IAN ‘DUDE’ ROBERTS

Road Rally cham­pion Age: 47 Lives: Mid Wales Welsh Road Rally cham­pion three years in a row.

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

He started in Es­corts “I started out in Es­corts and Sun­beams. I couldn’t get them pre­pared prop­erly and I wasn’t mak­ing it re­li­able. I re­tired for three or four years. Some­one of­fered me a Golf, and I de­vel­oped it into a rally car; 18 years later she is fan­tas­tic. I can see why Ogier won the World Rally Cham­pi­onship! Last year I did 47 ral­lies in a row and it didn’t break down once. The car has made me.”

His co-driver, Gwawr Hughes, is key “When she got in with me six years ago she was look­ing for a seat. I’d been for­tu­nate enough to have some of the best navs in the car. She was a few steps be­hind when we started, but she was will­ing to learn and now look at her. I reckon we’ve made around 100yds worth of wrong slots over the past three years. She’s the best I’ve ever had in the car.”

He could win more ti­tles this year “Three years ago we won four or five cham­pi­onships in one year and it looks like we could do the same this year. If I had to pick a sin­gle event as my favourite it would be my first win. It was my home event, the Bor­der 100, in 2003. There’s a lot of lo­cal he­roes on that, so to win that was nice.”

He likes a mixed event “In a good event, I like a mix­ture. Not a flat out road race, but a few tracks, tricky nav­i­gat­ing. Nice Tar­mac. Or­gan­is­ers that know how to plan an event and how to plot. And ral­lies that lo­cal knowl­edge doesn’t play as big a part in. Out of the cur­rent events, the Night Owl in Aberys­t­wyth is a good one.”

The Welsh is the one “The level in the Welsh cham­pi­onship has been bril­liant. If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be worth win­ning. To win it is fan­tas­tic, it’s such a re­lief. Over three years it’s 40-odd ral­lies so it’s a big com­mit­ment and to win it is a mas­sive buzz. “

The sea­son isn’t over “We’ve got an event left, ei­ther the Cil­wen­deg or the Far­ring­ton. They’re on the same night. I know I’m good but I can’t see a way around that! The Cil­wen­deg is in the Welsh Cham­pi­onship, which we’ve won, but Gwawr hasn’t won the Far­ring­ton yet. Be­cause of that we’re look­ing to do the Far­ring­ton.”

Awards stack­ing up “We haven’t won the AWMMC (As­so­ci­a­tion of West Mid­lands Mo­tor Clubs) cham­pi­onship af­ter the Peaks Revs this week­end, we fin­ished fourth. So far this year we’ve won the Welsh, ANWCC, North Wales Road Rally Chal­lenge and the Welsh Bor­der Car Club Cham­pi­onship.”

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