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Clerk of the Course: Richard Edwards & Graham Evans
Stages: 8 (39 Stage Miles)
Venue: Sarnau & Hafren
Starters: 88 + 10 Classic & 7 Historic
Winners: Graham Middleton/John Morgan (Toyota Corolla WRC)
Graham Middleton/John Morgan took their second successive win on the Rally Marketing Mid Wales Stages. Shaun Gardener/Dave Brick led initially but had to give best to Middleton/Morgan, with the Corolla pairing finishing the Newtown & District AC event thirty seconds ahead.
The rally consisted of eight stages, two stages in the Sarnau complex (Cwmcynydd & Cwmysgawen) and two in Hafren (Maesnant & Hafren North); these made up a loop which was tackled twice, giving 39 competitive miles.
Middleton started cautiously having just had the engine rebuilt and this allowed Gardener, returning after an 18 month lay off and competing in the ex-Mick Jones Lancer E5, to open up a lead of four seconds after SS2.
Third place after SS2 was held by Rob Dick/Baz Green (Ford Escort). They slipped back to fifth by the finish, but this was enough to garner a good collection of North Western Championship points and claim the Over 2-litre Class.
Mick Jones had a miserable day in his Lancer E3. Third fastest through Cwmcynydd, he picked up a puncture in Cwmysgawen and dropped 15 seconds to the leaders. He was holding fifth place when the car came to a halt in Hafren with a turbo failure.
Stage One claimed two of the top ten starters; John Ashton/Mark Lewis (Ford Escort) rolled heavily, while Paul Jackson/Patrick Walsh (Mitsubishi Lancer E3) were stopped by transmission problems. James Sparrow/Phil Pickard were struggling with a slipping clutch on their Ford Escort Cosworth. This problem persisted and later in the day they started to have engine management issues and had to switch off the anti-lag. As a result they trailled home in 18th place at the Finish.
Middleton was fastest through the first Hafren stage and moved into a one second lead. Fastest time on all the remaining five stages meant that Corolla pilot came home 33 seconds ahead of the field. This was despite a big moment, which he just managed to catch, on Stage Four.
Shaun Gardener/Dave Brick lost their intercom on SS5, but this didn't stop them matching Middleton's time. They finished the event in a secure second place. Bob Morgan/Adrian Williams (Ford Escort Cosworth) had a clutch fluid leak throughout the day, losing all the fluid on SS4. They survived to take the last podium place behind Middleton and Gardener.
The first time pairing of Ieuan Rowlands/Huw Lewis improved their position in both the Miller Oils Welsh Clubmans and North Western Championships by taking the 1600cc class win and fourth overall.
The 1600cc to 2000cc Class provided an interesting competition. Gareth Edwards/Stuart Darke (Vauxhall Nova) were the early pace setters, despite suffering from overheating problems, they held fourth place overall at the halfway service halt. However they rolled into retirement on Stage Five.
The class lead was then held by the Escort of Dave Harris/Neil Bevan, but they came to halt with a blown engine on SS7. This should have meant that Geraint Mills/Jonny 'Tad' Evans (Opel Manta) took the lead, but they were slowed on the latter stages by a rear diff problem; this gave them one wheel drive for the last stage. They finished four seconds behind the class winners, Tim Jones/Don James (Ford Escort). The latter had had a fuse blow on their fan during the first loop of stages, but this was fixed at Service and they lost no time.
Malcolm Bayliss/Mark Roberts led the Historic Rally going into the last stage, however they had the battery on their Mexico go flat in the stage and they took a meximum. This allowed Hugh Currell/Brian Thomas to take the category win in their Cortina. Gareth Lloyd/Dilwyn Llewellyn comfortably won the Classic Rally despite their Escort’s gearbox failing on SS8.
Paul Tod/Iestyn ap Daffydd leapt to the head of the Peugeot 205 Challenge series when they won the category on the Mid Wales Stages. A spin on the first stage, which cost them twenty seconds, was the only blot on their copy book as they finished eleven seconds ahead of Chris Davies/Nathan Parry.
The strength of this series was underlined by the fact that forty-four 205 Challenge crews contested the event. This was the third round and the first forestry event in the series. For many of the crews it was their first taste of gravel rallying. To give the competitors a target to aim for, Mark Higgins drove Kevin Furber’s ex-works 205 on the rally and, despite the car being only a 1300cc model, he finished sixth overall.
Tod/ap Daffydd had been in third place in the championship prior to the event, but their second successive win put them at the top with four rounds remaining. Previous leaders Jason Stone/Paul Davenport rolled their car on SS5 and came home well down the order. Ben Colley/Andy Bull led the Challenge after two stages but a severe accident on SS5 put them out of the event.
Despite losing out on the win, Davies/Parry had the consolation of taking maximum points in the beginners class, while Pete Johnston/Oli Gardiner won the Novice category. Chris Reid/Doddy Farmer lost a great deal of time when they had to stop on the first stage and re-wire a failed fuel pump, however they bounced back to take two fastest stage times later in the day.
Despite an overshoot, when they were blinded by the dust of a slower car on SS4, Matt Barker/Dave Pitchford once again dominated the 1900cc Scholarship. They came home in 13th place overall, three minutes clear of their nearest challenger.
|1||Graham Middleton||John Morgan||Toyota Corolla WRC||41m 55s|
|2||Shaun Gardener||Dave Brick||Mitsubishi Lancer Evo5||42m 28s|
|3||Bob Morgan||Adrian Williams||Ford Escort Cosworth||43m 42s|
|4||Ieuan Rowlands||Huw Lewis||Ford Escort||43m 49s|
|5||Rob Dick||Baz Green||Ford Escort||43m 59s|
|6||Mark Higgins||Kev Furber||Peugeot 205||45m 15s|
|7||John Rowlands||E G Jones||Ford Escort||45m 44s|
|8||Andrew Kenny||Gary Kenny||Mitsubishi Lancer E3||45m 55s|
|9||Tim Jones||Don James||Ford Escort||46m 15s|
|10||Geraint Mills||Jonny 'Tad' Evans||Opel Manta||46m 15s|
|11||Martin Kenny||Dave Stocking||Ford Escort||46m 20s|
|12||Paul Pritchard||Vern Brown||Ford Sierra 4x4||46m 37s|
|13||Matt Barker||Dave Pitchford||Peugeot 205||46m 39s|
|14||Dan Humphreys||Richard Jerman||Talbot Sunbeam||46m 53s|
|15||James Young||David Young||Vauxhall Astra GTE||46m 57s|
|16||James Belton||Paul Williams||Ford Escort RS||47m 19s|
|17||Keith Parry||Martyn Quant||Vauxhall Nova||47m 24s|
|18||James Sparrow||Phil Pickard||Ford Escort Cosworth||47m 57s|
|19||Richard Yorke||Rob Large||Vauxhall Chevette||48m 01s|
|20||Paul Tod||Iestyn ap Dafydd||Peugeot 205||48m 01s|
|21||Chris Davies||Nathan Parry||Peugeot 205||48m 12s|
|22||Gareth Hockley||Gareth Vickers||Vauxhall Nova||48m 16s|
|23||Tim Griffiths||Penny Norman||Subaru Impreza||48m 37s|
|24||Simon Moore||Chris Purvis||Peugeot 205||48m 42s|
|25||Thomas Curtis||Michael Harris||Peugeot 205||48m 46s|
|26||Pete Johnston||Oli Gardiner||Peugeot 205||48m 56s|
|27||Ian Winstanley||Neil Bye||Peugeot 205||49m 04s|
|28||Richard McLachlan||Matthew McLachlan||Peugeot 205||49m 15s|
|29||Chris Gittins||Stuart Humphreys||Ford Escort||49m 16s|
|30||Juline Brine||Bob Rose||Peugeot 205||49m 25s|
|31||Michael Curtis||David Curtis||Peugeot 205||49m 37s|
|32||Ian Tippet||Liam O'Kane||Peugeot 205||49m 39s|
|33||Anthony Hutchings||Kevin Hutchings||VW Golf||49m 45s|
|34||Alan Walker||Peter White||Ford Escort||49m 52s|
|35||A R Hepworth||Jonathan Turnbell||Subaru Impreza||49m 55s|
|36||Mick Bradley||Ron Bradley||Peugeot 309||50m 07s|
|37||Nik Blackhurst||Richard Brunning||Peugeot 205||50m 20s|
|38||Simon Taft||Stewart Foley||Peugeot 205||50m 20s|
|39||Noel Kelly||James Kelly||Ford Escort||50m 22s|
|40||Phil Madden||Geoff Nash||Peugeot 205||50m 34s|
|41||Chris Wilson||Corin Redman||Vauxhall Astra||50m 41s|
|42||Chris Reid||Doody Farmer||Peugeot 205||50m 46s|
|43||Craig Schofield||Zoe Schofield||Peugeot 205||50m 50s|
|44||Mark Turner||Mark Oliver||Peugeot 205||50m 51s|
|45||George Thomas||Graham Hopewell||Peugeot 205||50m 57s|
|46||Pete Hamer||Nik Griffiths||Talbot Sunbeam||51m 13s|
|47||Andy Streton||Ian Harden||Peugeot 205||51m 14s|
|48||Jason Stone||Paul Davenport||Peugeot 205||51m 17s|
|49||Arthur Orme||Guy Farrant||Subaru Impreza||51m 29s|
|50||Richard Cook||Edith Hunter||Peugeot 205||51m 44s|
|51||Mark Gamble||Shane Gamble||Peugeot 205||51m 46s|
|52||Chris Bayliss||Paul Fisher||Peugeot 205||52m 05s|
|53||Steve Riley||Peter Taylor||Peugeot 205||52m 05s|
|54||Stuart Peterson||Adrian Jacobs||Peugeot 205||52m 08s|
|55||Michael Nippers||Stuart Powell||Peugeot 205||52m 10s|
|56||James Alexander||Steve Brockington||Peugeot 106||52m 14s|
|57||Michael Green||Phil Pearce||Peugeot 205||52m 38s|
|58||Chris Paulson||Andrew Dover||Peugeot 205||52m 46s|
|59||Huw Davies||Martin Jones||Peugeot 205||52m 53s|
|60||Mark Sayer||Paul Edwards||Peugeot 205||52m 58s|
|61||Geoff Whiston||Steve Owen||Ford Escort||53m 25s|
|62||Steve Rogers||Pete Gill||Peugeot 205||53m 29s|
|63||Tristran Pearce||Dave Cox||Peugeot 205||53m 54s|
|64||Stephen Luscombe||Andrew Jol||Peugeot 205||53m 54s|
|65||Gareth Forknell||Nichlas Forknell||Peugeot 205||54m 52s|
|66||Paul Smith||Alan Smith||Peugeot 205||55m 41s|
|67||Peter Hopkins||Nicky Cadwallander||Peugeot 205||55m 56s|
|68||Chris Hamblett||Carolyn Hamblett||Talbot Sunbeam||56m 17s|
|69||James Watkins||Matthew Perkins||Peugeot 205||57m 27s|
MID WALES HISTORIC STAGES
|1||Hugh Currell||Bryan Thomas||Ford Lotus Cortina||55m 25s|
|2||Kevin Holley||Dan Holley||Hillman Avenger GT||56m 22s|
|3||Richard Pugh||Liz Pugh||Volvo 122S||57m 13s|
|4||Nigel Kelsall||Peter Davies||Fiat 124 Special||57m 55s|
|5||Martin Taylor||Peter Nash||Ford Escort Mexico||1h 00m 14s|
|6||Malcolm Bayliss||Mark Roberts||Ford Escort RS||1h 00m 15s|
MID WALES CLASSIC STAGES
|1||Gareth Lloyd||Dilwyn llewellin||Ford Escort||46m 17s|
|2||Dave Cobb||Allen Craven||Toyota Corolla||51m 34s|
|3||Rick Oliver||Colin Ellis||Ford Escort RS||56m 26s|