mike darowen

The weekend of January 28th/29th saw road rally action kick off once again after a brief break over Christmas and the new year. The rally, hosted by Dovey Valley motor club saw seventy-six crews gather in Machynlleth to take on the first round of the welsh road rally championship. The rally would be made up of some 130 miles of lanes made up from OS maps 124, 135 and 136, using the lanes around Machynlleth

                Lampeter and district motor club well represented on the entry list, with the first names on the list being Jordan Summers and Dafydd Evans, seeded at car 7 in a Ford Puma. Llion Williams was navigating in car 9, a Ford Escort mk2, for George Williams. Wayne “Tar” Jones was driving a Peugeot 206 at number 26. Cadog Davies was next at 33, driving his Proton Satria, he would be partnered by Richard “Ty-capel” Williams. Rhodri Lewis and Rhodri Williams were at 62 in a Citroen Saxo, and just behind them at 63 were Huw and Owen Rowcliffe, in a Vauxhall Corsa.

                It was to be a very short night for Wayne “Tar” who broke the Peugeots driveshaft at the on the start line of the first section of the rally. The first section started at Penegoes, and over to Melinbyrhedyn. Immediately crews picked up penalties at the time control in this tricky section. Jordan and Dafydd picked up 1 minute and six seconds. George and Llion had an excellent start to their rally as they picked up only 14 seconds at this time control, placing themselves well inside the top ten in the process. Cadog and Richard were another crew doing well, achieving twenty-six seconds. Huw and Owen Rowcliffe managed 1 minute and nine seconds of the opening section. It was to be a short night for Rhodri Lewis and Rhodri Williams, who also retired, reason unknown.

                Conditions were very slippery all night and many crews reported of having “moments” at the petrol halt in Machynlleth. At the petrol halt George and Llion were lying in fourth overall, having had set excellent times throughout the first half. Cadog and Richard were lying in seventh, having also set some excellent times, two of which were within the top three quickest times, and had been catching cars all through the first half. Huw and Owen Rowcliffe were at forty third, having set some very respectable times, but had picked up a fail, having missed a code board.

                Penal was the first section in the second half, and in many ways the second half was very much similar to the first, full of tricky sections over tight and twisty roads, made slippery with black ice present on many sections. Jordan and Dafydd continued their run of good times and managed to navigat their way through the tricky sections to finish in a very respectable thirteenth overall. Georgoe and Llion also had a good half but dropped down the order slightly, but still managed to finish in tenth overall. Cadog’s great run came to a premature end as he damaged the cars suspension hitting a hidden culvert on the side of the road. Despite doing well in the first half Huw and Owen Rowcliffe also found their way onto the retirement sheet, reason unknown.

                It was a very difficult opening to the season with the retirements sheet being somewhat longer than normal, but everyone agreed it was a great rally and very enjoyable despite the slippery conditions. The next round of the welsh championship is Lampeter’s own event, the Bro Caron which will once again see Lampeter fill with rally fans on the 18th of February.

With many thanks to Joseph John Gilbertson for the use of his image.