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Castle Combe
31 August 2015 Round 1 & 2 Tiedeman Trophy

“Castle Combe is a foreign country, they do things differently there”. So might novelist LP Hartley have begun this (month late) report if he hadn't wasted the line in the Go Between. Combe is different, it's a lot more rural than many circuits, and it's a friendly circuit. They do some things a bit differently, but they're always helpful, and they have crowds for club racing which would be the envy of some professional series. It's fun to be there.


One qualifying, the second grid was based on the first race. David Gillett took pole in his new and beautiful F302, which is a major feat considering he was ahead of Timms's Jeremy and Jason in their Moto Dallaras. The class mixup continued because it was wet but somebody forgot to tell Ewen Sergison who put his 1800 in 4th slot, ahead even of Shane Kelly, this time driving the Northbrook Classic VD Renault. With such luminaries as Terry Clark, Richard Gittings and Mark Harrison behind them, the achievement can be measured. Jim Blockley, making a welcome return to Mono from his historic exploits was 9th, with James McLachlan, who we saw at Brands rounded out the top 10.

The session ended a little early because of several offs, poor John Hare was stranded on the kerbs while rejoining from a harmless cornfield spin on Avon Rise.

Race 1

Quarry is always an exciting place to watch a race start. Whether it is because the grid is set up rather tighter than many circuits, I don't know. I certainly can't read the “E” marking on the rain light of the car in front at Brands, but I can at Combe. And the grade of bolt it's attached with. Notwithstanding, a rapid get away led to a few cars not making it past Quarry, namely Jason Timms, Shane Kelly and Richard Gittings. The circuit acted promptly and efficiently to clear up and after 3 laps behind the safety car we set off for the flag. David Gillett had a lead over Jeremy Timms of 1.4 seconds when the safety car came out, and he kept it until the flag, give or take a tenth. He will be a man to watch in next year's championship. Taking 3rd on the podium was Mark Harrison, having gained 4 places on the start lap and then passed Ewen Sergison for 3rd, while Ben Cater had a tremendous gain from 12th (with an uncharacteristically muddy car) to 5th on lap 1, and then 4th on lap 5, while Terry Clark got the Classic win. In view of the better conditions, there was no way Ewen was going to keep his 4th, but a finish of overall 6th was impressive. James McLachlan took 2nd in Moto, while former adminstrator Simon Davey made up 7 places on the first lap, but was caught and pressured by fellow 1600 (and awning landlord for the day) Geoff Fern as the safety car went in, and after a great fight (which included a bit of lapping) he succumbed to the Combe local. Nigel Davers rounded out the top 10 in his Jedi for 3rd in Moto.

Behind the top 10, Mat Jordan edged out Jim Blockley for 2nd in Classic, while James Williams must have been pleased to be only 0.46 seconds behind the legendary Jim. Lou Watts and Kevin Couling completed Classic. Rodney Toft, who I think is new to Mono in an FF2000 RF82 was second in 1800, with the third step going to the ever enthusiastic Richard Greening. Richard was promoted when Philip Davies was disqualified for not having a restrictor in place, which was bad luck as he was racing the car “as bought”. However, he was able to take the second grid as an invitation car to keep the otherwise sole entry of Graham Read (Piedrafita F306) company. Finally, in 1600 Tony Cotton was 50 seconds behind Simon Davey with old rival David Parkinson a bit further back, David still not comfortable with the Junior compared to the trusty Reynard.

Race 2

There was much activity in repairing the cars which had an off in race 1. All made the start, with a particular mention for the Northbrook College team who were having their first race of the season with us and had had a dreadful start after the tragic Hunter crash locked them into their Shoreham base.

The grid was based on race 1 finishing order. There was drama before the (dry) start when Graham Read had to be pushed away. Then, when the lights went out, poleman Dave Gillett stopped on the grid. David Parkinson was unsighted and caught the Dallara squarely with the Vauxhall Junior. Fortunately, both drivers were uninjured, which couldn't be said for the 2 poorly race cars. However, praise due to both Dallara and Van Diemen for 2 very protective and safe cars which did their job. Hopefully both will soon resurface.

The clerk of the course did a great job, the red lights were on well before we reached Avon Rise and the cars slowed down for a restart, which this time went well. Jeremy Timms (Moto) kept up qualifying form to finish an unchallenegd 7.7 seconds ahead of Ben Cater (2000) while in 3rd, James Maclachlan (Moto) gained a couple of seconds on Mark Harrison on lap 4 and never lost the advantage. Nigel Davers showed the promise within the BMW powered Jedi by finishing 5th despite a delaying spin on lap 4 which dropped him well behind Jim Blockley. Nigel fought uo through the field, demoted Jim on the last lap, but Jim probably wasn't bothered as he got the Classic win with a 15 second margin over Shane Kelly in the Northbrook Renault. More significantly for Nigel he came off best in a good, exciting battle with Richard Gittings, Craig Hurran and Jason Timms – 4 Motos were within 1.8 seconds at the flag.

Returning to Classic, Terry Clark (with the help of Avit as wingman) held off Shane Kelly for 5 laps but just lost out, finishing behind but in sight. Terry was well clear of Lou Watts, while Lou was occupied in the mirrors by the blue Vauxhall Lotus of Nick Catanzaro for half of the race until he drew clear. Kevin Couling then gave Nick a dose of his own chasing medicine and filled his mirrors for the second half of the race, ending just over a second behind. James Williams completed the class.

Ewen Sergison led the 1800 class as expected, leading home Rodney Toft, who found entertainment racing with messrs Watts and Catanzaro from Classic, and Richard Greening. In 1600 Geoff Fern had an unopposed win when Simon Davey came off at the Bobbies chicane, in a rather neatly symmetrrical arrangement with fellow Team Fern driver Mat Jordan on the opposite side of the road. Tony Cotton and John Hare completed 1600, while Philip Davis had consolation for his race one issues by winning the invitation class.

Tony Cotton

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.


Pictures might follow. Depends whether I have time after picking the apples.