SNETTERTON, 02 JULY 2006

DAY 2 - SIMON DIFFEY REPORTS

As luck would have it, Team Principle Monson found himself on the work schedule for Snetterton day 2 and asked me to take up the mantle on his behalf.

This entailed rapidly putting some front brakes on the F5000 Surtees and getting it to Frank Lyons place on the Friday before the event so Judy could then tow it Snetterton ready for John Monsons Saturday race, day 1.

I arrived on Sunday morning to find out that John had had an eventful day 1, but had mended the puncture so I could start the Derek Bell Trophy race from the back of the grid in the Surtees.

So 11th with Frank Lyons ahead due to his battery failure in race one.

As the lights went out I tried to latch on to him, but Tilley in the Modus M1 put paid to that and so I was held up and Steve Ward in the Lola T330, who was alongside Tilley whenever there was a passing opportunity, however at half distance they left a gap between themselves going up the start finish straight and I squeezed through only for 4th gear to disappear, but not before I had disposed of Mark Dwyer in the March, oh how I waved as I drove passed down the Rivett straight, remembering how he shut the door on me at last months Brands Hatch race.

I found that by using 5th as much as possible and only 2nd and 3rd for the chicane, I could shift from 3rd to 5th without losing too much ground, but it did mean Steve was all over me like a rash until the last lap when he lost fuel pressure.

2nd place man Denty in the Lotus got a puncture as did 1st place man Frank Lyons in the Lola, however the gap was too big for me to do better than 2nd place as Frank limped over the line.

I'm really getting to grips with the Surtees and can't wait for my official drive at the Silverstone Classic race at the end of July.

CRC.

Luckily for me the Ecurie Scalpel transporter included the F2 Crossle which was eligible for the Classic Racing Cars Championship and so I had the bonus of doing John's Sunday race 2 in the Surtees and then the double header in the Crossle.

Not having driven the car or circuit before I was pleased with a 1.20 qualifier and 7th on the grid although I was alarmed to have an offside front wheel bounce up and down like a yo yo at about 60 mph. It would seem we have one of Mr Dunlops special egg shaped tyres!!

In the race I went flat out from the start and therefore exceeded 60mph so there was no problem and I was very happy with a 3rd place. The Surtees race was immediately after, so I had to drive straight to the pit Garage, jump out, grab my dwarf cushions and jump straight in the F5000 Surtees.

Sunday was 32 degrees and I was exhausted and as hot as hell, fortunately there was a cold tap at the back of the pit garage, so I sat under it for 10 minutes to cool off, much to everyone's amusement.

Race 2 meant I could start in the 3rd place I had finished race 1 and so I was able to set off in pursuit of Ian Jones in his Lotus 59. Jones and I drove all over each other for 5 or 6 laps, but I just managed to get down the inside at Russell and set off after Matthew Watts in the Brabham BT16.

It took 10 long laps to close the gap on Watts as I could make no impression on acceleration, but found I was slowly catching him under braking and corner exit, until I was right behind him going into Russell with 2 laps to go.

Unfortunately I completely ran out of talent on the exit and the car went into a huge broadside slide, which I hung on to, rapidly changing down through the box so I could straighten up, just as Jones in the Lotus 59 came along side and off we went again.

I managed to stay ahead of Jones and bagged 2nd place by 1.4 seconds, but Watts was the clear winner by 6.2 seconds.

The Crossle is a superb race car with magic brakes and a slick box. Its a bigger, heavier car than Watts's Brabham, but with taller gearing for this circuit , it is a winning race car.

 

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