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April 2023

Tour of Caerwent Report

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Over 30 ‘IPS’ Contenders made the trip to Gwent for the first Round , The Tour of Caerwent, run by Forresters Car Club. Many took a cautious approach to the first stage, the venue being notorious for its curbs. Maesteg DMC’s Chris Gifford nudged one but luckily escaped unscathed to take second in his class.

Chris Gifford

The top overall spot amongst contenders went to the Darrian T90 crew of long time Challenge supporters Richard Merriman and Kath Curzon, whose 7th place netted them Class victory.

Richard Merriman & Kath Curzon

Just two seconds behind was Phil Turner in the TCS Groundworks Skoda Fabia. After a roll at the venue last year he started tentatively but lost another 20 seconds later on in the day when the standard rear camber adjustment bolts came loose. A beefier set up is on order in readiness for the second sealed surface Round on Epynt.

Phil Turner

The Jones family from Burry Port had a successful day with Sean taking his ex- celebrity Vauxhall Astra race car to 12th and the Class win, whilst Dad Chris wheeled out one of two impressive Gilbern Invader’s in the event, to take 15th overall.

Chris Jones (left) and Sean Jones

An unfortunate incident ended Martin Curzon and inaugural Rally Challenge Champion Claire Williams bid for a Class win when a competitor accidentally displayed an SOS board rather than an OK board whilst changing a puncture. The crew stopped to check they were unhurt and the resulting time loss relegated them to third.

Matthew Curzon & Claire Williams

Co-driver Karen Phelps got maximum points on the board, co-driving for Leighton Smith in a Peugeot 205 GTI but she’ll remember the day for another reason. Karen bravely had her long hair cropped  raising £540 from Competitors and Officilas toward her £920 total for the Great Oaks Hospice in Coleford. She is donating the hair to the Little Princess Trust.

Karen Phelps – Before and After

On his comeback after a 16 year lay off, Ernie Beamish was unfortunately amongst the five IPS crews not to make it to the finish.  Time lost changing a puncture and having to stop on Stage when co-driver Richard Green became unwell rendered them OTL. Thomas Cooper was fighting for the overall lead in second place until a slight loss of power in his Mitsubishi Evo 9 on Stage 3. He wisely withdrew before any serious damage was caused, fearing a broken piston ring.

Ernie Beamish & Richard Green

The next Round takes place in the Mid Wales forests on the Rallynuts Stages before visiting Epynt for the Dixies Challenge on April 30th.

Photos courtesy of Mike Frayne