The 2008 Welsh Saloon & Sportscar Championship rounds 10th, 11th & 12th - Anglesey August 2nd & 3rd
Saturday joy for Rhys heartache for Alvin at Anglsey away round
Entry & Practice
Saturdays entry, for the championships only away round of the season, was an endorsement of the shift in the championships regulations with a horde of Caterhams, Minis and others joining the regular championship contenders who braved the 500 mile round trip, to make a magnificent 29 starters, only 1 away from the circuit maximum! And it wasnt as if they were making up the numbers as Alvin set fastest time in Practice some 2 sec quicker than Rhys, but Mark Steward was the first guest in 3rd place in his Tiger Sport (a Lotus 7 looky likey), and Colin Chapman (son of Adrian) was 4th in his Fisher Fury Fireblade, which he was driving furiously as if his pants were on fire! (If we had an editor I suspect hed say thats enough puns). Mark Nicholson was next championship regular in 8th, Rhodri was 11th . Anthony Allitt was 14th, Jason Davies on Avon slicks for the first time was 15th. Paul Trowbridge was 19th . Stephen Humphries was 22nd Yolande 26th and Adrian 28th. (Only Andy Williams and Ken Rattenbury were missing, but had the good excuse of being at Kens daughter wedding.)
Saturday was sunny, if breezy (in contrast to Friday testing which was spoiled by torrential rain and gale force winds), and this tended to show off the new circuit layout to best effect with the dramatic backdrop of the Menai Strait and Snowdonia. With an all-tarmac paddock, plenty of space, mains electric hook-up (courtesy of a wind power generator), hot water in the loos and some interesting track layouts, including real gradients, it looked like it was money well spent by the European Union and Welsh Assembly.
At the start of the race Colin grabbed an instant but shortlived lead from Rhys whilst Alvin got swamped by Mark, and a few others, emerging in 5th place! Alvin soon carved his way through and then the race was set with Alvins Mondeo chasing down Rhys and the Leon. Having zeroed in Alvin began to saw at the back of Rhys car looking for a way past!
With Snowdon in the background Alvin chases Rhys on what must be Brtiains most picturesque circuit
However all Alvins efforts were in vain after trying to hard in the wrong place and spinning away from Rhys who was glad of the relief and stroked away to a 10 second win. Alvin tangled with Colin on the way back to the circuit which allowed Mark Steward into 3rd with Colin in 4th. Meanwhile back in the pack it was all action. Mark Nicholson looked set the tie up Class B until a clash with a Caterham in turn 2, the big banked hairpin called "The Banking", left him stranded over the kerb T-bonded with the Caterham across his nose. Eventually Mike got going after reversing off the kerb, but by then the rest of the class, now lead by Anthony Allitt, was long gone. Anthony was under pressure from Jason Davies, who was feeling his way on his new slicks, and Rhodri who was holding a watching brief. However he had to be on his toes as he had the hungry Mini of Jeremy Snowden snapping at his heels. Jeremy may have had the benefit of local knowledge, but he was taking no prisoners and Rhodri had to retake the position to close up on Jason. Anthony, Jason and Rhodri were nose to tail and Jason made several attempts at passing Anthony, running side by side with him through Church, having got a good drive off the Banking. Something had to give and unfortunately for Anthony it was he who got a little wide, did a half-spin and lost several places in one go! In a instant the Mini, Jason and Rhodri were all through. Jason kept the Mini in sight whilst fending off the advances of Rhodri to take an excellent and well fought 1st in Class, 11th overall. He also showed he was no fool by playing his joker and coming up trumps, doubling his points. Anthony meanwhile recovered but has his hand full with a pair of Caterhams including Class A winner Steve Humphries. Mark Nicholson fought his way back up to 16th overall, whilst Paul Trowbridge, Yolande and Adrian Chapman had their own races to finish 21st, 24th and 26th respectively. Certainly it was an all action race! Alvin later mused that "It was a bad day at the office" for him, Rhys commented "If he had have got through Im sure he would have left me, but its quite tight here in places, so Im glad I could keep him behind" Jason was basking in a job well done and Rhodri dropped by to pay him his own compliment.
Race 2 15 mins + 1 lap- The Coastal Circuit
At the start of race 2 it was different as Alvin got good drive off the line and was right tight with Rhys from the off, eventually getting by into the lead. But Alvin wasnt quite able to pull a big gap to Rhys and Rhys was keeping Alvin under pressure without quite being able to mount a challenge, obviously hoping a chance would come later on. In Class B Jason had the bit between his teeth and powered into an early lead battling with a Caterham and leaving Anthony, Mark and Rhodri to fight amongst themselves. Anthony initially had a few Caterhams between him and Mark, who also had a few cars protection from Rhodri, but it was soon narrowed down to the 3 Honda running nose to tail with plenty of ducking and diving. Mark and Rhodri swapped and re-swapped places and it was all good uninhibited stuff! Jason meanwhile got the better of the Caterham, but then seemed to take a liking to the place occupied by the Mini of Jeremy Snowden, and was off scalp-hunting, all the while drawing away from the warring trio behind him.
Honda set-to. Close quarter racing
Entering the final stages Alvin and Rhys started to home in on the 3 car battle of the Hondas, now lead by Mark Nicholson, and just as Rhodri had got past Anthony at the top of the hill entering the heavy braking zone for Rocket corner, Anthonys' car momentarily locked up, running into Rhodris door, causing some major damage to his passenger door and sill, before bouncing across the circuit into the path of the oncoming Alvin. Contact was unavoidable, all 3 cars ending up with damage and although Anthony and Rhodri got going again to finish the race, Alvin sadly went no further. The impact with Anthonys car had pushed the front of the Mondeo about 30 degrees over to the right, and with steam issuing from the rad and the bodywork fouling the tyres Alvin could only pull on to the grass and out of the race.
In the midst of the melee` Rhys, slipped by on the outside via the grass and into the lead. Mark Nicholson was now 2nd in Class B, Anthony got going as did Rhodri some way down, but Jason was 20 seconds down the road trying to monster the Mini for 6th place overall, only 2/10ths separating them at the end.
RS with a hint of opposite lock- now where have we seen that before? Jason presses on
Class A winner Steve Humphries was 12th ahead of the limping Rhodri. Paul Trowbridge, Yolande and Adrian Chapman had their own races to finish 15th , 17th and 19th respectively. Adrian unfortunately couldnt get a handle on the circuit and was lapped but his unapologetic son Colin who finished in a solid 4th place.
Afterwards in the paddock a naturally choked Alvin commented, "It was a racing accident, they were having their own race. It happens. I dont expect we can use this car again until weve done some work on it , but hopefully we can get it straight again"
Rhys reflected "I could see something was going to happen, so I went onto the grass to avoid it. Alvin was going well but I managed to hold him"Jeremey Snowden sought out Jason in the paddock and commented "There was no way I was going to let you past on the last lap!" Jason could afford to smile, having learnt where the limits of his new slicks were after finding himself a little too sideways at one stage "I thought oh no its going, but then it snapped back" but his score from the 2 races were 2 Class wins and 2 fastest laps, and a Driver of the Day Award to top it all off.
Sundays 2nd day of the racing at Anglesey started off Bright and Sunny with very few
clouds, the Sun pushing its way through as the day progressed making it overall an
improvement to Saturday. Practice over the longer distance of the 2.1
It was clearly obvious that the Commentators at Anglesey were impressed with Jason and his car calling him the 'Entertainer of the Weekend' and choosing him as The Driver of the Day, he certainly made his mark as they continually mentioned him throughout the weekend. While all Cars made their way to the Assembly Area for their Final Race dark clouds loomed over ahead and the rain began but they quickly passed and the rain turned to a fine drizzle which disappeared towards the end of the first lap and it continued dry throughout the race. First off on the start was No 11 Nick Starkey with his Caterham followed by Rhys in his Seat Leon then No 69 Mark Steward,on the second lap Rhys pulled through taking the No 1 position and the Caterham in second being harressed by No 69 Mark Steward with his Tiger RS6 a battle then commenced with Mark and Nick pursued closely by Joachim Ritter in his Ginetta G50 who was sidelined in practice on Saturday morning after a collision, causing him to work on his car all weekend to get back out, as his rear hub broke in a number of places. The race progressed still with the Caterham hanging closely behind the Tiger and Rhys Lloyd clearly out in No 1 position to get his triple win of the weekend, at Hairpin Nick Starkey went off putting Mark in second place followed by Joachim, Then halfway through the race the Ginetta passed the Tiger putting him in second place with the final result being Rhys 1st Joachim 2nd and Mark 3rd
Rhys began to ease away to win by 8 seconds. Colin Chapman had another good finish in 5th place. Similarly Jason Davies took charge of Class B from the start, finishing 9th to round off a good weekend for our newest racer. Mark Nicholson had a reviatised Paul Trowbridge on his tail. Paul had Steve Trowbridge in tow. Also in the mix was guest driver Martin Gee, and once Mark and Paul had broken away, Martin and Steve got involved in a little battle. Anthony Allitt was finding some pace late on and began to catch the Caterham pair, eventually coming out on top to finish 12th with Steve 13th, making it Welsh Championship drivers in a line from Jason in 9th, Mark 10th, Paul 11th, Anthony 12th, Steve 13th. Martin Gee and Nick Pancisi seperated Yolande from the rest, and Adrian was 18th. Jason obviously fancied finishing the task with a flourish and pushed on setting the class fastest lap on the final lap making light of his pre-race problems on what was a good weekend for him, Rhys & Steve and the new points leader Mark Nicholson, on the championships first visit to the reviatalised Angelsey circuit. Now if they can sort out a quick way from North to South it may not be the last.