2006 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship
Final Rounds Pembrey 15th October Track Racing Weekend
After 15 rounds the overall championship was only item still to be decided, with 14 points separating Andrew Williams, the reigning Champion, from Peter Williams his only challenger. The BARC had shortened the weekend for the traditional October Truck Racing meeting, to practice and race on Sunday only. Basically Peter had to win his class in both races and hope Andrew failed to score in one race and scored 3 points or less in the other. A pretty tall order then.
Entry and Practice
There were some welcome returns and new faces making a pleasing 18 cars starting the first practice session (it could have been 19 but Ken Rattenbury was missing after problems in testing). Steve Griffiths made a welcome return and took pole setting a time of 56.635 secs before a hefty off at the paddock turn left Steves car with some heavy front damage. Steve was understandably upset, "Its the trucks, theres about 2 feet of rubbish all over the circuit! I had to go off line at Debini to get by a slower car and picked up so much c... on the tyres I went straight off at the next corner" Sadly the damage was too extensive to repair at the circuit. This would leave Mydrain Harries effectively on pole from Ginger Marshal. However Mydrains participation was a last minute affair after testing left him needing some front shock absorbers and a new fuel pump. "I was on the telephone at home last night running through my list and eventually managed find some shockers to fit, on my last call! We got a set off a Darrian Mk 6, otherwise we would have been here at all!" Title contender Peter Williams was 4th with Alexis Cole in 5th and a returning Huw Williams in 6th.
Jon Reeves was the first of the new faces in 7th with a nice looking turbo Maxda RX7.
Jon and Fergus Trenholme (11th in a Caterham Superlight) had come over from Castle Combe looking for some races and signatures. Points leader Andy Williams was 8th, with Mike Woods going well in 9th. Greg Woods mid-engined Mallock was 10th. Fergus was 11th with Stephen Pearcy 12th and Marc Nicholson 13th . Adrian Chapman was showing well in 14th , with new boy Dan Turner in Chris Davies old Rover 216 GTi in 15th . Dan was having his first ever race, having done some motorcycle racing. Nick Jones was 16th with Lee David misfiring in17th and Andrew Meyrick 18th. However after Lee appeared on the end of a tow rope dripping oil from the engine at the end of practice 2, sadly it was back to the Jungle for Tarazan.
Alexis Cole got himself into gear big time in practice 2, slicing 2.5 seconds of his time to take pole from Ginger Marshal. Peter Williams was 3rd with Huw Williams in 4th. Mydrain Harries was 5th with Greg Wood in 6th making the top 3 rows all under 60 seconds. Jon Reeves was 7th again with Andy Williams was 8th sandwiched by Jon and Fergus Trenholme. Mike Woods had another solid performance in 19th but Adrian Chapman was really flying in 11th getting down to a cracking time of 67.418 secs. Well he did have Colin Chapman in his pits! Stephen Pearcy was 12th and Marc Nicholson 13th . Dan Turner in 14th Nick Jones 15th with Andrew Meyrick 17th and Lee David made up the grid.
Race 1. 15 mins plus 1 lap rolling start
The sun came out after lunch and there was some nice autumn sunshine, as the cars lined up for race 1. After 2 slow-ish green flag laps Mydrian was in the lead exiting Hatchets but a really wild sideways moment at Dibeni allowed Peter Williams into the lead. Ginger Marshal had Alexis Cole in close company. There was already a gap between the flying 4 before Jon Reeves and the Mazda, Andrew Williams and the rest. Huw Williams had joined from the pits and was on a charge, getting up to 5th pretty rapidly, although not without losing some bits of bodywork with one of the turning vanes doing a right turn at the paddock turn, just as Huw and the rest of car were turning left! Back in the pack, Adrian Chapman got by Dan Turner leaving him to battle it out with Mark Nicholson. By lap 5 Alexis was beginning to press Mydrian and they began to close on Peter Williams as Ginger Marshall began to fade into a distant 4th place. Jon Reeves and Fergus Trenholme had sandwiched Andy Williams in a close 3 way dice with all the places up for grabs! Mike Woods also had the fast starting Steve Pearcy in his sights. As the race neared the half way stage Alexis overtook Mydrian and then set about Peter Williams taking the lead on the inside of Woodlands and building up a 2 second lead by the time the flag fell. Meanwhile Mydrian retired to the pits with a misfire and Andrew Williams overtook Jons Mazda, if only to prevent himself being barbecued by the flame spitting rotary! However Jon wasnt finished and took the place back on the last lap both cars finishing with only a few 10ths between them at the end. Mike Woods got by Steve Pearcy to take 8th. Meanwhile Adrian was 10th Dan & Mark 11th & 12th. Andrew Meyrick had a quiet race to finish 13th after Nick Jones had retired to the pits.
So Andrew took the flag to score the points he needed to be sure of his second championship irrespective of what Peter Williams did, although Alexis may not have helped Peter couldnt resist him "He was too quick on the straights". Andrew himself did have some troubles, "I was worried the exhaust was going to fall off", but it was hardly nailbiting time (see history for some real nailbiters) and a satisfying 2nd Championship was going to Risca.
Race 2. 15 mins plus 1 lap rolling start
There wasnt too much fettling to do in between races, but Ginger Marshal was a bit unhappy about his lack of pace, musing "Perhaps its the driver, as we cant seem to find anything wrong with the car", just as his crew found the right rear suspension had a great deal more play than expected! With a suspected rear wheel bearing failure the only option was to put the car back on the trailer and get back to base ready for next season. That left Alexis with Peter Williams for company on the front row and as soon as the lights changed the Nemesis was in command. Peter did his best to keep him honest and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 9, but Alexis was almost 3 seconds ahead when the chequered fell. Mydrian slotted in 3rd early on with Huw Williams 4th. Double champion Andy Williams was giving it some whelly and was up to 5th after overtaking Greg Woods with Fergus Trenholme and Stephen Pearcy next and Jon Reeves recovering from a slow start. Dan Turner again had Mark Nicholson for company, with Mike Woods, Adrian Chapman and then a gap to Nick Jones & Andrew Meyrick. With Alexis able to absorb any pressure that Peter could put on him, and Mydrian slowing until retiring to the pits again, Huw Williams slotted into 3rd with Andrew safe in 4th and Greg Wood in 5th. Behind them it was anything but settled with Steve Pearcy and Mike Woods spinning before Mike retired to the pits. "It didnt feel right and I found some of the wheel studs had sheared! So that was it. It was going well earlier too!" Steve however recovered to get to the trail of Jon Reeves and his Mazda flamethrower! Fergus Trenholme settled into 6th place as Jon faded and then had to resist strong pressure from Steve and the Rover Tomcat who was making Jon work hard for his signature, before eventually holding on to 7th by less than a second, with Steve picking up Driver of Day for his efforts! Behind them, after getting on to the tail of the duelling 216 Rovers, Adrian Chapman, our other Driver of the Day, vaulted into 9th after the battle between Mark & Dan momentarily got a little bit too intense. There was also less than a second to spare between them at the end. Nicholas Jones was 12th after Andrew Meyrick retired to the pits on lap 8.
So Andrew Williams became the latest driver to retain his title "Well thats job done! I had nothing to lose in the last race so I just went for it. The car has been very reliable and I certainly be trying to defend my title next year"
On current form Alexis and the other members of the Cole Board will be amongst the drivers be trying to prevent him from doing a Three-peat.
Final Points Overall - Class
Full times etc on http://www.msttiming.com/home.asp