Tom Pryce Memorial Meeting – Anglesey International Circuit; 13th – 14th July 2019

FJHRA/HSCC “Silverline” UK Championship Rounds 8 & 9
FJHRA/HSCC “Silverline” Front Engined Championship Rounds 5 & 6

There were dominating doubles for Richard Wilson (Brabham BT6) and Chris Drake (Terrier T4 Series 1) in the racing, but it was the views and the welcome that dominated the weekend.

The circuit Manager Annette Freeman openly fell in love with our cars, and the feeling was certainly reciprocated towards her circuit.

There’s been a fair amount of talk recently about returning to the good old clubbie meetings of yesteryear, so taking a break this year from the Silverstone Classic, our traditional July jaunt, we instead returned to the Welsh isle, 11 years on from our last visit in our 2008 Golden Jubilee year.

A smile and a warm welcome at the gate were all that were needed for every arrival, be they competitor, official or friends and family, to know they were in for a good weekend…of course the scenic drive to the gate was a pretty good indication of the stunning location too!

Arrivals started already on Thursday, with many keen to learn the track during the Friday Test Day, unfortunately it was also to be the end of the track action for Robin Longdon (Lola Mk 5A) and Roger Woodbridge (Volpini) both with drive shaft failures. David Watkins also had problems, but he just keeps riding the rollercoaster of issues with his Elfin.

On Friday evening the Longdons kindly hosted a very well attended paddock social, before the Front Engined FJ’s started off the race meeting with qualifying on the chilly Saturday morning.

Front Qualifying

With Bernard Brock (Elva 100) a last-minute withdrawal, and the Volpini out the previous day, we were down to 10 FJ’s plus regular guest entrant Hans Ciers in his F3 1000cc U2 Mk 3.

Chris Drake (Terrier Mk4 Series 1) set an early lead on lap 3, but out on the same lap with more terminal problems was Richard Bishop-Miller and his Autosport when the engine tightened up.

Pete de la Roche (Lola Mk 2) was next up but 2.3s adrift, down on compression and Alex Morton (Condor S II) was in third. The beautiful pair of Bonds driven by Andrew Tart and Michael Walker were 4th and 5th, followed by Fleming (Lola Mk 2) and Ian Phillips (BMC Mk 1) all within 0.15s of each other, a sign of some great racing to come.

David Innes was the sole Class A entry, loving the more forgiving nature of a front engined car, taking ‘Stanley’ for his first outing in his new ownership.

Rear qualifying

In the rears we also had a couple of last minute withdrawals from Pete Morton (sprained thumb, but still enjoying the holiday aspect) and Sam Wilson, which left the race prospects wide open, and as it turned out, to another Wilson, Richard (Brabham BT6), to take pole.

Bill Hemming confused those on the pit wall, when he pulled off into the short circuit club corner on lap 1, appeared to sit there for a few laps, and then just set off again.  Apparently he wasn’t having a snooze, but fixing a loose connection.

Chris Drake, this time in his Elva 300, was second, although 1.5s slower than in the Terrier, with John Fyda (Brabham BT6) in third.  First of the five Aussie visitors with us for the weekend was Marty Bullock, in his drum braked Wren, with David Watkins in control of the Elfin issues once more, a close fourth. These were the fastest of a fantastic eight car Class D entry.  Barely represented by contrast were Class C, with just Trevor Griffiths (C2 Emeryson) and Peter Edbrooke (C1 Lotus 18).  David Kent (Lynx Mk 3) completed the Classes in his E2 Lynx Mk 3.

Front Race 1

The first three took off in order, and were each left to their own devices to admire the sea view, while behind in the battle for fourth, Justin Fleming had a spin on the first lap and took a bit of time getting going again, leaving it a three-way race between the two Bonds and Ian Phillips.

To begin with it was Tart being chased by Phillips with Walker not far behind, until he caught up and took the BMC briefly into the hairpin, but Phillips was back ahead coming down the hill into the bus stop. The Bond pair were then together for a few laps before Mike missed a gear coming out of hairpin on lap 7 and Ian nipped through, to challenge Andrew on the next lap.  It was then he who was under pressure, and he locked up going into the bus stop, coming out Phillips spun, and Walker too in avoidance, leaving the finishing positions Bond, BMC, Bond.

Graham Barron was the only retirement on lap 3, when his Gemini Mk II driveshaft popped out.

Rear Race 1

Some marshalling confusion coming out of the assembly area had Richard Wilson driving through the pit lane, but he took up his place at the front of the grid in time for the start, however it was Marty in lead at the end of lap 1.  Marty and his Wren managed to hold off the later disc braked Brabham until lap 4 when Wilson got ahead with John Fyda not far behind in third.

Jonathan Fyda (U2 Mk 3) was also going well, right up with Watkins on lap 3, but unfortunately pulled off into retirement two laps later, leaving Watkins to chase Drake.  Meanwhile Chisholm was having issues with his brakes, which allowed Sykes to catch and pass him, before getting right up with Watkins.  He had a look down the inside coming into target, the first corner, but Watkins held position and it finished in that order.

At the other end of the field Martin McHugh (North Star) and Hemming (Tojeiro) were enjoying a great dice, with Martin taking the lead on their 8th lap and holding to the finish.

Front Race 2

First sight of the start, once we’d got on the pit wall, was when they came through the back straight, and it was Drake from Morton and de la Roche, but it wasn’t long before Pete was back ahead of Alex with Drake already pulling away at the start of lap 2.

After a first lap spin for Andrew Tart (Bond) this time, it was down to him to play catch up in the battle for 4th.  In the meantime, it was close between Phillips, Fleming and Walker.  At the end of lap 2, Fleming was ahead of Phillips from Walker, all on similar lap times, but Tart was lapping quicker and making up lost ground.  There wasn’t much in it when Tart caught up by lap 9, and Walker was ahead of Phillips on the same lap. As Ian Titchmarsh remarked from the commentary box; ‘Ian is going to feel bonded…’  The Bond progress continued with Walker taking Fleming going up the hill, and Tart also following suit by the end, to finish in 5th.

Everybody clapped everybody from the pit wall, as Phillips made one last push to the line finishing just 0.2 behind Fleming.

Innes unfortunately retired Stanley on lap 6 when the points closed off.

Rear Race 2;

Our final race for the weekend ran through lunch, with Jonathan Fyda unfortunately a non-starter.

Marty was again into the lead at the start, but it was Tom Anstiss who was impressing in only his second ever race meeting, taking a turn in the family Lotus 20/22.  At the end of the first lap he was already right on the tail of David Kent’s Lynx, and ahead the next time round, with a nervous Dad watching from the pit wall. Nervous that is, because he suspected Tom would suggest investing in a new engine.

John Sykes (Merlyn Mk 5/7) had a relaxed start to the race following the Lotus 20/22 of Kim Shearn and John Chisholm (Gemini Mk 3A) for a while, but he must have switched a mental fuel injection switch at the half way mark, as the second part of his race was a different story. He passed the pair of them, and then the battling Class D cars of Drake and Watkins too, to finish a great 4th, at his favourite circuit.

AFJA President Kim Shearn also got past Chisholm, and Watkins, but unfortunately Chisholm retired on lap 5 with a reoccurrence of his brake problems, and Shearn a lap later, another drive shaft gone.

So it was Wilson who had the lead at the end of lap 2 to the flag, while behind Fyda got ahead of Marty too this time, but never managed to pull away.

Trevor Griffiths (Emeryson) had a mostly lonely race, until Richard Ferris (Donford) really got going, working his way up the field, and passing him before the finish. Hans Ciers (Lotus 20) also had a slower start to the race, but sped up to leave Hemming and McHugh to play again, side by side up the hill and changing places.

Sunday prizegiving was around the podium for all, with Annette Freeman joining a jolly group photo.