Monoposto’s Castle Combe 4th October 2014 report

The final meeting of the 2014 Castle Combe season began unfortunately with overcast skies and a damp circuit as the grid for the opening Monoposto race formed up. After a wet qualifying session it was the Formula Vauxhall Lotus car of Robin Dawe who claimed pole from Oliver Serell in his his Van Diemen RF01. As the opening 15 minute race started it was pole man Dawe who made the best start to grab and early lead, whilst 4th man Chris Lord shot up into a brief 2nd after a remarkable start, although he soon fell back from the leader.

Robin Dawe was clearly looking to make hay whilst the sun didn’t shine as he opened a 1.7 second opening lap lead from the pack, which was being led by third on the grid man Jason Timms in his impressive Speads RM07, who had moved up quickly past fast starter Chris Lord on the opening lap. Whilst leader Dawe was initially able to build his lead by lap 5 Jason Timms in 2nd began to close on him for the lead as the conditions improved. Whilst the threat of rain dissipating the track was improving as the race wore on, with the biggest benefactor being Terry Clark, who rose from 7th on the grid in his Van Diemen RF99 to pass Chris Lord for 4th at Folly on lap 6. He then quickly set upon Oliver Serell for 3rd at Tower on the same lap, before rapidly closing on Timms in 2nd.

Lap 7 saw Clark quickly dispose of Timms for 2nd, with Timms now appearing to suffer as he was passed on the same lap for 3rd by Serell at Camp. Just as it appeared Terry Clark would be challenging Robin Dawe for the lead he threw away his good work with a high speed spin exiting Quarry corner on lap 8. He re-joined 5th with plenty of work to do in the closing minutes of the race.

Clark quickly rose to 4th and was challenging Timms for 3rd at the Esses on lap 10 when he mysteriously went off to the inside of the track, although sadly this time he was unable to continue. With the seconds ticking down Robin Dawe was able to just about hold on for victory from Oliver Serell, who in turn only just held off the last lap charge from Keith Linforth in his Dallara F399. He remarkably rose from 18th on the grid to claim the final podium spot. 4th went to Chris Lord with the top 6 being rounded out by Jason Timms and Malcolm Scott respectively in a great opening race of two for the Monoposto series and their end of year Tiedman trophy.

A lot later on in the Castle Combe Championship finals race day the Monoposto crowd took to the track again for their second race and the eighth of the day. The grid was based on the drivers second fastest times from the morning’s qualifying session, which left race 1 winner Robin Dawe claim another pole with Jason Timms alongside him on the front row. Oliver Serell and Chris Lord completed row 2. This race was cut from 15 to 12 minutes because of lengthy stoppage in the earlier Castle Combe Saloons race.

The conditions were completely different to race 1 as the circuit was now bone dry, although that didn’t stop the same outcome as race at the start as pole man Dawe made the best getaway to lead early on. Later on in the lap however he was soon under pressure from Oliver Serell who had quickly made his way up to 2nd and was not challenging for the lead. An exciting battle developed in the early laps for the lead between Robin Dawe, Oliver Serell and Geoff Fern, who had made an excellent start and rocketed up from 8th on the grid to 3rd in the opening laps.

Lap 3 saw Fern continue his rise as he disposed of Serell for 2nd, however Serell soon re-took the place a lap later. The pace slowed on lap 5 as the Safety Car came out so the marshals could retrieve a stranded car at Old Paddock, although confusion reigned as the Safety Car missed the first 3 and instead picked up 4th man Malcolm Scott first instead. With time running out confusion reigned for several laps before the whole pack were sent round again so the Safety Car could pick up the top 3, with the rest then following behind.

With a final lap dash ahead the Safety Car peeled in on lap 8, with the first 3 immediately carrying on their battle for the lead. Despite numerous looks and half moves the order remained unchanged to the flag as Robin Dawe claimed his second win of the day, with Oliver Serell coming home a close 2nd with Geoff Fern not much further back in 3rd. A amusing anecdote from the finish was the fact both Dawe and Serell both missed the chequered flag and continued for a lap before Serell spun at Bobbies, therefore ending their battle after the flag. Malcolm Scott came home 4th from Ray Rowan in 5th and Lee Cunningham completing the top 6 respectively.

Both Monoposto races proved to be exciting affairs with plenty to keep the spectators entertained. I would personally like to see the series back again at Castle Combe next year, and I can only hope the competitors enjoyed the racing as much as the spectators did. For more information on this inexpensive and fun series please visit their website below.


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