Davies/Furniss get 2011 off to a flying start


Davies/Furniss through Caio - Photo Courtesy of RJM Photography


The Red Kite Stages held in Llandovery opened the 2011 Forest rally calendar. The event consisted of three special stages reapeated taking in Crychan, Cefn Llwyd and Caio. Regular forestry crew Dylan Davies and Dale Furniss entered the event in their Historic RallySport Ford Escort Mk1 and were seeded car 6. Eryl Evans was seeded car 14 co-driving alongside Keith Parry in a Subaru Impreza on their first event together as a crew. Gareth "Gog" Jones of Mountwalk Garage was also amongst the Lampeter entrants seeded car 39 in his F2 Ford Escort.


     Freezing conditions the night before provided some very slippery conditions and a tough challenge for all the crews conserned. The opening two stages of the day, Crychan 1 and Cefn Llwyd 1, were to prove the most treacherous as Jones found out. An extremely slippery hairping right saw car slide wide and off the road. Fortunatly for Jones, spectators were at hand to push the car out and get him on his way although valuable time had been lost.



Davies/Furniss also found conditions slippery and were fighting for grip in their RWD Escort and struggling to get some real pace to keep with the more powerful four wheel-drive cars that were finding a lot more traction on the morning stages. They were however still setting top 10 stage times and keeping within touching distance of the podium.Also fighting for the final podium place was co-driver Eryl Evans although like many others, Parry/Evans had several moments on the opening two stages. Evans was only 16 seconds ahead of Davies/Furniss after the opening loop of two stages and opened the gap a further 7 seconds on stage 3 when Davies/Furniss spun twice in Caio in the slippery conditions.Jones meanwhile had suffered further bad luck when he picked up a puncture on SS2 in Cefn Llwyd costing him further time.

     Organisers decided to cancel the re-run of Caio on safety grounds due to the forest roads caving away in the thawing conditions. This therefore left two stages remaining with just the re-run of Crychan and Cefn Llwyd. With the stages thawed out, Davies/Furniss were on a charge and set two excellent stage times. They were 3rd fastest on SS4 and then 4th fastest on on SS5 saw them finish and excellent 3rd O/a, winning their class and the First Ford award. Meanwhile, Eryl Evans was 4th fastest on SS4 with driver Keith Parry but  a substancial time loss on the final stage saw them drop to 4th in the overall standings just two seconds adrift of Davies/Furniss. A spin on the final stage and the Impreza having trouble selecting reserve saw them drop 15-20 seconds.They did however take a well deserved first in class 5.  Jones finished the event without any further dramas and finished a respectable 19th O/a despite the all the time lost due to the earlier excursion on SS1 and puncture on SS2.