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2002 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship

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Round 15 - Silverstone 8 clubs

Martin Davies splashed his way to a win double at Silverstone on Saturday. Driving his 4wd Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth Martin won the first race of the day (the WRDA race) and then went on to retain the trophy he won last year and finished 3rd overall in the team challenge race after a secret, risky but calculated gamble paid off.

Entry and Practice

After a short delay while the gloom lifted, with the track wet but with a drying line being to show by the end of the session, the 2002 champion in waiting, Terry Brown headed the Welsh Championship entries in 3rd place. The rest of the Welsh runners followed directly behind. 4th was the Mallock of Dave Smith with Martin Davies, Clive Hayes, Peter Williams and Huw Williams following on. Cindy was a little further back but still a creditable 14th out of a 30 car field.

The race – 10 laps.

On Pole position was the Radical Prosport of Roger Mayes, with Keith Butcher 2nd but they were the only non-Welsh Championship runners in the first 8 places. (Although Keith has raced with us in the past, he wasn’t scoring points today). By race time the rain had set in and it was now time for the dice to fall on Martins gamble. "I could see it was only damp in practice and it didn’t look if there was any standing water, so I went out on slicks! I wanted to try to save my wets for the afternoon. I thought that if it began to rain hard I’d need them most".

Another driver on slicks for practice was Clive but that was more by circumstances than design. "We had a very eventful weekend. We started on our journey to Silverstone on Friday. It's normally a 4 hour run but it took us 9 hours due to the bad weather conditions plus a crash on the M4, which delayed us a few hours, and a crash on the A34 which delayed us another couple of hours. We woke up on Saturday morning to find it bright and dry, it was then a rush to sign, on, scrutineer and change the set-up for dry and change to slicks. We were the first qualifying session and in no time were being called to the assembly area. By the time all the cars had come to the assembly area a thick fog had come down from nowhere and they delayed the start of qualifying for just over an hour because they could not see between marshals posts. By this time the track was nice and wet again. By this time it appeared that only Martin Davies and myself were on slicks, everyone else were on wets. I was not too bothered because I was only out to do a few laps to qualify and then had to come back in to refuel and change tyres for the next qualifying which was immediately after the first. I did approximately 6 laps in the first session and then made a dash to the pits to change tyres. On slowing down to enter the pits the car started missing and just as I got into the paddock it cut out altogether. By the time we got it sorted I missed the qualifying session for the 2nd race and had to go and see the clerk of the course to see if they would let me out in that race. They said it was fine because I had already done one qualifying but would have to start from the back of the grid."

 When the lights changed Martin put everything into making sure his gamble paid off! "The startline marshal watching my row said afterwards, I could see you were going for it, but I’d thought you’d leave with your gearbox in bits!"

Also on the rise was Clive " I got a good start, by the first corner I was up into 2nd, then lost some places and settled in 4th behind Martin, Keith and Terry. Then on the 3rd lap I had a puncture to the near side front tyre and pulled off into the pits". Keith Butcher was the only man to stay within range of the disappearing Sapphire, but Terry Brown was the winner in a Radical battle that went all the way to the line to take 3rd place and make sure that Welsh runners tucked up 1st and 3rd. Less than a second separated him from pole position man Roger Mayes who was the last unlapped runner. Peter Williams was 5th,  and Huw was 9th.

Cindy was the last Welsh runner in 13th pace "After qualifing 14th for the 1st race I made some changes to the car and in 2nd qualifying is was 6th. This was the first wet race I completed in this car and really enjoyed it, but after I crossed the finish line I snapped a crank and was unable to compete in the 2nd race." Dave Smith was a non starter and although Clive dropped out after 2 laps it was a good show from the Welsh runners.

Afterwards Martin said "I’m pleased that the car seems to be going well, but I was worried about Keith. There is a lot of high tech stuff on his car like traction control and I knew he could give me a hard time"

The full points show that Terry has cemented his second title with an 81 points total, but there were good points on the day for Martin, Peter, Huw and Cindy.

Practice & race results

Martin & Clive star .Further reports, results and musing from the Silverstone meeting