The 2019 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship continued with rounds 5 & 6 on Sunday 9th June at Pembrey circuit. Due to the majority of the track time being taken up by the Citroen C1 6 hour race, the WSSCC team swung into action and tried to give our competitors something so that they could have a chance of making the best of it! We were helped by Phil Davies, the Circuit Manager, who could see where we were coming from, and he was a great help to us. So, although we tried to give some clues via Facebook, it was late in the week that it was confirmed that we were in Paddock 2 and would race on the ‘original’ National Circuit! Even better, the weather turned from a rainy Friday, described by Eric Dunn (Colin’s Dad) as a ‘Monsoon, and a windy Saturday, which dried up the puddles of rain, to a mostly Sunny Sunday!
Entry & Qualifying – We seemed to be on for good entry, but sadly though, we began to loose a few with cars not ready, but we still had enough entries to make it worthwhile, We were first out on the National circuit, the circuit we raced on for almost 25 years, but even the stalwarts of the championship, who have most experience of the original circuit, found it somewhat unfamiliar. Sadly we lost Nick Crompton, the Bridgend Boy and points leader, on his first lap, as he went in to the barrier at the ‘Esses! ‘I haven’t driven on this part of the circuit before, and I went into the left too fast, and the back-end kicked out and I went straight in! I was probably trying too hard on cold tyres!’ Sadly the drivers-side front-end took the major impact, and it looked like the radiators had also been damaged. Even after a few thumps from Damian Longotanos’ hammer, things weren’t any better, so sadly Nick had no option but to pack up the trailer and go home! Nick said he would be back, maybe with a new car, possibly a Westfield.
At the end of the session, it was perhaps no surprise to find that the person on pole was Keith Butcher, and his Audi R8 ALMS with a time of 61.139 sec. Keith set his pole winning time on his last lap! 2nd was Damian Longotano (62.528). Damian main problem seemed to a lack of grip, which was a theme, echoed by a few drivers, and almost everyone set their fastest time late in the session! Andy Williams was 3rd fastest in his Ford Sierra, with Mike Moss 4th. Glynne Jones was 5th in his BMW M3 with Gareth John alongside.
Roger Dowden was 7th with Colin Dunn on the Class BT pole in 8th place.
Andrew Williams was 9th with the ex-Nick Rocke Fiesta, with Nick on hand as well.
Darren Osborn was an excellent 10th fastest, with Alan Smith 11th and Ben Cutler 12th.
Ben was with us, after the Mini 7 race at Silverstone was cancelled as Silverstone wanted to re-surface the track before the British Grand Prix and World Superbike events! Both Ben and Gareth John were having their first races on the ‘original’ National Circuit.
Race 1 (Round 5) – 15 minutes plus 1 lap – Rolling Start
Just to start the day on a proper note, the race started just an hour after qualifying had finished, and as the lights changed, the grid roared away, with Keiths Audi leading the way! At the end of lap 1 Keith had established a lead he was never to loose, and he eventually lapped everyone except Damain Longotano, who finished the race in 2nd place albeit 46 seconds behind Keith! Mike Moss was 3rd but was 1 lap behind on 15 laps. Sadly we lost both Andy Williams and Glynne Jones, half-way through lap 2. Andy got really sideways in the Ford Sierra, and when he straightened up, he hit Glynne in the door, and both cars were off, but out of the way! Mike Moss had a grandstand seat, but managed to avoid the incident, and was promoted to 3rd place. Andrew Williams was now 4th (and leading Class BS) but he had Roger Dowden for close company. Colin Dunn had been delayed by a spin from Gareth John, and he revealed he had to go on the grass to avoid the spinning Ginetta! Now, however they were running in tandem and catching Andy & Roger. Roger passed Andy briefly before Colin & Gareth caught up. As Keith continued on his way, there was a tremendous battle between Darren Osborns BMW, Alan Smith Ford Ka, and Ben Cutlers Mini! Places were swapped on a regular basis. In the midfield battle Gareth John was now in 4th place, Andy was 5th but now had Colin Dunn on his tail and Roger Dowden was 7th. However Andys’ Ford Fiesta began to slow and dropped back towards Alan Smith! Ben Cutler passed Darren as the heavy metal BMW began to use its tyres. As the race began to draw to a close, Mike Moss and Gareth John were lapped by Keith, and finished 1 lap down in 3rd and 4th place respectively although Gareth had time for another spin! Andy Williams found some life back in his car and retook 7th from Alan Smith who was only 0.323 seconds behind at the flag! Ben Cutler was 9th in only his 3rd ever race and was given the ‘Driver of the Race’ award for his performance in taking 3 seconds off his Practice time, on a circuit he had never seen before!
The only remaining question was, could Keith set a new lap record! The current fastest lap on the National circuit was 60.441 set by the other Keith- Keith White at 60.441. Keith Butcher set his fastest time on lap 2 setting a new record of 60.265!
Afterwards Keith confirmed ‘There was no grip out there and I had a problem with the rear tyres! Andy Williams and Glynne Jones had a chat and a chance to assess the damage to their cars! However whereas Glynne had an unwelcome dent in the driver side door of his BMW, Andy had lost his front splitter and had damage to the Sierras steering, so it was time to put the car on the trailer and sadly head for home!
Having brought the Thunder of real race cars to the circuit, after a short break it was time for the C1s to take to the track, and with precious little noise from the race track to disturb the peace, it was time for everyone else to have maybe, have time for a long lunch break, or in the case of Alan Smith, take some time to work on the Ka car!
However there was plenty of drama waiting for us in the Welsh Championships race 2!
Race 2 (Round 6) – 15 minutes plus 1 lap – Rolling Start
After the C1s had finished their race, it was time for the Welsh Championship to show what real racing was all about. Our usual potent mixture of cars with real engine noise and differing styles was welcomed by the Marshals and for them was a perfect way to end the weekend! As the lights changed Keith powered the thunderous Audi straight into the lead! Damian Longotano was in 2nd place, but this time he had Mike Moss for close company, and they were soon joined by Glynne Jones, who had started from the back, to make it a 3 way dice for 2nd place. This was worth watching, although the commentators were very interested how quickly Keith could go. However although he was able to extend his lead, the track seemed slower for almost everyone. Damian was in no position to chase, as he had Mike & Glynne on his tail!
Keiths’ Audi had built up a 12 second lead over Damian at the end of the 5th lap, but all of a sudden there was a dramatic change as Keiths Audi began to slow and crept into the pits! Something was wrong with the Audi, and the car sat motionless for what seemed like an age, meanwhile Damian had swept by into the lead! Having done a re-set, Keith eventually got the car going again, but he was now 57 seconds behind Damian, having lost over a minute in the process!
Things were now very different at the front, as Damian, now the leader, tried hard to keep Mike and Glynne at bay. On lap 13 Mike and Glynne set their fastest laps to close in to be a few 10ths behind Damian. On the penultimate lap Glynne tried hard to overtake Mike at Hatchets, as Mike was trying to take Damian, and paint was swapped! On the final lap Mike finally managed to overtake Damian and was able to stay ahead to win by 0.553! Damian was 2nd and won Class CS, but he was denied the point for fastest lap in class by Glynne! Glynne Jones was 3rd (& 2nd in CS) and the recovering Audi of Keith Butcher was 4th! Gareth John was 5th (& 2nd in BS) Colin Dunn was 6th & 1st in Class BT & Andrew Williams was 7th (& 2nd in BT) and the last runner on the lead lap.
Roger Dowden was eventually 8th overall after an eventful race, after he spun at Hatchets Hairpin in the early laps! Fortunately, this time, he was able to re-start the vintage Hillman Imp engine in the yellow Davrian, but he was now last and drove well to make it back up the order. Darren Osborn and Alan Smith had another great dice with some swapping of places. Alan finished 9th and Darren was 10th. Ben Cutler was 11th. At the end of the race Mike was overjoyed at his first race win, and won the .Driver of the Race’ award In fact it’s a shame there is only one award as all 3 drivers deserved it. Later Keith revealed the reason for his pit visit. ‘I ran over the rumble strip and after I brought the car back on the track, I lost power! I didn’t want to stop and re-set on the track, and I was able to make it to the pits, and do a re-set there! Thinking about now I may have touched the pit-lane limiter as I tried to get off the rumble strip!’
Even so Mike Moss is the latest name on the list of race winners. The next round in the 2019 Championship is at Silverstone on Sunday August 11th.
Keith Butchers’ double race win- Mike Moss & Colin Dunn both class winners too- round 3 & 4 report
Chris Everill chases Keith Butcher hard on lap 1 – (action photos by Rob Allender)
The 2019 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship continued with round 3 & 4 on Sunday 12th May on the Club circuit at the Track Fest Meeting.
Entry & Practice. Once again after a chilly few weeks since the Easter sunshine, just in time for our races, the Sunshine and warmth returned! A good grid seemed to be in prospect, but several cars we thought we might see, were missing!. Verity Banks’ ‘flamethrower’ Ford wasn’t fixed, and Jason Davies found a Shock Absorber fault in testing that ruled him out, and Fabio & Tyrone had truck problems after a tyre blow-out caused some damage! On the grid though was Chris Everill, after his team of helpers put in a ’mighty’ effort to get him on the grid, after his Castle Combe prang! Namely his son Ross and his mate Matt. Also Chris great mate Neil, and with help from Ben Scrivens at Speedtec who has been very good lending Chris parts to copy and borrow till he can remake them! Chris confirmed ‘Yes she was a right mess but begged and borrowed parts to get her done”
Keith Butcher (Audi R8) was on Pole Position for the 3rd race in a row with a time of 65.935sec! Chris Everill joined on the front row for an all Class D lock-out! On Row 2 and fastest in Class CS was the incredible turbo Mini of Jim Lyons! Jimbo was really flying, but at a cost as his engine went on to 3 cylinders due to a HGF (Head Gasket Failure). This meant a lot of work to change it for a new one, which filled in the 5 hour gap between Qualifying and the Race! Alongside Jimbo on row 2 was Damian Longotano and his Westfield SE. On the 3rd row was Nick Crompton and his Evo and having his first r\ace of the season was Andy Williams and his Ford Sierra Sapphire, making it an all CS line up from 3rd to 6th fastest! There was only few 10ths between them, so an excellent race between them was in prospect!
On the 4th row was Mike Moss, the reigning champion, who put his Caterham on the Class BS pole. Glynne Jones (BMW M3) was alongside Mike. Darren Hockly (Honda Civic R) was on row 5 with our New driver Gareth John making it an all Llanelli row. Gareth, from Swiss Valley in Llanelli, is a former biker, having his first car race in the GotBoost Ginetta G40. He had an unfortunate ‘off’ in Friday practice, but Steff of Gotboost worked wonders getting Gareth ‘On the grid’ for an impressive debut1 Mark Williams was on row 6, this time in the VW Golf as his Peugeot hasn’t been fixed yet! Mark had Roger Dowden rapid Davrian MK 6 alongside him. The last 3 places on the grid was an all BT affair with Colin Dunn on the Class BT pole with his Clio (Colin only got 4 laps due to a starter motor issue) . Alongside was Andrew Williams and his ‘new’ (to him) Ford Fiesta and finally Darren O with his series 3 BMW 1800 was the last starter.
It was nice to see former champions Martin Davies and Rhodri having a catch up in the sunshine!
Race 1 –Rolling Start-15 minutes plus 1 lap – Photo & report by Jonathon Mayne
After the lights changed everyone all go through Hatchets cleanly, with Keith Butchers R8 out in front. At the end of lap one Mike Moss made a huge dive into Hatchets on Jimbo, who held him off around the outside. Chris Everill in the Bitsa Ginetta (Bits of this and that) was closing on Keith in the R8, but Keith is able to power away down the start finish. As Keith’s tyres were now well up to temperature, he started to pull away.
A fast starting Nick Crompton and Damian Longotano were locked in a battle for the Class CS honours and the Evo seemed to have the advantage though Spitfires. Eventually Damian got past by the end of lap 4, he was never really able to pull away and Chris & Keith seemed too far away. In a ‘Battle of Bridgend’ Nick then had Jim Lyons for close company with less a second between them at times! Nick secured 4th with Jim 5th. Roger Dowden and Gareth John were fighting for position, it was an interesting battle as the G40 and Davrian are from two different eras of motorsport, as were the drivers with the experienced Dowden and the novice John, but they seemed very well matched.
The G40 and Davrian battle was eventually caught by Andrew Williams in the Fiesta.
Andy Williams and Glynne Jones were having a fun dice, with first Williams pitching his car into a lurid slide, followed by Jones, who was even more sideways! Mike Moss had dropped away from the Nick Crompton and Jim Lyons dice and was still on his way to a comfortable Class BS win, but he almost fell into the clutches of the Williams/Jones dice. Andys Seirra and Glynne M3 were virtually nose to tail1 Glyyne commented after ‘My rear tyres were shot at the end!’ That was no surprise to any of the spectators! Darren Hockly was the last driver on the lead lap in 9th place !
Keith Butcher was well into the traffic and had pulled out to a 7 second lead over the Chris in the Ginetta G50. On lap 7 Roger Dowden was on the outside going into Hatchets letting a faster car through, but he put a wheel onto the curb and spun through 360 degrees – the hot engine will not re-start and with Rogers’ car in a dangerous position and only 4 minutes left on the clock, the red flag is shown followed by the red and chequered flag. Ironically the Davrian burst into life at this point and Roger drove back to the paddock! Colin Dunn had been keeping up with Mark Williams, despite Colins’ tyres having already completed the BARC Saloons race and having a starter motor issue that required the car to be push started! With the DNF (Did Not Finish) of Roger Dowden, Gareth John was 12th with Andrew Williams’ Fiesta less than 2/10ths of a second behind him! Darren Osborn was 14th, and was driving the wheels off his car in the corners, to make up the lack of speed on the straight, but was only lapped once by the flying Audi R8 of race winner Keith Butcher!
Race 2 –Rolling Start-15 minutes plus 1 lap – report by Jonathon Mayne
After the lights changed everyone all got through Hatchets cleanly, with Keith Butchers R8 out in front again. Chris Everill in the Bitsa Ginetta kept Keith under pressure in the early laps. A fast starting Nick Crompton and Damian Longotano were locked in a battle for the Class CS honours again but this time Damian got past by the end of lap 2. Mike Moss lost ground and was down three places! Gareth Johns spun at the crossing in front of the marshals at post 3, but he was able to keep going but had dropped to the tail of the field.
Having got up to 3rd place Damian Longotano was slowing out of Hatchet, and everyone expected him to limp back to the pit but he surprised everybody by staying out! This promoted Nick Crompton into 3rd overall and the Class CS lead! Behind Nick, the Mini of Jimbo Lyons had a train of cars behind him, all the way down to Andy Williams in 8th place. Keiths’ R8 is on song down the front straight, having pulled away. Headlights ablaze he is catching the tail of the field. Damian Longotano is still lapping slowly. Colin Dunn had caught Mark Williams in the Golf and they are battling despite them being in different classes. The leaders were well into lapping traffic, and Keiths R8 was a few cars behind Damian Longotano, who suddenly returned to full speed and is off o the races! After the race Damian revealed the problems was with the Westfield gears. ‘I got stuck in 4th Gear, I couldn’t shift the gear stick but then eventually I started to get the gears again!’
Damian sets a new personal best lap on lap eight! Keith caught up with Dunn and Williams battle, who did their best to let the fast car through, but Mark is on the grass coming out of Hatchets, and they were 3 wide at the apex!
Keith has the 44 of Longotano in his sights as he comes to lap him. He is matching his fastest lap but Longotano responds with a near identical lap time, the little Westfield is being driven hard! As Keith was within blue flag distance, Damian moved over in a gentlemanly fashion into Hatchets!
It seems Keith Butcher’s April gearbox gremlins had moved on and were now attacking some other cars! Late in the race, Andrew Williams looped the Fiesta through at the crossing and continued! ‘I couldn’t get a gear and then I got 4th so I kept going’ This dropped Andrew back to Darren Osborn, who passed him to move into 14th place, and 2nd in Class BT! However on the last lap Andrew found 5th Gear and channelling his ‘Tiff Needell’ repassed Darren O to retake 2nd in Class BT! Darren finished and 15th and 3rd in Class BT.
Damian Longotano Westfield was staying with the Keith and on the last lap, Keith eased off, allowing Longotano to catch and pass the R8 coming out of Honda before the chequered flag. He then had another lap can to catch Glynne Jones in the BMW M3. He caught the BMW and passed him into Carters Curve on the very last lap to take 6th place overall and 3rd place in Class CS! Glynne was 7th and the last runner on the lead lap. Andy Williams was 8th, Darren Hockly was 9th . Colin Dunn was 10th and first in Class BT. Gareth John recovered to finish 11th (and earn himself the ‘’Driver of the Race’ award) Mark Williams was 12th and Roger Dowden was 13th Andrew Williams was 14th and Darren Osborn was 15th’
Keith Butcher & Nick Crompton are both race winners at sunny Pembrey The 2019 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship (organised by the Welsh Racing Drivers Association) is now in its 29th year and started on Easter Sunday 21st April with 2 races at Pembey circuit at the Brscc South Western Centre meeting.
Entry & Practice April started with freezing cold wind, but just in time for the Easter weekend the temperature began to soar with buckets loads of lovely hot sunshine! In the weeks before the entry looked like it was on the way to a decent size, but some late withdrawals with car problems, saw the entry peak at 16. However sadly we lost 2 cars in the first few laps of practice! Verity Banks exited after only 2 laps in her new(ish) Ford Focus before it turned itself into a mobile flamethrower! The culprit seemed to be no. 3 cylinder which failed and shot all the engine oil out of the hot exhaust! Mark Williams didn’t last much longer with his new (to him) Peugeot 205, which threw a rod out of the block!
However that was the last of the terminal Engine casualties of the weekend (at least as far as the WSSCC was concerned).
Heading the times was Keith Butcher, who was the series champion in 2007, and has an Audi R8 but had not driven this new car before at Pembrey. Keith was expecting up at the front, although he though it unlikely he will fall foul of the 60 second rule! This rule is designed to make sure that everyone is able to have a good race, meaning that the cars in the smaller engine classes, are not lapped too many times! Keith says ‘You have to drive really quickly to lap in the 60 second bracket’ On the day the pole time was 1.05.827. 2nd fastest was Chris Everill and his Ginetta with a nice new livery! Longotano was 3rd in his Caterham SE. 4th was Bridgend boy Nick Crompton, who returned with his trusty Mitsubishi Evo , while he builds a new Class M car. Now whilst Keith and his 21st century technology Audi were on pole. Endaf Owen and Jim Lyons were on the 3rd row. Endaf was giving his Honda Civic a run, while Jimbo was making a fine show by being less than 4 seconds slower than Keith, in his Mini turbo which has it’s roots in 1950s technology!
Glynne Jones was 7th in his BMW, and had Mike Moss for company on the 4th row. Mike won the 2018 Champion in his Class BS Caterham, and he now carries the Number 1 on his car, to indicate he is the current champion! On row 5 Dave Hockley and his Honda Civic was on his own as Mark Williams was missing. Colin Dunn and his Clio, was on the Class BT Pole, and shared row 6 with Roger Dowden and had Andrew Williams behind him on row 7. Andy had replaced his MG with a Ford Fiesta that looked vaguely familiar! Joining him on row 7 was teenage sensation Ben Cutler and his Mini 7! Ben from Newcastle Emlyn has just turned 16 and although he has had some karting and Auto-grass experience, he was having his race debut. Ben was supported by his dad Rob, and they are targeting the Mini 7 S Class, but getting off the mark at their local circuit was a bonus. Ben was clearly finding his feet, although he got beached after a grassy moment. On row 8 Darren Osborn had converted his 1800 BMW to Class BT and was joined on the final row by Alan Smith. Alan should have had some company but was the sole AT runner again.
Race 1- 15 mins plus 1 lap- Rolling Start.
Keiths’ Audi R8 is stalked by Damians’ Westfield
Alan Jenkins sent out a call-out on Saturday, as the organisers needed a driver for safety car driver for Sunday. Blake Edwards answered the call, and was rolling back the years by being in the lead of a WSSCC race again; even if it was for a short distance! As the grid assembled Keith Butcher was on his own as Chris Everills’ car was stuck in the paddock. Having moved the Ginetta to go out for race one, Chris found an oil patch on the ground! This needed investigation and it was found that the gearbox oil cooler line had sprung a leak, and it needed to be fixed and Chris would miss race one! So as the cars came round to the lights Keith grabbed an immediate lead from Nick Crompton and a fast starting Mike Moss. Damian Longotano made his usual cautious start and made his way up past Mike & Nick by lap 4 to run some 5 seconds behind Keith initially. However as the race wore on, Damian increased the pressure on Keith. The lead see-sawed, as they lapped the backmarkers, until Damian was virtually with Keith. Keith responded by setting his fastest lap on lap 10! Even so Damian still had Keith in his sights and there was less than 1 second between them as Keith crossed the line! Nick Crompton made up the top 3 finishers.
Behind Nick, there was some early dicing for positions, but eventually Endaf passed Mike Moss and had made it up to 4th place. Glynne Jones & Jim swapped places early on, but then Jimbo repassed Glynne, who then had Darren (Dave) Hockly for company.
In the later stages there was a tense stand-off between Mike Moss & Jim Lyons, with Mike in 5th place a few seconds ahead of Jimbo at the end! Jim was 6th, Glynne was 7th and Darren H was 8th
Colin Dunn (9th) established himself in the lead of Class BT but behind him Roger Dowden (AS) was having a dice with Andy Williams (BT) Ford Fiesta, which lasted almost the whole race, until Andy passed Rogers veteran Davrian Mk 6. However by that time Colin was too far up the road for Andy to do anything about catching him! Meanwhile Ben Cutler got a good start and was initially keeping Alan Smith and Darren Osborn at bay. Late on, Alan slipped by to finish in 12th place. Ben finished his first race in 13th, and his dad Rob was well pleased with his lap times! Darren found his tyres going off late on in his heavy metal 1800 BMW and finished in 14th and last. Damian had set the fastest lap of the race in his pursuit of Keith, and won the ‘Driver of the Race’ for his efforts to keep Keith honest!
Post-race in the paddock there was a lot of sweaty drivers, and wearing Black overalls while driving a Black car may not been the coolest choice in the hottest day of the year!
Race 2- 15 mins plus 1 lap- Rolling Start.
By the time the grid left behind Blake in the pace car, Chris Everill was able to join at the back of the grid, but Endaf was missing as he had family holiday duties. At the lights Keith made a good start, but Damian had the Audi under pressure, and with Chris Everill making quick progress through the field it seemed as if we were going to have a 3 car dice for the lead. Damian found his car going sideways and pulled off at Hatchets as his Westfield appeared uncontrollable. However Chris had taken his place and had Keith under pressure and they both began to draw away from Nick Crompton. Mike Moss had Jim Lyons as close company. Glynne Jones also had Darren Hockly on his tail. Andy Williams got the jump on Colin Dunn and with Roger Dowden joining in it was a close 3 way fight that was very watchable! Andy & Colin were nose to tail for lap after lap until Colin got past eventually finishing 7th and 1st in Class BT again. Andy eventually dropped behind Roger Dowden to finish 9th, but was still 2nd in BT. Alan Smith was 10th, with Darren Osborn 11th (and used his Joker Card to double his points) Ben Cutler finished his 2nd race in 12th place.
Meanwhile the dice at the front had started to cool as Chris Everills pace began to slow and he eventually pulled off with fuel surge problems. This left Keith Butcher and his Audi on his own to stroke his way to another win, with almost 27 seconds in hand on Nick Crompton. Keith opened the gap up to over 35 secsonds, but on lap 14 as he went to change up, the gearbox found only neutral and he pulled to the side of the track and stopped as Nick flew past into the lead! Keiths’ Audi was emitting the occasional V10 howl and then he got moving again and got up to speed but Nick was long gone. Mike Moss was now 3rd. So Nick proved if you want to finish first – first finish!
Later Keith revealed that as he tried to change gear he got a box of neutrals. ‘I was just going to switch it off and then switch it back on, when I got gears again’ Damian Longotano found the reason for the poor handling of his Caterham SE was that a bolt holding a stabilising bar, known as a Panhard rod, to the rear suspension, had snapped! That will be an easy fix and it can be hoped that the next round at Pembrey on May 12th when the race will be on the twisty Club circuit, the battle for the win will intensify.
Keith Butcher set a new Class D lap record in Race 3 and bettered in race 4 and now leads The Colin Gundersen Trophy for the Class Fastest Race Lap at Pembrey but Mike Moss also scored well and is less than 1 point behind Keiths’ score. Roger Dowden moved into 3rd place and Colin Dunn is 4th. The final races in the The 2019 Colin Gundersen Trophy are on June 9th and October 6th.
Ryan & Seb star in Race 1 but it was points rather than podiums for both teams in race 2 at Snetterton. (by Rob Allender) (Photos courtsey of britishgt.com)
Bentley boys Ryan Ratcliffe from Llanelli and his teammate Glynn Geddie (Silver Class) and Seb Morris (Wrexham) & Rick Parfitt Jnr (Pro-Am class) were the stars of the first 1 hour race on the Snetterton 300 circuit. Traditionally the Norfolk circuit did not suit the original Bentley Continental GT3 car, but the New Generation car was a revelation! Glynn Geddie qualified 4th in the first session; but Rick Parfitt Jnr was down in 10th. Rhyming Rick, summed it up ‘I missed a gear, which cost me dear!’
At the start Geddie moved up into 3rd place, and took the lead when the first 2 cars touched at the first major corner, and he gleefully swept by! Geddie drew away and had a 6 second lead when he made the pit stop to hand over Ryan Ratcliffe! Meanwhile Rick Parfitt Jnr had made it up to 5th place before handing over to Seb Morris!
Ryan Ratcliffe holds 2nd place at Snetterton, as Seb Morris hoves into view
As the race settled down after the stops, Ryan was in 4th place and Seb Morris was 7th. However there was once again a battle for the lead, but it fell Ratclifes’ & Sebs way, as first the leading BMW slowed and then the second car had to pull in for a Stop & Go penalty for a pit lane infringement! This left the Lamborghini of Phil Keen in the race lead, and Ratcliffe in 2nd place, and also in the Silver Class lead! Meanwhile Morris had passed Rob Bells Mclaren, and then applied maximum pressure on John Adam in an Aston Martin who was in 3rd place! However Adam had his eyes on Ratcliffe, and when Adam tried to overtake the Llanelli lads’ Bentley, Morris saw his chance and out-jockeyed Adam to claim 3rd place, going on the final lap!
This was all stirring stuff, however on the very last lap, virtually in sight of the finish line, it all went wrong for Morris and the JMR Bentley! Going into the ‘Bomb Hole’ corner a GT 4 car got in the way, and whilst Ratcliffe was able to pass, the GT4 car slammed on the brakes which put Seb Morris car into a concertina. After a heavy contact from behind, his
Ryan & Glen pick up their trophies
engine lost power and Adam and Jonny Cocker (Lamborghini Hurrican) swept by, leaving Morris to trail into 5th place. So whilst an ecstatic Ratcliffe and his teammate Glynn Geddie got to spray the champagne, with the Team Parker Racing team. ‘This is what it’s all about!
Morris could only ponder on what might have been! “We really deserved a podium from race one, it was a tough battle with Jonny Adam but we both raced hard and fairtic Ratcliffe and his teammate Glynn Geddie got to spray the champagne, with the Team Parker Racing team. ‘This is what it’s all about!
Morris could only ponder on what might have been! “We really deserved a podium from race one, it was a tough battle with Jonny Adam but we both raced hard and fairMorris could only ponder on what might have been! “We really deserved a podium from race one, it was a tough battle with Jonny Adam but we both raced hard and fair”, reflected Morris, “Third was in the bag but out of the Bomb Hole on the last lap, Ryan went off and then came back on, which made a GT4 car slam on the brakes. I had to come to a standstill and a car smashed into the back of me, the contact was so heavy it ripped away the intercooler pipe and that’s why I had no power at all coming out of the chicane. It’s a shame to miss the podium as everyone at the team had done a great job.”
In race 2 (round 4 of the championship) later in the day, Morris took the opening stint and lapped impressively to maintain position throughout the first half hour of action. With little to choose between the lead contenders, Morris performed well to move over three seconds clear of the McLaren of Rob Bell before pitting at the end of lap 16 to hand the car over to Parfitt Jnr. Joining the track with around 25 minutes to go, Parfitt Jnr was in fifth initially and then took fourth on lap 20 before closing up behind the top three.
Into the chicane on lap 23, though, an uncharacteristic spin into the braking zone pitched the Bentley off the track and into the barriers. Although continuing, a left rear puncture late-on dropped Parfitt Jnr to 12th overall and 10th in the Pro-Am class. (A rear tyre deflating, may have had an impact on Ricks accident)
Meanwhile Ratcliffe and his teammate Glynn Geddie were stuck in 13th place overall, but more importantly 3rd in the Silver Class, and although Rick Parfitt Jnr dropped back and finish 12th overall, Seb & Rick got a point as t hey were 10th in The Pro-Am class.
All this means that Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr are 3rd Overall and also 3rd in the very crowded Pro-Am Class, and Ryan Ratcliffe and his teammate Glynn Geddie are 2nd in the less crowded Silver Class, and 8th Overall
Round five of the British GT season, the three-hour ‘Silverstone 500’ at the home of the British Grand Prix, will take place on Sunday, 9th June
Preview – The action shifts to Snetterton or Rounds 3 & 4 of the British GT Championship and although the Snetterton 300 circuit does not favour the Bentley, both Welsh lads Ryan Ratcliffe and Seb Morris are hopeful of scoring some points for their different teams at the Norfolk track.
In the Blancpain Endro round at Silverstone Matt Parry finished a creditable 17th overall in the R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vanatge although Seb Morris saw his chances of a win in the Pro-am class disappear when the car failed to start after the last pit stop! When he did get on the track, Seb passed car after car and eventually finished in 5th place in Class, but claimed the extra point for the fastest lap, and racked up 10 points for the team.
Strong Pace & Championship Points for Meyrick And Bullitt Racing (edited by Rob Allender)
Andy Meyrick and the Bullitt Racing team showed tremendous speed and performance at the European GT4’s, second-round at Brands Hatch last weekend. Meyrick and co-driver Stephen Pattrick were at the top of the charts during practice but narrowly missed out on a podium during the races, bringing home a fourth, and an eighth-place result.
In Race 1, Pattrick did a fantastic job keeping the #33 Mercedes AMG GT4 out of trouble, and after a brilliant pit-stop by both drivers and crew, Meyrick went back out into the battle. Navigating his way through traffic, Meyrick made up ground crossing the finish line, fourth in class.
In Race 2, Meyrick was up to second on the first lap and was leading the class by lap 12, five-minutes before the pit window. Passing pit entry he suffered a puncture ‘and had to do a whole lap to back to the pits! Unfortunately, a lot of time was lost and Pattrick returned to the track further down the field. Pattrick put on a professional performance, bringing the car home in eighth.
Despite not bringing home the medals, we had a very good weekend”, said Meyrick. “We showed a strong pace throughout, the team and Stephen put on a fantastic performance, and we brought home Championship points. In both races we were so close and that makes us confident that next time we will be celebrating a podium at Paul Ricard in a month’s time.”
Matt Parry& Seb Morris hoping to kick- start their Blancpain Challenge at Silverstone this weekend
Neither Welsh drivers scored in the first round of the European series at Monza. Seb missed out due to accidents and didn’t even get to turn a lap in qualifying or the race in the Bentley Continental. However he is confident he can come good at Silverstone.
Matt Parry at least got to race but had such bad luck in the JMR Aston Martin finishing a frustrated 37th at the chequered flag.
“It just wasn’t meant to be our day,” Parry sighed, “The weather made it difficult for everyone out there, but Matthieu and I did what we could to keep the car in contention for points. Unfortunately, things conspired against us in the final hour, with the delay in the pits and then the puncture meaning that Maxime was unable to chase a top ten finish. Finishing 37th is definitely not representative of our potential as I definitely think the team was capable of scoring points here, but we’ll regroup and look to put things right at Silverstone.”
Saturday, 11th May, with the 90-minute Pre-Qualifying period getting underway at 15.40. On Sunday, 12th May, final qualifying will begin at 09.40 with the three-hour race itself beginning at 15.00.
Television coverage of the race in the UK is expected to be screened on digital satellite and cable channel British Eurosport.
Live online streaming of both of Sunday’s sessions will be carried at SRO’s ‘GT World’ You Tube channel, on Motorsport.TV and also at the official Blancpain GT Series website HERE
British GT Championship Oulton Park. (Report by Rob Allender and Marion Allender). Welsh drivers had a big hand in the first round of the 2019 British GT Championship bid at Oulton Park. After qualifying Ian Loggie was on pole position with his new Mercedes (he had driven a Bentley with Team Parker Racing) and 2nd was Ryan Ratcliffe with a new gen Bentley run by Team Parker Racing. 3rd was the Lamborghini Hurracan of Sam De Haan and 4th fastest was the Bentley of Rick Parfiit Jnr and Seb Morris, run by the new JRM team. Pariftt Jnr took the opening stint from fourth on the grid and maintained position through the first corner off the rolling start before then taking third place from the Lamborghini of Sam De Haan on the run out of Cascades. Then, on lap two, after a dramatic incident at Hislop’s Chicane, when second placed Ryan Ratcliffe collided with the leading Mercedes of Ian Loggie, Parfitt Jnr sliced past into the lead of the race, before officials then deployed the Safety Car to enable recovery both the stricken cars.
Racing resumed on lap seven and Parfitt Jnr did a good job to lead by 0.7 seconds over the line, before then proceeding to pump in a series of fastest laps until, by the time the pit stop window opened the JRM driver was almost 10 seconds clear.
Staying on track until the end of lap 13, he then pitted to hand the Bentley over to Morris with 35 minutes of the race to run. Getting out onto track firmly in the lead of the race, the early part of the Welshman’s stint wasn’t without drama with a number of GT4 class cars proving a hinderance – an errant Ford Mustang even making contact with the Bentley at one stage at Druids.
Threading his way through the traffic professionally and quickly, Morris held an advantage of over seven seconds from the Lamborghini of Phil Keen as the race reached the halfway point but the Huracan driver – on new tyres – did then begin to take time out of the leader.
Pushing as hard as possible, Morris continued to pick up his own pace and with 20 laps completed the gap stabilised at around six seconds. Through lapped traffic the lead did fluctuate, but Morris made no mistakes and into the final 10 minutes he’d opened the lead back up to eight seconds. Over the last few laps things did close up through more traffic, but Morris had it all under control to win the first race for the new gen Bentley and the new JRM team! It was now time for dream team of Rick & Seb to pick up the winners trophies and spray the champagne! Afterwards Morris confirmed “I really happy with race one and the whole weekend so far. In qualifying we were given a slow BOP [Balance of Performance], so we thought it would be a tough weekend, but the race went better than we could’ve dreamt – it’s amazing to have won our first race with JRM who did an incredible job!
In Race 2 two later in the day Morris started in 4th place, behind the wheel of the No.31 Bentley for the first stint (while Ryan Ratcilffes teammate started in 7th place) and after holding his starting place of fourth through Old Hall, he then climbed into third at Cascades as he eyed another podium finish. Following the deployment of the Safety Car in time for lap three, racing resumed on the seventh tour and Morris started to pile significant pressure onto the Mercedes of Adam Christodoulou. Swarming all over his rival, the JRM driver was relentless in attempting to find a way past and into lap 14 he was just 0.275 seconds behind.
Choosing to make an earlier pit-stop than would otherwise have been the case, to try and mitigate the time being lost and also bearing in mind the 10 second ‘success’ penalty from race one which meant the Bentley had to remain in the pits longer than rival cars, Morris handed over to Parfitt Jnr at the end of lap 15. (Ryan Ratcilffe had to serve a 10 second penalty for causing the accident in race 1)
When the race order settled after all stops had been completed, Parfitt Jnr held seventh position but a moment for one of the Aston Martins soon after enabled him to climb into sixth. With the incident triggering another Safety Car period, racing resumed on lap 23 with just 15 minutes to go and Parfitt Jnr immediately looked to challenge Andrew Howard.
Producing a superb cut-back at Lodge at the end of the lap to grab fifth from the Aston Martin driver, Pariftt Jnr’s next target was the Lamborghini of Adam Balon but a dramatic excursion at Brittens Chicane pitched the Bentley into the barriers. Although the car did eventually fire back up, Parfitt Jnr dropped down the order and ultimately ended the race ninth in GT3 and eighth in Pro-Am. In round two later in the afternoon, the 23-year-old Welshman and his team-mate unfortunately rued what might have been when a late race excursion for Parfitt Jnr – while running fifth – meant an eventual finish of ninth in GT3 and eighth in the Pro-Am class.
“At the end of the day Rick just made a small mistake in race two, it was unfortunate but we still came away with points”, added Morris, “If you’d have said to me at the beginning of the weekend we’d have a win and an eighth in Pro-Am, I’d have bitten your arm off. With how strong we’ve been this weekend, I’m really looking forward to the next round.”
Ryan Ratcliffe brought the Team Parker Bentley home in 17th place. Ryan apologised to his team and team-mate Glen Geddie for
Rounds three and four of the British GT season will take place over the weekend 18th/19th May at Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk. One week earlier, Morris will return to action in the Blancpain Endurance Cup for round two of its season on Sunday, 12th May, at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.
2019 British GT Championship Standings (after Rd2)
3rd Seb Morris/Rick Parfitt Jnr, 27pts
2019 British GT Championship ‘Pro-Am’ Standings (after Rd2)
3rd Seb Morris/Rick Parfitt Jnr, 29pts
The 2019 Brit GT series starts on Easter Monday & Welsh drivers will be driving hard for top honours! Report by Marion Allender (fotos by Rob Allender)
[ Ryan back with Team Parker Racing[/caption]
The British 2019 GT Championship starts at Oulton Park on Easter Monday and Llanelli racer Ryan Ratcliffe will be back with Team Parker Racing and with a new team-mate Glynn Geddie as part of the Bentley assault on the 2019 British GT3 Championship with the next generation of the Bentley Continental GT3 car.Ratcliffe won the GT4 class in British GT Championship in 2014 with Rick Parfitt Jnr as his team mate, and in 2018 raced the 1st Generation Bentley Continental GT3, known as ‘The Beast’ (The MK2 car should be easier to drive than last years’ car ). The best result in 2018 was finishing 2nd at Spa Francorhamps, having lead the 2 hour race for most of the distance!
Rick & Seb discuss lap times.
Meanwhile Seb Morris is about to embark on his biggest and most high-profile season of motorsport, after confirming a huge deal to return to the British GT Championship with brand new Bentley customer team JRM from Daventry. Morris– will reunite with rock star Rick Parfitt Jnr to reform the ‘dream team’ pairing which made history for Bentley by winning the 2017 title. Morris says the deal to join JRM was ‘too good to refuse’ and especially with the opportunity of teaming again with Parfitt Jnr, who had previously announced his retirement from racing.
“I’m coming back to British GT as a proper ‘Pro’, JRM want my services as a driver and that’s an incredible feeling. Rick [Parfitt Jnr] had obviously announced his retirement, which was serious, and when the team talked with him he said he wouldn’t come back unless he was with me – that’s such a fantastic thing for him to have said, it’s very special and I feel honoured and humbled.”
Morris added: “I’m also, obviously, extremely proud to have been asked to continue as a BRDC Superstar and to remain part of Team UK as well. It really is an honour to be invited to remain part of both programmes which offer so much, and which have played a huge part in my career so far.” With a brand new Bentley Continental GT3, , Morris is confident the new JRM entry will shake-up the established order.
“Obviously, I’ve been away in Blancpain Endurance for a year where I was often the fastest Bentley and we took podiums in the first season which was fantastic. I’m aiming to put into practice what I learnt there, becoming a much more rounded driver, on my return to British GT with JRM. We’ve also got more exciting announcements about this year’s racing to come as well…!”
The announcement regarding the British GT deal comes just a couple of weeks after Morris was promoted by Bentley into its ‘factory’ team for this year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa, where he will race as a fully-fledged ‘Bentley Boy’ as part of a four-car assault on the biggest GT3 race in the world.
Hi here are the final 2018 Overall & Class points.
A big thank you to everyone who entered the 2018 championship.
Congratulations to Mike Moss who is the 2018 Champion, Damian Longotano who is 2nd, and Colin Dunn who is 3rd, and all the class winners and top 3 places in the Multi-car Classes. Looking forward to seeing you at the Awards Night on Saturday 17th November. Regards Robert
Entry & Practice . After Storm Callum had drenched Pembrey on Friday and Saturday, it did not look promising for Sunday’s races, but as competitors rolled up on Sunday morning the weather was looking a bit more promising, Yyes it was cold and wet and Pembrey had a few water features, which some would say were more like lakes, but the weather was much calmer and the circuit was open for business.
Unfortunately Gareth Haycock’s car was out of action for this weekend, but Gareth had still took to the time out to come down and support his fellow competitors. 18 cars went out into qualifying, we were second out after theLlegends so they had helped dry the track out a bit, all 18 cars finished qualifying with Chris Everill in his Ginetta taking pole position with an impressive 1.09.7 lap time two seconds clear of 2nd place Keith Butcher in his Seat Cupra!
New comer Andy Thompson in his Seat Toledo Turbo just pinched 3rd from Andy Williams’ Sierra Cosworth by just over two 10ths of a second, hopefully we will see more of Andy Thompson in the 2019 season, Andy Williams from Risca was going very well, it was touch and go whether he was going to make it to the meeting after his race car had technical difficulties, but he was here and was in a good position for a spot on the podium.
Class BS driver Simon Hutchings stuck his Mazda MX5 in 5th after a fantastic qualifying session, in 6th was Darren Hockley in the Honda Civic type R followed by Colin Dunn in his Renault Clio Sport with a respectful 1.18.4 lap time, astonishingly Mark Williams was back after his big off into the tyre wall at the last meeting, the Volkswagen Golf was looking great and had not knocked his confidence one bit! He was sitting 8th on the grid.
Damian Longotano was in 9th after not getting the power down due to the conditions, he had made efforts to soften off the suspension to help but it obviously did not work as well as he had hoped. In 10th Daryl Radford had returned to the championship for the last meeting of the year, after having issues at the start of the season in Oulton Park. Andrew Williams in the MG ZR was in 11th on the grid and 2nd in class BT and looked to be extracting every last horsepower out of that MG.
Ellis Wiggins who had just celebrated his 32nd birthday put the Nova in 12th. Glynne Jones, left leg was now fully recovered and he was in 13th and it was good to see him out enjoying the BMW again. Susanne Jones had paid us a visit in her Lotus Elise and was in 14th.
The final four competitors were Blake Edwards in his Clio Sport 15th which is actually up for grabs at the end of the season., if you know anyone looking for a well sorted competitive race car? Alan Smith in the IDGAF Racing KA was in 16th, Verity Banks who was renting one of Lufferelli’s Peugeot 106’s, whilst her car is repaired, was in 17th. And last but not least the one and only Roger Dowden, who had gearbox issues during qualifying and lost 4th gear, fingers crossed he will be out in the races later in the day.
Round 11. 15 minutes + 1 Lap – Rolling Start
It was a long wait to the first race of the day for the WSSCC, but there was plenty of action track side to watch in the mean time, we got grided up and started at 1.51pm. The first couple of laps were rather busy with plenty of position changes. Chris Everill had taken the lead and on lap 2 Damian Longotano had some issues with power and went off line, spinning on to the grass at Debeni corner! Thankfully he scrubbed enough speed off to avoid the tyre wall, and with a helping hand from the
Keith Butcher is in there some where- photo by Steve Williams
Orange Army he got on his way only one lap down! However as Damian was re-entering the track, Keith Butcher, also went to do a bit of gardening at Debeni corner, but unfortunately his Seat Cupra found the pond where we had so much rain, and was going no where, and he had to abandon it there.
On lap 4 Andy Williams locked up into Hatchets as he tried to avoid the slowing Andy Thompson Seat Toledo Turbo! Andy had flat spotted his tyres and as a precaution came in on that lap to avoid the tyre failing completely.
On lap 6 Andy Thompson retired his Seat Toledo, with the throttle stuck open!
Chris Everill’s lead was substantial by this point and he remained un-challenged for the rest of the race, Damian’s Westfield had made a bit of a come back and battled his way back through the pack and was running in 4th overall.
Glynne Jones retired his car on lap 8 as he had damaged his oil cooler! Unknown to Damian but he was also losing brake fluid, fortunately only from the rear brakes so he managed to continue racing. Simon Hutching’s was having one of his best races this season, and had made it up to 2nd place and was not going to give it up easily.
14 cars finished the race and the final order as they crossed the line was Chris Everill in 1st and 1st in Class D, Simon Hutchings in a fantastic 2nd and 1st in Class BS (his highest finishing position in his racing career). Daryl Radford was 3rd overall and 2nd in BS, in 4th after his near miss with the tyre wall was Damian Longotano also 1st in CS, 5th was Darren Hockley in the Honda Civic and close behind was Susanne Jones in the Lotus Elise.
Mark Williams had a few running issues but thoroughly enjoyed running on slicks and finished 7th and 2nd in Class CS, Colin Dunn came in 8th overall and 1st in Class BT, Ellis Wiggins in 9th and 3rd in BS, Roger Dowden despite losing 4th gear in qualifying managed 10th and 1st in Class AS.
Andrew Williams in the MG ZR was 11th and the last competitor to complete 13 laps and was 2nd in Class BT, Blake Edwards was lucky to finish at all after the race he found that his fuel tank had split and he was losing a lot of fuel, he came in 11th and 4th in BS, Verity Banks in the 106 came across the line in 13th and 3rd in Class BT, and Alan Smith in the IDGAF Ford KA in 14th and 1st in Class AT.
Our second race of the day started at 17:39 and the sun was eye blindingly low in the sky, I had the pleasure of spectating from the tower which is a great place to not only take in the fantastic spectacle we put on for our supporters, but also to take in the beautiful landscape that surrounds Pembrey Circuit.
Only 16 cars made it out into race two as both Glynne Jones and Blake Edwards had issues with their cars that could not be rectified at the circuit. Chris Everill’s Ginetta and Simon Hutchings Mazda MX5 lined up on the front of the grid, I can only image the size of the grin of Simon’s face as he helped lead the pack round on their green flag lap.
The pack came through Honda corner and approached the start/ finish line, the lights dropped and the engine note of all 16 cars heightened as they all screamed off towards Hatchets, Daryl Radford jumped passed Simon’s MX5 and into 2nd before turning into Hatchets hairpin. Damian was desperately trying to get pass the 3rd and 2nd place competitors to challenge Chris’s Ginetta for the lead.
Andy William’s had made up 2 positions by Debeni Corner, by the end of lap one Chris Everill had pulled a nice lead, but now Damian’s Millington powered Westfield was up into 2nd and was hunting down the Ginetta. Mark Williams was now up into 4th and challenging Radford for 3rd, Simon’s MX5 had slipped to 5th and Susanne Jones was advancing on him in 6th with Darren Hockley just behind in 7th.
Mr Dunn’s Clio was in 8th , Thompson in the Toledo ex touring car and Williams in the iconic Sierra Cosworth were having a race on their own and were now 9th and 10th. Keith Butcher, after almost being swallowed by the water logged grass in race 1, had also came up from the back of the grid and was now in 11th. On lap 2 Daryl Radford’s car drastically slowed at the crossing section, causing the following VW Golf of Mark Williams to have to brake to avoid him. This gave the advantage for Simon’s MX5 to sling-shot passed both of them into the new infield section of the circuit!
At the start of lap 3 Chris Everill was still in the lead, but the gap to Damian had closed up to roughly 1 second.! Daryl Radford had pulled off on speedway straight having car issues, Simon was still in 3rd with Mark’s Golf very close behind. Andy Williams’ Sierra Cosworth had managed to get past Thompson’s Toledo. Ellis Wiggins in the Nova Redtop was following Roger Dowden’s Davrian, Andrew Williams’ MG ZR was following Wiggins, and at the back of the field Alan Smith and Verity Bank were battling it out, Alan was trying everything to get passed Bank’s 106 GTI.
Lap 4 Damian Longotano was trying to get into a position to make a move on Everill. Colin Dunn had a large gap either side of him and appeared to be having a lonely race as he tried to catch the leading pack, Ellis had gotten past Roger and was now trying to catch Colin Dunn.
Lap 5 Damian still had not found away passed and Everill had clawed a bit of breathing space back, Simon Hutching was in the strong 3rd and had pulled away from Mark’s Golf. Andy’s Sierra was motoring in 5th and kicked the tail out as he exited Honda Corner in true RWD Cosworth fashion! Keith Butcher had made it up to 6th and was catching the Sierra Cosworth up.
On lap 6 going into Hatchets the Westfield was breathing down the neck of the Ginetta and had his first attempt to get past, side by side through Spitfires and Debeni and the Ginetta just got nose in front at the crossing. Keith Butcher had now made it up past Andy Williams and was now up into 3rd.
Damian played the cut back at Hatchets on lap 7 and took the lead but was short lived as Everill regained it by the infield section. Alan Smith in the KA and Verity Banks in the 106 were having a race of their own, Alan was desperately trying to find a way past but Verity was defending very well. Ellis Wiggins was catching Colin’s Clio slowly but was gaining ground on him.
On lap 8 Andy Thompson took 5th from Simon Hutchings and continued to chase the Sierra Cosworth, As the front runners came around Honda corner on to lap 9 the Westfield of Longotano was along side Everill’s Ginetta and played the same switch back move and it worked again. Chris had left the door open and the little Westy slipped down the inside into Spitfires, the lead again was short live as Chris used the back markers to his advantage and got back in front at the infield section.
Throughout lap 9 Chris Everill was leading, but was nose to tail with Damian’s Westfield. Chris Everill was making his Ginetta as wide as possible and defending very well, and did not fall for the same switch back move at Hatchets on lap 10.
Thompson and Williams were still going well in 4th and 5th; the Andy’s were having a race of their own, both in similar powered cars that were evenly matched, it was just down to who wanted it more, the Cosworth was holding off the Seat Toledo very well but they were so close that any small error could lose the Cosworth its position! Andy Williams of Risca was trying very hard to tame that 2.5 litre naturally aspirated Smith & Jones motor he has under the bonnet and suprisingly was keeping the car in a nice smooth straight line, which is a bit alien to Andy, as we all know well that the purple coloured Sierra Cosworth of Williams is only happy when going sideways so Andy was beheaving today, Good Racing Andy!!!
Simon Hutchings in the MX5 was still running well, although the front runners had left him behind, he was in a strong 6th and 1st in Class BS and no one was looking to challenge him for that. As Damian came around Honda side by side with Chris he was now on the inside and pulled a car length down the straight over the Ginetta, Chris then managed to out brake Damian into Hatchet at the start of lap 11 and shut the door on Damian a fantastic bit of racing.
Before you knew it the front pack were back around and entering lap 12, these two gladiators are averaging lap times around the low 1.07s so it does not take them long to get around Pembrey Circuit! The Westfield had the better run out of Honda and took the lead once again, and he played defensive into Hatchets and this time kept the lead. Darren Hockley in the Honda Civic was running in 9th and Ellis had managed to take 10th from Colin’s Clio.
Damian had pulled a few seconds lead over Chris by the time they started lap 13, and it looked like the Westfield had this one in the bag! Damian passed back marker Mark Williams on the inside of Debeni, Mark Williams in the Golf GTI who was running in a firm 7th, as Chris Everilll’s Ginetta attempted to pass the Golf of Mark in the infield section, there was contact between both cars, both cars continued but both with some body work damage.
The damage on both cars was obviously hindering their performance as they both dropped back a bit, Susanne and Darren both passed the Golf of Mark Williams, Chris Everill was able to continue too and as had a comfortable lead over 3rd place Keith Butcher, he just hoped the car would hold up to the end of the race.
As Damian’s Westfield crossed the line to start the last lap, it was sure that all he had to do now was bring it home and after his issues in the first race I bet he was over the moon! Unfortunately Andrew Williams’ MG ZR did not complete the last lap after the car developed a gearbox issue, he retired the car to the pits.
As they crossed the line Damian Longotano took the race win and 1st in class CS, Chris Everill managed to bring the Ginetta home for 2nd and 1st in class D, Keith Butcher had done very well considering he started dead last he finished 3rd overall and 2nd in class CS, Andy Williams, in true Andy fashion, kicked the tail out on the Cosworth on the exit of Honda, then crossed the line 4th overall and 3rd in class CS, after a fantastic race with invitation racer Andy Thompson who finished 5th and 1st in the invitation class.
After Simon Hutchings personal best in first race earlier in the day I am sure he was estatic to take yet another high finish 6th overall and 1st in class BS, also the last competitor to complete 14 laps. Susanne Jones showed us that her years away from the championship have perfected her racing skills, coming in at 7th overall and 2nd in the invitation class, Darren Hockley also in the invitation class was 8th and 3rd in the invitation class.
Mark Williams managed to limp the Golf home and managed 9th overall and 4th in class CS, Ellis Wiggins had a good race with Colin and finished 10th and 2nd in class BS, Colin Dunn bought the Clio across the line after a faultless race for 11th and 1st in class BT, Roger Dowden even without 4th gear was still out competing and enjoying the Davrian he came in 12th and 1st in class AS.
Verity Banks was 13th after a grueling race defending from Alan Smith for all 12 laps that they completed, Verity was 2nd in class BT, Alan Smith brought the IDGAF racing KA home for 14th overall and 1st in class AT. Alan has enjoyed his racing in 2018 thanks to the continued support of M.B.C. Groundworks, The Wheel Restorer, and new sponsor Rock Oil, and the backing of all concerned with Idgaf Racing
Although the weather was not the best at times, overall I found it was a fantastic weekend, and the racing was very exciting to watch. Well we have come to the end of the season and i already can not wait for the 2019 season, I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for supporting the championship and keeping alive what makes the WSSCC so great. Without you Guys/ Girls, Fans and of course all of the Orange Army our championship would not be what it is today. I look forward to many more race meetings with all of you.
Now on to 2019, if you are coming to the AGM/Championship Conference this year please feel free to speak up and share any ideas or concerns as without your voice we can not improve the championship for the future, also please come to the awards night as it is set to be a spectacular evening. I look forward to the 2019 season hopefully we will see all our regulars and a few new faces around the paddock, get building them competition cars and remember you dont need to be Welsh to join in the Fun.
Time Attack Race meeting -August 2018
The hot, dry and sunny days of the heatwave summer seem long gone. Although there have been some dry days since Donington, in typical motorsport fashion, come the weekend of the WSSCC rounds 9 & 10 at Pembrey, it started raining again! This was our first weekend organised by the ‘Time Attack’ championship. Time Attack is a Production car sprint based championship, seemingly based on a flying lap, rather than a standing start! They had invited a Scooter based championship, i.e think high performance Lambretta & Vespa based 2 stroke machines, the Irish Global Lights, and us. As Time Attack had booked 2 days, they raced on the ‘new’ longer circuit on Saturday, which gave us the luxury of a race on the ‘Old’ Classic circuit on the Sunday (the 2nd time this year).
The Entry & Practice. Practice started on a wet track, after some early morning rain, and whilst we might have hoped for a good sized grid, we were missing several cars, some with damage from Donington, some with damage from other places, and two withdrew with engine woes, which sadly included Mike Moss mate Mark Nicholson, who blew his new engine during a mid-week 10 lap test at Donington!
In the event Chris Everill (Ginetta G50) took Pole with a time of 65.713. Mike Moss took the Class BT Pole and was really on it and was 2nd fastest! Keith Butcher was 3rd and on the Class CS pole, with Damian Longotano 4th.
Simon Hutchings and Mark Williams were on the 3rd row, while Colin Dunn (BT pole) and Mark Williams were on row 4. Gareth Haycock (now in Class CS) and Andrew Williams (now the Class BT leader after Donny Park) were on row 5. Blake Edwards & Roger Dowden were on row 6. Completing the entry, were the Luffarelli pair of Verity Banks and Melissa Luffarelli. Verity was again driving Tyrones’ spare Peugeot 106, with Tyrone on hand with the spanners. Melissa was in her usual motorbike engine Mini. Gareth Haycocks’ engine sounded like it had a misfire, and there was plenty of assistance on hand from Damian and with GMS on the phone, it seemed like a fix had been found.
The race 15 minutes plus 1 lap – rolling start
Damian puts Chris under pressure
In between the early practice and race 1 (WSSCC round 9) the rain/drizzle stopped, and the Time Attack practice plus the Scooters & the Irish Global Lights races had put a dry line on the track. So everyone who had the choice, was on slicks. At the start Chris Everill took the early lead, from Damian Longotano. Mike Moss seemed to be taking the wide line out of Debeni, which let Keith Butcher through into 3rd place. Chris began to pull a couple of seconds lead on Damian, but by lap 5 he had Damian right on his tail and looking for a way past! Keith Butcher seemed secure in 3rd place and Mike Moss settled into 4th place, and the Class BS lead. Behind them there was a bunch, headed by Mark Williams’ Golf who had Simon Hutchings for close company throughout, and Gareth Haycock and Ellis Wiggins were also having a good battle. That is until Gareth pulled into the pits with a seized engine! Colin Dunn and Andrew 88 Williams were having a close battle early on, with a gap to Roger Dowden, then Melissa, Verity and after a mystery spin, Blake Edwards! Simon got by Mark but faced a long chase to try and catch the Class BS leader Mike Moss. Eventually Simonwhas passed by the leaders which put him a lap down. Late in the race Mike began to close on Keith Butcher as Keiths’ tyres began to fade. Keith had enough in hand and crossed the line in 3rd place with Mike 5 seconds behind and the last person on 16 Laps. Keith had enough in hand and crossed the line in 3rd place with Mike in 4th just 5 seconds behind and the last person on 16 Laps.
At the front Chris & Damian were having the dice of the race, passing & repassing each other on virtually every lap! Eventually Damian got by and was able to make use of back-markers to break the tow and pulled away to win by 8 seconds from Chris, and earned himself the ‘Driver of the Race’ award.
Simon Hutchins was 5th with Mark Williams 6th. Ellis Wiggins was 7th and only a few seconds ahead of Melissa Luffarelli who must have run Damian close for Driver of the Day award with stirring drive to 8th place from the back row. Colin Dunn was 9th but some way ahead of Andrew 88 Williams. However Andrew had a shock late on when Roger Dowden seemed to find some speed and then passed Andrew for 10th place and then hung on to take the place by 3 seconds! ‘Roger seems to make a late burst at lot of the time’ Blake got himself going and passed Verity to finish 12th. Verity got another race under her belt and was close to her best time ever although the 106 has a smaller engine than her old MG.
There were plenty of ‘Joker’ cards played in both races.
Race 2 – 15 minutes plus 1 lap – rolling start
By the time the grid formed up for race 2 it was dry with some glimpses of blue sky! Mark Williams, who cant be beaten in Class CT, took the chance to run on slicks and moved into Class CS! The grid didn’t have any surprises, apart from the absence of Gareth, but there was a surprise at Hatchets when Ellis Wiggins spun in front of the pack! This caused chaos, with cars trying to avoid the spinning Nova. Inevitably there was some contact, and Tyrones’ car (driven by Verity) took some panel damage! The rest of the grid was long gone, before Ellis got going again, and from there it was a long chase back to finish in 7th place! We was awarded the ‘Driver of the Race’ for his efforts
At the front, first few laps were a repeat of race 1 with Chris taking the lead and Damian chasing. Keith was in 3rd place throughout and Mike Moss was 4th. Behind them Mark Williams was again locked in battle with Simon Hutchins. That is until the later stages, when Mark made a ‘Sebastain Vettel’ type of mistake, and went wide onto the grass at Senna! Unfortunately, although the track was dry, the grass was wet, very wet, and Mark found his slicks no use, as he found himself boating some distance into the barrier, where the impact areas of the Golf came into play, and although it looked a big impact, Mark was able to get out ok. The front of the Golf looked very second hand though! Back in race, Damian was pressing Chris and after setting the fastest lap of the race passed Chris for the lead. Just to emphasise Damians’ pace his fastest lap of 60.766 was only .005 (i.e 5 thousands) slower than the Class CS lap record (which is held by Jason Davies and stands at 60.761)! Chris kept Damian in sight and he was less than 5 seconds behind at the end!
Behind them, Keith brought his Seat Cupra into 3rd place, but Mike Moss put some late pressure on, with his fastest lap on lap 14 and closed to just 1 second behind at the end, and in 4th place was the last driver on 16 laps! Simon Hutchins was 5th ahead of Melissa who was 6th. Behind them Roger Dowden headed a tight bunch including Colin Dunn, Blake Edwards, Andy Williams and the recovering Ellis Wiggins! They treated us to some excellent midfield action! Eventually after a late race surge by all 4 drivers, Colin got past Roger, but they were both overtaken by Ellis, on his way to 7th place. Colin was 8th but only 1.5 seconds ahead of Roger. Andrew was 10th and was the last driver on 14 laps. Blake Edwards faded away with fuel surge to finish 11th ahead of Verity in 12th! At the end Mark Williams car was recovered, with some heavy front end damage. As it would be a problem fitting into Marks covered trailer, Gareth stepped forward and a swap was done, with Gareths car in Marks rig and Marks damaged car on Gareths open trailer. A nice example of WSSCC co-operation!
With only the 2 races on October 14th at Pembrey left, after all the points have been added up it should show that whilst Mike Moss is nailed on for the overall title and Simon Hutchins for 2nd – 3rd is still wide open with just a few points between Andrew Williams, Colin Dunn and Damian Longatono! The same is true of 6,7 & 8th with Blake Edwards, Ellis Wiggins and Tyrone Luffarelli all in contention! In the Classes, Blake. Ellis and Tyrone are also close for 3rd in Class BS. In Class CS Damian Longatano is certain to win the class, but there are 6 drivers who are in with a shout of all the other places! So we should have a full CS entry for October with Keith Butcher, Nick Crompton Jim Lyons, Andy Williams, Gareth Haycock and Ken James all in with a shout!
Whilst Mark Williams will take Class CT and Chris Everill will take Class D, in Class BT Andrew Williams holds a 3 point lead over Colin Dunn, also in Class M Melissa Luffarelli leads with 100 points, whilst her dad Fabio has just 60! So reliability will be the key on October 14th!
Donington Park Report – July 29th 2018
Jason tames wet n dry Donington Park – Chris Everill upholds WSSCC honour!
July 2018 will go down in the history books as a month of record high temperatures and a complete lack of rain, until Sunday 29th July that is! Actually Donington was on the edge of the rain band that swept the country, so whilst there was some rain, it was never as bad as some areas, and the racing never seemed in doubt!
The Entry and Practice – There were 33 cars on the track in what was the biggest grid of the year! (If some of the late with-drawls had made it we would have a record entry) There were a welcome number of guest drivers in the ‘Invitation Class’ (Class I) some returnees and plenty of regulars!
In the event it was one of our own drivers, Jason Davies, who took Pole Position in the wet practice session with a time of 1.25.842 (0.231 clear of the 2nd place man) It was Jasons first race of the year, and he entered Class I, as he was so busy getting the car ready, he had not registered for points! 2nd fastest was the quick guest Dave Cockell with a standard looking Mk 6 Ford Escort, that was the classic ‘Wolf in Sheeps clothing’. On the second row was another guest Mike Cutt with a wild looking BMW E26 M3 but he was joined by Chris Everill who was the first of the WSSCC points scorers. Another guest Paul Wollfit was 5th but he was joined by Fabio Luffarelli, the 2nd of the WSSCC points scorers!
As the full grid is on TSL, (including our guests, who we decided to split into Class IA for the fastest cars, Class IB for 2 litre Fwd cars and Class IB for the 1.6 cars), I’ll concentrate on the WSSCC entries. Mike Moss, the current points leader was 9th in his Class CS Caterham, and was full of the delights of driving an open top car in the rain. ‘My Racesuit is soaked through and as I haven’t got another I just hope it dries out before the race.’ In 15th was Mark Williams, clearly at home in the wet. In 16th was Ellis Wiggins, the 2nd CS car, then a guest driver, and then Simon Hutchins (3rd in CS) then another guest driver, and then in 20th place, was Nick Rocke! Nick was closely followed, in 21st Place by Colin Dunn (Class BT). Then another guest driver and in 23rd place was Gareth Haycock, who was re-united with his V6 Golf, and had now moved into Class CS and took Pole for the class as Damian Longatano was languishing down in 28th after being plagued by a lack of grip. Actually he was behind Darren Hockley (a Class IB Contender) in 26th and Andy 88 Williams in 27th, but they were all due for a boost after 2 of our guests pulled out, leaving some empty spaces on the Grid, Daniel McKay, and Jasver Sapra. Jas lost his wing of his BMW in Practice, and as he is 2nd in Kuhmo Tyres championship, decided some discretion was best for him. (Shame that because he was a very late entry and I was hoping to say hello to both him and Daniel).
Tight behind Damian was Melissa Lufarelli (29th) , and then Blake Edwards (30th). Blake managed to set a time on his 2nd lap, which is just as well, as he spent the rest of the session throwing his Clio at the scenery! First he went into the gravel trap (aka ‘the Kitty litter’) at Redgate and had to manoeuvred back on the track by the Redgate snatch vehicle! Not content with that he went off again, near the end of the session! ‘The tyres I had were just a semi sort of wet and weren’t up to it!’ Karl Mason was our last guest ahead of Verity Banks, who was 32nd driving Tyrone Luffarellis spare car. (Tyrone was on hand to support Verity) Alan Smith was 33rd and the last WSSCC point scorer in the Ford Ka!
In between practice and the race, the rain showers eased and then came back, and driven by a strong wind, it made the track truly wet! So there was no dilemma as to what tyres to use!
As the grid made it’s way back to the start-line, front row man Dave Cockell drove straight into the pit-line and then the paddock, with a lack of turbo power after a pipe had come adrift!
This left Jason on his own as he lead the pack down into Redgate for the first time. Jason looked to be in his element and began to build a 7 second lead over Mike Cutt. But more on that story later!
3rd & 4th on the road was Chris Everill and Fabio Luffarelli but Chris began to draw away as the they came up to lap, the back markers which included Melissa Luffarelli who was having a big struggle that unfortunately lasted all race long! Melissa could only manage 8 laps in the end, but at least she finished! We had already lost 3 of our guests, Dave Cockell, Rick Jessop and John Dee, when late on Colin Dunn also was a DNF! ‘ I was overdriving due to a misfire and spun into the gravel at Craner. More on that story later
On 9 laps Blake Edwards was 26th Karl Mason was 25th and Verity Banks was a respectable 24th with Alan Smith in a great 23rd place. Andrew Williams was 22nd and Simon Hutchins was 21st and but for a last lap spin, in front of Damian Longotano, was look to stay on 10 laps and was in 7th place for a lot of the time. Later he commented ‘Despite learning that I’m not very good in the rain, had a great time at Donington, and thanks very much for all the close but safe driving (and for dodging me when I span, twice…. especially Damian!!.
Most of the rest of the grid was on 10 laps! From 5th to 10th place was a gaggle of guest cars, with Kirk Armitage in his BMW M3 who put in an excellent drive to pull up from 11th place and was given the ‘Driver of the Race’ award for his entertaining drive! (Which went down well with Kirk and his 3 little children!) In 6th Place was David Jones (Ford Focus) who was the Class IB winner and Paul Woolfit 7th (Lotus Excige) and 8th Scott Hubel (Peugeot 205T)
In 9th place was WSSCC scorer Mark Williams and his immaculate Class CT winning VW, with Mike Moss 10th and the Class BS winner. Mike had a good grid position, but lost a lot of places at the start, when he couldn’t get a gear! Mike had a good dice with Mark with Simon Hutchins early on, but later with guests Gary Bowers and Darren Moon and Ellis Wiggins who also in the mix, and was 13th! Nick Rocke was 14th, and had switched back to Class BT , and took the BT win, after Colin Dunns faux pas! Gareth Haycock was 15th and was justifiably proud of his regenerated VW V6 Golf! Gareth had switched to Class CS and he was a Class Winner on his debut! Gareth was at the head of a ducking & diving bunch of guest drivers including Darren Hockley! In 20th place was Damian Longatano the last driver on 10 laps.
Back at the front Jason Davies had drawn out a 7 second lead over Mike Cutts’ BMW M3. Chris Everill was 3rd in his 69 red Ginetta G50 and Fabio was 4th in car 70, and was the last driver to complete 11 laps! As Jason looked on his way to a race one win, he came across a gaggle of backmarkers, just as Colin Dunn spun into the gravel! The yellow flags came out and that forced Jason to back off! This gave the advantage of Mike Cutt, who was able to catch Jason, and did a slingshot past as they passed out of the ‘Yellow’ zone! Mike put the hammer down and tried to draw away, but Jason responded and set the races fastest lap on final lap of the race, and was only 0.194 behind at the chequered Flag!
We had the lunch break after the end of the race and shortly after the rain lessened, (although the wind didn’t!) We had planned to use the Aston Martin marquee to do the prize-giving, but due to weather they decided not to erect it! Due to the prospect of more rain later it was decided to walk around & deliver the Race 1 Awards.
By the time of our 2nd race of the day the rain had largely eased and the wind was having a dry effect and with 3 races on track before our race, it seemed that a dry line was showing.
Shortly after the start we lost one of guests and Colin Dunn, ‘We hadn’t fixed the electrical gremlins and the engine cut out on the first corner. So far we’ve found duff battery, alternator and some loose wiring to a relay. I’m very disappointed with the result as I was making great progress in race 1. I love the wet conditions and I was having great fun racing amongst the big grid. I don’t get much luck when we travel to the East Midlands. I had a double dnf at Mallory last year too.
Colin was starting from the back, along with the other DNF finishers, 3 guests including Jon Dee, Rick Jessop and the very rapid Dave Cockell! For Jason the priority was to build a big enough lead, to keep himself out of reach of a late challenge from Dave! Jason banged in an early series of quick laps to establish a lead over race 1 winner Mike Cutt, who was 2nd. Chris Everill was 3rd and he had Kirk Armitage and Fabio for close company. However Fabios race didn’t last long this time, as he pulled off with the Corrado on Fire! ‘The marshals were on the scene quickly and not only put the fire out, but sprayed powder over me and my helmet as well as the car!’ Fabios problem let guest driver Scott Hubel have a run on to Chris Everill, but Chris was out of reach! . Dave Cockell was already on the move and was up to 6th by lap 2! Also on the move was Damian Longotano and they came on Mike Moss who became sandwiched between Damian & Jon Llanon and his Citroen Saxo. Meanwhile Mark Williams had made an excellent start and was dicing with guest Gary Bowers when they were joined by the Damian, Jon & Mike trio! At the end Damian was 7th with Mike Moss 8th and closely followed across the line by Guest driver Gary Bowers! Damian was 1st in Class CT & Mike was 1st in CS. Mark Williams was 10th and the CT winner. Simon Hutchins was 13th, with Darren Hockley 14th and Ellis Wiggins 15th only a second behind. The dicing Yorkshire Mini Miglia duo of Darren Moon & Rick Jessop had a race long dice to 15th & 16th Gareth Haycock was 17th. In 20th place Andrew Williams found his himself winning Class BT, after Nick Rocke became the final retirement. Nick was pushing on well, when he found he had trouble getting all his gears, which escalated into a complete lack of drive, when he was almost within sight of the line. Nick thought that it might be the output shaft that may have broken! Melissa was 21st , and the Class M winner, after a big dice with Blake Edwards. Verity was 23rd after passing Alan Smith who was the final finisher in 24th place. All the while at the front Jason was lapping so quickly that it was hard to check on the rest of the field!
Jason was leading from Mike Cutt, Kirk Armitage and Chris Everill. By lap 10 Dave Cockell had joined them. Armitage and Chris Everill were almost joined together, but as if it meant to remind us, it started to drizzle again!
Dave Cockell took advantage and leapfrogged Chris &Kirk, to put pressure on Mike Cutt. Dave was pushing like mad and he passed Mike on the last lap and threw everything into trying to catch Jason. However it was all in vain as Jason romped home with a 24 second advantage at the cheqeured flag! So Jason took the race win, with guest drivers 1st, 2nd & 3rd Chris Everill in 4th the first WSSCC points scorer!
After Jason said ‘It’s a bit of shame that Dave wasn’t on the front row for this race as I’m sure it would have been interesting!’ Even so Jason was justly awarded ‘Driver of the Race’
The rain seemed to be back as hard as ever, as we went around to deliver the awards, and later Alan & Mike made an early exit as they both had got soaked for the second time! It was only then that we found out it was Alans birthday! Happy birthday mate!
Packing up was a bit of chore for some! Mike Moss had to ‘bin’ his gazebo as it collapsed under the strain, despite the help from a few willing hands. In typical motorsport fashion, on the way home the rain stopped, and the sun came out!
Later we had a chorus of emails giving us some great feedback from our guest drivers such as this one. ‘Absolutely loved the racing, it was a great family day out. Everyone at the club and in the paddock was approachable and friendly. On track, all the racers seemed to be aware of the conditions and drove to them and if being lapped were very observant, which was a revelation’
So we certainly made a great number of new friends, who would be looking to support us when we go back to Donington. That’s a ‘when’ not an ‘if’
The long period of hot sunny weather which started weeks ago, held long enough to cover the 2018 WSSCC rounds 5 & 6 held on Sunday June 10th. For the first time in almost 2 years, after a number of pleas, and after some brilliant ‘behind the scenes’ work by Alan Jenkins, we were racing on the original ‘Classic’ circuit!
There was some desperate work by some people to get cars sorted out to enjoy this rare chance with us, but we had only 15 entries, including Nick Rocke in his re-engined Ford Fiesta now with a Duratec engine. Sadly Verity Banks couldn’t join us as her new Ford Focus now seems to have sprung another leak and the car was a little short of brakes, and its not ready to join us yet! One bonus for Verity and the all the others missing is that Donington Park is 6 weeks away, and must be a goal that everybody can aim for! Actually, we were still the biggest grid of the meeting, apart from the Citroën C1’s (They were so quiet you hardly knew they were racing)
Entry – Joining us after missing a few races was Roger Dowden. Andy Williams returned with his Ford Sierra Sapphire. Alan Smith, having bent the Ka in the first race in April, had heroically straightened the battered Ford Ka, but plans a re-shell before Donington! Keith Butcher turned up with a nice looking Seat Cupra. The car was in Endro racing trim with long range tanks, brakes and tyres and may take some work to get it set up for the shorter races. Blake Edwards returned to the scene of his former triumphs with his Renault Clio now re-chipped following some good advice from Nick Rocke, on where to get the car checked after Oulton Park.
Practice was an early affair, and when the timesheets were issued, it was Fabio Luffarelli on Pole position with his VW Corrado with a time of 1.02.284! Next and only.016 slower was Damian Longotano (Westfield Class CS). Mike Moss (Class BS Caterham) was 4th fastest, 0.377 ahead of his Class BS rival Tyrone Luffarelli (Pug 106). Keith Butcher, now in Class CS with his Seat was joined on row 3 by Andy Williams with his Class CS Ford Sierra Sapphire. Simon Hutchins & Mark Williams were on row 4 On row 5 Colin Dunn (Class BT Clio) was joined by Roger Dowden (Class AS Davrian) who separated the Class BT pair of Nick Rocke & Andrew 88 Williams (MG ZR) Completing the Grid were Blake Edwards & Alan Smith on row 7.
Now that looks like 14 cars! We should have had Ken James on the practice sheets, but he was missing after he had a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ when the zip on his fireproof overalls split just as he got to the holding paddock, and he was not allowed out for the official practice session! He was able to make the grid for Race 1 after borrowing a set of Fireproof overalls.
Race 1 (Round 5) 15 minutes plus a lap. Rolling start
Race 1 -Lap 1 Fabio leads (action photos by Steve Williams)
Although the original ‘Classic’ circuit, is shorter, it’s quicker by some degree. And the commentator dubbed the WSSCC ‘as the Quickest cars you’ll see all day! So as the grid came around towards the lights, Fabio took the lead out of Hatchets from Damian, then a fast starting Tyrone, Andy Williams, Keith Butcher and Mike Moss.
However at the start of lap 2 Damian had passed Fabio who was trailing some oil smoke! Sadly the cloud of smoke increased until Fabio was forced to quit on lap 3 rather than risk the engine any more. Afterwards it appeared that an oil breather pipe had come off, but Fabio had brought the Mini along too, and as Melissa was away at Uni, he had a ready to go spare for race 2! Damian was now well in the lead but as Fabio dropped back, it was briefly Fabio & Tyrone 2nd & 3rd, but Keith Butcher got hold of the Seat, and passed Tyrone for 2nd place. Tyrone ran in 3rd place for a good 5 laps more, until first Andy Williams and then Ken James passed him, and he dropped towards Mike Moss! Tyrone & Mike then had a tremendous dice for the Class BS honours which lasted for many laps, until Mike got by late on, and set the Class Fastest Lap on lap 12 to eke out a lead, to win Class BS by almost 5 seconds.
Ken James, who had driven from the back in his Loco-Hornet to rise to 4th place, dropped out on lap 8! Unfortunately he had a surprise and un-welcome visitor when Rod-ney popped out to see him! In other words Ken had a potentially expensive engine blow-up when a Con-rod popped out of the block! ‘I hope the head hasn’t suffered any damage as that’s the really expensive bit!’
Simon Hutchings and Mark Williams had quiet-ish races to 6th & 7th overall but behind them it was all go! Initially Colin Dunn was in the lead of Class BT with Nick Rocke getting used to his car in race trim. But that all changed when Colin made a mistake at the far end of the circuit, and had a big off, but prevented major damage with a spectacular save, which impressed everyone who saw it! Unfortunately he had damaged his front splitter, and by the time he had gathered it all up, Nick Rocke was past into the Class BT lead, setting the Classes fastest lap in the process. Colin made major effort to catch and repass Nick, but Nick resisted a last lap challenge to take 8th place by just ½ second!
Roger Dowden had a quiet race to 10th place, but behind him, Andrew Williams and Blake Edwards were having a real dice! Andrew held sway in the first few laps, but then Blake began to find his feet and started to put the pressure on Andrew, overtaking him and pulling a gap, until Blake began to slow dramatically and then pulled off the circuit, handing 11th place back to Andrew and his trusty MG ZR! Blake confirmed afterwards ‘I ran out of petrol. I’ve had the car Chipped and I miscalculated the petrol consumption” Alan Smith had a quiet r\ace to 12th place. So Damian Longotano took his 2nd race win of the year, but Keith Butcher found Andy Williams making a big last lap effort and took 2nd place by just ½ second!
In the post-race interviews Damian confirmed ‘I was lucky Fabio had those issues, he’s a good driver and I didn’t think I was going to get past’ Keith confirmed that Andy gave him a hard battle. ‘It was good fun, that’s what we’re down here for, isn’t it !’ Colin Dunn was awarded ‘Driver of the Race’ for his epic early race ‘save’ Nick Rocke confirmed ‘I thought he was going to crash!’
Hear the end-of-race one interviews
n the lunch break, everyone signed a Sympathy Card for Nick Crompton, who dad died recently. Nicks dad won the Welsh Autograss Championship some time ago, and was known to a few, including our Scrutineer Vince Brown. It was also nice to see some old friends, some of whom were doing the C1 race, and they were not enjoying themselves as much as we wer!. You can always come back to us lads
To Mangle Shakespere (as I sometimes do),from Henry V ‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers, who raced on the Old Circuit, Those did not turn out shall think themselves accursed they were not here’
Race 2 (Round 6) 15 minutes plus a lap. Rolling start
Fabio did switch to the Moto Mini, and would start from the back as he had a DNF in Race 1, but the big shock was to see Tyrone leave the grid and drive into the pit-lane, before the start of the Green Flag lap! Tyrone explained ‘I could smell fuel in the car, so pulled in to check it out. Cleaned it up and went out!’ So as the grid came up to start-line to start the race, Tyrone joined in after the last car had passed the end of the pit-lane! His dad Fabio was off like a rocket and was up to 5th place as the cars passed the paddock! Although he would continue his rise, he was adjudged to have jumped the start, and was given a 10 second penalty!
Damian took an immediate lead from a fast starting Mike Moss, and then there was a big dice between Andy Williams, Keith Butcher and the fast rising Fabio! By lap 3 Fabio passed Mike to move into second place. Mike and Andy had a dice after Keith Butcher made an early exit from the race with no grip from the tyres that came with the car.
However whilst Fabio started to harass Damian for the lead, Mike Moss, the Class BS leader seemed to have a second or so gap to Andy Williams, who proved to be a handy Cushion between Mike and Tyrone Luffarelli who having started form the pit-lane drove well to finish in 5th place overall and 2nd in Class BS, but. Mike won Class BS again, and also added the extra point for the class fastest lap!
Simon Hutchings had a quiet race to finish in 6th Place, after Jason Davies had fettled the Mazdas’ exhaust, that is! Mark Williams also had a good run to 7th overall and was the last car on the same lap as the leader!
Colin Dunn, whose car looked very smart with some new livery, was holding a narrow lead in Class BT from Nick Rocke in the early laps, but suddenly Colin began to fall back. He fell behind Nick, Roger Dowden, Blake Edwards and Andrew Williams, and almost fell into the clutches of Alan Smith. Clearly something was wrong and after the race Colin explained ‘My throttle jammed part on! I was having to stay slow enough to be able to stop for the corners!’ In the end Nick Rocke was 8th overall and took the Class BT win and the extra point for the class fastest lap! Roger Dowden had a quiet race to 9th place overall. In 10th Place was Blake Edwards, proving there’s life in the ‘Old Dog’ yet! Blake had slowly built up his pace, after starting at the back due to his first race dnf, and was closing on Andrew Williams, and overtook him in the closing laps! Andrew finished in 11th place, ahead of Colin Dunn and Alan Smith, who both plugged away to rake in more points!
At the front, Damian & Fabio where having a fine dice for the lead, and swapped places a few times, before Fabio took the lead ‘On the Road!’ It looked exciting stuff, but Damian revealed later he had seen the 10 second penalty board with Fabios’ number on it, so he knew he only had to keep him in sight, to take his 2nd win of the day! Fabio overcame his penalty to finish 2nd and also take the ‘Driver of the Race’ award for his drive from the back row!
Hear the end-of-race two interviews
N.B as it is some time since the old ‘Classic circuit’ has been used, the existing lap records for the circuit were all set some time ago.
Class Fastest laps
The remaining dates in the 2018 Championship are as follows
WSSCC rounds 3/4 Oulton Park Circuit. Race reports by Nick Rocke
The Saturday morning brought a dry but cold start at Oulton Park Race Circuit, it also brought some bad news Chris Everill was unable to race due to having engine problems the day before in testing, Verity Banks’ new race car was not ready in time, so we were at 14 competitors going into Qualifying.
Simon Hutching had also been having car problems his exhaust had snapped in testing the Friday before, fortunately for Simon there was a custom exhaust center local to Oulton Park who agreed to open up at 7am to fix his damaged exhaust proving not all heroes wear capes.
We were joined by a selection of Invitation drivers some new faces, Patrick Smyth with his Millington powered Lotus Elan S3, Mike Nash in a Seat Cupra, Mark Jones and Steve Cunniffe were sharing car #98 another Seat Cupra, each driver was doing one race each, and were both also driving in the GT challenge. There was one familiar face Greg Barlow in the beautiful Mk1 Escort, Greg joined us last year at the Oulton Park rounds.
A past champion, Blake Edwards was ready to race his first race in 25 years, Blake has decided to make a return to racing this season. Blake was the very first WSSCC champion in 1991 & 1992, back then he was racing a Ford Capri, now Blake is sporting a MK2 Renault Clio 182 sport, he was looking forward to getting stuck into the thick of it again after a very successful test session at Llandow Circuit earlier in the year, with all of Blakes experience and a well prepared car he will be one to watch this season.
By the time qualifying came around the weather had brightened up there were clouds in the sky but the forecast was looking to be a nice dry day. With fewer drivers on our grid at Oulton Park this season it gave more room for drivers to really push for the best possible qualifying times.
By lap 3 Patrick Smyth had secured pole position with a time of 1.52.98 which was almost 4 seconds clear of 2nd place competitor Mark Jones, Mike Nash grasped 3rd on the grid from Fabio Luffarelli by two tenths of a second, Fabio was not in his usual bike engine powered Corrado he was actually borrowing his daughter’s (Mellisa Luffarelli) Bike Engined MIni.
Mike Moss was sat in a very respectable 5th place and also 1st in class BS in his Caterham, by the looks of it he was going to keep our current WSSCC champion Tyrone Luffareli honest. Tyrone was running in 6th and had his work cut out to try get past Mike Moss. Simon Hutchings with his newly repaired exhaust was going strong and almost matched Tyrone’s qualifying time.
Daryl Radford was 8th in his Honda Civic but unfortunately sheered a aluminum mount for a auxiliary belt pulley, despite trying to source a welder or someone local to repair it he was left with the only other option which was to retire the car for the meeting and enjoy a bit of spectating. Greg Barlow in the fabulous Mk1 Escort was 9th on the grid with class BT Colin Dunn snapping at his heels in 10th.
Ellis Wiggins in the Vauxhall Nova was in 11th and Andrew Williams in the MG ZR was in 12th, Gareth Haycocks Qualifying session was rather eventful as he tried to get used to the Car he had rented for the weekend, Gareth had problems keeping the grip through the rear end of the Smokey diesel VW Golf, he may have had a few nail biting moments but he managed to keep the car out of the Armco, he later found that the tyres that came with the car were no good and changed to his alternative set and this rectified the problem. Gareth has been slowly rebuilding his V6 powered VW Golf since a nasty accident at Mallory Park in 2017, he is approaching the end of the rebuild but to satisfy his craving for motorsport he decided to support the championship by renting one of the Grant Motorsport cars for this weekend, we look forward to seeing his V6 beast back out with us hopefully this season.
Blake Edwards had qualified in 14th and last on the grid. Blake was still getting used to the new car and was getting quicker lap by lap, he was enjoying pushing the car around the fantastic circuit that is Oulton Park, he had not driven round it for many years.
Race 1 (Round 3)
The grid gets ready for the Green Flag lap. Patrick Smiths red Lotus Elan was on pole! (photo by Rob Allender)
The rolling start was far from perfect as the lights were a little late going out but they all got away safely, Tyrone Luffarelli jumped straight in 4th from 6th taking 1st in class position from Mike Moss, Fabio was up into 2nd by the end of lap one, Patrick Smyth had pulled away massively by the end of lap one and had a huge 8 second lead over 2nd place Fabio. Mark Jones had dropped to 5th off the line and was waiting for his chance to pass Tyrone’s 106.
Number 17 Gareth Haycock had got past Ellis Wiggins in the Nova but it was short lived as Ellis regained the position on lap 2. By lap 2 Patrick Smyth’s lead over the pack had grown to 10 seconds, Mike Nash had managed to pass Fabio Luffarelli and Mark Jones was passed Tyrone and up into 4th, Now Mike Moss could focus on trying to get that Ford Sigma powered Caterham past Tyrones Pug 106 they were less than a second from each other the whole lap but Tyrone was leaving no doors open for Mike to squeeze through. Simon Hutchings MX5 was running in 3rd in class BS but couldn’t quite keep up with the battling pair in front.
The pack stayed the same until lap 5 when the racing started to get you off your seat and watching in anticipation, Mark Jones had taken 3rd place from Fabio’s Mini and was now hunting 2nd place Mike Nash, Tyrone Luffarelli was under some serious pressure from Mike Moss, who’s Caterham is far lighter than the Pug 106 and has far better braking due to this lightness. I imagine Tyrone had to keep his defense very tight to fend off Mike Moss.
This competitiveness continued further back in the pack as Ellis Wiggins had been trying hard to get past Class BT driver Colin Dunn, Simon Hutching was going well but although putting in some very consistent lap times he could still not catch up with the BS battle between Tyrone and Moss.
Greg Barlow was also very consistent and was still running in 9th overall, now that car will make any blue oval fan weak at the knees, absolutely spectacular seeing the pinto powered Mk1 Escort being put through its paces the way it should be. Andy Williams was hanging in there and holding off Haycocks Derv propelled golf. Blake Edwards was running at the back but was enjoying his first race none the less.
Mark Jones set the new invitation class lap record for Oulton Park with a time of 1:54.409 in his Seat Cupra, well done Mark Jones.
On lap 6 Mike Moss made his move and grabbed hold of 1st in class BS Tyrone Luffarelli was trying to regain the position so Mike Moss had his work cut out to retain his position. Patrick Smyth was still running in first and had a comfortable lead so just needed to finish, Ellis Wiggins was still fighting to get past Class BT Colin Dunn in his Renault Clio 172, Ellis had and fantastic 7th lap and took another 3 seconds off his lap time, this hard work paid off as he was now in front of Colin’s Clio.
As they all came through Lodge corner on the final lap there were some who took it right to the line Moss and Tyrone Luffarelli drag raced to the line but it was too late, Mike Moss had taken his first class win of the season.
The finishing order was Patrick Smyth taking the overall race win and 1st in class I with a gigantic 14.1 second lead. Mark Jones 2nd overall and 2nd in class I, Mike Nash in 3rd overall and 3rd in class I, Fabio Luffarelli brought the Mini in 4th and 1st class M.
Mike Moss in 5th and 1st in class BS Mike also played his Joker so will receive double points for this round also had fastest lap in class, Tyrone Luffarelli in 6th and 2nd in class BS, Simon Hutchings in 7th after a very lonely race but retained 3rd in class BS, Greg Barlow drove that Mk1 beautifully all race, he started in 8th and finished in 8th and also 4th in class I.
Ellis Wiggins brought the Nova home in one piece or so we thought later to find he had broken yet another drive shaft/ CV joint,9th overall and 4th in class BS he drove amazingly and finally conquered Oulton Park. After last years issues I am sure he was one happy guy. Colin Dunn came 10th and 1st in class BT and was also the last competitor to complete 8 laps.
Blake Edwards gets the ‘Driver of the Race’ award from MC Nick (photo by Rob Allender)
Andrew Williams brought his MG ZR home in 11th and in 2nd in class BT, Gareth Haycock tamed the Derv powered golf and kept it on the black stuff to come 12th and 1st in CT.
Blake Edwards drove that Clio Sport to the limit and came 13th and 5th in BS, Blake was also awarded ‘Driver of the Race’ as he showed us there is still hope for Robert Allender’s return to racing, watch this space!
Race 2 (Round 4)Well it was not long before we were on the grid for the final race of the day, we were last on the programme for the day and time was tight with Oulton Park having a 6:30pm curfew on noise, so we were praying for no incidents. Unfortunately Patrick Smyth had retired the Lotus Elan s3, i do believe due to a tyre issue.
Mark Jones’ team mate Stephen Cunniffe was in the drivers seat for round 4 and because of the rules had to start from the back of the grid. Andrew Williams had been having a few battery issues with the MG ZR and needed a bump start out of the holding area.
Fabio Luffarelli being the only class M competitor wanted to have some fun so opted to start from the back of the grid but was not there long. They lined up on the grid for the green flag lap and off they went to start the 4th round of the 2018 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship.
The rolling start this time was text book and everyone got away with any issues, as they came around for the first lap at race speed, Andrew Williams’ battery problems came back to haunt him and his car began to miss-fire, but good Andy is also a experienced track marshal, so he new exactly what to do with it and he pulled off next to the nearest marshals post and reversed behind the Armco barrier, this meant there would be no need to delay the race with a red flag or safety car! Well done Andy proves its good to not only know how to drive quick round a circuit, but you also benefit from knowing how the orange army operate.
By the end of lap 1 car #98 Stephen Cunniffe was motoring and was already running in 2nd. Blake Edwards had taken 10th from Haycock’s diesel VW Golf and was pushing that Clio to its limits, Blake was already 2secs quicker than his fastest lap in race 1 (round 3). Ellis in the Vauxhall Nova was now reeling in Greg Barlows Mk1 Escort.
By Lap 2 Tyrone Luffarelli was in 3rd and had got past his rival Moss. Fabio, father of Tyrone, had managed to get from the back to the front very quickly in the bike powered Mini, and he was now in 4th overall.
Positions stayed the same for a few laps and Moss was finding it hard to try make a pass on Tyrone because Fabio’s Mini was sandwiched between the two BS competitors. Mike Moss was pushing hard and on lap 4 managed to set the new WSSCC Oulton Park Class BS record with a time of 1:58.894. Ellis Wiggins in the Vauxhall Nova had reeled the Escort of Greg Barlow in and had made the move that put him into 7th overall.
Both drivers in the Hot Seat- Mike Nash & Steven Cunliffe fight it out for the lead (photo by Richard Redshaw)
Stephen Cunniffe took the lead from Mike Nash on lap 4 but Nash was not ready to give up without a fight. Haycock made a move on Blake as the approached lodge on lap 4, Blake tried to fight back and put a rear wheel on the grass this resulted in a massive sideways moment for Blake, he recovered well and showed us that despite being a lot older than most on the grid his reaction times are still as sharp as they always were! Simon Hutching was pushing hard to try catch the BS battle between Moss and Lufferelli.
By lap 6 Fabio had got past Tyrone’s 106 and Moss was pushing to get pasts, both drivers were only two tenths of a second away for each other this is some exciting motorsport for ours supporters to watch. Despite all his efforts MIke Moss could not find a kink in Tyrone’s armour and they continued mirroring each other for the remaining laps of the race.
The class M (WSSCC) Oulton Park lap record was set by Fabio Luffarelli on lap 7 with a time of 1:57.224. Also Colin Dunn set the new class BT Oulton Park lap record with a time of 2:05.745 on the final lap.
As they came across the line for the last time it was Stephen Cunniffe who took the cheqeured flag followed by Mike Nash in 2nd and 2nd in class I, Fabio Luffarell was 3rd across the line and 1st in class M, a fantastic drive from Fabio starting from the back and making up 9 places in 8 laps! In 4th, just missing out on a podium spot, was Tyrone Luffarelli although he was 1st in class BS after an exciting race with 5th place Mike Moss, who arrived home in 2nd in class BS.
Simon Hutchings finished 6th overall and 3rd in class BS, Ellis Wiggins stayed in 7th till the end and finished 4th in BS, Gregory Barlow finished 8th and 3rd in class I, Colin Dunn crossed the line in 9th and 1st in class BT, Gareth Haycock finished 10th and 1st in CT, Blake Edwards finished in 11th and 5th in BS.
Ellis Wiggins gets his ‘Driver of the Race’ award from MC Nick (Photo by Rob Allender)
Ellis Wiggins was awarded the ‘Driver of the Race’ for his dice with Greg Barlow and his Mk1 Escort.
A fantastic days racing alongside the Aston Martin Owners Club I would like to thank everyone for coming and I look forward to seeing you all at Pembrey on the 10th of June. Nick
A select band of WSSCC championship regulars will be at Oulton Park on Saturday 12th May for Rounds 3 &4 of the 2018 Championship. 2017 Champion Tyrone Luffarelli will be joined in Class BS by Blake Edwards, who was the very first champion in 1991 & 92. Blake is having his first race in the 2018 series in a Renault Clio. The regulars will be joined by some guest with some intriguing cars, including the Seat Cupra which Rhys Lloyd used to win the Championship in 2008!
Live Timing from Oulton Park is available on TSL http://www.tsl-timing.com/event/181954
The remaining dates in the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship are all Sundays
June 10th Pembrey
July 29th Donington Park National Circuit
August 19th Pembrey
Oct 14th Pembrey with Trucks
Race 1 and the clouds are clearing
WSSCC rounds 1 & 2 22/4/2018- Pembrey
Report by Nick Rocke -Action photos by Nick Forbes
With a rather unsatisfying damp start to the Sunday morning, the competitors of the WSSCC dusted off there Racing Boots and fired their cars up, some of which for the first time since October 2017.
The Saturday before there were a few repairs to be made to the current champion Tyrone Lufferelli’s Pug 106 after his clutch exploded during the race he did with the track attack championship on the Saturday, so he had to change the clutch and rather beaten up gearbox. Former WSSCC champion Jason Davies had offered his services to Simon Hutchings and was spannering his MX5, with all Jason’s experience and knowledge surely, he could help shave a few seconds off Simon’s lap times.
Mark Williams had bought a new race car this year he was now sporting a very nice looking mk5 Golf, roger Dowden had come back out of the woodwork with the little yellow davrian, 2007 champion Keith Butcher has made a return to the championship this year with his Audi A4 super tourer, Damian Longotano had made a few changes to the Westfield it was now running a 2.0 litre Millington engine.
We were 2nd out after the trucks which turned out to be eventful with one of the truck spraying diesel, oil and mud for good measure over most corners of the circuit, there were a few spinners, Alan Smith pulled off after a few laps with an overheating issue later to find his auxiliary belt tensioner had disintegrated and threw the belt off.
Nick Crompton Qualified 2nd behind Chris Everill but Nick had altered the camber on the rear of his EVO the rear arches tried to eat his rear tyres lucky enough they were salvageable after qualifying, Jim Lyons also making a return the championship in the Mini Turbo qualified 3rd overall and 2nd in class CS behind Nick Crompton. Behind Jim there Endaf Owens out in a Seat Leon, 5th on the grid with a very Respectable 1.17.6 lap time was our current WSSCC champion Tyrone who also qualified 1st in class BS with a new clutch and spare gearbox fitted he was set for a successful weekend.
Mark Williams was going well in his new VW Golf cementing his 6th place by the 4th lap, Mike Moss in the Westfield in 7th and Damian Longotano in 8th, Simon Hutchings in 9th, Number 19 Colin Dunn in his newly built Clio 172 qualified 10th on the grid and 1st in BT but retired the car early due the oily conditions, Richard Francis had a sideways encounter with hatchets after a late pass on Andy Williams on the main straight he drifted the car through hatchets hairpin and cocked a rear wheel on most other corners qualified 11th on the grid and 1st in Class AS unfortunately it was not all good for Richard his flamboyant sideway moment had resulted in injuring his little finger as he caught the steering wheel, he later found he had actually fractured the bone Ouch!
Ken James was 12th overall and 4th in CS, Daryl Radford in his Honda Civic was 13th on the grid and 4th in BS, Ellis Wiggins in the Nova redtop was 14th on the grid and 5th in BS. Andy Williams (Caldicot) in his freshly painted white MG ZR finish 15th on the grid and 2nd in BT he struggled to find grip on the greasy track, behind Andy was Alan Smith in the Ford KA despite his DNF he managed to squeeze a time in on lap 2 putting him 16th on the grid and the only runner in class AT, Roger Dowden qualified 17th in his Davrian and 2nd in class AS.
In 18th position was invitation racer Daren Hockley in his Honda civic which came in early with a suspected oil leak, Melissa Luffarelli didn’t have the best of qualifying sessions coming in early with brake issues Melissa was sat in 19th on the grid with Keith Butcher to keep her company Keith qualified last after coming in after one lap with a knocking noise coming from the Audi A4 super tourer.
There was plenty of time for tinkering and refining the car as we were not out for the first race until 2pm.
Although the sun did peep through the clouds occasionally the morning was very wet there was the big decision that all drivers dread WETS or DRYS, with most teams frantically checking the forecast, a lot of drivers opted for wets weather tyres others were brave enough to try their luck on slicks or dry weather tyres.
Well the one who took the dry option were on to a winner because our unpredictable Welsh weather changed drastically, the clouds moved to the song of an aerial display of acrobatic planes overhead at Pembrey, the sun soon dried the circuit out whilst drivers sat in park ferme.
As driver came around on their warm up lap the sight was fantastic the sound even better, the front row of Everill and Crompton compacted the grid up as they came through Honda corner, the lights went out and round one was under way.
Front runner Chris Everill had pulled a small lead in his Ginetta by the first time round Honda, but Nick Crompton’s Lancer wasn’t far behind, Endaf’s had got passed Jimbo and was third and Jimbo’s Mini was 4th, Tyrone Luffarelli was still holding 5th but was defending against Mike Moss in the 1600cc Caterham.
Mike was closely followed by Longotano’s Westfield and he was motoring, next was Mark Williams in the mk5 Golf he started 6th but had dropped to 8th during the opening lap, Richard Francis had jumped up two places on the start, his years of karting in his younger years had paid off when he put his car into a gap that no one else would of dared.
In 10th was Ken James in his Duratec powered Loco Hornet, in 11th Simon Hutching who had lost two place but was still hold 3rd in class BS, behind him was BT front runner Colin Dunn in the Clio 172 cup, closely follow by Daryl Radford’s Honda Civic, Ellis Wiggins was still retaining 14th in the Nova, Roger Dowden had made up a couple of positions now in 15th followed by Andy Williams in 16th, Alan Smith in 17th, Darren Hockley 18th and finally Melissa Luffarelli, Melissa had a few place to make up due the braking issues spoiling her qualifying time, Keith Butchers Audi A4 was nowhere to be seen.
By the end of Lap 1 Everill had opened the lead up another second but was by no means out of danger with Crompton’s Lancer keeping him honest, Longotano had got passed Tyrone and Mike and was now hunting Jimbo’s Mini, Tyrone and Mike were running within a tenth of a second of each other and Tyrone was leaving NO GAPS, the Hornet of Ken had made up yet another place and was challenging Mark for 8th. Simon in the Mx5 was now in 10th with Francis in 11th and Radford now in 12th. Colin Dunn wasn’t far behind in 13th the rest of the pack stayed the same on lap 2.
By lap 3 Chris Everill had furthered his lead and looked unstoppable, Endaf had shortened the gap between him and Nick Crompton, but the real shock was that Damian Longotano was now in 4th and was Flying extracting every drop of power from that Millington powerplant. The gap between 5th Jim Lyons and 6th & 7th (Tyrone and Mike) had grown to a few seconds again on this lap going into Honda these two were inseparable, Melissa finally found a gap on lap 3 into Honda pulling of a fabulous move and gaining two positions in one hit, now was time to open that bike engine powered Mini up.
Lap 4 Everill was still Managing his lead with no sign of a threat in sight the first 5 had become evenly spaced out but did not change positions, the gap to the 6th competitor had grown to about 10sec and Ken James had managed to get past the dueling pair of BS cars, Keith Butchers Audi A4 made an appearance on this lap after having to start the race late due to an issue early on in the race.
lap5 Everill was still managing his lead from Crompton’s turbo charged Lancer, but Damian’s Westfield was closing in on 3rd place Endaf Owens. Jim in the Mini and ken James looked to be racing on their own at this point with no challengers or no one to challenge close by, Simon Hutchings had moved up in to 8th and 2nd in class after managing to pass Mike Moss in the Caterham 1600cc, Tyrone still being persistently hunted by these two competitors, there was no let up for Tyrone he had to continue to fight for his class position. By this point of the race it was apparent that we had lost car number 13 Alan Smith had a nasty off over near old paddock and was out of this race.
Most positions stayed the same during lap 6 Mike Moss had regained his 2nd in class position back from Simon Hutchings and tried a late lunge down the inside at Honda, but Tyrone seen it coming and close the door on Moss’s Caterham. Again, on lap 7 the trio of Tyrone, Mike and Simon were fighting it out for the top spot in class BS all three cars were a tenth of a second from each other fantastic to watch. Daryl Radford was still trying hard to get past Mark Williams in his new VW Golf, but Mark was not going to let him take it easily. Damian Longotano Was becoming the star of the show as he past the Turbo charged Lancer of Nick Crompton and now had the Ginetta in its sights there was no denying it that Westfield was shifting as quick as a stabbed Rat.
As the front runners came through Honda on lap 8th Everill’s lead had decreased to only a couple of seconds and Longotano was whipping every horse power out of that new Millington motor to catch him. The rest of the pack position remained unchanged and most were spread out a bit, one thing a do recall is how nice Ken James’s Duratec powered Loco Hornet sounded as it screamed past, sadly there was no one near him to race with. Mike Moss had made a move on Tyrone and made stick. Keith Butcher was still going well picking off car by car as he made his way up through the pack after starting late and from the back.
As the front cars approached Honda going on to lap 9 I was amazed to see the bright yellow kit car of Damian Longotano leading, he had closed the gap and made the pass in only one lap, Colin Dunn had made some ground up and was now catching the Nova of Wiggins once again. Melissa Luffarelli was shadowing the Davrian of Roger Dowden and waiting for a chance to get past, Tyrone had also regained the position he had lost to Mike’s caterham.
Lap 10 and Damian was still in the lead, but Chris was hot on his heels, Endaf was now in 3rd and Crompton on 4th, Jim’s Mini turbo was still holding 5th but with a huge gap to Crompton’s Lancer, Ken James was running in 6th and again with only himself to race with. Damian and Chris had now lapped everyone up to 8th position but Damian had now lost the position to Chris Everill going onto lap 11, great to watch kept me on my toes with all the battles going on.
Melissa had now got her spaceframe Mini past Dowden’s Davrian and had put a few seconds between them, Andy Williams (Caldicot) was now getting into a dog fight with the Honda Civic of Darren Hockley, but Andy was defending well and was fighting for overall position. Chris and Damian were now trying to work up through the back markers and Chris had lost a bit of time getting stuck behind the 3-way BS battle of Simon, Mike and Tyrone, could Damian use this to his advantage, the Westfield appeared to have better straight-line speed than the Ginetta.
Now by lap 12 the track was bone dry and the competitors whom went out on slicks were being rewarded by fantastic grip, the competitors who opted for their wet tyre choice were no doubt struggling and the tyres were more than likely as good as a chocolate fire guard, Damian had used the back markers that were slowing Chris up to his advantage, by the time they came through the kink before Honda Damian was back in the lead, now all he had to do was stay there. Daryl and Mark were still having a race of their own never more than a car length from each other from the start of the race.
Richard Francis was holding 13th well and running in 1st in class AS and doing it all with a broken pinky (not that he knew at this time but sure he was feeling the pain). Damian had now pulled slightly away from Chris as they started lap 13 but was by no means safe yet. Tyrone and Mike had pulled away from Simon’s mk5 but there was no way Tyrone could let his guard down yet with 1 lap to go. Colin Dunn was looking to have one more go at getting past Richards Saxo before the end, but Richard’s defense was to strong again his years of karting experience showing through here.
As they crossed the line Damian had done enough to remain in the lead and took his first ever overall win and 1st in class CS, it was a very well-deserved win fought out with the Ginetta of Chris Everill Right up to the Chequered flag. Chris Everill finish 2nd and 1st in Class D, Endaf Owens finished 3rd, Nick Crompton 4th and 2nd in CS, Jim Lyons finished 5th and 3rd in CS, Ken James finished 6th and 4th in CS after having a lonely race with no one to challenge. Tyrone in his first class BS race came a very respectable 7th and 1st in BS, it wasn’t easy defending off mike and Simon and on his wet option tyre as well, well deserved Result, Mike Moss tried very hard to past Tyrone and again went right to the flag Mike finished 8th overall and 2nd in class BS. In 9th Simon Hutchings with a fantastic drive from Simon and a great tyre choice from the former Champ Jason Davies who was spannering the car for Simon, also he finished 3rd in class BS fabulous start to the season for him.
Mark Williams was 10th and 1st in CT Mark never did give in to the constant threat of Radford’s Honda Civic. Daryl Radford finished 11th and 4th in BS, Ellis Wiggins had made a massive improvement on last season’s lap times most likely because he had improved his brakes, so he had a lot more confidence in the car, Ellis finished 12th overall and 5th in BS. Richard Francis despite having fractured his finger in qualifying had come 13th and 1st in class AS, Colin Dunn Came 14th and 1st in BT in his new Clio 172 Cup, Melissa Luffarelli had gone out on a wet set up and once her confidence built up she was rocketing around Melissa finished 15th and 1st in class M.
Roger Dowden (WSSCC chairman) has fully rebuilt the Davrian for the 2018 and we look forward to him racing here once again, roger came in 16th and 2nd in class AS, in 17th was Andy Williams in the MG ZR also 2nd in class BT Andy held off Hockley’s Civic right to the end great drive from Andy, in 18th was Darren Hockley.
Two Cars did not finish Alan Smiths Ford KA which suffered heavy damage after the incident which the tyre wall earlier in the race and Keith Butcher retired the Audi A4 Super Tourer just before the end of the rest.
So, a fantastic opening round to the WSSCC 2018 season with great driving and some competitive battles to keep us wanting more I wonder what round 2 will have in store for us.
There was about 2 hours of spare time between our 1st and 2nd race of the day so the competitors had time to carry out repairs, Alan Smith’s Ford KA sport was looking rather sorry for itself after his off in race one, he had his work cut out to get it fit to race in the 2nd race of the day, but first he had to get checked over by the circuit medical staff.
Damian Longotano was celebrating his first WSSCC overall win but the celebrating was short lived as he also had car issues, Damian said they may have a alternator issue and the battery had gone flat right at the end of race 1 and they had to push the car back to the paddock, luckily the WSSCC camp was in the pit lane so was not far to push.
It was a pleasure to see many of our non-racing competitors had come down to spectate and support the championship, former champion Rhodri Jenkins was down with former WSSCC racer Alvin Powell, Mat Harries had come down and Robert Allender had awarded him his trophy he was unable to collect at last season’s awards evening.
Nick Rocke (WSSCC vice chairman) had come down to help and show his support to the championship, Andy Williams and Richard Francis were both glad to take shelter under his race shelter, Nick was also on hand with refreshment for all who wanted them. Former WSSCC champion Chris Morris was also around the paddock helping and offering advice and support where needed.
Alan Smith managed to get his car sorted, there’s nothing you can’t fixed with a hammer, duct tape and cable ties, it may not have looked pretty but it would make it into the second race and that’s all that matters as it’s no fun watching from the side of the track.
They all lined up on grid for the second race of the season, unfortunately Endaf’s Seat Leon would not be Joining them. Damian got a better start, but Chris Everill out braked him going into hatchets, Everill took the lead and Nick Crompton was in third, Mike Moss had a bit of a moment on the new section out braking himself going into the new left hander, mike had a little lock up but got away with it without any issues.
By the end of lap 1 Everill had pulled away considerably and had a comfortable 3 second lead as he crossed the line, Crompton’s Turbo Charged Lancer was chomping at the heels of Longotano (was Damian being haunted by his alternator issues) Jim Lyons and Ken James were not far behind Crompton’s Lancer. Current Champion Tyrone Luffarelli was running in 6th position and catching Ken on the Brake into Hatchets, as Ellis Wiggins Nova came down to the new section his wheel locked under braking and the car was forced into a spin, later found out that a gearbox/ driveshaft issue had caused this. Ellis’s Nova was stranded in a dangerous position, so Circuit staff called for a red flag and the race was abandoned.
Due to the short duration of the race they asked for a re-grid to original starting positions, and the race length had been reduced from 20mins to 15mins plus one lap. This time Longotano gets the better line through Hatchets and leads the race through old paddock, the front 3 car of Damian, Chris and Nick were all within a 10th of each other, Tyrone, Ken and Mike may as well of been touching they were so close as they all diced into the new braking zone. Keith Butcher was working his way up from the back row and made a pass on Colin Dunn and Richard Francis whilst 3 a breast at old paddock crossing, I don’t think Colin expected it by there and twitch the steering causing him to have a little wobble I’m not sure if there was any slight contact between the 3 cars but nothing was reported but my God it was close.
Chris Everill in the Ginetta took the lead back coming out of Brookland’s but lost it again to the Westfield in the braking Zone for Honda, but Chris was on the inside and again took the position back coming out of Honda, the lead had changed 3 times in the first lap Exciting Stuff to watch. Nick Crompton was still following close by in 3rd and was shadowed by Jim in 4th, A slight gap to Ken James who was 5th and still under attack from BS runner Tyrone Luffarelli, Mike Moss in the Caterham was 7th and in 8th was Mark Williams, Butcher in the Audi A4 Super Tourer was already up to 9th in 10th by a half a cars length was Simon Hutchings and was dicing with 11th place Daryl Radford’s Honda Civic.
Melissa Luffarelli was in 12th, Dunn in the Clio cup passed Francis on the straight to take 13th position, Francis was 14th, Dowden in 15th, Andy Williams in the MG ZR was in 16th and Hockley’s Honda Civic in 17th and the Beaten but running Ford Ka was still motoring on in 18th.
On lap 3 Tyrone was glued to the back of Ken’s Loco Hornet, Tyrone lost the back end and ended on the grass at Debeni, ripping his front splitter off in the process but he managed to save it, it was a nail biting moment to watch but thank fully other than losing some aero aids his was ok, Mike Moss capitalized on this and moved up into 6th position. Andy Williams had dropped back into 17th and Hockley and opened the gap slightly.
By lap 4 Everill had breathing space and was running 4 seconds ahead of Longotano’s Westfield, Crompton and Jim were not far behind both still in their starting positions, Keith Butcher was Flying through the Pack and had definitely worked out the kinks from the first race he was now in 5th, Moss had a small lead over the 106 but Tyrone was not going to let his little off effect his confidence as he regained some ground coming down to hatchets. Simon had pulled his Mx5 away from Daryl’s Civic and both had passed Mark Williams Golf.
Everill was coming close to lapping Alan Smith’s KA as he entered lap 5, Keith Butcher was pushing hard to catch the front pack and was still in 5th Mike Moss was matching the time of Ken James, but Tyrone’s 106 was still sticking with them both. Colin Dunn was now catching Mark Williams mk5 Golf.
Averill’s lead had grown to 5secs by lap 6, Colin Dunn got the inside line going into Hatchets and stole a position from Mark Williams but was short lived as Mark fought back and went around the outside at debeni. Richard Francis Seemed to be slowing up and was now under attack from Darren Hockley’s Civic.
Lap 7 the front runners positions all stayed the same, Tyrone used the back markers to his advantage and made his move into hatchets and just got the nose of his 106 in front of Moss’s Caterham, Moss fought back on the exit of Hatchets and they were side by side through Debeni but Lufferelli had the better line and kept the position he had been trying to regain since lap 3. Tyrone’s sister Melissa had now moved up yet another position after snatching 10th from Radford.
Again Colin managed to pass Mark on the inside at Hatchets again but lost it on the exit and done a spot of gardening before rejoining the track at debeni, Butcher passed Jim’s mini on lap 8 and was now running in 4th, but again the main battle was between Tyrone Luffarelli and Mike Moss as they switched position every lap, Moss wanted that 1st in class badly and was pulling out all the stop, absolutely fantastic motorsport to watch.
Lap 9 and Everill was making his way through the mid pack back markers, Mark Williams went defensive coming into the new left hander but out braked himself and went off on to the grass and lost a place to Colin Dunn, by lap 10 Keith Butcher managed to pass Nick’s Lancer and was now 3rd at this rate he will be challenging for the lead or will he run out of laps first. Mike Moss was certainly keeping Tyrone on his toes as he tried every angle to try passing him, Tyrone’s defense was so far superior.
Lap 11 Keith Butcher now in 2nd but if Everill does not make a mistake he has enough of a lead to call this one his, but this is Motorsport and we all nothing anything can happen. Mike Moss was in all of Tyrone’s mirrors, the 106 driver was having to use all his racing experience here to hold him off, its hard in words to describe how close they were but if Tyrone was to make the slightest mistake Mike was there waiting to pounce. Melissa Luffarelli was now catching her Brother and was running in 9th.
Lap 12 Butcher was still in 2nd and was making ground up shame it wasn’t a 40min race as he may of caught up to Chris Everill, Andy Williams was running in 17th and 2nd in class BT and although there was no one for him to have a race with he still looked to be having a blast as he threw that little MG into debeni on the limit. Everill started his final lap (lap 13) with a epic lead over the rest of the pack, Butcher was 2nd and Longotano was in a solid 3rd and 1st in class CS. As Richard Francis started his final lap the Saxo gave up the ghost and he pulled off to a safe place, he did not look happy and with less than 1 lap left i can see why.
Chris Everill took the flag and had driven well all race, Chris was also 1st in class D, in 2nd was Keith Butchers Audi A4 Super Tourer also 2nd in class D was also voted driver of the race, Damian Longotano could repeat the outright win of the first race but I am sure he was more than happy with 3rd overall and 1st in class CS unfortunately the days racing had taken its tole on the Westfield with a suspected gearbox issue and a potential alternator fault. It was not a good day for competitor’s gearboxes Ellis Wiggins (dnf) because of a gearbox issue, Richard Francis later told me he believes his gearbox let go as well.
In 4th was Nick Crompton and 2nd in CS, 5th place went to Jim Lyons (3rd in CS), 6th was Ken James (4th in CS). The continuing battle between Tyrone Luffarelli and Mike Moss lasted right to the end as they drag raced to the line, Tyrone held the 7th place and came 1st in class BS a great end to a busy but fantastic for Tyrone, Mike Moss came in at 8th and well deserved 2nd in class BS, Tyrone’s sister Melissa Luffarelli was not far behind in 9th (1st class M). Simon Hutchings could now reflect on his most exhilarating weekends Racing he has had to date and to top it off he had his second 3rd in class BS, Simon came in 10th overall.
Daryl Radford was 11th (4th in BS), Colin Dunn in 12th (1st in class BT) fab weekend for Colin in his new Clio 172 cup. Mark Williams could not make up the place he had lost and came 13th and 1st in CT, Daren Hockley the only invitation racer running in round 2 came 14th. Roger Dowden moved up to 1st in class AS due to Francis’s car failing, Roger came 15th overall, 16th was Andy Williams (2nd in class BT), and unbelievably still running after its off in race one the KA of Alan Smith came 17th.
The race weekend was a success, lots of fair close racing, was a great way to start the WSSCC 2018 season, I thank everyone who came to race, spectate or to show us their support, thanks to the orange army for keeping us all safe. I look forward to seeing you all at Rounds 3 & 4 at Oulton Park.
The Colin Gundersen Trophy for the Class Fastest Race Lap at Pembrey
Damian Longotano won the 2018 Colin Gundersen Trophy with a double fastest lap in the October 14th meeting, but he needed some help from the marshals to regain the track in race 1 after he got on the grass, which was awash after Storm Callum had passed through on Friday 12 October! Damian drove well all day after that! The October races were on the ‘New Circuit’. Mike Moss may rue missing last 2 races.
Ben Hingeley will race in China with the Hitac team in newly formed FIA F3 Asian Championship this weekend at the 4.015km Ningbo International Speedway in China.
Seb Morris will make a surprise debut in the GT4 European Series at the Hungaroring near Budapest this weekend, 1st/2nd September, where he will stand-in for injured friend, and mentor, Andy Meyrick. Andy is making a good recovery after his big shunt at Spa, but Seb will take his place in the Bullitt Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT4! Seb will share a Mercedes-AMG GT4 with the Spanish squad’s owner Stephen Pattrick, 22-year-old Welshman Morris will make his first ever competitive appearance in GT4 and will only sample the car for the first time during pre-event testing on Friday, 31st August!
Following a pair of free practice sessions on Friday, 31st August, qualifying for the weekend’s two races at the Hungaroring will get underway at 16.55 (local time). On Saturday, 1st September, race one will begin at 12.20 (local time) with race two following on Sunday, 2nd September, at 11.15 (local time). All of the racing will be streamed live online via https://european.gt4series.com/live/
Total 24 Hours of Spa Report. There was good news of a differing degrees coming from Spa last weekend.
Matt Parry and team-mates Lucas Ordonez and Alex Buncombe brought the Bob Neville run Nissan GT-R home in 7th place overall for some welcome points.
Happy Days the Bentley crew before the race
However the Bentley driven by Seb Morris, Derek Pierce, Rob Smith, and special guest Andy Meyrick, suffered some engine problems, which was cured after the Team Park guys traced it to a faulty fuel injector. However the car itself was wrecked after a big accident with Andy Meyrick on board! ‘ At 3.00am local time on Sunday morning, Meyrick and the No.666 Lamborghini of Jurgen Krebs were involved in a monumental accident – the severity of which led to a race stoppage for the fourth round of the Blancpain Endurance Cup and required both drivers to be extricated from their cars.
Initially taken to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit medical centre before being transferred to nearby hospital, Meyrick and Krebs sustained a number of fractures and both remain under observation due to the high-speed nature of the extremely serious accident. Seb takes up the story ‘The only thing that matters about the weekend is Andy being as OK as he can after such a massive accident – all our thoughts are with him. It was the worst crash I’ve seen, the damage to the car was huge. Most importantly, Andy’s injuries are fortunately not critical and he should make a full recovery in four to six weeks. “I have to say a huge thank you to the boys in the team for their efforts this weekend, the accident really shook everyone up and we’re all just relieved Andy is going to be OK. Everything about the race and the weekend is secondary to what happened with him’
Total 24 Hours of Spa preveiw – Seb Morris, his usual team-mates Derek Pierce and Rob Smith, and special guest Andy Meyrick, will line up for the start in 33rd place but crucially they are 3rd in the Pro-Am class! Andy Meyrick warmed up for the contest by winning the Pro-Am class in the North European GT4 Championship last week at Spa itself! Also Sebs former team-mate Rick Parfitt Jnr proved the Team Parker Racing Bentleys are at home at Spa, by taking 2nd place overall , with his now recovered team-mate Ryan Ratcliffe!
Meanwhile Matt Parry and team-mates Lucas Ordonez and Alex Buncombe will start the Bob Neville run Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 from 21st place. With points on offer throughout the race, the 24 hrs race can play a huge part in the Blancpain Championship.
Blancpain Endurance Cup Pro-Am championship contender Seb Morris is just a week away from his maiden appearance in the world’s biggest GT3 race, the Total 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium, where the Welsh star believes the No.31 Team Parker Racing squad will be a ‘force to be reckoned with’.
Getting underway on Saturday, 28th July, at the unmistakable Spa-Francorchamps, the huge twice-round-the-clock spectacular is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges in world motorsport. Heading into round four of his maiden campaign in the pan-European championship, the reigning British GT Champion and team-mates Rob Smith and Derek Pierce are third in the Pro-Am title battle, just three points shy of the runner-up spot and only 10 points adrift of the top of the table. The 24 hour race rewards points at three different junctures in the encounter, at six hours, 12 hours and at the conclusion, a consistently strong performance throughout the contest could have huge implications for the championship picture.
With Morris, Smith and Pierce already proven to be a highly competitive Pro-Am combination, their bid for Total 24 Hours of Spa success is being further boosted by the addition of experienced former Bentley ‘factory’ driver Andy Meyrick – Morris’ long-standing manager – to the line-up.
All four drivers participated in the official pre-event test day at Spa a couple of weeks ago and preparations for the blue riband Blancpain event went very well indeed, the quartet ending the day third fastest in Pro-Am and delighted with the work completed.
“I really can’t wait to be back at Spa, the 24 hour is by far the biggest GT3 race in the world and I think we’re very capable of winning Pro-Am”, said a bullish Morris, “We’re in a lucky position to be able to bring Andy [Meyrick] in, we know we’ve got two great ‘Am’ drivers in Derek and Rob and now, with another Pro driver like Andy, I think we’re a force to be reckoned with. Obviously, Andy has been there as my manager right from when I was 12 or 13 when he coached me at Pembrey in Wales when I was first looking to move-up into cars from karting. I was a lot shorter then, but I’m taller than him now! To come full circle to now be racing together in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, it’s pretty special.”
Morris of course, is no stranger to the challenges of Spa-Francorchamps having set a GT3 lap record in British GT at the track last year and in 2016 he just missed out on race victory there in British GT by a mere 0.6 seconds. During his formative career in single-seaters, he also competed at Spa in GP3 and Formula Renault.
Since the previous Blancpain round at Paul Ricard in France, Morris grabbed plenty of headlines with an unbelievable ‘super-sub’ performance at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit when he made a very unexpected return to British GT as a true last-minute stand-in for the unwell Ryan Ratcliffe. Linking back-up with former team-mate Rick Parfitt Jnr, who partnered Morris to British GT title success last year, BRDC Superstar and MSA Team UK driver Morris made a 153-mile dash from his home to Silverstone, after receiving a late-morning phone call, to arrive at the track literally minutes before his stint. Remarkably, he and Parfitt Jnr secured a sensational fourth place finish in the race.
Now, all attention turns to the biggest outing of the season. Following the usual parade of race cars into Spa city centre on Wednesday, 25th July, free practice for the Total 24 Hours of Spa – which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary – will follow on Thursday, 26th July, along with pre-qualifying, qualifying and a night-time practice.
On Friday, 27th July, the Super-Pole session will take place with the 24 hour race itself getting underway at 16.30 (local time) on Saturday, 28th July.
PAUL RICARD SIX- Hours Report Seb Morris overcomes a fiery pit-stop to take 2nd place in Pro Am Class with the Team Parker Bentley Continental GT3, only 13 seconds from the top step of the Podium after 6 Hours + Matt Parry plays his part to take the RJN Nissan GTR to 5th Place overall!
Seb Morris made a very welcome, and richly deserved, return to the Pro-Am podium during round three of the Blancpain Endurance Cup season at Paul Ricard in France on Saturday, 2nd June, with a fantastic second place finish in the six-hour ‘into the night’ race. Along with team-mates Derek Pierce and Rob Smith, 22-year-old M orris produced a scintillating performance in the annual 1,000km encounter at the Le Castellet track and with their second runner-up spot of the year, and the trio climbed into third in the Pro-Am championship.
Beginning Saturday evening’s race from fifth in Pro-Am, the Team Parker Racing drivers combined to deliver a tremendous push for their maiden class victory and at the end of six pulsating hours they were just 13 seconds shy of the top step of the podium. Notably, that gap was roughly the equivalent of time lost during Morris’ pit visit halfway through his double stint during the closing stages. Due to a worrying fire, which the Team Parker crew dealt with impeccably, Morris ventured out onto track behind the class-winning Ferrari. Without the issue with the fuel rig, a victory charge was certainly on the cards.
“It was a very tough race, we had quite a few problems during it, but to come away with second is fantastic”, said Morris, “When I jumped in for my double stint, it was tough as I had to let a lot of people by, who were fighting up-front in the overall battle, but in my second stint I got some good space and lapped as quick as anyone on track.
“Unfortunately, though, we lost time in the pit-stop as the car completely set on fire! It was a pretty hair-raising moment, but the team did a great job and put the fire out quickly and also then got the fuel topped up so we could run to the end – it was a fantastic job by the guys. We lost about 13 seconds, though, and that was the gap to the Ferrari in the end so we know a win was possible. Our next is at Spa-Francorchamps in July for the annual 24 Hour race. I think Spa will be good for our Bentley, we should be strong there and we’re just waiting to hear who our fourth driver will be which is exciting. We’ll take some time to evaluate where we went wrong at Paul Ricard, improve on a few mistakes – just little, tiny things – and make sure everything is right for Spa. You need to be as faultless as possible there.”
There is now a lengthy eight-week break from Blancpain Endurance Cup action ahead of the otal 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium, which will take place on 28th/29th July.
Meanwhile for Matt Parry it felt more like ‘The Brawl Ricard 6 Hours’ than the Paul Ricard 6 Hours for GT Sport Motul Team RJN Nissan, but another tenacious performance from Matt Parry and team-mates Lucas Ordonez and Alex Buncombe was finally rewarded with their first points of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup campaign in the south of France.
The trio’s number 23 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 was on the receiving end of no fewer than three spin-inducing contacts in the course of the mini-marathon event, and also survived a couple of minor delays in pit-lane, to take the flag in seventh position. However, with the two cars immediately ahead of them having on-track misdemeanours converted to post-race time penalties, Parry and co were elevated to fifth on the final result sheet, securing a hat-trick of such results for the RJN Nissan combination at Ricard over the past three years.
Lucas Ordonez quickly had the Nissan moving up the order, cracking the top ten inside half an hour. However, just as the Spaniard was establishing himself as a threat to those chasing points in the early going, a touch from behind sent the Nissan spinning into the run-off at the final corner, undoing all his hard work and dropping the red machine back to 17th.
Ordonez handed over to Buncombe finally Parry knew that he would be behind the wheel for the final two stints.
Although a problem tightening his seatbelts at the handover further delayed the Welshman’s appearance, he appeared unfazed as he continued the good work – only for the second unwanted contact of the race to spin the #23 around and down the order once more. Although progress from 17th was always likely given the pace of the Nissan, the RJN team had another ace up its sleeve, having held back its ‘joker’ pit-stop – where crews are not constrained by a minimum time limit – until the closing stages. With Parry already making up ground and close to returning to the point-scoring places despite another enforced spin at turn five, the strategy paid off, confirming the Nissan in seventh spot on the road for the run to the flag.
The drama wasn’t over there, however, for Parry lost power steering in the final five laps, preventing him from chasing down the group ahead and leaving him with a tense finish as he held off a train of cars in his wake. His dogged determination was rewarded, however, not only by making it to the chequered flag but by then learning of the penalties being applied to two of the cars immediately ahead of the Nissan, promoting it to an eventual – and hard-earned – fifth place. “There was enough drama in that race to fill a book!” Parry claimed, “The Blancpain GT Series is extremely hard-fought and that showed tonight, with close racing through the field and the winner only being determined on the final lap. cost time and positions, so it was great to come away with my first points in the series. The last few laps were quite tense as I was hanging on to my position after the power steering went, but car was amazing throughout. Fifth is a great result for the team, but there is definitely a sense that it could have been even better, possibly even a podium, had we had a clean run. However, after what we have already shown at Monza and Silverstone, this performance will give the team a lot of optimism as we head to the Spa 24 Hours next month.”
Round four of the 2018 Blancpain GT Championship Endurance Cup, the Total 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, takes place at the iconic Belgian circuit over the weekend of 26-29 July, with extensive live and highlights coverage on the Eurosport and Motorsport TV channels in the UK and www.nismo.tv online.
The 2018 Britsh Gt Championship is at Silverstone on Sunday 10th June and Ryan Ratcliffe and Rick Parfitt Jnr will be hoping to score a good result to give their 2018 points score a big boost. (edited by Rob Allender.)
International Preveiw! edited by Rob Allender
Over the weekend if 2/3 June Welsh drivers are travelling to Europe en masse hoping to collect some silverware.
Ben Hingeley from Abergele will be in Hungary for the latest round of the European F3 Championship on the Hungaroring, having scored a Rookie podium and a 4th place overall on the unforgiving streets of the Pau circuit. https://www.fiaf3europe.com/
Bentley trio practice Silverstone pit-stops, lets hope they can do it in the race at Paul Ricard! (Photo by Rob)
Seb Morris and Matt Parry will be at Paul Ricard in Southern France for the latest round in the 2018 Blancpain Enduro series, the 1000 Km 6 hour Day/Night race. Seb Morris didn’t even get to race at Silverstone after a silly incident put the Team Parker Bentley out, when Derek Peirce hopped a kerb and cracked the sump!
Matt Parry did at least race but after a mix up in practice, the RJN Nissan, started in 40th , instead of 18th! At least Matt and his teammates were able to put on a sparkling display on thier way to an eventual 16th place. Hopefully if the teams can eliminate the errors they might be both on for some better results.
As with all Major Series there are lots of live action on BT Sport or Motors Tv
Andy Meyrick and Jake Rattenbury are in action in Europe soon!
Blancpain Endurance Cup – Silverstone race report by Rob & Marion Allender
Matt makes a big impression in the big Nissan , but Seb sits out the race as the Bentley fails after only 8 laps!
The 2nd round of the prestigious 2018 Blancpain Endurance Cup took place on the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday 20th May, where Welsh racers Seb Morris & Matt Parry tried to mount the strongest possible challenge for a class victory in the pan-European championship. With 52 cars it was a packed grid and both the Welsh drivers Matt Smith and Seb Morris needed to be at their best to make a mark in their ‘home’ race.
Nisssan trio (r to l) Lucas Ordonez, Matt Parry & Alec Buncombe ready to race after pit-lane duty (photo by Rob Allender)
However Parry was the first to try’ and he was 15th in his session but once his times were added to the times of his team-mates, Alex Buncombe and Lucas Ordondes it gave them 18th place on the grid. Team owner Bob Neville, was realistic ‘ Being in the top 20 is good, by we expected much more’
Meanwhile Seb Morris and his team-mates were unable to break into the top 20 and the Bentley would start in 25th place! More importantly they were 2nd in the Pro-Am Class, only 0.787 behind the Class leading, Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488! Jules Westwood the Bentley cars engineer confirmed, ‘We are in with a chance of taking the Pro-Am Class win! Seb wasn’t able to get a quick time, due to the traffic but his team-mates were quick in their sessions, so it looks good!’ Indeed when the Rinaldi Ferrari pulled out after only 3 laps it looking good as the Team Parker car took over the lead in the Pro-Am Class, with the Class Win in their sights! However it all turned sour after only 8 laps, when the Bentley drifted into the pits, after Derek Pierce had hit the kerb at Copse very hard and cracked the sump, losing all the oil, and sending the Bentley into instant retirement! This was a severe disappointment for Seb who was looking forward to putting on a show, for the large contingent of his supporters! It’s always frustrating when you have so many friends and family along to a race and this sort of thing happens, and especially as we were looking very strong. The car was great at Paul Ricard when we tested there, so I’m really looking forward to the next round now.”
There was also dis-appointment for the RJN Nissan team, which had qualified in 18th place, but were relegated to start well back, in 48th place, after being penalised for a strange offence, which meant that Lucas Ordonez’s best laps were disallowed! However the stage was set for a great comeback and with Alex Buncombe at the wheel for the first stint, the car rose to 26th when Matt took over! Pushing as hard as he could, and passing car after car, and despite having to re-pass one of his victims, he handed over to Lucas with the car in 20th place! Ordonez continued the good work and took the cheqeured flag in 16th place, but agonisingly outside the points, which start at 10th ! But for the penalty, a very big result would have undoubtedly been on the cards. “Despite starting where we did, we were always optimistic of a good run,” Matt confirmed, “There was a lot of performance in the car from the start of the weekend, and Alex really underlined that in the opening stint. I’m a little frustrated with the mistake I made trying to pass one of the Lamborghinis at turn nine, but I don’t think it made much difference to our overall result, and Lucas was still able to bring the car home well inside the top 20. The number 23 Nissan had great pace throughout my run and I enjoyed being able to chase down the cars in front of me, so we know what it is capable of in the remaining rounds, It’s up to us now to piece together the perfect weekend.”
Round three of the 2018 Blancpain GT Championship Endurance Cup takes place at Circuit Paul Ricard (FRA), in Southern France for the annual six-hour ‘into the night’ race, on Saturday, 2nd June with extensive live and highlights coverage on the Eurosport and Motorsport TV channels in the UK.
International News! edited by Rob Allender
The 2nd round of the prestigious 2018 Blancpain Endurance Cup takes place on the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this weekend, 19th/20th May, where Welsh racers Seb Morris & Matt Parry will be mounting the strongest possible challenge for a class victory, for their respective teams, in the pan-European championship. With 52 cars it will be a packed grid and both Matt and Seb Morris will need to be at their best to make a mark in their ‘home’ race. Matt & Seb had contrasting fortunes at Monza in Round 1 after strong qualifying performances.
Seb will be hoping for more joy like in Monza
Seb Morris started the event by posting the 4th fastest time in his qualifying session but with the grid position decided on the combined time of all the teams drivers, the Team Parker Bentley Continental GT3 started in 2nd in the Pro-Am class, 23rd place overall, and with teammates Derek Pierce and Rob Smith taking the first 2 stints, they were in for a good result and were contesting the Pro-Am Class with the Ferrari 488 GT3, until a slow pit-stop allowed the Ferrari to build an advantage. Morris took over the Bentley for the last hour but after passing car after car the Ferrari was just 20 secs ahead at the end of the 3hour race. Seb summed up “I think a lot of people were taken by surprise with how quick we were at Monza. Our entry into the championship was obviously quite late, we hadn’t really had much testing, and yet we came through to finish P2 in our first race which was pretty faultless. I can’t wait for the weekend, I’m more prepared than I ever have been and a lot fitter since Monza too. Silverstone is one of my favourite tracks, if not the favourite, and the nature of the circuit with the high-speed corners really does suit the Bentley. Monza was a great track for our car, but I think Silverstone can be even better for us.” Having won the British Gt race last year at a canter, Seb and the Team Parker team will be hoping for a repeat.
Matt hopes to get more silverware soon!
Matt Parry will also be hoping for a good race at Silverstone, having suffered from ill fortune in Monza. As the rest of the grid started the 3 hour race by charging into the first of Monza chicanes, Smiths car, the GT Sport Motul no. 23 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 run by Bob Nevilles team RJN, was forced to start from the pit-lane, when his teammate Alex Buncombe was hit by gearbox problems on the starting grid! Once started, the experienced Buncombe made good progress and made into the top 30 before handing over to Parry, but a fumbled pitstop and more car problems dropped them back. Parry did his best to recover, but problems dogged the car, but at least Lucas Ordonez (who raced with us in 2009, after winning the Nissan Playstation GT Academy competition)was able to bring the car to the chequered flag, albeit several laps down!
Parry commented “It’s a frustrating way to start the season, especially after the promise that our run in qualifying had shown. However, we have to remember that this is an all-new car and that there will always be teething troubles. Hopefully, we will have got most of these out of our system now, because there is certainly a lot of potential in the car’.
Free Practice for the Blancpain Endurance Cup runners at Silverstone will take place at 10.45 on Saturday, 19th May, with Pre-Qualifying following at 15.45.
On Sunday, 20th May, final Qualifying will begin at 09.45 with the big race itself scheduled to commence at 15.00.Live streaming of Qualifying and round two will be carried online at www.blancpain-gt-series.com/ with further coverage on digital satellite and cable channel Motorsport TV. In the UK Freesat – channel 253 – Sky – channel 447 -Virgin Media – channel 545
Team Parker Racing
Drivers Derek Pierce, Rob Smith, Seb Morris GBR
Car number 31
Bentley Continental GT3
Pro-Am Cup after 1 Round
2nd Sebastian Morris 18 points
GT SPORT MOTUL Team RJN
Drivers Matt Parry, Lucas Ordonez, Alex Buncombe
car number 23
Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3
Seb blasts Blancpain Monza race
Blancpain Endurance Cup debutant Seb Morris produced a remarkable performance during the opening event of the 2018 season at Monza in Italy on Sunday, 22nd April, with a fabulous second place finish in the Pro-Am class for Team Parker Racing. The 22-year-old Welshman, was on sensational form from the outset at the Italian venue at the wheel of the No.31 Bentley Continental GT3.
Photo by Jacob Ebray
Scorching to the fourth fastest time overall in qualifying, second in Pro-Am, the reigning British GT Champion turned heads again during Sunday afternoon’s three-hour contest where he delivered a masterclass in overtaking in the final stint of the race on his way to second place in Pro-Am.
Partnered by fellow British drivers Derek Pierce and Rob Smith, who both performed extremely well during the first and second hours respectively, Chester-based Morris is now incredibly excited ahead of the championship’s visit to UK soil next month for round two at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.
“I’m really happy, we had a mega start and Derek drove a really good stint to get from fifth up to first”, said Morris, “Unfortunately, we lost time in the pit-stop due to a radio problem, but we pushed as hard as we could and Rob did a flying stint in the second hour. When I jumped in, I had a really strong stint and we kept the tyres with us the whole way.
“I pulled off some great overtaking, both for position in class and position overall, and it was just a really good, fun race – I think I showed what I can do on the European stage. The leading Ferrari just got too far ahead from us, but at a lot of points during the race we were the fastest car on track so I’m really happy with that.”
He added: “I’ve always said I could compete at this level with the right opportunity, it’s so nice to do that and prove that in my first race in Blancpain which is arguably the biggest GT championship in the world.”
On track with the quickest drivers in the championship during the final hour, including many ‘factory’ racers and vastly experienced international professionals, the Welshman absolutely starred. Holding sixth place initially, he quickly moved back into the top four and produced a memorable pass on the newer generation No.7 M-Sport Bentley Continental at the Parabolica for an overall position gain.
Running 2.5 seconds shy of the class podium placings, Morris reeled in the target AF Corse Ferrari and grabbed third place with just over half an hour to go. Closing down the next gap to the similar Kessel Racing Ferrari, Morris took second place with 25 minutes remaining where he stayed.
“It’s been a fantastic start in Blancpain and this result has only added to our confidence”, he added, “Silverstone next is a good track for us, we were strong there in testing and I obviously won there by a minute and a half in British GT last year, so we’ll go there aiming for another strong weekend.”
Round two of the Blancpain Endurance Cup will take place at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in the UK over the weekend 19th/20th May.
Big Drive And Top-Ten Result For Andy Meyrick In The Michelin Le Mans Cup Season Opener
April 14, 2018, Le Castellet, France – WRDA memberAndy Meyrick put on a show-stopping performance t to bring the Motorsport98 team home a season-opening top-ten result.
The week started extremely well for Meyrick appearing at the top of the leader board in the official practice day on Wednesday. With a day off to strategize, the team returned to the Circuit Paul Ricard for the race weekend. After a second practice day, co-driver Eric De Doncker took the wheel in the morning’s qualifying session before starting the race 16th on the grid. In the Michelin Le Mans Cup, qualifying is done by the Am of the Pro-Am driver pairing.
As the first hour of the race came to a close, Meyrick took over from De Doncker in 13th position. As the race continued Meyrick continued to gain ground and positions. The last half-hour of the race proved to be a test of Meyrick’s driving capabilities as he fiercely succeeded in keeping ahead of the #22 United Autosports Ligier. An exhilarating battle, the pair caught the attention of the TV screens and commentators who agreed that both drivers would have massive grins on their faces after this race.
Andy confirmed “That was a tough race at the end there but good fun as a driver! Unfortunately we were unable to get the qualifying position we had hoped for but Eric put on a great performance in his stint to get us up to 13th. It was an exciting race and a great season opener and I’m happy we could secure a top-ten for the team. They did a fantastic job with the car and as we proved on the official test day, we have the ability to be up in P1. I look forward to the rest of the season and showcasing this some more.”
Next up for Meyrick and Motorsport98 will be The Monza Round at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on May 12th.
British GT is Rockingham-bound for first endurance race of 2018
Saturday 28 April
09:30 – 10:30: Free Practice 1
11:45 – 12:45: Free Practice 2
15:25 – 15:35: Qualifying 1 – GT3 Am
15:39 – 15:49: Qualifying 2 – GT3 Pro
15:53 – 16:03: Qualifying 3 – GT4 Am
16:08 – 16:18: Qualifying 4 – GT4 Pro
Sunday 29 April
09:30 – 09:40: Warm-up
13.10 – 15.10 Race
LIVE COVERAGE Sunday’s two-hour race will be streamed live on the championship’s Facebook page and website, as well SRO’s GT World Youtube channel
Pre-race smiles from Ryan Ratcliffe! Photo by Robert Allender
Stop Press- the Championship stewards have declared a result for the 2nd race, which never was! Rick n Ryan therefore scored 1 point for starting in 10th place! Full details at http://www.britishgt.com/
Q & Race report – In Qualifying Rick was 2nd fastest in his session, but in his session Ryan was 11th.Speaking after Qualifying Ryan confirmed ‘It was an awesome effort from Rick to put us on the front row for Race 1 on Monday! Mixed feelings for my Qualifying, I was getting faster and faster in the car but still not 100% confident to push on new tyres! P11 for me. Let’s see what Monday brings, as its all very tight!
Although it was dry during Qualifying, it was wet and rainy when Race-day dawned on Bank Holiday Monday! Wet weather traction is the Achilles heel in this version of the Bentley Continental GT3 car, and so it was no real surprise in the wet, morning ‘warm-up’ when Rick spun off at the Island bend! Afterwards a clearly unhappy Rick explained ‘I squeezed the throttle gently and the car did a slow spin. There was no traction control at all!’ However the front ‘splitter’ was damaged & the Team Parker mechanics worked frantically as they had only about an hour to fix the car.
Rick gets ready to start the race, before the safety car spread the field all around the circuit! Photo by Robert Allender
Showing their superb professionalism, the car made it to the grid. Rick declared ‘I am just going to drive nice & easy and maybe we can pick up some points’ Ryan interjected ‘I told Rick to try for the lead, and then the others will be eating your spray!’ However it turned out to be not so simple as the race organizers decided to start the race behind the safety car! It set off at a pace and lead the pack around for 3 laps. However, rather than backing off on the ‘In lap’ to bunch the pack up a little, by the time the safety car headed to the pits, there was 45secs between the first and last cars, and the leading car was heading into the first corner, before Rick in the 2nd place car had even exited from Lodge corner! Rick was soon under pressure from Ian Loggie in the 2nd Team Parker Bentley who got past, but they were some both passed by the Lamborghini of Minshaw and Keen. Rick faded away before pitting for Ryan to take over. However Ryan also found ‘The Beast’ a handful in the wet, and made a big bid to stay in the points, until a slight moment dropped him back, to finish out of the points in 12th place. In the end the Aston Martin of ‘Flick’ Haig and her teammate Johnny Adam won the 1 hour race by almost 28 seconds! Another Aston Martin was in 2nd place on a day that suited them. Minshaw and Keen looked on their way to a good result, until a broken wheel forced them into a pit-stop, and they ended in 4th place. With the car in one piece there was at least another race to try to get Rick n Ryans 2018 points tally started, as the Jools Westwood engineed car of Ian and Callum were able to pick up some points with a 7th place finish. However worse (or better depending on your point of view) was to come as the heavens opened and torrential rain flooded the track! Given that in race 1, a dry line did not appear even with 36 cars pounding around for an hour, the track surface was retaining water, and after another 3 laps behind the safety car, the race, and the rest of the programme, was abandoned. Rick summed uop. ‘Race 1 was bad enough, but it was far too dangerous to race! Onwards to Rockingham where we shall let the thunder roar!’
The other big news at Oulton Park was the return to racing of Billy Monger. Also known as ‘Billy Wiz’ he lost both his lower legs after an awful crash in April 2017, he was a sensation 12 months later in his first race in the 2018 F3 Series, finishing 3rd in his specially adapted car!
Reports by Marion A
Preview While some Welsh drivers are getting ready for the Welsh Sports & Saloon Championship to start towards the end of April, some Welsh drivers are already to start their season now! Whilst Ben Hingeley for Abergele has been working hard and showing well in the European F3 test days, Ryan Ratcliffe from Pontyberem near Llanelli, actually starts racing this weekend in the first round of the British GT Championship at Oulton Park! Ryan will link up again with Rick Parfitt Jnr who is the current GT3 champion! Rick was partnered in 2017 by Seb Morris, but now that Seb is moving on to race in the Blancpain Endro Series in Europe, Ryan has taken his place. Rick & Ryan already know each other as they won the GT4 championship together in 2013! They will continue with the Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 car, but with all new sponsorship! Whilst Oulton Park may not be thought of as a ‘Bentley’ circuit, last year Rick n Seb were on pole position for both of the traditional 1 hours races, and Callum Macloed in the 2nd of the Team Parker Racing Bentleys, set the fastest lap, lowering Seb Morris’ record time set in 2016! Team Parker will run 2 GT3 cars again, with Ian Loggie partnering Callum Macloed again! Qualifying will be on Saturday 31st March and the first of the 2 x 1 Hour races starts at 11.00 am on Bank Holiday Monday. (Preview by Marion A)