There were, my informant tells me, a couple of entrants who found the timescale between scrutineering and qualifying a bit tight and tried to turn up without a ticket. Though turned away, the ever helpful scrutineering team pulled out the stops and all was well.
Alistair Bell had a problem, and was allowed to do 3 laps behind a Beemer at lunchtime, while Chris Davison, out in the ex-Kevin Mason F301 (down as a 302) had an overnight clutch change which went on into the morning. He was allowed to practice behind the F3 grid, which is the sort of flexibility which explains why we like MSVR.
Rather like the Grand Prix at Silverstone and Budapest, the front row was ambushed. In the case of Mono at Snetterton, Daryl Jones did the Williams/Ferrari job, getting past Robbie Watts and, bravely, and showing the awareness of both of them, Shane Kelly to lead. Robbie then overtook Shane to take second, and on the second lap as they approached Oggies, Robbie took the lead which he proceeded to build lap by lap to win after 9 laps by 16 seconds. Daryl seemed to have a fairly safe second, but Tony Bishop had other ideas and kept getting closer, so that at the flag he was within 0.8 of a second.
Poleman Shane Kelly, with a Formula Renault power deficit, initially did well to hold on to 4th, but with an inevitability he was chased first by Mark Harrison and then Malcolm Scott. Mark and Malcolm had diced closely, including a very brave, exciting to watch, but cleanly executed last of the late brakers into Riches which went the way of Malcolm. Malcolm pursued Shane and got ahead on lap 4. There was then a repeat of the process as Daniel Hands, who had dropped down on lap 1 after a grassy moment came through to 5th on the next lap. There were no more challengers to Shane and he ended 6th with Mark 7th.
The worries in the paddock – not to mention equipe Giles – when Russ's 398 came in from qualifying on the flatbed with oil pressure issues – were put to bed in the race. From 13th on the grid he was 10th at the end of lap one, but the worries quickly moved a metre or so forward from engine to mirrors, because filling them was James Rimmer. They were virtually inseparable for 5 laops until James got the advantage, whereupon Russ returned the favour and filled James' mirrors. They were 8th and 9th in class, while the scoresheet shows Nathan Corridon in 10th in his Reynard 883, which seems an odd 2000 car to me, but doubtless I will be enlightened.
Chris Davison's debut in his Dallara was rewarded with 11th. After making up places from the back of the grid, he first of all fought with David Gambling, who had a bit of a wobble in Oggies on lap 5, letting Chris past. David then settled into a fine battle amongst the Classics, especially Mat Jordan, who pulled off, apparently engine dead, on lap 8.
In Classic, Lee Cunningham seemed a good bet, because (a) he was on pole (b) he usually is a good bet. But all bets were off when he didn't take the start. The A14 and a Walsall stocktake beckoned your reporter, so I don't know why. This left Wil Arif free reign in Lou Watts's Mygale. Wil ended overall 8th and first Classic, a full 14 seconds ahead of Robin Dawe. By contrast, the Gloucestershire FVL pilot had a slightly hectic race. He was initially behind Wil, but couldn't catch him, having to be satisfied with some dicing with Russ Giles and James Rimmer from the 2000s. But after that bit of fun, Bryn Tootell, almost inevitably, moved forward from his lowly 21st qualifying place, but got stuck about 6 seconds away from Robin, eventually moving to get the 3rd slot by a couple of seconds.
Possibly the best race of the afternoon was between Matthew Tighe (4th), Terry Clark (5th), and Kevin Couling, who retired on lap 6. Terry and Kevin spent a few laps nose to tail, with Terry leading, while after 3 laps Matthew joined the group, edging ahead of Kevin after 4 laps, whereupon the second competitor for Mono's new Stem trophy disappeared. Matthew edged ahead of Terry on the final lap, and they were the first lapped finishers – could Matthew have held the spot if Robbie had run a bit slower and not lapped them? Who knows?
Mark Drew (6th), Jake Mayes (7th) and James Williams (8th) finished
the class. James took the lead on the first lap, which with Mark's history
in Mono was a pretty impressive achievement, though the veteran Mark re-established
his lead on the second lap, never to relinquish it, with Jake passing
James on lap 3.
Re-reading my report, it sounds as though there wasn't a lot going on. This isn't the case. The race was fast, and full of activity and excitement, and lots of close racing. Whilst I'm still not a fan of the 300 as a driver (probably for personal reasons) there is no doubt it's a great spectator circuit with plenty to watch.
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Snetterton is in Norfolk. Noel Coward was an expert on Norfolk geomorphology.