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Cambrian Road Rally

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Tregaron & District Motor Club

3rd/4th February 2024

Cambrian Road Rally 2024
Winners: Dan Morris/Keiran Price (Ford Puma)
Photograph: © Joseph John Gilbertson

Organiser: Tregaron & District Motor Club

Date: 3rd/4th February 2024

Clerk of the Course: Dafydd Jones

Route: 65 Miles + 1 Test (Maps 135 & 146)

Base: Pontrhydfendigaid

Starters: 58

Tregaron Motor Club designed a short sharp event for their traditional season opener. The route was 65 miles in the usual event area, using the lanes between the home town and the coast. The rally opened with a test at the Dolebolion circuit.

There had been a number of hiccoughs in the early preparations for the Cambrian, however, with help from the very supportive RLO, a well received event was put together by a new organising team.

Proceedings opened with the 1.5 mile test, which ran in an anti-clockwise direction around the Pont circuit; there were five PCs.

The three crews who were to fill the top three places at the Finish showed their form by being the only ones to beat the five minute mark on the test. Richard 'Ty Capel' Williams/Daniel Jones (Escort) were quickest, stopping the clock at 4m48s, Dan Morris/Keiran Price (Ford Puma) were three seconds behind, while Iwan 'Bont' Roberts Jnr/Moi Williams (Toyota Corolla) were third, ten seconds off the lead.

In trouble at this early stage were Clive Williams/Richard 'Tyson' Morris, they put their Peugeot 206 off the road. They managed to get back on to the tarmac but were over the test maximum by the Finish. They continued but a blown diff put them out a little way into the road sections.

Four cars failed to complete the test, these included Meredith Roberts/Natasha Roberts, whose Fiesta suffered a mechanical failure, while the Sierra of Breeze Jones/Dan Reeves was halted by a non-functioning alternator.

Competitors then made their way up to the Teifi Pools, where they had 90 minutes to plot the road sections. Using this location allowed for the use of the dead end road leading up to the Pools as the first road section. This was a very demanding track, with no straights and many blind brows.

The weather added to the challenge; a heavy wind blown mizzle added to swirling fog - visibility was very poor until the very final miles of the rally.

In fourth place after the opening test, Trystan Leyshon/Jamie Mills (Ford Focus) joined the retirement list just a few miles in as their car suffered an alternator failure.

Fastest over the two mile run down from the Teifi Pools were Aron Sion/Eifion Wyn Pugh (Ford Escort); running at Car 23, they were to have a good night, setting top times throughout. Unfortunately, they had had a problematic test and had only been 47th quickest over it.

One second behind the flying Escort were Morris/Price, this allowed them into a lead that they weren't to lose; they were 15 seconds quicker than Willams/Jones, who had also lost time to Roberts Jnr/Williams.

Action then moved to the tracks round the disused Rhiwlas mines. It was here that, using the driver's Targa Rallying experience on the gravel tracks, Morris/Price put in a time that was to ensure their victory; they took over a minute from their chief rivals. This was despite the Puma picking up a puncture towards the end of the section.

Gareth Price/Liam Evans were second fastest, 24 seconds slower than the leaders and this pushed them up to third place overall; they were now just three seconds behind Williams/Jones and the same margin ahead of Roberts Jnr/Williams.

The winners of the Novice category on the 2023 Cambrian, Delyth Jones/Lewis Morgan (Ford Escort) were third fastest over the Rhiwlas section. They were inside the top ten, but then had to cut route due to mal-de-nav.

Cambrian Road Rally 2024

The third road section ran between Wenallt and Lledrod; like the previous two sections, it was a tight four minuter. It was cleaned by the top three crews, but Roberts Jnr/Williams dropped 48 seconds.

The fourth sector was eight minutes long, with an intermediate time control after four. It started to the north-west of Lledrod and finished near Llangwyryfon. Almost the whole field reached TC9 on time, but everyone dropped time at the end TC.

Williams/Jones regained some ground on the leaders by being quickest to SF10, they were six seconds in front of both Roberts Jnr/Williams and Sion/Pugh, and 12 seconds ahead of Morris/Price.

The longest competitive sector of the night followed; it began with a run through Trefenter, then moved to Rhydroser, before heading back east to Bontnewydd. It finished with a tight 2m30s section just north of Blaenpennal.

It was only at this final control that the top runners dropped time. Once again, Williams/Jones were fastest, narrowing the gap to Morris/Price by another 22 seconds; the two cars were now 46 seconds apart. Roberts Jnr/Williams were second fastest to SF15, but were over two minutes off the lead, but still in third place.

The conditions had claimed a number of victims; both Steffan Evans/Gethin Evans (Subaru Impreza) and Aled Davies/Ethan Davies (Ford Puma) had ended their rallies in a ditch, while John Lewis/Sam Vaux (Peugeot 205 GTi) finished their event in a field.

The penultimate section was another four minuter and used the Tynreithyn loop, just outside Bronnant. The top three crews were the three quickest to SF17. Roberts Jnr/Williams took the honours here, but Williams/Jones and Morris/Price were within 15 seconds of them, so the overall placings remained unchanged. With the final section being cleanable, especially as the fog had now cleared, these were to be the final positions.

Gareth Price/Liam Evans had been in fourth place for most of the road sections, but, critically, they dropped 29 seconds at the penultimate time control; this allowed Zak Hughes/Robbie Pugh (Peugeot 206 GTi) through to claim fourth place by two seconds at the Finish.

Similarly, top seeds, Rhydian Ebenezer/Jon Hawkins (Honda Civic) moved up a place to sixth at the expense of Aron Sion/Eifion Wyn Pugh, after the latter dropped 37 seconds.

Steven Knibbs/David 'Garth' Powell (Proton Satria GTi) had been eighth place with one section to go, but they broke a shaft and failed to make the Finish.

Dan Morris/Keiran Price came home 38 seconds ahead of Richard 'Ty Capel' Williams/Daniel Jones to claim a clear victory, their second together after their 2022 Morswyn Williams win. Iwan 'Bont' Roberts Jnr/Moi Williams finished in a lonely third place, 1m11s behind second and 1m34s ahead of Hughes/Pugh in fourth.

The final section had one intermediate TC, plus the finish control, both were timed to the second. This led a number of crews to pick up penalties for early arrival at the final TC when they forgot to carry over seconds dropped at the first TC.

Emyr Morgan/Tjay Lewis (Ford Sierra) were most affected by this error. Before the section they had held a 30 second lead over their nearest rivals in the Semi-Expert Class. Unfortunately, they booked in early at SF21 and dropped behind Carwyn 'Bol' Jones/Steffan Thomas (Proton Satria GTi), who therefore took the class win.

The Novice Class was won by Sion Ifan Jones/Liam Jones (Subaru Impreza), who finished in eleventh place overall, over two minutes ahead of their nearest class challengers.