Thursday, 16 October 2014

Number 15 - Pembrey

So this was it - the 15th and last circuit to visit - just a week after Anglesey it was back to Wales - the South this time and to Pembrey - and what a contrast - although Croft possibly runs it close (and maybe Snetterton), Pembrey must be the flattest circuit in the UK, quite a contrast to the rolling hills of Anglesey or Cadwell Park.

It was the 2-day Autumn Truckfest meeting and I was there for the second day which was 13 races starting at 1015. So another early start (from Wiltshire this time) and I mistimed my journey slightly, not realising how long it would take to get to the circuit from the M4, and having not made allowances for 30mph speed cameras and dreadfully slow horseboxes. As a consequence I missed the first race of the day for the Class A BMWs but as there were only 7 starters that was no big deal even if the race was won by new Champion Tom Wrigley by just 0.924secs over Colin Wells.

Which reminds that I forgot to include the following picture from Croft where in the BMW race Wells has just nudged Wrigley into a spin and out of the lead.

Sticking with the BMWs there was a race later in the day for the other classes which mustered just 6 starters, 5 finished and only 2 finished on the lead lap - at Croft all the classes had been combined when there were small fields and one wonders why this was not done here as it was a long programme and with trucks around recovery and a barrier repair can take much longer to put right.

The Mazda MX5 is a very popular racing car these days but it all gets very confusing when you look at the different Championships which must lead to a dilution in the numbers that appear for each one - there is the BARC MaX5 Racing Championship, BRSCC Mazda MX5 Championship, the BRSCC Mazda MX5 SuperCup and the 750MC also run a seried - have I missed any??

There were 9 cars on the grid at Pembrey for the BARC MaX5 race which was won by Jonathan Cryer by just over a second from Paul Roddison while Amy Barker won the B class. Not a great deal of excitement but at least most of them finished on the same lap at the end of the 16 lap race. here a few of the entries:

Jonathan Halliwell in his Mk3

Richard Smith in his Mk1

and Paul Roddison in his Le Mans 1991 paintworked Mk3

It has been a while since I have watched Legends and I had forgotten how much fun they were - buzzing all over the place - the man to beat this year has been Dean Brace and he won all 3 races on the Sunday at Pembrey - but in different fashion -in  the first one he ran away and won by nearly 12 seconds, in the second he had to work through the pack and he stretched a 2 second gap by the end but the third was a real battle at the front with Ben Power and James Holman keeping him honest and all 3 were separated by just 0.3 secs at the end. A great result for Holman as his engine had blown up in the previous race and his team had fitted a new one in less than 2 hours. Dean (below) and his father Nick both race in full Union Jack colours and make a colourful sight.

The Pickup trucks of course are the only series who race on the full oval at Rockingham Motor Speedway (correct me if I am wrong there) and they bring a flavour of NASCAR to British tracks. Either Vauxhall or Ford fronted they are speedier than you might think and produce close racing. Pete Stevens is a long term supporter of Pickups and is the same Pete Stevens as the one who drives the Vauxhall Carlton in Special Saloons as pictured earlier this year at Mallory. His white truck is fairly free of decals compared to the others but that obviously does not slow him down as he is once again the Champion.

Stevens comes from a short oval background and another ex hot-rodder (in fact the 2003 World Champion), Dave Longhurst, now races Pickups.

As with the North of England, there is a prospering saloons and sports car Championship in Wales - after a decline in numbers the organisers have reduced the number of meetings for this Championship to 4 (all double-headers) and all held at Pembrey. Once again it was great to see all manner of machines and for the sake of boring you with Minis - here are a further variety of those taking part.

Melissa Luffarelli's rear-engined 1.0 machine

Jim Lyons' 1.3 rapid turbocharged version

and Endaf Owens  1.3 spaceframe

King of this championship is Keith White in his 2.0 BMW Z4 - another ex hotrodder turned to left handers as well as right handers. A beautifully prepared machine it won the two races by 15 and 12 seconds respectively over Ben Scrivens' Ginetta G50 (both cars pictured below)

One of the rapid pedallers in this Championship is Keith Butcher in his Nissan Primera Supertouring, the ex-Aiello BTCC car but he had a difficult day at Pembrey.

In the first race he went into the barrier at Hatchet's Hairpin on the first lap and in the paddock after there was the evidence to show what he had had to do to make it raceable again:

and then on the first lap of Race 2 at Hatchets this happened!!

Coming from the back of the field he had to anchor up to avoid ramming Melissa Luffarelli who had had to brake hard to avoid the spinning Ken James' Loco Hornet. By the time I took this photo the culprit had restarted and run away but with neither Butcher nor Luffarelli getting underway quickly the race was red-flagged. All 3 cars were able to restart, Luffarelli from the pits and Butcher at the back of the grid again in his original position. However, his day finished a lot better as a clean drive through the field found him third at the end, closing on Scrivens' Ginetta.

And then there were the trucks......but I think I will leave them to another post as this one will become a bit long. But here is a flavour of the action

It has been great doing this tour of the mainland circuits of Great Britain - I will do a seasonal review as in all the best magazines in a few weeks but in the meantime I look forward to any comments you may have - any information you want to know that I may have gleaned in my travels, any corrections or additions you think I should make.

Hope you have enjoyed reading so far.

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