Tim Freeman secured his first outright win in the West Wales Rally Spare HRCR Stage Masters challenge, 24 seconds ahead of hard charging Ben Friend in the All Glass Pinto powered Ford Escort Mk 2.
12 contenders started round 4 the Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages from Builth Wells for a total of 7 stages, a loop of 3 in the Crychan complex before a 9 mile stage in Radnor, before returning for a second visit to the Crylhan complex.
When the clocks stopped after SS1 we thought that normal service had been resumed with Devonian Rudi Lancaster and Guy Weaver stopping the clocks with 10th fastest time overall at 4 minutes 22 seconds.
But they slid off the road on the next stage and unfortunately the bank was too step to get back and that was their day done.
Taking up the baton was Tim Freeman who had Ben Friend chomping at his heels, with Cliffy Simmons sat in the silly seat he admitted sat at service that they couldn’t have gone any faster but, it wasn’t quite enough always finishing a few seconds behind Freeman.
In Category 2 Andrew Stokes and Adrian McNally were picking up where they’d left off bringing David’s old car into the forests for the first time in a number of years, they were involved in a tight battle for lead with Mike Simpson and Dale Gibbons and the husband and wife crew of Stuart / Linda Cariss.
Mike hampered a little by his start number was within 6 seconds after three stages before heading into Radnor – which would have a dramatic effect on the leader board.
Andrew Stokes and Adrian McNally failed to emerge from the stage after clutch problems and too many hairpins halted their progress.
Stuart and Linda Cariss, who were only 20 seconds behind and had split the difference between Andrew and Mike stopping the clock at 4 minutes 50 seconds, they wanted to push hard in Radnor but unfortunately just before the spectator area were forced to come to a standstill after another competing crew had gone off.
Stuart and Linda Cariss got the better of Mike Simpson and Dale Gibbons after a last stage coil pack problem.
Doing exactly the right thing they sacrificed their own time, to raise the alarm, and get the emergency/recovery crews into the stage.
Stuart Anderson and Dan Nieroda also stopped at the scene, and carried on when it was known that both crew members were out and shocked but okay, as did Mike Simpson and Stuart Smith, but the delay and being caught in others competitors dust ruined their times.
They were trying to recover after spinning but then getting beached on stage two, they lost three minutes but worse than that Dan lost his Stilo intercom adapter getting out of the car, meaning a stage and a half using hand signals before they could find a replacement.
Waiting at the startling Fred Camp and Roger Gillard in the Peugeot 205, plus Mike Barrett in the Ford Cortina GT were told to wait before the decision to cancel the stage and return back to service.
All of the crews, in total 20 competitors, were given notional times.
Ian Barnes and Rob Gilham didn’t get off to the best of starts with a spin on the first stage costing them 20 seconds this was followed by a spongy brake pedal on the first loop. They had a good stage in Radnor before bringing the car home to be rewarded with a good points haul in the two forest events they’ve competed on so far.
In Category one we had two contenders, out the mighty Volvo Amazon of Ken Davies and Alan Jones would only make it through stage one before a gearbox failure, while Mike Barrett would complete up to stage 5 before retiring his Ford Cortina GT, listed as loss of oil pressure.
We would also lose Stuart Smith and Warren Bryn before SS5 after their Ford Escort Mk 2 developed a misfire on the road section and they went no further.
Category two leader Mike Simpson had a big scare on the final stage when a coil pack came loose, he was left with no option but to stop at the side of the stage and fix it losing around one and a half minutes.
The resulting time loss allowed Stuart and Linda Cariss to pass them and take maximum points for category two.
Mike was able to finish the rally to close in on the overall challenge lead, taking a good haul of points in three out of the four events so far.
|22||Tim Freeman /||D5||49:13|
|23||Ben Friend / Cliffy Simmons||D3||49:37|
|37||Barry Jordan / James Gratton-Smith||F4||51:30|
|72||Stuart Cariss / Linda Cariss||C2||53:38|
|78||Mike Simpson / Dale Gibbons||C3||54:54|
|44||Ian Barnes / Rob Gilham||C3||55:23|
|83||Fred Camp / Roger Gillard||F2||57:52|
|73||Stuart Anderson/ Dan Nieroda||D4||59:07|
|10||Rudi Lancaster / Guy Weaver||D7||Off road SS2|
|41||Andrew Stokes / Adrian McNally||C5||Clutch SS4|
|80||Stuart Smith / Warren Bryn||D3||Engine problems before SS5|
|90||Ken Davies / Alun Jones||B4||Gearbox after SS1|
|93||Mike Barrett||B3||Ford Cortina GT|