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It was a dramatic conclusion to the 2012 BTRDA rally series with three crews going into the final round with a shot at the title. The equation was simple for Hugh Hunter & Andy Marchbank (Focus WRC) along with Roger Chilman & Bryan Thomas (Impreza WRC), win the rally and they were champions, Shaun Gardener & Ben Innes (Evo 5.9) needed the calculators out if either Chilman or Hunter finished behind them. Stage one provided the first twist in this drama. Chilman was just over halfway through Clocaenog Main 1 when he made a dramatic exit at high speed. The car was totaled and blocked the stage, but the crew were okay. All Hunter had to do was finish, effectively, as Gardener was well off the pace. Coming out of 2nd service Hunter held almost a minutes advantage overall but on stage 5, Clocaenog East 2, everything went wrong. As he approached our position his car was out of sorts and as he left the car was struggling to engage any drive at all. Hunter did not make the start of the penultimate stage, so Gardener & Innes were 2012 champions irrespective of where they finished. They came in 5th overall.

Outside of this championship battle there was a rally to be won and there had been a keen battle all day between Luke Francis & John Roberts (Evo IX) and Tom Naughton & Horace Saville (Evo IX). They had been fighting over 2nd place but with Hunter out this was now the battle for the lead. Going into the final stage Naughton had closed the gap on Francis to just one second, so it was game on around the Great Orme. But it was Francis who set 2nd fastest time with Naughton 2 seconds back. A fine win for Francis and a great 2nd place for Naughton after an event long battle. 3rd went to Alex Allingham & Mark Glennerster (Impreza) who pipped Jamie Anderson & Ella Flynn (Evo IX) by just 3 seconds after losing 6 seconds to them, on the final stage.

In the 2WD field there were a number of battle being played out, with the top 3 crews eventually taking 8th, 9th & 10th in the overall standings. After the retirement of his Brother Ieuan on the way to the first stage with gearbox issues, it was John Rowlands & Llion Williams (Escort MkII) who took the battle to the 2012 Silver Star champions Matthew Robinson & Nigel Huchinson (Escort MkII). Robinson took an early lead but by the end of stage 4 Rowlands had got the lead by just 2 seconds. This lead grew and on stage 6 Rowlands set 6th fastest time overall, just 8 seconds off the 4WD pace and pretty much sealed the win. Robinson had to worry about the attack of a charging Will Onions & Dave Williams (Escort MkII), who took 12 seconds out of Robinson round the Great Orme. Robinson had enough in hand though and took 2nd place behind Rowlands by just 4 seconds.

The 1400 field saw carnage early on as the top crews had the rare opportunity for a win with the absence of both the 2012 champion Julian Wilkes and his closest rival on pace all season Justin Lawson. A total of 9 of the 40 crews retired on the first pair of stages, with numerous excursions being reported over the radio rather than mechanical failures. The war of attrition saw Marcel Freling & Karen Robinson (MG ZR) come out victorious with a sensible drive whilst those around them lost their heads. Gareth Webb & Rich Jones (Nova) finished 2nd, 22 seconds back with Cameron Davies & Alistair Dodd (MG ZR) completing the podium a further 20 seconds back.

And finally the first field to finish were the Historics, (category 1). It was the last entry Gwilym Roberst & Don James (Cortina MkI) who took victory by just over two minutes. No great shock as all the other finishers were Mini’s, so way down on power as well as engine capacity. Andrew O’Hanlon & James Crook were the ones who took 2nd and took the honour of top Historic Mini with Jason & Hugh Thompson 3rd, just over a minute further back.

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