Sunday 26th September Round 12 at Pembrey Fabulous racing
The first few laps of Sundays practice was very slippery with a bit of light early morning rain to burn off before competitive times could start to come. We were a few cars short of our Saturday grid, but with only Graham Cole and Jonathon Williams missing there was still plenty of cars on the grid. Having big grids brings its own problems as track space for a quick run is in short supply. However the man on pole was none other than yours truly Terry Brown, with Jeff Davies and Huw Williams making it another Radical 1-2-3 all under 60 seconds (Gone in 60 seconds they could make a film of that!). Russ Leavis Mallock broke the sequence in 4th with Richard Rhozon 5th and Larry Phillips 6th.Chaz Ryles was 7th and Shane Marshall 8th.In a batch running from Rhodri Jenkins who was 9th , Graham Hollis who was 10th (but only by few 100ths) Rhys Lloyd (11th) on to Christian Evans in 12th (who only had a few 10ths to spare ) on to Andy Williams in 13th, five cars were covered by less than a second! Morgan Burgess was on his own in 14th, but in 15th heading another batch was Anthony Allitt, who was joined by Ken Rattenbury and Matthew Perkins with little more than a 10th between them.
In contrast to the potential traffic jam ahead Lee David, Chris Davies and Steve Pearcy were keeping a nice space between themselves, whilst Alun Fowler and Adrian Chapman clearly didnt believe in overcrowding.
The race - 15 minutes + 1 lap
We lost 2 cars after practice, Richard Rhozon with gearbox troubles and Ken Rattenbury with differential troubles, but for the rest it was a worrying time as the clouds refused to lift and there was a hint of drizzle in the air. In the end the weather settled down enough to confirm slicks as the correct choice.
However the weather wasnt the only thing that was hard to predict, and it was clear that something was going to be different about this race, as Terry seemed like a man on a mission almost as soon as the green flag fell, tearing around the track at a startling pace, before diving into the pits! That left Jeff Davies to take up what was effectively pole position, but as the lights changed it was Huw Williams who got the better start and treated us to the site of a blue and white Radical taking the lead with Jeff Davies second and Larry Phillips 3rd! Unfortunately as the pack streamed through the first lap we lost Stephen Pearcy who retired on the spot. Matthew Perkins resumed a long way behind in last place
Going into the second lap Huw was leading from Jeff who was gathering himself up for a tilt at the lead and Chas Ryles now in 3rd with Shane Marshall in close company after Larry got too far up the kerbs and spun down to 6th, (later pulling off to join Steve Pearcy as the only retirements). This left the charging Rhodri Jenkins into 4th place, with Graham Hollis 5th and Larry in 6th for the time being. The battle at the front was holding the attention with Huw holding off some serious challenges from Jeff, but there were battles all through the field, some of which continued for the whole race.
Early on Rhys Lloyd held a narrow lead in 7th ahead of Christian Evans and Andy Williams. It didnt stay that way for long, as the 3 drivers put on a spectacular show of racing, sometimes more like Nascar than Welsh Championship, but all good clean fun. Quite who overtook who, and where, would be a work to rival Shakespeare, but places were swapped and re-swapped virtually every lap. Three wide past the pits seemed to be a popular move!
In the meantime at the front Huw and Jeff were starting to lap the back-markers but after clearing the first batch Huws car started to sound different. "I clipped the grass getting past one of the cars and one of the clips on the bodywork popped open" The result was that Huws front splitter was dragging the ground and later it started to rub the tyre leaving a haze behind the car in the braking zone. This left Jeff in a strong position and he moved past into the lead and although Huw hung on for as long as he could, eventually the pits beckoned, leaving Jeff with a lap lead over Chaz Ryles who was having his own pitched battle with Shane Marshall which ended when Shanes engine started to sound a little sour.
As Shane dropped down the order Rhodri Jenkins, who was on a charge after banging in a series of quick laps, was ready to put a saloon on the podium! "I wanted to get away from Graham as soon as I could as I figured if I put myself out of reach he might decide to play to the crowd and start power sliding!" The plan worked as Graham was his usual entertaining self, but Rhodris pace was hot in the extreme and he set a new Class lap record on lap 6 to leave it at 65.198 secs, taking almost 4/10ths off the old record!
Another driver breaking lap records was Terry Brown who, after spending 4 frustrating laps in the pits tracing what turned out to be a lead that had detached itself from the coil, returned to the race and started to pound the lap record with a series of stunning laps. Although he was dead last, at the end of the race Terry was smiling eventually leaving the outright Welsh lap record at 55.473 secs which is an average speed of 94.03 mph! " It was something to go for"
Huw Williams also returned to the fray after losing 2 laps refitting the bodywork and recovered enough to take 4th place, some small reward after having enjoyed his laps in the lead. "It was great, I really enjoyed it" Graham Hollis was 5th but for once even he was upstaged by the raging battle behind him. After spending almost all the race swapping places, Christian Evans was able to make a break as Andy Williams got himself in a tangle holding up Rhys Lloyd, who then chased Andy to the line. Christian even had Graham in sight by the end, but he was glad to take the maximum class points to at least take the championship to the final rounds for another dramatic end to the season "It was good and I got the points I missed yesterday. I know Rhodri is in the lead of the championship but he has still got score some points to win "
Almost unnoticed due to all the frantic action in front, Anthony Allitt was an excellent 9th and first 216, ahead of Shane Marshall who was the last runner to complete 15 laps. A further lap back Lee David had Matthew Perkins as close company. Matthew put in a good drive to come from way back after the first corner tangle. Christopher Davies was 13th and Adrian Chapman was 14th and showed some bravery in beating Alun Fowler and his monster XJS! Well have you seen the size of Adrians car compared to Aluns XJS!
At the end Jeff proved fast enough to take the race to 16 laps in 15 minutes and with one lap to go completed 17 laps, and was happy to take the win, "I stalled on the grid again! Its a shame about Terrys problem but I could see something was up by the way he was charging round the green flag lap". Chaz Ryles had a quick spin before taking 2nd with Rhodri the only other runner on 16 laps.
After the race it seemed that everybody had something to smile about , including Christian Evans who was given the Driver of the Day award, and indeed BARC the race organisers were impressed enough to offer us a pair of even longer races in October. Lets hope everyone can fettle their cars for an end of season bonanza and Chaz, Andrew and his mates will come back too!
Action & awards photos to follow