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
The annual karting trip to Herefordshire Raceway is almost upon us, Thursday August 11th is the date for the evening session. Last year we had tremendous fun with a contingent from Builth joining us to spice it up. Can Craig Jones hang on to the title or will close challenger Steve McPhee be there to spoil his day? If you want to come along let Martin Leonard or Wayne Palmer know and we will get you booked in. The evening ends with a fish and chip dinner delivered to the club house.
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.