Bright and early on a Sunday morning, noise and scrutineering opened for the first running of the Rali Dyffryn Twymyn Targa Rally run by Dovey Valley MC. Starting from Llanbrynmair in mid Wales the event promised to be one not to miss, with a full entry list of 75 crews with another 10+ on the reserve list the event had proved popular with a lot of hype built up on the weeks leading to the event on social media.
At 11:45 Robert Pugh & Ian ‘Dude’ Roberts (Yes! Dude was in the wrong seat!) in the Ibiza pulled away from MTC1 to start the event off.
The first test was a spectator friendly one just around one kilometre out of Llanbrynmair. A tight twisty test with a start on a incline. Straight into a PC before 3 tight 180’s around some large square bales, through a couple sheds picking up a codeboard before 2 360’s around some large bales and into the finish. A short 0.5 mile test to warm everyone up.
Telor Pugh & Dafydd Evans (Satria GTi) were on it from the start beating the bogey and taking the 1 minute time, impressive for a front wheel drive car on such a tight test. Second quickest were Irfon Richards & Daffyd Sion Lloyd (Mk2 Escort) with a time of 1:02 with Kevin Davies & Nigel Nelson (Mk2 Escort) in third with 1:04.
Quickest Semi-Expert’s were James Evans & Ffion Davies (Focus ST170) with a fourth quickest time overall of 1:07, an impressive start from then! Second in class were Daniel Williams & Rhian Angharad Sanson (Mk2 Escort) with 1:15 and joint third were Jamie Atherton & Mark Atherton (Saxo VTR) and Ben Birch & Martin Griffiths (Colt GTi) both on 1:16.
The novice class saw Ricky Crone & Mollie Swann (Nova) coming in quickest with an impressive time of 1:13 with Michael Webber & Zack Pollard (318Ti) in third on 1:23 and Phil Dancer & Heledd Jones (205 GTi) in third a further 2 seconds behind.
Test 2 was up through Pandy and up to the forests for a 5 mile monster of a test. With a ford straight away crews didn’t have the quickest of starts before a codeboard in the middle of some sheds. Up to a few long 90’s and a 360 around a cone. As the test went on there were some really fast sections with some standing water which caught a few competitors out. A few more 360’s, chicanes, codeboards and long way around triangles and 10 minutes later crews were at the end of the test!
A massive 11 crews managed to beat the bogey time and took 10 minutes, some crews showing that guts, power and car preparation were key to a test like this.
Rob Francis & Simon Brown (MX5) took the top spot in class two with an impressive time of 10:28, a great improvement from their first test which they somehow missed all together picking up 12:30 worth of penalties! Jack M Evans & Aron Jones (Mk2 Escort) took the second quickest time in class with 10:30 and Evans/Davies finished the test in 10:36 to secure their lead in class.
Crone/Swann took another top time in the novice class with 11:24 along with Dancer/Jones on the same time. Christian Jackson & Phil Sant (Yaris) took the third quickest time of 12:06.
After a drive across the top of the hills with some awesome views Test 3 was down at Talerddig at Pantglas. A more traditional Targa style test that most of us know through farm buildings and farm tracks. A couple sections were not as the diagram and confused a couple crews as they approached them, a small grassy section caught a couple crews out with a sorry looking tree next to it before a fast tarmac sprint down to the finish. (Was good to see the WRC pairing of Osian Pryce & Dale Furniss encouraging the crews on!)
Just one crew took the bogey time on this test, Steve Thomas & Gareth Thomas in the 205 GTi with Andy Davies & Max Freeman (Impreza) using the four wheel drive to their advantage taking a time of 2:46, just 1 second quicker than current leaders Pugh/Evans.
Francis/Brown took another top spot in the Semi-Experts with a time of 3:10 with Evans/Davies extending their lead with 3:12. Nathan Jones & Carys Giddins (Civic) took the third quickest time with 3:15.
Crone/Swann were dominating the novice class with a time of 3:16 with Webber/Pollard in second with 3:19 and Jackson/Sant on 3:31.
A quick blast down the A470 to Plas Llysyn for the next test which was all tarmac, a change to the tracks, forests and farms used so farm.
Davies/Nelson took the top spot with 1:23 moving them up to second overall with Steven John Williams & Lowri Davies (Mk2 Escort) on 1:26 and Davies/Freeman, Nic Morris & Martin Phasey (Mk2 Escort) and Philip ‘Scruff’ Jones & Clive Jones (Mk2) all on 1:29.
Francis/Brown took another top time of 1:33, that first missed test proving to be costly for a potentially class winning crew! Evans/Davies took 1:34 and Evans/Jones were a further second behind on 1:35.
The usual top spot in the novices for Crone/Swann with a time of 1:38 with Rhus Roberts & Rob Mason (Satria GTi) second in class on 1:45. Jackson/Sant and Dancer/Jones both rounded off the top 3 times with 1:46.
Test 5 was another 5 miler that started at the wind farm just up the road and used some of the Forest Experience Rally School roads. A lot more chicanes, triangles, slaloms and 360’s were included in this test with one of them having some rough arrows on confusing some of the crews. The small section at the rally school HQ was great fun with several 90’s and 180’s laid out in a little course.
The top 5 crews all managed to take the bogey time again on this one with Evans/Jones taking the quickest Semi time of 10:35. Second were Francis/Brown on 11:01 with Daniel Williams & John Gilbey (318Ti) taking third on 11:07.
Webber/Pollard managed to knock Crone/Swann off the top spot for once with times of 11:03 and 11:38 respectively with James Jones & Tom Jones (Nova) rounding off the top three with 11:47.
Test 6 was a short trip down the road and used some farm tracks. A simple looking test with just 3 chicanes, a codeboard and a passage check.
Davies/Freeman set the quickest time of 1:21 moving them up to first overall as well as the Semi-Expert pairing of Francis/Brown in the MX5. Third quickest were Steve Knibbs & Dai ‘Garth’ Powell (Satria GTi) with 1:23. Second quickest class 2’s were both Birch/Griffiths and Jones/Giddins with 1:26 with top novice, Crone/Swann a further 3 seconds behind on 1:29. Jones/Jones were second on 1:31 with Dancer/Jones another second behind them.
And that was it for the first half with MTC 2 at Trefeglwys. A burger van (the same one as breakfast which was good) and coffee shop were both there for the crews while the organisers were changing some of the tests around for another run though. Positions at lunch were as follows;
1st – Andy Davies & Max Freeman, Subaru Impreza – 0:26.43
2nd – Telor Pugh & Dafydd Evans, Proton Satria GTi – 0:26.48
3rd – Steven John Williams & Lowri Davies, Ford Escort – 0:26.54
4th – Kevin Davies & Nigel Nelson, Ford Escort – 0:26.58
5th – Irfon Richards & Dafydd Sion Lloyd, Ford Escort – 0:26.59
6th – Eifion Pughe & Llion ‘Tractor’ Williams, Peugeot 206 – 0:27.44
7th – Iwan Jones & Osian Davies, Subaru Impreza – 0:27.47
8th – Nic Morris & Martin Phasey, Ford Escort – 0:27.54
9th – Dai Roberts & Iwan Davies, Peugeot 205 – 0:28.13
10th – Steve Knibbs & Dai ‘Garth’ Powell, Proton Satria GTi – 0:28.14
Semi-Expert 1st – James Evans & Ffion Davies, Ford Focus ST170 – 0:29.10
Semi-Expert 2nd – Jack M Evans & Aron Jones, Ford Escort – 0:29.13
Semi-Expert 3rd – Bryn Smorthit & Jamie Mills, Ford Sierra – 0:29.48
Novice 1st – Ricky Crone & Mollie Swann, Vauxhall Nova – 0:30.38
Novice 2nd – Phil Dancer & Heledd Jones, Peugeot 205 GTi – 0:32.00
Novice 3rd – Christian Jackson & Phil Sant, Toyota Yaris – 0:32.37
After a break for lunch it was straight back into it with Test 7 just being up the road. A couple gravelly 90’s before a codeboard and a dive through a shed. One small chicane and into the finish. Unfortunately for the organisers only 1 crew didn’t take the bogey time of 1 minute! Current Semi-Expert leaders Evans/Davies were the crew who didn’t manage the bogey dropping them down to second in class.
Test 8 was back to the rally school. A different way in gave a change to the start of the test and took crews backwards through some of the sections. Another great test with 7 crews taking the bogey time including Iwan Jones & Osian Davies in the Impreza.
Birch/Griffiths took the top spot in the Semi class with 10:06 moving them up to second in class with Francis/Brown putting in another impressive test time of 10:12 and Williams/Gilbey with another good long test time of 10:39.
Novices saw Webber/Pollard dominating these longer tests in the BMW with 11:00, Jones/Jones took 11:24 and Crone/Swann took 11:26.
Test 9 was another farmyard back near Trefeglwys which was easy to follow and pretty flowing, 18 crews took the bogey including the Semi-Expert crew Evans/Jones. Francis/Brown were 1 second off and Rob Stephens & Eifion Thomas (205 GTi) were just 3 seconds off the bogey.
Webber/Pollard and Crone/Swann both took a time of 1:02 with Jones/Jones taking 1:07.
Test 10 was just a jump across the B4569 and was one of the better short tests. A couple fast 90’s followed by going through 3 sheds with 180’s between them and a twisty blast up to the finish.
A lot better for the crews as well with some defined times coming through rather than the bogeys. Davies/Nelson took the top spot with a time of 1:50 with Richards/Lloyd a further 2 seconds behind and Pugh/Evans another 2 seconds behind them to move them back to first overall.
Francis/Brown took another quickest class time of 1:58 but clocked into the test 1 minute early picking up 2 minutes penalty. It would have been interesting to see this crews test times without all the errors, they would have definitely been up there! Evans/Davies took the second quickest time of 2:01 and Birch/Griffiths took 2:07.
Crone/Swann was back on form with a time of 2:06 with Jones/Jones on 2:12 and Webber/Pollard taking 2:17 but picking up a costly 2 minute penalty like Francis/Brown.
Test 11 was up the A470 again near Clatter, a 0.75 mile test through a farm at first with a 360 around a cone before opening up across farm tracks around the edges of some fields.
An error for the current 3rd overall crew of Davies/Freeman saw them clock in early to the test picking up a costly 2 minute penalty, dropping them out of the contention for the win.
Jones/Davies took the quickest time of 1:56 with Williams/Davies close behind on 1:58 and Richards/Lloyd and Eifion Pughe & Llion ‘Tractor’ Williams (206) both on 2:00, moving Richards/Lloyd from 4th to 2nd overall.
Francis/Brown were quick again with 2:05 with Evans/Jones and Evans/Davies on 2:08 and 2:09 respectively.
Webber/Pollard were showing they were quick on the shorter tests as well with a time of 2:14 with class leaders Crone/Swann in second with 2:20 and Roberts/Mason on 2:21.
Test 12 was after another short link section, another farm style test.
Einion Williams & Daniel Jones (Mk2 Escort) and the novice crew of Antons Kuzenko & Jelena Pavlovica (206 GTi) were both on top form being the only crews to take the bogey time of 1:30. Third quickest were Davies/Freeman with 1:49.
In class two Evans/Jones took 2:06, Francis/Brown took 2:08 and Birch/Griffiths took 2:09 and in class three Webber/Pollard and Crone/Swann both took 2:15.
Test 13 was the reverse of test 3, but this time the diagram was correct, which caught us out as we were expecting it to be the same as the first time! So a fast start this time and straight into a code board which had a C board very close in front of it, a good way to slow crews down as we wern’t expecting it!
Dai Roberts & Iwan Davies (205) had a blistering time of 2:07 with current leaders Pugh/Evans setting the second quickest time of 2:36. Richards/Lloyd rounded off the top three with a time of 2:40.
Francis/Brown were in their regular place with a time of 2:57 with Evans/Davies in second on 2:59 and Birch/Griffiths on 3:00.
Crone/Swann were still the crew to beat in the novice class with a time of 3:08, Roberts/Mason were second in class on 3:16 and Nigel Morris & John Roberts (318Ti) were third in class on 3:19.
Test 14 was a repeat of the first long test but backwards, a slippy start with some sweeping corners meant acceleration wasn’t too quick and the tracks were a little more cut up then the first time through. It was a shame to see some crews in there who were still stuck/broken down from the morning! Finishing with some sudden breaking for the ford which was in full flow!
Five crews took the bogey time on this run through including Richards/Lloyd, Davies/Freeman, Jones/Davies, Davies/Nelson and Williams/Davies. Leaders Pugh/Evans must have had problems in the test with a time of 11:53 dropping them right out of contention on the penultimate test, a shame.
Francis/Brown were the quickest in class again (Working out their test times without all the errors would have put them 9th overall! Impressive times from the Semi-Expert crew) with 10:10, Williams/Gilbey were second on 10:19 and Evans/Jones were third on 10:29.
Webber/Pollard were quickest novices again on 10:52, Crone/Swann were second on 11:00 and Jones/Jones were third on 11:22.
Ontop the final test now, number 15 which was a repeat of test 1. 18 crews beat the bogey time including novices Roberts/Mason and Jackson/Sant. Webber/Pollard rounded off the top three in class 3 with 1:02 with Stephens/Thomas on the same time in class 2 with Williams/Gilbey and Atherton/Atherton both on 1:04.
And before we knew it that was it! Back to the village hall at Llanbrynmair to hear all the storeys from the other crews and point out all the damage, most looked like they had been picked up on the bales on the last test! An amazing Hog Roast welcomed crews back into the hall while RallyRoots worked out all of the times for the day.
Well Done to Irfon Richards & Dafydd Sion Lloyd who slowly crawled their way up the leader board to take the win at the end of the day. Results can be found at here. Also well done to Rhodri Evans, Andrew Edwards, Lunda Thomas, Martin Pryce, Annie Green and everyone else involved behind the scenes from Dovey Valley MC. A brilliant first event that has definitely concreted its name on the calendar for years to come. A few things that will need ironing out, but what event doesn’t have that in its first year!
Thanks also goes out to Mark Lennox for the spin. Great pilot and that little Anglia is a weapon! Definitely more suited to the tighter stuff due to only being a 1600, but an awesome day non the less!
When are the Regs out for the next one?!
Daniel Pidgeon, Navigator – Car 13, Ford Anglia 105E
Thanks to Caryl Mai Edwards (www.facebook.com/xcaryl.maix), James Hatfield Motorsport Photography (www.facebook.com/madashatters), Joseph John Gilbertson (www.facebook.com/joseph.j.gilbertson), Neil Constable (www.facebook.com/neil.constable.129), Phillip Hatfield (www.facebook.com/phillip.hatfield.39), Peter Lewis (www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006991020391), Power Shot Photography (www.facebook.com/powershotphotography1) & Tim Eaton (www.facebook.com/michelle.eaton.167) for all of the photos. Make sure you check out their pages for more examples and for details on how to purchase yourself a copy!