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Don't Look Back In Anger

24.06.14 2573 Quality Cwmdu venue and great weather balance out poorer aspects of round two.

Now some time has passed, the second round of the Kent Cams/Simpson Race Exhausts British Autograss Series benefits from reflections in hindsight, and it’s clearer to see that this was a fairly good weekend.
It can't be denied that there were a number of problems that fed off each other and snowballed into larger issues, but we were still treated to a lot of excellent racing spread over all the classes, it’s just a shame the good races punctuated long spells of race stoppages and the meeting became a little disjointed at times.
Whether it was too hot for anyone over the weekend is down to personal preference and whether you're a racer or not – lovely when you’re sitting watching the racing, perhaps not so pleasant when you’re in a hot race car in a thick racesuit – but we have little cause to complain about such a glorious weekend when there have been so many drivers and club officials disheartened over the past few months about being ready to race and host a meeting, only for there to be a last minute cancellation because of poor weather. The Cwmdu venue is particularly conducive to good weather and an attractive place to be; whether people were sitting on top of their campers, in the spacious spectator areas which give an excellent view of the whole track, or on top of the bank behind the start line, it’s a real pleasure to watch Autograss there and has a great atmosphere.
It was clear from the start that the water bowsers would be a necessity, but they probably made more of an appearance than most would have anticipated – dust was a major issue – and created changeable conditions that caused problems for many drivers who didn’t drive sensibly based on the racing surface. There were too many occasions where cars were thrown into the first turn sideways whether the track was wet or dry, irrespective of the other cars who were trying to do the same. Of course this resulted in many accidents which were then too often judged to be a first corner incident, or a racing incident, and all cars were let back in the rerun only for the same thing to happen again. We heard countless drivers reiterating the old point that if a race is stopped due to an incident there should be a culprit and someone should take the blame for it with a black flag. The enormous number of race stoppages resulted in a finish time of gone 20:00 on Saturday; of course this would have been at least half an hour earlier if the PA system in the pits area hadn’t been vandalised, which resulted in a delayed start time. Even so, it’s a long time since we had such a late finish, and it’s unacceptable to have to carry so many races over until Sunday morning, as the racing was curtailed before the ladies second heats. There were little more than a handful of extra entries on top of the first round and the event at Scunthorpe was concluded a few minutes past 16:00 – the finals didn’t start here until 17:15 and finished just over two hours later. The call for the air ambulance forced a hiatus, but even without that, in the new era of high quality events and a less stressful atmosphere borne from smaller entries, the finishing time would have been much too late.
We are present there however because we all share the same interest, and it’s too easy at the time to react to a situation and feed off the feelings of others. Putting aside the issues that afflicted the meeting, the number of reruns did result in a lot of racing for your money at one of the nicest venues in the country, on a track that was a pleasure to race on according to many drivers; and of course no-one can really complain about the kind of beautiful weather we long for when we’re ready to race and it’s cancelled at the last minute.
Despite the lack of fluidity due to the start-stop-rerun nature of the meeting, the finals did produce a decent climax. Though not without incident themselves, the racing was the kind you’d hope for at the top level, with a few surprise winners. The number of entries in classes seven and eight were just over the threshold to run semi-finals, which was an exciting prospect though ultimately a little disappointing for some, as Karl Mosley was only fifth in his semi-final so didn’t make the cut after having taken a trio of heat victories. Mike Mackenzie was a popular victor in the class when the race went full distance; but even more special was Jack Gibbons’s maiden BAS win, which came after a skilfully defensive drive, after having won his semi-final aswell.