plains owen micra

Owen McConochie and Rhodri Williams power on in the mighty Micra

Saturday the 13th of May saw Knutsford and district motor club hold their fifty-first running of the Plains rally, a rally which made up the third round of the Pirelli MSA welsh forestry rally championship as well as the fourth round of the BTRDA forestry rally championship, and would see plenty of club members on the entry list. First of which was Dylan Davies and Llion Williams, who were seeded at fourteen in their regular Subaru Impreza B13 class car, and were hoping to score a good number of points for their welsh forestry championship bid, as they entered lay in second overall coming in to the rally. Right behind at fifteen were Andy Davies and Max Freeman in their group N Subaru Impreza, who as they entered this round were leading Group N class (for lightly modified cars) in the welsh forestry championship. At thirty-four and making a comeback to navigating on stage rallies after a short absence was Eryl Evans who was navigating in a Subaru Impreza B13 for Keith Parry. Rounding off club members down in one-hundred and eighteen were Owen McConochie and Rhodri Williams in a Nissan Micra, they were competing in the BTRDA rally first 1.4 class, a class made up for virtually standard cars with engines smaller than 1400ccs.

The rally began from Welshpool and would include eight stages in Gartheiniog and Dyfi forest, with Gartheiniog being the first stage of the day, with a length of 8.76 miles. Unfortunately, it was to be a very short rally for Dylan and Llion as the clutch failed on the Impreza at the arrival of the first stage, forcing them into retirement, a great shame as they were in an ideal opportunity to improve on their welsh championship standings as the current championship leaders Osian Price and Dale Furniss had not entered.

For the remaining club members of the club it was into the forests to get the day’s stages under way, and all club members did very well right from the word go. Andy and Max opened their day with a time of 9 minutes and thirty-four seconds. Keith and Eryl began their day with a time of 9 minutes and fifty-seven seconds. Owen and Rhodri managed 12 minutes and one second.

The second stage of the day was Cwemcelli, which was to be the shortest stage of the day at just over 3 miles (3.02), Andy and Max managed to set sixth fastest time on this short stage with a time of 3 minutes and thirteen seconds, a great time for a car that is close to standard specifications in amongst a very strong entry. Keith and Eryl also did well on this stage, setting times of 3 minutes and thirty-one seconds. Owen and Rhodri were given a time of 3 minutes and forty-six seconds along with most of the field as there was a delay with a car losing a wheel and blocking the stage. So, it was on to the next stage to continue the rally, which was Dyfi East 1. This stage was a little longer than the last, at 4.16 miles, and once again club members did very well on it. Andy and Max managed a time of 4 minutes and nine seconds over it, with Keith and Eryl managing 4 minutes and twenty-two seconds. Owen and Rhodri were still going well in the little Micra and managed 4 minutes and fifty-six seconds.

It was to the other side of the forest for the next stage, being Dyfi west 1, longer again than the previous stage with a distance of 6.12 miles. Once again it was Andy that was quickest of club members, who had a time of 6 minutes and forty-six seconds. Keith and Eryl managed 7 minutes and seven seconds, and Owen and Rhodri managed 7 minutes and fifty-two seconds, it is worth remembering that they were competing in a virtually standard 1.4 Nissan Micra compared with the four-wheel drive Subaru Impreza’s times that are listed.

The stages where then repeated and all club members managed to pass through with little drama, and at the end of the day’s eight stages Andy and Max managed an excellent thirteenth overall and second in group N, a great achievement given the very high standard of entry and the pace on the day. Keith and Eryl achieved a very respectful twenty-fourth overall and fourth in class in their B13 Subaru Impreza. Owen and Rhodri managed a very credible eighty-third and seventh in seventh in Rally-first 1.4 class, a great result for the relative newcomers.

With the result, Andy and Max had on the Plains they now lie second overall in the welsh forestry championship and first in group N. Dylan lies in eighth and LLion lies in ninth overall. The next round of the welsh forestry rally championship will be the Severn Valley stages which takes place on the 3rd of June.

Thanks must go to Joseph John Gilbertson for the use of his image.