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The 2014 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship
Round 7 & 8 Sunday 5th October – Pembrey Circuit – Autumn Truck Festival
by Rob Allender


Keith White becomes the 2014 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Champion after winning both the final races of the season at Pembrey on Sunday with a power display of driving!

Keith on his way to the 2014 title (Photo by Michelle of Purple M Photograpy https://www.facebook.com/PurpleMPhoto?fref=ts)

Entry & Practice

There was a pleasing entry of 23 cars (and 24 drivers) with a sprinkling of returnees to join the regulars and a few notable new drivers! Just to clear up the 23 cars & 24 drivers mystery, Ray Hanson was having a run in Glynne Jones BMW in the first race of the day, as a thank you from Glynne for all his work and support over the years & then Glynne himself would drive in the second race! Notable newcomers were Susanne Jones, who had moved over from her Marshalling duties for her race debut, and Ashley Davies & Damien Locotano who has plenty of grass-track experience behind him. 2014 will go down as a year with an horrendously wet & stormy winter, followed by long spells of sunny, warm & hot weather. However after a very sunny & dry September, October started with a lot of heavy rain early on Saturday, and an early morning heavy shower on Sunday left the track soaking wet, although the official description was ‘Drying’! This produced some surprising results and on pole was Ben Scrivens (one of Dave Krayems spanner men) in Daves’ Ex Keith Butcher red Ginetta G50 with a time of 66.47 secs. Ben seemed untroubled by the wet and he was over 2.5 sec ahead of Mike Cond who was second on the grid! 3rd was the very quick sheepspeed.com  A series 16v turbo Mini of Jim Lyons, with Keith Butcher 4th in his Class D Nissan Primera.                       5th was fellow Class D driver & current points leader Keith White, and 6th was Andy Williams who took the Class CS pole. Cond, Lyons, Butcher, White and Williams were all in 69 second bracket! Neil Watts who went into the race in 2nd place in the title standings and with an outside chance of the title was several seconds off that pace in 7th place. 8th was Endaf Owens with his space-frame Mini, just ahead of Ashley Davies and his Mini, who was the first of the weekends newcomers.  In 10th place and making a welcome return and ‘On the pace’ was Mike Edgell with his classic Mini making it a midfield Mini trio! 11th fastest was Paul Flinders who took the Class BT Pole in his MR2.  Paul was another outsider for the championship, if Keith was too hit trouble! 12th was Rhodri Jenkins and his turbo Civic. 13th was Ken James and his Locost. 14th was  our 2nd newcomer Craig Wright and his Pogo 306. Huw Morgan was 15th, just ahead of Tyrone Lufferelli and his Pogo 106 GTi. Next up and fastest lady in the wet was newcomer Susanne Jones.  Susanne had been very nervous as this was her first ever race, having only just completed her ARDS course.  Having said that, to qualify in 17th and set a faster time than Melissa Lufferelli, who has shown herself to be a very fast driver, should have settled the nerves for sure.

Phil Bendall was next in 19th with Ray Hanson in 20th in Glynnes BMW.  Verity Banks was 21st, and the last of our newcomers, Damien Longatano was 22nd on his race debut! Last and by no means least was Geraint Rees! Geraint had been brave enough to risk starting the session on slicks! After only 3 laps he found the gamble wasn’t going pay off, however as always genial Geraint was not downhearted!


The Race 15 minutes + 1 lap

The corner fracas gives Keith White a crucial break!

Ashely Jones sadly had to pull out of the race with engine problems, but by the time the rest of the cars took the track for the green flag lap the track was dry! Pole sitter, Ben Scrivens headed the pack as they charged down to Hatchets hairpin, with Keith Butcher in hot pursuit! However Keith found his brakes locked, and pushed Ben into a spin, leaving a large gap for the rest of the pack to charge through! Jim Lyons (who has posted some excellent in-car vid on utube|) had been quick on the draw, and lead out of Hatchets, with Endaf & Keith White and the rest of the pack in hot pursuit! Having passed both Jim & Endaf, Keith crossed the line at the end of lap 1 in a lead he was never to loose, and although Michael Cond did try to put some pressure on in the later stages, the race was all about Keith & his BMW! ‘I saw the gap open up for me and so I thought, I really need to push hard now and build a gap!’ Jim passed Endaf for 2nd place which he held until Neil, Mike & Ben passed him!  Meanwhile at Hatchets , as the dust settled Ben Scrivens got going again and started to pick his way through the field in his battled scared Ginetta, whilst Keith Butcher gingerly made his way to the pits, with the jack-knifed bonnet of the Nissan obviously restricting his view! 

Ouch! Keith Butcher heads for the pits! photo by Rob Allender

 At the end of lap 1 we had Keith White in the lead followed by a top 10 of Jim Lyons, Neil Watts, Andy Williams, Michael Cond, Endaf, Rhodri, the recovering Ben Scrivens and Mike Edgel. By lap 2 Keith had pulled a 7 seconds lead over Neil Watts, but by lap 3 Mike Cond was in 2nd place and began a long chase through the backmarkers. Although he cut Keiths’ lead to about 4 seconds with his fastest lap on lap 10, that was as close as he got, before pulling up the Hatchets escape road on lap 13 with a blown engine!  Mike confirmed ‘It began to run rough and then it tightened up as I left Honda curve. I thought I’d try and make up to Hatchets, so I could pull well out of the way, but then I heard it go bang! I think a valve dropped! I haven’t had much luck this year so hopefully I can get it sorted for next year and be a bit faster!’ Neil Watts joined him on the side-lines at the same time, with fuel starvation, later traced to a Banjo joint that had come apart! This promoted Ben Scrivens into a distant 2nd place, with genial Geraint Rees in 3rd place. Geraint had made steady progress through the field, and had zeroed on the back of Neil by lap 10! The West Wales Westfielders then had a real go at each other, until Neils exit left Geraint in 3rd place.  Neil & Mike joined a long list of retirements including Endaf (rough engine – possibly fuel pressure), Rhodri Jenkins (blown Head gasket), Craig Wright who ripped off his wiring loom, after a trip across the grass, and  Damien Locotano (the latest addition to the West Wales Open Cockpit crew) who ran out of fuel!  His dad Vince explained ‘We didn’t know how much we would need, we didn’t use a lot in practice, but we now know we need a full tank for the race! We need to learn about things like this, which is why we are here today’  Meanwhile Keith W. hammered home his win, with his fastest lap on lap 14 and had over 15 seconds in hand in Ben at the end & 21 over Geraint! Jim Lyons was in an excellent 4th and was the last un-lapped runner! Andy Williams was 5th and Ken James was 6th.  Mike Edgell was 7th   with Meliassa  8th and Paul Flinders 9th, after a tremendous 3 way battle with lots of passing and re-passing ! Melissa got up to 7th but then gave the place back to Mike as her car slowed. It seemed like there was a lack of gears, but suddenly the Moto-Mini was going again, but Mike was now too far away! However with Mike Cond pulling off, this put Melissa in line for a full points,Joker boosted, Class M win! After she confirmed ‘ I lost the gears and then they came back!’  Paul Flinders was the last runner on 15 laps! Paul Flinders finished 9th, and although his long shot for the title was over, with Keith winning the race, Paul was still on for one of the other top 3 places!

Heading the drivers on 14 laps was Ray Hanson who took some time to find his stride, but then seemed to settle down, and finished 10th ahead of Phil Bendall and his Rally prepared Ford Fiesta St150. Huw Morgan was 12th ahead of Susanne Jones who was having a quiet, but solid debut in the Elise which was in marshals Orange, just to make her feel at home! However her efforts were appreciated by her fellow marshals, who voted her ‘The Driver of the Race’.  Tyrone Lufferelli was a subdued 14th and Verity who was 15th and last!


  (Photo left) Double Debut! Damien has been Tango-ed by Susannes' Elise! (Photo by Michelle of Purple M Photograpy https://www.facebook.com/PurpleMPhoto?fref=ts)






In the meantime Keiths’ pit crew had spotted Neil Watts pulling off and were wondering how best to give Keith the message!  After taking the laurels a very happy Keith said ‘There was a lot of traffic out there so I had to be cautious, the closing speed on some of the cars is very quick and I just wanted to get the car home in one piece! I see that Neil Watts didn’t finish so that should be the championship. We’ll go back on the calculator in a minute!’


In the lunch break it was nice to see a number of drivers watching the action including Alvin, who was going to race with us but found his a nasty noise in his engine during a midweek test! Mark Chandler, the 1998 Champion, and Richard Rhozon, were with Endaf Evans and his team. Richard, World Land Speed record holder, says he has a car and is really looking forward to racing with us in 2015. Also on the scene was Jeff Davies, and Chris Morris, the 2013 champion, both of whom are looking to join in again next year. All in all with,  Fabio looking to make it 3 Lufferellis on the grid, and other drivers joining us, 2015, the Championships’ 25th year Silver Anniversary, looks like being another season  in the championships current Golden Age!  This must be pleasing to both Alan Jenkins & Rhodri, both of whom had the vision to plot this revival, and the drivers who could also see the way forward.

Race 2 15 minutes + 1 lap