Old Forge Garage + Dennis Motorsport Gremlin Rally - Epynt MC Report
65 Starters signed on for the Rally including 17 Epynt Motor Club members out in 11 cars. At 10:30pm the first crew received their route handouts and had 90 minutes
to plot many if not all crews plotted with time to spare to reach MC1 and the start of the rally. The 1st section started near Brecon on the old Roman Road at midnight, it turned down the ‘Mouse Hole’, crossed the A470 and headed back towards Libanus before turning down to the ‘Fox Hole’ below Libanus where it was a navigators nightmare of hard to read roads and finished before it rejoined the A470
Epynt MC Vice Chairman Roger Stevens and Member Paul ‘Nobby’ Jenkins were marshalling on this difficult piece of road. Section 2 started near the infamous Cwmbrynich Farm where many people had gathered to watch the cars on the hairpin and following sharp bends. From there it went down to Heol Senni and did the long loop south of the village before coming back to Defynnog area where it finished. The Last section of the first half started at Crai and headed towards Glasfynydd Forest and then onto the ‘Gremlin White’ before coming back up to and finishing at Trecastle.
Epynt MC members Will Arrowsmith and Ceri Davies were back out to defend their title on the rally in their Ford Escort Mk2, Will going for his third win on the event and Ceri his fifth!! They were certainly the crew to beat being on very familiar roads for the Driver living nearby to the route and Ceri who having organised the Powys Lanes Rally and competed on the road numerous times knowing the tricky slots. At Petrol they were the leading crew overall dropping just 22 seconds!, all of which was done on the very slippy ‘Gremlin White’ with its 4 Passage controls and uphill track.
Our very kind sponsor of the DG Jones Agri Powys Lanes Rally, Gerwyn Jones had put in a last minute entry with Aled Richards in his Ford Escort Mk2, Gerwyn has been course car on the Epynt MC event for a number of years but hasn’t competed often recently. Their 1st half came to an end shortly before the last time control with Clutch failure, their times probably would have been very good.
Local navigator Jon Hawkins had recruited George Williams in his Ford Escort Mk2 from Shropshire to drive round the lanes of Brecknockshire, George had never been down to these lanes before and neither crew member has won a road rally before. Jon has had experience in the organising team of the Powys Lanes and again competed on many club navscatters guided George round the slippy lanes to lie 2nd overall behind Will and Ceri just some 16 seconds further back from the leading crew, again it was all lost on the ‘Gremlin White’
Brian ‘Erwbeili’ Jones and Michael Hardwick, regular competitors on the Navscatter series also entered in their Ford Escort Mk2 starting in the Semi Expert class, however it seems the Gremlin wasn’t going to be their rally, the clutch cylinder failing before the rally, with the help of fellow club members Will Arrowsmith and Paul Jenkins they got the car to the startline, however just a few hundred yards into the rally the car spluttered to the halt, forcing them out of the rally, annoyingly for them it then drove home without issue.
Robert Lewis and John Aspland from the Amman valley in their Peugeot 106 also compete in navscatters in the club and were going well in the early stages of the rally, sitting in 26th overall and 3rd in the Semi Expert class at petrol on 4 minutes 10 seconds, setting some decent times but booking in early by 48s on the last time control wouldn’t be something they wanted to repeat albeit costing them no positions.
Regular Navscatter competitors Jamie Pickup and Kate Jones were out in his Peugeot 306 Rallye and in the first half it was some up and down luck for them, near the end of the first half they were leading Semi Expert crew and 15th overall setting some good times overall however the conditions at the Not As Map triangle at RC4 meant they got stuck and lost 8 minutes and 56 seconds, costing them many places overall and dropping them down to 42nd and 9th in class.
Another pair of Amman residents from Epynt MC were running in the novice class at cars 66 and 67, Steffan Rhys James was driving in his Peugeot 206 and Jordan Briskam was navigating in a Vauxhall Nova. Luck was not with Jordan though as he picked up 14 fails after cutting route from Crai straight to Sennybridge at the half way halt. For Steffan Rhys James he was doing better setting some decent class time and arrived at petrol in 36th overall and 5th in class.
Leighton Campbell and Kieran Price again regulars of the navscatters with Kieran getting more and more successful in these events, it was Leighton’s first ever road rally and they were doing very well indeed, despite having only dipped beam for most of the first half they set some decent times and kept it consistent and without fails to sit at 39th overall and 9th in class at petrol, a most promising start.
Ross Turley and Josh Jones starting competing on the Powys Lanes last year and have improved much since then in their BMW 318Ti Compact. However they were much in the same position as Jordan Briskam and missed the first 2 codeboards and had to cut route at the same place meaning they were one position behind Jordan at the petrol halt lying 57th Overall and 19th in class.
Matt Price was the last seeded Epynt MC member competing and he again has been out on the navscatters being driven in a Peugeot 205 GTI driven by Aaron Arnold, they had picked up a number of early penalties and 2 fails for missing a passage control and a wrong approach which put them down the running order to 51st overall and 10th in Petrol.
The second half Started near Pentre-r-Felin and ran up towards Llanfihangel Nant Bran before slotting left and going up the valley to Twm’s farm and dropping back down the other side to the village, it carried onto Soar white and doubled back to come back down the Ffosygerwyn road to Aberbran where it finished, it then ran around to the other side of Brecon Near Llanddew and ran near the villages of Talachddu, Llanddew, Garthbrengy and Llandefaelog before running neutral up to above Lower Chapel and starting again. This time it went down Battle Hill, back up to Pontfaen where it crossed the bridge and passed the Neuadd on the way to Pont Rhyd-Y-Berry where club member Graham Tong was doing the dropping clock of the section. From here it carried on past Merthyr Cynog to the B4520 before going back to Neutral to start again just south of Builth Wells, Here it ran along the common road down towards the Twmpath before looping back round to Gwenddwr and up the hill away from the village coming out south of Crickadarn and slotting tight left down past Tyleheulog to Stockley Wood, a very slippy white indeed, that section finished near Trericket Mill. The last section started near the A470 by Llandefalle where it went round the triangle at the bottom of the hill and headed for the hall, before slotting right onto a white and coming out near Ponde and climing up to Llandyfalle Hill and descending back down to Trawscoed and slotting left to finish close to where it started. From here it was a simple run back to the finish.
At the final control it was a win for Will Arrowsmith and Ceri Davies, well deserved after cleaning the entire second half not dropping a second, it makes Will’s 3rd win and Ceri’s record 5th win! George Williams with Jon Hawkins kept up their charge and finished an impressive 2nd overall behind the local crew dropping just 3 seconds in Stockley Wood to finish 19 seconds down on Will and Ceri it also meant they picked up the 1st Expert Crew award.
Robert Lewis and John Aspland finished 3rd in the Semi Expert class losing out on second in the class after dropping 9 minutes on the first time control after halfway halt. Jamie Pickup and Kate Jones missed out on any chance to move back up the leaderboard after their clutch failed very soon after petrol halt.
Steffan Rhys James carried on form to finish 29th overall and 8th in the novice class unfortunately they picked up a fail a short way into the second half costing them a few places. Matt Price also finished after guiding Aaron Arnold round the challenging lanes to finish 35th overall and 10th in class, sadly they picked up another 8 fails after cutting route from Llandefalle back to the finish. Jordan Briskam also guided his driver round to finish just 2 places further back from Matt Price in 37th overall and 14th in class, his second half being somewhat uneventful it seems. Sadly we lost Leighton Campbell and Kieran Price to a Misfire in the 2nd half and we also lost Ross Turley and Josh Jones after they forgot to book out of petrol therefore excluded from the results, a shame as their 2nd half went much better it seems.
Congratulations to Brecon MC on a well run event, to all the award winners and most importantly the Marshals, several of which from our own Epynt Motor Club who stood out in the changeable conditions. Roll on next year.