Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Number 14 - Anglesey

From one scenic circuit it was off to another - and this one has the advantage of some beautiful views across the sea to the mountains of North Wales as well an interesting combination of corners and level changes. It was a fairly low key meeting with just three classes participating. The main feature race on the Sunday (as it had been on the Saturday there too) was a 3-hour event for the Fun Cup cars with support from the North-based Ford XR Challenge and also the Northern Formula Ford 1600 Championship which was also the final meeting of the 2014 National Championship.

So just 4 races to look forward to (" for the XRs) and the prospect of a finish before 3 pm which would enable me to get home in time for dinner almost. From my overnight stay in North East Wales it was a 2 minute drive to the A55 and then all the way along that dual carriageway to the turn off for the circuit just before Holyhead. 

The sun was out but there was a bit of a haze over the mountains which never really cleared but as you will see from some of the photographs they did provide a stunning backdrop to the circuit. The National version of the circuit was in use which incorporates Wales' very own Corkscrew as the cars descend from Peel Corner to the Pits straight. The following may give you some idea of the terrain - these were taken from the back of the Paddock.

Going up to Rocket Corner......

and coming back down

A field of 23 Fun Cup cars took to the track after the first XR3 race and 3 hours and 125 laps later there were still 21 of them running and 8 them were on the lead lap! A number of safety car periods helped to bunch the field up periodically but at the end of the race the Team Honeywell car driven by Tim Wheeldon, Geoff Fawcett and Neil Plimmer were victorious by 12+seconds. They were consistent front-runners and had held the lead at the one hour mark and been just 0.792 secs behind the leader after 2 hours!!

Here we see them cresting the rise after Peel before plunging down into the Corkscrew, a place where you can great big-sky photos.

These cars look like great fun and with 3 or 4 or even 5 drivers they are good value for money though obviously seat time may be reduced with more drivers. One of the more colourful teams is Team OBR who run 3 cars - which I called red, black and white and you can maybe see why  from the pictures below!

The Ford XR Challenge field was not very big - just 6 Fiesta XR2s and 6 Escort XR3i but both races featured battles for the lead with the XR2s mainly being on top but Jonathan Wells holding the fort for the Escorts with a strong 3rd place in the first race which was won by the latest in the Minshaw family to go racing - Jack - his car resplendent in the family colours.

and this is the top XR3 of Jonathan Wells

And then there were the Formula Fords. The Northern Championships is split into 5 classes by age and generally have two separate races - one for pre- '90 and one for post- '89 but at Anglesey they were all together to give s field of 22 cars ranging in age from Philip Nelson's Hawke DL2B of the early 1970s to James Raven's up to the minute Ray GR13/14 - the progression over 40 years can be seen below.

This is the Hawke!!

and here is the Ray.

As a National Championship round there were additional entries to the usual Northern crowd which were headed up by a  four car team from Medina Sport for Neil, David and Tom McArthur and Martin Short (not the Mosler driver) and drivers also from France and Holland.

The great thing about regional Formula Ford is the variety of cars from the great days of FF1600 - there were chassis from Van Diemen (1985 - 2012), Reynard (1984 - 1989), Swift (1994 - 2010), Ray, Mondiale and Hawke in the field. See the variety below - how many can you name - answers at the bottom.

And don't you just love the colours of the last two!!

The race was won by the 1992 Van Diemen of Stuart Gough from Southport who defeated Raven's modern Ray by just 2.657secs followed by two of the Medina Sport Van Diemen LA10s in the hands of Tom and David McArthur.

And sure enough racing finished at 1445 and, loathe as I was to leave the beautiful surroundings, it was time to wave goodbye and look forward to the last circuit on my tour, Pembrey, at the other end of Wales just 7 days later.

What's not to like about this!

Did you identify the Formula Fords?

88 - Mondiale MS88 of Michael Beaver
48 - Ray GR10 of Vincent Jay
89 - Van Diemen RF85 of David Murphy
28 - Reynard 84FF of Jamie Jardine
97 - Swift 97 of Nigel Thompson

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