Drama at Anglesey

Drama at Anglesey

For a bit of a change for this summer, it was warm and sunny - a beautiful day in fact - as the Porsche Racing Drivers landed in Anglesey to a great holiday atmosphere. This was to be our first time on the International configuration of the circuit since 2008 when it was still a 924 only championship. All 18 cars entered are present - 7 Class A Boxster, 2 Class B, and 9 924s. Returnees to the series were Phil Churchill and Jason Wood. Adam Southgate grabbed pole followed by Ed Hayes and Richard Avery. The latter wsa racing with a new engine after his Castle Combe problems. Next was Nick Hull ahead of Kev Molyneaux and Andy Porter with Angelsey debutant Phil Churchill the final Class A.

There was less than half a second between Andy Baker (1) and Matt Harris (2) in class B - both new to the circuit. And in the 924s it was business as usual with Pip Hammond, Gavin Johnson and Ryan Lowry taking the first three slots. Karl Rossing and Pete Smith were close in 4 and 5, ahead of Bernie Printy  and Phil Waters (making his return in his new-build LHD car).

Newcomers Jason Wood and Andy Pritchard brought up the rear while still learning the circuit but Pritchard only got a single exploratory lap after his car refused to start in pitlane. Rapid diagnosis by Fudge found a defective coil, swapped in record time to allow him just enough time to get out at the end of the session. Andy Porter also got only 1 lap after ABS problems oblige him to park his Boxster soon after the start.

All 18 cars make it to the grid for the first of three races, with Andy Porter intending to drive around his ABS problem and finish simply to get points.

Adam Southgate makes a great start from a fast starting Nick Hull, Richard Avery and Ed Hayes. Too good a start as it happens - Avery, Hull and Hayes were all adjudged to have jumped the lights and receive a 10 sec penalty. Adam Southgate is never seriously challenged and cruises to victory, setting the fastest lap on the way.

Hull, Avery and Hayes are very close until lap 4 when Hull falls back thanks to a collision with Avery. He was later penalised with a 5 sec time penalty and 3 points added to his race license (which by our regulations deprives him of double that in Championship points).

Hull slips to P5 behind Kevin Molyneaux, but then catches and passes him to retake P4. Meanwhile Hayes is chasing Avery hard, finally getting past, but over cooking it and Avery gets past again and holds him off to the flag, these two finishing 2nd and 3rd. However, the time penalty drops Avery to P4 and elevates the recovering Nick Hull to the final podium position.

In Class B its another win for Andy Baker as he clears a midfield bunch of 924s early on allowing him a gap to Matt Harris, who becomes embroiled in a battle with some of the Class C cars.

Its another comfortable 924s victory for Pip Hammond who at one time is harrying the last of the Class A Boxsters. He is followed by Johnson, Rossin and Lowry with Pete Smith next up; Phil Waters and the ever-improving Bernie Printy in close proximity. Waters is making progress and passes Printy and to then challenge Matt Harris' Boxster. Printy then gets past Waters while being lapped by the quicker Class A Boxsters and keeps the position it to the end. Ryan Lowry gets past Rossin to take P3, with Hammond and Johnson taking the top two places.

On Sunday it's all change on the weather front with clouds and high winds, and rain forecast for the end of the race; the race starts in the dry, but the weather won't wait and it's soon raining hard, blowing in sheets across this coastal circuit.

Adam Southgate makes another great start and leads the rapid Nick Hull, followed by Hayes and Avery. As the track conditions worsen, there's a spectcular spin from Adam Southgate in front of an appreciative audience on the pit wall, dropping him to P4. This lets Hayes into the lead closely followed by Hull and Avery. Shortly afterwards, Southgate gets ahead of Hull, but then Avery has a spin and serious collision with barriers, causing extensive damage and deployment of the safety car. After a couple of safety car laps, the race is stopped, with conditions appalling and Avery's stranded car a hazard.

On the top steps for Class A are therefore Hayes and Southgate with Nick Hull picking up a second podium in third.

In the Production Boxsters its another Andy Baker win, chased hard by Matt Harris, closing on him as the track got wetter and finishing less than 2 seconds behind.

And so to the 924s where Ryan Lowry lead initially from Johnson and Rossing with Hammond back in P4. By lap 3, though, Hammond has got to the front, and is never matched on his way to a second win of the weekend. Johnson drops back to P7 after a big braking moment. Lowry, Rossin and Pete Smith circulate closely together in 2/3/4 after a few frantic opening laps until the safety car, with Smith somehow loosing a badge panel along the way. Bernie Printy is close behind, just ahead of Phil Waters.

And to the final race of the weekend, throwing a reverse grid into the mix to make things even more exiting. The weather is still wet and windy, and our cars get an extra green flag lap, shortening the race to 17 mins.

Avery is a non-starter, his 986 Boxster having suffered quite extensive damage in the second race. Adam Southgate is away smartly and is never really challenged, driving smoothly and swiftly to another win. Ed Hayes in P2 from initially Andy Porter and Kev Molyneaux. Nick Hull spins on lap 1 to end up at the back of the field, but he then immediately starts to carve his way through the field, eventually recovering to finish P4, less than 3 secs off the podium. Ed Hayes finishes a lonely 2nd, despite a very sideways moment out of the last corner on one lap. And in third its a first podium of the year for Kev Molyneaux after a mostly smooth drive marred only by an excursion onto the grass at Church Corner.

In Class B Matt Harris led Andy Baker initially until a spin dropped him to the tail of the field, but he chased well, lapping almost 3 secs a lap quicker, grabbing the class fastest lap point and finishing less than 4 seconds behind Baker.

In 924 it took Hammond two laps to come from the back to take the lead which he never lost, finishing a remarkable 6th overall in the process - quick enough that some of the Class A Boxsters never caught him. Phil Waters revelling in wet conditions in P2, initially up to 5th overall for 2 laps, followed by the impressive Jason Wood who finished lap one in P2, later running wide and fading to P7. Ryan Lowry made rapid progress over the first few laps, getting up to P4 until a spin dropped him back and he recovered to fifth. Waters, Johnson and Smith circulated in close company until a coming together between Johnsn and Smith left the latter some way behind. Waters finished 2nd with Johnson P3.

Three wins for Pip Hammond makes his position at the top of the Class C table more secure. With only sixes races left of the season, Andy Baker is now almost safe at the top of the Production Boxsters table, but in Class A, Richard Avery's penalty, plus a DNF and missed final race allowed Nick Hull to leapfrog into third; while Adam Southgate's good fortunes means he closes on Ed Hayes in the lead.

The Toyo Tires Porsche Championship heads next to Rockingham for three races on 16th and 17th September.

Words: John Broadley; photo: Michael Goodacre


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