daf mike darowen

Craig Judd with club navigator Dafydd Evans on their way to fifth overall on the Mike Darowen Bro Dyfi

The Mike Darowen Bro Dyfi rally was to be the first round of the welsh road rally championship of 2018, and once again featured a host of club members who ventured up to Machynlleth. Organised by the Dovey Valley Motor club who had promised a route of some 110 miles in the Dovey valley area made up on OS maps 124, 135 and 136 (which was provided in the route hand out). First club members on the entry list were Andy Davies and Cadog Davies in Andy’s Subaru Impreza IDZ, they were seeded at 3. Navigating in car 9 was Dafydd Evans in a Peugeot 306 gti6. He was navigating for Craig Judd. Another navigator in car 20 was LLion “Tractor” Williams who was navigating for Carwyn Pughe in a Vauxhall Astra GTE. Down in 52 was Daniel Williams in his BMW 318ti, he had Shaun Richards navigating form him. Rounding off club members were Owain Evans and Dion Phillips in a Vauxhall Nova, they were seeded at 63.


With everyone gathered at the start car park in Machynlleth and the route all plotted it was off into the lanes for the beginning of the first selective, which started Near Forge, the going around Aberhosan and Melinbyrhedin, before heading out to Tal-y-wern via Darowen. It was in this early part of the route that the first tight section was, which was at time control 2, where many crews picked up penalties. The majority of the top fifteen crews managed to avoid penalties here, so they kept their clean sheets. Carwyn Pughe and LLion “tractor” Williams managed 15 seconds, and in semi expert class Daniel Williams and Shaun Richards had a minute and 10 seconds. Down in novice class were Owain and Dion who had 3 minutes and 2 seconds here. Unfortunately, they missed passage control seven so they picked up a fail here.

There followed a couple of more tight sections at time controls 4 and 5, with time control 4 being timed to the minute and time control 5 being timed to the second. It was on the approach to the first of these time controls that Andy and Cadog picked up a puncture which they had to change, costing them some three minutes, so they’re penalty count was 4 minutes here, and at time control 5 they had 2 minutes and 4 seconds, a time that was comfortably within the top ten, showing they were pushing to make up they time they’d lost previously. Craig and Dafydd recorded a penalty count of 2 minutes at time control 4 and 2 minutes and 44 seconds at time control 5. Carwyn and Llion “tractor” managed 3 minutes and 2 minutes 51 seconds respectively. Doing well in semi expert class were Daniel and Shaun who had achieved 3 minutes and 4 minutes exactly at these controls. Owain and Dion achieved very respectful 3 minutes at time control 4 and 4 minutes and 32 seconds at time control 5.

The route then headed over Cemmaes road and then over to LLanbrynmair for the final sections of the first half before the petrol halt. It was in these sections that the final tight section of the first half was located, which was time control 9. Andy and Cadog were really pushing here and were rewarded with a penalty count of only 17 seconds for their efforts. Also doing well here were Craig and Dafydd Evans as they had a penalty of 49 seconds. Carwyn and LLion were another crew to really push on this section and managed an excellent 30 seconds. Still pushing hard and doing well in the semi expert class battle were Daniel and Shaun with a time of 2 minutes and 16 seconds. Owain and Dion encountered some difficulties over this section so had 11 minutes and 33 seconds here, but were still going.

It was then off to the petrol halt in Mallwyd having covered fifty of the routes miles. At the petrol halt it was Craig Judd and Dafydd Evans best amongst club members as they lay in seventh overall with 5 minutes and 33 seconds of penalties gained. Andy Davies and Cadog Davies were in ninth overall with 6 minutes and 21 seconds, and right behind them in tenth were Carwyn Pughe and Llion “tractor” Williams with 6 minutes and 31 seconds. Daniel Williams and Shaun Richards were in twenty-eighth overall with 14 minutes and 40 seconds, and rounding off club members were Owain Evans and Dion Phillips with 35 minutes and 26 seconds with one fail so they were in forty-eighth overall.

The second half of the rally began near Aberangell and headed over to Aberllefenni where time control 15 was located. Andy and Cadog achieved a great time of 46 seconds over this section in a bid to climb up the leader board higher after their puncture in the first half. Craig and Dafydd were another crew trying hard on this section and were rewarded with 1 minute and 5 seconds for their efforts. Another crew doing well here were Carwyn and Llion who had exactly 1 minute here. Daniel and Shaun made a push for the semi expert class trophy in the seconds half and their times showed as they managed a highly respectable 1 minute and 34 seconds here. Owain and Dion were another crew achieving a very respectful time with 2 minutes and 9 seconds.

From here crews made their way over to Tabor, just outside of Dolgellau where time control 17 was located after the white road that is often used there. This was to be yet another difficult section and everyone picked up penalties here. Andy and Cadog were best amongst club members on this section with an excellent time of 1 minute and 33 seconds. Craig and Dafydd were still pushing had and also achieved a great time of 1 minute and 56 seconds. Carwyn and Llion managed a time of 2 minutes and 17 seconds here. Daniel and Shaun were still pressing on hard and achieved 2 minutes and 51 seconds. Owain and Dion managed 4 minutes and 7 seconds.

Crews then went over to the “kings” selective which takes lace just off of the main road near Abergwynant, and time control 19 was located near here. It was once again Andy and Cadog who were best amongst club members as they achieved yet another great time of 1 minute and 1 second over this very twisty piece of road. Also doing very well were Craig and Dafydd, only five seconds off Andy and Cadog’s time with 1 minute and 6 seconds. Carwyn and Llion had 3 minutes and 16 seconds at this time control. Daniel and Shaun achieved 2 minutes and 49 seconds and Owain and Dion had 8 minutes and 45 seconds.

The next section saw competitors pass by Cregennen lake as the route headed around by Arthog, time control 21 was located here, and this was to be the last tight section for many of the crews who went penalty free for the remainder of the route after this section. Unfortunately, on this section one of IDZ’s driveshafts broke so Andy and Cadog lost some extra time on this section, although still achieved a very respectful minute and 20 seconds here. Craig and Dafydd managed a great time of 49 seconds at this time control, and Carwyn and Llion had 1 minute and 6 seconds. Storming up the semi expert class were Daniel and Shaun with a very impressive 1 minute and 24 seconds here. Owain and Dion achieved a very respectful 2 minutes and 6 seconds.

From here the route headed back in the general direction back towards the finish and went from Llwyngwril out to Rhoslefain and then Bryncrug. From there the route then moved out to Abertrinant before a final selective over the Happy Valley just south of Tywyn, before heading to the Machynlleth to the finish venue, where all those who managed to survive the nights sport gathered at the White Lion hotel in the town where breakfast was made available for everyone as they had no doubt worked up an appetite after a log hard night in the lanes. At the finish the best club member was Dafydd Evans who had navigated Craig Judd around to an excellent fifth overall and second in master’s class with a penalty count of 10 minutes and 32 seconds. Andy Davies and Cadog Davies were next with 11 minutes and 1 second which saw them in seventh overall and fourth in master’s class in the Subaru, a great result considering the problems they had and could of no doubt finished a lot higher up the leader board had their luck been a little better. Carwyn and LLion “Tractor” Williams were next and finished in a very respectful tenth overall and fourth in the expert class with 14 minutes and 15 seconds of penalties. Daniel Williams with his navigator Shaun Richards achieved an excellent eighteenth overall and managed to win the semi-expert class in their BMW after setting some great times, their penalty count was 24 minutes and 5 seconds and is no doubt the first award of many for this promising crew. Whilst Owain Evand and Dion Phillips managed to navigate their way around the route they unfortunately went Over Time Limit (OTL) so did not qualify as finishers, a great shame but that’s sometimes how it goes with rallying, no doubt they will have better luck on future events. The next round of the welsh championship is Lampeter motor clubs own rally, the Bro Caron which takes place on the 24th of February and will no doubt feature plenty of club’s members out on it.

The Mike Darowen Bro Dyfi was not the only rally to be held over the weekend, as Ammanford and district motor club with Gwendraeth valley motor club held the Rali Cwm Gwendraeth, at Pembrey race circuit. It was to be an event made up of five stages around the venue and was the first round of the welsh tarmac rally championship. In amongst the forty-five-car entry were club members Malcolm “Tar” Jones and Rhys Jones who were using a Peugeot 207 R2 specification car. They were seeded at 12, unfortunately they non-started though. Jonathon Davies was next up at 32 in another Peugeot, a 206 model, he had Rhodri Williams navigating for him. Steffan Daniels and Jason Thomas were next at 42 in another Peugeot 206, and rounding off club members, and a quartet of Peugeots, and making his debut on stage rallies, was Osian Jones who originally had Rhodri Lewis navigating for him, but changed to Elgan Davies on the event. They’re Peugeot was a 106 model, they were seeded at 44.

On the first of the five stages the highest placed club member Jonathon Daives who managed to get himself with navigator Rhodri into ninth overall after setting an excellent time of 11 minutes and 9 seconds. Steffan Daniels and Jason Thomas began their day with a time of 11 minutes and 58 seconds which saw them in twenty-eighth overall, and Osian Jones and Elgan Davies were in a very respectful twenty-eighth overall with a time of 12 minutes and 6 seconds, a great time for his first ever stage.

It was then soon onto the pair of stages where club members continued to push hard and set excellent times, and after the first three stages had been completed Jonathon Davies and Rhodri Williams were lying in an impressive eighth overall in the Peugeot. Doing very well on his debut event was Osian Jones with navigator Elgan they were in an impressive twenty-fourth overall. Steffan Daniels and Jason Thomas lay in thirty-second overall having received a stage maximum on the second stage.

On the fourth stage of the rally club members continued to set great times with Jonathon and Rhodri still in the top ten as they lay in eighth overall. Osian and Elgan received a stage maximum here so dropped a little down the order to thirtieth overall. Steffan and Jason were right behind in thirty-first. So, it was on to the final stage of the day and Jonathon and Rhodri held on to their top ten position by finishing an excellent ninth overall with a total stage time of 52 minutes and 59 seconds, an excellent result for them. Unfortunately, Jonathon was the only surviving club member as both Steffan and Jason and Osian and Elgan retired on the final stage of the day, a great shame as both crews had been setting very good times.

The next round of the welsh tarmac championship is the tour of Epynt and takes place on the famous military ranges on the eleventh of March and will no doubt feature club members on the entry list.

Thanks must go to Aled Richards for the use of his image for this report.