andy ystwyth

The 16th of July saw another very popular Targa rally on the calendar, as Aberystwyth motor club held their Ystwyth Targa rally over at the sweet lamb rally complex, a famous venue that has seen many a rally star compete there over the years. Once again Lampeter and district motor club were well represented on the entry list and included last year’s winners, Rhodri Evans and Cadog Davies running at car one, in a Mk2 Ford Escort. Right behind them at 2 were another favourite for outright victory, Andy Davies and Max Freeman, who were hoping for better luck since retiring from the Nicky Grist stages, Andy was hoping to use his loose surface experience on this event, he was partnered by regular Max Freeman, together they were out in Andy’s familiar road rally specification Subaru Impreza IDZ. Down a couple of places and also using a Subaru Impreza was Robert Walters, who was making a return to rallying after a short spell away, accompanied my Michael Gilbey they were given number 7. At 12 were Tim Evans and Dafydd Evans out in Tim’s Proton Satria. George Eadon was once again out navigating for James Davies in James’ Proton Compact, they were intending on battling out with Tim and Dafydd for top Proton honours. They were seeded at 14. Down in 22 were the first of the Peugeot’s with Gareth Hughes driving and Andrew Gaunt navigating, in a 306 model. In 46 was Daniel Williams in a BMW 318, he had James Graham sat with him. In 55 were the next of the Peugeots, this time a 206 model, which had Steffan Daniels driving and Wayne Jones navigating. Another 206 followed in 67 with Huw and Owen Rowcliffe with Huw driving, who were once again hoping for a good result in the novice class, rounding off the entry and club members was Chris Palmer who was navigating in a Vauxhall Nova for Kellie Drewett, they were last up at 75.

                There were three tests meant to be in the first loop over the complex but only two ran. Straight away Andy and Max and Rhodri and Cadog found themselves in a dual for the lead, as they both set excellent times on the first tests, with Andy and Max holding a slim lead (only eleven seconds!). Andy already having plenty of drama though as the handbrake bracket snapped on the first test, which also meant that the car’s front diff was stayed in release, effectively turning the car into a rear wheel drive. Not that it seemed to have too much effect on their times. Tim and Dafydd got off to a good start in the Proton and held on to eighth overall, and second Proton (only four seconds behind) after the first loop, a great start for them. Gareth Hughes and Andrew Gaunt also found themselves in the top 10 after the first loop. Lying in tenth overall being an excellent start to their day. James and George were next Proton in twelfth overall. Daniel Williams and James Graham held thirty-sixth in the BMW. Steffan Daniels and Wayne Jones were in forty-first overall in their Peugeot, Kellie and Chris were in fifty sixth overall in the little nova, and the Rowcliffe pair of Huw and Owen held sixty sixth. It had been a short rally unfortunately it was to be a very short rally for Robert Walters and Michael as they retired with damaged transmission on the Subaru, maybe a fully uprated transmission just isn’t enough with Walters’ hard driving! With one loop of tests done and plenty more still to come anything could happen.

                For the second loop of tests to come the rain that fell during the first tests stopped and the mist cleared improving the driving conditions for all. 3 further tests made up the second loop and at the end of them Rhodri and Cadog had knocked off one second off Andy and Max’s lead, who had used some cable ties and a wheel brace to carry out some repairs to the handbrake bracket, and apparently worked a treat! Tim and Dafydd were going strong in the Proton and were now up to seventh overall having set some excellent times, and were now the leading Proton pair. James and George climbed one place to eleventh in their Proton as they battled with Tim and Dafydd for the award. Daniel and James lay in thirty-third in the BMW. Steffan Daniels and Wayne Jones were in forty-fourth in their Peugeot after the second lot, and Huw and Owen Rowcliffe were in fifty-sixth. Gareth Hughes and Andrew Gaunt unfortunately now found themselves on the retirements list, a great shame as they had been doing very well and were on track for a top result. Kellie and Chris were also out with the Nova’s clutch breaking.

                For the third batch of tests the weather continued to improve, so much that now dust and glare was becoming a problem. Andy and Max used these dry conditions to increase their lead over the next few tests and by the end of the loop the gap between them and Rhodri and Cadog was up to twenty-five seconds. Although Andy and Max didn’t have it all their own way as it was Rhodri and Cadog that set the quickest time on the eighth test, showing that, just maybe, they could hold off Andy and Max and score a second win in a row on this event. Tim and Dafydd still held seventh overall comfortably and best Proton, but exactly one minute behind on time in eleventh were James and George in their Proton, determined to take the Proton crown. Daniel Williams was steadily making his way up the leader board and now held thirtieth overall in the BMW. Steffan Daniels and Wayne Jones were just behind them in thirty-third in the Peugeot. Huw and Owen Rowcliffe were in forty-seventh in their Peugeot.

                2 more final tests were left to finish off the day, and once again it was Andy and Max who were on the top of the time sheets, picking up a well-deserved victory in their Subaru Impreza with a total time of 45 minutes and 34 seconds. An excellent result for them, especially coming from retiring early on the Nicky Grist stages only one week previously. Pushing them all the way and keeping them on their toes were Rhodri Evans and Cadog Davies who managed second overall in their Mk2 ford Escort, with a time of 45 minutes and 59 seconds they managed to keep the gap at twenty-five seconds but unfortunately for them could not close it any further, still, a very good result for them. James and George Eadon were next up as they snuck into the top ten overall in tenth and taking top Proton honours in the process, another excellent result for this pair with a total time of 51 minutes and 3 seconds. Steffan Daniels and Wayne Jones had an excellent end to their day and managed a very respectful twenty-fourth overall with a time of 55 minutes and 52seconds in the Peugeot. Daniel Williams and James managed to sneak a little further into the top thirty with a very good set of times on the last couple of tests so finished in twenty-seventh overall on 55 minutes and 54 seconds. It was a great shame that Tim Evans and Dafydd Evans found themselves on the retirements sheet with electrical problems after having set excellent times that saw them well inside the top ten all day until they retired, in doing so handing over the best Proton trophy to James and George. Huw and Owen Rowcliffe also retired with the exhaust of their Peugeot being damaged one on of the last tests of the day, a great shame as they had been doing well.

                With another successful weekend of rallying for club members, all of which had nothing but praise for the organising team and Aberystwyth motor club for holding an excellent no-nonsense event that will no doubt fill its entry list very quickly next year. Andy was very pleased to have won the event and stated that Max had once again done an excellent job pushing him on all day and had greatly enjoyed the battle with Rhodri and Cadog, and now changes his focus for the remaining rounds of the BTRDA rally championship and intends on competing in Wales Rally GB later this year in and R5 car.

Many thanks must go to Neil Constable for the use of his image.