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                Saturday the 30th of December saw the first rally take place after the Christmas break, the ever-popular Jaffa Stages, organised by Carmarthen motor club. It is a popular rally that many use a test ready for the up and coming season in the new year to see how their cars are performing, whilst others just enjoy entering for the fun of it. It was also to make up the first round of the club’s tarmac championship, despite having a 2017 date.

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Club chairman Jason Thomas (centre) hands out awards to overall club champion Cadog Davies (left) and chairmans cup to Andy Davies (right)

On the 9th of December the club held its annual awards dinner, which this year took place at the Rugby club in Lampeter, a venue which sees the club hold its monthly meetings. An excellent turkey dinner was suppled by the club before awards were presented to the winners by club chairman Jason Thomas. The overall club champion award this year went to the club’s secretary, Cadog Davies, who clinched the title at the very last minute when auto test results came through and a third overall that Cadog had achieved in an auto test at the beginning of the year was enough to take his points tally to the overall lead, in amongst the excellent results he had from road rallying and tarmac rallying all year. Newcomer to the club Donna Chandler and partner Justin Jones between them scooped the marshals award in a very closely fought battle between them and Rhydian Thomas, it was decided to give the award to Donna and Justin as whilst Rhydian had attended more rallies, the other pair had managed to cover more controls, although credit should be given to Rhydian (and every other marshal who volunteers their time) it was a very difficult decision to make and all will no doubt be in the running for the award next year too. Club chairman Jason Thomas decided to give his choice award to Andy Davies for his achievements throughout what was a very successful year for him, winning yet another Group N title and narrowly missing out on the overall welsh forestry championship, everyone agreed he was a very much deserving of the award. With the food eaten and awards presented entertainment was provided by Carys Jones who sang for the attendants who exchanged stories of their years sport at the bar and in what was a very enjoyable evening. Thanks, must go to all of those who organised the event, Lampeter Rugby club for the venue and the excellent food, Carys Jones for the music, Lasers Are Us for the trophies and all the competitors and members for making the club what it is. Hope to see everyone return in 2018. Many thanks must go to Edryd Evans for the use of his image.

So the dust has settled on 2017 and the FIA World Motor Sport Council has just confirmed that our 2018 date will be 4 – 7 October.  Three weeks earlier than this year.
It seems that November is a continual merry-go round of debriefs and meetings to dissect the most recent event but already there is a 2018 itinerary in circulation as plans advance for 10 months' time. 
2017 was a fabulous event; great competition, a brilliant result, fantastic weather and huge crowds.  We know that there are many elements that we can take and develop for the future, as well as those that we need to learn from.  These are all in the mix for discussion in the coming months.
At the beginning of November we sent out a questionnaire to all marshals requesting your feedback.  Thank you very much to the 839 of you who responded.  The comments have kept us busy reading through them. 
We promised that five respondents would receive a programme from the rally signed by the top competitors, as well as a Dayinsure Wales Rally GB hoodie from Performance Clothing.  The winners pulled from a proper rally beanie are: 
Alan Hill
Chris Hall
David Mansell
Jamie Clark
Gavin Wycherley
Your signed programme is on its way to you and the Performance Clothing elves are busy preparing your hoodie in time for it to be delivered for Christmas. 
Thank you to everyone who took part in this. 
When Ott Tanak crossed the Flying Finish line on Brenig at 12:50:12 it started a special 23 minutes in the history of M-Sport. 
Tanak's finish secured the 2017 WRC Manufacturers' Championship for the Cumbrian team. 
13 minutes later and Seb Ogier delivered the Drivers' Championship that has always managed to elude the team since they started in the World Rally Championship 20 years ago. 

Then at 13:13:07 Elfyn Evans made us all proud as the first Welsh winner of Rally GB and the first from the UK since Richard Burns in 2000.  A hat-trick for M-Sport! 
Doing all this on the UK round of the championship was a special moment for everyone involved with the event.  It sealed a special rally for us, as organisers, and a special year for the UK's only WRC team. 
The month that follows the rally is also the time when we receive the reports from the various FIA delegates who attend the event on behalf of the governing body of world motor sport.  Consider it like receiving a Report Card from all your high school teachers at once. 
When you are measured against the other 12 World Rally Championship rounds it is a daunting task to come up to standard on all aspects.  We have received very positive reports from the safety, technical, media and medical delegates on all the aspects of the event.  This is in part a result of the pre-event planning, but most importantly down to the implementation of that planning on the day by you, the marshals.  Thank you.
As noted, the standard has been recognised to be very high on Rally GB but as always with reports there are areas of 'could do better.'  Many of these are highlighted as marshals congregating as a group in some areas of the stages instead of spreading out over the area that they are there to look after.  This is the second year that this has been specifically mentioned in our reports and, while this year was better, we must be aware of the need to keep improving.
All that remains is to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Please take the time to relax, to reminisce on what you delivered for the motor sport world in 2017 and to bask in the glory of a job very well done.  October 2018 will be here sooner than we think and we hope that we can rely on you to help us deliver another cracking event then. 
From all of us at IMS and on the rally, a massive thank you for all your support.

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On the 10th and 11th of November the Manx auto club hold a popular two-day rally on the Isle of Mann, a rally which often sees many members from welsh motor clubs venture over to the Island to get a taste of competition on closed tarmac roads. Amongst the many who travelled over to the Island were members of Lampeter and district motor club, who had a strong representation on the rally, with Tomas Davies seeded at number 9 in his R5 specification Ford fiesta. He was accompanied by Eurig Davies. Changing from Subaru’s over to Fords was Dylan Davies who with regular navigator Llion Williams were seeded at 19 in a 2002 specification Ford focus world rally car. They were hoping for a top placing having done well on the event last year. At 78 were Jonathon Davies who had Elgan Davies navigating, they were out in a Ford escort Mk2. Number 84 went to the Nissan Micra of Owen McConochie and Rhodri Williams who were looking to get some experience of tarmac rallying having had some impressive results on gravel rallies earlier in the year.

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             The weekend of the 23rd/24th of September saw Carmarthen motor club hold their rally, the Autumn, down in Carmarthen mart. It is a rally with a reputation for being a tough but enjoyable challenge, and so came of no surprise that the entry list filled quickly once regulations were made available, with many club members throwing their names into the mix. The rally was made up of some 100 miles on OS maps 146 and 159, giving club members another chance to compete in an area not too far away from home soil. The rally made up the tenth round of the welsh road rally championship which also helped pull in a strong entry.

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It has been another busy weekend for members of Lampeter and district motor club, with two events taking place, the first being the woodpecker stages that took place on the Saturday and the Dyffryn Twymyn targa rally on the Sunday.

Pacenotes rally magazine have been in touch with the club letting with news on what they are up to, so here is a preview of the August issue which is currently on sale and features Phil Harris' stunning Category 1 Historic Mini on the cover. In fact, there is a bit of a Mini theme going on this month - there is also featured a Downton Sport 40 Mini, a very exclusive car which is number one of five, and also a feature with 'Mini Girls' Louise Thomas and Emily Easton-Page. Inside the magazine you can find almost 70 pages dedicated to stage rallying in the UK, Ireland and beyond. The magazine covers everything from Clubman events through to the WRC. There are also special features from the likes of renowned journalist Martin Holmes and interesting columns by Sammy Hamill, Mike Nicholson and Peter Scott.