rowcliffe barcud


The weekend of the 12th and13th of August saw a number of club members head over to Tregaron farmers mart to compete on the popular Barcud rally, an event that this year became a qualifying event for the welsh road rally championship, and was to run a field of ninety cars instead of the usual seventy-five. Made up of some 97 miles on OS maps 135 and 146 giving club memebrs another chance of rallying over home territory. This year the rally had attracted one of the strongest entries seen on the event, with a number of multiple rally winners seeded in the expert class.

Lampeter and district motor club were well represented amongst these, with seed number 1 going to last year’s winners, Sean Crowley and Dorian Evans, this was to be Sean’s first rally since his accident at Epynt a few months back, but it was very good to see him back out at the wheel of a rally car in competition, which was a Mk2 ford escort for this event. Having Dorian in the passenger seat must have put them amongst the favourites to take a second win on this event. Next club member on the entry list was Stefan “DR” Davies who again was accompanied by Michael Gilbey in Stefan’s usual Mk2 ford escort. Stefan has been a runner up on the event before and has for many years been involved in the battle for an outright victory, would 2017 be his year? He and Michael certainly had a chance! They were given number 4. A couple of places behind them at 6 were Daniel “lwni” Jones who once again was out in his Mk2 Ford escort and partnered with regular navigator Gerwyn Barry. Whilst Dan doesn’t perhaps compete as often as some of the others he is always a contender for outright victory in any part of the country he chooses to compete in. Next club member on the entry list was Andy Davies in his regular IDZ impreza, with Lee Taylor back navigating for him Andy was on the hunt for another victory in the lanes after recently winning the eagle up in Newtown, and with a few whites in tight sections it was going to be very hard to match the pace of Andy and IDZ over them. Cadog Davies was back in the navigator’s seat having recently finished an excellent fourth overall on a targa rally up in North Wales and was this time with Gethin “dot” Davies in Gethin’s Vauxhall nova, they were to be car 12. Simon Summers was at 15 in a Mk2 ford escort, he had paired up with Dilwyn John again, after having a couple of good results with each other they were hoping to add to that. Llion Williams was in the navigator’s seat of car 16, a Toyota corolla, driven by Kevin Penclaw Jones. Alan Gaunt was the next club member at 18, he was another to use the ever popular Mk2 ford escort, with Richard “Tyson” Morris navigating for him. Alan has one many rallies over the years and he is always in contention for a strong result. Edryd Evans took 20 in his Honda civic, he had Clive Jones navigating for him. Tim Evans was at 23 in the Proton once again, he had Daniel Llewelyn Jones navigating for him on this event. Tim has been knocking on the door on his first top 10 for some time now, and stood a very good chance of doing it on this event. Dails Ifans was making a return to navigating on road rallies as he teamed up with Nigel Nelson in a Subaru impreza. They were at 34. Richard Hughes was navigating in car 47, a Mk2 ford escort, he was navigating for Tomos Evans.

                Down into the semi expert class and Geraint Wright was driving a Proton Satria which had been hired from Dylan Davies for the night, he had Owen Rose to guide him round the lanes. They were number 57. Daniel Williams was once again taking the BMW out for a run at 60, accompanied by James Graham for this event. Dafydd Morgan was number 63 in a Peugeot 206 GTI, he had Kieran Price navigating for him. At 65 was Dafydd Evans who was using a Nissan Micra for this rally, Dafydd has had a lot of success as a navigator over the past few years and was out hoping to transfer the experience he has over into the driver’s seat. He had Sion Williams navigating for him. The Rowcliffe farther and son team were up next in their Peugeot 206, with Huw doing the driving and Owen taking care of navigating duties. Anwen Davies and Owen McConochie were next in their Proton Satria hoping for a good result amongst the novices in 83.

                Once regular formalities of signing on and scrutineering done it was off to Pontrhydfendigaid for a test where a spectator point was located as was a burger van for anyone wanting a late-night snack or two. The action came thick and fast as crew after crew lined up ready to take on the test at the Mid Wales activity centre. Daniel “lwni” Jones and Gerwyn Barry were best from club representatives, and in fact quickest overall over the test with a time of 7 minutes and 28 seconds. This was five seconds quicker than the next competitor, which happened to be Andy Davies with Lee Taylor. Andy unfortunately had been caught up in traffic on the test having caught the cars in front so his already impressive time of 7 minutes and 33 seconds could have been even quicker. Next up was Stefan “DR” with Michael Gilbey with a time of 8 minutes and 1 seconds, which was seventh quickest. It was the Nova crew of Gethin and Cadog Davies next, with a time 8 minutes and 3 seconds, and were another crew to be caught in a little traffic on the test. Their time still saw them in an excellent tenth overall. Kevin and Llion Williams were next with a time of 8 minutes and 15 seconds which saw them lay in thirteenth overall. Tim Evans and Daniel were next in the Proton on 8 minutes and 23 seconds which saw them in fifteenth overall. Alan Gaunt followed on 8 minutes and 26 seconds which meant they were seventeenth. Sean Crowley and Dorian Evans were in twenty-first with a time of 8 minutes and 29 seconds. And right behind them in twenty second were Edryd Evans and Clive Jones with 8 minutes and 32. Tomos with Richard Hughes were next on 8 minutes and 51 so they were in twenty-ninth. Nigel and Dalis Ifans were only a second slower on 8 minutes and 52 so lay in thirty-first. Daniel Williams was next with his navigator James in the BMW with a time of 8 minutes and 55 which saw them lie in thirty-fourth and was also second in the semi expert class. 2 seconds down on them with a time of 8 minutes and 57 and holding third in the semi expert class was Dafydd Evans and Sion Williams in thirty-fifth in the mighty micra! Next were the Rowcliffe pair with a great time of 9 minutes and 7 seconds which saw them take the lead in the novice class, a sign of things to come for this promising pair. Geraint Wright and Owen Rose were next in the Proton with 9 minutes and 23 seconds. Anwen Haf Davies and Owen McConochie were next up in their Proton with 10 minutes and 9 seconds. This saw them in eighty-seconds place. Simon Summers had unfortunately gone off on this test so was an early retirement.

                With the test done it was far from over as crews headed off to plot the route for the up and coming road section of the rally, and with such fine margins between everyone from the test nothing had been decided and everything was still to play for.

                The first half of the rally was to take place mostly on map 135, with 146 being used later on. With the route plotted crews headed over to Llethr, just north east of Pontrhydfendigaid, where the route turned right into the track, this was to be the first tight section of the night where penalties were to be picked up. Sean and Dorian began to find their rhythm here and picked up 43 seconds of Penalties. Stefan “DR” and Michael were another pair to find their rythym very quickly as they manged an excellent 34 seconds here, putting them in the battle for outright victory. Gethin and Cadog pushed the little nova down the white hard and were rewarded with a time of 49 seconds here. Many other crews picked up over a minute here on what is a very tricky section. Down in the semi expert class Geraint and Owen had 1 minute and 36 seconds, Daniel and James were on 1 minute and 44 and Dafydd and Sean began to push the little micra and achieved 1 minute and 38 seconds. In the novice class Huw and Owen Rowcliffe began to pull out a lead in the class having already set a very good time on the test earlier on and then went on to achieve a time of 1 minute and 31 seconds. Anwen and Owen managed a very respectful 2 minutes and 1 seconds.

                There then followed a short neutral section over to mines at Trisant where another tight section followed over this twisty section of lanes. Andy and Lee manged the best time around here, but unfortunately their rally was to come to a premature end as not too long after the car stalled whilst negotiating a triangle and refused to restart for a couple of minutes with the started motor being too hot to fire the engine, so Andy decided to call it a night and to save the car for another time, a great shame as he was fighting for the win up until then. Another one of the favourites for a potential outright victory that were unfortunately on the retirements sheet was Daniel “lwni” Jones with his navigator Gerwyn Barry, another great shame especially with the time Dan had managed to set up in Bont they were a pair that could have also taken victory. Elsewhere Sean and Dorian manged an excellent time of only 12 seconds over this section. Stef and Michael had 59, Gethin and Cadog were only 1 second slower on 1 minute and Alan Gaunt and Richard Morris has 1 minute 15. Tomos Evans and Richard Hughes had 1 minute and 25 seconds, with it only being Tomos’ third ever event they were taking things a little steady to insure a finish. Geriant and Owen had 1 minute 40 here and Daniel and James manged an excellent 1 minute 16 seconds. Dafydd and Sion achieved 1 minute 30. Down into the novice class Huw and Owen were on 2 minutes and 15 seconds, and Anwen and Owen found their form and achieved 2 minutes and 6 seconds.

                There followed a more relaxed section began near trawsgoed, before the next tight section which was TC7S, at Trefaes white. Sean and Dorian had some issues with the cars brakes so their time was 5 minutes and 23 seconds here, putting them out of the running for victory somewhat but Sean and Dorian have plenty of experience and would no doubt push hard to recover some of that time back, for now at least it was definitely a case of down but not out. Stefan “DR” and Michael continued to set excellent times and had 20 seconds here. Gethin and Cadog managed to stay under the minute with 57 seconds. Kevin and LLion were a crew doing very well as they managed 39 seconds here, Edryd and Clive were another managing under a minute as they were only one seconds further down on an excellent 40 seconds. Nigel and Dails were on 1 minute and 5 seconds in their impreza here at TC7. In the semi expert class Geriant and Owen achieved 2 minutes and 9 seconds in the Proton, and Daniel in his BMW was going great and had an excellent 42 seconds. Dafydd and Sion in the micra had 1 minute 21 seconds. In the novice class, everyone was trying just as hard and the Rowcliffe pair manged 1 minute and 58 seconds. Anwen and Owen were still going strong and achieved 1 minute and 55 seconds.

                There followed a couple of more tight sections near Llanddeiniol and Trefenter before heading down onto map 146 at Penuwch and Bethania, all classic lanes that give an enjoyable challenge to all ages and levels of experience. Steffan and Michael continued their battle for the lead, setting some great times along these sections, as did the crew in car 1, Sean and Dorian who began the journey back up the leader board after the problems they encountered earlier. Also going well were Kevin and LLion in their Toyota who found an excellent pace and set impressive times, as did all of the other club members. Down in the semis expert and novice classes Dafydd and Sion were beginning to really shine in the micra as was the Peugeot occupied by the Rowcliffe brothers.

                Unfortunately, the retirements lists grew a little more as Gethin and Cadog joined the DNF (did not finish) club as they had a slight off with the nova ending up in a hedge, putting them into retirement. Tim Evans and Daniel Llewelyn Jones also retired in their Proton. Daniel Williams and James Graham also retired, a shame as they were setting good times and no doubt had the potential for picking up an award.

                Blaenpennal and Bontnewydd is where the rally then headed, before the final tight section, TC18, at Bronant was left to tackle just before the fuel halt. Here it was Stefan “DR” Davies and Michael Gilbey that did best from club members, achieving 21 seconds at this control, another excellent time from them. Also doing very well were Kevin and LLion with 35 seconds, as were Alan Gaunt and Richard “Tyson” Morris on 32 seconds. Dafydd and Sion had an excellent time here carrying out some giant slaying in the micra with 27 seconds, excellent going with them. Huw and Owen Rowcliffe continued their fine run and had 2 minutes and 9 seconds, Anwen and Owen set a very impressive time of 59 seconds in their Proton.

From here it was off to Staggs head for the refuel halt. As things stood it was Stefan “DR” Davies and Gilbey who were best amongst club members, laying in fourth overall with 13 minutes and 58 seconds. Next was Kevin and LLion Williams in the Toyota who held sixth overall after setting some great times. They had 14 minutes and 54 seconds. Nigel Nelson and Dalis Ifans were in eleventh with 16 minutes and 6 seconds in their Subaru impreza. Right behind them in twelfth were Edryd Evans and Clive Jones in the Honda Civic, with 16 minutes and 15 seconds. Alan Gaunt and Richard were next in their Mk2 ford escort with 16 minutes and 32 seconds which saw them lay in fourteenth overall. In twenty first and holding first in semi expert class were Dafydd Evans and Sion Williams after setting excellent times, they had 18 minutes and 42 seconds of penalties. In twenty-eighth were Sean Crowley and Dorian Evans with 19 minutes and 46 seconds. Huw and Owen Rowcliffe were next holding thirty-third and first in the novice class in their Peugeot 206 after setting some great times, their penalty count was 21 minutes and 21 seconds. Tomos Evans and Richard Hughes were next in their Mk2 ford escort with 21 minutes and 41 seconds, which saw them in thirty-fifth overall. Anwen Davies and Owen McConochie held fiftieth with 29 minutes and 20 seconds. Geriant Wright and Owen Rose were in sixtieth having picked up a couple of fails, their penalty count was 22 minutes and 7 seconds.

With everyone refuelled it was back out into the lanes for the second half of competition, where a mist had now fallen over the lanes to add to the challenge. The route of the rally now went Llangeitho before going through Bwlch-Llan. From here crews headed out to the B4337 at the junction half way between Trychrug and Talsarn. The route went right out of this give way before turning off left before heading back down towards Talsarn, approaching on the Cilcennin road. From here it was over to the very well-known Trefilan ford and on to Abermeruig.

This is well known territory for many of club’s members so the times set by club members were impressive as ever, in fact many of the expert class crews managed to go through the whole second half of the rally without picking up any penalties, Stefan “DR” Davies and Michael Gilbey in their escort so a top result was on the cards for them.

From here the route then went over to Rhiwonnen farm before turning right to Creuddyn bridge. Time control 23, 24, 25 and 27 were tight enough for most crews to pick up penalties, with most cars outside of the top 10 picking up penalties at them. Kevin and LLion having 6 seconds at time control 23 and 21 seconds and time control 27. Alan Gaunt received 1 minute and 37 seconds at time control 23 and 1 minute at time control 24 (a section which was timed to the minute). Tomos Evans and Richard Hughes picked up the pace and their times improved as Tomos became more familiar and comfortable with the car so they climbed up the leader board over those sections. Dafydd Evans and Sion Williams really made a push on territory close to home, picking up only 3 seconds at time control 23, and 30 seconds at time control 25. Huw and Owen Rowcliffe continued to set excellent times and had only 8 seconds at time control 23 and 14 seconds at time control 25. Clearly the mist hadn’t affected the competitiveness of the crews, especially on the lanes on home territory.

The final few sections of the rally began just outside of Silian where competitors headed over to the infamous Silian harpin, though used in the opposite direction as it was on the Bro Caron rally so it is a give way junction, turn right. Although it was used in a different direction it does not make this corner any easier with it being such a tight turn. From here it was over to Betws Bledrws and then Llangybi before heading over towards Llwynygroes. After that competitors headed over to Capel Betws Lleucu before heading back towards Tregaron where the finish was.

At the end of a hard but enjoyable nights sport results were made final and best club member was Stefan “DR” Davies who with navigator Michael Gilbey managed an excellent third overall in their Mk2 ford escort with 13 minutes and 58 seconds of penalties gained, an excellent result for them having pushed hard all night and set excellent times over the course of the rally. Llion Williams with his driver Kevin Penclaw Jones were next as they finished in a very respectful fifth overall with 15 minutes and 21 seconds of penalties gained, and were in fact the first non-ford escort on the results sheet. It was the mighty Nissan micra of Dafydd Evans and Sion Williams next as they managed a fantastic eleventh overall and first in the semi expert class with 19 minutes and 19 seconds of penalties, a possible third time lucky for Dafydd who finally got the result that he was capable of at the driver’s seat of the car. Dafydd is now a converted Nissan Micra man swears they are the way forward. Alan Gaunt and Richard “Tyson” Morris achieved a very respectful thirteenth overall in their Mk2 ford escort with 19 minutes and 39 seconds of penalties. Huw and Owen Rowcliffe were next in an excellent nineteenth overall after setting some great times in the Peugeot, taking the novice class win in the process, the first good result of many no doubt for the farther and son team. Their penalty count was 23 minutes and 43 seconds. In twenty second overall was Tomos Evans and Richard Hughes who climbed well from their half way position in the tricky conditions. They had 24 minutes and 50 seconds of penalties. Anwen Davies and Owen McConochie came in a very respectful thirty-ninth with 39 minutes and 21 seconds of penalties. Geraint Wright and Owen Rose managed forty-ninth overall in the proton having picked up a few fails.

Sean Crowley and Dorian Evans sadly featured on the retirements list with braking problems, an unfortunate end for their efforts. Edryd Evans and Clive Jones also retired. Nigel Nelson and Dalis Ifans had the radiator hose split on their Impreza so also featured on the retirements sheet.

It had been a very enjoyable event for everyone who managed to get around to the finish car park come the morning, everyone felt that the event had earned its slot in the welsh road rally championship with an event that was well organised and everyone left looking forward to having another crack at it next year.

Many thanks must go to Joseph John Gilbertson for once again giving permission to use one of his images.