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Rali Bro Caron

Sponsored by Windy Corner Coaches

Lampeter & District Motor Club

4th/5th March 2023

Rali Bro Caron 2023
Winners: Andy Davies/Michael Gilbey (Subaru Impreza)
Photograph: Joseph John Gilbertson

Organiser: Lampeter & District Motor Club

Date: 4th/5th March 2023

Clerk of the Course: Dafydd Evans & Cadog Davies

Route: 100 Miles (Maps 145 & 146)

Base: Lampeter

Starters: 90

The Rali Bro Caron was the last major road rally to run before the CoVid Lockdown in 2020, after a two year absence, it made a triumphal return in 2023 on its 40th Anniversary.

A capacity 90 car starting list embarked on a demanding 100 mile route. The Bro Caron also saw the rebirth of the Welsh Road Rally Championship, the last series having been run in 2019.

The start was at The Black Lion in Lampeter, with cars taking the start from underneath the archway, famous from the MN Championship era.

Competitive motoring started just north of the town and the opening section included the run around the Sillian hairpin. The short section included three PCs, before finishing near Pen-y-coed-uchaf. All crews dropped time here.

Quickest by two seconds were Bagger winners, Ieuan Evans/Dafydd-Sion Lloyd (Ford Escort), but this was the high spot of their event. The next control after TC2 was a route check, Evans/Lloyd failed to get the code counter signed by the following marshal; the resultant fail dropped them well down the order. They were eventually classified in 55th position at the Finish, despite having the lowest time penalty total of any crew.

One crew who failed to make it very far into the rally were Steffan 'DR' Davies/Kieran Price, who broke the suspension on their Escort.

TC4, which was after a run through the tight lanes surrounding Trefilan, caught all crews. After this the leaders were Lewis Morgan/Marc Hughes (Ford Escort), they were three seconds now ahead of Arwel Hughes-Jones/Dylan John Williams (Ford Escort).

An easy section, which almost all competitors cleaned, took the route to a non-competitive through Olmarch and Llangybi. Half a dozen of the fastest cars cleaned the five PC section through Llanfair Clydogau, but all were late after a run through Cellan. Morgan/Hughes eked out a further couple of seconds over Hughes Jones/Williams here. Andy Davies/Michael Gilbey (Subaru Impreza) were fastest and were now in third, 16 seconds off the lead.

Significantly George Williams/Aled Richards (Ford Escort), who had been in fourth place, wrong slotted on this section and lost four minutes; this error probably cost them a top three finish, they were eventually classified in 11th place.

Another tight section north of Ffarmers led crews to Petrol, which was taken early, at around the one-third point. Morgan/Hughes were now eight seconds ahead of Hughes Jones/Williams, who, in turn, were seven seconds ahead of Davies/Gilbey. These three crews had opened up a gap on the rest of the field, as John Davies/Eurig Davies (Vauxhall Astra) and Iwan Jones/Andrew Lowe (Ford Escort) were separated by two seconds as they battled for fourth place.

The next critical section used the familiar lanes south of Lampeter, that link the A482 and A485 roads. Hughes Jones/Williams took two seconds back on the leaders, while Davies/Gilbey, in the large Impreza, dropped six seconds here.

The route ran north with everyone once again losing time at TC18 at Moyddin Fawr. Morgan/Hughes were just one second late at the TC, while Davies/Gilbey were on two seconds, meanwhile Hughes Jones/Williams lost nine seconds.

Davies/Gilbey then cleaned to TC20, through Moelcwm, to take second place, as Hughes Jones/Williams were 17 seconds late. Morgan/Hughes maintained their lead, having added three seconds to their total, but they were to go no further as their Escort's engine failed.

The remainder of the event saw a close battle for first place, with a number of lead swaps. Davies/Gilbey maintained their advantage until TC26 at Pen yr orfa, where Hughes Jones/Williams hit the front for the first time.

The Subaru pair then managed to retake the lead at TC28, just south of Ciliau Aeron, but, with one section remaining, their advantage was just one second. The last section was short, but tight and everyone lost time. At the front the battling crews matched each other's time - they both lost nine seconds.

This gave Andy Davies/Michael Gilbey their third Bro Caron win in its last four editions of the event. It also meant that Hughes-Jones was defeated for the first time in over three years.

In the fight for third place, John Davies/Eurig Davies, pulled away from Iwan Jones/Andrew Lowe, to take the position, although the Astra pair were exactly a minute and a half off the lead.

A number of crews were affected by punctures. Moonbeam winners, Mark Lennox/Ian Beamond (Ford Escort) escaped without too much time loss and finished in eighth place. However, Irfon Richards/Daniel Jones (Ford Escort) lost nine minutes a dropped from sixth at Petrol to 29th at the Finish.

In the Welsh Championship, despite being pushed into the runner up spot, Arwel Hughes Jones/Dylan John Williams took maximum series points.

A notable performance was put in by the winning Novice crew, Dion James/Richard James (Peugeot 205 GTi), who not only won their class by over seven minutes, but finished in eighteenth place overall.