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The 2014 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship
Round 6 Sunday 3
nd August – Pembrey Circuit

Keith Whites' title ambitions are not to be silenced (even is his car needs to be) after another drama filled race!

by Rob Allender Photo by PURPLE M PHOTOGRAHY

Historic photo! - Neil grabs the lead at Hatchets from pole position man Geraint!

So the race for Round 6 closed off the afternoon and the weekend, which already seen some mighty racing & drama, and the drama kept on coming. Would Keith Whites’ crew be able to fettle up a new gearstick, could Chris Everills’ crew straighten up his front splitter, after his off track moment at the end of race 1! Chris confirmed “I heard the tyre go bang and after that you are a passenger, so I just hoped there was enough grass to stop on; before I hit the tyres!’ Fortunately there was enough room, and his crew had only to remove the grass clippings, and sort out the underbody with much hammering and drilling! Michael Cond had the Luffarelli family to thank for lending him their welding gear to fix his mudguard bracket. It was really good of them to help out a fellow Class M competitor who is Melissa main class rival, but well in keeping with the fantastic spirit there is within the championship! Especially so when it was found that the chain breakage on Melissas’ car was the symptom of an underlying gearbox problem that could not be fixed at the circuit! This left Tyrone to uphold family honour, but more of that later. Roger Dowden was also going to miss the race after finding a melted piston was the reason his engine had started to tighten up, on his almost vintage Davrian!

The race - 15 minutes plus 1 lap

There were still questions to be answered as the cars left on the green flag, such as how far up could Chris Everill & Mike Cond get, as both were starting from the back, and was Chris’ rotten luck about to change! Also how long would it take for Keith White to challenge for the lead and why did the pace car do 2 laps?

On the front row were Westfield mates Geraint Rees and Neil Watts, and there was lots of laughs as the Wessie mates discussed tactics, like how much track they could take up if they ran side by side for the whole 15 laps! Geraint was under no real illusions, ‘Yes I’m on pole but I really don’t know how to deal with that, but I am looking forward to it, very much so! We’ll go for it but I expect the faster cars will come through’. 

As the lights changed Neil Watts pinched the lead on the run down to Hatchets! Andy Williams was 3rd but Keith soon passed him, Geraint & Neil to take the lead before the end of the first lap! A fast starting Jim Lyons was 5th early on, but was soon demoted as Chris Everill and Mike Cond powered past! On lap 5 the order was Keith White, Neil Watts and Chris Everill. Geraint was next, followed closely by Mike Cond. By lap 6 Keith was lapping the backmarkers, putting a lap on the warring pair of Dan Burt and Huw Morgan, and at this stage Keith had almost a 10 second lead over Neil Watts! Neil had Chris Everill on his tail and  Chris nipped past Neil into second place as they came up on Tyrone Luffarelli.  Mike Cond’s car stopped dead just past the pit exit and he pulled off to retire! So for the 2nd race in a row, there were no Class M finishers. This put Geraint in a nice 4th place as he was well clear of 5th place man Andy Williams.

Keith now had an 8 second lead over Chris Everill, but something was wrong! Keiths’ pace started to slow and his engine note had changed. It was clear he was not using full revs! Just as it looked like the cards had fallen in favour of the so far mightily unlucky Chris ‘Lofty’ Everill, his Ginetta began to slow too, and then he too was out, this time with a blown engine! ‘I may have over-revved it and a valve hit a piston!’  Chris just had no luck at all over the weekend, but hopes to be back in October.

This left Keith and his dawlding BMW silhouette, with a 10 second lead over Neil Watts with only about 3 laps to go! However as Neil tried to respond, he ran wide, and this let Geraint nip by into 2nd place! Again Geraints’ consistent pace began to draw him nearer the leader. Neil Watts could sense the drama too and set his fastest lap on lap 15 to close to within a second of Geraint at the end! However this time there was to be no repeat Westfeild win, as Keith managed to put Dan & Huw between him and Geraint, to win by 5 seconds!

With that drama unfolding at the front, there was also drama and fine driving throughout the feild! Andy Williams established himself in 6th place early on, ahead of Jim Lyons and Glynne Jones, all 3 at equal distances apart, until Glynne passed Jim at about half distance, the trio finishing in 4th, 5th and 6th places. Paul Flinders found enough gears operating in his Toyota MR2 to settle into the Class BT lead, but with Giles Beck & Tyrone Lufferelli on his tail! Giles and the MFI BMW closed to within a second of Paul at the end having set the fastest lap in BT in the closing stages! Tyrone & his Peugeot was unable to quite match the pace of Paul & Giles, but he still finished in 9th place, 3rd in the class, the last of the runners on 14 laps. He also picked up the 'Driver of the Race' award after his efforts found favour with the marshals, who are always fine judges of driving skill and endeavor!

 Daniel Burt (Fiat Punto) & Huw Morgan (Honda Civic) were seldom more than a couple of 10ths apart and finished in 10th & 11th places, the last of the runners. Ken James took the start but failed to complete a lap!

After the race Keith revealed the truly bizarre reason for his lack of pace in the closing stages! ‘My exhaust silencer fell off and without that there was no back pressure and no power! Also I didn’t want to be black-flagged, so I had to drive slowly to avoid making too much noise!’ Later at the awards presentation, Geraint jokingly thanked Neil Watts for moving over and letting him through for the class win again!

So after a mega points scoring weekend, courtsey of some much welcomed Class D opposition, Keith White currently leads the points tally, having played his Joker card on Saturday to maximum effect! However with Neil Watts in 2nd place & Paul Flinders 3rd and both still to play their jokers; Keith is far from home & dry. Although if Chris Everill and/or Endaf Evans enter Class D in October, that would give Keiths’ title hopes a big boost!

Afterward Keith confirmed ‘I will be going for the outright title in October!’
Having seen him battle on against adversity to extract the maximum he could from 2 difficult races, when he could have easily thrown the towel in, no one can doubt his determination to do just that!   

2014 Welsh Championship Overall Points + Class Points
Times & Result from http://www.tsl-timing.com/barc/2014/143121wss.pdf