MAG­NIF­I­CENT MELVYN FLAT­TERS ALLCOMERS

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Peter Scherer Harry Flat­ters Rally

Or­gan­iser: Bre­con Mo­tor Club Date: July 31 Where: Builth Wells, Powys Cham­pi­onships: MSA Bri­tish His­toric Rally Cham­pi­onship; RAC Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship; Welsh His­toric Cham­pi­onship; Welsh Tar­ma­cadam Cham­pi­onship; King of Epynt; FMP Rally Chal­lenge. Stages: 5 Starters: 99

Melvyn Evans and Pa­trick Walsh proved to be the masters of the tor­tu­ous Epynt ranges, lead­ing from start to fin­ish to take their Ford Es­cort Mk2 to vic­tory by over a minute on the Harry Flat­ters His­toric Rally, round five of the Min­tex MSA Bri­tish His­toric Rally Cham­pi­onship.

From the open­ing stage, Evans was in con­trol with a 16-sec­ond lead over Ja­son Pritchard/phil Clarke, with a sim­i­lar gap to Neil Wil­liams/peter James in third and Rob Smith/alun Cook a fur­ther sec­ond back. Guy Wood­cock/richard Crozier and Will Onions/aled Davies com­pleted the early top six.

Pritchard was one of a num­ber who felt their tyres for the open­ing stage were too soft, but a change for stage two proved to be in vain when his en­gine blew. “It was go­ing re­ally well and then just let go with­out any warn­ing,” he said.

Wil­liams also found a tyre change paid div­i­dends by mov­ing into sec­ond, which he was soon able to con­sol­i­date when Smith rolled out of the rally on the next stage, his first out­ing for 10 months. “The tyre change just felt so much bet­ter and gave me more con­fi­dence,” said Wil­liams.

Evans was left 38 sec­onds clear but Wood­cock over­came an oily gear­box smell, and was up to third af­ter three stages as well as look­ing for max­i­mum points in the His­toric As­phalt Cham­pi­onship, while cat­e­gory two lead­ers Si­mon Tysoe/paul Mor­ris had com­bined “smooth­ness and brav­ery” to ease past BHRC lead­ers and sur­prise Sev­ern Val­ley win­ners Paul Bar­rett/ Dai Roberts – who were also aided by Onions’ re­tire­ment af­ter hitting a sheep on the Burmah Road.

Pirelli Rally win­ners Joe Price/chris Brooks had been hop­ing to build on their cham­pi­onship chal­lenge, but a gear selec­tion prob­lem on the opener was fol­lowed by a stop to re­place a plug lead on stage two. “Stage three was our first clean run,” he said.

Evans al­most made win­ning look easy, com­plet­ing the fi­nal two stages for a trou­ble-free vic­tory, “we didn’t re­ally have any prob­lems all day,” he ad­mit­ted. Wil­liams re­tained a com­fort­able sec­ond with 40 sec­onds in hand over Wood­cock and a class win in Ap­pendix K over vis­it­ing Bel­gian crew and Epynt debu­tants Christophe Ja­cob/is­abelle Reg­nier, af­ter Eian Pritchard suf­fered a sim­i­lar en­gine fail­ure to son Ja­son.

Hav­ing gained in con­fi­dence on his Epynt de­but, a late push from Bar­rett re­claimed fourth over­all on the penul­ti­mate stage and that kept him at the head of the cham­pi­onship. “It was a real ex­pe­ri­ence and feels even bet­ter now I have done it,” he said. “But it’s def­i­nitely not a place for Pinto power.”

The crew suf­fered more than usual against the more pow­er­ful gamut of BDA ma­chines in the BHRC.

Tysoe re­tained fifth over­all on his way to the cat­e­gory two vic­tory, with al­most a 30-sec­ond cush­ion over chal­lengers Barry Jones/iwan Griffiths and Daniel Jones/ger­wyn Barry.

Roger Moran/ash­ley Trim­ble’s eighth place gave them sec­ond in the His­toric As­phalt run­ners, de­spite brake prob­lems cost­ing them time on the opener, while Rudi Lan­caster/kenny Owen split Moran from cham­pi­onship ri­vals Roger Matthews/tom Mar­rott, who also took a class vic­tory.

Bob/dale Gib­bons’ Cortina GT topped the cat­e­gory one cars from Ken Pryce/ Don James’ Mini. But Paul Mankin/ Des­mond Bell’s Porsche 911 may have been higher, if the crew hadn’t been over­come with fumes in the car.

Tysoe had hoped for a duel for the over­all prize in cat­e­gory two with Stan­ley Orr/guy Weaver, but the Ir­ish­man was a first stage re­tire­ment af­ter an elec­tri­cal fail­ure on his Es­cort Mk1. Matthews was the only other C5 fin­isher while Wayne Bonser/rich As­ton took a com­fort­able win in C3 from sea­sonal debu­tants Ian Drum­mond/hu Kent.

Melvyn Evans put ex­pe­ri­ence to full use

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