2005 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship
The 2005 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship kicked off at Pembrey this weekend with 2 rounds full of incidents.
Entry & Practice Saturday 16th April
On a bright sunny, if chilly April day, there were some new faces and some familiar ones too! Some new cars and some familiar ones too, and some familiar looking cars with some very new kit inside! However at the end of the practice session the grid had a very familiar look with Terry Brown on pole and Peter Williams in 2nd place. However Terry was one of two Radicals fitted with a supercharger whilst Peter was fielding his normally aspirated model. Driving the supercharger from the crankshaft is an adaptation of a set up used on drag racing bikes but without having had much time to test it, Terry was having his first good run in the car "Its a bit like a turbo but without the lag" Was it quicker? "I havent beaten my time with the old car yet" His time of 55.991 was almost 1.5 seconds faster than Peter 57.412, but less than half a second covered Peter and 3rd & 4th places. 3rd was Graham Cole with his new Jade Trackstar with Dave Krayem Stealth 4th. Huw Williams was 5th with Clive Hayes, and 2nd Super Prosport in 6th place. Graham and Clive were both suffering from fuel feed problems of one sort or another, and Graham was having to get used to a sequential gearbox for the first time. Richard Rhozon in the sole remaining Radical had problems of another kind, and was due to start from the back after his rear brakes locked on and restricted his running
At the head of the Saloons, Andrew Williams and Ken Rattenbury had a Ford Sierra Sapphire duel going on. But whilst Andrew had almost 1.5 seconds advantage over Ken, Lee David (Rover 216 Gti +)and Paul Trowbridge (Ginetta G20) had Ken in their sights with less than .5 sec separating the 3 cars. Matthew Perkins (11th) & Anthony Allitt (12th) Rover 216s were joined by newcomer Douglas Bowkett who was having his first race ever in his Peugeot 309 and doing quite well to with a time just over 70 secs (70.663). Also a newcomer to the race if not the circuit was Nigel Hughes who was giving the Swansea Institute Locost a run out, and doing quite respectable time for a 1300 c.c car. Stephen Pearcy was giving the Rover 220 turbo another run out in the championship and was just ahead of another newcomer Richard Hill in a Golf GTi. Richard would be sharing the car with Daniel Davies, with Richard driving on Saturday and Daniel on Sunday. With 3 rookies already lined up, it looks as if 2005 will be a vintage year with plenty of competition for the Novice and Newcomers Awards at the end of the season. Adrian Chapman was doing his best in 18th ahead of the crippled car of Richard Rhozon.
19 cars was a tidy grid for the first round, although interested bystanders Rhodri Jenkins and Christian Evans may yet find the lure of the track irresistible.
The Race 15 mins + 1 lap. Standing Start.
So with supercharger set to go Terry started from Pole Position and lead every lap, but late race caution flags and traffic cut his lead although he had time early on to set a new lap record. Graham Cole got a good start to take 2nd place early on but on the rise quickly was Richard Rhozon who was up to 6th place in only 3 laps. Peter Williams held 3rd place early on before disappearing and handing the place to Clive who had a little gap to Dave Krayems Stealth who had Richard Rhozon crawling all over him in the infield section, before blasting away into the distance until they got to Hatchets when Richard, running a 1300 c.c Huyabusa engine for the first time, began to reel him in again. Huw Williams was keeping a watching brief, but behind him in the battle of the saloons Andrew Williams hit the front straight away with Lee David slipping in front of Ken and Paul Trowbridge. Nigel Hughes almost exited stage right on the first lap, but Id better not say why, before gathering it up again to get going and at least set a new bench mark lap record for the class.
From the 4th lap on there was plenty of lapping as Terry cut through the pack, having already set his fastest lap and establishing a new Championship lap record on his first flying lap! Huw began to close on Richard Rhozon whilst Clive and Dave Krayem began to close on Graham. Graham had a moment which allowed Clive and Dave through. Clive had started the race with over 40 lires of fuel in a bid to sort out his fuel surge problems and having waited for new tryes to come in he was now in a position to push to reduce the gap to Terry. Meanwhile in the saloons. Ken Rattenbury was setting a hot pace, establish the lap record for the new class on lap5. However on lap 6 things got even hotter as Ken pulled off at the paddock entry with the back of his car on fire, having decided to start the barbecue season early!
Unfortunately the fire was on the far side of the car from the marshals, who were only made aware of the fact by the shouts from the crowd! Having swung into action they covered the car with a full load of dry powder extinguisher, which is quite a lot. All this and the subsequent clean up took a time and that wasnt the end of the incidents.
Coming into lap 12 there was some heavy midfield lappery going on, and in one of the hazards of multi-class racing a quick car and a slower car made contact. This time the unfortunate pair was Huw Williams and lappee who got in the way was Richard Hill one of the Welsh Championship debutantes. Unfortunately the contact happened right on the outside of Dibeni and Huw speared off into the tyre barrier on the outside of the corner; ending up in the section in between those two little gaps in the tyre wall.
Ouch! The car looks sad - but thank god Huw was Ok
The bodywork was at a dramatic angle and there was a moment or two of concern as there appeared to be no movement in the car. Once again the marshals seemed slow to react, although there is no marshals post in that area, but eventually the rescue truck was dispatched and Huw emerged from the car, unharmed. "I thought they might red flag the race but in any case I thought it best to stay in the car" Huw said afterwards. However the incident brought out the yellow flags again, and this had a major impact on the race as Terry found himself trapped behind some slow moving cars which gave Clive, who had a slightly less sedate passage through the yellow flags, a chance to cut the gap. Once the caution period was over Terry and Clive picked up the pace but Terry had just enough to hold on, completing 17 laps just under 2 seconds in front of Clive.
Round one winner Terry tells Tony all about it.
"Another couple of laps and I would have had him." Clive said afterwards. Terry for his part commented "Things could get interesting when Clive gets his car going right" Dave Krayem was 3rd and Graham Cole was 4th all on 17 laps. Richard Rhozon was 5th on 16 laps.
Andrew Williams lead the saloons on 15 laps with Paul Trowbridge (also setting the new class record), and Lee David also on the same lap. Matthew Perkins was 9th, on 14 laps, heading the Rover Trophy boys (First prize The Longbridge factory?) and the rest including Douglas Bowket in 12th place, a respectable debut.
So an interesting first round and sunny to boot. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Sunday 27th April - Entry & Practice
It was almost everybody as they were for Sunday apart from Kens shinged Sierra and Huw who brought out his Darrian T9 to replace the battered Radical, but without any change of luck, as the clutch packed in after 1 lap. Replacing Richard Rhozon as a front runner at the back was Dave Krayem. The weather was another to change with sunshine replaced by overnight rain and cloudy skies. At the front however there was a significant change as Graham Cole got his Trackstar on the right track and took pole by .128 from Terry Brown. "I dont know how that happened" said Graham! Clive was 3rd in the slower of the two S type Radicals, with Richard Rhozon and Peter Williams close behind in their normally aspirated Radicals.
Lee David was the revelation of the saloons in 6th place with Paul Trowbridge close by but well clear of the rest. Stephen Pearcy & Anthony Allitt were a close matched pair, as was Andrew Williams and Douglas Bowkett. Matthew Perkins, Nigel Hughes, Daniel Davies, & Chris Davies occupied 12th to 15th place with Adrian Chapman keeping Dave Krayem company at the back.
The Race 15 mins + 1 lap.
So after Graham Cole had spent the week emailing his concerns about the probable state of the track after the truck race, God decided to step in and hose down the track. Actually it was one of the most viscous rainstorms I have had the misfortune to be out in for quite a long time. God was also good to Graham by arranging for the MG Championship to sweep the track before hand too! See what we do for you!
However down at Hatchets on the first lap God decided to leave Graham and everyone else to their own devices and Richard Rhozon was the one who had his prayers answered, emerging for the melee with a large lead, to the delight of his watching wife and crew. Getting his head down Richard began to extend his lead to massive proportions in only a few laps, before easing back to run through to an unchallenged to win by almost 30 seconds. Terry however was heading back to paddock on foot without completing a lap with his car sidelined with a broken drive shaft. Also out before the race started was Anthony Allitt whose bonnet popped up and broke his windscreen on the warm up lap! By lap 2 the race had settled into Richard at the front with a gap to Clive Hayes and another gap to Peter Williams. Steve Pearcy was next up followed closely by Lee David, Douglas Bowkett and the rest including Graham Cole in about 10th place following guess what, a spin!
However by lap 3 Graham was up to 4th and homing in on an interesting battle that was brewing between Clive and Peter Williams. Meanwhile Lee dropped off the racing line at paddock and soon found himself back in a dogfight with Stephen Pearcy heading a train of cars including Lee & Matthew Perkins and then a little way back Chris Davies heading another little pack. All the while Dave Krayem was making smooth and steady progress to an eventual 5th place as was Andrew Williams who decide getting some points was the better option to wet weather heroics, especially with a misted up windscreen restricting his vision.
By half distance Graham had moved to within reach of the 2nd place battle between Clive and Peter and an excellent piece of opportunism saw him spilt the Radicals passing first Peter and then Clive to head into some clear track putting almost 30 seconds on Peter who eventually got past Clive to take 3rd place. However by this time Richard had disappeared and was well on his way to victory.
Down in the saloons the action was pretty close with Steven Pearcy heading a Rover train, with Chris Davies at the rear, but the train suddenly hit the buffers, with several panel bashing moments, ending with Matthew sideways across the track opposite the Formula 1 bar, and a lot of mayhem that ended with Lees car in the barrier looking very second hand, Chris into 6th place and first saloon home, followed by Stephen Pearcy with Matthew who eventually got going again a lap further back with Andrew Williams breathing down his back! Daniel Davies and Nigel Hughes were the last finishers.
At the end Richard was overjoyed to have taken such a win and his joy was shared throughout his team who were wearing the biggest smiles ever! "It was quite fraught at the start Clive hit my back wheel and Terry hit my front one, but I was able to get through and go. I keep focusing on my pit-board as there was no-one else around!"
However almost unnoticed in the background Andrew Williams took another good helping of points and an early championship lead. The next race in the 2005 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship is at Silverstone on 30th April and there is plenty of driving still to do.
Full times etc on http://www.msttiming.com/home.asp