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Rali Bro Preseli

Sponsored by Arjay Factors (Cardigan) Ltd + Robins Taxis

Teifi Valley Motor Club

1st/2nd April 2023

Rali Bro Preseli 2023
Winners: Gethin Dafis/Llyr Davies (Ford Escort)
Photograph: Brian Gilbert

Organiser: Teifi Valley Motor Club

Date: 1st/2nd April 2023

Clerk of the Course: Huw Phillips, Jason Davies & Richard Davies

Route: 95 Miles (Maps 145 & 157)

Base: Lampeter

Starters: 75

Despite Expert crews not being eligible for the event, 111 entries were received for the 75 starting placings on the Rali Bro Preseli. So it was a capacity field that assembled at Crymych Cattle Market for Teifi Valley MC's annual novice rally.

The event had just three competitive sections; two before Petrol and one afterwards. There were only very short neutral sections.

The first section made up almost a third of the rally. It started just outside Crymych, with the first of eleven intermediate time controls being near Tegryn. Twelve crews dropped time at TC1 as they missed the slot running south on a white from Tegryn. Four others made the mistake of booking early; with the penalty being double the amount that they were early, this an expensive mistake.

The run to TC2 touched the edge of Llanfyrnach, before going through Llwyncelyn-lan. Only around a dozen were clean of penalties after that control.

The next tight section was around Cwmbach; only four crews made their time at TC4. One of these was the Ford Fiesta of Carwyn Evans/Chris Richmond Hand, but they had booked into TC2 a minute early, which added two minutes to their penalties. They were to retire in the second half with a broken shaft.

Another crew who fell foul of booking in early were Matthew Davies/Dion Lewis (Ford Escort); they were clean until TC7, when they arrived 31 seconds ahead of their due time. They repeated the error at TC11. Without these mistakes they would have been in second place at Petrol.

Two top ten starters were already out of the running; Huw Morris/Sam Weller (Ford Focus) retired with a broken clutch, while a failed gearbox stopped the Peugeot 205 of Dion James/Justin Davies.

The three controls timed to the second at the end of the first section, caught almost all crews. Two former Clerks of the Course for the Bro Preseli teamed up to compete in 2023, Dafydd-Sion Lloyd/Chris Hill (Ford Escort) took the lead at TC9. They were second quickest through the tracks of Bronyscawen and Pantglas, behind Davies/Lewis, and were now the only crew with penalties of less than a minute.

At this point Lloyd/Hill held a lead of 30 seconds, with Evan Shepherd/Jamie Wilson (Ford Sierra) in second, in turn they were just two seconds ahead of Gethin Dafis/Llyr Davies (Ford Escort). Jamie Evans/Jason Nicholls were in sixth, but got no further as their Renault Clio suffered a broken shaft.

Lloyd/Hill were the only crew to be clean at TC10, which was a triangle control at Aberelwyn, and were quickest again on the section that closed the opening part of the route at SF1. This had involved two triangle controls, plus two 'Follow the arrows' tracks. One of these controls was PC16, which was missed by a number of crews, these included Jordan Summers/Lewis Griffiths (Ford Escort), who, without the resultant fail, would have been in sixth place.

The second section was quite short, starting just south of Crymych and finishing at Crosswell. There were three timing points, including the finish. It caused no problems for most competitors, most cleaned it. However, Mark Lloyd/Paul Jones (Ford Puma) booked in a minute early at one TC and dropped from seventh place as a result.

At Petrol, which was taken at Eglwyswrw, Lloyd/Hill held a lead of 1m 33s, with Shepherd/Wilson in second, but they were only two seconds ahead of Dafis/Davies, who were third. From a start number of 32, Carwyn Adams/Dyfrig James (Ford Escort) were holding fifth place at this point.

The Novice Class was being led by Aled Davies/Ethan Davies (Ford Puma), who were in eighth place overall and a minute and a half ahead of their nearest class rival.

The second half was a single competitive section; there was no respite, as there were nine timing points. It started just outside Eglwyswrw and finished a quarter of mile from the Finish venue in Llandisillio.

For the leading runners there were two critical parts, one led to TC18 near the Llys-y-fran Country Park. This control was timed to the minute. The other tight section was the final part, which used the tight and twisty lane past Bron-y-gaer.

Every crew dropped time at TC18. Significantly, Lloyd/Hill, Dafis/Davies and Adam/James were just a minute late, but Shepherd/Wilson were two minutes late; this dropped them from second to fourth.

From this point the main focus moved to whether Adam/James could catch Dafis/Davies. At the penultimate control (TC21), Dafis/Davies booked in four seconds early (eight second penalty), while Adam/James were seven seconds late. The two cars were now separated by 38 seconds.

On the final section, Adam/James were 34 seconds faster than Dafis/Davies, so ended the event four seconds behind. Lloyd/Hill had dropped 1m 46s on the section, but still finished with 47 seconds fewer penalties than Dafis/Davies.

It appeared that Lloyd/Hill had secured a clear win. However, the organisers, with a surfeit of marshals, had managed to deploy 17 Driving Standard Observers during the night. When the DSO reports arrived at the Finish, it was found that Lloyd/Hill had been reported for not stopping at one junction. They were disqualified and Dafis/Davies were awarded a well-deserved victory. Adam/James were now second, with Shepherd/Wilson third.

Various DSO reports detailed other give way misdemeanours; this saw eight further crews being disqualified from the results.

Aled Davies/Ethan Davies maintained their lead in the Novice Class to the Finish, although Richard James/Peter White (Ford Escort) narrowed the gap to them slightly in the second half.

Iolo Phillips/Dion Phillips (Nissan Micra) were the only one of the four starters in the Beginners Class to make the Finish and therefore gained the category win.