meirion Jim Clark

Meirion Evans and Jonathan Jackson with their new livery on their way to another strong result on the Jim Clark (GF Rally Images)

It had been another very busy weekend for club members over the 27th, 28th and 29th of May, with two tarmac rallies taking place. The first of which would be the second round of the British rally Championship, the Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally, that took place on the Scottish borders. The rally would contain 9 stages and include some 77 miles of competitive motoring. The rally would consist of two stages on the Friday evening, followed by another seven the following Saturday. Meirion Evans and Jonathan Jackson were seeded at car 3, and would once again be using their faithful VW polo GTI R5, now in its striking Castrol livery that they had revealed a few days before the event Everyone agreed it was great to see the Castrol colours back in the British rally championship. 

As well as the British rally championship event there was also a national rally taking place, this event had one less stage than the British championship event. This event also had a couple of club members entered, with Llion Williams navigating for James Ford at 44. They were in a historic specification Mk2 Ford escort RS1800. Also out were Gareth Bevan and Dafydd Evans, who were also in a historic specification Mk2 Ford escort. Due to having a run last minute they were seeded at 125. 

The rally began with a 19.15 km stage, Longformarcus, ran twice. In the British Championship event, Meirion and Jonathan began their rally with sixth quickest time overall, followed by fifth quickest time on the second pass. This meant that they would go into day two in fifth overall. Their total time was 20 minutes and 25.6 seconds. In the national event James and Llion began with an excellent fifteenth quickest overall time on the opening stage, followed  by twenty third quickest on stage two. Gareth and Dafydd were given a nominal time on stage one but achieved the thirty-first fastest time on stage 2, even with a lack of brakes which they were noticing, so they ended up thirtieth overall after the opening day, a great achievement as Gareth had never done a stage in the dark before now. 

On to the second day of the event where the majority of the stage mileage was to be tackled. On the national rally there was to be three stages, and each would be run twice, Westruther, Scott’s view, and Eccles, this was the same as the british championship event, except that the final stage, Eccles, would be run a third time. Wetsuther 1 was the first up, and here in the British championship event Meirion and Jonathan achieved the fifth fastest time with 4 minutes and 59.8 seconds, although the crews in front had received a nominal time as some had managed to beat the bogey time. In the national event James and LLion achieved the joint twenty-first time with 5 minutes and 27 seconds. Gareth and Dafydd achieved the twenty ninth quickest time with 5 minutes and 31.3 seconds. 

Two more stages followed before a service halt. Scott’s view and Eccles. In the British championship event Meirion and Jonathan did very well, setting a third quickest time on Scott’s view and fifth fastest time on Eccles, this meant that they held fourth overall. In the national rally James and Llion continued to do well with twenty-first overall on stage four and twentieth on stage five. Gareth and Dafydd were thirty-sixth on stage four and thirty-second on stage five. Going into the service halt James and LLion were lying in an impressive thirteenth overall and Gareth and Dafydd held twenty-ninth overall. 

Stage six was cancelled so it was back for another run over Scott’s view for stage seven. Here in the British championship the first five cars were awarded with the same time of 5 minutes and 2 seconds, naturally this would include Meirion and Jonathan who were going very well. In the national event James and Llion would once again feature in the top twenty with nineteenth quickest time here. Gareth and Dafydd were still doing very well and achieved the thirty-third quickest time here. Eccles 2 would end up being the final stage for both rallies, as the third run over for the British championship event got cancelled, so it all came down to one final pass for the British championship contenders. On this final 14.08km test Meirion and Jonathan pushed hard and were rewarded with the sixth fattest time, this meant that they would finish the event in a very respectable fourth overall with a total time of 50 minutes and 50.9 seconds, a great effort by them. In the national event James and Llion would again put in an excellent performance and they were rewarded seventeenth for their efforts. This meant that they would finish in a very respectable twelfth overall with a total time of 56 minutes and 27.7 seconds,  they also won their class in the process. Gareth and Dafydd would set the twenty eighth quickest time. They would go on to finish in a very respectable twenty eighth overall and second historic vehicle. Their total time would be 58 minutes and 23.4 seconds. 

Also taking place on the weekend was the Red dragon IT stages in memory of Rick Neale. This event was held at the Down Ampney airfield and organised by the Enthusiasts motor club of Stonehouse. This would be the fourth round of the welsh tarmac championship, and would consist of ten stages with around 72 miles of competition. This rally attracted a few club members, with the first on the entry list being Stefan “DR” Davies, who was again in his Mk2 Ford escort. He had Daniel Petrie reading the notes again. They were seeded at number 2. At 7 were Wayne “tar” Jones and Jonathan Davies in Wayne's Darrian T90 GTR. Malcolm “tar” Jones and Rhys Jones were at 11 in a Renault clio RS 172. James Davies was at 25 in his Proton Satria GTI, he had Fiona Crump in the passenger seat. Rounding off club members at 40 were Kevin Davies and Andrew Davies in Kevin’s Peugeot 206 GTI. 

On the opening stage Wayne and Jonathan set a storming pace by setting a time twenty seconds faster than anyone else with 10 minutes and 4 seconds. A great start to their day. Malcolm and Rhys were joint twelfth in their Clio, and James and Fiona found themselves in eighteenth. Kevin and Andrew managed twenty-second in their Peugeot and rounding off club members Stefan and Daniel were in twenty-eighth. Everyone found the first stage very tricky with grip levels being quite low and inconsistent. 

For the following stages Wayne and Jonathan continued to dominate, even winning stage three by a massive 23 seconds! James and Fiona got into a great rhythm and managed to set joint sixth fastest time on stage two and on stage three which saw them climb up the leaderboard. Malcolm and Rhys tied with James on stage two but would receive a maximum time on stage three which saw them fall down the order a little. Stefan and Daniel had a much better run on stage two where they were eleventh quickest but would unfortunately retire on stage three with rear axle issues. Kevin and Andrew were thirtieth quickest on stage 2 and 28th quickest on stage three so they were going well. Wayne and Jonathan continued their blistering pace on the next couple of stages, extending their lead. James and Fiona continued to set excellent times and were seventh quickest on stage 4 and thirteenth on stage five. Sadly Malcolm and Rhys’s rally came to a premature end on stage four as they suffered with braking issues. Kevin and Andrew received a maximum on stage four. 

Wayne and Jonathan’s Darrian developed an engine miss fire on stages six through to eight, this slowed them down slightly, but they still held a comfortable lead, they still featured in the top five with their stage times even with their issue. James and Fiona received a maximum on stage six due to getting one of the splits on the stage wrong, this dropped them out of contention for a great result so they decided to withdraw from the event and save the car for another day. Kevin and Andrew continued to set consistent times and found themselves knocking on the door of a top thirty placing with two stages remaining

Wayne and Jonathan managed to clear the misfire from their Darrian’s engine so they were back up to full power for the final two stages of the day. This meant that they set the fastest time on both of the day’s remaining two stages. In doing so it came to no surprise that they ended up winning the rally by over two minutes, their total time was 1 hour, 19 minutes and 58 seconds. Kevin Davies and Andrew Davies managed to break into the top thirty in finishing in twenty-eighth overall after setting some very consistent times. It was a tough, enjoyable event that did contain many tricky splits and merges as cars lapped the stages; these were responsible for some of the stage maximums. Even so, everyone enjoyed the event greatly. 

Thanks must be given to Gary Fothergill of GF rally images for the use of his image in this report.