Stephen ‘Jumbo’ Richards took maximum points in the latest round of the West Wales Rally Spares HRCR Stage Masters Challenge after a hot and boiling day for the crews.
The north Devon ‘big boys’ didn’t have it their own way taking victory on the last stage after the retirement of Chris Jones in his Vauxhall Chevette.
Pembrokeshire Motor Club had laid on six stages totalling 60 miles around the MoD site in West Wales where the 90 full-capacity entry included 13 young bucks from the Junior Challenge series.
Chris Jones started the day as favourite even though he was not counting his chickens as he took a commanding first stage lead stopping the clocks a full 30 seconds quicker.
Ken Davies and Alan Jones in the Ford Cortina GT had just returned from Sweden where they had been taking part in the Mid Night Sun Rally, they had set themselves the target of 4 rallies in 5 weekends.
Unfortunately for them it may have proved a bit too much for the 1969 car as compression was down resulting in the filler cap being popped. He thought it was worn piston rings as he could feel it when it was ticking over, so he was in engine management mode, with just a few less revs to nurse the car to the finish.
Chris and Sean Jones would continue to increase their advantage but admitted that he wasn’t going 10/tenths as the front tyres were going off and they could not go any faster.
It would all come to an unfortunate end on the last stage when he would be seen parked up on the side of the road and going no further.
‘Jumbo’ Richards with son Andrew in the left-hand seat were taking longer to get in the car and buckle themselves in than it would to complete a stage. They hit tyres on the first stage and felt they needed some ‘power assisted’ steering help as Jumbo was not used to the asphalt and because of his long lay-off didn’t feel confident in with the big tyres and straw bales looming large.
They also admitted being a bit bamboozled with traffic on stage 3 arriving at a merge with four other vehicles – an orange lolly kept spirits high in the afternoon, and they started to get into the flow of things enjoying the venue and the nature of the stages in the sunshine, picking up the Hankook prize from Mr Tyre Motorsport.
Chris Jones was awarded the Classic Oils prize for his great drive before his unfortunate retirement.
Stephen ‘Jumbo’ Richards / Andrew Richards Ford Escort Mk 2 1 hr 04 mins 07 secs
Ken Davies / Alan Jones Ford Cortina GT 1 hr 09 mins 14 secs
Chris Jones / Sean Jones Vauxhall Chevette RTD
Fred Camp / Gareth Drayton Peugeot 205 N/s