BRIAN PAT­TER­SON T

“Elfyn could em­u­late his fa­ther”

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

wenty years ago Gwyn­daf Evans came to the Ul­ster Rally in a Ford Es­cort RS2000 and did more than enough to clinch his first and only Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship.

The event was won by Ber­tie Fisher in a Subaru, with Rob­bie Head in a devel­op­ment Re­nault Maxi Megane sec­ond. Nei­ther driver was el­i­gi­ble to score BRC points, so third placed Gwyn­daf got the max­i­mum.

Like fa­ther like son, on the forth­com­ing Ul­ster Rally, it is within the bounds of pos­si­bil­ity that Gwyn­daf’s son Elfyn, cer­tainly the fastest man in the se­ries this year, could take an­other step to­wards se­cur­ing this year’s BRC ti­tle.

We were re­minded of this fa­ther/son con­nec­tion when we called at the Ran­dal­stown car sales com­plex of John Mul­hol­land, new spon­sor of the Ul­ster Rally. Nes­tled in the cor­ner of the show­room was what looked like a Hyundai WRC ma­chine.

John ex­plained that it is ac­tu­ally a car built by Steve Black’s SBG or­gan­i­sa­tion for Hyundai to be used for a Top Gear mag­a­zine ar­ti­cle. The car looks stun­ning, has all the bells and whis­tles, the se­quen­tial box, the aero kit, the hubs, the brakes, the cage, the in­te­rior. John said that he jumped at the chance to buy the car, it gives him a ‘Royal Flush’ with his ford Es­cort Mk2 and Skoda Fabia S2000, rep­re­sent­ing the three mar­ques that he sells – Skoda, Ford and Hyundai.

He is hop­ing that his 18-year-old son Jonathan will be al­lowed to drive it as a course car on the Ul­ster. He al­ready has a lot of rac­ing ex­pe­ri­ence com­pet­ing in Ginet­tas and For­mula Ford, but has yet to catch his dad’s ral­ly­ing bug. John ex­plained that he had more or less grown up with the Ul­ster Rally in his blood. That he had fin­ished 13th over­all back in 1994 in a Harry Hock­ley Vaux­hall Nova and has hardly missed a rally since.

In those days the event was based in Belfast, had a rel­a­tively be­nign Fri­day evening se­ries of stages and then a 0400hrs start to Satur­day with dif­fi­cult stages down the Clogher Val­ley and then over to the re­ally tough roads in the Sper­rin Moun­tains.

In­deed, tucked away in the Sper­rins are two stages, Barnes Gap and Rousky that are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble from the rally’s new base in Derry/ Lon­don­derry and which could prove a turn­ing point in this year’s Ul­ster Rally also.

Mul­hol­land has great praise for the Ul­ster or­gan­is­ers, rat­ing them top of the tree. He will be com­pet­ing again this year in his Skoda Fabia S2000 after al­ready us­ing the car in Kil­lar­ney and Done­gal.

No doubt he will be keep­ing a keen eye out also for his son Jonathan – just as Gwyn­daf will be for Elfyn!

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