Classic Tracks Targa Rally
Sponsored by West Wales Rally Spares + Porth Hotel, Llandysul
28th May 2023
Winners: Jamie Jones/Craig Baker (Ford Escort)
Photograph: Mills Photo Sport
Organiser: Llandysul Motor Club
Date: 28th May 2023
Clerk of the Course: Galen Howells
The Classic Tracks received almost 120 entries, 90 within two hours of the regulations being posted. There were some disappointed crews as the event could only accommodate 75 starters.
Crews faced 22 tests, all on farm tracks within a few miles of the Llandysul. None of the tests were used more than once.
The start was from the West Wales Rally Spares headquarters on the outskirts of Llandysul, with the first car leaving at 11:00.
The opening test was not far away, near Pentrellwyn, only Owain Rowlands/Hefin Jones (Mazda MX5) cleaned it. With penalties being based on the time over bogey, this meant that they left the test with zero penalties. Ethan Davies/Daniel Jones (Ford Puma) and Huw Morris/Natasha Morris (Ford Focus) were joint second quickest on 29 seconds.
Test 2 was just under a mile long, but was cleaned by 24 crews, however one dropped time on the slightly shorter Test 3, which was at Maesymeillion. Davies/Jones were fastest, but Rowlands/Jones were only four seconds behind to maintain their lead.
The Mazda MX5 crew were to lose first place on the nearby Test 4 where they failed to halt at a stop astride line; this added a minute to their total. Davies/Jones now led, but had Jamie Jones/Craig Baker just eight seconds behind, while Eilir Williams/Owen Davies were only a second further back.
Damian Cole, with Barry Allman as navigator, was making his first competitive outing since his major crash on the Dixies Challenge. It was a short comeback as his rally came to end after Test 4 when a clutch pipe ruptured on his Escort.
Also in trouble on the test were Daniel Williams/Shaun Richards (BMW 318Ti); they had a shaft break. They coasted to the finish and, thanks to the generous 45 minute lateness limit, had time to change the part before continuing. They finished in seventh place.
Jones/Baker cut the deficit to the leaders by two seconds on Test 5, which was 1.7 miles in length. Williams/Davies dropped ten seconds to Jones/Baker; they remained in third, but were now only just ahead of top seeds, Cadog Davies/Michael Jones (Toyota Corolla).
Ethan Davies/Daniel Jones cleaned the remaining six tests in the first half to arrive at the halfway halt, which was back in Llandysul, with a lead of 19 seconds, as Jones/Baker dropped eight seconds on Test 8, which was between Rhydowen and Capel Dewi. Despite this, they still held second place at the halt.
Davies/Jones were in third at this point, but were concerned about the exhaust on their Corolla. They continued after the break, but had to withdraw due to exhaust damage after Test 13.
The dry conditions were making the conditions tough on the machinery and there were a large number of crews missing at Lunch. These included John Davies/Eurig Davies (Ford Puma), who suffered a shaft breakage and Chris Richmond-Hand/Alan James, whose Ford Escort was halted by a broken gearbox.
The Semi-Expert Class was being led at the lunch halt by William Mains/Clare Hookham (Vauxhall Astra). They were in 17th place overall, but were only six seconds ahead of nearest category rivals Jonathan Davies/Ioan Lloyd (Proton Satria). A broken strut was to cause the retirement of Mains/Hookham after the restart, allowing Davies/Lloyd to take the class win at the Finish.
Gethin Johnson/Kirsty Rose (Vauxhall Corsa Sport) were the leading Novices at the Valley Services break, and were to extend their advantage in the class to over two minutes by the Finish.
The first two tests after the half way break were cleaned by the leading crews. However there was a change in the lead as Ethan Davies/Daniel Jones had a shaft break on their Puma and they were out. This handed the lead to Jones/Baker, who maintained it until the end, extending their advantage to 35 seconds at the Finish. This gave the pair their maiden rally win.
There was a tight battle for the runner up spot between Dafydd-Sion Lloyd/Dion Lewis (Proton Satria Geo) and Steve Knibbs/Gerwyn Barry (Proton Satria). The position changed hands on Test 18, where Lloyd/Lewis moved ahead and ended the rally 13 seconds in front of Knibbs/Barry.
It had been a tough event with only 41 crews finishing, while 34 were on the retirement list. These included Huw Morris/Natasha Morris, who had been in third place, before their Focus had an exhaust manifold split.
- Overall Positions
- Award Winners
- Class Positions
- Time Penalty Summary
- Test Penalty Details
- Fails Penalties
- Test Faults
- Overall Positions at MC2
- Top Ten Positions After Each Test
- Best Individual Test Performances
- List of Starters