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On the 10th and 11th of November the Manx auto club hold a popular two-day rally on the Isle of Mann, a rally which often sees many members from welsh motor clubs venture over to the Island to get a taste of competition on closed tarmac roads. Amongst the many who travelled over to the Island were members of Lampeter and district motor club, who had a strong representation on the rally, with Tomas Davies seeded at number 9 in his R5 specification Ford fiesta. He was accompanied by Eurig Davies. Changing from Subaru’s over to Fords was Dylan Davies who with regular navigator Llion Williams were seeded at 19 in a 2002 specification Ford focus world rally car. They were hoping for a top placing having done well on the event last year. At 78 were Jonathon Davies who had Elgan Davies navigating, they were out in a Ford escort Mk2. Number 84 went to the Nissan Micra of Owen McConochie and Rhodri Williams who were looking to get some experience of tarmac rallying having had some impressive results on gravel rallies earlier in the year.


                Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be a repeat performance for Dylan and Llion as they non-started, as did Jonathon and Elgan in their escort, but with a pair of crews remaining it wasn’t over for motor clubs hopes.

                The rally was to be made up over two days with the first stages run on the Friday evening in the dark before a full day of rallying on the Saturday. This was to be a new experience for Owen and Rhodri who had never competed on Tarmac before or in the dark although they do both have some experience of road rallying which is a different challenge to closed road competition, they were both hoping to make it through the evening gaining experience.

                The first stage, known as Little London 1, was a 6.92-mile test, and immediately Tomas and Elgan pushed hard to challenge for the lead event, posting an excellent time of 7 minutes exactly, which was good enough for ninth overall. Owen and Rhodri began with a very respectful time of 8 minutes and 43 seconds, very good going for this young pair in a basic specification car. Garey 1 was the second stage, slightly shorter in length at 3.86 miles, where Tomas found his stride and posted the fifth quickest time on the stage at 3 minutes and 49 seconds. Owen and Rhodri set another respectful time of 4 minutes and 51 seconds.

                The third stage, known as Slieu Whallian 1 was a 6.66-mile stage, and Tomas continued to improve his times, achieving second quickest on this stage with 5 minutes and 57 seconds, just two seconds down on the fastest overall time on the stage, excellent going by them. Owen and Rhodri continued to push the little micra hard and were rewarded with a time of 7 minutes and 32 seconds. On the fourth stage, Brack-a-broom 1 was a slightly shorter stage again with a distance of 4.32 miles and Tomas continued to set great times and once again posted the ninth quickest time with 5 minutes and 17 seconds. Beginning to find their rhythm were Owen and Rhodri who climbed into the top 50 with their time of 6 minutes and 17 seconds which was good enough for forty-fourth overall quickest.

                The next lot of stages were a repeat of the first four, and once again Tomas set a time well inside the top ten with sixth quickest at 6 minutes and 54 seconds, an improvement of six seconds from their first run over the stage. Improving greatly on the stage though was Owen and Rhodri, who set the thirty-sixth fastest time with 4 minutes and 34 seconds, an improvement of 9 seconds over their first run on the stage. Back over to Garey for another run on the shortest stage of the day and once again Tomas manged the ninth quickest time, slightly down on his first run of the stage with 4 minutes and 12 seconds. Owen and Rhodri also slightly slower, by one second, on their first run of the day with 4 minutes and 52 seconds, still good enough to see them take thirty-eighth time.

                After this it was back over to Slieu Whalliam for another run over it, Tomas and Elgan dropped down the order a little over this stage with thirteenth quickest time, still a very impressive 6 minutes and 35 seconds. Owen and Rhodri were also slightly slower with 8 minutes and 7 seconds. Although it should be noted every car was slower on the second run through the stage, possibly due to the darkness and dropping temperatures that happens this time of year.

                The final stage of the day was another run over Brack-a-broom. On this stage Tomas achieved the fourteenth quickest time with 5 minutes and 37 seconds, still an excellent result for them, which at the end of the day saw them lay in a very impressive fifth overall. Setting another top forty time on the stage were Owen and Rhodri with 6 minutes and 20 seconds, which was the thirty-ninth quickest time. At the end of the first day’s stages they lay in a very respectful forty-third overall and gaining a lot of experience on tarmac rallying.

                Rallying began the following morning with a full day of stages to compete on, nine in total, with three stages repeated three times over the course of the day. Tomas made a charge for the lead of the event on the first stage, the 6.83-mile test known as The Curraghs 1, with an excellent time of 7 minutes and 3 seconds, which was the second quickest time. Once again Owen and Rhodri broke into the top forty with the thirty-eighth quickest time on 8 minutes and 18 seconds. The tenth stage of the rally, and the second of the day, Andreas 1, was to be the longest of the rally, with a distance of 7.29 miles. On this stage Tomas once again set a fantastic time with 6 minutes and 47 seconds, good enough for fourth quickest overall. Owen and Rhodri were forty-fifth quickest on this stage with a time of 8 minutes and 4 seconds. It was then over to The Dog Mills which was to make up the eleventh stage, which was to be the shortest of the day with a distance of 5.58 miles. On this stage Tomas was once again in the top three with a time of 5 minutes and 1 second, only one second down on the quickest time. Unfortunately, this is where his and Elgan’s rally came to an end as they retied at the end of this stage. A great shame as they were doing very well and still within contention of taking the win, especially with the times they had set at the beginning of the day.

                So, all of clubs hopes lay with Owen McConochie and Rhodri Williams as they were the only club members left running. On the Dog Mills they set an excellent time of 6 minutes and 2 seconds, which was the forty-first quickest on that stage. With the first loop of stages compete it was back over to The Curraghs for stage twelve, on this stage they once again broke back into the top forty with a time of 6 minutes and 58 seconds, a huge improvement over the first running of the stage. That saw them thirty-seventh quickest.

                Andreas 2 was stage 13, once again Owen and Rhodri pushed hard in the little micra and achieved a time of 7 minutes and 58 seconds, yet another stage where they improved their time over the first running. This saw them take thirty-ninth fastest here. After this it was back over to The Dog Mills where they set a time of 5 minutes and 56 seconds. After this it was one final loop over the three stages again, where they continued to gain experience over tarmac and posted incredibly consistent times and stayed in the top forty over the stages.

                With their consistent times it was a great result for the surviving club members who after two days of flat out rallying Owen McConochie and Rhodri Williams achieved an excellent thirty-fifth overall and second in their class in their little Nissan micra, beating many higher-powered cars in the process and gaining valuable experience in the process with a total time of 1 hour 59 minutes and 12 seconds on this very popular event. No doubt this rally will continue to attract more entries from Wales and further afield in the years to come and no doubt Lampeter and District motor club will be seen on the entry list and results sheets in events to come.

Many thanks must go to Markspics for the use of their image for this report.