News from: The Kenyan Rally Championship The World Rally Championship The British Rally Championship The Asphalt Rally Championship And The Clwydian Cars Stages
Geoff’s gossip May has been a busy month for me, between co-driving for James in the mighty Micra and jet setting to Portugal for the second of the Pirelli Star Driver rallies with Peter Horsey, I somehow managed to find time to travel to the Isle of Man with MC Video to assist with TV interviews of the crews. The Manx National is always a fantastic event and this year was no exception even if the entries were down. But the poor turn out of World Rally Cars should not detract from the amazing fight that took place between Paul Bird’s 2007 spec Focus World Car and Keith Cronin in the Group N Subaru. Now we all know that Keith is a talent as his 2009 British title will confirm but I was genuinely surprised at his reluctance to talk to the media! On Friday night, after five stages, he was only a handful of seconds behind Birdie but despite the camera man (Wayne Goldring) and I hanging around for ages Keith refused to come over for a quick chat. If he wants to raise the budget to move into the IRC or WRC then he will need to become a bit more media friendly! An interesting occurrence has developed in the UK this year and that is how secretive some organisers have become with their information. In the past a spectator guide would be available on rally websites and media would often have stage maps up to a week before - this was great as it allowed everyone to plan their day out. However this season information has been very sparse and sometimes the first time the media learn what stages are being used and see a time schedule is at signing on! Why the desire to create obstacles for the press – after all we are there to provide coverage of these events and promote them as effectively and positively as possible! One pleasant exception is my home rally, the Plains Rally, which had spectator information available way in advance and all media were kept up to date by the press officer days before the event… fantastic! This issue was compounded on the recent Jim Clark International Rally which my father and Russ Otway covered on my behalf. Naively not checking their media packs at signing on, the pair were then dismayed to find that there was no time schedule included and, as we had clients in each of the four different rallies running simultaneously over the weekend, it took a fair bit of guess work to ensure that they saw everyone! And when Papa Mayes asked a friendly marshal, even he had no clue what the running order was! Oh, and if people think marshals in the UK, especially on tarmac events, can be a bit anal then try visiting Portugal! The country once renowned for unruly spectators and lack of respect for safety has now gone so far to the other extreme that we were forced to play military games to avoid being shot at by the gendarme! No kidding – instead of marshals the stages were lined with policemen and even with media badges they refused to allow us to walk down the roads 90 minutes before the first car! Instead we had to clamber through the undergrowth whilst the copper walked on the road keeping us in sight to ensure we didn’t transgress! Eventually, by day 3, we were resorting to camouflage and silence to avoid detection! And I was not alone in having these headaches, speaking to some photographers who have been doing this for years they reckoned they had never seen such strict enforcing and one guy spoke of being threatened with a hand gun when he began crossing the stage! But enough waffling on – enjoy the newsletter and safe rallying!
Pritchard tastes victory on tarmac debut RDP Welsh Rally – 02 May Builth Wells based Jason Pritchard enjoyed a successful tarmac debut in his FCS Laser Mail, North Road Garage and Total Impreza Magazine supported Subaru Impreza N16 when the 21 year old finished the recent RDP Welsh Rally eighth overall and first in Group N! Pritchard and co-driver Robbie Durant were contesting the rally, run over the daunting Epynt military ranges, to gain experience of their new four wheel drive stead and whilst Pritchard was adamant that he was driving cautiously and focusing on seat time, a string of top ten stage times give an indication of the potential once this young talent gets to grips with his machine! This car is amazing, truly smiles per miles! I have never been so fast over Epynt and felt so comfortable before! There is loads more to come from both the car and myself as today we were operating in “safe” mode just to gain seat time and so to finish so high up inside the top ten is brilliant! This rewarding tarmac test comes on the back of a very successful fortnight. After taking his first outright four wheel drive victory on the Red Kite Stages Pritchard then performed admirably on last weekends Pirelli International Rally, with his result elevating him up to third overall in the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship standings! The young guns head north to Scotland for the Jim Clark International Rally next.
Bogie time for Birdie Manx Telecom Rally – 07/08 May – National Tarmac Championship Paul Bird and Kirsty Riddick may have won this years Manx National Rally in their Ford Focus WRC07 but there were two thorns in their side… bogie times on the high speed stages and a pesky Irishman in a Production class Subaru! Birdie beat the stage bogie on no less than five special stages, the exceptionally dry weather conditions on the island helping raise the average speed, but on one test Bird was a whacking great 35 seconds faster than the target time! Added to this the presence of reigning British Rally Champion Keith Cronin in his Pirelli Star Drive Subaru Impreza N15 and Birdie certainly wasn’t having an easy ride. The fact that Cronin, who was never quite happy with the suspension set up on his Production class Subaru, managed to beat the Focus WRC drive on no less than three stages is testimony to the Irishman’s commitment and pace! Cronin would eventually retire after clipping a bank and bending a rear beam but by then he had found a setup that would work on the forthcoming Isle of Man International Rally. The same could not be said for team mate Euan Thorburn who was caught out on a notoriously bumpy section on Friday night and comprehensively destroyed his car! Whilst Euan and co-driver Paul Beaton were unhurt the pair must surely be wondering if they will have a car for the forthcoming Jim Clark Rally! A very impressive pace was also being set by former BTRDA Rally Champion Hugh Hunter in his ex Colin McRae Ford Focus. Hugh is a very recent convert to tarmac and was very happy to be third overall on Friday night. The impressive performance would continue all through Saturday until a blown turbo halted him mid afternoon. Through all of this came Manxman Steve Quine. Despite the advantage of local knowledge Steve was handicapped by an aging Mitsubishi Evo 6 and yet still managed to finish a hugely impressive second overall, albeit over three minutes behind Bird! After a catalogue of disasters early on, Damian Cole recovered to take third overall and, more importantly, maximum Tarmac points. Winning Group N in the end was Jonnie Greer, the current British Championship leader. This test could well prove pivotal in the championship race and whilst Jonnie admitted that he was unable to keep up with Cronin he was pleased to be quicker than the other production class cars. 1. 2. 3.
Paul Bird/ Kirsty Riddick Steve Quine/ Richard Skinner Damian Cole/ Craig Drew
Ford Focus WRC Mitsubishi Evo 6 Ford Focus WRC
1:38:16 1:41:36 1:42:17
Kisumu not kind for Horsey KCB Visa Card Rally – Kisumu – 15 May Young Kenyan rally talent Peter Horsey was on course for his best ever result in the KCB Kenyan National Rally Championship when the Civicon backed driver and Tanzanian based co-driver Moses Matovu ran inside the top three on last weekends Kisumu Rally, a broken wheel ultimately costing the talented pair time and dropped them to sixth at the end. Horsey and Matovu, at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Evo 9, were tackling the event for only the second time and after recent rains had created very tricky rallying conditions, the pair were delighted to set some strong times against their more experienced rivals. After five of the eight tests 26 year old Horsey was pleased to be lying second overall and within sight of the rally leader, reigning champion Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo. However everything went wrong on the penultimate stage when Horsey hit a rock and smashed a front wheel to pieces whilst travelling at high speed. The Mombasa born rally driver narrowly avoided rolling the car but still slid into a ditch. With the surrounding area very muddy it took the pair over ten minutes to jack the car up and change the broken wheel. This dropped the duo from a certain podium position to sixth overall but Horsey took some consolation from winning the final special stage, the first time he has topped the time sheets in Kenya! Well I have mixed feelings about this weekend. The rally was very difficult as over half of the route was very slippery and it was also really rough in places! Although we broke the wheel and lost a lot of time our overall pace has definitely increased! Horsey and Matovu now lie sixth overall in the Kenyan National Rally Championship but the pair turn their focus to the highlight of the year – the FIA World Rally Championship. After winning the Pirelli Star Drive selection in 2009 Horsey is contesting six rallies across the globe and in just two weeks time they head to Portugal for the second of those six events! The rally was won by reigning champion Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo in a Mitsubishi Evo 9 with team mate Alistair Cavenagh finishing second and extending his lead in the championship. Ian Duncan muscled his Nissan Patrol to third overall despite sliding off in the muddy conditions. 1. Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop 2. Alastair Cavenagh /Gavin Laurence 3. Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch
Mitsubishi EVO9 Mitsubishi EVO9 Nissan Patrol
102.26 min 105.43 min 106.47 min
Graham Raeburn This months review is slightly different – 35 year old Graham has been involved in every single facet of the sport of rallying, from marshalling to competing and recently became the clerk of course for one of the top British rallies, and so, as we are running a feature on the rally I thought it would make a change to interview someone from the other side of the fence! Graham has been a member of the Knutsford and District Motorclub his whole life and his earliest memories consist of running up and down stairs delivering time cards to the official results team when he was eight years old! Graham has a day job working for Shell for five years now and yet admits to having failed to get any free fuel or oil from them. Fortunately his roll as clerk of the course for the Plains Rally has been rather more successful! After being involved with the rally for over 25 years, Graham took over the top job in 2007 when his predecessor stepped down after 13 years at the helm. Knowing that he had a lot to live up to, Graham worked tirelessly and put on an excellent rally – his reward was having the 2007 event win the award for the best rally of the year by the BTRDA competitors! A change in dates for 2009 saw the rally move from September to May and also saw the Plains Rally clinch the 205/ BMW Challenge Event of the Year award! And then for 2010, in his never ending pursuit of keeping ahead of the competition, Graham became the first clerk of the course in years to actually REDUCE the entry fee for his rally as he had listened to the crews and was able to cut costs in certain areas! Away from his role with the Plains Rally, Graham competes frequently. Since the start of 2009 he has sat alongside Matthew Thompson in the F1000 Junior Championship. Matt was the youngest driver to start a rally, aged just 14 years and 12 days and the pair recently scored their maiden podium on the Lee Holland Memorial Stages! It's great fun competing with the juniors, it's something every suitably qualified codriver / driver should consider doing, they are all very competent drivers and I wonder whether Ashley Slights or Chris Ingram will be the first to replicate their fathers and win the Plains Graham is also a regular on the road rallying scene and has even co-driven for Mad Mick Jones, one of the sponsors of the Plains Rally and a rapid rear wheel drive exponent. The pair infamously crashed twice in Mick’s back garden on the Breidden Road Rally! Random fact – Graham’s father, Nigel, was British Rally Champion co-driver in 1970, when he sat alongside Will Sparrow in a Mini Cooper S! www.plainsrally.co.uk
Burton is best on Plains Rally Plains Rally – Welshpool – 15 May The opening 8 mile run through Gartheniog Forest proved once and for all that not only is Andy Burton a good engineer but that he is also a brilliant rally driver. His time through this fast and flowing stage was an incredible 21 seconds faster than that of Steve Perez in his Ford Focus WRC07! From then on it was all about managing this gap and Burton ended the day 25 seconds clear of Perez, giving him and his unique crowd pleasing Peugeot 306 Cosworth the second victory of the season. This years Plains Rally saw a number of firsts. Entries were up, entry fees were down and the crews returned to Hafren Forest for the first time in a number of years and, typical of the organization that everyone has come to expect from Knutsford and District Motor Club, the event ran without a hitch and the only delay was dealt with as promptly as possible! Behind the Burton vs Perez battle was David Wright in his modified Mitsubishi Evo 9. The only times he did not see a top three stage time was when Tom Cave, débuting his Proton S2000, pipped him. With this run of consistency and pace it is easy to see how Wright is the defending champion. But always lurking in his shadows is another former champion, Roger Chilman. Roger has finally gotten to grips with his Group N Subaru and once again took the class honours but his total time was only 15 seconds better than Cave and yet the young Welshman lost at least that when he was blocked by a stricken competitor on the opening stage! Ieuan Rowlands (Ford Escort powered by a Volvo engine!) was always expected to challenge for two wheel drive honours, but by the end of the day he was over two minutes ahead of his rivals and an incredible ninth overall! A similar giant killing result was on the cards for Matt Edwards. He had hauled his 1400cc MG ZR up inside the top twenty overall until he broke a driveshaft on the final super special and was forced into retirement! Lady Luck was then ultra evil as Matt’s team mate, Callum Black, retired at the very same corner with the very same problem! Making only his third appearance in the UK was 17 year old student Osian Pryce. After shearing a drive shaft on his Ford Fiesta ST on the start line of the first stage on the Pirelli Rally a month ago Osian admitted to leaving the line slower than his granny! However he made up this lost time with shear commitment as the youngster put in a sterling drive to win Class N3, beating home former British N3 Champion Matt Beebe in the process! Matt had only picked up his car on the Friday after having it rebuilt following a roll on the Somerset Stages recently! 1. 2. 3.
Andrew Burton/ Robin Kellard Peugeot Cosworth Steve Perez/ Paul Spooner Ford Focus WRC David Wright/ Michael Wilkinson Mitsubishi Evo 9
42:39 43.04 44:11
Plains sailing for GJM Machynlleth based Geoff Jones Motorsport enjoyed a successful weekend out on the recent Plains Rally, round four of the 2010 BTRDA Rally Series, when all four of their cars returned to the finish inside the top forty overall! The Welshpool based rally, one of the most popular in the championship with over 150 entries, saw the competitors tackle seven special stages across Mid Wales, using the high speed forest roads of Gartheniog, Hafren and Pantperthog. Phil Brown teamed up with Hamish Campbell for the first time and the combination appeared to work well as Phil enjoyed a very strong run out in his Subaru Impreza N11, ending the rally 15th overall after a faultless day out in the woods. Neville Jones and Ian Capewell were next home in their Good Boy and Vulcan Fasteners backed Subaru Impreza N12. Neville loves these roads and was in his element all day long, finishing the dusty event sixth in class and collecting more valuable points towards his Welsh Clubman Championship Campaign. Julian Jones, teamed for this event with Rob Hughes, showed that he is rapidly adapting to four wheel drive as he brought his Subaru Impreza B13 home less than twenty seconds behind Neville, his brother in law and with a smile to rival as well! This is only Julianâ€™sâ€™ fourth rally in the car and once he has gotten to grips with it will certainly be a force to reckon with! Nigel Seabold and Derek Davies struggled early on with a misfiring engine in their Grayston Engineering supported Subaru Impreza N14 but once the fault was traced to a loose ECU wire the pair quickly began to climb the leaderboard, climbing from the fringes of the top fifty at first service to 33rd overall by the end of the rally. Geoff Jones, team principal, was happy with the day; it is always nice to have a 100% reliability within the team, especially when it is our home rally. And the smiles on everyones faces at the end shows that they all enjoyed the rally, which makes me very happy! In the days leading up to the rally Geoff was also involved in offering driving tips to two young up and coming Welsh rally drivers. Sara Williams continued her impressive form by bringing her Brecon Car Rental backed Subaru Impreza back to Welshpool fourth in class and taking the ladies award once again. 17 year old student Osian Pryce took his first ever class win at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta ST and was overjoyed with the experience; Geoff Jones sat with me before the rally and helped so much with my confidence! He has a fantastic understanding of how the car behaves and I learnt so much! Diolch Geoff (thanks Geoff!) www.geoffjonesmotorsport.co.uk
Jones returns to rear wheel drive roots Clywdian Cars Stage Rally –Trawsfynydd – 22 May The recent Clywdian Cars Stages at the Traws Motorsport Complex saw Geoff Jones make his rear wheel drive competitive return some twenty years after he last rallied a rear wheel drive car! Driving a Ford Escort MkII road rally car Geoff and co-driver Beth Evans had a great day out showboating for the crowds. Despite a time consuming spin on the very first stage Geoff showed he had lost none of his flare by setting top ten times all day long in a car that was less powered and less sophisticated than those around – and judging by the grins we think both he and Beth enjoyed the day! Joining Geoff in a two car Geoff Jones Motorsport team were James Watkins and Geoff Mayes. James was using the day as a test session in the little Makefast of Newtown and Rally Marketing of Welshpool supported Nissan Micra and despite having the least powered car on the rally James acquitted himself well, coming home fourth in class and top 1000cc! He was using the day purely to re-acquaint himself with the venue as the F1000 championship returns to Traws in early July and James is keen to be in the thick of the battle! Steve Wood and Aled Richards took their fourth maximum points score of the 2010 WAMC Welsh Tarmacadam Rally Championship when the pair drove their recently acquired Citroen C2R2 Max to 11th overall on the same rally! The pair, from Aberystwyth and Ciliau Aeron respectively, had benefitted from some setup advice from Geoff Jones Motorsport in the run up to the rally and Wood was quick to acknowledge that this had helped immensely. And with glorious sunshine beating down on the Welsh landscape the duo were able to push their little pocket rocket hard, setting some very respectable times around the daunting venue and ended the 12 stage event third amongst the registered drivers and, more importantly, with maximum class points. Today was exactly what we wanted. This venue has to be treated with respect and whilst we were never going to keep up with the locals, to finish on the championship podium is fantastic! Geoff Jones was fantastic with his tips and advice and has helped transform the car. Also I’d like to say a massive thanks to Derek Rattray for his continued support and Wyn jones and family for assisting us all weekend! After winning the 2008 Welsh Road Rally Championship at the wheel of an ex Ieuan Rowlands Peugeot 206 the pair contested a handful of stage rallies in 2009. 2010 is their first full season of stage rallying and after six rounds the pair have a solid lead in their class and are currently lying third overall in the Welsh Tarmacadam Rally Championship!
Horsey takes top ten on WRC Portugal WRC Rally Portugal – 28-30 May Peter and co-driver Moses Matovu finished a very impressive eighth overall amongst the Production Class Cars on the recent WRC Rally Portugal and in doing so scored their first ever finish in the World Rally Championship, ending the gruelling rally 35th overall! After an early retirement on their debut in Turkey, Peter and Moses were focusing purely on finishing the Faro based rally this weekend and did not put a foot wrong throughout the three days, gradually improving their pace as they adapted to the car, a freshly built Mitsubishi Evo X run by Ralliart Italy. Peter was especially pleased with his pace notes, a critical ingredient over the very technical roads around the popular sea side resort in the south of Portugal but did have to adjust his seat height to help with visibility over the many crests on the stages. This was also the first time he had experienced how cut up the roads would be on his second pass and commented on how they were much rougher than he had expected them to be; there were massive boulders being pulled out of the bed rock and it would have been easy to hit one and puncture or damage something! Speaking back at the Algarve Stadium after the last of 18 special stages Peter was full of smiles; after the disappointment of Turkey this feels fantastic! We had a really good confidence building rally and I’ve now had some valuable seat time in the car. Everything is still so new to us but I’m really enjoying myself now. Next we head to Finland which is an event I am really looking forward to! Moses, Peter’s co-driver, was also pleased to be back at the finish; this weekend has been a lot of fun for us. We have both learnt a lot and will go and have a sit down to discuss where to improve things. Our notes are critical as next is Finland with all of its blind crests and high speed corners… one event that I am very excited about!
Evans tastes victory on tough tarmac event BRC Jim Clark International Rally – Scotland – 28/28 May The third round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship saw no less than four different rally leaders in three different marques cars with Gwyndaf Evans eventually triumphing over the high speed lanes around south Scotland, giving the Mitsubishi Evo X it’s first tarmac victory in the British isles! The rally, the first of three back to back tarmac rallies in the championship, saw Craig Breen’s Ford Fiesta S2000 top the time sheets on the opening super special stage before Keith Cronin moved ahead with a stunning time, over 13 seconds faster than anyone else, on the first run through Abbey St Bathans! Despite a string of quickest times from Breen, the reigning champion was able to hold his lead until he clipped a bank and punctured a wheel, dropping him to second overnight. Breen was on fine form in the daylight hours, stretching his lead to almost a minute before the engine suddenly, and without warning, let go just after the half way mark of the rally! This allowed a hard charging Alistair Fisher to move into the lead but, after just one stage at the top of the leaderboard, his Mitsubishi Evo 9 developed a misfire and Gwyndaf Evans rapidly overhauled the youngster and gradually eased away to take a 31 second victory. Cronin was third, but over a minute further back after his charge faded with a variety of issues. Fourth, and extending his lead in the championship, was Jonnie Greer who interestingly only set a pair of top three times all weekend! By contrast fifth placed Jason Pritchard quickly adapted to tarmac in his Subaru Impreza N16, setting some very rapid times throughout the event but admitted to underestimating the size of his Impreza through the many chicanes, on occasion having to conduct a three point turn to get through! Robert Barrable was fastest two wheel drive in his Citroen C2R2 Max, this being the first time that the Citroens have beaten their French counterparts, the Renault Twingos, so far in 2010! Rantanen was almost two minutes further back whilst fellow Twingo pilot Jarkko Nikara was three minutes behind his team mate. Elfyn Evans was top Fiesta in 13th position (fourth two wheel drive, outgunned by the screamers on this occasion) whilst Mikko Pajunen could only haul his Suzuki Swift to 19th overall, finding that tarmac did not flatter the underpowered car on this event! 1st 2nd 3rd
Gwyndaf Evans/ Chris Patterson Alastair Fisher/ Rory Kennedy Keith Cronin/ Barry McNulty
Mitsubishi Evo X Mitsubishi Evo 9 Subaru Impreza N15
1:54:33 1:55:04 1:56:20
A “rally” good weekend for Revolution Wheels Revolution Wheels backed drivers scored podium positions in three different rallies over the May bank holiday weekend when Rob Swann won Group N on the hugely popular Sol Rally Barbados, Alistair Fisher finished second overall on the Jim Clark International Rally and Jock Armstrong finished third overall on the Jim Clark Reivers Rally! Rob Swann, co-driven by Darren Garrod, drove a perfect rally in sunny Barbados, beating the locals and taking a well deserved Production class win and finishing ninth overall in his Subaru Impreza N14 on his third visit to the island! It’s nice to take the win as the competition was very tough this year! I haven’t driven on tarmac since this rally 12 months ago and so was a bit rusty. It’s a lot of fun to rally in front of such passionate fans! Rapid youngster Alistair Fisher narrowly missed winning the third round of the MSA British Rally Championship when an engine misfire cost him time and dropped him from the lead back to second overall but he was still relieved to see the finish; I am pretty frustrated really as I could have won this rally! The stages were good but it was very tricky when the rain came on Saturday afternoon and in the end I was just glad to see the finish ramp! Max Utting enjoyed a successful tarmac rallying debut as he drove his Subaru Impreza N12b to 16th overall. Utting, who had never driven his Subaru on tarmac before, ensured that he finished the rally in order to gain as much experience as possible and had indeed been even higher up the leader board until a puncture cost him precious time. This weekend was a massive learning curve! Not only had I never driven the car on tarmac before but I was also using a new notes system! I loved the rally and the notes worked very well so it was a success! 2008 Pirelli Star Drive recipient Adam Gould lost time early on with a puncture but recovered well to set no less than five top three stage times in his ageing Subaru Impreza and was pleased to end the high speed tarmac rally sixth overall despite no testing and a new co-driver for the event! When I picked up that puncture in the second stage I was really frustrated as it cost me well over two minutes and if you remove that time loss I would have been third! But at least it is more points on the board and many thanks to Warren for the wheels – they look great on the car! Jock Armstrong added more valuable points to his Scottish title chase by taking second place points on the Jim Clark Reivers Rally, beating far newer and more powerful machinery in his Group N Subaru N11! You're always a bit disappointed not to take the top spot but this has been a good day for points, because having dropped a score on the Border Counties earlier in the year, I'm really keen to capitalise on every event from now on in. It's going to be a close championship over the remaining four rounds".
Forthcoming events This is a list of events that Geoff Mayes Media will have a representative on â€“ please contact us in advance if you would like photos or video at one of those listed, to ensure we film you! â˜ş June 5 5 12 19 20 25 26 26
Severn Valley Rally Rwanda Rally Dukeries Rally Donegal Rally, Mid Wales Stages Ypres Rally Nairobi Rally Scottish Rally
Gravel/ Historic Championships African Rally Championship BTRDA Irish Tarmac Championship Historic Championship IRC/ Belgium Championship Kenyan National Championship Scottish Rally Championship
July 10 10 17 17 25 31 31 31
Isle of Man International Quinton Stages Swansea Bay Rally Zambia International Rally Coracle Stages WRC Finland Nakuru Rally Harry Flatters Rally
British/ Historic Rally Championship BTRDA Championship Gravel Championship African Rally Championship Welsh Forest Championship World Rally Championship Kenya National Rally Championship Welsh Tarmac Championship
August 13 14 20 20 27 29
Rally Reyjavik Neath Stages Ulster Rally WRC Germany Zimbabwe Challenge Rally Mewla Rally, Epynt
Iceland Welsh Forest Championship British Rally Championship World Rally Championship African Rally Championship National Tarmac Championship
Photo of the Month
Ogier en route to his first ever WRC win!