Organiser: Brecon Motor Club Date: July 26 Where: Epynt Championships: Welsh National
Tarmac Route: 5 Stages Starters: 78.
Damian Cole/Jack Morton survived at times monsoon conditions to give their new Ford
Fiesta RS WRC a debut win on the Harry Flatters Rally on Sunday. In the process Cole
took fastest time on three of the rally’s five stages. None of the stages were shorter
than 12 miles and four were over 14 miles.
The Epynt Ranges were belted by driving rain for most of the day but the worst conditions
were suffered by the leading runners on the opening stage.
Cole described a massive moment as the Fiesta aquaplaned on the approach to Quarry
Bridge. He ended the test in joint third place. The rain had eased quickly and cars
running just ten minutes behind had better conditions. It was still a surprise when
it emerged that the BMW of Mark Jones/Terry Martin, running at number 21, not only
topped the times, but did so by 15 seconds. It was an heroic effort which left the
cars that Jones passed on the stage in awe at the speed of the E36.
Second place went to No.25, the Mitsubishi Colt of Sean Crowley/Emma Jones, they
stopped the clock three seconds ahead of Cole. They slipped to third after SS2 but
then went out of the event when they slid wide at a triangle on SS3, hit a rock and
did terminal damage to their car’s steering.
Car 19 Phil Turner/Simon Anthony had matched Cole’s time on SS1. They slipped back
to sixth place, a position they maintained until the end of the rally.
Steve Petch/Ian Windress were fifth over SS1 and looked poised to move up when, early
on the second stage, they got out of shape on a bridge and skidded off the road,
beaching their Proton, they unable to continue.
On SS2, with conditions slightly drier, Cole took fastest time and narrowed the gap
to Jones. Taking 12 seconds out of the BMW’s lead, he was only six seconds behind.
On the third stage Cole took another 14 seconds from Jones and moved into first place;
a lead he wasn’t to lose. He finished the day with two further fastest times to give
the new Fiesta a perfect debut. It had been a highly successful day.
Eian Pritchard/Steve McPhee had had a difficult first stage when, during the deluge,
the wipers on the Focus stopped working – “I couldn’t see a thing” declared Pritchard
at the stage finish. As a result he found himself in eleventh position after the
test. The rest of the day was spent fighting back from this misfortunate. His progress
was steady: eighth after SS2, seventh after SS3 and fifth after SS4, he finished
in third place, just 14 seconds behind Jones’s BMW.
Bob Fowden, the winner of the first Harry Flatters in 1985, also had a bad start
to the day. His Impreza picked up a puncture two miles from the end of SS1, he drove
to the end of the stage and as a result found himself in 18th place. His day got
better and, after taking fastest time on SS3, he was in fourth place with one test
to go. However a turbo failure on SS5 meant that he and co-driver Ashley Trimble
failed to make the Finish.
Fowden had been embroiled in a close battle for the win in the M6 Class. It had seemed
that he was likely to take the class win on the final test, but his retirement meant
that Simon Chapman/Paul Wakely secured the category triumph and fourth overall in
their Proton. Although another class rival David Tinn was only 18 seconds and one
place overall behind at the end.
Christian Prynne/Lewis Prynne had led Class M4 from the start. They had a 40 second
advantage over their nearest rival after SS3, but retired on the fourth stage when
a driveshaft broke. Leighton Smith/Mark Powell then took over the lead in their 205
and finished with a winning class margin of two minutes.
The three smaller engined classes all had clear leaders from the off and all survived
to the end. Lloyd Morgan/Marc Clatworthy in Class M1; Richard Bliss/Jamie Vaughan
in M2 and Kevin Tappin/Charles Tappin in M3. The latter crew taking their Escort
to eighth place overall.