Teifi Valley MC’s Rali Bro Preseli Novice Rally was as ever oversubscribed with entries. With a full list of 75 runners and 10 reserves it wasn’t looking hopeful for us in Reserve 8 at the start of the week. Luckily on the morning on the event we were moved up through the reserve list and by 2pm we were reserve 1, later on by 4 we had a spin, car 16. With a couple problems we were a couple minutes late getting into noise but there was a large queue for scrutineering so it was still open. Finally getting through at 8:30 we headed off to the start venue at Crymych Cattle Market. Again a large queue for signing on meant it wasn’t until after 9:30 we received our competitors pack, and just after 10 I was at MC0 getting the route.
A couple amendments solved a few problems with plotting and it looked like a cracking route round the Pembrokeshire Coast with 13 NAM’s and a couple “follow arrows” we were looking forward to our first Bro Preseli.
The first section twisted it way towards Pontyglasier before heading back towards Crymych. We had problems before we event got this far! Having a misfire off the start line which soon cleared down the road, but then having the gearstick completely come out of the car on the slot right just before SS1! So 6 minutes behind schedule at SS1 wasn’t the best start for us, but we were back going with some handy cable ties holding the broken pin in place.
Down through a farmyard at PC1 where Lee and Ian Taylor ‘met’ a gatepost and then back onto the tarmac towards Llanfair-Nant-Gwyn. Next up was a slot 90 left at a spectator point, with a tug of the handbrake Sam managed to wedge the Nova in-between the two banks, what seemed like a 90 point turn managed to get us out, sorry to Russell Williams and Milo in the Maestro for holding you up! Several Semi-Experts crews cleaned this first section with Tom Rowcliffe and Callum James being the quickest novice crew through with just 12 seconds of penalties in their Satria.
The route followed a neutral section up along the A487 and slotting left just before Cardigan to TC2. A slot 90 right into a farm was packed full of spectators (was quite nice to see how many were out being higher up the running order!) and this is were our misfire came back. Then unfortunately at the farm half way along the white we lost gears, having found the gear-linkage pin had broken and disappeared, so the cable ties came out again as we didnt have anything else small enough to fit in the hole! Also to add to our problems the battery was now dead and she wouldn’t start! Thanks to the DSO’s who were at the give way who helped me bump start it.
A couple small diagram and then a lovely steep hairpin left and hairpin right took us down to another farm and then headed up towards Moylgrove. A very fast section following the most coastal road down towards Newport was a good place to open the car right up, realising we would be very early we took it easy coming down to the next TC. Soon after out cable ties soon snapped holding the gear linkage in and the car was deciding to cut out at every give way with the misfire, top that off with the battery still having no life, I was getting fairly fit jumping out and pushing! Pulling into PC10 the Nova was not having a good night and we were around 25 minutes down on time, so we cut down to the A487 to make out way to petrol to try and sort out some of the problems.
The route doubled back on itself heading back towards cardigan with a healthy handful of NAM diagrams and some nice straight roads I’m sure it was a good fun section for both crew members!
On the way to petrol for us the misfire got worse and worse, struggling to get up one of the hills on the mainroad, that added to the 12 fails we had picked up for cutting route we decided to call it a day at petrol. Nigel Davies and Dylan Davies were leading the rally at this point having only dropped 12 seconds, Gary Evans and Iwan Griffiths in second with 25 seconds and Hefin Lewis and Gethin Sollis in 3rd only 1 second behind. Dafydd Lloyd and Scott Mayes were leading the Novice class at this point with 3:32 and only 1 second behind was Aled Morris and Marc Holland. Chris Jones and Shaun Leonard only 15 seconds behind in 3rd Novice. Chris Evans and Kevin Evans were the last men standing in the beginners class with Wyn Warren and Gwyndaf Evans having an off.
SS3 started just above Brynberian jumping almost straight into a double NAM junction at a farm and then heading back up towards Felindre. The route then headed south around the top of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with 3 more farms to navigate through and then down to the B4313. The route then went up through Cwm Gwaun and through the tight hairpins before heading over to map 157 and up to SF3 just before Fishguard. Emyr Davies and Barry Davies were quickest through here in the escort, only dropping 31 seconds, with Wayne Jones and Steffan Daniels quickest novices.
After heading through Fishguard the route slotted right below Scleddau into the next short section which saw a couple ‘follow arrows’ and another diagram before finishing just about Letterston. Several crews in both Semi-Expert and Novice classes were clean through here, Hefin Lewis and Gethin Sollis now in the lead by 36 seconds over Sion Rees and Claire Williams. The novices were now being led by Wayne Jones and Steffan Daniels with a comfortable 2 minute lead.
The route hopped over the A40 for the last section, two more small NAM diagrams before going through Puncheston and back onto map 145. A few cortions were along here with a deceptive 90 Right and also over a brow into a 60 Left to keep the drivers awake before heading below Henry’s Moat and down past New Moat. The route then jumped off map onto a white which led into a field with a series of ‘follow arrows’ instructions, a long white by the looks of it. One last jump over the B4313 and into a tight section near Llanycefn and out towards the finish just above Llandissilio.
Hefin and Gethin only dropped 29 seconds along this long section to give them the win over Sion and Claire who were second quickest dropping a minute (0:02.03 and 0:03.10 overall times respectively). Peter Lewis and Andrew Rees came in 3rd 1 minute and 21 seconds behind.
The novice class was won by Wayne Jones and Steffan Daniels keeping their lead, Aled Morris and Marc Holland were quickest through the last section to give them the best overall time, but unfortunately a fail picked up earlier put a damper on a decent result but still coming 10th in class. Second was Dafydd Lloyd and Scott Mayes with the Sierra of Hywel Williams and Tomos Evans rounding off the top 3.
Chris Evans and Kevin Evans managed to finish to bring home the beginners trophy with 24 fails and a time of 0:30.01. Just goes to show you don’t always need an amazingly clean and quick run!
Thanks to all the Marshals who stood out for us all to enjoy ourselves and also to all the organising team from Teifi Valley MC! As long as I don’t just up to class 1 I will hopefully be back next year to get a finish! Also thanks to Sam for another spin, the cars got some pace when it works!
Daniel Pidgeon, Nav – Car 16 – Vauxhall Nova
Thanks to Isaac Martin (https://www.facebook.com/isaac.martin.129) for all of the photos! Make sure you head to their website to see more photos and also information on how to purchase yourself a copy!