Pembrey, 14/15 May 2005

A no-show for Nyssa Racing! Prior committments meant it was impossible to get to the most Welsh of Wales early enough on the Saturday. We decided instead to take stock following on from Brands Hatch.

Against all odds, the engine had lasted through 2 races and qualifying sessions and we had two good finishes on the scoreboard. However, on unloading the car post-Brands, Keith noticed a noise coming from the gearbox that he was less than happy with. We have not yet investigated this noise because there are new plans!

A sale at Nyssa Racing found buyers for last year's Alfa V6 engine/gearbox assembly and our Lancia Beta Coupe finally has a home where it can be loved rather than left neglected. We have spent our newly gained funds wisely - new forged pistons and uprated conrods have been ordered, and a flowed cylinder head has also been obtained, our rolling road graphs showed that the head has proved restrictive as power approaches 400bhp. Whether these parts are here in time for the new engine to be installed prior to Cadwell Park remains to be seen, we need the existing clutch and flywheel for balancing with the new crank/rods/pistons but don't want to take the engine out until we know the parts have arrived. If they don't come, we'll be keeping fingers crossed that we can get yet another race from our engine.

So, a first visit to Pembrey for the LMA Euro Saloons, without us. Twenty-five cars made the trip and were rewarded with separate qualifying and race sessions on both days of the weekend, and LMA gave all drivers a voucher for an evening meal and drink in the bar on Saturday night, a big thank you to them for that.

Qualifying - Saturday
Local instructor Alvin Martin was unable to partake in the session in his ex-Alain Menu BTCC championship winning Ford Mondeo, so Tony Soper headed the qualifying times in the Harrier LR9, followed closely by Class B rivals Phillip Latchford (VW Vento VR6) and Dave Nixon (Rover 220 Turbo). Class C was headed by Richard Perks (Honda Civic) setting a marker for the race, unbeaten Class C driver Richard Buckley suffering problems which left him back in 23rd place. Championship leader Simon Taylor (Honda Civic Vtec) headed Class E times from Neil Threadgill (Renault Clio).

Race - Saturday
With race favourite Alvin Powell starting from the back, and Richard Buckley just a row ahead, there was sure to be some excitement as the pair carved their way forwards. By the end of the first lap Powell had already made his way up to 11th, and indeed would reach second place on lap 3; Buckley was fairing less well, having made up seven places on the first lap, moving further up the field became much harder.

The 30 minute race (the longest race of the season) saw a few cars falling by the wayside. Series returnee Charles Cozens made his debut in the Peugeot 206 GTi but his race was short lived after a wheel and a wishbone were damaged in an off. Dave Nixon and Richard Hawken lasted 16 laps, the former breaking a driveshaft, the latter retiring with a puncture. Lee Scott (Fiesta XR2i) and Larry Phillips (Honda Integra) almost made the finish, but fell a couple of minutes short.

Having reached second place on lap 3, Powell set about chasing leader Soper who was able to hold off the challenge until lap 9 after which Soper stayed in touch until a minor excursion on lap 12 saw the gap stretch past 10 seconds, after which Powell controlled the race to win by 10 seconds. Phillip Latchford was having a close race for Class B honours with Dave Nixon, inheriting the class win after Nixon's retirement, with Paul Overton moving slowly up behind to take second in class and 4th overall.

An excellent run saw Richard Perks take the Class C honours from Richard Buckley who made it up to 6th from the back row of the grid. Simon Taylor extended his championship lead with another win in Class E from Neil Threadgill (Renault Clio) just over a lap behind. Chris Brogden (Fiat Uno) won the Class D battle with Tim Morgan-Barrett (VW Golf GTi), with Simon Jackson and Alan Duly taking the honours in Classes F and G.

Qualifying - Sunday
With Alvin Powell ready to partake in this session, predictably he led the times from Tony Soper and Richard Hawken (Vauxhall Cavalier Gsi). Dave Nixon headed Class B from Matt Hale, with Class C leader Richard Buckley splitting them and leading the class from Richard Perks. Lee Scott had resolved his electrical problems but still lined up behind Simon Taylor in Class E.

Race - Sunday
A suspension failure stranding Richard Hawken off the hairpin saw the race restarted as a 20 minute race, Hawken being unable to make the restart. Tony Soper got away early, Alvin Powell had restarted further down the grid, but right behind was a battle royal between Richard Buckley, Dave Nixon, Paul Overton and Matt Hale, at times separated by less than a second. Late in the race Dave Nixon dropped out from this group with overheating problems most likely a corollary of the first race incident, leaving the other three to battle on. Powell once again brought the Mondeo through the pack, again reaching 2nd on lap 3 and taking the lead from Soper on lap 7 after which he pulled slowly away to win by 10 seconds.

The three way battle behind Powell and Soper raged throughout the race, Phillip Latchford had stayed in close contact for a while but worn tyres told and he dropped back slowly leaving Buckley, Hale and Overton to take 3rd, 4th, and 5th, Hale taking 4th from Overton by 4/10th, with Buckley and Hale taking the Class C and B wins.

Lee Scott dropped out of contention early on with engine problems, leaving Simon Taylor to take Class E spoils again, but with a smaller margin back to Neil Threadgill than he had won by on the Saturday. Chris Brogden's hopes to repeat Saturday's win were thwarted by a broken driveshaft in early morning qualifying leaving Tim Morgan-Barrett to take Class D, with Simon Jackson and Alan Duly again taking the honours in Classes F and G.

A double win for Simon Taylor (152) means he extends his lead in the championship to 4 points from Richard Buckley (148), a double DNF for Dave Nixon allowing Stuart Jefcoate to pull away in 3rd with 116 points.

So, next race at Cadwell Park on 19th June, we fully expect to be back in attendance for this one, time will tell whether the new engine is in or not.

Read personal reports from Stuart Jefcoate, Tim Morgan-Barrett and Richard Hawken

Visit the Le Mans Autoparts site for details of the Le Mans Euro Saloons championship and standings so far.

Check out the current points standing.

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