reian cad autuman


             The weekend of the 23rd/24th of September saw Carmarthen motor club hold their rally, the Autumn, down in Carmarthen mart. It is a rally with a reputation for being a tough but enjoyable challenge, and so came of no surprise that the entry list filled quickly once regulations were made available, with many club members throwing their names into the mix. The rally was made up of some 100 miles on OS maps 146 and 159, giving club members another chance to compete in an area not too far away from home soil. The rally made up the tenth round of the welsh road rally championship which also helped pull in a strong entry.

             First club member down on the entry list was the previous year’s winning navigator, Cadog Davies, who had teamed up once again with Reian Jones, they were to take the number 1 spot in Reian’s Seat Ibiza. Next up was car 6, which went to Andy Davies with Lee Taylor in the navigators’ seat, once again Andy at the wheel of his Subaru Impreza. Next club members were two places down at 8, and that was Steffan “DR” Davies, who had Justin Davies navigating for him, this pair won the Bro Caron rally together in 2015 so have had some success together and were hoping to repeat that on this event. Wayne “tar” Jones was up next in his Peugeot 206, he had fellow club member Rhys Jones navigating for him. Right behind him was Simon Summers in his Mk2 Ford Escort, who was once again partnered by Dilwyn John. They were hoping for a better night than what they had on the Barcud. Down a few places to car 22, where Richard Hughes was navigating for Tomos Evans, they were another crew out in a Mk2 Ford Escort. Alun Welsby was next up at 25 in a Peugeot 206 GTI, he had Mark Rodway navigating for him. Another Peugeot 206 followed at 31, this one being crewed by Jonathon Davies and Andrew Gaunt who would be taking care of navigating duties.

                Down into the semi expert class saw one club member which was Owen Davies who was navigating in car 67, an MG ZR, for Daniel James. In the novice class number 69 went to Rob Fox in a BMW 316i, he had James Graham navigating for him. In 71 it was the father and son pair of Huw and Owen Rowcliffe who have recently been setting some great times and getting very good results in their Peugeot 206 GTI, they were hoping to continue their success on this event.

                With signing on and scrutineering duties taken care of it was into the lanes for the nights action to be in, and crews didn’t have to travel too far for the action to really kick off, with the first competitive section beginning just outside of Abergwili. From here competitors’ past through Llangfihangel-uwch-gwili and Pant Teg. With the fist technical section coming into time control 6 just afterwards, although some did pick up penalties at time control 4. At time control 6 it was Stefan “DR” who set the pace, him and navigator Justin setting a fantastic time with only 10 seconds of penalties gained. Andy and Lee were another crew doing very well right from the word go as they picked up 25 seconds at this control. Reian and Cadog began their rally with a time of 42 seconds here, a good time considering it has been some timed since they last competed together. Wayne “Tar” and Rhys managed a respectful 53 seconds. Sole representative in semi expert class Daniel and Hefin Jones managed 1 minute and 8 seconds, although they had also picked up some penalties and time controls 3 and 4, as did many other lower seeds. In novice class Rob Fox and James managed 2 minutes and 28 seconds here, and Huw and Owen Rowcliffe managed an excellent 1 minute 14 seconds.

                The route then looped round the maze of roads at the top of map 159, using the lanes between the A485 and the B4310 before the section finished near Rhydargaeau, where time control 7 was located. From here the route crossed over the A485 where time control 8 was located, about a mile west of Windy corner. From here the route went north west and crossed over to map 145 which was provided in the route hand out by the organisers, before coming back onto 146, just south of Llandysul. This is where the section finished with time control 10. This time control was the next tight section for many crews, timed to the minute plenty of crews picked up penalties here, with Reian and Cadog, Andy and Lee, plus Wayne and Rhys all picked up a minute at this control. Stefan “DR” and Justin continued their excellent run and managed to pass through this control without picking up any penalties. Simmon Summers and Dilwyn John were another pair to make it through this section without penalty, great going from them. Alwyn Welsby and Mark were another crew on 1 minute, as were Tomos and Richard Hughes. It wasn’t unusual for many to pick up 2 or more minutes on this tight section, with Daniel and Hefin Jones managed 2 minutes and down in the novice class Huw and Owen Rowcliffe also had 2 minutes. The final section just before the petrol halt, which was to be at Windy corner, was just south of Llandusul, and finished just ouside of Pencader. This was another tight section where competitors picked up penalties.

                At the petrol halt it was Stefan “DR” Davies and Justin that led with a penalty count of 1 minute and 33 seconds. It came of no surprise as they had been setting great times throughout the first half. Simon Summers was next with Dilwyn John, they lay in third overall with 2 minutes and 16 seconds. Andy Davies and Lee Taylor held sixth overall with 2 minutes and 39 seconds. Wayne “Tar” Jones and Rhys Jones lay in eighth with 3 minutes and 16 seconds. Reian Jones and Cadog Davies were in tenth spot with 3 minutes and 26 seconds. Tomos Evans and Richard Hughes were in seventeenth with 4 minutes and 27 seconds. Alyn Welsby and Mark Rodway were a couple of places behind in nineteenth with 4 minutes and 41 seconds. Jonathon Davies and Andrew Gaunt held thirty-second with 6 minutes and 22 seconds. Huw Rowcliffe and Owen Rowcliffe were in fortieth with 8 minutes and 3 seconds. Daniel James and Hefin Jones lay in forty-second on 9 minutes and 22 seconds. Rob Fox and James Graham were in fifty-eighth with 44 minutes and 40 seconds.

                One half complete and all cars refuelled it was back into the lanes for the second half, which promised to be just as demanding as the first. The second half began near Llanllawddog, and headed towards Brechfa village. Time control 14 was located on this section, the first tight section of the second half. Reian and Cadog set about mounting a bit of an attack to improve on the position they lay in at the half way halt and were rewarded with a time of 26 seconds for their efforts. Andy and Lee matched this time in their Impreza. Tomos and Richard Hughes managed 1 minute and 9 seconds here. Huw and Owen Rowcliffe once again turned out to be the crew to beat in the novice class and set a very respectful time of a minute and 6 seconds. From here the rout of the rally went over to Abergolerch where the next tight section of the night was. This was coming into time control 18, and it was Andy and Lee who were really pushing on it, with an incredible time of 30 seconds which now saw them once again fighting for the win. Reian and Cadog managed 46 seconds here, another very good time for them as they were now almost playing the role of course car as the course car had gone off, so it must have come as a surprise to marshals seeing car 1 approaching their controls first! Tomos and Richard Hughes managed one minute and 40 seconds here. Jonathon Davies and Andrew Gaunt achieved were still doing well and going strong with a time of 1 minute and 36 seconds. The Rowcliffe pair were still pushing on with a time of 1 minute and 42 seconds and were pulling out a lead in the novice class.

                The remaining miles of the rally took competitors around the maze of lanes at the bottom of map 146, in a general direction back towards Carmarthen. The final time controls were a mixed bag with some crews not picking up any penalties until the final competitive time control, that being time control 27, which was located just outside of Nangaredig, whilst some others picked up penalties at time controls 23, 24 and 26. Time control 27 was to be the last section in which Reian and Cadog were to pick up penalties as they continued to climb up the leader board in the Seat, achieving a time of 1 minute and 42 seconds. Andy Davies and Lee Taylor picked up 19 seconds of penalties at time control 24 and 1 minute 39 seconds at time control 27. Tomos and Richard Hughes were still going strong and had 2 minutes and 28 seconds at time control 27 but had picked up some controls at previous time controls. Jonathon Davies and Andrew Gaunt achieved 3 minutes and 32 seconds at the final time control. In novice class Huw and Owen Rowcliffe achieved an excellent time of 1 minute and 32 seconds at time control 27.

                Come the end of a hard-fought night the it was Reian and Cadog Davies, with Cadog being best of club members as they finished in second overall in the Seat Ibiza with a penalty count of 6 minutes and 20 seconds. A great improvement on their half way standings. Tomos Evans with club member Richard Hughes achieved a very respectful eleventh overall with a time of 14 minutes and 13 seconds. Fifteenth overall went to the father and son team of Huw and Owen Rowcliffe who also won the novice class by an incredible 12 minutes! Daniel James and Hefin Jones managed to make their way into the top twenty by finishing in nineteenth overall with 16 minutes and 23 seconds of penalties. Jonathon Davies and Andrew Gaunt managed thrity-sixth overall having picked up a fail. Andy Davies and Lee Taylor ended up in forty-third overall having picked up two fails, a great shame as they would have been first overall with their penalty count. Stefan “DR” and Justin Davies retired in the second half after setting blistering times in the first. Also on the retirements sheet were Wayne “Tar” Jones and Rhys Jones, Simon Summers and Dilwyn John, Alwyn Welsby and Mark Rodway and Rob Fox and James Graham, no reasons given.

                The next round of the welsh road rally championship is the 1000 Lanes rally which is organised by the Heads of Valley auto club and takes place on the 7th/8th of October and will no doubt feature club members on the entry list.

Many thanks to Tom Beckett of Powershot photography for the use of his image.