2005 Welsh Championship. Saturday 24th September. Entry & Practice
From a Buick 6 - Steve gets ready to rumble
There were some news faces, with striking new cars and some regulars but on a cloudy but mercifully dry day the grid was headed by Steve Griffiths in his V6 Jade (above), with a decidedly quick looking pole lap of 53.48; almost a second ahead of Graham Cole and his Jade Trackstar. In a championship with lots of different types of car on the track getting the perfect lap can be difficult and Steve commented afterwards, "You have to be disciplined when there is a lot of traffic around. I waited a long time until I got the right slot for a quick lap" In 3rd was the first of our newcomers Robert Oldershaw and the first of the Junos. (Junos come from Preston and are the brainchild of ex-Williams & TVR designer Ewan Baldry) This was an SS2 version and Richard and his team had travelled all the way from Holbeach ( which is near the Wash, and is quite a long way in fact!). Graham & Richard were within a few tenths of each other, with the second of our newcomers (although it was hard to know if it was Tony Michael or Tom Richardson as the rest of us were in paddock 2 and Tony & Tom were in paddock 1!) Well have to track them down at the next meeting, but whoever was driving set 4th fastest time with their Nemesis RME-02. Dave Krayem was 5th in his Stealth, Peter Hobday in the newer Juno SS3-v6 was 6th . Suprise of the day was that you had to go to the 4th row to find the first Radical! Jeff Davies was 7th fastest, 2.5 seconds slower than Steve on pole, with Clive Hayes 8th and Peter Williams 9th completing the Radical section. Almost all of the Sportscars were under 57 seconds!
Alvin Powell brought his Alan Menu Ford Mondeo along for a run and was the first Saloon in 10th place, on 60.04 secs ahead of Andrew Williams in 11th (66.28). Doug Bowkett in 12th place was an excellent 3rd fastest saloon with Kenny Rattenbury 13th. Peter Lear was our 4th but not our final newcomer. Peter was driving the Renault Clio used in the last race by Gethin Jones. He explained "We own the car jointly and we are looking to do some European Endros with it next year" Good luck lads! Lee David was 15th, Stephen Pearcy was 16th, with Adrian Chapman 17th and our final newcomer Mike Woods from Ystradgunlias making it 18 runners. Mike, driving a Rover 216Gti was having his first ever race!
The race. 15 mins + 1 lap. Standing Start.
Steve Griffiths wins (breaking the lap record) Robert Oldershaw keeps him honest. Andrew Williams racks more points to increase his title lead. The Welsh Championship was first race on after lunch and after some delicate bodywork modifications by Ken Rattenburys team the grid was ready to go At the lights Steve Griffiths took an immediate lead followed by Graham Cole and the rest, all except Tony/Tom car 5 and Peter Hobday car 4 who both stalled on the line. Peter eventually got going, but with the Nemesis stranded on the grid, the race was red flagged and re-started.
Restart 13 minutes. At the restart Steve Griffiths once again took an immediate lead followed by Graham Cole, Robert Oldershaw, Dave Krayem, Clive Hayes, Jeff Davies, Peter Williams, Peter Hobday and then Alvin in the first saloon. There was already a gap to a close group headed by Andrew Williams, Ken Rattenbury, a fast starting Stephen Pearcy, then Lee David, Doug Bowkett, Peter Lear, Adrian Chapman, and Mike Woods. On lap 2 Steve banged in a new fastest lap, breaking his own lap record with a time of 53.468 secs to build a good lead from Graham with Robert Oldershaw, Dave Krayem following. Jeff Davies had moved ahead of Clive Hayes, and Peter Hobday was ahead of Peter Williams, but there was alrwady a gap to Alvin and then another gap to the rest of the saloons with Andrew Williams, Ken Rattenbury, Stephen Pearcy, Doug Bowkett, and Peter Lear all in a tight group and then Adrian Chapman who had Mike Woods for company . Lap 3 saw all the places static except for Doug who had a quick spin which dropped him back to the Adrian & Mike battle. A big sideways moment for Clive at Debini saw Peter Hobday close in but by lap 6 Graham was losing contact with Steve and was easy meat for Robert Oldershaw, who began to put the pressure on in a determined bid to reduce the gap to the race leader. Meanwhile Graham began to drift further down the order and it was clear that something was wrong. Graham was finding his Jade hampered by a slow puncture on the right front. "I heard it go pop under braking. Ive never had a puncture before!" eventually finishing 7th. Ken Rattenbury was another suffering from a flat tyre which forced his retirement. Lee David joined him late in the race stopping with drive shaft problems, those 2 being the only retirements. In the mid race the saloons saw the most action with Doug Bowkett recovering to re-join Peter Lear and Stephen Pearcy. Peter eventually drew away to finish 10th with Steve 11th and Doug 12th. Late in the race Robert Oldershaw was putting Steve Griffiths under pressure, Steve getting quite sideways at times before heading for the Chequered flag with a bit to spare, from Robert with Dave Krayem 3rd Jeff Davies 4th Peter Hobday 5th with Clive right behind him in 6th. (Peter then left in a hurry to get back home, which was a problem as he was wanted by the Clerk of the Course and was therefore excluded from the results for leaving before the results were final!) This promoted Clive to 5th Peter to 6th and Graham Cole to 7th. Alvin was the first saloon, but Andrew Williams racked up more points to put one hand on the Championship title.
Following the presentation there was an open forum. Alan Jenkins once again explained the rules of racing in a multi class championship and some interesting ideas were put forward.