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2002 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship

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Round 14. Pembrey 20/10/2002

Terry Brown sets a new qualifing record but Martin Davies leads the tin-tops to triumph

Entry & Qualifing

Sunday dawned cloudy, rainy and blowing a gale, so the forecasters were right, but you weren’t going to need Noahs ark just yet! There were only 12 starters, with car troubles keeping Nick Spence, Sue Hollis, Larry Phillips and Nigel Bowen out whilst the usual commitments kept Elir away.

With a rain swept track to contend with it was going to be interesting to see whether the weather was going to keep Terry Brown from a clean sweep of Pembery Pole Positions in 2002. Out to enjoy the conditions and give him a hard time, if they could, were acknowledged rain miesters Martin Davies, Alvin Powell and Graham Hollis. Indeed it was Martin who set the early pace but he soon found out what had been causing the misfire! "Steam started to come out from under the bonnet, so I pitted to top up the radiator and went for one last big effort, before parking it". Martins 6th lap of 70.399 secs was good enough for pole at the time and then it was a nail biter to see if he could stay there. Another to set his fastest time early on was Alvin, (that was before he went for a spin at Honda again) but the dying laps of the session saw most people set their fastest times. On lap 16 of the session it was Terry Brown that rose to the occasion and took pole with a time of 69.219 seconds after a dramatic practice session! Martin and Alvin times were enough to see them 2nd and 3rd, ahead of Graham Hollis, making it a tin tip parade on the front 2 rows. Clive Hayes was 5th with his Radical sandwiched by more saloons with Rhodri right up his exhaust pipe only 2/10ths slower! Peter Salter was an excellent 7th in a time of 67.384 seconds. Peter Williams was next, heading a Williams clan meeting in 8th place. (The wet wasn’t suiting the Globals as he was unable to get below 1.20.678 … 3 seconds slower than the Peter Salters’ Rover). Huw Williams was in 9th followed by Andy Williams (clearly not singing in the rain!) Andrew McInnes was 11th, with Cindy stone last and all at sea!

The race – 12 laps - Rolling start

So with Terry entering the history books with a 100% qualifying record at Pembrey this season, the question was could he defy the odds, the flu and the weather and keep his 100% race winning record? Well the rain looked to be easing and the wind (howling gale if you like) and the 1hr 2cv race (or the first to 10 laps) looked like producing a drying line. Then it started raining in earnest again! Over lunchtime Martin made a discovery that highlighted the reason for the misfire and left him with a dilemma. "It looked like the headgasket was the real problem and I had two choices, go home and get it ready for Silverstone, or tighten the head down and hope it lasted. I decided to tighten the head and give it a go, if it lasts the first 5 laps I should be ok"

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Terry leads from Martin as Alvin takes an interesting line!

However with a rolling start negating some of Martins 4wd advantage, Terry was in the box seat and he emerged from Hatchets in the lead. With Alvin close by Martin pressed Terry for the lead at the paddock turn.

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Terry fended him off and retained the lead, but the Radical looked very unstable at times with a notable wiggle on at the exit of Honda curve. The wet was catching a few out and Cindy went off to visit the scenery and got bogged down. "The car wouldn't turn, stop or do anything!" With Cindy stranded and Alvin flying off at Honda again,( this time on the outside with a big understeery moment), the organisers red flagged to race to recover Cindys car from a potentially dangerous place. With only 3 laps run a re start was required for a new 8 lap race from the original grid positions.

The race – 8 laps - Rolling start

Alvin visited the pits as he couldn’t see out of his windscreen and would have to start from the pitlane. This left Graham Hollis on his own on row 2, and ready to pounce on any mistakes. This time after rolling start number 2, as Terry came out of Hatchets, Martin was putting him under real pressure and made it through into the lead this time at the paddock turn followed by a fast starting Graham Hollis.

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Martin & Graham slip past Terry at the paddock turn - Did I mention it was wet!

With Terry occupied with Graham, Martin began to draw away, and by the time Terry had got by Graham Hollis, he already had a tidy lead. Graham began to drop down the order at the same time as Alvin was beginning to climb it. By lap 4 Martin was in the lead from Terry, with Alvin closing on him after disposing of Graham and get a wave-by from Clive Hayes. Clive was content to pass Grahams RS2000 for 4th place. With everything settling into a pattern in midfield, it was the action at the front that was holding the attention. Martin had a handy lead on Terry, who only needed a finish to seal his 2nd championship, but Alvin had his dander up and closed quickly on Terry, who let him by in front of the pits to give him a clear run at Martin. At this stage Martin was controlling the race with his mirrors and trying to preserve his engine. That is until he saw Alvin coming! "I could see Terry in my mirrors as I was approaching Hatchets and I could see I was able to hold him. So I wound down the boost and cut the revs. That is until I saw this new set of lights overtake Terry. I thought, who is this? When I realized it was Alvin, I started to wind the boost back up!" With 4 laps to go the gap was 8.4 seconds and although Alvin took off after Martin with a vengeance and drove like a man possessed, Martin managed to pick up the pace enough to see him through. At the flag he had done enough to hold the Mondeo off to win by just over 4 seconds, to take the first tintop win for almost 3 seasons, with Alvin completing the first tin-top one-two for many years!

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Happy chappy - hands up if you've had a good race! Martin celebrates.

On the slowing down lap Martin looked so pleased, he looked like he was about to throw himself out of the car! Speaking to interviewer Peter Hughes in the pitlane afterwards, Martin confirmed that he has been taking time out to help his son Jason with his karting. "Jason helped me with the spanners today so I’ve got him to thank, although at one stage today it was all in doubt ". With Alvin contented with an excellent drive and Terry happy to have sealed his second championship ("You couldn’t live with cars like Alvin or Martin on a day like this. Honestly it was case of survival out there, and I wasn’t going to do anything to stop me picking up the points I needed"), it was a great days racing!

It was also a great days record breaking, as it is hard to see anyone equaling or beating Terrys outstanding record of pole positions at Pembrey, unless it’s Terry himself! If the end of the season race at Silverstone is anything like this it’ll be a cracker! See you on November 2nd for some more fireworks!

Full results can be seen on