Astra Stages Clubmans summary

Adams family - top of the charts in Wales. Alistair and Andrew Adams were the toast of the Kumho Clubmans Rally Championship as they took their first ever overall rally victory on this weekend's Astra Stages Clubman Rally. After a good result...

Adams family - top of the charts in Wales.

Alistair and Andrew Adams were the toast of the Kumho Clubmans Rally Championship as they took their first ever overall rally victory on this weekend's Astra Stages Clubman Rally.

After a good result on the opening round in Yorkshire, the pair rode their luck at times in the North Wales forests, surviving a puncture right at the end of the final stage and a faulty wheel bearing during a dust filled day. Despite finding the stages rough in places, they held their nerve (but only just as Alistair said at the finish!) to win by 26 seconds from Ieuan Rowlands.

Partnered by Andy Davies, Rowlands was making his first appearance on this years Kumho series, and apart from a puncture on Stage 2 and an unfortunate time penalty, the young Harlech MC driver would have taken the overall win his patriotic colour schemed Ford Escort. Despite missing out on the overall win, Rowlands comfortably took the honours in Class 2 for 1600cc cars after an excellent showing.

3rd went to Mr. Consistent of the championship so far, Scotsman Allan McDowall in his rare Opel Kadett. Allan commented that the stages were "mega rough" and he took a cautious approach to the rough stuff. Allan and co-driver Gavin Heseltine were just one of many crews to have suffered intercom problems during the day. A faulty gear stick and a dodgy fuel pump also featured in what was an action packed outing for the pair.

Two drivers much fancied for success in Wales were Craig Dykes/Donna Harper and Joe Price/Ian Allsopp. Dykes seems to be the unluckiest driver around at the moment. After a first stage retirement on round one, Craig was only 200 yards into Stage 1 when the fuel pump gave up. Initially thinking it was an electrical problem, the pair dropped over 5 minutes in the stage, dropping them to last place and any chance of a top result. Price was equally unlucky. The Junior Championship leader blew the engine on his Sunbeam in Stage 2, after setting second quickest on the opening test.

Steve Magson/Geoff Atkinson brought their fabulous Opel Kadett RWD down from Pickering to the event. Last year they were a first stage retirement, but lady luck smiled on the cheerful Yorkshire duo this time. A broken rear shock absorber was the main drama - and sportingly Craig Dykes came to the rescue by providing a spare. Steve admitted that the powerful Kadett was a real handful in Penmachno, and a leaking radiator meant that he kept one eye on the temperature gauge for the last few miles. They eventually finished a fine 6th overall.

Round One winner James Potter had a mixed day in his Ford Escort. James and co-driver Andrew Hebron suffered no less than four punctures during the day, bending three wheels in the process. Understandably, the Kent driver felt that the stages were far too rough, but he didn't give up - fighting back up to 14th overall after a trying day. Series rival Andy Carter was also a man on the move after an early puncture that he had to stop and change. Carter was consistently in the Top 3 stage times, and rounded off with fastest time on the final stage to take a fine seventh overall, less than three minutes behind the winner.

Leading Kumho Clubmans retirements on the day included Tim Pearcey, who had a half shaft break on SS5. Richard Allingham rolled out on SS6, with the same stage also claiming the Escort of Steve Finch with propshaft failure. Howard Forrester blew the engine on his Escort on SS2, and Sean Bannister damaged his rear axle beyond repair on SS4 in his Peugeot 306 S16. Craig Thomas stopped with electrical failure after SS2.

Back to the classes, and Iain Shirlaw suffered in the rough conditions in his black Nova GSi. The man from Motorsport Direct just could not believe the damage that the car was suffering. The rear beam was bent on both sides and the John Haugland RallySchool graduate felt that a JCB driving course would have been better suited to Penmachno South! Despite a soft brake pedal and a big moment in Penllyn, Iain and Martin Moore took home the points for 4th in class, just behind Ian McCulloch and Rory Oliver-Hall.

The jovial duo were in great spirits at the rally finish. Intercom failure on Stage 1 meant that it was a cruise in silent mode in their Toyota Corolla GT. With that repaired, they went on to have a "brilliant day" and were justly rewarded with an excellent 3rd in class and 10th overall. Twickenham based Winston Clarke was also having fun in his Mark II Escort. Winston reported no problems apart from a puncture right at the end of SS1, and was beaming at the rally finish after "a great days rallying, really enjoyed it!".

Class One produced a home grown winner in the shape of Huw Littler-Jones. Huw lives in Ruthin, and had an awful time on the Kall Kwik Rally with driveshaft failures forcing an early bath. However, home advantage played a major part in Huw taking the Kumho class honours, despite this being his first ever attempt on his home rally.

Finally, the Kumho Man of the Meeting Award. Although in this case, it was the Kumho MEN of the Meeting Award. After reminding the Kumho Clubman organisers of how rough the stages were and how much they would like to try the new Kumho brand for the forests, the award was jointly awarded to James Potter and Dick Slaughter - who now have two new Kumho's each.


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Series Other rally
Drivers John Haugland