1st May, 2018 ‑ Car Features 

Welsh Rare Hit

article image

The long awaited return to Pembrey in South Wales proved a huge hit with the locals and organisers alike, as once again the Mini Seven Racing Club put on the best races of the weekend on the new Clubmans circuit layout.

An unseasonal heatwave for Friday testing followed into Saturday, producing two fabulously close encounters. The Miglias/Libres went first, and after 17 laps of captivating racing, polesitter Aaron Smith completed a superb display of defensive driving to hold on from a rejuvenated Colin Peacock in his fully rebuilt car, and reigning champion Rupert Deeth in third, with Rob Howard, Dave Drew, Dave Edgecombe, returning after a six-year gap, and Alfie Brown scrapping over the remaining top six positions right on the leaders’ tails. In Libres, newcomer Alex Osborne looked set for the class win before pulling off with mechanical issues, allowing Peter Hills to come through after a close duel with 2017 overall winner Peter Crewes, the latter then dropping to third behind Phil Harvey.

 

The Se7ens/S-Class saw a ding-dong battle for top spot, pole man Darren Thomas and Max Hunter swapping places throughout before Thomas secured the win, with a whole train of cars snapping at their heels, led by Tom Sanderson from Spencer Wanstall, leading S-Class runner Nick Croydon-Fowler, and Joe Thompson living up to his 2017 Novice champion status completing the top half dozen. Completing the S-Class podium were Thorburn Astin, son of former Se7en/Invitation racer Damon, and Scott Kendall, a multi-champion in Mighty Minis.

Sunday morning was more like Wales in winter, leading to the Miglia/Libre field all plumping for treaded tyres and headlights in the gloomy, wet conditions. Even two warm-up laps failed to prevent a first-corner pile-up, Deeth the ‘pocket ball’ on a game of Mini billiards into Hatchets hairpin, which also saw Astin severely delayed and Edgecombe out of the running with the front end hanging off in all directions!

Out of the confusion, Smith sailed off into the distance, with only Brown able to keep within sight. However, the youngster had picked up a jump-start penalty when a slipping clutch caused his car to creep on the line, initially dropping him back into the pack on handicap but, mirroring his superb Oulton performance of last season, he gradually clawed back the deficit to pass Smith near the end, albeit helped by a deflating l/f tyre on the leader Smith’s car.

The winning margin was just 0.574s, however still in Smith’s favour, but only just, thanks to Brown’s 10 sec penalty. It was that close! Drew and Howard were left in their spray to fight over third, the latter dropping back near the end and only just making it over the finish line for fourth ahead of Peacock and reigning Se7en champion, Charlie Budd in only his second Miglia start.

Once again, Hills took Libre spoils, but was gracious enough to concede that Ian Fraser should have won after a storming opening charge put him clear, only to dislodge his oil cooler after a trip over the kerbs two laps from the flag.

A brightening sky for the Se7ens race after lunch saw a couple of drivers gamble on dries, and this would have been a brilliant option if the race was perhaps one or two laps longer. Despite Wanstall making a lightning start, within a lap Hunter had found a way round both him and Thomas to lead, thereafter finding all the remaining damp patches to nurse his wets as the track dried quicker than expected.

Behind, young Thompson again belied his relative inexperience to work his way past the sparring Wanstall and Croydon-Fowler to take second, with Daniel Budd’s dry tyres helping him to scythe up the order into third as others began to struggle on wet rubber. As the previous day, Kendall and Astin junior completed the S-Class top three.

 

New fastest laps for the revised 1.49-miles Clubmans layout went to Rupert Deeth in 1:12.209 (74.28 mph) for Miglias and Darren Thomas in 1:19.147 (67.77 mph) for Se7ens.

 

Next stop, Snetterton in Norfolk, over the 12-13 May weekend.

 

RESULTS

Miglia/Libre:           

Race 1                        17 laps

1            21            Aaron Smith

2            83            Colin Peacock

3            23            Rupert Deeth

11            126            Peter Hills (Libre)

 

Miglia/Libre:           

Race 2                        16 laps

1            21            Aaron Smith

2            81            Alfie Brown

3            29            Dave Drew

12            126            Peter Hills (Libre)

 

Se7en/S-Class:           

Race 1                         14 laps

1            20            Darren Thomas

2            46            Max Hunter

3            19            Tom Sanderson

5            777            Nick Croydon-Fowler (S-Class)

 

Se7en/S-Class:           

Race 2                         15 laps

1            46            Max Hunter

2            8            Joe Thompson

3            47            Daniel Budd

5            777            Nick Croydon-Fowler (S-Class)

<< Back to Features