Pembrey June weekend 2017
After a 7 hours 297mile drive I arrived at about 1845hrs and was pleased to see my Westfield mates had adopted the best paddock position and saved a place for my motorhome and trailer. I thought I would break out the beer but was told I could sign on and be scrutineered straight away so that was a big plus meaning a relaxing Sat morning start. Good organisation I thought……unfortunately the weekend did not run smoothly for a range of annoying reasons. Firstly on Saturday we had 110 entries when 100 was supposed to be the maximum, then we had rapidly changing weather which caused delays, the timing arrangements by TSL only seemed to cope with 2 cars on the track at any one time, the results took ages to produce on Sunday night and the awards were sometimes given to the wrong people!! The good part was that we had two great track layouts to challenge us and a good turnout of Westfield Speed Series competitors. (13 Westfield and 3 drivers in class J2)
After the car was back in the trailer I got some food sorted out whilst John Loudon (the domestic goddess ---Jane was not with him) heated up his pizza. When it was ready it looked good but he had forgotten to remove the packaging from the bottom!!! Several people including Steve Carpenter, Roz Kennett, Paul Dew (first time out this year) had not been here before so nearly everyone did the obligatory track walk in the warm bright sunshine. When we got back Steve and Roz had to put up their newly purchased tent and camping beds and the thought of “all the gear and no idea” briefly crossed my mind but they got it all sorted quickly and apart from Roz being a bit cold in the night they loved it.
P1 was dry, although it had rained a bit overnight, and Dave Cleaver was immediately on the pace and banged in a 106.31 secs run to make the rest of us look a bit tentative and pedestrian. It soon became clear that progress was slow and tedious even after one run. I think it was during this practice that Paul Dew (aka Tigger) discovered that to keep his engine running he needed to have filled the fuel tank so was a bit embarrassed to run out of fuel. I noted that at the end of my practice (which included a rerun) my oil temp was at 129deg C so I checked that my oil pressure was still ok but the readings worried me all weekend and I need to check for a sensor problem/wiring fault. Just before the first batch of Westfields was called for P2 it started to rain. We got into our cars and queued but by the time we got close to the start it was lashing it down and a few of us, especially those of us on slicks, pulled out and returned to the paddock. John Loudon who only had slicks went out but came in after just one lap and he was completely soaked from head to toe. Later the track started to dry and much to my amazement, even though it was already way after 1200hrs, there was an announcement that anyone who had not had a second practice could now have one and this wasted a lot of time. Practice ended at 1330hrs and we were all getting worried about timed runs and the British Sprint run offs which all had to be finished by 1800hrs. We all thought that when the rain started they should have taken an early lunch and given the weather a chance to improve. Luckily for T1, which started at 1400hrs, the track was nearly dry with just a few damp patches but target times were going to be hard to achieve. Dave Cleaver went quickest with a great time of 105.83 secs after a rerun. The final T2 run saw slightly better conditions but only a few improved their times and because of the curfew of 1800hrs Steve Carpenter and Roz Kennett never got their last run and if I was them I would have been very annoyed. In addition there was no top 10 run off and this was on a day when there were very few incidents to slow things down. So Dave was fastest Westfield and Adam Phelps second fastest in his 1300cc Busa which was going well. It appeared that Adam and Charlotte had hired in John (their dad) as labourer, mechanic, odd job man and general support but I did not see any money change hands! In class J2 Steve Broughton was quickest beating Carol Torkington and Matt Hillam and Nick Agar was going well in his DJ Firehawk until he broke the diff on Sunday.
I was having a good sleep in my Motorhome until about 0500hrs when the rain started and it kept at it until about 0700hrs. By the time we were called for P1 the heavens had opened and it was lashing it down so several us declined the offer of practice in preference to trying to stay dryish and most were wearing various styles of waterproof overalls and wet boots and would not have won a fashion show. Myself , Paul Dew, Derek Hodder, Garry Bunn and Keith Adams decided a brew and biscuit was better than a wet bath. By P2 the rain had just about stopped so we all went out but the track was treacherous and particularly the bits of new tarmac on the revised track layout. There were some very scary slides and slipping about except for Dave Cleaver again who went way quicker than anyone with a time of 127.82secs on his wets. Mick Skidmore lived up to his name again but doing a 360deg spin for us all to admire.
T1 This saw Tigger so eager to get to the start line that he left his brains behind and forgot to regas his compressed air bottle to activate his gear changes. He ran back to the paddock with a red face after explaining to the marshals why he had abandoned it. The track was still wet and after changing my tyres about 10 times (much to the amusement of others who do not clearly understand the trauma of deciding on slicks or wets.) I decided on wets but John Loudon only had slicks so he had to make the best of it. There was some brave, fast driving on a track that was giving decent wet grip but we all came back to the paddock praying for a dry run. Our Welsh prayers were answered as for T2 that’s what we had with a dry track and only minimal wet patches. As we waited to fit the slicks John was into his OCD mode checking everyone’s actual tyre widths and tread patterns on front tyres and eventually increasing his tyre pressures. So in the final runs we all got to grips with the new layout and had some excitement trying to brake as late as possible for the new left/right chicane and to post a good time as big points were at stake. Steve Carpenter beat Roz in their budget zetec engine car. In classes C D and F. Paul Dew beat Keith Adams and Mike Skidmore with Simon Broadbridge close on time. In Class G I held off John Loudon and in class H the order was Dave Cleaver, Garry Bunn, Derek Hodder, Adam Phelps and Charlotte Phelps. So for us all the track was great but the rain and other stuff spoilt it a bit. The awards took place one and a half hours after the results were published and I eventually arrived home after 297 miles at midnight. All in all a great weekend which was due to the Westfield banter and friendliness between all competitors, wives, friends etc
See you all at Blyton.
Class G Competitor