Rob I promised a few lines on the Brands Hatch SEMSEC meeting that we had an invitation to (THANKS SEMSEC!!) & here it is! Regards Rhodri
Well, what a fabulous couple of days we all had at Brands Hatch. It started for me and Graham Cole on test day Thursday morning at 8.30am in the Race Paddock at Brands. If you havent been there before, the race paddock is HUGE, but Graham and me had the only cars there at the time! Rather than feeling lonely, we felt quite privileged that we would be amongst a very small group of cars out at 9am for the first test session.
Unfortunately, Graham had some early gremlins that were set to multiply during the day. On the other hand, I just went out again and again enjoying the superb circuit. I must have done 100 laps during the day! Family Cole had further upset late in the afternoon, for no sooner had Alexis arrived and got out on to the circuit than his head gasket blew!
So, the evening brought a mix of a huge amount of work for the Coles (ably assisted by Peter Williams and Christian Evans) to fix their cars (Im sure Graham will send details), and on the other hand a lot of time spent at the bar by many of the other Welsh competitors!
Saturdays qualifying showed that the real winners of the previous nights contest had in fact been the Coles, as they posted a son and father 1 2, Alexis taking pole in 48.808 with Grham JUST behind in 48.888. In the saloons, Andy Williams was in front of me (slow down!), with guest John Hills Caterham next, then Paul Trowbridge, Mike Woods, Lee David, Adrian Chapman and Mark Nicolson following.
As for the race, well I can only comment from where I was sitting. At the start, we seemed to be incredibly close to the cars in front on the grid, and sure enough, Doug Newmans Caterham Hi Busa seemed to stop right in front of me as soon as wed got going. I think there may have been a problem in front of him, but then he got on the gas and left me for dead, and so did a few other cars, including Andy Williamss Sierra and John Hills Caterham. I spent the next 9 laps right behind the Caterham, and I think we were slowly catching Andy, but for the life of me I could NOT get past John. A few laps from the end I thought I might as well throw caution to the wind and tried to brake late and left into Druids (every lap John was defending the right of the corner), but unfortunately overcooked it and ended up sailing straight through the gravel trap! Luckily I missed the tyre wall by literally 6 inches!
Anyway, out in front guest Ginger Marshall JUST pipped Alexis to win the race, with Peter Williams in 3rd place only a few seconds behind. Doug Newman was next, followed by John Hill, then Andy Williams, Paul Trowbridge, Adrian Chapman, Mike Woods and Mark Nicolson in that order. Hopefully some of them will send in their own reports on their races as Im not sure what action went on, as by this time I was busy getting to know the Druids marshals (very nice people!).
Finally, the irony of the whole weekend was that the only 2 non-finishers were youve guessed it me and Graham Cole, the only two that had turned up early on Thursday to gain an advantage! Comeuppance time! But it did not feel that that. It was, in fact, a great days racing, and lets hope we can get an invitation back next year. And anyway, Graham did get Driver of the Day for his heroics at getting both his and Alexiss cars on the grid and performing so well with no small help from friends and family!
To continue the family theme, Sue Cole and daughter Tracey did a splendid job of giving out awards at the awards ceremony, and Tracey certainly had to keep the family theme going by giving awards to both brother and dad!!! (Click here for a guide to Grahams family)
SEMSEC have some good pictures, plus race results, of the 9th Sept race on their web site www.semsec.org.uk
Some nice pictures there, think we will be taken a bucket and spade next time for the sand castle competition. Tickety Boo, Mark Nicholson.
Glad to hear you all had a good time, Regards Steve,Semsec