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The 2010 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship

Pembrey 14/15 August

3 races – 3 different leaders (Vid clip of  race 3 start)

Entry & Practice

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Mike & Dominic battle for the lead

After the crash fest that the June meeting ended with, it was heartening to see 18 entries for the penultimate rounds. Saturday was overcast and there had been some overnight rain but fortunately is was dry for most of the day

Dominic Evans in his Westfield was fastest with a time of 62.089 but in 2nd place it was the return of Mike Riordan, the Irish Rover. Actually this time the car was entered correctly as an Opel Tigra and it was nice to see him back. 3rd was another returnee, Keith White in his lovely looking BMW Z4 silhouette. 4th was Geraint Rees in his Westfield Sei with Keith Butcher in his Ginetta G50 5th.

6th and 7th were Neil Watts and Russell Haggerty. Andy Williams put his Nissan Primera in 8th place, before abandoning it, to go and get his Sierra Sapphire for Sundays races, as the Muz boys started to tear the Nissans gearbox apart to reveal a broken input shaft. Martin Davies had a run out in his sons Jasons’ Escort, which confused the commentators no end. Martin was a less sideways than Jason usually is, but it was really only a systems check as part of the plans to make the long trek to Snetteron. ‘It would be a long way to go just to find something went wrong that we could have fixed before we left’ said Martin. I certainly agreed with the first part. It is a very long way, talk about coast to coast! A good supply of Yorkie bars is needed! Our final returnee was Mike Edgell who gave his Mini its first run out after a bit of a lay off. Ray Hanson would have been 11th but the Alfas engine had given up the ghost. We may see Glynne & Ray out in something new next time. 12th was Robert Kubica (well F1 is having a break at the moment) No actually it was Robert Kucia from Newport, who was having his first race at Pembrey with a Rover 216 Gti as part of his plans to get enough signatures to enter the Britcar 24hr race. Robert was quicker than Kareem and his Rover, so a good dice was in prospect. Last qualifier was Ken Rattenbury still trying to get his BTCC Mondeo to run right, trying a flat shifter and other things to get it going properly . ‘Alvin said it took him a year to sort his car out first time’ Phil Bendall was also there, but is currently running his Ford Focus ST130 on the road to try and find an elusive CPU fault.

Race 1 Saturday 14th August – 15 minutes plus 1 lap- Rolling Start

When the lights changed Dom took the lead but with Mike on his tail, it looked like we were in for a battle. Keith White looked enthusiastic & sideways coming out of Dibeni, giving Geraint an early chance to make some moves. Russell was 4th and Keith Butcher 5th. Neil Watts was 6th from Martin Davies, Mike Edgell, Robert Kucia and Kareem. Ken Rattenbury got past the Rovers but the question was could he make some more progress? However at the end of lap one Michael Riordan began to slow dramatically and was forced into the paddock after the drivers side door skin came away from the frame and threatened to tear itself off! Keith White also was a pit visitor with the car stuck in 2nd gear. This left Dominic in firm control of the race, but suddenly it was all over as Ken Rattenbury stopped on the circuit with a dead engine. With the Mondeo stranded in a dangerous place the red flags came out, and there was a short delay as Ken’s stricken car was towed back in. "The engine was losing power and then it just stopped!’ Sadly the engine problems proved terminal.

Race 1 – restart 10 minutes plus 1 lap- Rolling Start

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Mike & Dominic - Just as close on the track

However the delay was a god-send for Mike & Keith and there were both back out to start from the back. Mike with the door-skin firmly attached and Keith with a fix for his gearbox problems. However this time Keith was back in for good after the start. ‘I can select gears now, but it’s still only second gear’ an overnight gearbox change was on the cards. Mike. however was soon under way and looking like he meant business in his long haul from the back. Dominic went straight back into the lead, but this time Russell was 2nd but with Geraint in very close company. Keith Butcher was 4th , Neil Watts 5th, Martin Davies 6th with Mike Riordan, ahead of Mike Edgell with Robert leading Kareem in the battle of the Rovers. However after a lap with the cars side by side, on lap 3 the Russell & Geraint battle ended in tears at Honda curve. Russell was able to continue in 6th place, with some battle scars on the right of his car (and a painful thumb & wrist after some whiplash from the steering wheel). Geraint was out with front end damage. This however gave Mike Riordan a quick boost up to 3rd place and by lap 6 he was past Keith into 2nd place. Neil Watts was 4th. Martin 5th and Russell 6th. However after finding his feet again Russell began to reel in Martin and then Neil, to get back up to 4th place. Kareem meanwhile past Robert but they remained close with less than a second between them on the line. Meanwhile at the front Mike was setting a corking pace and showing impressive tiger in his Tiga and on lap 9 posted the fastest lap of the race as he closed in Dominic as they came up to lap Mike Edgells’ Mini. In a frantic dash for the line Dom was able to hold off Mike Riordan by just over a second. Afterwards Dominic said ‘To be honest, I didn’t know he was so close until the last 2 laps’ Mike said ‘It was close, in another lap or two I might have had him’

Race 2 Sunday 15 August - 15 minutes plus 1 lap

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Mike wins race 2 x 2

Andy Williams had his faithful Sierra Sapphire on hand, now with a 6 speed sequential gearbox, and he had to start from the back, along with Keith White and Geraint Rees. With a few cars missing the grid was smaller but the racing was excellent. Dominic lead from the start again but with Michael in close company. Russell was 3rd from the Keiths, Butcher & White. Andy was climbing thru the field, but Kareem was missing after a pin broke in his gearshift. After some sterling work by Chris Morris he was able to rejoin, albeit many laps down, but livened the middle part of the race as he raised some dust with an airborne moment on the exit to the Paddock Turn! Dominic was pushing on in sideways fashion but Mike had the bit between his teeth and took the lead. Dom always had the Tigra in sight and late in the race closed the gap to re-take the lead, only to spin it away at Honda. ‘ I threw it away, I could see there were parts he was faster and I thought if I could hold him at Honda I would be ok when we got to the bits I was quicker on’ Dom recovered into 8th place but pulled past Andy Williams & Neil to finish 6th. Doms demise put Keith White into 2nd after pulling through the field, Keith Butcher was 4th, Russell was 5th and had Geraint on his tail, until Doms spin dropped Geraint back, but his car was now running well after some help from the Legends team next to him in the paddock. Russell was driving through the pain barrier, with his wrist and thumb strapped up, but was happy to consider he was now 3rd in Class.’ I reckon I am now 3rd in Class A, B & C and leading the championship! I bet no-one else has ever done that with the same car.’ Once back in the paddock Michael began to strip the back axle from his race winning car, after finding the casing had cracked from a trip over the rumble strips, but commented ‘That was a hard race’


Race 3- Sunday 15 August - 15 minutes plus 1 lap

Plenty of Battles as Mike takes win 2 (Vid clip of start)

With guest drivers Michael Riordan & Keith White on the front row and not scoring points, Dominic played his joker and after moving up past Russell and Keith Butcher into 3rd place seemed to settle for a maximum points score in his class, after an un-typically quiet race. However it was all action at the front as Mike lead initially but with Keiths’ Z4 in close attendance; but as they came up to lap the Rover duo of Kareem and Robert, Keith saw his chance as Mike got baulked and swept by into the lead! For the next few laps Mike put the Tiga side by side with Keiths BMW on a number of occasions, actually getting by at the Paddock turn only for Keith to re-take the lead at the Senna S! Behind them Keith Butcher, Russell, Andy Williams & Geraint Rees were in a close bunch. Andy & Geraint had their families dancing up and down as Geraints seemingly puny Westfield took on Andy’s massive looking Sierra, eventually getting by to cheers from all. Geraints dad acclaiming "Order me a large brandy" Geraint said later "Andy drives that car well, it’s always hard to get past him" Geraint then began to reel in Russell but it soon appeared that something was amiss with the Stryker. The front mudguard and stay had broken and as they had started waving wildly about, Russell waved Geraint past "I didn’t want it to come off and cause an injury to anyone" This put Geraint into 5th behind Keith Butcher & Dominic. Russell was now safe in 6th, Andy was 7th and having lonely races were Neil Watts and Mike Edgell, Neil confirming he was ‘terribly lonely’. Kareem & Robert were glued together all through the race, with Kareem taking 10th place by less than a second. Robert putting his fastest lap in on the very last lap. Meanwhile at the front Mike closed in on Keiths BMW and swept past to re-take the lead with 2 laps to go as Keith ran wide and kicked up the dust with a long off on the outside of the Paddock turn, rejoining just before Senna. By the time Keith gathered himself up Mike was long gone winning by 12.5 seconds.

Mike Riordan 2009 Class Winners Trophy.jpg (23146 bytes)Afterwards as he & the family started to pack for the long trip back to Fermoy Mike has happy to say ‘That was a cracker’ In fact it was just the type of racing we hoped he have in 2009, but he went back home after a good weekend racing and his 2009 championship trophies.  Lets hope we’ll see him, and all our other Class D runners in October.








Michael Riordan - 2009 Class D Winner & Best Newcomer

Later iron-man Russell Haggerty who raced on Sunday in considerable pain later went to A&E and emailed to say that he was ‘just back from hospital in a splint, as there was too much damage to the wrist to work out what’s old fractures and what’s new. Back in 2 weeks for more x-rays’ Lets hope he is fit & ready for October too.

Times from http://www.tsl-timing.com/

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