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Neath Valley Stages - (Sat) 9 Aug 14

Posted: September 14, 2017 9:43 AM - 3673 Hits

Round 6 - 2014 RAC Rally Championship
Reserve Round - 2014 Welsh Rally Championship

Elliott/Price win WWRS R.A.C. Rally Championship round six

Posted: September 14, 2017 9:43 AM

Nick Elliott and Dave Price were in control over the classic stages of South Wales when they charged to a 20-second victory on the Neath Valley Stages (Saturday 9 August), the penultimate round of the West Wales Rally Spares R.A.C. Rally Championship.

While other leading contenders hit trouble, including Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke who rolled out of the rally, Elliott threw his Ford Escort Mk2 around the stunning gravel stages to move very close to securing the 2014 championship title.
“No real problems,” reported Elliott. “A good tyre choice made a big difference and the stages were great.”

Category victories fell to Tomas Davies/Eurig Davies (Ford Escort Mk2), David Stokes/Guy Weaver (Ford Escort Mk1) and Graham Waite/Gill Cotton (Volvo Amazon). Once again, the fast and flowing stages received rave reviews from competitors, with unanimous praise for both the condition of the stages and the organisation of the event.

Ray Cunningham and Arron Forde (Mini Cooper) set a fearsome early pace in the Walker Diecastings Category 1, but it all went wrong on Rheola 2 when they lost first and second gears. They elected to battle on, but dropped four places in the process.
“Starting stages in third gear was hard work,” said the Irishman.

Instead, Waite took over at the head of the category, but just 40s covered the top four cars at the finish. Ian Beveridge and Paul Price had the Volvo PV544 buzzing along to take an excellent second from the Lotus Cortinas of Paul Mankin/Desmond Bell and Gwilym Roberts/Don James.

Stokes took a commanding victory in the Capital Construction Category 2, with his only concern coming when he lost the handbrake on the opening stage. Chris Browne and Ali Cornwell-Browne (Escort Mk1) led the chase of Stokes in Category 2 on Browne’s first taste of these stages. “The stages here are absolutely incredible,” he said.

Peter Smith had his Opel Ascona flying along and, partnered by Patrick Walsh, took a commanding win in class C3 as David Kirby and Tom Hutchings (Escort Mk1) headed the pursuit. “These flowing stages really seem to suit the car,” said Smith. Meanwhile, in class C2 Barry Jordan and James Gratton-Smith had a ball en route to class spoils in their Hillman Avenger.

In the Rob Smith Rallying Category 3, Elliott was on it from the start, finishing the opening Rheola stage six seconds up on Pritchard. Hill signalled his intentions for the day with third best, ahead of Matthew Robinson/Sam Collis (Escort Mk2). Robinson made good pace as they ran on maps rather than route notes in preparation for the Roger Albert Clark Rally, but elected to retire at main service with overheating concerns.

Out in a rather more spectacular style went Pritchard when he slid wide on a fast left-hander and barrel-rolled out of the rally in what he described as the biggest accident he’s ever had. Thankfully both crew members were unharmed and the car will repair.

Elliott pressed home his advantage on the second run through Rheola, but could never relax as Hill maintained a fierce challenge and the winning margin was just under 20s as crews headed back to the finish at Resolven.
“We had a couple of little overshoots, but otherwise okay,” reported Elliott. Hill, meanwhile, acknowledged that Elliott’s pace in Rheola was critical. Over the Margam and Bryn stages, there was little between them. “Rheola is where he’s done it all,” said Hill. Never far adrift to take a fine third were Meirion Evans and Iwan Jones (Escort Mk2), but they rued a wrong tyre choice for Bryn 2 that cost them as much as 15s.

One of the drives of the rally came from young Ben Friend who, partnered by Sean Kennedy, almost got his Pinto-powered Escort Mk2 into the top 10 overall as he claimed a first victory in the highly competitive class D3.

While Friend drove a mighty rally to win class D3, Adrian Young and Gwynfor Jones (Escort Mk2) pushed all the way to finish only 13s adrift. Young lost the time when the car cut out twice on the opening stage and spent the rest of the day trying to claw time back. In class D2, Dave Hopkins and Tony Vart took the spoils in their Talbot Sunbeam.
“We loved every minute of it,” said Hopkins.

Fifth overall and winners of the Holton Homes Appendix K category were Tomas and Eurig Davies (Escort Mk2) after a strong run only hindered by a brake scare in Rheola 2 after a change of pads at service.

The Zutec Neath Valley Stages was organised by the Three Counties Car Club.

WWRS R.A.C. Championship heads for Neath Valley

Posted: August 4, 2014 11:54 AM

The West Wales Rally Spares R.A.C. Rally Championship switches focus to the superb stages of South Wales for round six, the Zutec Neath Valley Stages (Saturday 9 August). Another cracking entry, covering 50 championship contenders, will tackle some of best stages of the season as the title races head for a final showdown.

The event will mark the final event in the championship’s 2014 Welsh Challenge as well as the penultimate round of the highly successful Kumho Clubmans Challenge for crews competing on a maximum of six tyres for the event.

As the championship heads into the closing stages, the major title contest is now between Nick Elliott/Dave Price and Jason Pritchard/Phil Clarke and once dropped scores are factored in (crews count their best five results from seven events), Elliott has just a four-point advantage. More than anything, both crews need to finish strongly overall on the Neath Valley Stages as Richard Hill and David Stokes/Guy Weaver are still firmly in contention.

Leading the field away will be the pre ’68 cars in the Walker Diecastings Category 1, and it is the ever-spectacular Volvo Amazon of Graham Waite and Gill Cotton at the head of the pack. Chasing the Volvo will be the Mini Cooper of Ray Cunningham and Arron Forde, and there is sure to be another big battle for category victory. Paul Mankin should be well in contention in his Lotus Cortina, along with the similar car of Gwilym Roberts and Don James. Ranged against the Cortinas will be wonderful Volvo PV544 of Ian Beveridge/Paul Price, while Callum Barney/Ron Channon (Ford Cortina GT) and Chris and Jo Tooze (Singer Chamois) add further quality to the Category 1 field.

In the Capital Construction Category 2, Stokes and Weaver head the field in their Ford Escort Mk1 from the similar car of Chris Browne and Ali-Cornwell Browne. More quality is added to the class C5 field by the welcome return of Warren Philliskirk/Nigel Hutchinson after they rolled out of the Severn Valley Stages and also by the presence of Roger Matthews/Tom Marrott.

Class C3 has another very strong entry as Peter Smith and Patrick Walsh pit their Opel Ascona against the flying BMW 2002 of Terry Cree/Richard Shores and the Ford Escorts of Nick Danks/Martin Corbett, David Kirby/Chris Rixon, Phil Jobson/Arwel Jenkins and Simon Pickering/Colin Jenkins.

Running alongside the Category 1 cars at the head of the field will be the 1600cc cars from Category 2 with the Escort Mk1 of Robin Shuttleworth/Ron Roughead leading the way from the Hillman Avenger of Barry Jordan/James Gratton-Smith.

The Holton Homes Category K continues to build support and is headed by the front-running Ford Escort Mk2 of Pritchard/Clarke, overall winners of the DMACK Carlisle Stages. Tomas Davies/Eurig Davies, Gareth Lloyd/Ryland James and Tom Coughtrie/Jamie Edwards pack out the Category K field in more Escort Mk2s.

Elliott and Price head yet another mighty entry for the Rob Smith Rallying Category 3 in their Ford Escort Mk2 and will want to go one better than last year when they finished a very close second to Marty McCormack and Phil Clarke.

Out to take the fight to Elliott will be Richard Hill, who has Steffan Evans back in the co-driver’s seat for this rally. However, right in contention will be crews like Matthew Robinson/Sam Collis, Meirion Evans/Iwan Jones, Terry Brown/Tomos Whittle and Tim Freeman/Paul Wakeley. Lining up to battle with the Escort Mk2s will be the mighty Talbot Sunbeam Lotus of Owen Murphy/James O’Brien.

In class D3, another great battle is in prospect as local crew Adrian Young/Gwynfor Jones take on Gareth Lewis/Dan Holley and more Escorts for Ben Friend/Sean Kennedy, John Baker/Seyyan John and Paul Fry/Mike Steele. Meanwhile, the class D2 cars run at the head of the rally as the Hillman Avenger of Graham Thatcher/Robert James goes up against the Talbot Sunbeam of Dave Hopkins/Tony Vart and the Ford Escort Mk2 of David Goose/Caron Tomlinson.

Running alongside the historics are the cars in R.A.C. Category O for open two-wheel drive cars and the entry is topped by the very rapid Opel Manta of brothers Simon and Alister Crook. Their opposition includes the Ford Escort Mk2 of Barry Stevenson-Wheeler/John Pickavance and the Toyota Starlet of Layton Waters/Kevin Bowcott.

Entries Received / Regulations / Details / Website

Posted: June 6, 2014 8:47 AM

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