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Posted 20 June 2017

Rhyl & District Motor Club took great delight in continuing the clubs recent growth with the introduction of a new stage rally in the name of their late great club member, ‘Frank Williams Memorial Stages’ sponsored by GRH Food Company Limited.

The latest round of the ANWCC Stage Rally and Sbardun North Wales Rally Championships. Based at the Ranges Motor Sports Centre, Trawsfynydd, the event took in twelve special stages over the challenging asphalt roads totalling some 22 miles.

Regulations were published mid-May in the hope to attract a good field. Entries were slow to get off the ground which the team put it down to being a new event, but it had only managed to receive a small entry of 17 cars with only one week to go. The Organising Team were left with a situation where there was very little option but to postpone the event to a later date as the club could not absorb the financial loss.

The competitors soon expressed their feelings of the event being postponed and very quickly rallied together to offer their support by way of donations to lessen the blow for the club. The Organising Team were completely overwhelmed by this and felt they had to deliver and give the competitors what they wanted, a good days motor sport at The Ranges. The event finally ran with a 21 car entry.

After a few recent successful results, Mathew Roberts & Sarah Edwards led the field away in their Mitsubishi Evo IX, followed by the tidy and entertaining Ford Escort MkII of Wil Rowlands & Sion Cunniff, who were not going to make anything easy for the field of cars around them. The pairing were hot on the heels of Car 1, both on equal times after the first three stages. Stage four was costly for the Escort crew losing them 6 secs with a small error in the car park around the tyres. An error that they would never recover from for the rest of the day. But both crews kept it entertaining for the spectator for the rest of the rally exchanging fastest stage times throughout.

Dave Paveley & Rich Jones started at car 3 in their ‘Group B Motor Sport / North Wales Honda’ backed Mitsubishi Evo III and would keep setting second and third fastest times all day, but they just didn’t seem to find that little extra to pose a threat on the leading crew. They were certainly in a position to pounce on the lead should the two cars ahead suffer any problems.

A veteran to Trawsfynydd started at car 4, the pairing of Geoff McQuilling & Stephen Landen in the lesser powered Class 2 Honda Civic. Geoff was going to be a serious contender for the win as he has proven with his car and his ability, he certainly knows all about success at this venue and tasted victory here before.  

Another regular with the venue roads was car 5, the Peugeot 106 pairing of Chris Phillips & Sarah Hughes. Again this was going to be a crew who can set fast stage times around here and will be waiting in the wings for other crews to make an error and will cease the opportunity to advance up the leader board.

Class 1 (up to 1400cc) a great battle was going on all day between Car 12 Martyn Quant & Dylan Thomas (Vauxhall Corsa) and Car 19 Gethin Sharp & Lewis Griffiths (Toyota Yaris). They were both exchanging fastest times within the class, but Martyn & Dylan were to come out on top with a class victory with only 2 secs separating them. Both crews managed 7th & 8th Overall respectively.

Class 2 (1401 – 1600cc) was another in close competition, with only 11 secs splitting the top three in class. Geoff McQuilling & Stephen Landen (Honda Civic) managed to come out first in class with Emyr Owen & Carwyn Owen (Peugeot 106) missing it by just 3 secs. Chris Phillips & Sarah Hughes (Peugeot 106) a further 8 secs behind completing third in class.

Class 3 (1601 – 2000cc) was won by Wil Rowlands & Sion Cunniff finishing 2nd overall and leading his class by over 2 mins 30 secs from his next rival, Jonathan Whalley & Peter Dennis (Ford Escort MkII) 10th Overall and Carl Lumb & Andy Darlington (Ford Sierra) 11th Overall completing the top three in the class. Wil gave a stunning and trying performance all day but just couldn’t quite match the power from the Evo IX of Mathew Roberts & Sarah Edwards.

Class 4 (Over 2000cc) class spoils were taken by the crew of car 3, David Paveley & Rich Jones (Mitsubishi Evo III) finishing 3rd overall and only 23secs behind the overall winner. 2nd in class was taken by Mark Fisher & Ian Jones (Ford Escort MkII)

Class 5 (Road Rally) only had one car finish the class and that was the pairing of Iwan Griffith & Robin Glyn Williams (Peugeot 206GTi) and finished a very respectable 9th Overall.

The overall win for the first running of the GRH Food Company Limited – Frank Williams Memorial Stages went to a very worthy Mathew Roberts & Sarah Edwards (Mitsubishi Evo IX). The pairing were on the pace from the first stage and managed to keep the remaining field behind. Congratulations from all of the organising team.

Mathew Roberts (Car 1 – Mitsubishi Evo IX):

“We’re very pleased with the result and delighted to be the first to win the Frank Williams Memorial Rally. We came to the rally knowing that the day was going to be challenging with what we had behind chasing us down for the win. We enjoyed the exchanging of fastest stage times with Wil Rowlands all day. Aside from that, we had a completely trouble free run and it was great to get maximum points for the ANWCC Stage Rally Championship.   

Clerk of the Course & Club President Arthur Jones said after the event, that although it looked the event would not go ahead, he was delighted in the way competitors came together to make it happen again. A lot of enormous effort from club members went into making this event happen and is so proud of the way Rhyl & District Motor Club pulled together to make it a success on the day. His thanks extended to all officials and marshals who signed on to support the event on Sunday, without you it just wouldn’t have happened. Finally he wanted to thank GRH Food Company Limited for sponsoring the event and Bala Motor Club for the use of the venue.

Club Chairman Paul Jones could only reiterated what Arthur had to say and it was a delight to see the younger members getting involved in event organisation. Let’s hope we see more of this over the years to come as they are the future of our club. I can’t thank the competitors enough for what they did in supporting the event. Words cannot begin to describe how grateful we are of their contribution in making this event happen. A HUGE THANK YOU TO YOU ALL.

Hopefully now this is the beginning of a new chapter for the club and that this event continues for many years to come honouring and remembering our late club member and friend of many in our rallying community, Frank Williams (Speedsports Photography).

Thank you once again to all competitors that supported us and we hope to see you all again next year and hopefully with a few more competitors on the entry.

2017 Winners

Mathew Roberts & Sarah Edwards

Photograph courtesy of Hairpin Media