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2007 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship

Double 6 for Graham Cole at Summer Truck Fest

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Two wins & two lap records - King Cole rules the track!

Double 6 for Graham Cole at Summer Truck Fest

Race 1 – Saturday 9th June- entry & practice

There was mixture of new faces and regulars making up a 13 car grid. Graham Cole took pole position with a time of 53.398 in his Jade Trackstar but Alexis was 2nd only managing 56.987 in his Nemesis. The second row was a Radical affair with Peter Williams heading guest driver Ross Allen with his new Radical SR4. Huw Williams was 5th ahead of another guest Mike Luck in a Darrian T90 (not the only blast from the past seen over the weekend) finishing off the GTs but only just a second or so ahead of Keith Butcher V8 Audi panzerwagen, which was a couple of seconds ahead of Andrew Williams, who had the welcome sight of Doug Bowkett’s Renault Megane only a second behind with Rhys Lloyd another welcome returnee in his rally spec MG ZR . Richard McVean was 11th with a time under 69 secs so is making progress, and was ahead of Charles Newton and his Mondeo Eurocar and Paul Gibbs who was 13th

The race - 15 mins plus 1 lap

 

Sadly Doug Bowkett didn’t make the grid with a blown head gasket, and Mike Woods didn’t make it to race day after a Friday testing accident but Graham was off and running as soon as the light changed, breaking the lap record on his first flying lap! His time on lap 2 was 53.025 secs and he then maintained an unchallenged lead until the end, racking up 16 laps. Any possible threat from Alexis failed to materialise after several changes suggested by the cars’ designer proved counter-productive. " I mentioned that there was some understeer but after we made the changes it was very tail happy and undriveable. I spun twice but couldn’t get going again after the 2nd spin" That left Peter Williams in 2nd with Huw & Ross Allen for close company. Ross, who works in the Williams F1 composite division, was joining us to rack up some signatures to upgrade his licence so he could race at Spa Francochamps, but it was good to see him. One lap down and the first saloon was Keith Butcher and the rumbling Audi, in common with all the drivers in the closed cars Keith was sweltering with the sun making it one of the hottest races of the year inside the car. Keith was closely followed by Mike Luck and the Darrian T90. Mike is Lucky by name and also lucky by nature having copped a free drive from the cars owner who lives and races at Sepang! "He sent it over to us and told us to get it running properly and then sell it. Its an ex-Steve Griffiths car, so I thought I’d give it a run out here and then do the 4 hour night race at Spa" Nice work if you can get it. Andrew Williams was a couple of seconds back in 6th, ahead of Richard MacVeans’ Westfield with Charles Newton who was rocking on in his Rock Oil Eurocar Mondeo 8th and last; after first Rhys Lloyd pulled off "I had a hub nut come undone and lost my brakes going into Hatchets. That was a bit concerning, but I managed to spin it up the escape road. I tried to get going again but the cv and halfshaft popped out as there was nothing to hold it in. Its not something that’s happened before." Late on Huw also dropped out promoting Ross Allen into 3rd place.

Overnight the championship points showed Keith Butcher and Andrew Williams tied on 55 points but Graham Cole up to 3rd with 51.

 

Race 2 – Sunday 10th June- entry and practice

So a nice load of sunshine, and a good crowd to watch, with all the Saturday starters back for more but joined this time with a real blast from the past as, Ken Davies the 1993 Welsh Sports & Saloon Champion, entered with a Porsche 924s. No it wasn’t the car he used to win the championship all those years ago, but a new one he was building up. "We needed a target so I entered this race so we had to get it done, but it was a close thing." With the car on road tyres 75.276 wasn’t going to set the track alight, but at least he could get some mileage on the car. Graham Cole was on pole again with a time of 55.344 secs ahead of Alexis on 57.010 closely followed by Peter on 57.847 and with Ross Allen on 58.243 and Huw 5th on 59.513 there at least seemed some prospect of a closer race behind Graham. Mike Luck and Keith Butcher were also closer at 63.205 and 63.263 respectively with Andrew on 64.317. Rhys Lloyd was 9th on 68.796 with Charles Newton on 69.146 secs showing the Euro was on the up. Richard MacVean was 11th ahead of the aforementioned Ken Davies.

The race - 15 mins plus 1 lap

Everyone got ready to race after the lunch break with the sun making it even hotter inside the closed cars, but at the front Graham made no mistake, blasting into a lead he was never to loose, reducing his new lap record even further on lap 3 to leave it at 53.027 secs, just a shade under a 100 mph lap at 98.83 mph! Behind Graham there was some contest for 2nd after Alexis fumbled his start. Peter Williams and Ross made the best of the chance but Alexis was soon into his stride and moved away from Huw to pass Ross and then passed Peter for 2nd on lap 6. By that time Graham was long gone and Alexis, Peter, Ross and Huw settled into their positions. Keith Butcher was 6th but any chance of a dice between him and Mike ended early on, Mike being unlucky to be the only non-finisher. Andy Williams was 7th, with Rhys Lloyd 8th .

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Retro chic - Ken and Charles duke it out early on

Rhys came under some late pressure from Charles Newton who closed to just a few 10th behind despite easing off in response to the blue flags. However he did get the Visitor of the Day award. So another impressive race win and another fastest lap for Graham. Plain sailing? Well at least you’d think so but there is rarely a race without a drama for Graham. "I’d like to give a special mention to Christian, who helped us (again ) by taking away our split manifold following the Saturday race, tig welding it overnight and bringing it back so we could fit it 1st thing Sunday morning. Also to Ben Gunn, who performed miracles to get us out in the race with only minutes to spare after the alternator failed during qualifying.....he did an heroic job swapping the parts and we eventually made one up out of a road car unit" Mydrian Harris was visiting the in-laws in the paddock, and he explained "We’ve just had a new addition to the family and I am busy doing my second degree." Still it would be nice to see him out there. If only for the hilarious videos! The next race is at Mallory Park on 1st July so get those entries in early

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Champions chat? 1993 Champion Ken Davies chats to current joints points leader Keith Butcher. 

The next race is at Mallory Park on 1st July so get those entries in early