2005 Welsh Championship. Round 5 Sunday 22nd May. Entry & Practice
There was another good grid with some of the visiting Mazda MX5 drivers giving us another go, but sadly we were without both Alvin Powell and Dave Krayem. However we were joined by Paul Trowbridge and his pretty looking and pretty effective Ginetta G20. Qualifying was wet and but drying. Jeff Davies took pole ahead of Terry Brown with Graham Cole in 3rd. Steve Griffiths was 4th after letting the track dry before making a determined run for it. Steves car has a nice rumble to it but it is actually an American Chrysler V6 rather than a V8! Richard Rozhon was 5th ahead of Russ Leaves & Huw Williams. Clive Hayes was suffering again but seemed to have traced the problem to a faulty fuel pump. Andrew Williams was top saloon again with Paul Trowbridge close behind. Dan Davies Golf was well up and ahead of Kenny Rattenbury. Lee David was the leading Rover with Matthew Perkins, Stephen Pearcy Chris Davies, Anthony Allitt all in a bunch, then Douglas Bowketts Peugeot, several Mazdas and Adrian Chapman.
The race. Graham Cole wins after a thrilling duel with Terry comes to an unfortunate end
Although there were clouds around it was dry and sunny as the grid went round from paddock 2 to the startline, Clive had arranged for an emergency petrol pump delivery from St Davids so it was fingers crossed time for him. However as soon as the lights changed it was clear we were on for some pretty dramatic stuff with Steve Griffiths and Graham Cole shooting to the front with Graham leading the first lap from Steve with Terry Brown, Jeff Davies and Clive Hayes giving chase. Russ Leaves, Huw Williams and Richard Rhozon were in a tight bunch, ahead of the leading saloon which was Andy Williams. It did not stay that was for long as Lee David was soon leapfrogging to the front and then started to build a handy lead. "I thought I normally wont get past Andy but I gave it a try and I was able to get ahead" Lee eventually finished 7th, the first saloon home, but Andy was suffering on the handling front and eventually gave way to Paul Trowbridge. Dan Davies who started well in the VW Golf was eventually passed by Matthew Perkins who just managed to hold off Anthony Allitt to take the Best Rover award.
(left) Steve Griffiths - fastest lap
Back at the front Graham was building himself a handy lead over the first few laps, which got better when Steve Griffiths pushed too hard and spun at Hatchetts eventually rejoining down amongst the Mazdas. This was the cue for a stirring comeback drive which saw him set a new lap record and 3rd place despite another spin! There was a lot of heavy traffic for the leaders to get by but Steves spin let Terry up to 2nd place and he began to close the gap to Graham, eventually taking advantage of the traffic and a yellow flag period to haul up to Graham and pounce for the lead at about half distance. Terry and Graham now looked like they were tied together by a piece of string, with Jeff Davies in 3rd some way back. Clive had dropped back as his fuel feed problems came back eventually finishing 6th behind Huw who was 4th and Richard in 5th. Meanwhile at the front it was all action with some memorable moments to keep the crowd entertained with Graham trying for the inside on several occasions and Terry sideways on the limit too!
However in the finals laps it was close, but then too close, as the cars touched out of sight at Honda, with Graham continuing in the lead but Terry limping around to Dibeni before grinding to a halt, with some damage or other at the rear. "The car went up the air and then went sideways, I knew there was damage as soon as it came down." Terry has understandably disappointed at the outcome, and for his part Graham was very crestfallen, but Terrys misfortune let Jeff Davies into 2nd place and Steve Griffiths into a 3rd place that looked unlikely at one stage. Huw was 4th and picked up Driver of the Day for his efforts.
In the Saloons Lee David was unchallenged but Handy Andy Williams picked up some more points and maintains his lead at the head of the title race but with Graham Cole and Lee David leading the challenge.