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Mid Wales Stages 2002

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Newtown & District Auto Club

17th March 2002

Clerk of the Course: Richard Edwards & Graham Evans

Stages: 6 (45 Stage Miles). Historics - 4 Stages (38 Stage Miles)

Venue: Hafren

Starters: 52 + 6 Historic

Winners: Graham Middleton/John Morgan (Toyota Corolla WRC)

Despite a troubled day, Graham Middleton/John Morgan managed to take their Toyota Corolla WRC, acquired for the 2002 season, to victory on the Mid Wales Stages.

Mid Wales Stages 2002

Competitive mileage was all within the Hafren Forest. Three stages were used twice, with a service halt, back at the rally's base at Coleg Powys, Newtown. The event was a round of the Welsh Clubman Championship.

Fastest time on SS1 (Hafren South), by eight seconds, was taken by the top seeds Andy Burton/Rob Morgan in their Peugeot 306 Cosworth, however the 1997 winner was slowed by a steering fault on SS2, which persisted into SS3, where he was 42 seconds off the fastest time. By the Service Halt Burton had dropped to fifth place. He was to retire due to the problem soon after the restart.

Middleton/Morgan, using a new suspension set up on the Corolla WRC, were second fastest on SS1, but had Julian Reynolds/Stewart Merry (Ford Escort WRC) just one second behind. Then on SS2 (Hafren Centre), Middleton was quickest, with a time seven seconds faster than Reynolds.

A first stage spin had cost Gary Smith/Phil Clarke (Ford Escort WRC) time, but they fought back and were fastest on SS3 (Hafren North). This moved them into second place by the halfway point, 13 seconds behind Middleton. Nigel Griffiths/Andrew Owens (Subaru Impreza) had moved past Reynolds to hold third, two seconds behind Smith.

Richard Gough/Les Forsbrook (Ford Escort RS) failed to make it back to Service after a broken rotor arm stopped them. Geraint Mills/Johnny 'Tad' Evans had struggled with the front brakes of their Manta sticking on, this caused the clutch to fail on SS3.

Stuart Cheape/Mark Sattin (Ford Escort Cosworth) had moved up to fifth, passing the struggling Burton, on SS2, but then went off on SS3 and took a stage maximum.

Fastest time on SS4 was shared by Smith and Reynolds. Middleton was experiencing traction problems and dropped two seconds to his rivals, but still led. Smith took fastest time again on SS5, but the rally was denied a last stage fight out, as the Escort WRC ground to a halt on SS6 with hydraulic failure.

Despite the traction issues, Middleton was fastest on the last stage to seal the win with a 25 second victory margin. Reynolds took the runner up spot as Nigel Griffiths struggled after opting for tyres that were too wide for the task; he came in third.

Mid Wales Stages 2002
Winners: Graham Middleton/John Morgan (Toyota Corolla WRC)

Bob Morgan/Dave Saunders had been in fifth when their Ford Escort Cosworth suffered differential failure on SS5. The leaders of the 1600cc Class, Stuart Clarke/Cliff Simmons, should have inherited the position, however their Escort suffered a snapped crank on the same stage.

These two retirements meant that fourth overall, and the 1600cc Class win, at the Finish fell to Ieuan Rowlands/Celvin Savage (Ford Escort RS). Dorian Rees/Gareth Hall (Peugeot 106 GTi), who would go on to win the Clubman Championship at the end of the year, were second in the 1600cc Class. At the Finish, Rees had to be separated from Gareth Jones/Ryland James (Peugeot 106) on a tie break.

There was a tight fight for victory in the small car class between Colin Bound/Shaun O'Gorman (Nissan Micra) and James Wozencroft/David Wozencroft (Vauxhall Nova SR). The two were evenly matched over the first four stages, but Bound managed to pull away on the final two tests to take the class by 17 seconds.

There were just six starters in the Historic Rally. Brian Dennis/Russell Joseph (Mini Cooper S) repeated their 2000 win on the Mid Wales Stages. They took the victory with a winning margin of three minutes.


Pos Driver Co-Driver Car Penalty
1 Graham Middleton John Morgan Toyota Corolla WRC 47m 33s
2 Julian Reynolds Stewart Merry Mitsubishi Lancer Evo4 47m 58s
3 Nigel Griffiths Andrew Owens Subaru Impreza 48m 19s
4 Ieuan Rowlands Celvin Savage Ford Escort RS 51m 20s
5 Mick Gilman Nigel Bayley Ford Escort 51m 23s
6 Steve Southall Dave Southall Ford Escort 52m 26s
7 Martin Kenny Gary Kenny Ford Escort 52m 42s
8 Dorian Rees Gareth Hall Peugeot 106 52m 44s
9 Gareth Jones Ryland James Peugeot 106 52m 44s
10 Darren Edwards Dawn Price Talbot Sunbeam 52m 45s
11 David Short Richard Crossman Ford Sierra 4x4 52m 57s
12 Tim Freeman Andrew Stokes Ford Escort 53m 00s
13 Colin Bound Shaun O'Gorman Nissan Micra 53m 29s
14 James Wozencroft David Wozencroft Vauxhall Nova SR 53m 46s
15 Richard Hopkins Carl Williamson Subaru Impreza 54m 01s
16 Andrew Williams Peter James Ford Sierra Sapphire 54m 05s
17 Paul Pritchard Vern Brown Ford Escort RS 54m 07s
18 Kevin Mecham Collette Le Page Ford Escort 54m 23s
19 Andrew Thomas Gordon Thomas Ford Escort 54m 33s
20 Stuart Thomas Mark Kehrein Ford Sierra Cosworth 54m 54s
21 Keith Parry Gary Matthews Vauxhall Nova 55m 01s
22 Alan Debois Simon Sparey Peugeot 306 55m 16s
23 Richard Phillipson Brian Cammack Vauxhall Nova 55m 16s
24 Simon Millington Ian Capewell Ford Escort 55m 21s
25 Daniel Humphreys Richard Morgan Talbot Sunbeam 55m 58s
26 Anthony MacWhirter Steve Green Vauxhall Cavalier 4x4 56m 10s
27 Cyril Crook Chris Ware Vauxhall Astra 56m 23s
28 Stuart Cheape Mark Sattin Ford Escort Cosworth 56m 39s
29 John Reed Pauline Nash Ford Escort 56m 39s
30 Michael Chinchen Andy Juniper Vauxhall Nova 56m 52s
31 Ralph Abei Mark Swallow Ford Escort 56m 57s
32 Lynsey Hansford Graham Roberts Ford Escort 57m 05s
33 Richard Naylor Kevin Watts Ford Escort RS1800 57m 45s
34 Rob Large Ian Harden Hillman Avenger 58m 01s
35 Ben Colley Richard Walker Peugeot 205 GTi 58m 19s
36 Gareth Hockley Dave Woodhouse Vauxhall Nova 58m 52s
37 Trev Baynham Jon Roberts Ford Escort 59m 20s
38 Sean Grimes Jo Guest Subaru Impreza 60m 01s
39 Gareth Edwards Stuart Drake Vauxhall Nova 60m 32s


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Brian Dennis Russell Joseph Mini Cooper S 44m 29s
2 Kevin Holley Dan Holley Hillman Avenger GT 47m 29s
3 Nigel Dutson Steve Brockington Mini 1275 GT 49m 03s
4 Eric Davies Rob Baldwin Mini Clubman GT 49m 32s
5 Keith Wilson Stephen Croucher Volvo PV544 53m 29s