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Cambrian Road Rally

Sponsored by Edwards Buildings, Bronant

Tregaron & District Motor Club

28th/29th January 2023

Cambrian Road Rally 2023
Winners: Rhydian Ebenezer/Jon Hawkins (Honda Civic)
Photograph: TJB Media Sport

Organiser: Tregaron & District Motor Club

Date: 28th/29th January 2023

Clerk of the Course: Huw 'Joppa' Evans

Route: 65 Miles + 1 Test (Map 135 & 146)

Base: Pontrhydfendigaid

Starters: 60

Tregaron Motor Club laid out a short but tough challenge for competitors on the Cambrian Road Rally. The night started with a one and a half mile test at the Dolebplion Track. After an hour's plotting time, crews then embarked on a 65 mile route taking a clockwise loop from Pontrhydfendigaid to the coast and back.

A capacity 60 car entry took the start from the rally's base at Pafiliwn Bont.

The test ran anti-clockwise around the track, ending with a tight section through the car park/service area. Ieuan Evans/Dafydd-Sion Lloyd, winners of the Bagger Rally two weeks previously, were the fastest by 15 seconds over test; Evans, a tarmac stage specialist, being familiar with the venue from testing there.

Winners of the 2020 Cambrian, Huw Rowcliffe/Owen Rowcliffe, were joint second fastest, but their night was to be spoilt when they picked up a fail after booking in early at the start of the road section. They completed the route and without the fail they would have won again.

Joint second quickest on the test were Rich 'Ty Capel' Williams/Daniel Jones, however they were an early retirement on the night leg; a slipping clutch stopping their Escort.

Also on the retirement list at an early stage were erstwhile leaders, Evans/Lloyd; their Escort suffering a broken stub axle after heavy contact with a pot hole (Below).

Cambrian Road Rally 2023

The opening road section ran along the southern edge of Llanafan Forest. Hywel Williams/Josh Creffield were fastest to TC3, the first control at which all crews dropped time; the Peugeot 205 crew were exactly a minute late there. They were then 3m44s late at end of the next section, which touched the edge of Llechrod, and where most other crews were clean.

Steve Knibbs/Gerwyn Barry were second fastest over the Llanafan white, two seconds ahead of Iwan Roberts Jnr/Iwan Jones. The latter crew weren't challenging for the lead however as they booked in early at the Main Control after the opening test. Later on they lost time after going off the road and needing the use of a jack to get them out.

Most top crews were clean until TC9, which was located near Rhydroser. Gareth Price/Liam Evans took the lead here and now held an advantage of 30 seconds over Knibbs/Barry, while Deion Atkinson/Aron Jones were in third.

The route remained competitive to TC10, which took crews through Trefenter, and was timed to the minute. Price/Evans lost three minutes and their lead here. Knibbs/Barry also struggled and dropped a minute at TC10.

There was a very tight run through Cnwn y Barcud to TC11, where everyone was late. Kevin 'Steaky' Morgan/Dai Richards now led, but were only 11 seconds in front of the eventual winners, Rhydian Ebenezer/Jon Hawkins.

Bleddyn Thomas/Kieran Price were in third by this point, but Atkinson/Jones were just a second behind. Owain Rowland/Jamie Mills were 13 seconds further back having being in 22nd place after the test, where they had hit a pile of gravel and damaged the brakes on their Mazda MX5.

Jason Davies/Irfon Richards were on the retirement list by now as the clutch on their Peugeot 205 cried "Enough!". Meanwhile the wipers on the Escort of Iwan Davies/Andrew Lowe had failed and they withdrew as they struggled to see out of the car.

The long third section finished near Llanddeiniol at TC13 and everyone dropped time here as the run to the coast ended. Morgan/Richards still led, but Ebenezer/Hawkins were just one second behind them now. While Atkinson/Jones were the only crew within a minute the lead in third.

Cambrian Road Rally 2023

The next section opened with a tight course through Glan-rhos farmyard to TC15, but this did nothing to resolve the battle for the lead as the two leading crews stopped the clock on the same time and they remained a second apart.

Roberts Jnr/Jones were fastest here, while Joe Jones/Matt Rees were second quickest through the farm, but then booked in a minute early at TC16.

All the remaining crews cleaned the run back to Pont-rhyd-y-groes. This left the matter to be decided on the final section, which used the tracks of the disused mines at Rhiwlas.

Ebenezer/Hawkins sealed their win by being over a minute faster than Morgan/Richards through the foggy section; they finished with a winning margin of 1m26s. The Escort crew finished in second, 17 seconds ahead of Knibbs/Barry, who completed the top three.

Andrew Davies/Sion Rowlands had held a substantial lead in the Semi-Expert Class at TC13, but retired with a cooked engine soon afterwards. This left Peter Carroll/Aby Haycock to take the class win.

The Novice Class was led throughout the road sections by Delyth Jones/Lewis Morgan, who brought their Escort into tenth place overall. Gerwyn James/Amy Chapman were over two minutes quicker than any other crew on the last section and this pushed them up to second in the Novice Class at the Finish.