The 2019 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship continued with round 7 & 8 on Sunday 11th August on the Silverstone International circuit. This is the first time the championship has used the International circuit, and it was first time in many years to be at Silverstone at all! The entry to the Intenational paddock was via a long and twisty route. Darren Osborn could not be with us, after his wife recently gave birth to a baby girl, and Nick Crompton and Jim Lyons both have car damage to repair. However it was nice to see Ellis Wiggins and Gareth Haycock with us for the first time in 2019. Adding to the grid the first of our away rounds were 8 Guest drivers in Class I, the Invitation Class. Our Clubs’ motto is ‘You don’t have to be Welsh to join in the fun, and we are happy to see so many people joining in the fun! However missing David Krayem and his massive Dodge Viper, as he sadly had to withdraw after testing problems!
Entry & Practice. After the lead up to the August 11th featured howling winds and torrential rain, on the day, the winds had died down and the race-day started dry. Before we started practice, the 750mc asked me to ask everybody, if they thought were dropping oil, then please pull off straight away! Apparently Silverstone had re-surfaced the track prior to the Moto GP, and they were paranoid about damage to the track surface. Silverstone would then send out their own clean-up team and that could take 45 minutes out of the timetable. This had happened on the Saturday and resulted in the programme running late, which had a knock-on effect even into the evening.
After practice on pole position was Keith Butcher and his Audi R8 with a time of 1.08.45 in 2nd place was guest driver Dave Cockell and his Ford Escort RSR Turbo. On Row 2 and 3rd fastest with Chris Everill and his new build Ginetta G50, and he shared the row with another of our guests, Mark Jones and his Eurocup Seat Leon. On row 3 guest driver Kirk Armitage made it all Ford row with his Escort alongside Andy Williams and his Sapphire (Andy was on the Class CS pole). Row 4 was an all WSSCC row with current champion Mike Moss (Caterham) alongside one of the WSSCC longest & strongest supporters, Glynne Jones and his BMW M3. On row 5 guest driver Scott Hubel (Peugeot 205) had Damian Longotano (Westfield SE). On row 6 Mark Williams was out in his VW Polo and had guest driver Gary Bowers alongside (BMW M135). Row 7 we had guest driver Jack Egar with the Egar families mighty 3 litre Porsche 968 (his dad Adam would do race 2 with us) alongside was guest driver David Jones with his Ford Focus. On Row 8 was guest driver Mark Nicholson (Renault Clio – Mark is a mate with Mike Moss) alongside was Simon Hutchings (MX5), (2019 WSSCC Best Newcomer) who was having a run out on this occasion as a guest driver. On Row 9 was Colin Dunn, on the Class BT Pole with his Renault Clio. Colin is the current WSSCC points leader and alongside was Ellis Wiggins who was having his first race of the year with us in his Nova. On row 10 was Andrew Williams (Ford Fiesta) and Roger Dowden (Davrian MK6) On Row 11 was Gareth Haycock (VW Golf) and Alan Smith (Ford Ka) and last but by no means least was Verity Banks with her Ford Focus at last giving her a decent run.T
- Keith is harried by Dave Cockell
The race 15 mins + 1 lap – Rolling start. The grid left the assembly area on the Green Flag lap sadly without Gareth Hockley, who had clutch problems which made it hard to get gears. We also soon lost Roger Dowden when the right rear wheel detached. With 3 wheels on his wagon, sadly Roger was not rolling along. As the grid past the lights, Keith Butcher took a lead he was never to loose, but Dave Cockell in his Mk5 Escort kept him honest, for most of the distance. Behind in 3d place initially was Kirk Armitage ahead of Chris Everill but Chris got past and then held was able to keep Keith and Dave in sight but was never close enough to mount a challenge. Kirk dropped back towards the Seat of Mark Jones, who later passed him. In 6th place Andy Williams was leading Class CS with Glynne Jones for close company, Mark Williams was next making it a CS Class 1-2-3. Scott Hubel was a fast starter but he was soon overhauled by Mike Moss. Damian Longotano was having a cautious start. Guest drivers Gary Bowers, Jack Egar and David Jones where next along. Behind them Mark Nicholson, and Simon Hutchins were having a battle, until Mark hit a problem and slowed to a stop. Colin Dunn had few side by side moments with Ellis Wiggins who was trying to make some places, after starting from the back, in a drive that was to net him the ‘Driver of the Race’ award. Mike Moss and Mark Williams were having a battle royal. However in Class CS it was suddenly all change, as Andy Williams headed to the pits trailing a huge cloud of smoke/steam! It was thought that a piston had gone, ‘Piston broke’ so to speak. This left Glynne in the lead of Class CS, but he then began to slow with fuel feed problems! Meanwhile Damian was on the move and caught and passed Moss & Williams, to pass the slowing BMW of Glynne and take the lead in Class CS (6th overall) and go on to make it a maximum score in CS! On the last lap Mark Williams passed Glynne, to take 2nd in Class CS with Glynne finishing 3rd. Mike Moss was 7th overall behind Damian, with Mark 8th and Glynne 9th. From 10th to 14th were the Class I cars of Gary Bowers, Scott Hubel, Simon Hutchins, Jack Egar and David Jones. Behind them in 15th was Ellis Wiggins and then the Class BT cars of Colin Dunn (who had chosen this race to play his Joker card) and Andrew Williams, with Alan Smith (AT) 18th and Verity Banks, who completed the race! So Keith Butcher took his 5th win of the season having battled hard Dave Cockell in his Mk5 Escort dropped back on the last lap with some smoke coming from his car. After Keith commented ‘ He was catching me on Hangar Straight! It was getting interesting for a bit’ Dave confirmned ‘It was great fun at the time, but I hit a bump late on so I hope its not too bad. Maybe a pipe came loose!’ Chris Everill confirmed ‘It was my first time in this car and once they got their tyres warm, I wasn’t able to catch them. Maybe on a twisty circuit!’ After the end of our 1st race it was the lunch break. In between times Roger Dowden worked hard to re-attach the rear wheel and repair the body damage caused when the wheel detached. Also there was a light sprinkling of rain. Glynne couldn’t sort out his fuel feed problems. So sadly he had to head home.
Race 2 – 15 mins + 1 lap – Rolling start By the time of our race the rain, or heavy drizzle, had set in and part of the circuit was damp! As the race wore on the whole of the circuit was affected. Even so Keith Butcher went into an immediate lead, followed initially by Dave Cockell and Chis Everill. Dave lasted 2 laps but ran wide and Chris dived into 2nd place. Dave pitted soon after as his brakes had disappeared! Chris this time really took the fight to Keith and was all over him in the corners, but the greater power of the Audi was always a telling factor on the long drag down Hangar Straight. Chris got closer & closer as the mist & rain got worse, and his efforts made him ‘Driver of the Race’
After Dave Cockell had departed, Mark Jones and the Seat moved into a secure 3rd place. Some way behind Damian Longotano had moved into 4th place, and the Class CS lead, but late on he was joined by the waring trio of guest drivers Gary Bowers & Scott Hubel who were swapping places and Mark Williams, who was now the sole remaining Class CS driver, and was trying his best to get in the action. All 4 of them were joined together, as the rain intensified and they began to reel in Mark Jones. Late on Gary Bowers got ahead of Damian, but Damian responded and moved back into 4th place and pulled a gap on the last lap to finish 4th and 1st in Class CS! Behind the dicing foursome, Simon H was dicing with Mike Moss, but late on Mike moved clear of the slick shod MX5. Guest drivers also claimed next 3 places with David Jones’ Ford Focus, who got ahead late on of the Clio of Mark Nicholson and the big Porsche with Adam Egar in charge this time. Adam was doing a fine job having started from the back. Colin Dunn was well in charge of Class BT from Andrew Williams. Ellis Wiggins was having a quiet race and finished 15th Alan Smith was having a fine race and finished 16th ahead of Roger Dowden in 17th, who faded after an initial charge, and Verity Banks who was 18th and now reacquainted with the chequered flag having seen it twice in one day! For my money Verity is a credit to the championship as she has had some rotten luck but she keeps calm and keeps on keeping on! Lets hope shes on a roll of good luck!
So as the race drew to a close the rain intensified again and Keith, who had been under real pressure from Chris throughout, took the chequered flag for his 2nd win of the day. Later Keith confirmed to the commentator ‘The last 2 laps were really, really bad. I had the traction control and ABS turned right up!’ Chris also confirmed ‘I tried real hard , we needed some more horsepower as Keith was quick on the straight, and I was quick through the twisty stuff!’ Mark Jones in 3rd place with the Seat confirmed ‘It was phemonial’ So our first ever visit to the Silverstone International Circuit was over. There are several things that will live long in my memory. The iconic corners, the huge (cavernous) pit garages, the plush seats in the auditorium, the spectacular wing pits, to name a few. The feedback we received about the racing was positive, so who knows when our next visit will be!
N.B there are some excellent photos from Qualifying and Race 1 via