There were two challenges facing competitors over the course of the weekend in Wales. One was the weather, with rain joining proceedings to make life challenging for everyone from time to time. The other was the introduction of a new element to the track on Sunday which competitors needed to learn. This took the form of the track carrying straight on, at the exit of section where competitors join the inside of the course from the outside at the paddock entrance, rather than continue to curve left (on the now paved former section of the rallycross course) followed by a 90 left into a 90 right back on to the original course. There is a suggestion that something similar will be built at the exit of Brooklands. The modifications have been introduced to benefit those who test at the circuit 5 days a week, as F3 cars can take the whole section from Hatchets to Brooklands flat and also from Brooklands back to Hatchets again. So this adds a further braking section together with some further slower speed areas. That rather overlooks the arrival of some competitors battling against Champions League spectators arriving on Friday in the Cardiff area.
One early casualty was Dave Cutcliffe who seems rather unable to complete a full weekend at Pembrey without some mechanical issue intervening, this time not managing anything beyond an incomplete Saturday practice. Rain intervened throughout practice and as lunchtime approached unfortunately the wrong announcement was made leading to some competitors, who had avoided an earlier second run on wets, taking an outing on slicks as weather conditions improved. The afternoon presented a dilemma for many. Would there be a Top 12 Run Off? Might the Top 12 Run Off be delayed until the following morning (as has happened before) when the possibility of further rain existed? Would the Top 12 Run Off be delayed until Sunday afternoon, when weather would be better, but cars would be probably too hot with back to back Top 12 Run offs of 4 runs? Eventually the decision was taken to discard Saturday’s Top 12 Run off entirely.
Heather Calder became beaten for the first time this season. On the Saturday round, where the circuit curfew prevented a Run Off, so results were determined on the basis of timed runs, she was beaten by 4/100ths of a second, by father Colin! However on Sunday, when competitors had to learn the new Pembrey circuit layout, she got back to winning ways with a new circuit record. Her father, Colin, however had much to smile about with not only senior daughter Heather winning but news emerged of junior daughter Louise becoming the fastest racing car driver both days of the weekend in the Golspie Sprint, closer to home.
John Graham & Terry Holmes taking 3rd and a 4th on each of the 2 days. The top 2 litre runners Steve Miles, Matt Hillam and Steve Broughton each took a share of 5th to 7th honours over the two days. Matt Carter during his first timed run on Sunday managed to break his chain, but repairs were conducted and all was well for the remainder of the day. Simon Bainbridge was kicking himself on Sunday, his best run showing a very promising time at the “split” ruined by a spin later in the run, denying him an opportunity to qualify for the Top 12 Run Off and no points for Sunday unlike his Saturday exploits. Sunday was a total nightmare for the Midland pairing of Tony Jarvis & Martin Webb, so the former was unable to reproduce his 8th place Saturday finish. Their car’s behaviour in the wet develops a mind of its own, so practice times were totally unrepresentative (and didn’t help the learning process for the new layout) and the only meaningful run was the second timed run which was insufficient for either to produce a time to their customary standard. In Sunday’s Top 12 Run Off Nick Algar’s transmission contents made a bid for freedom from its casing.
Graham Porrett managed points finishes both days, which Matt Carter managed too. Losing both Tony Jarvis & Simon Bainbridge from Saturday’s Top 12 left space on Sunday for the introduction of Graham Blackwell who improved throughout the weekend and Grahame Harden who picked up more points.
|Colin Calder||(3.5 Gould-NME GR55B)||87.90|
|Heather Calder||(3.5 Gould-NME GR55B)||87.94|
|John Graham||(3.5 Gould-NME GR55B)||93.57|
|Terry Holmes||(3.5 Lola Tegra V8)||94.78|
|Steve Miles||(2.0 Van Diemen RF96)||95.94|
|Steve Broughton||(2.0 SBD Dallara F3)||96.33|
|Matt Hillam||(2.0 SBD Dallara F3)||97.66|
|Tony Jarvis||(2.0 Dallara F399/00)||98.53|
|Nick Algar||(1.3s DJ Firehawk)||98.93|
|Simon Bainbridge||(4.2t SBR Crono V8)||100.46|
|Graham Porrett||(3.5 Lola Tegra V8)||100.72|
|Matt Carter||(1.4 Radical PR6)||101.33|
|Heather Calder||(3.5 Gould-NME GR55B)||97.93|
|Colin Calder||(3.5 Gould-NME GR55B)||98.34|
|John Graham||(3.5 Gould-NME GR55B)||101.72|
|Terry Holmes||(3.5 Lola Tegra V8)||103.54|
|Matt Hillam||(2.0 SBD Dallara F3)||105.22|
|Steve Miles||(2.0 Van Diemen RF96)||105.96|
|Steve Broughton||(2.0 SBD Dallara F3)||107.32|
|Graham Porrett||(3.5 Lola Tegra V8)||111.22|
|Matt Carter||(1.4 Radical PR6)||111.93|
|Graham Blackwell||(1.6t Mygale Ecoboost)||113.88|
|Nick Algar||(1.3s DJ Firehawk)||114.61|
|Grahame Harden||(1.0 Jedi Mk6)||115.76|