2016 BRITISH SUPERLITE ROUND 4 PEMBREY - RACE REPORT
June 22, 2016
Excitement was building for what is a relatively new venue on the Superlite Calendar, after a week of heavy rain to soak the off-road sections it's off to South Wales for Round 4 of the British Superlite Championships. The forecast was favorable for a fine weekends' racing, however circuit management warned that Pembrey has its own climate! The long journey for most competitors in Friday afternoon traffic was worth every bit once we landed at the carefully manicured motorsport facility with its long straights, high speed sweeping bends and technical Rallycross section.
Saturday, out onto the track for free practice only to experience dust, can't be possible after such recent weather, although it was sunny and windy when we arrived Friday afternoon. The showers soon put paid to the dust though, and a steady repeat of the same made conditions ideal for competitors to dial in their machinery for the weekend ahead.
Young Tom Roch No.61 took advantage of the conditions on what could be called his home circuit, and posted some of the fastest times of the day showing that he can get serious when the opportunity arises.
An enjoyable day was had by all, with times getting tighter by close of play. The very different nature of the circuit to our norm was allowing some new faces to flex their muscles. Presentation for the British Supermoto Riders, and early shower and good food to be had in the large friendly clubhouse. Phil the Motorsport loving circuit manager had laid on some Saturday night entertainment, ear defenders were helpful, but a good ol time was had by all attendees.
Sunday 19th June - Championship Day.
With yesterday’s dust fresh in our minds we woke to find ourselves in a different season altogether, one thing was for certain, the action was going to get interesting in these conditions!
Quick riders' safety briefing, but before a tyre could hit the circuit, it was already quite wet, a steady persistent rain falling for the next couple of hours through free practice making conditions challenging to say the least. Vision very quickly became a big factor in the spray and spare pairs of googles were coming out in force!
Qualifying was going to be as important here at this venue in these conditions as it could ever be, all drivers wanting to be at the front of the grid to get away with clear vision.
Our 600 Superlite Drivers were up first to brave the conditions, the brand new water bowser that the circuit had purchased to cover the event was certainly not coming out today! Joe Richardson in Superlite No.27 had been doing his homework, best qualifying of the season for him in 8th place. At the sharp end, Phil Redfearn was back in full force after issues at Shenington, looking set to take second spot until Turner No.84 pipped him by a few hundredths. Pole position went to current leader Jake Swann who seemed to thrive in these challenging conditions.
Precise throttle control appeared to be the key for the 900 Superlite boys, with that extra horsepower wanting to spin up the rear end on reacceleration. Phil Lee was quick to post a hot time, seemingly undeterred by the rain. However he was pipped to a front row spot by Macbeth No.1, Simon Nutter just ahead in 2nd and only 2 hundreths of a second ahead on Pole was Swann No.210 posting his winning lap right at the end of the session.
The Championship racing for the Two-stroke 600s machines was an outstanding display of precision driving and some balls out racing. In the first race of the day a fantastic holeshot from Turner No.84, following tight by Hudson. Swann had some work to do after a poor getaway. Ian Biswell making a return to this round made solid progress through the race to finish Third. Swann managed to pass Turner on Lap 4 but Tony pushed on and secured a close Second behind the hard charging No.110.
The second race brought a strong start from Knox No.47 but the conditions defeated him midday through. Mick Brown No21 and Tom Bamber No.77 had a great battle all race and managed to pull through the pack to finish with their best results of 5th and 6th respectively. Jake Swann No.110 was on strong form for this battle and took the lead fairly early on, forcing Turner to make chase with near identical best laptimes. However Swann had taken control by the flag and took the win from Tuner with Biswell just behind their battle.
The holeshot champion of the day, Tony Turner, did it again in the third race, taking the lead from Swann and Biswell. However this was not to last. It was difficult to see who was doing what, other than that Turner started losing ground after five laps out front, one momentary intake of water into his motor and Swann was in position to capitalize and take it home to Victory. Biswell was on form and took advantage of the situation aswell to claim second place, Turner battled on in stoic style to clinch Third from Smythe No.33.
Not the ideal conditions to have 370bhp/tonne to handle but the 900 Class drivers did just that. These hardened racers' carried on regardless to make a true representation of our discipline, showing grit in such arduous conditions and providing some good hard entertaining racing.
The opening race of the day came down to the start and those left behind has extreme vision problems. Nutter on the clean side of the track made a good getaway and was unable to be caught despite Macbeths best efforts. Richardson Snr No.17 wasnt far behind but couldn’t bring the fight to the front runners.
Duncan Macbeth really showed his metal in race two, taking first place by a comfortable margin. Wayne Harris second, coming under pressure towards the end by Jake Swann who started well down the field, having had vision problems in race one. Matthew Morgan seemed to have picked up his pace early earlier technical issues and was having loads of sideways fun in 7th place.
The third and final 900 race was an epic display. With baited breath we waited to see who was going to show first at turn one. The lights went out - a roar of horsepower and split second silence as they rounded the first corner. Wayne Harris who had made it to the front line for this one, showed his nose first and he was away followed by a hot breathing pack very close behind. The rain soaked spectators were treated to a true show of top class Superlite racing as the pack literally flashed by causing difficulty distinguishing in order.
Harris no.59 had no intention of waiting for his competitors, and quickly broke away leaving them to sort themselves out. By the second lap of actoin, it was a little easier to see the battles through the field. By no means was this race a done deal as they all began to fight for places. Wayne looked settled up front but others' had their own view on this, especially Mark Richardson who was on form, but it was to be Jake first to hone in on the big fella up front. The overtake when it came was as impressive as the catch up, straight through a large puddle on the exit of the offroad and somehow managed to keep her on course for the tight chicane. Further down the pack Macbeth who set the fastest lap was battling with Lee No.10 but couldn’t overcome the experienced veteran and settled for 5th place.