The Forest of Dean Motor Club.
Club Members Out and About.
Jason Morgan with Jack Walby alongside for the first time produced a stunning drive to 10th overall & 2nd in class in the Winner Garage Lancer Evo 6 on last weekends Woodpecker Stages.
Round seven of the REIS/Get-Connected.com BTRDA series saw a 130 crews arrive at the picturesque Ludlow racecourse for this very popular event, with just 5 stages making up the 44 competitive miles, which included two 12 mile tests in the fabulously fast Radnor forest.
For Morgan and Walby the day couldn't have gone much better, as the duo gelled with every mile, and apart from a couple of half spins, the two youngsters produced a superb result, in what is only Morgan's fourth event in the 300 bhp Lancer, previously owned by his father Bob years ago.
"Over the moon, top ten on a BTRDA event, had a real good day, stages were excellent, and Jack was superb on the notes, really looking forward to the next event now."Said a delighted Morgan
Just behind in 14th overall & 4th in class,was Jason,s dad Bob with Ade Williams alongside debuting a brand new Skoda Fabia VR5, the car designed and built by Bob, with a lot of mitsubishi running gear, and apart from a few niggling problems had a very promising debut in the new car.
"We have a few small things to sort out but the car is good, and has attracted a lot of attention today."Said Williams
Ross on Wye duo Roger Matthews and Paul Morris took 25th overall and 5th historic home and with another set of maximum Welsh historic points in the RJ Matthews Transport Escort RS1600, competition in the historic section was very strong,Matthews started well holding a strong fourth historic after the opening three tests, swapping times with the RS1800 of Simon Tysoe, Terry Brown,and the RS1600 of BTRDA historic championship leader Pete Smith, with these four all very close no quarter was asked or given with the battle looking as it was going down to the wire, but on the last stage in Haye Park, Matthews landed heavy over a big jump, not realising at the time he had broken the rear differential, with first thoughts he had a puncture, but as the noise worsened sensed it was the diff and then had to nurse the car the final four miles to the end, dropping a lot of time.
"It was touch and go if we get to the end, I had it in my head the jump was worse the other way,but I was wrong, we landed hard on one rear wheel and had a bit of a moment sorting it out, but we got maximum welsh historic points, so I am pleased with that."Said Matthews.
Colin Webb and Matt Rogers in the Forest of Dean Tyres backed BMW 325 had another good day at the office with a fine 30th overall and 1st in class, an overshoot in the first Radnor test, was caused by a bit of rear brake fade was there only serious problem, although trying to stop the heavy BMW on the ultra fast stages, saw them use eight rear tyres, the result also saw the crew wrap up class B12, in both Welsh National and Clubman championships.
Kevin Pugh and Karen Phelps finished 58th and 8th in class in their 2 litre Astra
Bart Lang with Simon Cox picked up more Millers Oils class points taking 85th overall,3rd in class in there little Nissan Micra.
Those not fortunate to see the finish included Simon Tysoe and Cliff Simmons in the historic spec Escort RS1800, they were embroiled in a great battle with the Escorts of Terry Brown, Roger Matthews and Pete Smith, but in the final stage with less than two miles to go, the ignition pack failed and they were out leaving a very disappointed crew to explain the days events.
"We just moved up to fourth historic going into the last stage, and were going to try and catch Terry(Brown) for third, and as we came into this hairpin she just died on us, totally gutted, as we had a great day up to then, but that's rallying I suppose."Said Cliff
There was not such good news for Rob Weir and Ben Giles in WLE Escort RS1800, when a big high speed accident in Radnor put both crew members in hospital, thankfully without serious injury, and everyone wishes them both a full and speedy recovery.
Dan Evans with Tom Marrott had a somewhat short lived event when gearbox selection problems halfway through the opening test eventually led to there retirement at the end of the stage, but still set 5th fastest 1400 time in the 1400 Nova, despite having just second gear for over two miles.
Ross Leach and Rebecca Goatman retired there Peugeot 205 in stage 4.
The overall event was won by Forest of Dean motor club members Conor McCloskey and Francis Regan in there Subaru S9 WRC by just two seconds from the Ford Focus WRC O8 of Steve Petch/Ian Windress with an older Focus WRC of Scots duo Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton just six seconds in arrears, in fact Petch had led all day going into the last nine mile test four seconds up on McCloskey, with Thorburn breathing down there necks.
Neath Valley Stages
Nigel Jenkins and Karen Watts took the top local honours on last weekends Braces Bakery/Gerry Jones Transport Neath Valley Stages, with a fine 15th overall, 1st in class in the NJ Autos/Gibson's backed 16V 1400 Nova.
Three Counties Car Club organised event offered five stages totalling some forty three competitive miles in the classic Rheola and Margam forests, for the ninety entrants.
The event was split into two categories with an historic event running ahead of a modern one.
The historic rally was the latest round of the WWRS RAC historic series, and attracted a top quality entry with the likes of the highly talented Irishman Martyn McCormack RS1800, plus Nick Elliott, Jason Pritchard, Matt Edwards in similar cars, with another Irish interloper Owen Murphy driving the ex Russell Brookes Lotus Sunbeam and Steve Perez in a Datsun 260Z.
Top local crew honours in the historic event went to Simon Pickering with Colin Jenkins on the notes in their Dave Jenkins motorsport run Escort RS1600, the duo had a fairly trouble free run to 21st overall/5th in class, despite two spins on the opening eleven mile Rheola test costing a few seconds,
Not far behind them were fellow locals, Rob Weir and Ben Giles in the Weir Laundry Equipment/RSR Escort RS1800 finishing 26th overall and 13th in class, they dropped a lot of time when they hit a rock on the opening test which squashed the exhaust virtually flat, this led to a distinct lack of power for the first three stages, until the system was changed at service.
"We suffered badly from the exhaust, I had a job to pull away from stage starts and under low revs very difficult to get moving, it cost us fair bit of time".said Rob
The open event saw Jenkins/Watts have a trouble free run to take a clear class win, and a top 15 finish, putting behind them the disappointment of two recent retirements.
Some of the other local crews weren't so fortunate Rory Hall and Will Rogers in the RP Joinery Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 had a short lived event when the rear differential blew just a mile in to the opening test, Will's brother Matt didn't fair much better, when together with Alun Roberts in his Peugeot 206, they retired on stage two with electrical problems.
Jason Morgan with Ross Weir alongside for the first time, was looking to continue his recent good run in the Winner Rally Team Lancer Evo 6, but retired on stage two, with Ross being very unwell.
Shawn Baldwin and Jack Walby in the Autofix of Coleford Escort RS, had a very frustrating event, with a slipping clutch right from the off, they managed to get through the first two tests, only for the engine to let go a mile into stage three, and they were out.
The historic event was won by Martyn McCormack by just 0.7 of a second from Nick Elliott after a titanic battle with Jason Pritchard 3rd all RS1800 mounted.
In the modern event West Walian youngster Dylan Davies scored his second consecutive Neath Valley stages victory in a Mitsubishi Lancer, with a comfortable twenty nine second victory over the Subaru Impreza WRC of John Lloyd, who just pipped another Impreza of Wug Utting.
The event was very well received by competitors,for its slick organisation and excellent stages, and was well worthy of its inclusion in a national championship.
Nicky Grist Stages. 2013
Last weekends Nicky Grist Stages took its toll on crews,in dust and temperatures more akin to the Acropolis rally in Greece. The Builth Wells based event was latest rounds of REIS/GetConnected BTRDA, Millers Oils 1400, Pirelli Welsh and Dennis Motorsport Welsh historic championships.
The 120 assembled crews had to battle hot and dusty conditions over seven classic stages totalling some 45 competitive miles. Simon Tysoe and Cliff Simmons Escort RS1800, came away with top local honours finishing 24th overall, 3rd in class H3, the duo had a trouble free run, apart from bending the rear axle on stage 5, and high tyre wear.
Hot on their heels were Colin Webb with Matt Rogers on the notes, taking 27th overall, 1st in B12 class, in the Forest of Dean Tyres backed BMW 325,they suffered from a very down on power engine due to the heat,some swift fabrication on the bonnet to allow more air in at service helped the problem, but it didn't stop them from taking the class victory by nearly two minutes.
Just one place behind them was Darren Pinchen/Karen Watts in the Forest Trading Post, 1400 Proton Satria, they suffered badly with the stifling dust, although Pinchin did admit to being very rusty, but an improved run in the afternoon saw them take 28th overall,3rd 1400 car home.
Ross duo Roger Matthews/Paul Morris had a trouble free run to 30th overall 4th in class H3 in the RJ Matthews Transport Escort RS1600, and more Welsh historic points, putting behind them there recent non finish on the Severn Valley stages
Shawn Baldwin with Jack Walby alongside in the Autofix of Coleford Escort RS, two spins on the opening loop dropped a few seconds, a gearbox oil leak caused a few worrying moments, they ripped the exhaust off in stage 5 but survived to take 42nd overall, 4th in class B11, this with Walby feeling unwell most of the day with a heavy cold.
Colin Jenkins teamed up with Simon Pickering in the Dave Jenkins Motorsport run Escort RS1600, two spins in the first Crychan stage dropped a few seconds, a puncture on stage 6 ripped the brakes pipes off, but quick work in management service cured the problem and allowed the duo to finish 53rd overall,6th in class, on only Jenkins second event in the co-drivers seat.
Jason Gardner had the experienced Graham Cox in the "hot seat", after a good stage time on the opening test, a lead came off the fuel pump relay on the next test and nearly eight minutes were lost fixing the problem, a big spin followed on the following stage dropping a few more seconds,leaving the crew languishing 93rd overall at service. But a spirited run in the afternoon saw the Brecon View Plumbing backed Escort RS climb the leaderboard to finish 74th overall, 7th in class, after a day of mixed fortunes.
Those who didn't make the finish were Rob Smith/Ross Weir who were lying 8th after stage two,but had a huge accident on the next test in Halfway, leaving the road at high speed hitting a tree and dropping about 80 feet down in the trees leaving the WLE Impreza totally destroyed.
"It was a big accident,but both Rob and myself were fine, testiment to a well prepared car, we have to say a big thankyou to the rescue and recovery crews who looked after us so well, but that's probably finished our BTRDA season now".said Ross
Tony Williams/Karen Phelps put the Escort RS off in the opening test, losing 3 minutes, then did the job properly on the final stage landing in a stream and retirement.
Dan Evans/Tom Marrott retired end of stage two, with engine problems.
Nigel Jenkins/Chris Ridge didn't get no further than the opening test when electrical gremlins stopped the NJ Auto Repairs Nova
Ross pairing Rhys Price/Mike Jode retired there 1.4 Nissan Micra in stage three with a broken front strut after hitting a gate post.
Bart Lang/Simon Cox went no further than stage two a broken stub axle stopping the Micra