Well, that's another Harry Flatters Rally put to bed and firstly thanks must go to all the members who helped in whatever way, big or small. Thanks also to our band of officials and marshals without whom it would never happen and not forgetting the competitors who support our event so well each year.
The rally was a challenge to run in the new safety delegate era but despite some scheduling frustrations the day went very well with just the odd hiccup thrown in by competing crews! Winner of the rally for the fifth time was Abergavenny man Damian Cole with Craig Drew in the hot seat in their Ford Fiesta WRC. The win wasn't straightforward however as a high speed excursion on the first special stage meant they limped though the last few miles with a puncture. A concerted effort thereafter saw them overhaul Andy Fraser and Michael Calvert in their powerful Darrian. Fraser had been on for second place overall but a stop line fire on the final stage put paid to that, the efforts of Port Talbot Motor Club marshals and the unstinting help of fellow competitors prevented a total loss. This elevated Adrian Spencer and Mark Hewitt to second place in their much modified Subaru Impreza WRC, an errant sheep redesigning the profile of the car. Final podium place was taken by the evergreen Bob Fowden with Paul Wakeley in their similar Subaru. Bob won the very first Harry Flatters Rally in 1985 and still can't get enough of it!
Damian Cole & Craig Drew leap to overall victory in the National B event
In the prestigious Historic Rally Melvyn Evans started as he meant to go on and headed the field all day in his Hoosier shod Escort RS1800. Behind him there was carnage as Jason Pritchard blew his engine, Rob Smith rolled, Will Onions also blew his engine, Eian Pritchard suffered engine problems and Joe Price couldn't select gears properly. All this meant that runner up Neil Williams and Peter James scored maximum points in the British Historic Championship from Guy Woodcock and championship leader Paul Barrett who did well to get fourth overall with pinto power.
Flatters success at last for Family Gibbons
Of the locals, with the demise of the two pronged Pritchard challenge faltering it was Malcolm Rich who was first local home in 13th place and third in class in the Rich Landscapes RS1800. Club members Bob & Dale Gibbons kept their noses clean this year and won Category One in their lovely Mk2 Cortina. Phil Jones and Joe Eiliot debuted Phil's newly built 1275GT Mini but disaster struck with retirement on the very first bend of the rally when the gearbox failed.
Heartbreak for Phil & Joe on Stage One, Bend One
Melvyn Evans & Patrick Walsh marching on to National A Historic Rally honours
Looking resplendent in tarmac trim Jason Pritchard's Ford Escort RS1800 (above) and Eian Pritchard's identical car (below) both suffered engine issues.
And just because we like it, a flying shot of fourth placed Paul Barrett & Dai Roberts