Despite a lack of rear brakes all day, Ben Friend and Cliffy Simmons were the top local finishers with 17th overall, fifth in the historic class and second in the BTRDA Historic category on last weekend’s Rallynuts Stages, reports PAUL WILLETTS.
The event based in Builth Wells was a round of both BTRDA and Pirelli Welsh National championships and attracted 120 crews to the picturesque Welsh town.
Forty four miles were on offer in the classic Welsh forests of Hafren Myherin and Cwmsgawen, with two loops of four tests, and midweek rain made the morning loop extremely slippery.
The Allglass Anglia backed Escort RS1800 struggled from the get go with no rear brakes with a broken brake bias bar in what was a very high class historic entry.
This was causing a substantial time loss, but the duo soldiered on and were rewarded with 17th overall.
“No rear brakes is far from ideal it really hampered us, so to be honest we were lucky to be here,” said Monmouth’s Simmons.
With Bob Morgan still not fit after a recent injury, the Forest of Dean’s Ade Williams teamed up with Simon Rogers in his Lancer Evo 6 and the duo finished 20th overall & 5th in class.
Jonathon Brace from Crumlin continued to dominate the H1&2 class with yet another class win and 35th overall, ably guided by experienced Abergavenny co-driver Paul Spooner in the beautiful Braces Bakery Escort RS1600. Since switching to the MK1 Escort, the bakery managing director hasn’t looked back.
Geoff Phelps from Newent and Colin Jenkins from Coleford on the notes in the Hartpury Farms Escort RS1800 had a trouble-free run to 48th & 7th in class.
Another crew who had a day of troubles though were Coleford husband and wife duo Nigel and Karen Jenkins.
The BTRDA 1400 front runners had to endure a bad misfire all day which really hampered their progress in the NJ Autos Vauxhall Nova 1400.
The car also cut out over the jump in the Hafren test in Sweet Lamb and they had to limp to the finish, plus they also broke an alternator belt, but still made it to the finish 56th overall, second 1400 and first in class.
“Despite all our problems we kept going and we’ve scored some good championship points which is really important, but such a frustrating day with the misfire,” said Karen.
The Forest’s James Dunkley made a very welcome return after a sabbatical in his Dunkley Auto Services Vauxhall Corsa together with Jack Morris had a good run to 68th overall & 5th in class.
Luke Watts from Bream was another to experience issues, together with Ross Motor Club member Matt Rogers alongside in his Ian Watts & Son MG Rover ZR.
After a slow start on the opening loop, plus losing the starter motor after stage 2, the duo then had to drive the last two stages of the loop with extreme care not to spin and stall, which cost a few seconds.
The afternoon went much better with the car in full working order and the duo finished 75th overall & 3rd in class.
“I couldn’t get into it this morning, I never had confidence in the notes then we had the starter motor problem, so I had to drive carefully which cost us valuable time.
“But I gave myself a shake at service and the afternoon loop was better. It was drier also, so I pushed harder and to finish 3rd in class I can’t complain,” said Watts.
Those not fortunate to reach the finish were Gary Bollands and Nigel Baldwin in the Subaru Impreza who went off on stage 2. Jason Gardner and Kevin Lane in the new Brecon View Plumbing Escort RS1800 also stopped in stage 5.
Arron Newby and Jamie Edwards continued their good run of form with overall victory in the TEG Sport run Skoda Fabia R5.