The fourth round of the BTRDA Goldstar Rally Championship was held in the forests of mid-Wales. Based from the Town of Welshpool, the event used some classic forestry tracks in the Welsh mountains. The event was made up of 6 stages, with a mid way service halt for repairs; recent heavy rain had left a damp and wet surface, including some very slippery and rough sections that would see many crews crash out or retire with damage. I would be co-driven on this event by experienced navigator Alan Jackson.
The first stage of the event was almost 11 miles long, and immediately we ran into problems. A vacuum hose came loose in our initial launch from the start line; this caused a crippling engine misfire throughout the stage, dropping us over 2 minutes to our class competitors. The problem was fixed by the side of the road, and we went into Stage 2 trying to claw back some of the time lost. A good time through this stage, and a very committed start to Stage 3, saw us improve our position before encountering more troubles mid-way through the third Stage. In a bid to make up as much time as possible I made a large cut into the inside of a tight left hand bend; aiming to use the ditch to help me carry as much speed as possible. Unfortunately the car struck a rock, crushing the exhaust flat, and significantly reducing the vehicles power. We limped out of the stage to service, where our service crew worked extremely hard to effect repairs and keep us in the running. Thankfully with repairs in place, the car was returned to full working order.
The second half of the event saw a change in our luck, and we pushed hard in Stage 4 setting a good time a slow puncture. Stage 5 was a rerun of the first 11 mile stage, and was by far our best stage of the event. The long, sweeping bends suited our standard transmission, and I was beginning to get comfortable in the car. Stage 6 was based just outside Welshpool, and was a spectator special with an extremely large jump. At 0.85 miles long, there was little to be gained from an all out attack, but due to the rough surface, and the jump, everything to be lost; as a result we dialed back the commitment through the stage to ensure a finish and valuable championship points.
We finished 10th in class B13, which we are considering an extremely good result given the difficulties we encountered throughout the event. This means I am now 7th in the B13 Class of the BTRDA Goldstar Rally Championship.
We are now looking forward to the 5th round of the Championship, The Dukeries Rally, which is my home event based in Sherwood Forest.