The Welsh Island of Anglesey provided the setting for the first two rounds of the 2023 Speed championship. The circuit at Ty-Croes is an ex-military base on the coast with Stunning views of the Welsh Mountains and the Irish Sea.
Saturday began with cold temperatures and bright sunny spells punctuated by occasional periods of mist and fog that rolled across the circuit and reminded everyone in the paddock that they were very close to the ocean.
The Saturday event was run over approximately 2 laps of the National Circuit, one of three layouts Ty-Croes offers. Cold temperatures meant that initial timed practice runs were a little tentative as drivers looked for grip levels and got into the swing of things.
In P4 we welcomed the father and son team of Ian and Simon Cristol who quickly got up to speed in their standard road going Boxster S. Martin Leach in his 911E was quickest just a few tenths ahead of Stephen Jory and his 944.
In P3 Geraint Evans in his 911 Carrera 3.0 just pipped Andy Fagan and the Boxster S by a couple of tenths and in P2 Nick Wadsworth was quicker than son Ian in their shared 911 SC/RS. In P1 there was just the one car with other drivers absent but Karl Lupton knuckled down and drove the powerful supercharged 944 to the fastest Porsche practice time.
The ever-changing conditions of sun, then misty colder periods with an added sea breeze made things a challenge for all the drivers, but they lined up ready to adapt to whatever the track would throw at them on their three scoring timed runs.
In P4 the Cristol’s both made significant improvements and ended up just a few seconds apart from each other with Simon pipping Ian. The class win was taken by Martin Leach in 128.18 seconds, a couple of tenths quicker than Stephen Jory after a close battle across the three timed runs.
In P3, the largest class on the day, Geraint Evans ended quickest by just over a second from Andy Fagan. Both drivers put in great times and Andy was actually quicker than Geraint on his third timed run, but it was Geraint’s initial timed run of 123.56 seconds which took the win. Graham Rose ended the day in third place in his recently rebuilt supercharged 924s.
The Wadsworth’s were sharing a car on slicks, not easy given the cold temperatures but they nonetheless managed consistent times across the three runs available. Nick took the P2 win with a time of 126.89 seconds.
Sole P1 entrant Karl Lupton drove his car to a time of 123.95 seconds, the big supercharged 944 roaring down the long straight and giving an early indication of its speed potential for the second day of competition when the drivers would be using the international circuit layout.
After an evening of good food and plenty of banter in the circuit café the drivers arose to a similar set of conditions to the Saturday event with sunny periods and cold temperatures and the odd bit of fog. The track was damp in patches after overnight rain but the key difference was that the circuit being used was now the full international circuit with longer straights and some tricky corners thrown in for good measure!
Given the change in circuit the organisers decided 2 practice runs were needed. In P4 the Cristols, Ian and Simon, ended practice just a couple of seconds apart putting in increasingly quick times on road tyres in a fully road legal car. Stephen Jory in the 944 was just 18 hundredths of a second ahead of Martin Leach and the 911E at the end of the second practice run.
In P3 the close battle between the 911 of Geraint Evans and the Boxster of Andy Fagan carried on where it left off from the Saturday event with Andy ending practice approx. 3 tenths of a second ahead of Geraint. Wayne Eason in his Boxster seemed to have benefited from suspension adjustments made after the Saturday and was third a couple of seconds in front of Graham Rose who made solid improvements across the practice session knocking off nearly 10 seconds from his earlier time.
As expected, the change in circuit layout did give Karl Lupton the chance to open the taps on his supercharged 944 and he ended practice the quickest Porsche in a time of 98.31 seconds.
It was very noticeable how much quicker the Porsches were in all the classes after practice. Over three scoring runs times fell by around ten seconds across the classes with committed driving assisted by a rapidly drying track.
It never fails to amaze me how very close times can be after different drivers tackle the same lap with its numerous corners, braking and acceleration zones. And so it was In P4 with Simon and Ian Cristol. They both drove the standard Boxster S to much improved times and Simon took the win over Ian by just 0.01 seconds! Also in P4 and after a trio of very close times Martin Leach in his 911E grabbed the class win in a time of 102.70 seconds with Stephen Jory second in his 944 in 103.50 seconds.
P3 was always going to be a closely fought contest. Graham Rose was third fastest having got to grips with his rebuilt car and ended the day just ahead of Wayne Eason and his Boxster. Wayne’s third timed run was rather spoiled by a spin as he tried hard at the second corner but he gathered it all up and carried on in fine style!
The battle between Geraint Evans and Andy Fagan was close throughout the three timed runs. Geraint took the win with his final run time of 100.75 seconds, just a little quicker than Andy who managed a time of 100.83 seconds.
In P2, and the other father and son contest between Ian and Nick Wadsworth, Ian was quicker on the first scoring run but Nick came back to take the class win on his third run with a time of 103.71 seconds.
In P1 Karl Lupton in the supercharged 944 nibbled away at his times ending the day in a very quick 98.31 seconds and giving a clear indication what other P1 runners can expect to face in later rounds!
So, we had two days of close competition, tricky weather and track conditions, great scenery and good company as always. A very positive start to what we are sure will be a great 2023 championship.