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2007 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship

Cole family share the fortunes.

Graham & Alexis Cole share the wins on a sunny Pembrey Truck Fest

Race 1 – Saturday 14th April- entry and practice

The first race of the season saw a mixture of new faces and regulars making up a 15 car grid. Graham Cole took pole position with a time of 56.065 in his turbo Jade Trackstar with Alexis a few 10ths back with his Nemesis. The second row was a Radical affair with Peter Williams heading Huw by a couple of seconds but about the same behind the Cole position. Keith Butcher pedalled his thunderous new V8 Star Audi TT around in 64.219 to take 5th place ahead of the first of the new drivers, Duncan Cameron who, along with Jon Dillon, was bringing a touch of class to the series with their pair of Ferrari 360 Challenge cars. Just behind Duncan was another new face, Dorian Trryell. Or rather Dorian may be new to racing but to anyone who has been to a sprint meeting in the last 10 years Dorian is well know as a Welsh Champion, now living in Bishop Stortford, Dorian has giving his shiny new ADR Honda a run. Right in the mix was Andrew Williams, and Greg Wood with all 5 cars form Keith back covered by less than a second. Jon Dillon was 10th on 67.577.

Mark Nicholson was 11th in his new Integra coupe ahead of Ken Rattenbury and newcomer and self confessed novice Richard McVean and his Westfield. Adrian Chapman, and Paul Gibbs making his return, made up the starters. However Adrian Chapman did his clutch and missed the race as did Mike Wood, who just couldn’t get any revs out of his Honda. He couldn’t get any change out of race organisers either and his plan to run Anthony Allitt’s spare Rover 216 Gti was sadly ruled out.

The race 15 mins plus 1 lap

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Graham Cole - on his own

Strangely for a Truck Meeting, the race started from a standing start and Graham timed it just right, to lead all the way to the flag. Alexis pressed as hard as he could but Grahams superior turbo power and some luck with the back-markers meant he was always just out of reach. Peter Williams was 3rd for most of the race until a broken chain put him out and allowed Huw Williams to take 3rd place, after a count back by the timekeepers actually showed him on the results (not the only mistake they made over the course of the weekend). Keith Butcher was 4th having put on a spirited recovery drive, after a bad start. "It was an horrendous start, but I had some fun coming back up. It was a good race, the best race I’ve had for years. It’s a good class with some good opposition." Keith finished some way ahead of a ducking and diving group with Duncan Cameron clear in 5th in the first of the Ferrari 360s, with Andrew Willams’ Ford Sierra sandwiched between Duncan and Jon Dillon with the other 360 and Dorian Tyrrell completing a group with just a second between them. Greg Wood brought his Mallock into 9th, with Mark Nicholson 10th and Paul Gibbs in 11th.

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Kens'car looked nice when it was going

Richard McVean had a baptism of fire having never raced before, and Ken Rattenbury joined Peter Williams in retiring with turbo and electrical problems.

Race 2 – Sunday 15th April- entry and practice

Alexis was the Cole family member on pole position after dad Graham found himself stuck in 4th gear. Peter Williams was 2nd on the grid. Graham was quick enough for 3rd before his gearbox problems with Huw 4th and Keith Butcher 5th . Dorian Tyrell was well in the swing in 6th with Greg Wood playing his joker in 7th. Jon Dillon and Duncan Cameron were next up in the 360s but only Jon made it to the grid after a gearbox sensor packed up on the Duncans car. Andrew Williams was 10th

Mark Nicholson was 11th but there would be a gap on the grid were Ken Rattenbury should have been after Kens’ back luck continued when his engine block was comprehensively ventilated by a couple of con rods. Mike Wood did get to race the Rover 216 with Richard McVean and Paul Gibbs completing the grid.

In the lunch break it was time to catch up with a few old faces, with Alvin Powell, Rhys Lloyd and the Rhozons, spectating, along with Nigel James, mid 90s saloon car contender, nice to see you guys but lets see you out there on the track! Jonathon Vamplew, late 90s contender, who is currently doing well in the Caterham Classic Graduate series was on hand and revealed he is considering plans to return to the Welsh Championship with a Formula 5 based sportscar-bring it on Jonathan!

It was also time to chat with Ferrari duo Duncan and Jon who were bring a touch of Italian flair to the Championship (Glynne Jones would have felt at home). Duncan and Jon had already had a tussle with defending champion Andy Williams "He’s a good driver. We started off doing Ferrari trackdays but we wanted to move it up a notch." The two lads are planning to do a mixture of the Welsh, Castle Combe and Northen GT Cahmpionships to get some experience. "We are really enjoying it, and we should do the Brands Hatch and Silverstone rounds as well as the October Pembrey rounds" Sadly only Jon was able to make it to the race, with a gearbox sensor putting paid to Duncans’ car.

The race - 15mins plus 1 lap- Standing Start

Alexis Cole wins-Andrew Williams set a new class lap record

Graham Cole spent the lunch-hour fettling his gearbox including removing the shards of broken gears but at the start he caught Alexis and Peter napping and shot away towards Hatchets with a handy lead from Peter and the recovering Alexis. There was already a gap to Huw and then a long gap to Keith Butcher, Dorain Trryell, Andrew Williams and the rest. Not however including Greg Wood, who was playing his joker but didn’t get too far. "I knew I had to get in front of Keith off the line, but I must have tried too hard and may have stripped some gears" Andrew Williams was also keen to get ahead but was given a 10 second penalty for a jumped start. Dorian was next to join Greg in retirement after a clash with Keith, leaving Keith and Andy to continue with what became the dice of the day with plenty of passing and re-passing.

Jon Dillon made it the 3rd retirement with electrical problems on the Ferrari, sadly robbing us of the spectacle after only a few laps. Come back again soon lads!

At the front Graham Cole was pounding the paving getting down to within a second of the lap record, before slowing to an absolute crawl, and allowing first Alexis and then Peter, Huw and many others past. The crippled Jade started to give back the laps it had gained so quickly in the opening laps to fall to 7th overall but still 4th in class, an important result in a double points round. Alexis ran out the winner with 20 seconds over Peter Williams who had about the same gap over Huw. Keith Butcher was 4th with Andy Williams hot on his tail, setting a new class lap record on lap14, although the 10 second penalty dropped him back in the result sheets; which also had to be amended eventually show Mark Nicholson in 6th , Graham Cole 7th and Mike Woods in 8th place. Mike really enjoyed playing the wild Rover. "Its a nice car, very reliable. I had a lot of fun." Paul Gibbs was 9th and Richard McVean was last finisher in 10th. So a nice load of sunshine, some good grids, some cracking race and a good crowd to watch. Long may it long continue.

The next race is at Brands Hatch on the 6th May so get those entries in early

Full times etc on http://www.msttiming.com/home.asp