First corner


Race Reports For The 2001 Season.
Round 7 
Pembrey, Sunday June 24th, 14 Laps

Clark in Cymru

Round 7 of the championship found the 'K' Sports contingent at Pembrey in South Wales. Hidden from most of the UK by Llanelli, this little circuit often provides close racing, good weather and a friendly atmosphere, this year was no exception. As is always the case here the entry was rather smaller than average because, in common with Croft the remote location puts off those who are racing to a budget. This is a great pity as both of these circuits are well worth the trek. 
Of the seventeen names in the programme two failed to make the race. Michael Taylor didn't bring his Phantom from Halifax and Peter Burnham had a breakage in his chassis during testing on the Friday preceding the meeting. Peter remained at the circuit to help son Chris with his Mallock Mk21 and by doing so became involved in keeping Adrian Brown racing for the weekend, more of that later... 
The majority of the entry took advantage of the opportunity to test at the circuit on Friday, some in the morning and most in the three afternoon sessions. Of the championship front runners only Clive Woodward and James Lindley missed testing. To nobody's surprise the times were topped by Peter Clark although perhaps because of the high temperature or perhaps because this season's Avon tyres don't like Pembrey as much as the Dunlops of previous years he was some way off lap record pace. 
The real drama of Saturday took place off track well before qualifying began. Adrian Brown's car started to emit the unmistakable sound of a failed big-end bearing when he started it after scrutineering. It looked very much as if the entry was about to be reduced again until Peter Burnham pointed out that he had a broken car with a fully serviceable engine sitting in the paddock and that Adrian could of course borrow the engine. The famed Clubmans camaraderie then sprang in to action, from around the paddock drivers and mechanics descended on both cars and the transplant operation began. Adrian and Peter supervised the work on their own cars while Paul Freeman took overall charge and the deed was done in less than an hour and a half [1]. It was a close run thing though and Adrian was able to join the collecting area for qualifying only moments before the field joined the track. This was aided by the Pembrey organisation taking a slightly more relaxed than usual approach to the programme. "Just two or three more minutes, the driver who has changed his engine is just getting in his car now", or words to that effect from the official in charge of the collecting area to whoever he keeps at the other end of his walkie talkie radio. Nice. 
Qualifying times were topped with Clark almost a second clear of the closely matched Howard Payne Woodward and Peter Richings. Positions five to ten were covered by half a second and resolved in the order Lindley, John Kelly, local man Neil Bevan, Brown, having the temerity to outqualify Freeman, and Brian Jordan. The remainder qualified in the order Jamie Champkin, Ian Mitchell, Chris Burnham, Alan Avery and Marcus Bicknell. 
The race on Sunday was dominated by Clark, who built a big lead on the opening lap and remained untroubled by the rest for the duration. Such changes in the order that did come about were mainly at the tight Hatchets hairpin. Payne lost two places there at the start, and was destined to stay in fourth place behind Woodward and Richings. Lindley completed an attempted outbraking manoeuvre in the escape road causing him to lose several places before eventually clawing his way back up to tenth and Jordan outbraked Freeman at the same spot to make up a place. Bicknell also improved by two places, one of them in the same bend. So it finished in the order Clark, Woodward, Richings, Payne, Bevan, Kelly, Brown, Jordan, Freeman, Lindley, Champkin, Mitchell, Bicknell, Avery and Chris Burnham who had started the weekend with an overheating problem and despite having borrowed most of the remaining useful bits from his father's car completed the weekend with the same problem. 
[1] A fuller report of this drama can be found on Marcus Bicknell's pages, follow the link from the 'Links' page. 
(Brian Jordan)