|Pembrey 29th June 2014|
Only nine drivers and their cars ventured to the beautiful Pembrey Circuit in South Wales to join our friends from the VSCC and their Welsh Speed weekend. Despite an earlier weather forecast of rain showers we were greeted with a warm Saturday evening to enjoy the club barbecue arranged by Bev and Ian Phillips, cooked with great enthusiasm by Richard de la Roche. Food was aplenty and particular mention must be made of Andy Turner's Venison Cumberland sausage and hamburgers (he even showed us all a picture of the animal before he shot it!)
After some very heavy overnight rain, the morning dawned bright and warm and after the normal fettling of cars, the practice session soon got underway. After only three laps, Ian Phillips failed to negotiate the hairpin and hit the bank at speed when his throttle stuck open as the return spring had broken. The session was red flagged and the incident and medical teams were quickly on the scene and carefully extracted Ian from his damaged Cooper.
After a track side medical inspection, Ian was transferred to the circuit medical centre and from there he was driven by ambulance with Bev in attendance, to the Glangwili General Hospital in Camarthan, for further checks and x rays. The remaining eight drivers watched the proceedings at the hairpin from the pit lane waiting for the restart of practice, concerned for Ian's well being, but soon the organisers signalled the restart of the practice session, and the 500's returned to the track.
Roy Hunt turned in the fastest time followed by John Turner who was totally back on form, this being his first race after Silverstone, followed by third fastest man Richard de la Roche. After only one lap Roy Wright called it a day with the clutch failure and Stuart Wright pulled up to find the plug lead had jumped off of his car but the red flag period allowed him to wire it back on and rejoin the practice session.
Less fortunate was Doug Yates, appearing for the first time on the circuits with his Wayne F3 monoposto who only managed to complete one lap when his car came to a halt, suffering from suspected fuel starvation. Alistair Dent and Andy Turner worked with Doug to try and come up with a solution to the problem and carried out a number of modifications on the fuel pipes and tank venting, which they all hoped, would cure the problem. Everyone at the circuit was anxious to hear about Ian's condition and news drifted in to confirm that he was not seriously injured but was undertaking tests to determine when he could be released from hospital.
By lap three Roy had overtaken both Richard and Xavier, moving up to second place leaving the Staride and Smith Buckler to continue their P2 Championship battle. Stuart Wright had a spin on lap four dropping to sixth place after mixing it with Xavier and Richard in the earlier stages of the race. Xavier eventually passed Richard on lap five, but Richard retook third place at the start of lap six. The battle at the front continued and Roy managed to pass John on lap six where he stayed to the finish although only .43sec ahead of John.
After the race, further information on Ian's condition reached the 500 members and everyone was relieved to hear that the checks revealed no broken bones and despite severe bruising and considerable pain in his left leg, he was being discharged from hospital and returned to the circuit driven by Leslie de la Roche, shortly after the meeting closed. In typical 500 Owners Association fashion, Ian’s Cooper was put into his truck by Andy Turner & Alistair Dent and then Richard de la Roche drove it with Bev and with his own Smith Butler on the trailer, back up To Shropshire to deliver it to Ian’s home. Meanwhile Leslie de la Roche drove their motorhome with Ian safely resting on the motorhome bed!