dylan gb national

Dylan and Llion on their way to fourth overall

The Wales rally GB national rally runs alongside the man international event that takes places in the forests of Mid and North Wales and attracted 3 entrants from Lampeter and district motor club an amongst an entry of the 80 varied competitors. First up seeded at 203 (national entries are number 200 and up) was Dylan Davies with regular navigator Llion “tractor” Williams. Dylan was to be using a newly built group N specification Subaru Impreza for the rally. Two places behind him in at 205 was newly crowned welsh Group N champion Andy Davies once again with Max Freeman taking care of navigating duties, they were out in Andy’s regular Subaru Impreza, also in group N specification. A few places behind them and another crew in a Subaru Impreza was Eryl Evans who was navigwting for Keith Parry. They were seeded at 208.


                With everyone gathered in Chester town centre at 5 o’clock in the afternoon on the Friday the 27th of October ready to take on some of the finest stages in the country. The action itself began on the Saturday morning over at Cholmondeley Castle, which was to be a short stage of just over a mile, and ran as a spectator friendly stage where there was plenty of viewing opportunity for spectators to get up close to the action, the stage features a quick blast over a tarmac road and features a couple of tight left hand bends after a short sprint from the start line, following this there tight chicane before another quick section over to the finish, giving a great viewing for the thousands of fans that braved the Autumn cold to watch the action.

                Quickest amongst club members on this short stage was Dylan, him and Llion setting the seventh quickest overall time with 1 minute 13.2 seconds, an excellent start to their rally in what was a new car for Dylan. Just behind them were Keith and Eryl who set the eighth fastest time, being only a tenth of a second behind Dylan! Andy also had a very good start to the rally, setting a time of 1 minute 13.7 seconds. with all club members setting great times on the rally’s opening stage it was off to the forests where the real action was to take place.

Aberhirnant was the first forest stage of the rally, which took place in Penllyn forest, just south of Bala. It is a very quick stage, measuring just over 8 and a half miles in length, and features plenty of fast flowing sections with a few technical sections thrown in. On this stage Dylan and LLion set the second quickest overall time, which saw them climb into second overall, with a time of 8 minutes and 45.6 seconds, great going by them in the new car. Keith and Eryl and another very good stage, setting the seventh quickest overall time with 9 minutes 3.7 seconds, this promoted them to sixth overall. Unfortunately, Andy’s days rallying came to a premature end as the car slid wide on a tight right-hand bend, sliding off the road and onto its roof in a ditch, putting them into retirement, although only superficial damage was done to the car it was well and truly stuck so there was no chance of getting the car out until the whole field had passed. A great shame as Andy was hoping to push on the event and challenge for overall honours, something he and Max were more than capable of doing. They were hoping to re start the event the next day under super rally rules.

Dyfnant was the next stage to be taken on, just north of Llangadfan. It is a stage that has featured in the rally many times and is well liked by competitors for having a very flowing nature. The stage measured just over 11 miles in length, and once again Dylan and Llion set the second quickest overall time, with 11 minutes 44.9 seconds, this was in fact only 0.3 seconds off the overall fastest stage time, which was excellent going, they held on to second overall. Keith and Eryl set another impressive time of 11 minutes 58.9 seconds, good enough for sixth quickest overall. This meant they held on to sixth in the overall standings. Atfer the first three stages of the rally Dylan and LLion’s total time was 21 minutes, 43.7 seconds, only 6.4 seconds behind the overall leader, and Keith and Eryl’s total time was 22 minutes 15.9 seconds, 38.6 seconds down on the events overall leader.

Gartheiniog was the next stage, taking place in the northern half of the Dyfi forest, and is another popular stage amongst competitors and frequently used in the rallying calendar. At just under 8 miles in length it isn’t the longest stage of the event, but it is one of the more technical, with a couple of slower tight harpin bends that give an enjoyable challenge to all those who attempt it. There were three spectator viewing events in this stage, all of which near the technical sections, giving excellent viewing as crews threw the cars round the corners in search of the neatest and quickest line through. Club members actually tied for joint fifth overall on this stage, with both Dylan and Llion and Keith and Eryl setting times of 9 minutes 9.4 seconds on this stage, Dylan in fact picked up a puncture in this stage with 3 miles from the end, this saw them drop down to fifth in the overall standings, but the gaps were marginal so there was everything to play for over the next stages. Keith and Eryl remained in sixth overall.

Dyfi was to be the final stage of the day before crews headed over to Deeside for a service halt. At just over 16 miles this was to be the longest stage of the day, it is another technical stage that somehow always seems to be very slippery, no matter what the weather! Dylan and Llion made a last-minute charge on this stage to try and put themselves back into the top three overall, which they very nearly achieved, setting the third quickest time on the stage at 17 minutes, 47.7 seconds. This lifted them to fourth overall. Keith and Eryl achieved seventh overall quickest time on this final stage with a time of 18 minutes and 7.6 seconds, but held on to sixth overall in the rally.

With all competitors at Deeside after a tough but enjoyable day of competition Dylan and Llion held fourth overall with a total time of 48 minutes, 40.8 seconds, this saw them 53.7 seconds down on the events overall leader. Dylan commented on how he was actually taking it rather easy to get used to the feel of the new car and was a little surprised on how quick some of his times were. Keith and Eryl were at sixth with 49 minutes, 32.9 seconds, 1 minute 45.8 seconds down on the overall leader. But with another day of stages left to run anything could happen and there was plenty of opportunity to climb (or fall) in the rally standings. Unfortunately, Andy was unable to get the car ready for the second day so would not be joining in the action.

After the overnight halt it was back to the forests for the final three stages of the event, with the first which the national rally were to tackle being Gwydir, taking place just west of Llanrwst. This was to be a short stage to get the day started, with a mileage of just over 4 and a half miles. It is a stage with a slightly different nature to the other stages of the rally, with it being a far less dense woodland compared with many of the other stages. Club members began their day much the same as they finished the previous, by pushing on hard and setting excellent times. Dylan and LLion achieving fourth quickest time on this stage with 5 minutes and 32.6 seconds. Keith and Eryl managed another very respectful time of 5 minutes and 54.1 seconds. This saw them drop down a place into seventh overall.

Alwen was the next stage of the event, and is a very quick stage with very fast straight sections linked by junction turns, with much of the route running alongside the Alwen reservoi. Picking out your braking points very carefully and accurately is a must for anyone hoping to set a good time on this stage. With a length of around 6 and a half miles there is little opportunity to regain time should any mistakes happen with the average speed being so high. Dylan and Llion managed a time of 6 minutes, 254 seconds over this stage, which was the fifth quickest overall time, and Keith and Eryl achieved a time of 6 minutes 35.9 seconds, good enough for sixth overall. These times saw Dylan and Llion hold fourth overall and saw Keith and Eryl climb back up into sixth.

Following Alwen, it was over to Brenig which was to be the final stage of the rally. This stage which at just under 4 miles was the shortest stage of the day. The stage begins at the edge of the forest before heading down and running along the side of the dam for most of the stages length. It was the final opportunity for competitors to push to improve their standings and push they did with Dylan and Llion setting an excellent time of 4 minutes and 35.3 seconds which was the third quickest time over this stage. Keith and Eryl also pushed hard and achieved an excellent time of 4 minutes and 38.1 seconds, this was the sixth quickest time.

With the competitive miles of the event undertaken it was off to Llandudno for the ceremonial finish. Dylan and LLion managed to finish in an excellent fourth overall with a time of 1 hour, 5 minutes and 14.1 seconds, excellent going for them in the new car. Keith and Eryl achieved a very respectful sixth overall with a time of 1 hour, 6 minutes and 41.0 seconds. Excellent results by both crews and a great shame that Andy and Max were unable to join them for the majority of the event, but will no doubt be back in action very soon.

Many thanks must go to Aled Richards for the use of his image for this report.