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
An assortment of BMC members tried their hand on this years Tour of Epynt and on a glorious Spring day all had something to be happy about. Jon Hawkins took to the passenger seat of Simon Mauger's Metro 4M4 and finished a fine second overall. With other commitments preparing the BRC Vauxhall Adams it was a rare outing for Mauger and his pace was good all day being only beaten by Steve Simpson in his Subaru Impreza WRC.
Eian Pritchard wheeled out the family Focus WRC for an airing and finished a creditable fifth overall, his last outing in the car being the Flatters last year. It looks like being a busy year for the Pritchard clan with Escorts being run in the BHRC and Fuchs RAC Tarmac Championship.
Last but not least, James & Lisa Chappelle handed over child minding responsibilities to Mother and dusted the Mini off for a blast over the ranges. Looking the part in their new Stilo helmets the pair plugged away with a slight power deficit compared to our other members and scored another Epynt finish.
Elsewhere BMC members were working hard so that others could compete by manning the service in/out control where they were no doubt fed by the ever present Nigel Chappelle!
There were a couple of Brecon Motor Club members competing on last weekend’s Viking Motorsport/Links Electrical Mid-Wales Stages (Clubmans) Rally on Sunday 6th March including Dai Block and Glyn Price in the BMW E30 (car 128) and Craig Jones and co-driver Dr Mike Bartlett in Craig’s new BMW E36 Compact (seeded at 138).
Both crews finished the event in challenging conditions with the ‘newby’ Craig completing the day just behind the experienced crew of Dai and Glyn with a deficit of about 30 seconds. David Jones & Glyn Price finished 22nd O/A & 2nd in class M4 Craig Jones & Mike Bartlett 23rd O/A & 3rd in class M4 The class was won by Mike Brown & Aled Davies in another BMW Compact.
Also competing under the club banner at the weekend was Eian Pritchard in a Group 4 Escort at the Bovington Stages. As a round of the new Fuchs Lubricants RAC Historic Tarmac Championship he was hoping to score some points but after leading initially a mechanical problem forced retirement.
This weekend sees a number of local competitors out on the Epynt ranges for the Melvyn Evans Motorsport Tour of Epynt Rally. Seeded at car one after last year’s win is Simon Magor with Epynt and Brecon Motor Club member Jon Hawkins as co-driver. Car 5 is the NRG Ford Focus WRC of Eian Pritchard (with Steve McPhee). Another local crew seeded at the other end of the field in their little green 1300 Morris Mini is James and Lisa Chappelle seeded at 73 and entered under Ecurie Cymraeg Motor Club. Full entry list available from https://www.rallies.info/webentry/2016/epynt/entries.php?type=s
Brecon Motor Club members were out competing on the Rali Bro Caron organised by Lampeter & District Motor Club on the night of the Saturday 20th into the early hours of Sunday 21st February. Jamie Pickup was seeded as car 13 with Master navigator Ceri Davies in Jamie’s Peugeot 306. Ceri guided Jamie home to 8th overall and 4th in the Masters Class after lying in 12th place at petrol. This is the long eluded top ten finish that Jamie has been courting for some time but has never achieved due to bad luck, despite having two regular expert navigators sat with him. Maybe your luck has changed Jamie?
At the other end of the event young navigator Jordan Dziadulewicz was sat in the Toyota Corolla of driver Jordan Reynolds. The pair had a good start to the night and were lying in 27th place of the 90 cars who started at the petrol halt however the sections after fuel proved problematic causing them to pick up fails dropping them down to 48th place and 18th in the experts class by the end on the challenging night.
RED KITE STAGES REPORT 2016 by Mark Weller
All the Brecon Motor Club members entered on the 2016 Red Kite Historic Stages finished the tough event organised by Amman & District Motor Club. Sunday was a perfect start to the 2016 Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship for Jason Pritchard in his Escort RS1800 (with co-driver Phil Clarke). Jason Pritchard started his BHRC defence with outright victory, on this the opening championship round. The ice and snow of the 2015 Red Kite was replaced by strong winds, persistent rain and, at times thick fog to deliver another tough start to the season. Jason never put a wheel wrong in the Viking Motorsport prepared Ford Escort Mk2 and took maximum points to open their title defence in style.
Many Brecon members were out marshalling, helping with the running of SS1 & SS4- Crychan South Stages by attending to the stage finish plus some club marshals attended to the spectator area on the Route 60 stages SS2 & SS5. Poor visibility was a major challenge for competitors over the fast sweeps on the top of Epynt and conditions outside for the marshals was very tough. For the whole of the day they were ‘In the clouds’ with the moisture forming into rain drops in front of your face! Brecon MC Marshals on the event included Phil Cleaton, Mark Weller (and Sam), Douglas Griffiths,Steve Jennings and Cathy Haynes. Nigel, Peter,James and Lisa Chappelle, Martin Leonard, Dave Mac, Chris Philips and Austin Brill.
Jason Pritchard’s finish was no easy win in BHRC Category K as Nick Elliott ran neck-and-neck for the lead despite his Escort Mk2 RS1800 stalling on the opening stage. It was still very close for the lead until it happened again on the second run through Crychan. After spraying the champagne in Llandovery, Jason reported: “We had no dramas at all; we tried to avoid punctures and kept it nice and tidy.”
BHRC Category 1 was settled on the final stage in favour of Brecon M.C. father and son pairing of Bob and Dale Gibbons (Ford Cortina GT Mk2), who emerged as victors when the chasing Bob Bean had an electrical failure in his Lotus Cortina. The Gibbons boys took Category 1 but it was set for a tight finish as heading for the second run through final stage, the gap to Bean was only 11s. Bob arrived at the finish of Caio concerned that he might have eased back too much, however Bean never made it to the finish after a complete electrical failure stopped his car mid-stage.
Malcolm Rich, got back into competitive motorsport with vengeance last year by winning BHRC Category 1 in the 2015 championship in a little red 1500 pre-crossflow Ford Anglia. He was out for the first event mixing it with the big boys in his recently acquired Mk2 Escort RS1800, seeded as Car 33. Malcolm reported that “Steady was the word! I took a measured approach to the new car in the conditions, we were 9th fastest on route 60 which is encouraging and managed to pick up valuable championship points at the end of the day”. Malcolm brought the new Escort home to finish 2nd in Class F2 and 18th Overall. The next event for the BHRC competitors will be Rally North Wales.
In the Red Kite National B event, Car 48 was the seasoned pairing of David Jones (Dai Block) & Glyn Price in the newly rebuilt BMW E30. They had carried out a lot of work on the shell of the faithful 3 series E30 BMW after getting intimate with a bank over in the Isle of Man towards the end of last year. The usual reliable and consistent pairing finished 5th in class five and 20th overall, again making a good start to the year.
Craig Jones & Jon Hawkins were entered in Craig’s newly built Kermit Green BMW 328 Compact. They were seeded as car 71 and entered in the same class as Dai and Glyn. Craig said “After a very cautious first couple of stages I figured out what the car does on gravel as I haven't been in the woods before. I soon became at one with my new car and we got quicker throughout the day and I am pleased with the result at the end.” Craig finished 8th in class 5 and 31st overall with experienced Brecon & Epynt Motor Club Co-driver Jon Hawkins in the co-driver seat for this event. Craig is now looking forward to doing the Mid Wales stages in 2 weeks time with Dr Mike Bartlett as co-driver. It seems all the hard work and time to build the six cylinder 2.8 BMW over the winter combined with a recent mountain bike accident and his previous big rally accident on Epynt has given Craig a mature more controlled attitude to speed on this his introduction to gravel rallying.
Another Brecon Motor Club crew that of Car 124, the Peugeot 306 Gti of Cwmdu driver Jeff Jones & Co-driver Graham Isaac finished the event second in their class 3 and a respectable 43rd overall after some challenging engine and gearbox rebuild issues over the winter season sabbatical.