Brands Hatch Grand
Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends.....
The club was pleased to be racing with F3 Cup again after Spa, and as a result we probably formed the biggest grid of F3 and F3-derived Dallaras since the heyday of British F3 10 or 15 years ago.
With the F3 boys present, a Mono car was not going to be on pole, but Robbie Watts made it to 7th overall, edging out Daryl Jones by 0.1sec after a closely fought qualifying. Ben Cater and Tony Bishop were next up with James Rimmer, Malcolm Scott, Kevan McLurg, Neil Harrison, Shane Kelly and Richard Purcell completing the top 10. The formbook was also followed in 1800 with Matt Walters on pole, ahead of George Fowler and David Jones, the latter in an RF82 which was pristine even by the standards habitually set by these iconic 80's stepping stones to fame. John Whitbourn took DTec pole, while special mention must be made of F3 invitee Geoffrey Hoodless in a lovely RT1, if only because I like RT1s.
Mike Hatton suffered a lower plane collapse, fortunately with no other damage. As a replacement wing had been fitted after Snetterton this was a disappointment. George Fowler had a mechanical issue and did not start. Chris Davison swapped brake disks between qualifying and the race, fortunately a Leading Dallara Spares supplier happened to have some in stock. It really hurt me to recommend him to Chris....
After qualifying, 5 cars were checked for an aspect of engine compliance and were not found wanting.
Dave Gillett failed to get away, and then F3 Cup 2nd man Louis Hamilton-Smith went into the gravel at the back and a safety car was deployed for a lap. Robbie Watts had made a good start, rapidly pursued by Daryl Jones who then gained the lead and was followed by Ben Cater and Robbie, while Kevan McLurg shot up from 7th on the grid to 4th, with Tony Bishop 5th as the safety car came out. At this time, the repair to Mike Hatton's wing suffered from the forces, and Mike sensibly withdrew before any serious damage was done.
Very efficient marshalling meant racing resumed on lap 3, Daryl in the lead, running 5th overall and challenging F3 Cup cars. Ben Cater ran just over a second behind, and then Kevan McLurg a respectful 6 seconds away. On the 3rd lap of the restart Robbie Watts had a superb lap, and made up 2 places. Everybody moved up 2 when Daniel Tapinos and Henry Chart came together heading towards the bridge on the GP loop (near where Johnny Herbert crashed in F3000?) and went off hard into the barriers. When the pack came round on lap 6, the order was the same, and it looked as though a nail biting finish was in store. Sadly, it was not to be. Daryl tripped over poor Philip Davies at Surtees and was excluded, leaving Robbie with the win, Ben 2nd and Kevan 3rd.
Tony Bishop had an interesting race, spending it chasing Kevan and rarely being more than a second away. A similar gap separated Malcolm Scott from Shane Kelly in 5th and 6th, slightly more for James Rimmer, Richard Purcell and Neil Harrison. Despite few changes of position (at least from a viewpoint at the cafe, and also on the lap chart) the race was closely run, fast, and exciting. Russ Giles and Chris Davison, who is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with, were a case in point, with their separation being in the 1/10ths.David Gambling, meanwhile, was kept honest by Monoposto man Graham Read, “guesting” in F3 in his Piedrafeta. Jamie Unwin completed the class.
More across-class rivalry characterised the fight between DTec winner John Whitbourn and Matt Walters, winner of the 1800 class, while Doug McLay and Steve Gardiner had a similar fight for second in the same classes. Steve had David Jones in his mirrors for the whole race, with Philip Davies a bit further back and doomed to be involved in the red flag incident.
A sad end to the race after 10 minutes was made worse on the way back to the paddock when Matt Walters was rammed by a youth on a quad (nothing to do with Mono), severely damaging his rear wing and even worse giving a nasty head injury to a member of the Mono “family” who had hitched a ride on the quad. Matt was full of praise for the help received from the paddock in getting his car out for Sunday, and to the officials for their practical and helpful approach to a very un-necessary accident.
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.
Philip DaviesKevan McLurgJamie UnwinRuss Giles and Chris Davison had a close and exciting raceRobbie WattsDavid Jones