Brecon Motor Club wishes Brian Dennis a very happy 80th birthday, still going strong and still competing! Club president Brian has had a full and active life in business and motorsport, rallying and latterly hillclimbing. His earlier days were shaped using a Mini that he still owns today, the beloved 'ABX' which has probably seen more action than most rally cars in existence. The Gremlin Rally was a part of the famous Motoring News Road Rally Championship in the seventies and in 1976 Brian, ably assisted by Gus Jones took a famous win with that very car. Almost thirty years later, again with the same car, Brian led the Harry Flatters Rally outright on the Epynt Ranges in wet and difficult conditions.
More recently hillclimbing has been the focus of 'Team Dennis Motorsport' as he and son Tim have blitzed hill records at Shelsley Walsh and at other famous hills. Dennis Motorsport has also been the sponsor of the Epynt hillclimb since its inception in 2008 and just to liven thing a little Brian became the first and only person to roll whilst attempting the climb! It was no ordinary roll either as the car tumbled four times before coming to rest. Amazingly damage was relatively light and Brian walked away unhurt and unflustered. This of course wasn't an isolated incident and a huge accident on an early Welsh Rally saw Brian hitting a tree hard in Radnor Forest, a story best told by Brian and if you haven't heard it be sure to ask him about it!
Sponsoring the Gremlin Rally has been a large part of Brian's commitment to the club and there will be many shed and garage doors displaying rally plates from the 'The Old Forge Garage Gremlin Rally'.
There are many more stories that could be told but through all the years Brian has been a stalwart supporter of Brecon Motor Club, sponsoring events, providing vans and other vehicles and generally taking an interest in the running of the club. For this we thank him and look forward to the next ten years.
Brian, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Below is a small selection of photographs that we have, this is by no means the whole story................................................
Jason Pritchard travelled to the Isle of Man for the Manx National Rally last week looking for a third straight win in the North Road Garage Focus WRC. As it turned out he needn't have worried too much as he took a resounding win. It wasn't a start to finish victory however, he had to wait until stage 4 before his authority could be asserted as Ashley Field and Simon Bowen trumped him on the two short Ramsey stages and then a beaten bogey spoilt the party on stage 3. Thereafter Jason set fastest time on every stage bar one to claim a historic hat trick of wins with regular co-driver Phil Clarke.
Elsewhere in the lanes of the Welsh borders some BMC members were out doing it under the cover of darkness on the Border 100 road rally. Will Arrowsmith has built himself another Mk2 Escort 4 door rally car and it made its debut with a 12th overall finish assisted by usual navigator Ceri Davies. Not bad for a new car and a rusty driver in that part of the world. Jon Hawkins was out navigating with Jamie Pickup in his Peugeot 306 and a very useful 15th overall was the result. Jordan Gullick was a non finisher for reasons unknown in his Micra and Evan Shepherd appears to have non started with Ross Truszkowski.
April 30th/May 1st
Once again a Brecon Motor Club was represented by a good number of its competing crews at the weekend, two crews travelled to Carlisle for the Pirelli Carlisle Stages and four other crews contested the PARC Garage Dixies Challenge.
In Cumbria it was mixed fortunes as Jason Pritchard and Malcolm Rich travelled north with their respective Group 4 Escorts in tow. This was the third round of the British Historic Rally Championship and with two perfect scores from the previous two rallies Jason was in great form heading into the forests of Kielder. Unfortunately his quest for a third straight win was thwarted by a patch of ice on the very first special stage and despite minimal damage it was an early bath. Malcolm Rich on the other hand continued his learning curve and was happy to finish as 12th historic overall and category winner in the knowledge that he is slowly closing the gap on his fellow competitors.
The next round of the championship is the Severn Valley Stages which is based in Builth Wells but is in doubt at the moment as a pricing agreement with Natural Resources Wales has not yet been reached with the sports governing body the Motor Sports Association.
Above: Malcolm Rich throwing the car around Cumbria
Meanwhile a grey and damp Epynt greeted competitors on the Dixies Challenge event. Eian Pritchard was top seed but non started for reasons unknown. Next up was Bob Gibbons who was debuting his ex Ian Kenvin Mk1 Escort. Adapting to the power and characteristics of the new car was difficult in the morning but the times improved during the day and 16th overall was fair reward. Finishing in 17th place was Craig Jones in his BMW Compact. This was a great performance from Craig who also had another new co-driver sitting alongside for the day. Carl Dennis was looking less than comfortable at the first service halt but seemed to enjoy himself more as the day went on! Dai 'Block' Jones and Glyn Price wheeled their trusty BMW out for the day and despite having a few heart stopping moments on the first loop of stages finished 26th overall. James & Lisa Chappelle made up part of the 20 Minis that contested the event and achieved yet another finish with 3rd in class a bonus.
Of course to be able to compete on these rallies a stalwart band of marshals is required and as usual Nigel Chappelle rounded up a small bunch to look after the service out controls. David Thomas, Peter Chappelle and Roger Simons braved the elements to make this happen.
Above: Bob Gibbons preparing for take off
Below: Craig Jones preparing to land
Above: Dai & Glyn saving rubber!
Below: James looking hard at the way he's going, Lisa can't bear to look!
Saturday April 23rd 2016
Brecon Motor Club members and helpers were given a rare treat on the weekends MSA Spring Classic when in the words of Marie Antoinette, the CEO of the MSA Rob Jones declared 'Let them eat cake' and duly delivered personally. The club ran the tea halt at the beautiful Rolls of Monmouth Golf Club, the former family home of the Rolls family inextricably linked with the famous Rolls Royce brand of motor car. Over 100 classic cars passed through and Rob was a participant with his daughter guiding their Ferrari through the lanes of Herefordshire and Monmouthshire. A large team which included Nigel & Jane Chappelle, James & Lisa Chappelle, Chris & Jane Phillips, Ian & Liam Griffiths, Roger Simons and David Thomas (good to see him back out and about) efficiently looked after the visitors and it is rumoured that excess cake was removed from the premises by some of the team!
Rob 'Antoinette' delivers.
Event organiser Jason Murphy puts Chris Phillips and Roger the Bike straight!
It was another busy weekend (2nd April) for BMC stage rallyists as they spread themselves to various locations to compete under the Brecon Motor Club name. The second round of the British Historic Rally Championship kicked off from Dollgellau and Jason Pritchard made a big statement in his regular Escort RS1800 by going out and taking yet another win to back up his earlier Red Kite Stages success . A blindingly quick time on the first stage sealed the deal really as the others tried to play catch up and a further two fastest times saw him finish with a 21 second advantage which also leaves him with a healthy championship lead over Nick Elliott.
Malcolm Rich made his second Group 4 Escort appearance and reckoned it was another good day of learning and more importantly another solid finish. The car performed reliably and 14th overall was a decent result and a step in the direction of getting into the top ten. Jason and Malcolm will now prepare for a trip to Cumbria for the Pirelli Carlisle Rally on April 30th.
In Category One Bob & Dale Gibbons once again made it their own, the Cortina reliably getting them through the north Wales forests. Bob & Dale will also be heading north at the end of the month in the hope of another category win and maximum championship points.
Elsewhere Craig Jones made his debut on sealed surface with the rumbling BMW Compact at Down Ampney near Cirencester and came away with a good 19th overall and more importantly a pile of points for the Welsh Mixed Surface Championship. Jon Hawkins made a return to the passenger seat to guide Craig safely round so that the car can be prepared for the Dixies Challenge in a few weeks time.
Photo courtesy of EDP Photo News