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Rali Goffa James Trenholme

Sponsored by S J & S Williams Ltd + C Evans Electrtical Ltd

Harlech & District Motor Club

25th/26th November 2023

Rali Goffa James Trenholme 2023
Winners: Adam Jones/Osian Vaughan Williams (Ford Escort)
Photograph: © Rally Power Pictures by Dylan Roberts

Organiser: Harlech & District Motor Club

Date: 25th/26th November 2023

Clerk of the Course: Mari Lois Evans & Carwyn Evans

Route: 80 Miles (Map 123)

Base: Sarn Mellteyrn

Starters: 60

Harlech & District Motor Club's annual novice-oriented rally, the Rali Goffa James Trenholme, received an oversubscribed entry, even though Expert crews weren't entitled to enter.

A new development for 2023 was the introduction of a Mentor Class; this allowed an experienced competitor to partner a novice. This class wasn't eligible for overall places, just a class award.

Starting, as usual from Sarn Mellteyrn, the 80 mile route was an intricate, roughly clockwise loop, around the southern end of the Llyn Peninsula; it went no further north than the Nerfyn to Pwllheli main road.

After 90 minutes plotting time, Car 1, previous winners, Gary Ollerenshaw/Llyr Lewis (Vauxhall Corsa), led the field away the short distance to the start of the first competitive section. The top seeds didn't last long; they retired with a broken gearbox in the first half.

The opening test started near Llangian, with a straightforward five mile run to the first TC, which was at Plas yn Rhiw. Most competitors were still clean here.

Competitive motoring continued to SS1F at Botwnnog and it was a demanding section, especially at Gallt-traeth. The organisers had put a great deal of preparations into making the tracks on the trickier parts passable.

Unfortunately, their efforts were in vain. Car 9, Tomos Llyr Roberts/Caron Thomas put their Citroen Saxo into a ditch, blocked the road and delaying the following dozen cars; Geraint Bowness/Huw Evans (Toyota Corolla), in Car 10, were 11 minutes late at the Finish control. Time penalties at that TC were therefore cancelled.

Although it now no longer mattered, Liam Kelliher/Ioan Fox (Honda Civic), running in the Mentor Class, had been quickest to SS1F, 27 seconds quicker than fellow Mentors Jamie Ollerenshaw/Tomos Roberts (BMW Compact).

The cancellation meant that all but two cars were clean of penalties as they entered the second section. This began north-east of Botwnnog and opened with another demanding set of tracks and triangles, before looping around to finish at Trefaes.

No one was clean after this section. Kelliher/Fox, once again, were quickest, but the Novice crew of Adam Jones/Osian Vaughan Williams (Ford Escort) were only two seconds behind on 27 seconds dropped; this moved them into the overall lead. However, there were another half dozen crews under a minute, so competition was close.

The route moved back past the start venue at Sarn to begin Section Three just to the north of the village. The six minute section finished at Pant and contained a total of five Passage Controls and Route Checks.

Aron Williams/Eifion Wyn Pugh (Ford Escort) were quickest to SS3F and drew to within eight seconds of Jones/Williams, who had been second fastest on the section. Tomos Lloyd Jones/Ronw Llew Roberts (Mazda MX5) led the pack in third place, but they were now 44 seconds off the lead.

Kelliher/Fox led the Mentor Class having been five seconds behind Williams/Pugh on Section Three. Gethin Eifion Jones/Gwion Richard Davies had come off the Reserve List to take up a last minute start at Car 41. They were in second place in the Mentor Class at this point, 40 seconds behind Kelliher/Fox.

The rally moved to the southern tip of the Peninsula for Sections Four and Five. The former started at Penygroeslon and finished at Penycaerau. There was one intermediate time control, which was timed to the minute, while the Finish Control was timed to the second.

Inexplicably, Kelliher/Fox, leading the Mentor Class, were one of only two crews to drop time at MTC4; they added a minute to their total and fell behind Jones/Davies in the battle for the class win.

In contrast, Jones/Williams consolidated their overall lead by being clean at SS4F, while Jones/Roberts were ten seconds late.

By this point the event had lost a number of cars. Andrew John Baines/Carwyn Llyr Griffiths had the engine fail on their Escort, while electrical maladies stopped the Fiesta ST of Kevin Kerr/Deio Wyn Jones. Broken shafts had caused the end of the rally for both Deio Jones/Jac Roberts (Vauxhall Corsa B) and Tomos Wyn Shakespeare/Iwan Bowness (Peugeot 205).

The final part of the first half was split into two four minute sections, with a to-the-minute time control in the middle. It used the lanes to the north-west of Aberdaron, with a number of triangle controls.

To underline their good form, Jones/Williams were fastest again and reached the halfway halt with a lead of 23 seconds over Williams/Pugh, who, throughout the first half, were never far behind, keeping the competition for the win very much alive.

Behind Williams/Pugh there was a 1m 12s gap to third placed Jones/Roberts. There was a close battle for fourth place, with William Owain Roberts/Dafydd Gwyn Roberts (Peugeot 206), Phil Gallagher/Mick Gallagher (Ford Escort) and Dyfrig Glyn Evans/Osian Richards (Peugeot 205) only separated by seven seconds.

In the Mentor Class, Jones/Davies led Sion Jones/Sian Elen (Peugeot 206) by 15 seconds.

Rali Goffa James Trenholme 2023

There was no petrol halt, but a 30 minute rest halt was taken at the Whistling Sands Car Park. After the break, competition restarted a little over a mile away at Rhydlois. There were just two sections in the second half, the first followed the coast northwards, finishing just before Rhos-y-llan. There were two time controls, plus the finish; the second intermediate control was timed to the second.

Elis Hardy/John Jones (Mazda MX5), who were in seventh place at the halfway halt, were the only crew to stop the clock at under a minute at STC6. This pushed them into the tussle for hotly contested fourth place.

The leaders were second fastest to the control, 11 seconds behind the flying MX5, and now led Williams/Pugh by 39 seconds. Huw Jones/Robin Jones, who had been in eighth at halfway, fell down the order after they booked in two minutes early at the finish control and picked up two fails.

There was long non-comp section to the start of the final section. This started at near Bodvel Hall and went via Meillonen and Dinas, to end just short of the finish venue at Tudweiliog. There were three intermediate time controls; one, plus the finish, were timed to the second.

Williams/Pugh were best to STC 7B, the intermediate timed to the second, and reduced the gap to Adams/Williams by 23 seconds. The gap between the two crews was now 16 seconds. However, Williams/Pugh then dropped a minute at MTC 7C, and, with Adams/Williams taking fastest at the final control, the Escort pairing came home with a victory margin of 1m 27s.

The runner up spot went to Aron Williams/Eifion Wyn Pugh, who ended in a lonely second place, 1m 13s ahead of third placed Tomos Lloyd Jones/Ronw Llew Roberts. Phil Gallagher/Mick Gallagher charged hard in the second half and finished just ten seconds behind Jones/Roberts in fourth place.

Gethin Eifion Jones/Gwion Richard Davies won the Mentor Class by almost two minutes. They would have been placed in second place if they'd been eligible for overall awards.

There was an award for the highest placed navigator aged 16 or Under; this was won by twelve year old Nanw Haf Manion, who navigated Rhian Jones to eleventh place overall.