mel mewla

Melvyn Evans and Mark Glennerster testing their new car on the Mewla (RallySport Meida)

The 26th of August saw club members head over to the famous Epynt military ranges to compete on the Epynt motor club organised Mewla rally, which this year was celebrating its fortieth anniversary was a 75-mile event made up over thirteen stages of the ranges. The rally would make up the eighth round of the welsh tarmac rally championship and naturally featured club members on the entry list. At number four and first club members were Melvyn Evans and Mark Glennerster who were trying out their new car for this event, an R5 specification Hyundai i20. At 22 were Malcolm “tar” Jones and Rhys Jones in Malcolm’s R2 specification Peugeot 207, they were both out for Welsh tarmac championship points as well as King of Epynt points. At 46 were Jonathon Davies and Justin Davies who were another pair going for Welsh tarmac and King of Epynt points, they were another crew piloting a Peugeot, this one being a road rally specification 206 model. Making a very brave stage rallying debut was Rob Fox who had partnered up with Gareth Price for this rally, they were in Rob’s BMW 316i, choosing Epynt as a first stage rally was quite something and credit should be given purely for that!

                Builth Wells showground was to be rally HQ where scrutineering and service took place before competitors headed out for the first of the days stages, which was the 8.8-mile Old Forge garage stage. On this stage best amongst club members were Melvyn and Mark who posted the seventh quickest time of 8 minutes and 37 seconds. A good start for them who were getting to grips with the new car. Jonathon and Justin were next best club members who were thirty third quickest in their road rally specification Peugeot. Malcolm and Rhys got off to an excellent start in their Peugeot, catching the car in front after a short distance into the stage, but unfortunately the ignition to go immediately afterwards, they then spent the next 9 minutes carrying out repairs to the car to enable them to carry on, so they ended up with sixty-sixth overall on this stage with seventeen minutes and 44 seconds. Unfortunately, it was a very short rally for Rob Fox who with co-driver Gareth Price retired on the first stage of the day, ending their debut prematurely.

                 Two more stages followed before the first service halt, and the weather conditions were poor for all of them, with rain falling from the skies through the day, making conditions more difficult for everyone. Even so club members pushed hard on the event and come the first service halt Melvyn Evans and Mark Glennerster were lying in fourth overall in the Hyundai, their main focus was to get the car to the finish. Malcolm and Rhys were a crew on a mission after having lost time on the first stage, managing to be fastest overall on the third stage, beating many more powerful and four-wheel drive cars in their front wheel drive Peugeot, with a time of 3 minutes and 50 seconds no other crew managed to match this, an excellent performance by them. This put them up to fifty-ninth overall come the service halt. Jonathon and Justin were also doing well, and managed to climb up to thirty first overall by the end of the third stage.

                With service complete it was back out to the wet ranges for more action, with stage four being another in 8.8 miles in length, known as the Brian Dennis motor sport stage. Melvyn and Mark set another excellent time here of 8 minutes and 5 seconds, which was good enough for fourth overall. Malcolm and Rhys found themselves in the top ten again with eighth quickest on 8 minutes and 28 seconds. Jonathon and Justin were still going well and achieved thirty-fourth on this stage with a time of 9 minutes and 22 seconds.

                Stage 5 was a shorter than the previous at 3.25 miles and once again there were a pair of club members inside the to ten, with Melvyn and Mark at fifth and Malcolm and Rhys at joint seventh. Jonathon and Justin were very consistent with joint thirtieth on stage 5. One more stage followed before the second service halt and Melvyn and Mark set third fastest time on this 4.05-mile test with a time of 3 minutes and 56 seconds. Malcolm and Rhys were joint eighth on 4 minutes and 13 seconds. Jonathon and Justin broke through the top thirty on this stage with a time of 4 minutes and 36 seconds, which meant they were twenty-seventh quickest. Overall Melvyn and Mark lay in fourth overall after six stages with a total time of 31 minutes and 1 second. Jonathon and Justin were in twenty-eighth overall with their total time being 35 minutes and 18 seconds. Malcolm and Rhys had managed to climb up to forty-sixth overall after having set some excellent times with 40 minutes and 5 seconds. They were obviously trying very hard after their problems on the first stage.

                One more stage followed before another service halt before a second loop of stages took place. Melvyn and Mark were experimenting with damper settings on these stages, seeing how the car reacted to various settings. They must have been working as once again they set a top five time on the stage eight with fourth quickest on 3 minutes and 57 seconds. Malcolm and Rhys were tenth here on 4 minutes and 13 seconds. Jonathon and Justin were pushing hard too and found themselves taking twenty-sixth fastest on stage 8 as well as overall, thanks to their time of 4 minutes and 35 seconds.

                Two more stages followed before the final service halt, after which the final 3 stages of the event ran. On these stages Melvyn and Mark continued to set excellent times and got more and more experience with the new car, keen to finish the event and bring the car home they kept the pace sensible over the final stages, even so they managed fourth quickest on all of the days final three stages, so it was no surprise to see them in fourth overall come the end of the day, with a total time of 1 hour, 11 minutes and 5 seconds which also saw them winning their class in the process, an excellent result considering their goal was to simply get the car round the event. Jonathon and Justin continued to set great times and found themselves in twenty-seventh overall at the end of the day and second in class for road rally specification cars. Their time was 1 hour, 21 minutes and 29 seconds. A great day for them. Unfortunately, Malcolm and Rhys came into more difficulty on the days final stages, when a faulty alternator which affected the gear shift on the car and caused the engine to mis fire, meaning they limped the car through the final loop of stages. They managed to finish in thirty-first overall with a time of 1 hour 23 minutes and 36 seconds, a good result given the problems they faced but not a true showing a true reflection of how quick this pairing was and had they not encountered these problems then they could have finished far higher, quite possibly well inside the top ten.

                Overall everybody enjoyed the event despite the appalling weather conditions and looked forward to the event next year, thanks must go to Chris Huish of RallySport Media for the use his image for this report.