Hayes takes the championship in another thriller in the sunshine
Clive Hayes emerged as the 2000 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Champion went down to another nail biting finale at Pembrey on Sunday 22nd October. Although Clive had a 7 point advantage going into the penultimate round on Saturday, any slips would have let Terry Brown in with a chance of taking his first Welsh title too!
Entry & Practice
Practice on Saturday was held on a wet but drying surface offering greasy conditions, and this gave the grid a strange shape with several seconds separating many of the times. On pole was Brian Chatfield (Brian was down on the programme as driving a Toyota Avensis, but the car on the grid looked strangely like a Harrier!) Alvin Powell was 2nd with Terry Brown 3rd and Graham Hollis (having his annual run out) alongside 4th fastest.
5th and 6th were the super tourers of Maurice Crockett and Keith Butcher. 7th and 8th were Nigel Bowen and his 911 and Mark Chandler and his Mini. Nigel James was 9th in his 4wd Escort with Martin Davies 10th in his Sapphire 4wd. A long way down the grid in 11th place was Championship contender Clive Hayes with newcomer Mark Clements and his Sapphire 4wd 12th. 13th (an unlucky omen for some) was visitor Mike Edmonds and his Westfield, with Chris Crocket, Martin Jones and Cindy Pearce completing a strong end of season entry.
2 starts and 2 red flags and some automotive pin-ball saw the race rescheduled to the last race of the day. The most serious accident befell Maurice Crocket who speared off Honda curve and into the pit wall. The front end of Maurices Mondeo was pretty mangled, (and the back end too) and although he went for a trip with the St Johns it seemed that the damage was thankfully confined to the car. With the race reduced to 8 laps, at the 3rd start Mike Edmonds continued his version of automotive pinball but the big risers were Martin Davies and Clive Hayes, whilst on the drop was Alvin, who lost out in a big way to finish 9th. Terry Brown was also on the rise and he took the win from Brian Chatfield with Martin 3rd and Clive 4th. Mark Chandler took the Class C win, just ahead of Class B winner Martin Jones.
Sunday the final
Terry Brown was the man on pole with a time of 58.737 secs well ahead of Brian Chatfield on 59.668, the only other man under 60 seconds. Alvin , Clive, Keith and Martin Davies were next all in the 62 seconds mark. Mark Clements, Chris Crockett and Graham Hollis were next up on 64 seconds, followed by Nigel James, Mark Chandler, Martin Jones, Cindy and Nigel Bowen and his Cavalier.
The race 12 laps.
Whilst Clive had only to finish to win the title; Terry could only win and hope. Win he did, fending of Brian Chatfield until the last laps when Brian retired with a broken clutch. But whilst Brians retirement eased the pressure for Terry at the time, it allowed Clive through to finish in 2nd place and score the points vital to give him the title. Alvin was3rd after overcoming another disastrous start which saw Martin Davies make the most of his 4wd to take 3rd on the first lap. But whilst Alvin lined Martin up and got by on the exit of the paddock turn, Keith Butcher found himself bottled up by Martin and was unable find his way through initially. Graham Hollis continued to entertain with his sideways Escort antics on his way to 6th place, and with Mark Clements, Chris Crockett and Nigel James next up it was Fords 6th to 9th and 5th Fords in the top 10! Nigel Bowen and Cindy Pearce were next up and with Mark Chandler (fan belt) and Martin Jones (gearbox) not finishing, it gave Cindy the Class C win and a sniff of 3rd place in the Championship.
For Martin and Keith the race was decided in an unhappy tangle at Hatchetts in the closing stages. Although both cars continued, the bonnet of Keiths car looked like it had been through the mangle and Martins rear bumper bore the scars. Keith now had 3rd place but Martin chased him all the way to finish 4th.