quick". Jedis were also in evidence with front runner Dan Clowes carefully bedding in a new Suzuki and Tony Gauntlet putting in some quick laps in his Jedi. Geoffrey Cowell fought through the traffic on the M6 to come down from up t'North to check out the HiTech. But like the 2 litre classes, there are a lot of big beasts in Mono Moto still lurking out there, and this class is also heading for a seriously major competition this year.

"Help, I'm stuck in here with Michael Dale"
Dan Clowes
Richard Snuggs's Dallara.
Top Marx returned with a Dallara for Jonathon Hughes

Apart from a couple of the inevitable red flags to recover errant or expired cars the day was largely incident-free, and thankfully dry. The most curious incident occurred when a Renault Clio somehow escaped from the pit lane and managed a couple of laps before the track marshals captured it - but not before several Mono drivers had near heart-attacks when they came upon it at a horrendously high closing speed. However most people got useful work done with their cars, and is was great to get together in anticipation of a season which promises to be a stunner.

Bring it on guys...

Simon Davey (excepting a few captions)

Jonathon is strapped in.
Lou Watts stays with the trusty (and racewinning) ex-Barry Smith Fireland
A slight change of livery for Kevin Mason's Dallara, but otherwise same recipe as last year
Thinks - will we see a Sirrell in a Dallara this year?

Footnote: Difficult though it was to drag oneself away from Mono matters, asst ed was literally lost for words when talking in the pitlane and had his conversation interupted by the incredible sound of an early 80's Renault 1.5 turbo F1 car. Also present were a couple (sic) of Beatrice Lola 1.5Harts. Both made the Ensign DFV seem almost mundane. Somebody asked what the reaction was of the MGB driver in the same session, looking in his mirror and seeing the Renault Turbo approaching.

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.