St Cross Electronics
Dry conditions represented a new challenge for most of the grid having paddled around a wet Rockingham on Saturday. I was a bit preoccupied during qualifying with trying to fix my own car, so only a few comments. Peter Venn's F301 only managed 3 laps and didn't make the race. Richard Snuggs' F387 did a full qualifying but didn't start, while it was good to see Neil Harrison back out and running reliably.
At the lights, there was a bit of reorganisation. Russ Giles made up a few places before Turn2 to move up to 9th, and Bryn Tootell in his similar 398 (but with Toyota power) kept in front of him for 8th. Richard Purcell edged out Malcolm Scott for 4th, and poor David Gambling had a dreadful start, dropping back to last but one. But it was at the front where the action was breathtaking. Robbie maintained his lead and came past Tarzan, where I was stationed, in the lead with Tony just behind. For lap after lap, Tony had the legs on the Essex Shopfitter around the banked section, usually getting ahead at the line, while Robbie had usually got it back in the initial winding parts by controlling the racing line. It was consisitently clean close racing, and I hope it was as enjoyable to do as it was to watch. At the finish, Robbie got the win, but it was good for the championship to see that Tony was so close to the top step.
Whilst not as gladiatorial, 3rd proved to be just as exciting in a more cerebral way. Neil Harrison initially looked to be holding station, waiting for Robbie, Tony, or ideally both, to make a small mistake and enable him to take a place. It wasn't to be as he fell back after 5 and withdrew after 7 laps, a gearbox oil problem caught just in time. Rather than Malcolm Scott inherit the place, he unfortunately dropped down to 6th, the dark horse of Dave Gillett moving up to take third, in what I believe is an F3 engined car.
Due to the "kerfuffle" on lap 6 which dropped Richard Purcell and Malcolm Scott down the order and into the willing grasp of Jim Blockley and Bryn Tootell, the battle for 4th to 7th proved interesting. Incidentally, I didn't see the "kerfuffle" so if somebody could enlighten me by email I'll amend the report. The middle of the race was highly entertaining as the 1983 vinatge RT3 of record seeking Jim Blockley got mixed up with the Dallaras. Rumours are that Jim is about to fit a Mercedes engine to the RT3 and do Britsh F3. A brief battle with Richard was followed by one with Bryn which lasted a bit longer, the battle eventually going Bryn's way on the last lap. Just in case Bryn got bored racing with Jim (surely not possible - ed) he also passed Malcolm Scott once and was re-passed, Malcolm on the way to 5th.
The next group consisted of Russ Giles, Alistair Bell, Kevin Otway, Lou Watts and Adrian Holey in Dallara F3, Reynard F3, Van Diemen, Mygale and Reynard F3. Each a lovely car, all but the 2 Reynards so different from the others. Alistair had a rather heroic race, having languished in 21st on the grid due to practice woes, he spent 6 laps working up to 12th, and then gradually worked his way up this tight competitive group to end 2nd Classic, and 9th overall behind Russ. Kevin Otway held behind Alistair, while Lou Watts took to his immaculate new Mygale like a duck to hoisin sauce and passed Adrian Holey 23 laps from the end for 11th. Adrian was almost caught in the last laps by the recovering David Gambling. Although it didn't affect the outcome, the engine cover of Alistair's Reynard made a bid for freedom coming up to the line. One fastener kept it on, the result being a huge airbrake-like flap following the car on the slowing down lap. Particularly upsetting as the car was previously better than concourse.
To meet him in the paddock, you wouldn't think Mark Smith would get into fights, but he seemed to pick them - all clean and well-humoured - with Alistair Bell, David Gambling and Mat Jordan, coming off worst with the first 2 and having the advantage over Mat at the flag, having pipped him away from the flag on lap1. Whilst some races have no dicing at all, hardly anybody escaped it in this race - maybe it's Rockingham? Nathan Corridon and Peter Whitmore were close for most of the race, Nathan just pipping Peter at the flag. Your reporter has much sympathy with Peter who seemed to be suffering, as had your reporter, from a degree (as in "shedload") of understeer at Tarzan.
Ian Hughes was the last of the unlapped runners, while Sunday only runner Steve Palmer, who I don't think I've seen run with us before though I think I did ask to scrounge a bolt off him, was next. Snetterton and Donington Classic victor Daniel Hands obviously had a problem having qualified just behind the sainted Jim in Classic but dropping back to 10th in class with some unexpected lap times. Finally, Kevin Couling brought home the Tatuus with a sensible drive and was courteous to the lappers. More important he looked to be enjoying his second meeting. In point of fact, it was such a good race, I imagine everybody enjoyed themselves. I certainly enjoyed watching, but I'm not sure how much of this excitement I can take!
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.
Robbie and Tony feature a lot in these pics by Norwich Photo because the racing was very, very close
A regular sight on the banking
Lap 1, Robbie Watts in front with Mark Harrison, Tony Bishop and Richard Purcell.
3 into 1 will go
Adrian Holey, Mark Smith, Mat Jordan, Alistar Bell and Ian Hughes
Neil Harrison, Russ Giles, Alistair Bell, Kevin Otway
Lou Watts's pretty Mygale