All photos are copyrighted and from RallySport Media Chris Huish
Bob Gibbons and Julie Lord had a light to flag victory on the second round of the West Wales Rally Spares HRCR Stage Masters Challenge the Dixies Challenge.
11 stages were on offer from Forresters CC using some of the classic Epynt ranges but being no more than 5 miles in length.
But as with all rallies it wasn’t as easy as it seemed with a broken starter motor meaning a push start before every stage, a warning that Bob couldn’t have an overshoot or spin that would stall the car as that could be very costly.
At the start line of SS5 Bob had a bit of a scare with a fuel vaporisation problem that saw the car splutter for the first quarter of a mile, because it had to be left idling due to the starter motor problem.
It was Julie’s first time out and she was soon up to speed with delivering the notes at the right time and speed, the duo eventually finished 9th overall out of 80 starters and the first category 2 car.
Stuart Anderson and Dan Nieroda were happy with their 22nd position overall in their Geoff Jones Motorsport run Vauxhall Chevette.
They would come home first category 3 car, back on their favoured surface bedding themselves in on the first couple of stages before upping the pace when the rain caused the road surface to become very greasy. That suited the car and it’s handling with Stuart more confident in the car.
It was a bit of a lonely run eventually finishing 2 minutes 47 seconds behind Bob Gibbons but 1 minute 30 seconds ahead of third.
Andrew Stokes and Adrian McNally two rallies in two days for the Hillman Avenger driver and he admitted that he wasn’t on his game in the latter stages due to tiredness. His service crew had to pull out the front driver’s side wing after Andrew found a Kielder ditch on Saturday.
Repaired including what looked like a well-known supermarket salad tub acting as a makeshift lens.
He was treating the Epynt roads with respect but again couldn’t come up with any other excuse other than he and Adrian were ‘knackered’.
Mike Simpson and Jonathan Hawkins delayed by problems with cam followers which was costing them at least 20 seconds per stage – It meant the rocker cover was coming off at every service.
It was Mike’s first rally on the tarmac and he told us it was taking some time getting used to the specialist roads, grip levels were there but the car wasn’t but finished the event to score some valuable points.
Rikki Proffitt and Phil Harrison well it was about Phil (and I’m sure Rikki will not mind me mentioning it), 3 and a half years since he last navigated in a rally car. Struggled with timing and delivery in the morning but the afternoon stages it all started to flow and come back to him.
Great to see him back on the stages and more importantly in the car.
The crew were first in category one and 36th overall.
Steve Ward and Mike Jones suffered with intercom problems on the first two loops so times weren’t that good it was also Steve’s first time over Epynt and Mike’s 35th. They were up to speed in the afternoon in the Geoff Jones Motorsport prepared car, a misfire on the last stage didn’t help as they spluttered themselves to the finish line in this newly restored and immaculate looking Escort Mk1.
Peter Ellerby and Ben Anderson had a disappointing day trying to solve a mystery engine problem; it wouldn’t pull at the top end meaning they couldn’t get top gear. It was misfiring all day and then dropped onto 3-cylinders on the final stage and they managed to get to the finish in 42nd place.
Andrew O’Hanlon and Ryan Taylor no problems but wanted to finish and pleased with times in the morning and getting near the Irish competitors had a few moments and being brave on the downhills lead to a few moments including one they described as being more like an Escort that a Mini looking out the side windows.
Eric Davis and Russell Joseph were pleased with their performance despite not doing anything competitively for 8 months. Took a bit of getting used to in the morning but it came together in the afternoon. Grip levels returned to the car but at some points they had none when the rain first started falling.
Eric told us that the motor was quicker than the driver, as they finished in 43rd place.
Rhodri Roberts and Alun Hayward had a good day getting quicker during the varying grip levels. Having fun, waving and smiling with 50th place overall.
Fred Camp and Roger Gillard had a time-consuming spin on stage 2 (see below) which they reckoned cost them up to 40 seconds to sort out. Akin to driving on black-ice when the rain arrived. But they got around in the basically bog standard Peugeot 205 as they go on the hunt for a bit more power especially on the hills.
1.) Bob Gibbons/Julie Lord Ford Escort Mk 1 41:58
2.) Stuart Anderson/Dan Nieroda Vauxhall Chevette 44:45
3.) Andrew Stokes/Adrian McNally Hillman Avenger 46:23
4.) Mike Simpson/Jonathan Hawkins Ford Escort Mk 1 46:29
5.) Rikki Proffitt/Phil Harrison Porsche 911 46:37
6.) Steve Ward/Alan Jones Ford Escort Mk1 46:41
7.) Peter Ellerby/Ben Anderson Mini 47:27
8.) Andrew O’Hanlon /Ryan Taylor Mini 47:37
9.) Eric Davis / Russell Joseph Mini Gt Clubman 47:38
10.) Rhodri Roberts/Alun Hayward Mini 48:38
11.) Fred Camp/Roger Gillard Peugeot 205 51:36