WILLIAMS AND SPENCER TAKE RESPECTIVE DIXIES VICTORIES
Dixies Historic Challenge
Organiser: South Wales Automobile Club When: May 1 Where: Epynt military ranges, Wales. Championships: Brian Dennis Welsh Historic, HRCR ‘Old Stager’, HRCR Stage Masters, WAMC Hirefit King of Epynt, WAMC Restruct Mixed Surface. Starters: 76 Stages: 12
Two crews emerged from the mist that hung over the Epynt military ranges having taken victory in their respective events. Neil Williams/ Peter James brought their Ford Escort Mk2 home 35s ahead of the field in the Historic rally, while Adrian Spencer/mark Hewitt dominated the modern event in their Subaru Impreza WRC S11. They won by 1m13s and topped the overall time charts.
Now in its second year, South Wales AC’S compact one-day format proved popular. It offered two more stages than in 2015 and entries increased by more than one third. Recce and scrutineering both took place before 0900hrs, leaving competition to begin at mid-morning.
Intermittent showers made the changeable Epynt road surface slippery and the conditions played straight into Spencer’s hands. Using his World Rally car’s superb traction and handling, he led the modern contingent from the opening stage, setting fastest time on every test. Behind, number one seeds Philip Turner/simon Anthony (Mitsubishi Lancer E9) battled for second place with Geoff Kitney/ken Gibbard’s older Lancer E6, while Mike Williams/ken Bills (MG ZR) and Ian Caddy/alan Thomas (Escort) vied for fourth overall and top two-wheel-drive honours.
The numbers in the historic rally were swollen by the inclusion of contestants in three championships, but several potential frontrunners including Mark Solloway/mark Crisp and Eian Pritchard/steve Mcphee non-started. This gave Williams the chance to seize the early lead ahead of Kevin and Lee Jones (Ferrari 308 GP4 Michelotto). Close behind, Chistopher Lloyd/paul Williams disputed third place with last year’s historic winners, Terry Brown/ Den Golding; the two Ford Escort crews only 10s apart after the opening loop. In turn, they were pursued by the Escort Mk1s of Stanley Orr/guy Weaver and Wayne Bonser/richard Aston who were also scrapping for Class C3 honours.
Skies remained generally overcast but they failed to deter Spencer, who blazed a trail of consistent fastest times to stretch his lead to more than one minute over Turner and Kitney. The slippery surface claimed a number of potential frontrunners during the day – most notably, Layton Waters/tudor Jenkins, who rolled their two-litre class Toyota Starlet on stage four. At least they managed some mileage before retiring: Andy Fraser/michael Calvers were unlucky to have their Darrian T90 break a CV joint on the startline of stage one.
Despite being pressured in the middle part of the day, Williams continued to hold all his challengers at bay in the historic event. Remaining mechanically untroubled, he built his lead steadily throughout the closing miles to claim victory ahead of Lloyd, who inherited second spot when Brown retired with gearbox woes and Jones received a 20s penalty for late arrival at a control. Jones’s error almost cost him third:
Class winner Orr’s fast-but-safe approach brought him to within three seconds of the Ferrari crew at the finish, with Bonser fifth, 26s in arrears.
Ever-consistent, Roger Matthews/ Tom Marrott rounded out the top six in their Escort RS1600.
Spencer tamed Epynt Williams’ Mk2 headed historic runners