June 27th 2016
The Black Mountains Classic Tour was voted a great success by the participants who travelled from far and wide to take part. There were crews from Surrey, Derby, Sheffield and even one from Florida all lapping up the traditional Welsh weather that was on offer. The cars started lining up at Trefecca Road from early in the morning where breakfast rolls and tea or coffee was taken in the cosy confines of the well appointed rugby club. Clerk of the course Chris Phillips jetted straight back in from Turkey in the early hours specially to deliver his own brand of drivers briefing and at 9 o'clock or thereabouts the first car was flagged away by club president Brian Dennis in the direction of Llangynidr to tackle the notorious narrow bridge. From there an amble through the countryside eventually led to Ewyas Harold for morning refreshment provided by the local village Hall committee - and very good it was too. It was good to see Herefordshire rallying legend Phil Collins out and about and enjoying the line up of cars.
The second section of route became a little bit more serious with some narrower sections taking the cars onto some old road rally routes which eventually led to Hay on Wye for lunch. There had been much debate about a tulip that threw a lot of crews but the organisers maintain that it was indeed correct but perhaps a little ambiguous. Still it kept people on their toes and there were still a lot of smiles.
By the time the third section started the heavens had opened but again this seemed to be perfectly acceptable and the cloud was high enough to make Hay Bluff a good drive. A loop around Painscastle culminated in a crossing of the narrow bridge at Trericket and climb up to Brechfa Common before meandering back to Talgarth to meet the Mayoress, Jackie Wilding , to be presented with event coasters. A short drive back to the rugby club was all that was then left where the bar was open and a very nice meal was available to all including the hard working marshals.
It would be remiss not to mention the work done by club members and they all performed admirably on what could have been a better day weather wise. A few club members were out in their classics including Malcolm & Liz Rich in the Anglia that Malcolm rallied last year and Liam Griffiths with Pete Chappelle in their modern classic Peugeot 205 GTi. Sadly the Pug objected to being on British soil in light of the Brexit vote and decided to blow its head gasket!
Monday June 13th
Another year of hillclimbs over and as the dust settles a regroup is planned to attract more entries next year. A financial loss is anticipated but it was a great event to run and even better to compete on. A number of new competitors were present and hopefully they will spread the word. Weather wise it was disappointing in the morning on both days but dry and warm for all the timed runs to count.
Whilst no records were broken it was a consistent performance by Martin Watts from Abergavenny that put him at the top of the time sheets on both days, his Sylva Riot performing faultlessly. There were great performances on both days and event sponsors Brian and Tim Dennis both shone, Brian taking a class win on Sunday while Tim ran as fastest man in the wet practice sessions on Saturday. Unfortunately differential failure curtailed his Sunday fun.
Phil Jones had a good weekend despite clouting a bale on Saturday in his Subaru and won his class. On Sunday a spin in son Craig's BMW Compact rally car was enjoyed but probably not by Craig..............Anyway it must be added that Craig drove it faster than Dad Phil thus settling an argument over who was going to be the quickest!
Lisa Chappelle was out for the two days and despite a lurid moment on one run still managed to set a personal best time in the little Mini. Mark Hatton made his debut in the newly built Clio and set some very respectable times despite not having had any seat time. Two competitors, Jake Harbour and Liam Griffiths were hillclimb virgins but did really well to improve their times throughout Sunday in their Toyota MR2 and Peugeot 205 GTi respectively.
More photos to follow!
FTD man Watts
Octogenarian class winner!
Doh! I didn't want to do that Gromit............
Apologies for the late report, hillclimbs and things getting in the way of regular reporting!
The event, organised by Hereford Motor Club was run in ideal conditions with heaps of glorious sunshine and the good members of BMC were there running the service in and out controls. We could do with some new blood helping out as the same few are covering all of these roles. Other club members were also out and about on the stages carrying out spectator marshalling duties.
On the stages the club was represented by five members, top of which was Jason Pritchard who after a small indiscretion on the Severn Valley the day before wheeled out the fuel injected model usually driven by father Eian. A consummate performance bagged a top five position overall and was a useful day of re acquaintance with the ranges.
Bob & Dale Gibbons tested their Escort in readiness for the Flatters and the dry conditions saw the pair fly to third in class. James & Lisa Chappelle enjoyed a trouble free day out although James lacked confidence in the brakes after some fading on the last Epynt event.
Saturday June 4th
Not a great day for Brecon Motor Club crews, Jason Pritchard had been trailing the leaders after three special stages but went into a ditch on the the fourth in Radnor in what probably would have been a 'Pritchard attack'. Malcolm Rich was looking forward to the stages in his Escort but was sucked into a ditch and rolled on stage one Gwibedog. Bob Gibbons was hoping to challenge for Category 1 honours but limped into service with an ailing gearbox in the Mk2 Cortina but he did at least finish. Dai 'Block' Jones and Glyn Price were the only other BMC crew to finish in their traditional reliable way but even so a problem on the last stage plunged them down the order. So some work required before the Harry Flatters Rally at the end of July for Jason and Malcolm whilst Bob will have to ponder Cortina power or Escort power for his outing.
Before we start on the crews competing remember that the club will be marshalling the Service in and out controls on the Mini Epynt Stages on Sunday (5th June) at the Rifle Ranges - anyone who would like to help will be welcome.
The day before, on Saturday, some of the usual suspects will be out and about on the Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages trying to score points for their respective championships. Jason Pritchard will be hunting for overall victory in the historic rally in his Escort RS1800 and hoping for better luck than last time out in Cumbria where he was caught out by some patchy ice. Malcolm Rich will be looking to reel in a few competitors who usually beat him as his learning curve in the Escort goes on. A different co-driver, Paul Wakeley will be with him on this occasion. Bob & Dale Gibbons will wheel out the Cortina looking for Category One honours having missed the previous championship round. In the modern event Dai 'Block' Jones and Glyn Price will uphold the honour of the older generation in the familiar 'yellow peril' BMW.
On Sunday the Hereford Motor Club Mini Epynt Stages takes place and gluttons for punishment Jason Pritchard and Bob Gibbons are out for a second day of action. All being well Jason will pop the car back into the workshop after the Severn Valley and set the car up for tarmac. His next championship round will be the Harry Flatters Rally so if the set up is satisfactory all will be ready. Bob and Dale will bring the Escort out and will be hoping for some dry weather testing ahead of the Flatters. Rounding off the entry list will be James & Lisa Chappelle in the green Mini. After losing places with power loss on their last event the pair will be hoping for a clean run this time!