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Les Roberts Memorial Border 100

Sponsored by Border View Tiles

Welsh Border Car Club

6th/7th April 2024

Les Roberts Memorial Border 100 2024
Winners: Iwan Jones/Andrew Lowe (Ford Escort)
Photograph: © David Hales

Organiser: Welsh Border Car Club

Date: 6th/7th April 2024

Clerk of the Course: Ian 'Dude' Roberts, Mark 'GT' Roberts & Dale Furniss

Route: 100 Miles (Maps 125, 126 & 136)

Base: Llanfyllin

Starters: 75

The 2024 Border 100 was run in memory of Les Roberts, who died of prostate cancer in August 2023. Les was the person who was responsible for getting three Welsh Road Rally Champions involved in the sport. Those champions were his cousins Ian 'Dude' Roberts, Mark 'GT' Roberts and nephew Dale Furniss. Fittingly, these three took on the role of Joint Clerks of the Course for the Border. They put on a superbly organised event, of which Les could have been very proud.

The seventy-five entry was filled within two hours of entries opening and so it was a capacity field that left the start venue at Llanfyllin High School for a rain drenched night's entertainment.

Competition opened with a 53 minute string of six standard sections, these used familiar Border 100 territory. It started at Moel Frochas and crews had a 16 minute section to TC1A near Mynydd yr Esgryn. Almost all crews were clean at the time control.

The first casualties of the night were Robi Wood/Daniel Jones; their Escort suffered an engine failure at a spectator point around three miles into the section. Also out early was the Escort of Guy Woodcock/Andy Pullan; running at Car 13, it ground to a halt when an earth lead snapped.

The ten minute section to TC1B at Pentre saw all but four competitors drop time; those four were top seeds Iwan Jones/Andrew Lowe (Escort), Moonbeam winners George Williams/Cadog Davies (Escort), previous three times winner of the Border, Glyn Price, who had Dylan Jenkins on the maps, and Dan Morris/Kieran Price (Ford Puma).

The latter pair were to drop out of contention when, on the next section, they, like Woodcock/Pullan, had an earth lead break on their Puma. They lost three minutes, but continued and managed to recover to sixth overall at the Finish.

The remainder of the section had snaked its way towards Pontrobert, before heading, via Llwydiarth Hall, to finish near Boncyn Celyn.

Everyone dropped time at the final three TCs in this section. At TC1D Jones/Lowe were best, being just one second late, while Williams/Davies and Price/Jenkins were next best on three seconds. However, Jones/Lowe had a problem, their Escort had developed a misfire, and, with no break in competitive motoring until SF1, they had to continue. This dropped them to third place at SF1, six seconds behind Price/Jenkins, who now held a lead of one second over Williams/Davies.

These three crews were well ahead of the remainder of the field; Gary Roberts/Darren Ikin (Peugeot 205) were in fourth place, but almost a minute off the lead.

PC1G, at Lletty-meirch, was a diagram control and saw Zak Hughes/Macauley Bridgwater (Peugeot 206 GTi) pick up a fail for a wrong depart; they had carried on the main route after a PC, rather than to go down a short track which brought them back on to the road. Without the fail, they would have been classified in seventh place at the Finish.

A third of the way through the opening section, Darren Moon/Gary Evans were forced to retire as their Escort's wipers failed, making progress almost impossible in the torrential rain showers. They were just outside the top ten at that point.

With a break in competitive motoring before Section Two, Iwan Jones took the opportunity to attempt a cure for his Escort's misfire; the spark plugs were replaced. It didn't solve the problem and another attempt to find a remedy would have to wait until the fuel halt.

The second section was a short four minuter in the lanes just south of Dyfnant Forest. Williams/Davies were equal quickest here and took the lead, as they were five seconds fastest than Price/Jenkins, who fell to second, two seconds ahead of Jones/Lowe.

Daniel Jones/Gerwyn Barry shared the best time for the section with Williams/Davies. They were now in fifth place overall, but were destined not to finish; their Escort broke a shaft broke just after Petrol and they were out.

Action moved to the Llanfair Caereinion area for the third and fourth sections. SS3 and SF3 linked three standard sections, so had two intermediate TCs, as well as the finish clock; TC3B and SF3 were timed to the second and all crews dropped at the first of these.

Once again, Williams/Davies were quickest and extended their lead to 11 seconds; their advantage was now over Jones/Lowe, who, despite the misfire, passed Price/Jenkins for second place.

Gareth Jones/Sam Collis (Ford Escort), who had been in eleventh place after the opening section, retired here with a slipping clutch.

Les Roberts Memorial Border 100 2024

The fourth section was another short four minuter at which everyone lost more time. It started near Maesprydd and ran via Brynrhug to finish just south of Llanfair Caereinion. Williams/Davies went further ahead as they stopped the clock five seconds ahead of both Jones/Lowe and Price/Jenkins; these three crews were the top three over the section.

A five minuter from Cyfronydd to Maesmawr Hall ended the first half. Jones/Lowe were best to SF5 and drew to within three seconds of Williams/Davies at the top of the leader board.

At Petrol, Price/Jenkins were in a lonely third place, 48 seconds off the lead, but 51 seconds ahead of fourth placed Roberts/Ikin. In fact, this pattern was reflected almost all the way down the field, with large gaps between positions.

In the break Iwan Jones finally cured his Escort's misfire; a cracked rotor arm was replaced and the team was finally firing on all cylinders. They demonstrated this by being the only crew to clean the opening section of the second half, which ran from Guilsfield to Pentre'r beirdd. Despite this, Williams/Davies maintained their narrow lead as they were only one second late at TC6A.

However, Jones/Lowe weren't to be held, they were fastest again at both of the next two 'droppers', taking a total 32 seconds off Williams/Davies and moving into a lead they were to maintain until the Finish. The seventh section had used the lanes south of Meifod, finishing at Pen-y-lan Hall, while the longer eighth section, which had two TCs as well as the finish clock, was just to the east of the opening section, between Meifod and Llanfyllin.

With just one section remaining, the drama wasn't over. The five minuter ran from Llanfechain to Bwlchyddar and, with three miles to go, Jones/Lowe picked up a puncture. They kept going and dropped nine seconds at SF9. However, Williams/Davies could only close the gap by six seconds as they fouled up a triangle control.

This meant that Iwan Jones/Andrew Lowe came home with a 28 second winning margin, while George Williams/Cadog Davies finished second and were awarded the Les Roberts Memorial Trophy for the best performance by a non-local crew. Glyn Price/Dylan Jenkins maintained their third position throughout the second half, but were over two minutes off the lead at the Finish.

The Border was notable for crews finding a pace and maintaining that speed throughout the event. That meant that Gary Roberts/Darren Ikin and Iwan Roberts/Aron Jones, who were in fourth and fifth places at Petrol, finished in those positions.

Dan Morris/Keiran Price recovered from their earlier electrical problems to finish in sixth, ruing the fact that without their first section delay, they could have been fighting for a podium spot.

The leading Semi-Experts, Jack Mills/Ryan Fleet (Nissan Micra) dominated their class, finishing ten minutes ahead of their nearest class rivals.

There was a father and son battle in the Novice Class; the older generation triumphed with Otis Gane/Olivia Roberts (Ford Focus) fending off Otis Gane/Che Cooper-Harding (Nissan Micra).