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2012 WRDA News

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2012 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship

Entry & Practice – Rounds 5 Pembrey October 14th

Coming through! Giles Beck makes way for Martin and the leaders (Report & Photos by Rob Allender)

 After a year of record rain, and some indication that the weekend weather would be poor, it was welcome surprise to find Saturday and Sunday were nice and sunny, if frosty overnight. There was drama a-plenty in the run up to the race for Michael Cond after a test session on Friday turned into a disaster, after the wiring loom caught fire! However after the application of a few rolls of insulating tape, he was back on Sunday ready for action. Unhappily not making the race was Kareem, who blew his engine on Friday and couldn’t repair it.

 Making it for the race were all the usual 2012 grid, but joined this time by 16 year old Ellis Belton, son of sprint & rally dad James Belton. Ellis, driving a Mk2 Escort with a 1.8 BDA engine, has spent a few years Karting and on the Junior Rally scene, but this was his first race. Also having his first race was Swansea  garage owner Dave Coe, who has been doing the Time Attack series, and was giving his impressive looking Pirelli P Zero shod Subaru Impreza its’ debut in the Road Tyre class as an Invited driver. Also in the Invited Class was our old friend Chris Everill.

 Practice & the Grid

Keith White took pole with  60.983 secs in his silhouette BMW Z4. Keith Butcher (Ginetta G50) made it a red front row.

Row 2 saw title contender #1 Martin Davies (Sierra Sapphire) with Chris Everill (Ginetta G4).

Row 3 had John Morris (silhouette Tigra) with newcomer Dave Coe, alongside.

Row 4 was Geraint Rees (Westfield) with title contender # 2 Michael Cond (Silva Riot).

Row 5 had Rhodri Jenkins (Honda Civic), taking the place of Alvin, with Andy Williams (Sierra Sapphire) now next up.

On Row 6 was Glynne Jones (BMW) and Roger Dowden (Davrian).

Row 7 had Newcomer Ellis Belton (Mk2 Escort) with Title contender #3 Chris Morris (Suzuki Ignis), who had switched classes as his usual class was short of entries.

Row 8 saw Giles Beck (BMW) and Mellissa Lufferelli in the Moto Mini.

Row 9 had Phil Bendall (Ford Focus) and Andy Long in his nice looking Sylvia Pheonix

Row 10 saw title contender #4 Mike Edgell, with it all to do after his oil cooler split before he could get into his stride, the ensuing oil slick caused a few problems for the following cars.

Finally and making it 20 starters was Huw Morgan (Proton Satria).

 Richard MacVean would have made it 21 but he pulled out siting family problems at home. Alvin Powell and Richard MacVean were the only 2 non starters.

 Playing their jokers in race 1 would be:- Chris Morris (now in Class AS); Martin Davies; Keith White; Rhodri Jenkins; Andy Long; Roger Dowden; Phil Bendall and Geraint Rees. Huw Morgan would play his in race 2.

 Race 1-15 minutes plus 1 lap (start -silent movie)

As the lights changed,  a fast starting Martin Davies was putting Keith White under pressure, with Keith Butcher in 3rd place. It was a race full of drama with battles all through the field but it was the battle for the lead that was holding the attention. Keith White has trying to stretch his lead with Davies and Butcher well in touch, and as they came up to lap the backmarkers Keith Butcher nipped past Martin. Martin responded and got back up to 2nd which then became 1st place after Keiths’ BMW went wide at Hatchets. So now it was Martin Davies in the lead, followed by Keith Butcher and a recovering Keith White. KW was soon up to 2nd and then began a monumental chase trying to catch Martin, setting the races fastest lap on lap 10 and closing until the 2 cars were nose to tail! Going into the final lap Martin had only .16 of a second lead over Keith! Going into Brooklands for the 16th and last time, Martin made a rare error. “I had to slow to pass a backmarker and I needed to grab 2nd gear but selected 4th instead. By the time I had got it sorted out, Keith had gone. Still it was a fantastic race. I was surprised to see Keith Butcher come past me. I didn’t think I would have to deal with him again! Still if I had any sense I would have taken it easy, but I wouldn’t want to win the championship like that”

 Behind the flying trio at the front there was plenty of action John Morris was initially 4th with Dave Coe 5th but Mike Cond soon moved passed Dave to challenge John, in what became a hard fought and fraught duel. There was rubbing a plenty, until late in the race there both cars had a major contact, with Mike left at almost 90% sideways on the exit to Dibeni with John also slow away. Mike made a major save of it and then chased down John again and went through into 4th place, in a case of 3rd time lucky. Mike was later moved ask John if he wanted to borrow his glasses. Johns reply was not noted.

Behind them, once the first few laps shuffling about had settled down, Dave Coe, a rising Chris ‘Lofty’ Everill, who was recovering from a slow start , Geraint Rees and Andy Williams had relatively quiet races. Geraint was the last unlapped runner.

However behind them Rhodri Jenkins and Glynne Jones had a hard but fair dice for 10th place, but late in the race both had a grass-tracking moment after finding there wasn’t enough tarmac for them at Debeni Bend. Rhodri moved up a place but Glynnes’ front splitter was in a sorry state after the grassy moment. Later both were able to laugh about it, Glynne confirmed ‘I made a mistake at Hatchets and I knew that Rhodri was going to make me pay, but it was just a racing incident. It happens’ Glynne would do race 2 without the splitter which was beyond repair.

 In 12th was Chris Morris who had a good start, but found the oil cooler less Mike Edgell making an even better one to keep him in sight and crucially take the Class Fastest Lap! However the results meant both drivers were effectively out of the running for the overall honours, Chris missing the vital point for the fastest lap, Mike having to settle for 2nd in class, although he was the last runner on 15 laps.  Ellis Belton showed his karting pedigree as he kept his Belga lookalike Escort ahead of the high experienced Roger Dowden and his almost vintage but effective Davrian, until late in the race when Roger grabbed 14th but he was under pressure from Ellis all the way to the line! Ellis finally made it back the paddock on the end of a tow row, having run out of petrol on the slowing down lap! That was a peice of calcualtion that Colin Chapman would have been proud of, the Lotus boss always making sure his cars saved weight by carrying as little fuel as possible. Or it could just have been a mistake by dad James! Anyway it was a very good debut from Ellis.

Mellissa Lufferilli in the moto-Mini was 16th after an impressive race with Andy Long in the battle of the Motos.

Phil Bendall was 18th with Giles Beck and Huw Morgan having a close dice for the final places. Remarkably there were no retirements. 

After a quick points calculation it showed that Martin Davies and Michael Cond were now joint leaders, but there were several drivers waiting in the wings if either or both of them had a problem in the final race of what had become one of the best years in Championship history.

(Report  & Photo Rob Allender)

Final championship points  Final Class Points  Awards Gallery and Champions Interveiws

Times from www.tsl-timing.com   

Race 2 report