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JMT Mono Championship Rounds 1 and 2
OULTON PARK 28 April 2016
F3 2000 Classic


The churches are apparently moving to arrange a fixed Easter. There were a few people around the paddock at Oulton who wished that this had already happened, because another two or three weeks to finish the cars and get them tested would have been very welcome for some. Though perhaps not when both of the weekend’s winners were in cars either new to them or untested.....

Qualifying

Tony Bishop has acquired the lovely “Gulf” F302/4 of Daryl Jones and had it wrapped in a smart blue and tasty lime livery, all now engineered by Omicron. The conditions were cloudy and wet, and Tony bucked the general trend of a late fastest lap by getting his  1.07.47 pole on lap 3. Second place man Ben Cater left it until lap 8 to be .6 seconds slower, while a pleasant surprise was Mono’s print and merch supplier Duncan Horlor in his Van Diemen Comtec 04 in third overall and fastest 2000 by nearly 3 seconds. Peter Venn, in a 301 was 3rd F3, while Chris Hodgen, who appeared after a reportedly traumatic testing and development programme last year, was 4th. After the sad accident at Combe last year, it was great to see David Gillett undaunted and back in the 302/4, again immaculate, and 5th, a milli-smidgen ahead of Neil Harrison who had a non-damaging off which resulted in the session ending about 4 minutes prematurely. Chris Davison in 7th had some noise problems, and was full of praise for the patience and helpful manner of the noise judges. The car hadn’t turned a wheel in anger until the event, and the noise issue kept Chris away from the free practice. Robin Dawe was 0.3 quicker than Chris, and still in the trusty FVL rather than the much anticipated TOMS, fastest Classic and 8th overall.
Terry Clark was second fastest 2000, and was 4 seconds ahead of the experienced Mark Drew, who fought off newcomer Taylor Macvean. I didn’t get to speak to him but I understand he is about 18, and an ex hillclimber, in both the RF93 (ex-Charles Adrian perhaps?) and a Tiger. (No, not a Tiga.) Richard Snuggs took second Classic in his trusty F387, ahead of 3rd man Andrew Barron.

There was a bit of shuffling round for race 2 (which was the second fastest time). If you’re interested,  have a look at TSL.

Race 1

It was damp and nasty. Ben Cater had the better start and led Tony Bishop into Old Hall.  By the end of the first lap Ben had carved out a 2 second lead, with Tony 2 seconds away from David Gillett in third. Robin Dawe must have forgotten he was in the FVL and not the TOMS because by lap 2 he was running 3rd, a place from which David deposed him at the end of the lap. It was a dramatic gain, and although various F3s moved ahead as the race progressed it was only on lap 12 that Robin fell below 6th when he and Russ Giles touched at Knicker Brook and he spun, getting going again to finish overall 9th  and top Classic, even after a 10 second penalty for an out of position start.

But back to the F3 class. Tony started to move up on Ben and by lap 3 the pressure was well and truly on.  On lap 8 Ben slipped wide at Fosters and Tony slipped through. Worse for Ben, so did David Gillett. As I wasn’t on the pitwall, I don’t know whether at this point any of the crews told Ben or Dave that the latter had a 10 second grid position penalty. Dave put Tony under pressure, and got to within under a second at the finish for second on the road, but a combination of a drying track, lapping cars, and (I am guessing) a big breath and a gritting of the teeth gave Ben 1.4 seconds back in the last lap to finish just ahead of Dave on time penalty.

Peter Venn at first ran behind Robin Dawe, with the rapid 2000 man Duncan Horlor for company. He moved into on-the-road 4th on lap 4 and gradually drew away from his sparring partners, for 4th in class. By contrast the 5th man, James Harris in a Tatuus FR, had a much more complex journey. 10th F3, overall 13th on the grid, he overtook Richard Purcell and Daniel Hands on lap 1, and then gradually moved through the field with a string of rapid laps. Much of the race was spent in the company of Chris Davison, who ended 6th, Neil Harrison (7th), Chris Hodgen, who pulled out 2 laps from the end, and Duncan Horlor who withdrew after 10 laps with a reported broken drive shaft. The group were a joy to watch, great racing.

Daniel Hands had a first lap which I hope he won’t mind me saying wasn’t customary for him, dropping from 9th on the grid to 17th. It certainly made for interesting viewing as he came through the field, gaining a place or so a lap until lap 6 when he stuck at 11th for a while, gradually catching the group in front but not getting there. The retirements of Chris Hodgen and  Duncan Horlor promoted him to 8th.

Another happy grouping was Kevin Otway, who won the 2000 class, Russ Giles, Mat Jordan, Andrew Barron and, until he retired after 4 laps, series sponsor James Drew-Williams, who started from the pit lane. They swapped places around a few times but it looked good close, clean inter-class racing, and ended with Kevin ahead at the end, winning the new 2000 class, ahead of Russ and Mat second in 2000.  Richard Snuggs started out a little ahead of this group, racing with Taylor MacVean. Both suffered troubles, Taylor doing a neat 360 approaching cascades, while Richard spun at Fosters. Both lost time and joined in with the group just mentioned. Taylor retired, Richard ended 13th overall, 2nd Classic, while Andrew Barron ended 3rd Classic. Kevin Couling was very slightly further back to bag 3rd 2000, with Peter Lague 4th 2000. Peter made the comment that things had changed a bit since he last raced at Oulton – first of all it was in a Mini Cooper S and second it was about 50 years ago. He improved every time out and was certainly enjoying his Comtec-type Van Diemen, despite clutch troubles in the preceding weeks.

Other non-finishers were Richard Purcell after 4 laps running midfield, Terry Clark who started from the pit lane and Mark Drew who sadly managed but a lap.

The last word has to go to Magic Motorsport (The Harrisons). Nick: “We’ve owned 2 of the first 3 cars in that race.” Neil: ”Well you obviously sold the wrong ones then.” They said it with a smile…

Race 2

The weather was better, but it was still damp and it looked like everybody was on wets. With Ben Cater on pole and making a good start as well, it looked all wrapped up for him if he could keep Tony Bishop in 2nd. But that’s never easy. Tony was in the lead at The Avenue, but Ben got back in front by the end of lap 1. For 8 laps they fought, sometimes on the track and sometimes on the grass. It was breathtaking stuff until Tony had a spin (Druids) on lap 9 and dropped down the order, eventually finishing 5th despite a touched rear wing. Life didn’t get better for Ben, though. Chris Davison had made up places, and finished lap 1 in 4th place. He and Peter Venn circulated 3rd and 4th until that same lap 9 when Chris passed Peter. A lap later, Ben lost 3 seconds, I’m not sure why, perhaps lapping, and Chris nipped by to take the lead. The final lap times were interesting in that Chris, Tony and Chris Hodgen fought for fastest lap with 1.01s and 1.02s whereas most other leading cars were in the 4s, 5s and 6s. Chris D put it down to his tyres: “they’re old so they didn’t go off, they just got better”. It was good (as a 399/301 fan) to see one of the “less fashionable” series of Dallarae winning. Ben’s woes weren’t yet over as Peter came past on The Avenue to take second a lap from the end.

Despite dropping back to 7th on lap 1, Chris Hodgen ended the race in 4th, spending most of it on Neil Harrisons tail until lap 9. 2 laps later the recovering Tony Bishop also passed Neil, leaving them 5th and 6th. Duncan Horlor finished 7th overall, mixing it with the F3s, and winning 2000 by over 30 seconds, being the only unlapped 2000. Similary dominant was Robin Dawe, who initially ran as high as 5th, dropping down as the F3s got into their stride to finish just behind Duncan and the only unlapped Classic. Richard Purcell put his morning woes behind him to have a good fight with these 2, ending as 7th F3.

Russ Giles, Kevin Otway and Kevin Couling ran together for much of the race, joined after lap 8 by an increasingly speedy James Drew-Williams who moved up to 9th F3 behind Russ. Kevin O and Kevin C got the second and third steps of the 2000 podium. Behind them, a recovering Mike Hatton had a good run to 10th F3, while the last F3 was James Harris after a first lap which bemused the timekeepers so much that they didn’t bother putting him in the lap chart. Mat Jordan was 4th 2000, while just behind him on the road and taking second Classic behind Robin Dawe was Andrew Barron. Peter Lague had a much quicker race than in the morning, but his mechanical woes continued with engine problems at the flag.

Taylor MacVean, Daniel Hands, Richard Snuggs and Mark Drew were non-finishers and David Gillett didn’t start.
 

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.

     

 

 

Ben leads TonyRuss Giles leads Mat Jordan and Kevin OtwayWet conditions meant the new light rulke was put into actionChris HodgenDuncan Horlor and Kevin OtwayTony, David and Ben with a rabbit. LSD is usually required for this sort of image.Tony leads Ben on lap , race 2Andrew Barron

All but last 2 pics by Andrew Clifffe, Norwich Photo