‘Willett steals victory as attrition hits’
Early leader England suffers brake issues in his Fiesta as old machine beats new
Organiser: Forresters Car Club When: March 27 Where: Caerwent Training Area Championships: WAMC J D Tyres Welsh National Tarmacadam Championship; CMSG BP Motors & Bodybuilders Stage Rally Championship Stages: 6 Starters: 55
Following a problematic first few stages, which resulted in having to play second fiddle to early leader Martyn England, Dave Willett/john Davies got their act together on the latter stages to take another win at Caerwent in their Ford Escort Mk2.
After spinning twice on the first stage, Willett was hampered further when his Escort suffered a bad misfire, with the result that Martyn and Dawn England moved into the lead on the debut of their new Ford Fiesta R5 after setting fastest time on the first two tests.
The Englands continued to lead until stage four, when braking issues apparently resulted in a damaged compression strut, which forced them out of the rally. With his engine back to full health, and with some good tyre choices in the mixed conditions, Willett moved back into the lead, before sealing his win after setting fastest time – by a full 26 seconds – on the final wet test.
By then, Rob Tout and Phil Turner had retired their Mitsubishi Lancers, the former having suffered suspension problems on his Lancer E10, and the latter a damaged radiator on his E9.
Fastest time on stage three, Jeremy Straker/chris Thompson had moved to within a couple of seconds of Willett, before damaging their rear suspension on SS4, which blunted their challenge, and they were forced to settle for the runner-up spot.
Carl O’grady admitted to struggling in the wet conditions, but he and Ian Davis held on to the final podium position in their Nissan Sunny F2, finishing ahead of Geoff Kitney/kath Curzon, who had a problem-free run in their Mitsubishi.
Class winners Llyr Jones/jason Davies managed to finish in fifth position after repairing a couple of damaged four-link bars on their Ford Escort, as Oliver Hopkins/ashley Trimble finished sixth in their Lancer.
On their first Caerwent visit for five years, Christopher Gravestock/mark Hammer held off the challenge from John Oldreieve/nigel Hewitt to win the 1600cc class in their Citroen C2 R2, with John and Gordon Leigh close behind in their Vauxhall Nova.
Rounding off the top 10 were Wyn Owens/jenny Evans, who took a class win following a clean run in their Ford Escort. Also winning their respective classes were former Motoring News Road Rally regulars Neil Jones/alan Thomas in a Vauxhall Astra GTE, while Jason and Elspeth Watkins won the 1400cc category in their Peugeot 205.
Willett scored an impressive win in Mk2