Organiser: Bath Motor Club Date: February 07/08 Where: Wiltshire/Somerset Championships:
AWMMC & HRCR Premier Route: 140 Miles Starters: 56.
John Davies/Nick Bloxham fought back from an early error to take victory on The Festival
Rally. The Bath MC event saw a cosmopolitan entry, drawn from throughout the UK,
tackle the slippery, and later on, foggy lanes of the West Country.
The rally opened with four tests south of Frome, before crews moved west to the Shepton
Mallet area, for a series of regularity sections, with petrol being taken at Wells.
Gavin Rogers/Bob Rutherford were quickest through the tests; they were 19 seconds
faster than Davies/Bloxham. The surprise here was the performance of Car 23, Mark
Lennox/Ian Beamond in their Anglia; they held third, ten seconds behind the eventual
Things changed dramatically soon after the regularity sections commenced. Davies/Bloxham
booked into a time control more than a minute early and, with double penalties for
early arrival, they had over two minutes added to their total. This dropped them
to eighth at Petrol. Rogers/Rutherford dropped to fourth after a wrong slot.
This meant that Nic Morris/Martin Phasey, getting to grips with front wheel drive
machinery in place of their usual Escort, led at the fuel halt. They were 42 seconds
ahead of Lennox/Beamond, who had Scott Jonas/Chris Perry snapping at their tail just
one second in arrears. The latter crew were to fall down the order after missing
a TC soon afterwards.
The battle intensified as the route moved to the Chew Valley Lake area. Morris/Phasey
dropped two and a half minutes at one control and fell as low as sixth before recovering
to third at the Finish. Lennox/Beamond now led but Davies/Bloxham were on a charge
and eventually overhauled the Anglia duo as the rally moved back eastwards towards
the Finish at Westbury. The matter became immaterial as Lennox/Beamond picked up
a fail having missed a PC towards the end.
Davies/Bloxham ended with a misleadingly comfortable victory margin of almost two
minutes. This gave Bloxham his second win on the event in three years. Gavin Rogers/Bob
Rutherford came back to secure the runner up spot.
Jon Gwillym/Jordan Dziadulewicz had a short and unfortunate event; they were hit
in the rear by a non-competing car on the run out to the first test and the resultant
damage meant that they had to withdraw before any of the competitive sections.