Caernarfon & Anglesey Pentraeth Automotive Mazda Stages - 9th June 1990

Caernarfon & Anglesey Pentraeth Automotive Mazda Stages
Report by Paul Adams Countdown Magazine

I'd never been to Bala Motor Club's Ranges Motorsport Centre before, and I came away impressed. Not necessarily with what's there at the moment, but the potential of the place. Imagine, if you can, a letter "T", with, at it's base, a large tarmac/loose area big enough for a tight and tricky start/finish to a stage and a Service Area. The rest of the 'T' is made up of narrow, reasonably-surfaced, single-track roads. If you still understand what I'm going on about, you will have a very rough idea of what the 'Ranges' look like.

What is desperately needed are a couple of roads to link the ends of the cross section of that 'T' and you would have the ability to link and even lap stages. I'm told that plans are under consideration for Bala MC to do some thing like this but, as with all such plans, it takes cash and time. Meanwhile they will make do with what is available.

To make full use of the available roads, the different organising Clubs tend to run their events to a similar format. That is, to start at the bottom of the 'T' and run out to the end of either the right or left hand tip. Stop, wait for all competitors to finish and run across the top of the 'T'. Stop and again re-group and run back to the start/ finish area. Run like this, in batches of three stages at a time, the existing venue can be used to it's fullest.

Caernarfon & Anglesey Motor Club Ltd, official organisers of the Pentraeth Automotive Mazda Stages, ran exactly to this formula. A good event that was, too. It's just disappointing that so many of Bala Motor Club's officials had to be seconded to the organising 'team', at the last moment, for the event to be able to run.

Leading away a full 60 car entry were John Hardman/Andy Davies in the PEC Tyres-supported 2.4 Escort II Cosworth. John knew that he would have a battle on his hands, with Steve Raines/Steve Gregg, at 2, in their Williams of Market Drayton 2300 Chevette. At 3 were another crew sure to be in the hunt for outright honours, Pete Hallows with local co-driver David Roberts alongside in the RWD Escort III. Although only running a Pinto lump, Peter's knowledge of the venue would stand him in good stead for the event. Just behind Pete Hallows was the Richard Evans Fabrications Escort of John Lay/Tim Hobbs. At 5 were the Potteries and Newcastle crew of Dave Nixon/Roger Gray in their Sunbeam 2.2. Down from Liverpool were Karl Jones/Baz Green in the first of the 1600's. At 7 was the First Lady of club rallying, Pat Jeffs, with Carol Pearl reading the notes. This pair were hoping for a good result in their RWD Escort III.

On SS1, an interesting 'flooded' area was to sort out the men from the drowned rats as the route round the start area took competitors through this photogenic water splash. It was interesting to watch the differing approaches some crews were taking to this obstacle. In fact, the Service Area could have been used as a giant advertisement for WD 40! John Hardman lifted off slightly, Steve Raines 'pussy-footed' his way through, and lost some seven seconds in the process, and Pete Hallows just blasted his way through it, the spray sending spectators running.

One could say that the competition ended here, as Peter took a three second lead over John Hardman and the rest of the field, but as these two swopped times over the next two stages, the event was far from decided. So, at the end of the first three stages, Pete Hallows held a two-second lead over John Hardman, with Steve Raines some five seconds further adrift. In class 'B', Gareth Lloyd Jones/Llyr Wyn Jones, in their 1600 Sunbeam, were holding a two-second lead over Wild Wil Roberts' similar car, with John Woodward/Jim Symms equal with the 'Wild' one. The up to 1300's were having a fine battle with the John Goff Escort of Stephen Kemish/Martin Jones holding a seven-second advantage over the Escort of Kevin Peacock.

The water-splash gave Pete Hallows another quickest stage time on SS4 but only by one second from Steve Raines this time. John Hardman was another three seconds adrift. God! It was all exciting stuff at the top! At the end of SS6, however, the Hallows lead had stretched to six seconds over John Hardman, with Steve Raines still looming large and only three seconds behind.

In Class B, Wild Wil had taken over the lead, ahead of Karl Jones/Baz Green. The amazing Skoda/Astra of Gareth Roberts/Mark Hoyte had moved ahead in Class A, some 18 seconds ahead of the Mini of Dave Bound.

SS7 saw the end of John Hardman's challenge, when, after a highish yump, the prop-shaft parted company with the car, flew through the air and landed not too far from a marshal, arriving as if delivered by Fatima Whitbread. Pete Hallows couldn't afford to take things easy, as Steve Raines had started to speed up, closing to within eleven seconds at the Service after SS9. Also moving up were Pat Jeffs/Carol Pearl, now up to fourth overall and setting some very respectable stage times, just one second separating the flying lady from John Jones/Ian Rogers. With all to win or lose, an exciting last three stages was ensured.

Pete Hallows pulled out a few more seconds advantage, to end the day some 16 seconds up on Steve Raines. Pat Jeffs got the better of Karl Jones, for her best result to date. In the class battles, B went to the Sunbeam of Gareth Lloyd Davies/Llyr Wyn Davies and class A to the Escort of Kevin Peacock.

A good event overall, handled well by Bala at an improving venue. It will be interesting to see what some of the Welsh Tarmac Championship contenders make of the venue, on their visit later in the season.

Competitor's comments

1: John Hardman/Andy Davies. Escort II 2400 Cosworth. C&A

2: Steve Raines/Steve Gregg Chevette 2300SC Whitchurch
On SS1, we lost seven seconds to the eventual winners, through taking it easy at the water splash. After tying with them on SS2, we decided that we had to hit the water faster. So we devised a demon modification to prevent the carbs from sucking in water, by using the co-driver's clip-board as a shield! It worked well, except the co-driver kept complaining that he was getting soaked, from water coming through the gearbox surround. What gratitude! From then on, it was a question of trying to pull back the lost time on Hallows and Hardman, to gain class points and valuable Vauxhall Bonus money for class and overall wins. We managed to get back on level terms with Hardman and then he retired but we could do nothing about Pete Hallows. 2nd.

3: Pete Hallows/David Roberts. Escort III RWD 1998 1st.

4: John Lay/Tim Hobbs. Escort 11 1998. Whitchurch.
At present, we are leading the ANWCC Forest Championship and also had a good result on the Fram Welsh National Rally - 3rd overall. So, as our luck was running well, we decided to have a go at the 'Tarmac Racers'. However, the intercom failed on the first stage and the head-gasket on the next, that was that. Retired.

5: Dave Nixon/Roger Gray. Sunbeam 2174. Retired.

6: John Jones/Ian Rogers. Escort 2100. Milestone.
A good days rallying and the car went well. Unfortunately, we chose the wrong diff, which lost us time. However, our new sponsors have bought us a new one, which should give us a better result at Ty Croes in a couple of weeks time. 4th.

7: Karl Jones/Baz Green. Escort 1600. 16th.

8: Pat Jeffs/Carol Pearl. Escort Ill RWD 2000. Wallasey.
With a new engine having been fitted just prior to the event, we were hoping for a good run so as to get a good start in the Peter Jones Championship. We suffered no mechanical problems and, with the rain holding off, we managed our best result to date. We even discovered that the numerous blind crests, especially those just before the split, are not quite on 'flat'. Not bad for an all-lady crew! 3rd.

9: Peter Littler/Andy Marchbank. Mitsubishi Starion 2000 Turbo. Chester.
Prior to the event, we had been working like mad to fit a new Getrag gearbox, finally finishing at 4.00 am the morning of the event. The car is actually the ex-Guy Colsoul 'Blaze' Motorsport machine, still left hand drive. This first time pairing were off the pace for the first few stages, due to the difficulty of maintaining turbo boost on the twisty sections, a misfire not helping either. In the afternoon, we started to get on the pace but a spin on SS8 and a puncture on SS1O slowed us down. All told, a good event that went well. 10th.

10: David Hughes/John Madoc Jones. Sunbeam Lotus 2200. 6th.

11: Wild Wil Roberts/Iwan Roberts. Sunbeam 1600. 14th.

12: Kevin Peacock/S. Lewis. Escort 1300. 12th.

13: Tony Williamson/? Derby. Astra GTE 1798. 39th.

14: Gareth Davies/Arwel Jones. Escort 1997. 5th.

15: Gareth Roberts/Mark Hoyte. Skoda 130L 1300 Astra.

16: G. Aneurin Williams/Chris Evans. Escort 1998. 31st.

17: lan Bothwell/Mike Maddocks. Escort 1998. 42nd.

18: John Woodward/Jim Symms. Escort 1600. 18th.

19: Brian Wilson/Steve Hanley. Escort 2100. 30th.

20: Stephen Edwards/Richard Vaughan. Avenger 1600. 25th.

21: Stephen Kemish/Martin Llewelyn Jones. Escort 1300. Bala.
This being Steve's local ground, we were looking for a good result. We started well and were leading the class after SS1, managing to hold onto the lead over the next few stages. In fact, we were setting some top three times! However, on SS5, the engine cried enough and we became spectators for the rest of the day. We went home disappointed but at least we could look back on some very respectable times. Not bad for a 1300! Retired.

24: Richard Perry/Clive Townend. Sunbeam 1850. Bala.
The second outing in as many weeks forced a hectic period of preparation onto the driver, especially during the week leading up to this event. This was our first visit to the 'Ranges' and only our second event in the car. This combination, of new experiences took some getting used to, especially the use of 'Pace Notes' with a driver who seemed to be deaf in one ear! We enjoyed the day out but couldn't quite get on the pace of the faster teams and decided to ease off towards the end of the day. Also, the tyres had begun to 'go off', leading to some exciting moments on one stage, when a slight rain shower livened things up. The support of Marrion and the girls and Jo Haugh was much appreciated. 19th.

22: Stuart Deeley/June Deeley. Escort. Retired.

23: Arwel Jones/Gregg Mills. Chevette 1998.

24: Richard Perry/Clive Townend. Sunbeam 1860. 19th.

25: Irwin Ellis/Dafydd Evans. Escort II 1300. Bala.
The first stage and we drowned out in the water splash, losing a good two minutes. From then on, we took the ford a bit more carefully and achieved some respectable times, especially considering that the car is really a 'road-rally' vehicle. However, two minutes is a lot to make up on a stage event. The intercom packed up on SS4, so the co-driver had to resort to shouting rather loudly. All in all, we enjoyed the event, almost as good as a road rally! The co-driver would like to thank car 54 for the lift to and from the venue. Well done to Pete Hallows for the the win. 43rd.

26: Geraint Davies/Gail Blackburn. Avenger 1600. Dyfi Valley.
Had a very poor nine stages, being thrashed by almost everyone. However, our times improved dramatically on the last three stages but it was far too late to make any impression. No major problems, apart from 'glue' on the tyres which had slowed us down on the earlier stages! Very enjoyable event, although we got a bit wet in the water-splash. Look forward to the next one. Thanks to the Service Crew and the organisers. 34th.

27: April Lay/Sally Phillips. 205 GTi 1598. Whitchurch.
We started the event well, being just four seconds behind my husband, John in his 2-litre Escort. We then managed to drown out in the water and took a stage maximum. Then we spent the rest of the day trying to catch up. Thanks to Steve Raines' Service Crew for all their hard work. 46th.

28: John Weaver/Wayne Davies. Sunbeam 1600. Retired.

29: Richard Ollershaw/Patrick Newman. Avenger 1598. Stockport.
This was our first visit to the 'Ranges' and we had heard rumours about the 'bends' and the 'brows'. In fact, it's a good little venue, if a little short. A large amount of standing water, nay - a pond, meant a wet start but, otherwise, the first six stages went well. We managed to improve our times throughout this first batch of stages though our early choice of slicks was a mistake. A later change to PB's, just before lunch, was good move. In the afternoon, we managed to gain a few places and earn some ANWCC points as well. Thanks to Mike the mechanic' and Jimmy 'super-service' and to young Nicky, the driver's son, for helping out. We'll be faster next time! 21st.

30: Mark Coombe/Terry Wynn. Escort 1998. 28th.

31: Russell Mayers/Nick Power. Sunbeam 1600. 26th.

32: DERMOT HEALY/TERRY ATHERTON. Quattro Turbo 2397. Glossop.
Countdown West 1 has finally arrived, thanks Paul. (Don't mention it. PA) Say hello to Keith Evans for us. (Consider it done. PA) We normally contest the Welsh Clubmans Championship and the ANWCC forest Championships in a Triumph Stag with Rover V8 power but, as this was going to be the Audi's debut, we thought we would give the 'Ranges' a try. It was to be a day of firsts. Firstly, we had never been to the 'Ranges' before, we thought them very similar to Otterburn. Secondly, we had never been out in the Audi before. The car was reputed to be an ex works practice car, in full Gp 4 trim. The first five stages went fine, and we were starting to get the measure of the car, the venue, and the lack of arrows and marshals. Then the final 'first'. Two thirds of the way through SS6, we landed slightly off-line at the yump approaching J2. Dermot tried to correct the ensuing skid, first one way then the other, but we ended up having a 'bit of an off'. We are told that we managed to roll some four and a half times. From inside the car, it did seem to go on for a long time but we'd no idea how many rolls we had performed! Apart from minor cuts and bruises, we were fine but the car is a write-off. Donations and offers of help now required, to Dermot on 061 339 5542. Many thanks to National Westminster Bank Motor Club for their continued support and to the rescue team for pulling us out. Also, thanks to the Medical Crew for their rendition of first-aid and, finally, to our Service Crew, Matthew. Retired.

33: Chris Rigby/lan Baxter. Fiesta 1700. Stockport.
Do you ever get one of those days? The engine went onto three cylinders about 200 yards from the start of SS1. We finished the stage and retired a blown head-gasket. Retired.

34: C. FuIton/P.Flint. Escort 1600.
SPS MOTORS. Retired.

35: David Webb/Kim Byers. Escort 1300. Dyfi Valley.
A very enjoyable event for our first visit to the 'Ranges' Motorsport Centre and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The water-splash caused us great problems on SS1, as we completely drowned out, giving us a maximum for the stage. However, as the rally went on, we improved our position a lot. The drivers foot wanted to stay flat to the boards for the big yump but his brain wouldn't let it. Thanks to all the organisers, marshals and everyone else who helped to make this a memorable day. 45th.

36: Dave Bound/Mike Davies. Mini Cooper 'S' 1293. 23rd.

37: Kevin Ellis/Glyn Lewis. Sunbeam 1600.
We started the day fairly well with no major problems. Found the 'triangle' very slippery, as usual, but were pleased to find we were sixth in class after the first batch of three stages. We then slipped a little on the next three but improved after lunch. SS11, however, saw us hit a rock with the petrol tank, causing a filter inside the tank to cut off the fuel. Thanks to Geoff Jones for getting us going again. All in all, a good days sport was had by everyone. Thanks to our Service Crew, Brian, Steve and Andy. 36th.

38: John Lloyd/lan Rimmon. Escort 1600. Retired

39: Peter Roberts/Mark Roberts. Nova SR 1297. 38th.

40: Gareth Davies/Llyr Jones. Sunbeam 1600. Bala.
The day started badly with a puncture on SS1. So, on the next two stages, before a return to Service, we had to run on one slick and one forest tyre on the front. We still managed to get a good time. On SS4, we were only three seconds off the leader. On SS5 we had a puncture on the start-line and had to do the whole stage with it, losing some 30 seconds. After that, we really went for it, setting some very quick class times. Going into third Service, we were third in class only some 12 seconds behind the leader. On the final batch of three stages, we flew and took fastest time on all three, beating car 11 by some five seconds to take the class win. I'd like to thank the organisers for making it a good event. 11th.

41: Steve Hill/Gareth 'Sasquatch' Williams. Escort I 1600.
The clutch started to play up between Scrutineering and the Start but we had plenty of time to fix it. A spin on SS1, a two-wheeling episode on SS2 and SS5, after hitting the tyres at the triangle, made for an interesting morning! Another couple of spins had the co-driver blaming the driver and the driver blaming the new quick-rack. Had a fantastic BarBQ at lunch time. Rain came on SS7, so we put on the wipers and ended up with a completely smeared windscreen, thanks to the spitting fat from the bloody barbie! We went off with minimal time loss. On SS9, we managed to demolish the Flying Finish and ended up on top of one of the biggest tyres known to man, all this in front of one of our sponsors and his video camera. A good day, compared to some other events. Hope the crew of car 38 are OK after their spectacular roll. We will return.32nd.

42: Victor Hodgson/Darren Waterfall. Saab96 V4 1498. 37th.

43: Hefin Lloyd Davies/Alun Owen Jones. Fiat 128 3P 1300. Bala.
Had a spin on SS1 and did the same on SS6 and yet again on SS7! Put it all down to wrong tyre choice. Then had a fear that we had lost third gear but we managed to keep it going to the end. An eventful day but enjoyable. Thanks to Jas, Tas and Al. 44th.

44: Colin Jones/Mike Jones. Avenger 1600. Bala.
Managed to wet the co-driver through the water-splash on SS1, when the water pushed out a rubber bung in the passenger footwell. Tee hee! On SS2, the car kept jumping out of second gear, so we cured it by giving the co-driver another job to do for the rest of the day, hold it in second. We continued to have one of those days. Loss of brakes, overheating, battery not charging, engine timing went out, a rear trailing arm broke, co-drivers seat broke, etc. Back on the stages, we hit a tyre and went up on two wheels on SS7, while SS8 was a bit boring, with only a small spin to report. On SS9, two spins and an off just after the finish, causing a bit of body damage. For SS10, two spins and another off. SS12 - another spin and, towards the Flying Finish, the driver's door blew open and jammed, causing the marshals to dive for cover. Apart from all that, we had no other problems. Thanks to C&A Motor Club for an enjoyable day out. 41st.

45: lan Plat/Graham Hunt. Escort 1300. 27th.

46: Mark Davies/Michelle Lees. Escort 1998. 9th.

47: Graham Sturrock/Christopher Davies. Escort 1600.

48: G.R. Stephenson/J.P.Dykins. Sunbeam 1600. 33rd.

49: Dave Pritchard/Ken Pritchard. Escort 1600. Bala.

50: Jonathan Whalley/Luke Elliot. Escort 2100.
Driver's first event and the car's first stage event, so we went very cautiously at first, especially over the blind crests. The lack of an intercom didn't help either. However, we started to go a bit quicker after the first few stages and replacing the rear tyres helped. We finished last in our class but we managed to beat some crews overall. Enjoyed the event enormously, silly grin on the drivers face was a bit of a give away, and the car survived to take me to work on Monday morning. Thanks to Luke for putting up with my driving, Peter for servicing, despite chicken-pox, and Mark for his help and advice plus the loan of the tyres. 40th.

51: Carl Poscha/Deena Jones. Escort 1300. 24th.

52: Lawrence Kinnair/Robin Burrows. l5th.

53: Nigel Evans/Justin Gaunt. Escort 1998. 47th.

54: Tim Iloyd/Simon Bromley. Escort 1300. 29th.

55: John Homersley/S. Elliott. Manta 2000. Retired.

56: Dave Southall/Steve Southall. Escort 1600. 22nd.

57: Jones/McGregor. Escort. 8th.

58: John Roberts/Doug Dob. Sunbeam 1850. l3th.

59: Non-starter.

60: Watson/Trippit. Escort 1300. Retired.

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