|The 2001 Welsh Sports & Saloon Championship
Terry Brown takes the 2001 Welsh title
Round 13, Pembrey Circuit, 20t Oct
Entry & practice
The weather and the entry really seemed to pick up for the final rounds of the championship, with Pembrey basking in some fine, bright and mild autumn weather. There were some welcome new additions as well as the championship stalwarts. Heading the list of newcomers was Dave Green and his self built (actually built by his dad) open top Darren Mk6. Obviously the typist were more used to the usually Darrians, and thats how it appeared in the time sheets. Daves car was using Peter Darks Mazda rotary engine, so although he was there in spirit, it was a shame Peter couldnt make it himself. Another entry with a challenge to the typesetters was Lindsay Ward as his rare and unusual Italian steed, the big Lancia Thema turbo. However on the time sheets it appeared as a Lancia Themla! It was just as well we didnt have a Lotus Louise (Elise)as well, or we would have had a commentators dream with Thelma chasing Loiuse! Alan Ellis (Caterham) was out on a signature hunt prior to moving to the ARP single seater series next year. Special mentions were also due to Nick Spence who was having his first race in his gorgeous black Marcos Mantis, and Paul Gibbs who was having first ever race having bought Sean Jones Renault Clio.
It was bapitistism of fire with a track greasy with overnight rain and liberal spread of unburnt derv! It was also very nice to see Sean himself in the paddock looking well, after his Mallory Park accident.
Fastest in practice on the greasy track was Terry Brown, the 2001 Championship leader on what was virtually a lap of honour. Terry was only on pole by a small margin from an on form Alvin Powell, whose car was finally straight after much care and attention, many months after he was heavily t-boned by that errant Caterham. 3rd fastest was Dave Green, with Martin Davies 4th. Four-wheel drive wasnt much help in the circumstances with Martin getting into all sorts of slides, ending with a half spin at Dibeni. 5th was Keith Whites Corrado whilst 6th was Martin Jones in Terrys 5 litre Skoda! Jonesy certainly likes to ring the changes. Newcomer Nick Spence was 7th with the Marcos Mantis, ahead of Mark Fennells Corrado and newcomer Lindsay Ward in the Lancia Thelma (no its a Thema! Write out 100 times Thema). Rhodri Jenkins was next followed by Peter Salter, Huw Williams and the remaining newcomers Alan Ellis and Paul Gibbs.
During the break it was time to congratulate the 2001 Champion, Terry Brown. Terry has had his share of near misses, having lost out by one point on two occasions, and having several other near misses too. However his commitment to the championship has never wavered and he surely justly deserves the 2001 title. "Its nice to win it at last having had so many near misses, however Im really out to race, to win, and have some fun; thats what its all about isnt it."
The race 12 Laps
Well its just as well that Terry likes to race because he certainly had one on his hands as Dave Green shot to the front as the light changed and took the early lead. Alvin was in for a wild ride after his tyres collected a lot of dirt, on the wide outside at Hatchets! It all ended in grassy moment on the outside at Dibeni, and it took Alvin a whole lap to get back on the track. However he then began a big fight back, setting his fastest ever lap times in the blue Mondeo. 3rd off the line was Martin Davies with Keith White in close attendance. On lap 2 Keith got by Martin, but was there a yellow flag showing? The stewards took a long time to discuss that point with Keith after the race. The gaps between Dave Green & Terry and Keith & Martin Davies where close and then closer than close depending on the lap, the traffic, and some spirited driving from each of the contenders. However whilst there was a gap between the battles for 1st & 2nd and 3rd & 4th Martin Jones was getting in the swing and began to close onto the back of Martins car, and on lap 5 made a big effort going into Hatchets. However Martin Davies emerged with his place intact with Jonsey some way back having missed a gear. At the front the battle for the lead was becoming more and more intense with Dave seeming to find a response to Terrys pressure, until he ran wide at Brooklands on lap 8 and Terry slipped by. However now the boot was on the other foot with Dave putting Terry under immense pressure with less than second between them at the flag. A similar narrow margin separated Keith White and Martin Davies. Martin Jones, Mark Fennel and Alvin crossed the line in sight of each other, if not in touch. Other drivers having fun included Nick Spence and Rhodri Jenkins, with Rocket Rods Honda Civic giving the back of Nicks Marcos very close attention. Lindsays lovely Lancia was 10th, posting some very respectable lap times on road tyres! Huw Williams was 11th, but it was a miracle he was racing at all Peter Salter made heavy contact after Huw spun at Debeni in practice. The contact ruled Peter out but some quick fettling saw Huw take the start and make it to the finish too! A sterling effort. Alan Ellis and Paul Gibbs were the final finishers.
The Welsh Championship 2001
Round 14, Pembrey Sunday 21st Oct
Unbelievably, Sunday was a sunny day, all day! No head scratching about tyre choices - it was definitely a day for slicks, even if the trucks had left ominous swathes of black rubber/oil/grease all over the racing line! Qualifying was less eventful than Saturday, with Terry banging in a 57.47s to take pole. Dave Green was again next up with 58.56s, and Martin Jones was getting the hang of the 5 litre Skoda with a 61.1s.Elsewhere, Nick found a few seconds in the Marcos, coming in 7th with a 66.1, and Lindsay qualified ahead of Rhodri this time with a 66.8. Martin Davies had problems and was down in 9th place on the grid.
Terry and Dave put on another great show for the first few laps, with never more than a hair's breadth between the cars, but unfortunately something snapped on the LM3000 after 5 laps and Terry had to coast to a halt in the reatively safe tarmac area just past Dibeni. He was joined in exactly the same place a few laps later by Martin Davies, whose Sapphire Cosworth had blown a head gasket. Dave Green went on to record an impressive win in the Darrian Mk6. The closest racing was between the Corrado of Keith White and the Skoda of Martin Jones. There seemed to be a towbar on the back of the Skoda for much of the race! Martin held on to take 3rd place, just a fraction of a second ahead of Keith, but behind 2nd placed man Alvin Powell in the Mondeo, . The points Martin gained confirmed him as runner up in the Championship. The other contendor for overall 2nd place, Rhodri Jenkins, was unable to do much as there were no other 1600cc cars out after Peter Slaters mishap on Saturday. After chasing Lindsay's Lancia for the first few laps, Rhodri decided discretion was the better part of valour and coasted the Civic R to a finish (and back on the trailer for the winter in one piece!) and 3rd place overall in the Championship. Nick found more pace in the Marcos and finished 12 seconds clear of Lindsay. Huw Williams in the Darrian, Alan Ellis in the Caterham and Paul Gibbs in the Clio completed the finishers, all posting better times than on Saturday despite the unpredictable surface. All in all, a very good end to a season which showed some encouraging improvements.
Championship Awards & Dinner Dance
The 2001 event was held at the Bear Inn at Cowbridge and a thoroughly good time was had by all. Terry, Martin Rhodri, Sean & Huw, picked up their awards. As Heulwen Brown commented "The food and the atmosphere was excellent. We were given a great welcome and the evening was a great success."