Oulton Park International
I've never understood why some circuits seem to be harder on cars than others. Certainly, Pembrey could shake a car apart if you got on its rumble strips (or "anti-tank defences" as they are also known) but why cars should be assaulted by Oulton is beyond me. Yet it seemed to happen in the final meeting for the main championship.
The other thing that initially puzzled me was early spinning, which happened to Geoff Fern at Cascades on the out lap. I suspect the latest tyres in 1600 need a bit more warming up than those of old? Steve Griffin, on a very welcome return to Mono during a 5 day return from Dubai, was on Dunlops, and certainly felt a bit uneasy ("I nearly spun out of the pits. They can be a bit buttock clenching.") With that bit of excitement out of the way, Dan Clowes (Jedi) ("I'm back for my annual Mono outing") looked very quick. In fact it took Jeremy Timms some time to better him, in part due to traffic, then by 0.4 seconds. Richard Gittings (Jedi) was next up, 0.8 seconds away from Jeremy. The leading 1800 was Martin Short in a Medina Van Diemen, while there was no surprise that Geoff Fern got 1600 pole. With 16 Motos out, there were more in one class than some races have entries.
The first engine failure of the weekend was Martin Wright, which he took quite philosophically. Unfortunately, GSXR's in the right spec are getting a bit dinosaur-dropping rare these days. Will there be alternatives seen in future?
Jock Sergison had clutch problems and started from the pitlane. Jason Timms didn't start, and then Jeremy Timms had a slow start which meant he was 4th into Old Hall (see above). He was third on the run to Cascades, behind Richard Gittings, and Dan Clowes leading. Not too long afterwards, Dan went missing after the Chicane where he had been smoking heavily. Christian Parker also pulled off, at Cascades/Fosters, to withdraw the Seward. Eddie Guest spun at the chicane, which he blamed on the tyres, but it's possible that Dan's engine problem might have contributed. After all this excitement, things settled for a couple of laps until Kyle Cutts pulled off at Knicker Brook, which led to a couple of wheels on the grass for Jeremy. Kyle's Speads needed to be moved, so the safety car was deployed and - guess what? - it didn't pick up Jeremy. Jeremy did go slowly, and if he could have lit up a sign saying "please pass" I think he would have done, but the safety car stayed where it was and Jeremy went off to join the back of the queue and turn a 16 second lead into a 27 second one. The safety car went in after a lap, and Craig Hurran retired shortly afterwards. Marc Fortune had a moment at the chicane, and a closely following Tony Gauntlett had a near spin as a result, while Jeremy and Richard circulated to get first and second and Tony Gauntlett made Mark work very hard for his third. Jonathan Reed spent a lot of the race on Tony's tail, but dropped back a bit in the final laps to get fifth. Des Foley was 6th in the always interesting Leastone, run by old friend of Mono Paul Heavey, on a quick raid from their Dublin base. Dan Levy moved up through the field after the safety car to first pass Mick Kinghorn, who finished 8th in Moto, and then benefit when Andrew Gordon-Colebrook suffered a front hub bolt failure causing a halt on Clay Hill. At the flag he was about a paint layer (ok, Jonathan, a Wingnut Racing Wrap Layer- ed) behind JR for 7th. Martin Short was behind Dan, having had a very active race with the Motos to dominate 1800.Len Turner was the final finisher in Moto, having had some racing with several cars, but mainly DTec winner Doug McLay.
After the first few laps where he was fighting with fellow 1800's Philip Davies and Steven Griffin, David Jones broke away, leaving Philip and Steven to have a 3 way dice with 1600's second, Eddie Guest, recovered from his 1st lap escapade. Despite all the best efforts of Steven and Eddie, the order stayed unchanged to the flag. Meanwhile, John Hare had a safe run to 3rd, while Jock, learning to live without a clutch, knew he had to finish for points to get championship 3rd, and did.
Last race of the day, last of the season. The limited number of classes meant that, unusually for Oulton, nobody needed to look at their watch and worry about curfews, which also added to the relaxed atmosphere. But there was nothing relaxed when the reds went out. Jeremy had no problems, and with poleman Dan Clowes sidelined, took a commanding lead which he held to the flag. Richard Gittings seemed to be in for a solid second, but something happened. At this stage I must confess to using TSL for some of the detail I haven't written down and bizarrely they seem to have turned Richard into an Unperson in the style of Orwell's1984. He isn't in the results at all apart from a helpful "not under own power at time of red flag". Richard was proceeding at his usual very rapid pace, challenged variously by Marc Fortune, who pulled off after one lap, Tony Gauntlett, and, after he had made up for a poor start, Jason Timms took over the challenge. After 6 laps, Richard was going down The Avenue, not a care in the world, when something went bang. I described Nigel Davers's bang as big at Mallory. Compared with this one, it was a bonfire night banger against a Trident Nuclear Missile. There was more pollution than even from my Golf TDi. Poor Richard was out in a big, big way. Tony Gauntlett tripped up on his oil, and very sensibly the race was red flagged, leaving Jeremy as the winner, Jason second and Tony Gauntlett 3rd. Jonathan Reed was 4th, and after a bit of a tussle with 1800 winner Martin Short, Dan Levy passed him and benefitted from a retiring Mick Kinghorn and a pitting Des Foley to take 5th. Des had run strongly behind Jonathan and ahead of Mick, but ended 6th in class. Kyle Cutts closed on 1600 winner Geoff Fern as the race progressed, but wasn't able to pass him, while Len Turner stalked Philip Davies and passed him on lap 4 to take an overall 10th, leaving Philip second in class, having swapped places a few times with David Jones, who in turn was very closely followed by 1600 bridesmaid Eddie Guest. In this race, Eddie mnaged to keep sparring partner Steven Griffin at bay, Steven ending classified 4th in class in the pits. John Hare and Jock Sergison were the last runners, and 3rd and 4th in 1600.
And finally....With the kind permission of Des Foley, here's Race 1 from his cockpit:
And Race 2:
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.
Jeremy TimmsRichard Gittings
Craig Hurran, fellow JDR Karting man
Mick Kinghorn, Martin Short and Dan Levy
Philip Davies, David Jones and Stevem Griffin