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Eagle Road Rally

Newtown & District Auto Club

9th/10th December 2023

Eagle Road Rally 2023
Winners: Richard Jerman/Alan James (Ford Escort)
Photograph: © David Hales

Organiser: Newtown & District Auto Club

Date: 9th/10th December 2023

Clerk of the Course: Alan Horn

Route: 100 Miles (Map 136)

Base: Newtown

Starters: 55

The Eagle Road Rally brought a highly successful Welsh Road Rallying season to a close, and the event lived up to the high standards that had been set by many organisers throughout 2023.

A number of withdrawals and Scrutineering failures meant that the number of starters was 55, there having been an oversubscribed entry prior to the night.

Competitive motoring started just outside Newtown, with a ten mile section that ran through Llanmerewig towards Sarn and after the Cwmearl white, ran south to the Kerry Pole. There was a TC timed to the minute after three miles, while the next control was timed to the second, with the finish, once again, being to the minute.

Almost all crews made their minute at TC2, but there were no clean sheets by the time that they reached TC3. On the driver's home ground, Richard Jerman/Alan James (Ford Escort) put in the best time here, but top seeds George Williams/Cadog Davies (Ford Escort) were only three seconds in arrears. Also showing their pace at this early stage were Iwan Roberts/Iwan Jones (Toyota Corolla); they were six seconds behind Jerman. Everyone reached the finish TC on time.

There was a short non-comp before the start of the second section at TC5, which was situated near Turgy. The two miles to TC6, at the B4355 junction, was via Medwaledd. All dropped time here, but it was the same three crews who topped the time sheet. Jerman/James were fastest, with Roberts/Jones two seconds behind and Williams/Davies one second further back.

There was then a six mile run to TC7 and the end of the section; this control was just before the A483 junction at Crochran. All were clean here.

TC8, at Cefn-Lea, to TC9 near Pentre, was just two miles long, but it had a dramatic effect on the lead battle. The Escort of Williams/Davies broke a stub axle; the stranded car blocked the road and delayed the following cars. The top seeds were out and the section was cancelled. Also out at this point was the Escort of Daniel Jones/Gareth Flynn, which developed a severe misfire.

Competition resumed at Mochdre, with a route running over to Moat Lane, using the Hendre loop near the start. Jerman/James were just five seconds late at TC11 and took nine seconds out of Roberts/Jones. Steven John Williams/Kieran Price (Ford Escort) were third fastest and were now 45 seconds behind the leaders.

The first half finished with a run from Dolwen to Hopbrook, east of Llanidloes. Rob Stephens/Jamie Mills (Ford Escort) took fastest here; they were two seconds ahead of Roberts/Jones and five in front of Jerman/James.

Petrol was taken at Bardley's Garage in Caersws. By this point Jerman/James held a lead of only 14 seconds over Roberts/Jones, while Stephens/Mills were now in third, 37 seconds off first place. There was a tight battle for the Expert Class win where Gethin Dafis/Arfon Griffiths (Ford Escort), who were in eighth place overall, led Matthew Jones/Richard 'Tyson' Morris (Vauxhall Astra) by three seconds.

Similarly, only five seconds separated Mckorley Crone/Daniel Jones (BMW 318) from Jamie Atherton/Andrew Millington (Citroen Saxo VTS) in the battle for the Semi-Expert honours. The leading Novices were Sion Busson/Llion Evans (Proton Satria), who were in 29th place overall.

Eagle Road Rally 2023

The second half consisted of just three competitive sections, with seven TCs timed to the second. It opened at Pontdolgoch, with a climb up to Bwlch y Garreg. The top three crews, plus Dafydd 'Post' Evans/Eifion Pughe (Ford Escort), were the only ones to clean this part.

All crews reached TC16, which was at the end of a straight run down to New House, on time, but then all were late at TC17, after a run around the north of Bwlch-y-ffridd. Mark Lennox/Ian Beamond (Ford Escort), who'd had a troubled night, were the only car to drop under a minute. Steven John Williams/Kieran Price retired on this section after becoming stuck in a field.

In the battle for the lead, Jerman/James took ten seconds out of Roberts/Jones and 23 from Stephens/Mills. All were on time at TC18 at Adfa, which ended the section.

The route reached its most northly point with the start of the next section at Cefn Coch. There then followed a demanding trek through the lanes in the New Mills, Tregynon and Bettws Cedewain to bring the crews back to the Finish at Newtown.

The main dramas here were wiper motor problems which beset the Escort of Jerman/James; they managed to fix in a Neutral section, and two time consuming wrong slots for Roberts/Jones, these dropped them from seconds to tenth place at the Finish.

Forty-nine crews had made Petrol, but it was only 38 that made the Finish. Jerman/James led them home, having extended their lead to a 2m 33s victory margin at the end. Stephens/Mills took the runner up spot, 24 seconds ahead of the leading Expert crew, Gethin Dafis/Arfon Griffiths, making it an Escort 1-2-3.

Zak Hughes/Dion Lewis stormed through the second half to move from eleventh at Petrol to secure fourth place in the overall results.

Mckorley Crone/Daniel Jones pulled away from their category rivals after Petrol and came home in twelfth place overall and taking the win in the Semi-Expert Class. Sion Busson/Llion Evans also maintained their Novice Class lead to secure the first in class award at the Finish.

On their first rally, Rob Williams/Emily Jones (BMW 318) won the Mixed Crew Award, finishing in 29th place.