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Lydden Hill report - Terry & Peter take a win each .. Rhodri scores the big points

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Rhodri - dramatic week - satisfying weekend!

The Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship raced at Lydden Hill on Saturday and Sunday 20/21 September as part of the Duryea Race Weekend. Lydden Hill, noted as being near Canterbury, is the furthest east the championship has ever ventured, and plenty of the regular championship contenders made the trip, and there were plenty of stories along the way (No, not as told by Geoffrey Chaucer)

Huw Williams was unable to make the trip due to a family breavement, but Peter Salter had plenty of people to thank including Graham at Brisco Truck Rental and his usually helper Steve Lloyd who shared the driving on the trip. Story of the week was Rhodri Jenkins who was ok one minute and then was pole-axed with tonsillitis the next, and not just simple tonsillitis either! "The doctor came and tried to sort it out and next thing I know I was in hospital!" However in true Welsh Championship style Rhodri rose from his hospital bed and motored down to Kent! (Shades of Peter Dark in 1997) "I figured if I went down with the illness so quickly, I had the chance to bounce back quickly too! I thought if I went to Lydden and wasn't up to racing then at least I had made the effort"

Rhodri & Peter were joined by Terry Brown, Peter Williams, Richard Rozhon, Andrew Williams, Lee David, Anthony Allitt,Mike Edgell and Graham Cole [See the footnote for Graham Coles' own account of his weekend adventures]

In our usually friendly fashion we also attracted several local drivers, including Derek Parker from Oprington with a Caterham 7 and Graham Booth and his Caterham Blackbird.

OK - it's a long way to Lydden Hill, but if you get Carribean temperatures for the whole weekend at the end of September who's complaining! A hard core of 11 cars made up the entry. None of the Welsh drivers had raced at Lydden before but all agreed it's a great little venue, with VERY dramatic twists, turns and camber changes, and hardly any run off area anywhere! And talk about undulating - it's up and down - hills all over the place, with the appropriately named Hairy Hill being just that!

Practice - Saturday 20th Sept

Terry was quickest in 41.298s, ahead of Peter Williams in 42.198. Just behind Peter was Graham Cole, making a welcome return in his Darian DNA. Richard was next up in his Clubsport, followed by a hard charging Graham Booth in his bike engined Caterham Blackbird. Rhodri Jenkins's Civic R was 6th in 47.351. Rhodri was pleased to be there at all, having only been discharged from hospital on Thursday! Derek Parker's Caterham was behind, followed by Andy Williams in his Ford Sierra Cosworth. Pete Salter was next up in 52.066s, followed by the Anthony Allitt's Nova And Lee David's Golf in 53.308 and 53.410s.

Race 1 Saturday 20th Sept

Terry was first home in his Radical, never having looked really threatened, but there was drama behind as Graham's Darrian took a hefty pounding after going into the tyre wall into Devil's Elbow on Lap 6. It was such a pity as Graham was putting in his usual very strong performance, and he had posted a 41.902 before going off. Peter Williams had a good, solid drive to finish second. Graham Booth's Blackbird and Richard Rozhon's Clubsport had a good race, with Graham just getting it by less than 2 seconds. Next up was Rhodri Jenkins, who had just managed keep his Civic ahead of the hard charging Cosworth of Andy Williams. There was literally nothing in it between them for the whole race, culminating in a smoky lock up for BOTH cars coming into Devil's Elbow on the last lap. Both managed to stay on the road to finish within a third of a second of each other, with Derek Parker, who was sitting on the back of the pair of them for the whole race, just 1.8s behind. Peter Salter was a clear 8th, ahead of Lee David and Anthony Allitt, with Lee taking the honours by less than 2 seconds.

RACE 2 Sunday 21st Sept

There was no qualifying for round 2, with the grid positions decided from the finishing order in Race 1. And there was drama from the start. Terry could not pull away on the green flag lap, and was out before things got going! It seemed to be a a fuel pump problem - massively frustrating. You might think that left the way clear for Peter Williams, but this was not necessarily the case as we were joined by Global GT Light supremo Graham Hathaway (testing what was perhaps a new car?) starting from the back of the grid. That said, he was 2nd by just about the first corner. Still, it takes a lot to deny a Welshman his first place, and Peter ran out the winner by the best part of 14s. Richard was third after another solid performance in his Clubsport. Behind these was Andy Williams, who had an excellent start to outgun Rhodri Jenkins and Derek Parker, and maintained the lead to finish an excellent 4th. Derek was 5th, with Rhodri 6th. Pete Salter put in an excellent time of 50.801 in his Rover GTi on his way to 7th place, with Lee David again just keeping ahead of Anthony Allitt.

And so where are we in the Championship? Official points will be out later this week, but it looks like Rhodri Jenkins will need only a second place from one race at the Pembrey Double Header in October to take the title. Mind you, with the way things have been going this season, nothing can be taken for granted!

See you in October!

Footnote from Graham Cole


Just out of morbid interest to those who helped us at Lydden Hill last weekend...  I felt I just had to put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, so to speak.

As you reported we had a whoopsie on the 6th lap of the first race. But contrary to initial reports, it wasn't actually a suspension failure that caused my aquaintance with the gravel trap/tyre wall. On closer examination, the caliper mounting lugs on the LM3000 uprights snapped off under heavy (very!)
braking causing the now freed 6 pot caliper to spin round unrestrained with the wheel and disk untill it found the bottom arm in the way. With 355mm disks and the heavy caliper mounting brackets attached spinning at light speed, the arm was no match, and was mangled in an instant! In fairness, I had been warned that the early LM3000 castings were fragile, but I figured that with a car100Kg or so lighter than the LM I'd be OK. However, I suppose that was without stickier slicks than the LM ever used, and a looney behind the wheel.! Those uprights will now be replaced by the later, stronger LM3000 versions.

As for Lydden Hill, the pits were too rocky, we got lost on the way, and it's bloody miles from Cardiff!! So, what did we think of it......FANTASTIC !!

It reminded me why I still can't shake off this racing habit - I can't wait to get back there!

In Pilgrims, the track has the most fantastic bend anywhere! The sensation of heavy baking and the slide up onto the exit apex is breathtaking, and the slide up onto the start finish straight has to be experienced to be believed. Couple that super track with the professional but fun-loving track team and you have a recipe for a brilliant weekend. Everyone had a smile on their face and went out of their way to help. In particular, I'd like to pass my thanks onto the marshals and recovery crews who extricated the stricken remains of my car from the gravel trap at the appropriately named Devil's Elbow! They kindly dropped it onto my trailer despite being in a hurry to get back to track duties.

So, thanks all for a super weekend and see you next year.

Cheers, Graham Cole.
PS Despite looking bad, the repair to my car is fairly simple. Should be OK for the next WRDA round at Pembrey. CU then

N.B For practice times and race results check the MST site