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Steven's Snippets


CoOrdinator Steven Connor tells us what really went on

Paddock parking

Well, it was really tight, and the original allocation was optimistic, with the non availability of the overflow onto the rally stage being a major factor. The pragmatic decision by Stephen Green to move an entire formula (each day) up above scrutineering really helped us - but spare a thought to the formulae who had expected a flat paddock with access to power. While some people had to be squashed in there was still space that could have been made available for race vehicles if some 'non racing' vehicles had been more considerately parked (or not there). Bryn couldn't even get his car out of his trailer due to the cars parked around him – that took some co-operation to resolve.
 
Scrutineering was in-situ. By the number of people who didn't know this was going to happen it is clear all the different media used to send this info out just doesn't get seen (or read). Not only was it in numerous notes but also on the latest (and the one everyone should be using) version of the MSVR timetable. The scrutineers arrived on schedule at 10.00am and we had a very unhappy chief scrutineer because the first cars they went to were not 100% ready. Waiting 2 minutes per car while people find their race suit etc and unpack them is a simple equation – 2 mins time over 70 cars is 2 hours lost. The mono team went 'pre scrutineering' and it was good to then see everyone getting everything out ready. (With the expected tight timetable of the briefing, the assistant ed commented that he had nothing but admiration for the cool of those not already wearing their overalls at scrutineering...)
 
Drivers' briefing

It was becoming clear that the scrutineering was going to run on into the briefing time. Then a check into Hailwoods suite revealed it just wasn't “fit for purpose” to hold a briefing of over 70 drivers.. So... driving over to see the Clerks an impromptu meeting happened on the access road and they agreed to my suggestion of cancelling the drivers' briefing. Tannoy announcement and the guys on the bikes arranged to spread that word. The driver walking across to the middle to attend the briefing was turned back “no, Hailwoods is over there...” Mmm that question asked around the paddock at Silverstone might have been used here “do you know where the drivers briefing is?” to confirm people had noted the instructions.
 
Call up for Quali 1

Off went the Moto, Classic and 1600 boys... signs being shown to check “have you got – scrutineering ticket and transponder” seemed to work.
In the Q for noise test all was going well and as I scootered on down to race control I saw we had the next Mono (and F3Cup) group lining up even though they hadn't been called. Then way down the Q I saw Lou Watts – a Classic. So some work to move the rest aside and get Lou into the assembly area, where I was told we even had someone from 2000 who was adamant he should be in the first quali as “he always races with Classic and was going out with F3Cup”... well yes, you are going out with F3Cup which is the 2nd Quali and no, you don't always race with Classic. (Asst ed adds - in fairness the programme indicated he should be there.). I have used this to reaffirm to MSVR that I would always like another formula between our 2 grids for both quali and races because we just need that time to sort ourselves out!
 
On track

Both qualis were really good, very little incident and the Clerk was impressed enough to say, almost seriously, “maybe you guys work better without a briefing”... Actually maybe there is some science in that. At Snetterton we had cars in assembly without scrutineering tickets or even their transponders installed, then a car loose a wheel – possibly the legacy of the mad rush to get out with the briefing times getting in the way. Also, someone did suggest the drivers were more relaxed and focused after having the time to get ready properly, without being told the same issues once again in the briefing.
 
Eligibility checking

After the 2000 quali, 5 cars were selected for engine inspections which were agreed to be carried out back in the paddock (due to availability of tools) and this appeared to be carried out in good grace and all cars were found to be acceptable on this first inspection of the weekend.
 
Pre race – things seemed a lot better after the result of some successful running. Sadly we lost ???? to mechanical problems (need to check this out) , Kevin Couling needed some front wing/nose repairs after experimenting to see how hard the big obstacles are that block off access to the Indy circuit between Surtees and Clearways – quite solid I believe! And Mike Hatton had a rear wing beam failure (result of the tangle with the wall at Snetterton?)
 
Race 4 Moto, Classic and 1600

 
On the green flag start David Heavey failed to get away (battery fault) and was pushed to the side. On the actual start Will McAteer and Nathan Corridon failed to get away and were pushed to join David. An observation from the Chief Clerk, the marshals might have needed to be a little more forceful in telling at least one driver to exit the vehicle sharpish once it was pushed beside the barrier – we still had marshals and a driver standing 'trackside' as the racing pack came by and a safety car or red flag was being considered just because the driver didn't 'haul ####' out of the car.

After lap, Jock Sergison was seen to have a loose floor on the car and the black and orange signal went out. As Jock came by he was seen to respond with a reduction in speed and came into the pits at the end of the lap for some TLC before rejoining. The Chief Clerk wondered if he had seen the flag/board or the electronic sign and afterwards Jock reported it was the electronic sign he had seen. This valuable info was passed back to the race control team who were delighted to hear first hand evidence of this new system working.

The importance of getting the stalled car drivers (and marshals) behind the barriers was illustrated when a departing silencer flew very close to where they had been standing standing and then started rolling back towards the track... a collected “no” and “stay” was heard in race control as we all hoped it might stop on the grass – which it did. Then the report that car 90 (James Williams) had stopped up at Druids – was it his silencer?.. yes, but as it turns out he had stopped for a broken throttle cable (did the silencer take the cable out?) . On the cameras we see the car on the apron and the safety car is put on standby... then we note James managing to move the car forward slowly and we realise he is under power if very slow. We hope he isn't going to try and drive all the way back and are relieved when he pulls over to the side in the best safe place open to him and hops out sharpish. Safety car stands down and a “well done” from the Clerk. Thus a safety car impacting all the other racers was averted by excellent thinking/action from James.

Then a radio call that car 56 has no front wing... quick as a flash the clerk asks “did he go out with one?.. if he the one who hit the block this morning” and I am able to say “yup. that is Kevin Couling and I saw his repair hadn't got as far as refitting the front wing”. So the marshals do spot things, do radio them in and the clerks do know the formula they are looking after.

We then see 77 (Nigel Davers) who has been going very well in the Jedi, pull off against the barrier (nicely out the way) with smoke visible on the camera. The Clerk says the place parked is good and even has time to spot 2 cars in overtaking mode who do so before the yellow flag even though the camera angle is difficult at that point – they do know what they are looking at. The radio call “car 77 stopped and looks like it could go up! Driver attending with extinguisher” brought a moment of nervous laughter. Subsequently Nigel reports he was enjoying his race when he saw the marshals pointing at his car, he strained to see and found the smoke so pulled off, jumped out and stood with an extinguisher in case. This was an oil union leaking onto the exhaust and it was being alerted by the marshals that allowed him to switch off and save the engine from damage or the car from a full oil fire.
 
Jason Timms suffered a front upright failure.
 
So our top 3 of Jeremy Timms, Marc Fortune and James Machlachlan took the top steps of the upper podium while we arranged a photo op for the 1600s of Geoff Fern, Eddie Guest and Kevin Bottomley on the lower podium. Bryn took all 3 podium spots in Classic as Alistair Bell and Terry Clark had got past on their way back to the paddock before the team could hold them at the podium.
 
The race was chequered flagged on time but due to the close back marker group Jeremy was in there was a confusion and these cars thought they had taken the chequered and exited the track with Jeremy when they still had a lap to go officially.
 
F3Cup/2000/1800/Dtec

Car 18 (Dave Gillett) failed to get away at the race start and was pushed to the side (exiting the car rapidly, the marshals had learned from the earlier race)
 
Car 3 (Louis Hamilton-Smith) went into a gravel trap and caused a safety car... which was executed very well by the racers with the 'crocodile' closing up nicely and at the restart it was noted that some cars, while setting up to overtake, held back until crossing the line as required by the rules – text book stuff drawing praise from the Clerk.

The race continued and then 11 (Daniel Tapinos) and 50 (Henry Chart) came together heading towards the bridge on the GP loop and went off hard into the barriers. The Clerk looked at where they came to rest and judged it safe to continue under yellows.

Then approaching the last minutes there was an incident involving 73 (Daryl Jones) and 63 (Phil Davis) which resulted in a red flag.
 
Our 2000 top 3 of Robbie Watts, Ben Cater and Eddie McLurg took to the top podium ahead of the F3Cup drivers while Matthew Walters, Steve Gardiner and David Jones had their photo op on the lower podium – using 'dummy' trophies (not trophies for dummies) the full presentations to take place back in the paddock with the real trophies.
 
Before the race I got to achieve something for one of my hobby horses... the gate they put across the upper tunnel access road at the end of the meeting is a problem. I pointed out that this can happen before all the cars have been released from parc ferme and this forces single seaters to go through the top ambulance gate, into the spectator area on a steep hill with poor visibility, with traffic crossing and we can't do handbrake starts!. The Chief Clerk saw my point and arranged for the gate to be attended until all our cars were returned (although the marshal did have to go back to the gate when he thought there were no more cars to come – but there were).
 
On the way back, Matthew was the victim of a bizarre incident in the tunnel which really shouldn't have happened. While stopped behind a stalled car he was hit from behind by some youngsters on a quad bike who must have been going at some speed to do extensive damage to the rear wing (ruined) and themselves (one sent off to hospital after the medics had patched him up) Matt reports that David Scott (Chief Clerk) and his team were really helpful and despite a less than contrite attitude from the team owner responsible, a financial settlement was reached. This illustrates the need to heed those warnings about all vehicles in the paddock needing to be driven responsibly AND a reminder that under MSA rules the driver/entrant of a team is responsible for the actions/behaviour of his team members.
 
And finally... The EXCELLENT BBQ – well done and thanks Terry.

Steven Connor

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.