Returning to the Cambrian Rally after 25 years I was looking forward to a run through some classic North Wales stages, not to mention the Great Orme.
My start position when running the rare Austin Montego last time was up near the front, so the seeding in my RF1.4 down the field due to few starts in the intervening years was a minor concern.
The organising team and marshals were, as usual for BTRDA events, outstanding, friendly and very efficient. Stages four and five were excellent, classic, fast and flowing Welsh stages and were great fun.
However, what on earth possessed the team to think that stages one and two were acceptable to run over 120 cars through is beyond me? They were completely churned up on the first run through and then had to be repeated as stages six and seven.
The stages were so churned up that there were huge mounds of earth built up with exposed bedrock, meaning that the sumpguard came in for some serious battering, not to mention the various vehicle systems. There were cars off all over the place, some due to accidents though many due to serious mechanical damage. We sadly succumbed to this on stage seven.
Much of this carnage today is due to the greater number of four-wheel-drive cars running but even they get hammered on the second run through a stage.
The scrutineers were focusing on in-date seats and belts (let’s not get into that daft debate) and HANS devices, but the bigger danger is running stages that irreparably damage cars and cause accidents.
Well done to the organising team for their efforts. As an industry and group of competitors we have to find a way of working with the MSA and the forestry commission to make these events and the whole associated costs fun and reasonable.