Welsh Championship rounds 1, 2 & 3 Pembrey -April 9/10th
Dom dominates but plenty of midfield action too
Dom leads from pole & gets his well deserved winners award from Alvin our new chairman
(Photo right Rob Allender - left Richard Francis)
There was some quality weather and a quality entry for the first rounds of the 2011 Welsh Sports & Saloon Championship this weekend, some new cars and a very new driver in Neil Trainer from Swansea. Neil was driving a Mitsubishi evo v111 mr 340, and was having his first ever races. Neil competed in the Welsh Hillclimb and Sprint Championship in the car a few years ago and he was very quick but he said I have never done any racing, so I'm looking forward to getting stuck in.
However heading the time sheets after qualifying was Dom Evans and his highly effective Caterham CSR 260, which then came under the beady eye of Championship Scrutineer Vince Brown, having set a time of 59.607 secs. Dave Krayem and his Ginetta G50, was 2nd fastest on 61.108 closely followed by Chris Everill and his Ginetta G20, who thought his progress might be hampered by a lack of fresh front tyres. "They are alright but they are past their best & that slows you down" Andy Williams was next & 4th fastest on 64.449, just ahead of Martin Davies, with Neil Trainer an excellent 6th on his race debut, and well in touch with 2 drivers who have 5 championship wins between them!
Sadly though Martin would have to miss Sundays races as he was helping to organise a rally back home in Pembrokeshire. Also giving his dad a helping hand was Jason, who it is rumoured is building a new car, the numbers RS500 have been bandied about, but no there was no ETA mentioned. Also from Pembs, Neil Watts was present but with his wrist in plaster, after a fall on a ski-ing holiday. He said he wasnt on skis at the time. Too much après-ski if you ask me.
After many years away, Jonathon Vamplew was next, with his unique Shelsley GTR. It looked a nice car but Jon was far from happy. "It was built for a smaller man. Its ok, but it urgently needs a limited slip diff" Fellow returnee, Paul Townsend was next in his Porsche 944, and was having some problems. A faulty distributor cap was probably the cause of a misfire and general lack of oomph. "Its not so simple getting spares for Porsches" so he was having to solider on. Rounding off the grid was current champion Russell Haggerty and his Raw Stryker. The car had some nice new supercharger bits which looked nice, but was afflicted by electrical problems which restricted Russ to only a few laps of practice. Even so he paid tribute to the people who had helped get the car onto the grid "I'd like to say a big thanks to Darren of TTS, he is know as the wizard and he put in lots of work on the supercharger. In fact he worked a full day on Thursday to get me out" Anyway hopefully we could look forward to some action as Russell tried to carve his way up from the back of the grid.
Race 1 - 15 mins + 1 lap
The gird set off for 2 green flag laps which became 3 as the gird was not properly formed up. Third time lucky then, and Dom Evans went into the lead and although Chris Everill kept him honest in the early stages, Dom pressed on and soon had a handy lead from Chris who also had a gap to Dave Krayem.
4th to 6th was an entertaining battle with Martin Davies 4th, then a small gap to Andy Williams who had Russell Haggerty on his tail. Andy & Russ had a right old ding-dong battle, until Russell got past on the run into Hatchets on lap 5. Martin and Russell then had another tussle and it took Russell another 5 laps to find a way past into 4th place which by that time was 3rd, after Chris Everill had pitted with a broken drive shaft, leaving Dom with a long lead from Dave Krayem who was now 2nd.
However that wasn't the only action by any means as Jon Vamplew & Neil Trainer were at it hammer & tongs for almost the whole for the race, until Neil, belying his lack of experience, made a classic manoeuvre to overtake Jon as Dom hove into view to lap them! However the marshals, who were judging the Driver of the Race award, gave it to Jon for his efforts in keeping the relatively tiny Shelly in front of Neil's mighty Mitsubishi. Afterwards Neil was happy and said "Jon's car was quick on the straights and I had to work hard to catch up again" Jon summed up "I was losing so much time at Hatchets as I had no grip. It needs a limited slip diff"
Russell was happy with his race. "It was a good race. Both Andy, Martin & myself were giving each other room to race. It was good clean racing"
Andy Townsend had a lonely race with his car popping and banging, but found a novel way to save weight for race 2.
Dom Evans however ran out the race to take the win and said "It was a shame there wasn't more out there to give me a race, but I'll take the win"
Prior to the start of racing there was a minutes silence to mark the passing of Winston Watts the Pembrey paramedic who sadly passed away in March
Race 2 - 15 mins + 1 Lap
If Saturday was a brilliant Spring day, Sunday was even sunny & warmer, a real scorcher!
We were joined by Glynne Jones and his yellow Alfa, who would start from the back along with Chris Everill, with his car now repaired. Dom headed the grid with Dave Krayem 2nd Russell was 3rd with Andy Williams and Neil Trainer next on the grid.
Once again at the start Dom went straight into a lead he was never to loose, but Chris Everill really had the bit between his teeth and was up to 3rd by the time they exited Debini. Chris & Dave Krayem then had a real scrap for 2nd & 3rd as Dom made good his escape. Russell looked happy in 4th, but behind him Andy Williams had Neil Trainer all over him in a race long scrap. Andy Williams just held on to take 5th place from Neil Trainer by just 3/10ths of a second. Having matched himself against one of the Welsh Championships top racers, Neil was happy "That was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!"
Brilliant White-Brilliant Time for Neil - (Photo Richard Francis)
Glynne had Andy & Jon to dice with, after Jon had spun at Hatchets. However Glynne was soon to visit the pit as the Alfas water temperature began to climb. Late in the race Jon visited the pits and he & Glynne emerged from the pits for the last laps. Andy Townsend was the only non finisher.
Late in the race Dave closed in and got by Chris for 2nd in a manouvre that earned him the Driver of the Race award. Chris kept him honest until the end, although Dom was 20 seconds down the road by that stage and well on his way to his second win of the weekend.
Race 3 - 15 mins + 1 lap
Andy Williams & Glynne Jones became the weekends only retirements. Andy's car was on the trailer and he said "The oil pressure gauge shows zero oil pressure, although seems to be plenty of oil in the sump, so it might be a faulty gauge. However it would be silly to take the risk"
Glynnes car was also on the trailer, but he would be racing after all, when Russell very generously offered him a drive in his Mazda MX5. "It would be a shame not to race after you've paid a lot of money to enter" Glynne was suitably grateful and those who remember Glynnes sideways antics in his Ford Anglia might have expected some thing to watch, and they weren't disappointed, with Glynne spinning off in front of fire tender! Russell was hoping to attract some more drivers and maybe some more Mazdas, into the series which would be good.
As the lights changed Dom when straight into the lead, with Chris Everill keeping close company with the flying Caterham, until he had to limp into retirement after the blue Ginetta exited in a cloud of tyre smoke at Hatchets when a rear suspension rose joint failed, causing the car to sit down at the back. Chris was able to park the car safely.This left Dave Karyem into 2nd place but Dom was long gone by then. Russell was now in 3rd place. Behind him Neil Trainer found that Jon Vamplew was ready to continue from where he left off in race one. Jon closed in and swept past into 4th place, only to give the place back with a spin at Hatchets. However Jon was able to recover and began to home in on Neil and overtook him to get back into 4th place. Jonathon then looked like being able to reel in Russell as the Styrker began to slow as the battery began to die again. Russell had just enough juice to cross the line still in 3rd place.
So Jonathon was 4th but still not quite so happy with the Shelsley "I might bring the Caterham out for the next race"
(Photo Richard Francis)
Neil Trainer had another strong finish in 5th place and his performances must mark it as a most impressive debut in a car not really suitable for racing, and he earned himself a special 'Driver of the Weekend' award for his efforts
Who has got the better sunglasses? Neil just shades it as he picks up his award from Alvin
Paul Townsend decided to try and outdo Glynne in the 'Spin of the Weekend' stakes, and he succeeded with a double 360 degree spin, after raising a big cloud of dust on the exit to the paddock turn! Currently worth a medal, if we were giving one. He was full of smiles afterwards, having enjoyed himself, as did everybody.
So Dom came away with a perfect record - 3 races -3 wins and a bag full of points. Dom also had some ideas to boost the grids, and hopefully with a few more cars and people like Neil Watts, Alvin Powell & others due to come back we can get back to the bigger grids we had at the end of last year.
Report Rob Allender
Times from http://www.tsl-timing.com/