The Parkinson Line.....at Donington 26/27 April 2014
There were several firsts at this second meeting of the season.
Tony Cotton actually turned up with his trusty Formula Vauxhall Junior, something he’s been threatening for several seasons, and competed in both races. At the end of the weekend the car went on the trailer with no damage and no work required. Several people reported to me that they had actually seen him smile which is quite an achievement for an accountant. We’re all pleased to see you back Tony. Keep smiling.
The other first was Jock Sergison’s new car. I use the word new advisedly as he’s been more than a year getting it ready and Saturday qualifying was the first time it’s turned a wheel in anger. Jock readily admits that the meeting was solely a test session and he had gear selection problems in the first two outings but I believe the car finished both races so well done Jock. It’s a slightly odd looking car, in some respects, finished as it is in bare aluminium, but it did get many comments. Geoff Fern stood looking at it for quite a long time on Friday night and I heard the word amazing several times as he shook his head slowly.
Another first was the one gained by Chris Woodhouse in the Saturday event which ran the moto mono cars with the super duper Dallara types for the first time. He started some rows back due to using slicks in the wet qualifying but was in third place going into Redgate and led shortly after until the end of the race. The other front runners in the class mixed in well with the 2 litre cars so possibly on average the two classes were on a par with one another. Unfortunately, Robbie Watts started the race from the very back, for reasons I am not aware, or it might have been an enthralling battle at the front.
Simon has issued a questionnaire on future grid mixes with the one that happened at the weekend being option 4, ("Be used frequently as the preferred arrangement for the Club's races") which I have voted for and believe that many will. Of course the priority remains in getting all the entrants a race so any class might find themselves with differing classes alongside. This non rigid approach is, I believe, why the Monoposto club has continued to thrive for over fifty years.
Another first was the win for Matt Walters in the 1600 race on Sunday. I’m very pleased for him but it was kind of strange as I passed him on the start and never saw him again and as I never saw Andrew Colebrooke either who I knew was in front, I assumed I finished second. Yes, the conditions were appalling and at one time I thought everyone had gone home and left me to it as I couldn’t see a car either in front or behind. So when I finished I went to see what had happened to Matt as he’s had an awful lot of problems with a misfiring engine, I was astonished when he said he’d won. He’d evidently passed me round the outside shortly after I’d passed him on the inside. I possibly saw him go past and assumed it was Paul Britten’s car which has the same colour scheme.
We had a new driver having his first ever race so we parked him near to us so that we could try to assist. He is Kevin Couling and his car is a very nice Renault Tatuus which he’s just rebuilt. He did everything right and made sure he finished both races to get time in the car.
My little friend, Michael Dale, was unfortunately caught up in someone else’s accident on Saturday which resulted in substantial damage to the front of the car which couldn’t be repaired for Sunday. He decided to stop for the weekend though to help me as he’s that type of guy. Though I’m not sure how much help he really is as prior to the car getting damaged he was changing the wheels and decided that he’d damaged the wheel as he’d tightened the centre wheel nut when the wheel wasn’t seated correctly. He had several goes at getting the wheel on correctly before he realised he was trying to put a rear on to the front. We all make mistakes. I made one with Debs, Ian Hughes lady friend. She kindly made us a hot drink and when I took the cup back, swap mug for cup, she asked if it was alright. Ever honest I advised that it was ok but was a bit weak and next time needed perhaps a little bit more coffee. “It was tea”, she replied. Oh well.
Malcolm Cook and Luke Rosewell had a coming together in the Sunday qualifying and both attained sufficient damage to keep them out of the race.
Jim Timms was absent as he was in Italy racing his Brabham in the European Championship which I believe he won last year. He was accompanied by his long term friend and mechanic, Alan, and also by members of the Catanzaro family. One of his outings in the series a bit later on is to Monaco and of course everyone and his brother want to go and help. I understand that all helpers have been asked to submit a CV so that he can get the best qualified personnel for the meeting. A little bird told me however that he was more interested in frock size than experiences as a mechanic.
Finally thanks to Simon Davey for yet another well organised meeting. I’m not sure how we ever managed without him.
Pictures by Tim Wood/Norwich Photo (track), Simon Davey (paddock).
Especially for David & Deb - a handy cut-out-'n-keep spot-the-difference guide
Jock Sergison with his Highlander
The Highlander in action
Unfortunate practice incident of Luke Rosewell and Malcolm Cook. DP is our man on the spot.