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Pacemaker Road Rally

Knighton Motor Club

8th/9th July 2023

Pacemaker Road Rally 2023
Winners: George Williams/Cadog Davies (Ford Escort)
Photograph: Joseph John Gilbertson

Organiser: Knighton Motor Club

Date: 8th/9th July 2023

Clerk of the Course: Steve Price, Simon Naughton & Matt Price

Route: 86 Miles (Maps 136 & 137)

Base: Knighton

Starters: 60

Knighton Motor Club once again put on a Pacemaker Rally that conformed to its usual format of a short but demanding road rally. The route was only 79 miles, but there was little respite for crews throughout the virtually non-stop three hours of competition.

The event consisted of four competitive sections, the first starting near New Invention and finishing at Clunton. There were two TCs, plus the finish clock.

All crews dropped time at the first TC. Top seeds and 2022 winners, Richard Jerman/Alan James (Ford Escort) were fastest by four seconds from George Williams/Cadog Davies (Escort), with Iwan Jones/Andrew Lowe (Escort) two seconds further back.

Most of the top 20 cleaned the section to the TC 1b, although Mark 'GT' Roberts/Dyaln Jenkins (VW Golf GTi) wrong slotted and dropped 27 seconds; this plunged them from eighth to eighteenth position.

The run to the section finish was a tricky one around Llanadevy and Cwm, with a PC on a triangle. Only two crews dropped less than a minute here; fastest on 56s were Richy Williams/Robbie Pugh (Ford Sierra), while Arwel Hughes-Jones/Dylan John Williams (Ford Escort) were only one second behind, on what was Hughes-Jones' first attempt at the Pacemaker. These two crews were now fourth and third respectively.

Meanwhile Jerman/James extended their lead to ten seconds over Williams/Davies, while Jones/Lowe fell to seventh place.

The second section ran either side of the River Unk, and included the Cefn Einion triangles before finishing at Colebatch. Again there were two TCs, plus the Finish. Most crews dropped time at the middle TC, which was located near Reilth Farm.

Jerman/James were fastest, by eight seconds, to TC 2b; this increased their lead to 19 seconds. Roberts/Jenkins made amends for their earlier error, by being second quickest, one second ahead of Williams/Davies. Jones/Lowe also put in a good time and moved back up to fourth place.

Former Welsh Champions, Mark Lennox/Ian Beamond (Escort), had an under-par night. They wrong slotted and lost a minute at the start of the second section and, on the final section were delayed by a cow that wouldn't move. They finished the night in eleventh place.

The third section was the longest of the event, at 26 miles, and contained ten timing points. It started north of Lydham, and included Linley, Moat Hill and Bettws-y-crwyn, to finish near Felindre.

The quickest cars dropped time at three controls. Once again, Jerman/James were fastest, and ended the section with a lead of 38 seconds over Jones/Lowe who had been only four seconds slower than them to SF3. Williams/Davies were in third, 46 seconds off the lead.

By this point Stefan 'DR' Davies/Kieran Price had retired their Escort after the coil failed.

There now remained just one section to complete. It had a comparatively easy start, running down from Felindre to Crossways and then around Llanbister Road, but then came a run around the loop from Llangunllo Station, Dolyfelin and Creignant. There were two TCs on this part, the first TC 4d was timed to the minute, while the second, TC 4e, was to the second. There were also three triangle PCs.

The latter part of the loop claimed the leaders; Jerman/James went off the road, too far off to be able regain the tarmac. They were out.

With the demise of the long-time leaders, it was George Williams/Cadog Davies who took advantage, they were on a mission and put in a perfect performance, hitting each of the three triangle controls perfectly. They cleaned all the TCs to claim a winning margin of just over a minute at the Finish.

Arwel Hughes Jones/Dylan John Williams came through to take second place and another useful haul of Welsh Championship points. Thirteen seconds further back, Richy Williams/Robbie Pugh, took third place; they were also the first Expert crew home. Jerman's stranded car had slowed Jones/Lowe, and they dropped to fourth at the Finish.