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Harlech Stages

Sponsored by Harlech Toyota

Harlech & District Motor Club

4th May 2014

Clerk of the Course: Arthur Jones

Stages: 8 Stages (50 Stage Miles)

Location: Llanbedr Airfield

Starters: 52

Winners: Wil Owen/Rob Hopewell (Ford Escort)

Wil Owen/Rob Hopewell emerged from a tightly fought battle to win the Toyota Harlech Stages. The pair had made a hesitant start and were in third place behind Richard Merriman/Kath Curzon and Carl O’Grady/Emma Todd. They passed the latter crew on SS2 and then on SS3 they were ten seconds faster than Merriman to lead by four.

Merriman clawed three seconds back on SS4 but that was as close as they got as Owen pulled away during the afternoon stages to win by 19 seconds. Merriman took the runner up spot and maximum Welsh Championship points.

After the lunch break attention turned to the battle for third place. O’Grady, driving the ex-Mark Higgins British Championship winning F2 Nissan Sunny, fell slowly into the grasp of the Chevette of Jason Wilson/Elliot Boylan. Driving in his usual spectacular style Wilson passed O’Grady on the penultimate stage to take the final podium position.

Wyn Humphries/Aled Jones debuted a new Escort. They made a cautios start, they were in 20th place after SS1, however they built up confidence and moved through the field to fifth place and a class win at the Finish.

Gavin Edwards/Aled Edwards took a stage maximum on SS2 after a gearstick broke and then retired on SS3 after a tyre exploded and damaged the suspension. They retook the field in the afternoon and had the satisfaction of taking fastest time on the last stage.

Steve Quigley/Terry Martin were another crew debuting a new car, in their case a Clio 172. They were getting to grips with their new steed when it developed a mysterious problem, which suggested a lack of fuel feed. They were unable to trace the cause and withdrew at the halfway point.

A number of cars caught fire after various incidents on stage. These included the Nissan Sunny of Sion Ellis/Aled Wyn Jones, their demise led to the stopping of SS5 after half the cars had completed the test. The rest of the field were given a nominal time which adversely affected a number of results.

David Morgan/Richard Suter brought their 1300cc Darrian into the top ten and won the small car category, as well as vital Welsh Champion points.