Maesteg DMC / Rally Challenge Presentation Evening

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The Maesteg and District Motor Club Presentation Evening will take place on Saturday 17th February, 2024 at the Grove Golf Club,  South Cornelly Porthcawl CF33 4RP.

We invite you to celebrate the efforts of our Award Winners, and have subsidised the Evening to offer a Three Course Meal at £25 per person. Please arrive at 7pm for Dinner at 7.30pm.  Click here to download the menu.

Dress Code is Casual Smart.

An internationally renowned Table Magician will entertain you before the Awards Presentation, and afterwards, we have a DJ.

If using PayPal, please send to email address    naming each guest and their Menu Choice, plus your contact phone number. 

If paying by BACS, to Maesteg & District Motor Club.   Sort Code  20 84 41   Acc. No. 63318303 stating theReference: Dinner followed by your name. Please also email      naming each guest and their Menu Choice, plus your contact phone number.

The nearby seaside resort of Porthcawl is a short taxi ride away and has a number of Hotels and B@B establishments.

Toyota Harlech Stages.

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Merriman and Jenkins Clinch the Current Lead

Richard Merriman with Kath Curzon had a hard fight for Class Victory at Llanbedr Airfield with crews after Stage 1 reporting a few hair raising moments on the slippery perimeter roads. Steffan Morris said that he was turning the steering wheel on his Escort Mk.2 and the car was just travelling straight on! Merriman / Curzon had the ‘To finish first, first you have to finish’ attitude with a very cautious start which saw their Darrian T90 caught by another car.

Getting used to 40 BHP more with a newly fitted engine and a lot more low end torque, Russell Davies also had a few uncharacteristic sideways moments in his RJD Motor Services Darrian T90, and reckoned that he would have been quicker early on with his less powerful, old engine.

Top contenders who set a blistering pace on the first stage were Ashley Furlong and Pete Phennah, taking 7th overall and mixing it with far more expensive machinery. The conditions suited their Renault Clio but their potential giant killing act came to a premature end with gearbox issues on Stage 2 forcing their retirement at Service.

Getting quicker every rally are the father and son crew of Chris and Cieron Gifford who had their first Top 20 result in their Peugeot 205.

In the RJD Two Seats Trophy category, Dylan Fowler Bishop is dominating with two rounds to go after sitting alongside 15 year old Junior 1000 contender Kyle Green.

With a drying track the T90 crews of Merriman / Curzon and Davies / Suter started putting in competitive times to finish a very creditable 5th and 6th overall, and claim 1st and 2nd in class points respectively.

The battle for Overall Co-drivers Championship honours is by no means over with the top six all competing on one or both of the two remaining [forest] rounds. Coleford’s Colin Jenkins has a mere one point lead from Dan Evans who took class victory at the weekend, with points to drop as he has now entered seven rounds. The outcome is by no means settled with the top six all having a mathematical chance of clinching the title.


New Look Woodpecker

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‘IPS’ Lads Head Overseas

The Championship focus turns to the town of Ludlow for Round 9 on September 9th with over 40 Contenders already entered on the Phil Price Memorial Woodpecker Rally. The event, which is supported by Presteigne Tyres and Phil Price Rally School, uses the traditional HQ of the town’s Racecourse and will again straddle the Wales / England border. New to the event are the little used forest complexes of Cwmysgawen and a classic from the RAC and Welsh Rally days, Ceri near Newtown. Amongst the entries is Dungannon driver Adrian Hetherington partnered by Ronan O’Neill. The pair make the journey across the Irish Sea but don’t need to travel so far for their next bid for Rally Challenge points as they have chosen Omagh Motor Club’s Bushwhacker Rally as their Nominated Optional Overseas Round.

Also competing in Ireland are Llanelli’s Mike Jewell in his T&M Group Citroen C2 and the crew of Shaun Price from Loughor and Marc Clatworthy who head for the Wexford Volkswagen Stages Rally. Shaun is busy putting the finishing touches to his newly acquired Mk. 5 Escort with a delivery of brakes from Godspeed proprietor Ian Godney who also plans to head across the water to the Jersey Rally in October, the event sadly just outside the deadline to claim overseas points.

Fairfield Merlin Stages

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A damp start greeted the 33 Rally Challenge contenders in a 73 car field at the Pembrey Motorsport Centre, with heavy rain leaving standing water on the outer roads in places.

Quick out of the blocks was Clydach man Phil Turner in the TCS Groundworks Skoda Fabia R5, pulling out a 12 second lead on Stage One. Breezy conditions saw the stages drying out by the midway point, favouring the Darrians,  and despite a couple of uncharacteristic spins Richard Merriman / Kath Curzon swapped Top 5 times all day, eventually finishing 5th, taking the Class 4 victory, and seeing Richard re-gain the top Rally Challenge Drivers spot.

Some of the most notable drives amongst Rally Challenge contenders were from Kidwelly’s Sean Jones and newcomer Joseph Palmer. Sean more than justified his seeding at Car 9 with a scorching pace, keeping his ex –celebrity Vauxhall Astra race car in the top 10, only to be thwarted by a broken battery lead, giving him a stage maximum. Despite this he fought on to still clinch second in class but was robbed of the chance to compete for overall placings against dad Chris and uncle Mark in a pair of Gilbern’s, who were 9th and 12th respectively.  Junior contender Joseph Palmer (pictured right) was driving in only his 2nd rally with experienced driver Marcus Padgett (pictured right) in the Co-driver seat. The crew achieved 25th overall and 3rd in Class in the little Nissan Micra 1400 with Marcus joking that the youngster had an advantage on left hand corners as he was causing the car to bank on his side!

Godspeed Brakes proprietor Ian Godney (pictured left) continues to settle in to his Suzuki Swift F2000 with improving results seeing him take 8th overall and 3rd in Class which takes him into the ‘IPS’ Top 10.

With Neil Griffiths in his four door Mark 2 being out of reach, one of the battles of the day was in Class 3 with Chris Gifford, co-driven by son Cieran, (on his second ever rally- both pictured right), and Porthcawl’s Matthew Curzon with Dafydd Davies. The crews both suffered a bit of baulking and Matthew ended the day with a slim six second lead.

A good class position would have ensured the top Co-drivers spot for Karen Phelps after her three previous Class victories but Leighton Smith’s usually ultra reliable engine let go with the oil pressure disappearing in the afternoon. Also in with a shout was Dan Evans but he also failed to finish in the Vauxhall Nova with Christian Howells.

The RJD Motor Services Two Seats Trophy, created for competitors who both drive and co-drive throughout the year is more popular than ever this year, with Junior contender Dylan Fowler Bishop now pulling out a 34 point lead over cousin Ashley Francis Adams after co-driving for 16 year old Kyle Green in the Junior F1000 section of the event.

Our thanks to Carmarthen Motor Club who put on a much enjoyed event which ran smoothly all day.

Photos courtesy of Mike Frayne

Click on images below to enlarge

Discounts for Rally Challenge Contenders

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IPS and our sponsors who support the Club are increasing their commitment to our sport by offering registered contenders and Maesteg DMC Members a 10% discount on their products and services.

Independent Paint Supplies, who have branches in Swansea and Cardiff, are now offering 10% off their full range of products for Rally Challenge Contenders and members of Maesteg and District Motor Club. This includes telephone orders. The company supply far more than just paint and deliver to a large area in the southern half of Wales. Click on their web address on the home page.

Also offering a 10% discount is Associate sponsor, RJD Motor Services and Club Sponsor Godspeed Brakes. Details of the extensive work RJD carry out, which includes competition cars can be seen by visiting their Facebook page.

Godspeed Brakes supply and manufacture brakes for both road and competition vehicles and a full range of their services can be found at or at Brakes by Godspeed on Facebook.

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

A Busy Year for Bonnie

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Bonnie with Mark Higgins after his flying TT lap in 2016

Interest in the Rally Challenge from the Isle of Man has continued following Liam Whitley taking the 2022 title, with Douglas resident Bonnie Papper being the first Junior contender to sign up for 2023. Liam commented, ‘I have been spoken to Bonnie on a few events and her eagerness to learn as much as possible is admirable’.

With just seven rallies under her belt in the UK and the Isle of Man which include forestry, single venue, road and targa rallies, the twenty year old has already achieved a goal she set herself by taking to the hot seat of a Fiesta R5 with Colin Minton and Ignition Motorsport for the coming season.

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Caerwent Car-nage!!!

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It was a day of attrition for Rally Challenge crews at Caerwent with two thirds of contenders not surviving to the finish.  With Mark Jasper a non-starter in his Metro 6R4, top seeded contender Thomas Cooper impressed all day and was on the pace straight away in his Mitsubishi Evo 9. He held second place for 5 of the 6 stages until the diff let go. His Grandad Phil Turner had no better luck in the Skoda Fabia with a snapped engine mounting. Leighton Escott, has once again climbed to the top of the Driver’s standings but with family commitments when the last sealed surface Round, the Harlech Stages takes place, and not competing on the gravel rounds, he has to wait and see if he will clinch the overall title. Cruel luck befell Andrew and Hollie Norris when on the last stage a wishbone snapped on the BMW Compact. Co-sponsor of the event Matthew Curzon with Ceri Simpson suffered a dropped valve in their Ford Escort to also join the long list of retirements and a self-destructing alternator put paid to a good potential result for Russell Davies in the Darrian T90.

View current scores here. 

Escott Back in a Podium Spot

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Good turnout for the Woodpecker and 3 Shires.

Patriot Entry List Filling Up

Wyedean News

Leighton Escott was one of five IPS Contenders who made the trek to Trawsfynydd Ranges for Bala M.C.’s Gareth Hall Memorial Stages. The compact venue with short Epynt like Stages just a stone’s throw from the Service Area, proved a tough challenge for the 47 crews entered. Earliest casualty, though thankfully uninjured, was Josh Taylor who entered a downhill right hander too quickly and the impact with a bank launched his Subaru into a roll, the car losing two wheels in the process. He’ll face a few late nights in the garage to enable him the start the 3 Shires Stages.

Escott / Devine held a comfortable second in Class 1 after two of the three, four stage loops but an astonishing performance by Martyn Quant / Sbardun Evans after taking an earlier stage maximum, relegated them to third. In the same class was Karen Phelps from the Forest of Dean who has co-driven for both Leighton Escott and Leighton Smith this year. She was part of the four car Silverstone Rally School Team line up and ended the day with 4th in class points.

Tyre choice was a big factor with varying weather conditions within just a few hundred yards. The father and daughter crew of Andrew and Hollie Norris debated all day until finally opting for Wets on the rear of their BMW Compact on the last loop, figuring that they wouldn’t overheat on the short stages if the road dried out. This vastly improved their times and Andrew’s confidence, bringing them home 29th.

A late charge from Andrew and Hollie Norris took them into the Top Thirty

Clerk of the Course Emyr Hall is hopeful that negotiations to include sections of public road will raise the profile and interest in next years event.

Interest in the next few rounds is high with thirty five plus contenders on both the Hills Ford 3 Shires Rally and the Phil Price Memorial Woodpecker Rally.

The final sealed surface Challenge Round, the Raintite Coated Metals / Curzon Wealth Management Patriot Stages is part of six Championships. IPS Contenders are advised to enter soon.

Wyedean News

The penultimate Round, the Wyedean Stages is making a welcome return to “traditional” signing on procedures. Event Official Caroline Hopkinson commented, ‘Competitors have stated that they prefer the “face to face” pre Pandemic documentation. With this in mind, would any Contender who has mislaid or not received their Registration Card, please email

The Rally Challenge lends its support to the Lions Cup

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The Committee of Maesteg DMC have decided to give the new Peugeot Championship a kickstart by allowing it to mirror the Rally Challenge Calendar. The Championship, which started mid Summer in 2021 was dogged by inevitable event cancellations and with no firm plans yet in place for this year, was hopeful of resuming in 2023. The Lions Cup 2022 will be promoted by Swansea Motor Club.

Here’s how it will work:                                                        Lions Cup contenders will register with their Championship Co-ordinator and pay the appropriate fee.

Every Lions Cup Contender will also become an IPS Paint Rally Challenge contender. 

They must fill in and return the IPS Registration Form, (Available by clicking on the home page link or Events Calendar), with no further payment, or their Lions Cup points may not be honoured. Signing the IPS indemnity is mandatory.

Regulations for the Lions Cup will be released shortly and the Facebook page is Lions Cup 205 309 106. 

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