It was smiles all around for Adrian Smekss and Chris Neale after the pair took the West Wales Rally Spares HRCR Stage Masters honours at the recent Brawdy Stages.
The military venue is classed as single venue but in the 8 to 9 mile stages there is a mixture of everything for fast perimeter roads and airfields to narrow confined asphalt tracks winding there way through the old base buildings.
Six stages were on offer on a venue which would have different problems for different contenders during the day.
For our eventual winners their dramas would be on stage 2 when they completely lost the brakes, they could see the problem but did not have the correct kind of drill bit to make a hole in the bleed nipple.
Luckily for them series supporter Gareth Lloyd was there and would be able to lend them the right drill so they could continue.
The did not disappoint being the fastest in the last four stages.
Original leader Chris Jones is a regular at the venue and it is always a pleasure to see his immaculate Vauxhall Chevette making use of the wide runways.
But after the heartbreak of last year – retiring when in the lead with only one lap remaining – this year the car would be on the trailer after stage 2 with engine problems.
Doug and Mike Harrison were having a great day with the fast flowing stages allowing them to test the power and handling of the car in only their fourth event in the Chevette.
Perhaps, some points were a little too fast for them – but they survived with no damage and another to close the gap in the championship with some much needed points.
Steve Powell was another with an early trip home after bending a valve on stage one – he’s now looking for a shake down event before heading to the Tour of Flanders Rally in early September.
Paul Kendrick and Luke Green were chasing hard, but safe in the knowledge that they would be taking home a huge points haul in category 2.
They tried almost a bit too hard on stage 3 when the bright orange livery had a few battle scars on the driver’s side.
Paul thought he had breached too early before releasing pressure on the pedal and then realising he was heading to the tyre wall.
They escaped and finished the day with no added drama, which could have resulted in a rally ending off.
Fred Camp was looking for a bit of competition with the 1.6 Peugeot of Huw Williams – but unfortunately Huw had to withdraw his entry due to late business commitments, but we’re still looking for Fred!
He also won the 5 litres of Penrite Oil handed on each round.
He had a good day getting faster and more mileage in his Peugeot as he looks to take control of category 4.
Mike Barratt wheeled out the Ford Cortina for the first time in 2-years in the UK, his first and second stage were a disaster when he limped in with a rotor arm problem – Soon fixed, he managed to score some vital points in category B and with plans to compete in Scotland and Belgium with the double points he could be one to make a late charge for the class and category.
In the Mini’s it was a case of brake bleeding and in some cases calliper changing as the long stages and abrasive asphalt took it’s toll on the smaller cars.
Clive King had a commanding lead before losing nearly three-quarters of a minute with his brake issues, luckily a competitor in the Mini Sport Cup who had retired themselves with a blown calliper were quick to lend Clive their’s so they could continue.
Craig King was going well until stage four when he survived the ‘mother of all moments’ clouting a chicane when his brakes failed.
Luckily, there was time to fix the car and the damage for them to continue and claim good points.
OVERALL RESULTS Brawdy Stages
|Driver / Navigator||Car||Time|
|1||Adrian Smekss / Chris Neale||Ford Escort RS 1800||01:01:35|
|2||Paul Kendrick / Luke Green||Ford Escort RS 1600||01:02:27|
|3||Clive King / Anton Bird||Austin Cooper S||01:03:32|
|4||Peter Ellerby / Colin Tombs||Morris Mini||01:05:47|
|5||Freddy Camp / Gareth Drayton||Peugeot 205||01:07:03|
|6||Doug Harrison / Mike Harrison||Vauxhall Chevette||01:07:48|
|7||Craig King / Adrian Lloyd||Morris Mini||01:08:17|
|8||Mike Barratt / Fiona Scarrett||Ford Cortina GT||01:28:13|
Steven Powell / Jamie Hawkins Hillman Avenger F2 16:02
Chris Jones / Jenny Lewis Vauxhall Chevette HS F4 09:46 10:18