The 2010 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship
Rounds 1, 2 & 3 Pembrey 27/28 March - Spring Truck Festival
Dave Krayem - in command all weekend
Entry & Practice
12 drivers who were out for some fun made the effort to get out there for the first rounds of the season. There were indications that a few more would have made it, but for some last minute niggles. Even so there were plenty of dramas to be overcome even amongst those who made it. After heavy rain on Thursday & Friday, Saturday was at least an improvement with the track damp but drying. Heading the time sheets after practice was Dave Krayem and his big black Ginetta G50 with a time of 62.478 secs which was some 4.5 seconds faster than the other Ginetta on the front row. However this was a nice blue Ginetta G20 of George Murrells, the first of our 3 guest drivers. George was out to get some experience of Pembrey. Our other guests, also getting some experience, were the 2 newest drivers in Nissan Playstation PS3 Academy, Jordan Tresson from France and Luca Lorenzini from Italy both in Nissan 370Zs run by Bob Nevilles team. Of the first 2 competitors who raced with us last year, Lucas Ordoņez has progressed to building a career, whilst Lars returned to be a taxi driver. Certainly Playstation have had a lot of good publicity out of the programme and with the cameras in evidence on the weekend, hopefully the championship will too. Luca was 3rd with Nick Jones was going well in his Renault Clio in 4th place ahead of Jordan in 5th.
Adrian Chapman and his Raw Stryker was an excellent 6th ahead of Kareems Rover GTi, who was an equally excellent 7th. Neil Watts & his Westfield was a relatively lowly 8th with Russell Haggerty in 9th. Russells Stryker now had a new bigger rear wing, wider rear tyres but still with host of new car problems including asymmetrical suspension! Also Russells paddle shift gear-change refused to function during Fridays pre-race testing. However after a lot of work overnight by Richard Rhozon at his local RR factory it was a runner, now with a manual gearshift, whilst Andy of Muzz Racing was on hand at the track to ensure the wheels were pointing in the right direction.Richard, who was a very competitive driver on the track, created a lot of world wide interest by setting a Land Speed Record with a Electric Milk Float! Although he does not compete at the moment he is still active with his preparation business and Louise, Richards' wife revealed more about story later." Richard worked into the night to remove the paddle shift system and design and fabricate a replacement manual gear shift system for the car so that Russell could race the next day. After a lot of Richards hard work he ensured the car was on the grid that day. This is the 2nd occasion that Richard has gone all out to ensure the car was race-ready, he repaired the car when the suspension collapsed at the end of last year. I am happy for him to work late but a credit would be nice. Failure to do so may result in divorce!!!! Thanks, Hope you are well, Louise. Well Louise no problems and ta for the update. Anytime anyone has a story or exrta insight, please let me know. N.B Richard & Louise now have a little girl, Sophia, who is 2 years old and keeps them very busy indeed.
Ray Hanson was sharing Glynne Jones Alfa Romeo again. Ray doing the Saturday and Glynne, doing Sunday. Phil Bendall had his usual Ford Fiesta but had a nice new rally prepared Ford Focus on the transporter. Phil had blown his usual Fiesta engine during the recent test day and made one engine out of parts from that engine, and another he had. Chris Morriss Ignis was still in pieces, but he made the grid thanks to the generosity of Wayne Osborne who lent him his Ford Puma.
Race 1 15 minutes plus 1 lap- Rolling Start
Dave has already gone - but Nick leads the rest
Although the track was now dry, there were big puddles of rain-water on the grass ready to trap the unwary as Dave Krayem lead the pack around to the start. As the lights changed Dave went into an immediate lead he never looked like losing. Behind him George Murrells was 2nd but under pressure from Nick Jones, who eventually overtook George and drew away. George was also eventually passed by Neil Watts, who was on his way up to 3rd place from a lowly grid position, and then the fighting Nissans, after he went for a quick spin. Jordan & Luca swapped places several times with Jordan eventually taking 4th place, behind Neil Watts who efforts were rewarded with the Driver of the Race Award. This time the judges were the race commentators, who were very complimentary about the Welsh Championship, throughout the weekend. They seemed to understand the ethos of the series. Back in the race a quick starting Russell Haggerty won Class A, but Adrian Chapman kept him under pressure early on. "I had few big sideways moments and decided to back off as I didnt want risk it" Kareem provided some early action heading Phil Bendall, Ray Hanson and Chris Morris on the first lap, until he found his slicks werent quite warm enough and spun right in front Phil! "He spun in front of me and then hit me from behind! I dont know how he managed that" Phil finished 8th behind Adrian. Ray Hanson was 10th with Chris Morris 11th and Kareem 12th. At the post race awards we were able to give Phil Bendall his Chwarae Teg Award for the help he has given in the paddock in the past year.
Race 2 Sunday 28th 15 minutes plus 1 lap- Rolling Start
The sun started to shine when Sunday dawned and the day turned out to be a nice spring day, although some forecasts had the weather as rainy, fortunately they were wrong. The grid for race 2 was the finishing order of race one, so Dave was on pole again with Nick Jones 2nd on the grid. Neil Watts was 3rd with Jordan Tresson 4th. Luca Lorenzini was 5th with George Murrells 6th. Russell & Adrian were 7th & 8th with Phil Bendall, Chris Morris and Kareem next up with Glynne Jones last as he was having his first outing of the weekend.
Once again at the lights Dave got the Ginetta hooked up and again dominated the race.
Behind him Nick got away well but was immediately under pressure from Neil Watts, who got past into 2nd on the first lap an although Nick kept him under pressure early on Neil eventually pulled away to finish 10 seconds ahead at the end. "He was so quick on the straights, I could keep up with him" said Nick. Neil said later "I like racing with Nick, he is a very good driver, and he is quick & very clean" Russell had a very quick start but soon dropped behind the Nissans and George Murrells but well clear of Adrian.
Jordan Tresson in the leading Nissan was 4th but Luca put him under pressure, eventually taking the fastest lap again. George Murrells was 6th with Russell 7th.
Glynne Jones had a demon first lap but Adrian got by to finish 8th with Glynne 9th. Phil Bendall was 10th with the Fiesta was sounding worse with every lap, but at least it kept going. Kareem got the better of Chris Morris for 11th place and provided enough entertainment to clinch the Driver of the Race Award. Yes Kareem certainly had the right prescription, just what the Doctor ordered. He was also wearing a Cool Shirt; by which I dont mean it was extra fashionable but it actually had a plumbed in system to link it to a cooling system! At the post race awards we were able to give Geraint Rees his Class winners trophy. Geraint could not attend the Awards Night as he went Ireland for 80 minutes torture, also know as watching the Welsh Rugby team during one of their traditional slumps.
Race 3 Sunday 28th 15 minutes plus 1 lap- Rolling Start
The finish order from race 2 determined the grid for race 3, so it was Dave Krayems beautiful black Ginetta on pole with Neil Watts 2nd, Nick Jones 3rd alongside Jordan Tresson with Luca Lorenzini next to George Murrells. Russell Haggerty was 7th with Adrian 8th and Glynne 9th. Phil Bendall decided his Fiesta was done for the day and brought out his spare car, his Rally prepared Ford Focus. "Its set too high for racing, so I wont be able go very fast through the corners". Kareem was 11th with Chris Morris 12th
Welcome addition- The Focus is on Phil Bendals new car
Dave Krayem once again vaulted into the lead as the lights changed and went on to his merry way to a 3rd unchallenged win. It was a bit of a shame that he didnt have someone like Alvin, or Rhys or Ken and his G50 to play with, as I am sure he would have relished the challenge. We can only hope that some or all of them are out for Mallory Park and the remaining Pembrey rounds. Also here, but not out there, were Geraint Rees & Andy Williams but both are hoping to join the series for the remaining rounds. However behind Dave it was all action on the first lap, with Neil Watts 2nd, Nick Jones 3rd then Russell Haggerty jumping ahead of the 2 Nissans. Luca got the best start of the PS3 drivers, maybe after the pre-race chat I had with him just before he went to the grid. Luca confirmed he is from Mantova near Milan, which is the birthplace of the legendary Tazio Nuvolari. Nuvolari was recently voted the greatest driver of the 20th Century by Motor Sport magazine, so I said to Luca "Lets have some Nuvolari magic from you in this race then" He certainly seemed to have taken it to heart as he pulled away from Jordan Tresson, who had a quick starting Glynne Jones on his tail after Glynne jumped ahead of George Murrells. However that didnt last and George quickly got past Glynne but then began to harass the much bigger Nissan. Russell let the Nissans by and settled into a comfortable Class lead in 7th place. Glynne soon had Adrian on his tail and he was soon past, settling into 8th. Luca passed Nick on laps 5 and after 5 minutes we had a good group consisting of Luca, Nick, Jordan and George Murrells all in a bunch. Then we had Russell, Adrian & Glynne. Kareem was a holding his own, with Chris Morris holding Phil at bay. However after 10 minutes Lucas race was run as one of his back tyres was losing pressure, which pitched him onto the kerbs at Honda and he slid to a stop just past the pit exit, with a broken wheel rim, to be the weekends only retirement. This left Nick in 3rd place ahead of Jordan with George putting the pressure on the big Nissan. Late in the race George got past Jordan and put Nick under pressure, but Nick was able to respond and keep his 3rd place. Neil Watts was 2nd as Dave Krayem eased to his 3rd win of the Day.
However George had the consolation of being named the Driver of the Race and was able to take the trophy with him back to Banbury. Lets hope we see more of him in 2010.
Russell Haggerty was 6th and he had been looking to overcome his car problems and a nasty bout of asthma to break the 1.08 second barrier, all weekend. Late in the race he managed it to pop in a time of 1.06.576.
Adrian, Glynne, Kareem, Chris & Phil completed the finishers. Triple race winner Dave Krayem remarked later "Adrian should be congratulated for racing his 10 year old self-prepared Raw Striker in the midfield at 1.09s, at his age. I hope I am going that well when Im at that age myself!"
So some good weather and good racing, lets hope the more of the regulars make the effort and keep building the grid for this years Welsh Championship. The next races are at Mallory Park on 18th April.
Remaining Rounds 18 April Mallory Park, 15/16 May Pembrey, 26/27 June Pembrey, 14/15 August Pembrey. Final rounds 16/17 October at Pembrey