WATKINS & SMITH CLAIM FIESTA HONOURS IN PEMBREY EASTER ROUNDS

The second meeting of the season for the BRSCC Fiesta Championship racing with MRF Tyres took place for the very first time at Pembrey Circuit in South Wales on Easter Weekend, with beautiful clear and sunny conditions greeting the competitors as they tackled the new Clubmans layout for the very first time.

Samuel Watkins made a return to the paddock after a hefty accident in the opening race at Silverstone put his regular yellow Fiesta ST out of action. As such, a switch to brother Joshua’s red machine was in order for one of two home meetings for the Welshman and he swiftly put it to good use. Pole position in qualifying saw him head the field by at least a quarter of a second, with former Class C champ David Nye back on form with 2nd fastest. Young hotshots James Waite and Isaac Smith were ready to reignite their Fiesta Junior rivalries on the second row, followed by Alastair Kellett and Jamie Going on Row 3 and Ryan Faulconbridge, Jake Dawson, John Cooper and Zachary Lucas behind them.

Race 1 was something of a breeze for Watkins as from pole, he jumped into a lead he keep until the chequered flag and despite the best efforts of Waite in 2nd place, he was unable to keep the gap any lower than 3.2 seconds to eventual winner Watkins by the end of the race. Isaac Smith showed he was loving life on the slick tyres at senior level as he fended off both Alastair Kellett and David Nye in a race long battle to pick up the final podium place in 3rd, keeping both former class and overall champions at bay to see them reside in 4th and 5th respectively. Tom Hutchins was 6th ahead of Going, Faulconbridge, rookie Joel Ryton, and veteran returnee Simon Horrobin.

Sunday morning produced more of the same fortunes for Watkins in Race 2, as he went on to repeat his Saturday success by an even bigger winning margin, capitalising on the squabbles for 2nd place downwards to dominate the race at a canter. By the flag, he was over 6 seconds clear of the rest and had two thirds of the job done with the view of securing a clean sweep. In those battles for 2nd, it was once again the young charger Smith who came out on top to go one better with P2, although he spent most of the race wrestling for it with James Waite as the pair reignited another duel from their FJC days. Waite would indeed take 3rd, while 4th downwards were several seconds back in their own skirmishes. Simon Horrobin put on a much improved display this time to take 4th place with Jamie Going completing the top 5, ahead of Hutchins, Kellett, Dawson, Faulconbridge and Lucas.

However, any thoughts of completing a treble at his home circuit evaporated for Watkins as engine problems forced him out of the race before the cars had even left the pit lane to head to the grid. This left Smith as defacto pole man solo on the front row, and what followed proved just how quick he was. If you thought Watkins’ drive in Race 2 was impressive, that was nothing compared to Isaac’s effort as from the front he simply drove off into the distance and pulled out a winning margin that even dwarfed Samuel’s earlier effort. Revelling on the slick tyres, Smith charged to his second win of the season as he beat the field by an incredible 11 seconds. Jamie Going claimed a podium place with 2nd while Silverstone race winner Lucas ended a tricky weekend with a solid 3rd place. Faulconbridge and Waite came next to complete the top 5, followed home by Horrobin, Dawson, Nye, Kellett and Tim Bennett.

Smith now carries a 30 point advantage heading into the next rounds at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire, while will surely suit some drivers better than other. Whether or not Smith can maintain his advantage in the standings over the likes of Waite, Faulconbridge, Going, Kellett and co remains to be seen!

Scott Woodwiss

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