The 2018 West Wales Rally Spares HRCR Challenge finally got going with round 2 of the championship the AGBO Stages organised by Owen Motor Club.
After the first round was postponed due to the ‘Beast from the East’, contenders woke up to a cold start with some snow flurries as ‘Beast from the East 2’ decided to hit the east of the UK. There would be some harder snow fall through-out the day making the roads very slippy, but there were also some intervals of sunshine making tyre choice a complete lottery.
The rally would be decided after a case of three fords, seeded at number 9 Mike Simpson with Julie Lord in their category two Ford Escort Mk1, were the first to experience the estate roads of Weston Park. The first stage for the new pairing saw them in 11th place but they improved as did the communication in the car and by the end of the sixth stage they were back up to a stunning sixth place overall.
Jeff Wincott and Noel Murphy were straight into their stride in the pinto powered Ford Escort Mk 2, stopping the clocks with a time that put them straight into the driving seat and into 15th overall. A spin and stall and then not realising the engine cut-off switch had flicked meant a loss of at least 10 seconds on stage 5, he did a similar thing on the second hairpin a few stages later, but luckily it did not have a big effect on his championship position.
Mark Ferreday and Jordan Joines started the event with a forest set-up as they didn’t have time to switch due to a compact calendar of events. They would regret this later as they went through the water splash they lost the back end with the car going onto the grass and into a tree. Thy would spend at least 2 minutes getting back onto the road and decided to retire knowing they had a bit of time to fix the car and not do anymore damage.
Another, unfortunately to have an early bath were Eric Davis and Russell Joseph in their Mini 1275 Clubman GT, they would miss stage one due to electrical fault that was eventually traced to a problem with a wire. They got out for stage 2, but with the cancellation of stages 3 & 4 they decided that they had missed too many stages and headed home.
Also running in class B were Ken Davies and Alan Jones using their Cortina GT for the asphalt rounds this year. They were enjoying themselves with a good run and hopefully and end to those mechanical woes, they were up to 32nd overall after six stages.
Winners of the 5-litre Penrite Oil were Mark Gamble and Bob Ward in the Mini along with Steve Powell and Jamie Hawkins in the Hillman Avenger. Mark was having a good run throwing the nimble Mini through the chicanes, he had a spin on stage 3, setting consistent top 20 times would see Mark in 12th but the end of stage 6. He was being chased hard by Peter Ellerby and Ben Anderson who were losing out by around a second a stage. They were ready to pounce should Mark make a mistake. Both Mini crews would be left frustrated by the infamous Weston Park ford which had them drown out on separate stages meaning both crews had to take stage maximums dropping them well down the order after
Lee Sellers and Geoff Moss were proving many wrong in their Triumph 2.5PI and reporting no problems but they did have a couple of minor off which affected some stage times.
Mike Simpson / Julie Lord Ford Escort Mk 1 28 mins 16 secs
Jeff Wincott / Noel Murphy Ford Escort Mk 2 30 mins 02 secs
Stephen Robinson / Dan Nieroda Austin Mini 31 mins 30 secs
Colin McDowell / Cameron Rawson Morris Mini 31 mins 46 secs
Steven Powell / Jamie Hawkins Hillman Avenger 31 mins 48 secs
Shane Gamble / Bob Ward Morris Mini Cooper S 32 mins 15 secs
Peter Ellerby / Ben Anderson Morris Mini 32 mins 27 secs
Ken Davies / Alan Jones Ford Cortina GT 32 mins 10 secs
Lee Sellers / Geoff Moss Triumph Mk2 PI 33 mins 34 secs
Mark Ferreday / Jordan Joines VW Beetle
Eric Davis / Russell Jospeh Mini Clubman