Thursday, 17 May 2018

Plains Rally by Paul Willetts

Last weekends Plains National Rally saw some local crews walk away with silverware, while others were not quite so successful.

The long standing BTRDA and Welsh championship encounter had experienced serious problems obtaining enough mileage to make the event viable due to poor state of forestry roads, with Dyfi forest totally unusable.
However Knutsford & and District Motor Club had been able to use two stages in the now little used Dyfnant forest with two stages in Gartheniog repeated in the afternoon, interspersed with a midday service halt Dolgellau cattle mart.
117 crews left the picturesque market town of Welshpool for the 40 miles of competitive action on some of the UK's best stages.

It was rallying veterans Bob Morgan & and Ade Williams who came away with top local honour's further developing the new Winner Garage Skoda Fabia finishing 20th overall & and 5th in class, there only issue was loosing the clutch for a few stages, meaning stage starts were difficult.

"More useful mileage today, still bit of work to do on diffs and dampers, and we still need bit more top end speed but its coming together". Said Williams     
For Ben Friend and Cliffy Simmons it was a change of car from the usual Escort to a Fiesta R2,the drive kindly donated by Swift Group MD and well known competitor Peter Smith.
But they didn't get off to a good start, with a bottom arm coming loose on the way to stage one, but from then on the duo had great fun to finish 44th & and 3rd in class
"The suspension on this car is awesome it rides the rough stuff so well, and we had a great time, thanks to Pete Smith for the opportunity" said Simmons   
A new combination of youngsters James Watkins and Dan Sayce in the Rally Marketing Escort, hired from Geoff Jones Motorsport, the new duo had a great day to finish 56th & and 3rd in class.
There was a great battle for local pride and silverware between husband & wife of Nigel & and Karen Jenkins in the NJ Autos Vauxhall Nova, and Richard Cole & and Matt Nicolas in the Cole Contracting 1400 Escort just one second separated them at the finish, the former finishing 64th & and 3rd in class with Cole 65th & and 4th, Jenkins fighting back after a slow start with no 5th gear and selection issues most of the day, admitting to one or two moments to keep Mrs Jenkins on her toes, and being somewhat rusty on the gravel, not having done anything in the forests since November last year, but the afternoon saw him push harder to climb the leader board to finish in the silverware.
Scott Partridge and Bev Mace in the Bullit Polish Subaru Impreza  finished 74th & and 12 in class.
Graham Waite with Gill Cotton calling the notes finished 76th & and 7th in the Toyota Corolla, with the new 2wd regulations coming in from July 1st, we will hopefully see Waite back in a category one historic car,has he was a huge spectators favourite in his old Volvo Amazon which he threw at impossible angles.
Sadly for Group N front runners Tom Naughton & and Will Rogers they had made a good start in the Lancer Evo 9 but sadly a big accident in stage 5 brought there rally to a sudden and dramatic end, sadly Tom broke 2 ribs and Will was left rather sore and car in a bit of a mess.
Matt Edwards & and Darron Garrod continued there recent domination of British rallying with a third victory on the spin in the Swift Group Fiesta R5.
Despite some long delays due to some unforeseen incidents most competitors enjoyed the day.  

Paul Willetts Motorsport Media