By Phil Jobson
Starting from Builth Wells show ground, the Severn Valley takes in some of the very best fast flowing stages around the Epynt ranges in Wales; classics such as Crychan and Radnor.
Having beaten Stanley Orr on the Pirelli and him choosing not to contest this round, there was prospect of us taking maximum BHRC points. But with our improved pace I was hopeful of taking the challenge to other C5 contenders such as Andrew Stokes in his late brother and Rally legend, David’s BDA Escort Mk1. Also entered, though not registered BHRC, Ernie Graham and Gary Smith are pace setters with Escort Mk1s.
We set quickest C5 time through the short first stage Cefn (Arwel tells me that Cefn means ‘Back’ in Welsh apparently), but by only 1 second from Ernie Graham. Through Crychan and Gwibedog, Gary Smith clawed back time from us while Ernie Graham pulled ahead of the Class. This left Gary Smith and ourselves on the same time. Tyre wear was high, so at first service we decided to fit new medium compound Pirellis, hoping they’d last. We then set exactly the same time as Gary through the 8.91 mile Radnor. All to play for in the final loop. At second service Richard replaced a front tyre that would certainly have punctured otherwise
Despite a carburettor-‐related misfire in the next short stage, we took 5 seconds off Gary, but lost road position stopping between stages to fix it. This unsettled me and I drove a very scrappy Crychan, sliding into a ditch coming too fast into a square left. Keeping the boot well and truly buried, Snowy pulled herself out and we carried on, but lost a shed load of time. By the final stage the tyres were pretty well shot, and we end the rally 3rd in Class, but only 5 seconds behind 2nd in Class C5 and 13th overall.
It was a very close class battle, despite being for pride only.
Gaining maximum Category 2 points in the BHRC leaves us in a strong position going into tarmac rounds on which we should go well. Richard has just got a load of changes to make to set Snowy up for tarmac. Next up ALMC Stages, closed road tarmac event -‐ bring it on!
Thanks to Richard Clark and all the Welsh guys for their support and friendship.