Mark Reade and Leastone Racing Cars kicked off their 2017 UK Monoposto campaign in emphatic style last weekend at the challenging Cadwell Park circuit. Nicknamed ‘The Mini-Nurburgring’, the Lincolnshire circuit features a number of dramatic elevation changes throughout, keeping drivers on their toes over its 2.19 miles. Reade enjoyed a productive days testing on Friday, gradually bringing himself up to speed while optimising the set up on his Leastone 1000.
His methodical programme would prove all important during qualifying, as it allowed him to hit the ground running early in the session, setting a time good enough for pole on lap 5 of Saturday morning’s qualifying session. This would be crucial, as Reade suffered brake failure on the following lap, pitching him off the road at the end of the back straight, ripping the front left corner off the Leastone. The team then faced a race against time to get the car ready for race 1, which would take place later that day.
With minutes to spare, Reade was able to take up his grid slot, albeit without the final set up checks in place. Showing no ill effects of the earlier shunt, he jumped out to an early lead, running as high as second overall before he gradually fell back into the clutches of his closest Mono Moto 1000 rival by lap 4. Despite his earlier pace, he was struggling with a handling imbalance in addition to further brake problems, so Reade focused on bringing his Leastone 1000 home, grabbing a hefty haul of championship points for 2nd in class.
Despite further work overnight, the team did not completely resolve the issues that hampered Reade during race 1, but despite this, he managed to secure a front row slot for race 2 during Sunday’s qualifying session. The team continued to work during the break to get to the root of the problems and thanks to that, Reade was able to bolt into a commanding lead once the lights went out for the race.
Traffic was to be a factor from early in the race, with the gap to second ebbing and flowing throughout the opening stages. Reade maintained a useful gap throughout, but traffic became the races deciding factor as Reade lost the lead on the final lap, when he caught a backmarker in the wrong spot. He maintained his composure, and this patience was to be rewarded later in the lap, when the new leader found himself in the exact same situation. Reade seized the opportunity with both hands, diving up the inside at the second to last corner, grabbing a dramatic win and sealing his and Leastones first Mono Moto win on his debut weekend.
Reade leaves Cadwell Park as joint leader of the Mono Moto championship, looking to break clear when the championship visits the famous Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit for rounds 3, 4 and 5 on May 20/21st.
Header Image from Cregor Elliott