The Rally Challenge season opener, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally attracted 37 contenders, nine of whom took Class victories headed by the Historic spec. Braces Bread sponsored Escort crew of Tom Llewellin and Peredur Davies.
Nineteen year old Tom who is the reigning Junior Rally Challenge Champion and Pwllheli’s Peredur also succeeded in taking ninth overall though their total time would have also earned them ninth amongst the British Rally Championship competitors in far more potent modern machinery.
Tom Llewllein / Peredur Davies
Chris Powell and Jim Lewis’s Class success in the Talbot Sunbeam and local man David Lloyd Roberts finish in the Historic Escort also gave them a Top Twenty result. Tom Coughtrie / Ian Fraser brought their immaculate Mitsubishi Galant VR4 down from Ayr and have already nominated their optional overseas round.
More on that later. After incurring a road penalty dropping them from 11th to 26th Shane McGirr and Denver Rafferty from County Tyrone set a blistering pace in the Toyota Starlet through their final stage to ensure a comfortable class victory.
Tom Coughtrie / Ian Fraser
Chris Powell / Jim Lewis
Dei Lloyd Roberts
Shane McGirr / Denver Rafferty
Fastest Rally Challenge crew of the day were Martyn England and Dawn, our 2017 Rally Challenge ChampionCo-driver in their Ford Fiesta R5, securing fourth. Pre event talk at the HQ from many crews was about continuing this year until budgets dictated otherwise, amongst them Martyn Andrews and Steve Greenhill.
The current economic pinch showed with around 40 less entries than in previous years. Though still developing their Opie Oils backed Subaru Impreza the Maesteg DMC crew still got some useful points on the board finishing 13th.
Martyn Andrews / Steve Greenhill
Clerk of the Course Wenna Roberts and her team overcame a host of pre event problems with the two stages to be run just for British Rally Championship crews being cancelled beforehand due to less entries than anticipated. It was decided to cut costs by moving the showpiece Service Area out of the town centre. All went well on the day with Storm Ciara which devastated the Conwy Valley holding out until Sunday morning. Our hearts go out to the residents of the little town of Llanrwst which was the main artery to the forests and bore the brunt of the storm.
Martyn England / Dawn England
All photos by Mike Frayne