That end of term feeling was with us once again as the BTRDA Rally Championship reached its final round, the Cambrian. With a very impressive entry it mattered little that most of the titles had already been decided. In the main rally Hugh Hunter & Andy Marchbank (Focus WRC) made a welcome return to the series and at first service were leading by 9 seconds from 2010 Gold Star Champions Steve Perez & Paul Spooner (Focus WRC). But disaster then struck on stage 3 as Hunter lost almost a minute and a half and with that the battle for victory was over. Perez managed the gap and cruised to BTRDA round win number 6 in 2010. Hunter was a creditable 2nd and with any other likely contenders for victory falling off or out of the rally, Alex Allingham & Mark Glennerster brought their group N Impreza home in 3rd sealing the Welsh Championship too.
Elsewhere the stand out result of the day was a superb 9th overall from Matt Edwards & Sam Collis in their MG ZR, taking the 1400 class victory by over a minute and a half and finishing top 2WD crew against an impressive Historic and Silver Star entry. The cherry on the cake was Collis securing the co-drivers 1400 title, after Edwards had taken the drivers title on the previous round.
So into the categories and the 1400′s saw 2nd place on the Cambrian go to David Bennett & Alistair McNeil (Corsa) after their first full season stepping up to the full 16V class. The podium was completed by Marcel Freling & Karen Robinson (ZR) on the final stage after a frightening off for Siôn Matthews & Rob Hopewell (Nova) saw them collide with a radio car, just over two miles from the end of the final stage.
In the Silver Star we had been promised a monumental battle as Ieuan Rowlands & Em Hall returned to the series in their Volvo engined Escort MkII. Joe Price & Chris Brooks were out in their Escort MkII also and we also welcomed the return of the day-glo Escort MkII of Will Onions & Dave Williams. Add to this the sensation of 2010 Dylan Davies & Dale Furniss (Escort MkI) and the superb Historic specification Escort MkII of Peter Elkins & Andrew Joll, and it was a mouth watering battle.
Stage 1 saw Rowlands shine as he was 5th fastest past our position but he retired before stage 2, leaving Price in the lead. First service saw Onions retire after fighting with the more powerful Escort MkII after a season of Historics. Price held onto the lead until the end of stage 3 when Davies took over. Davies then stopped on stage 4 with Price retiring at the next service halt so it was Matthew Robinson & Darren Brown (Escort MkII) who took over in the lead from Elkins. Robinson held on and extended the gap to take victory after the 6 stages were complete. The podium was completed by Alan McDowall & Gavin Heseltine (Kadett) who lost road position mid event and were running in the dusk conditions at the end of the event.
Over in the Historics the fields were split into Historics and then post Historics and Classics. With the Historics running first on the road Simon Wallis & Graham Wride won the battle of the Lotus Cortina’s by 41 seconds from Neil Calvert & Captain Thompson. Clive King & Bob Ward completed the podium wringing the neck of their Mini.
In the 2nd field it had been a fierce battle between the Escort MkII of Tim Pearcey & Jamie Edwards against the Ascona of Phil Collins & Bryan Thomas. Pearcey took the first two stages to lead by 12 seconds into first service. Collins then reduced the gap to just 2 seconds on stage 3 and then moved ahead on stage 4 to lead by 5 seconds, running 6th overall in the whole rally. Stage 5 saw Collins increase his lead to 22 seconds as he went joint 4th overall on the rally, but then disaster then struck as the Ascona stopped on the final stage. Pearcey took victory by almost 50 seconds from Paul Griffiths & Kevin Owens (Escort MkII) with David Stokes & Guy Weaver (Escort MkI) a similiar distance back in 3rd place.
Video, well it could be some time…