The KUMHO Clubmans Rally Championship heads to the valleys of South Wales next, as the intense battle for title honours brings the competitors to the Swansea Bay Clubmans Rally, the fourth round of the hotly contested series on August ...
The KUMHO Clubmans Rally Championship heads to the valleys of South Wales next, as the intense battle for title honours brings the competitors to the Swansea Bay Clubmans Rally, the fourth round of the hotly contested series on August 9th.
Conditions in the South Wales forests can be varied at this time of the year. High and hanging dust can cause major visibility problems if the event runs in very dry weather, whilst rain and hill fog can create problems of their own if the rally runs in poor weather. Either way, the four long stages on offer for the KUMHO Clubmans contenders are certain to provide a stern challenge next weekend.
The ever rapid James Potter/Andrew Hebron will lead the championship regulars away from Swansea for the event. Kent driver Potter has been in fine form this season, consistently in the top three stage times and taking a fine win on the opening Kall Kwik round. James goes well in Wales and will be keen to add to his championship lead - of just one point!
Another driver to have won a round this season is Alistair Adams. The Bewdley driver suffered from a day long clutch problem on the recent Mutiny Rally and was disappointed to finish further down the order than he would have liked. Adams however took a fine victory on the Astra Stages earlier in the year. With the clutch problems resolved, the Midlander will once again be a force in South Wales.
Third in the series is Hull driver Andy Carter. The jovial Humberside man is yet to win a rally outright this season, but his performances alongside co-driver Andy Briggs have been excellent all year. Carter just pipped at the post on the Kall Kwik by Potter after a day long battle. Consistent finishes and a solid Ford Escort RS will give Carter every confidence of a good result after a recent test outing in Mid Wales.
The man to watch in Swansea will almost certainly be Ieuan Rowlands. The talented Festiniog driver consistently tops the timesheets in his venerable 1600cc Escort! Always committed and always spectacular, Ieuan will be tough to beat in forests that he has competed in before. Expect the red white and green Escort to be in the thick of the action by Saturday afternoon.
One talented youngster looking for a change in fortune is Ludlow man Joe Price. In his powerful Talbot Sunbeam, Price started the year strongly in Yorkshire. Unfortunately, first stage retirements on the Astra and Mutiny events have given Joe plenty to think about. Price will be keen to get some points on the board in Swansea.
Consistent drivers this season have been a prominent feature in the KUMHO Clubmans Rally Championship. Currently leading the way in the 1600cc class is Motorsport Direct proprietor Iain Shirlaw. Iain has long campaigned a Nova, but has recently switched to Proton power. Iain purchasing the ex-Martin Meadows Proton Satria Kit Car for the remainder of the series. After testing in North Wales, Iain found the car to be quicker than his Nova of the time, and is looking forward to driving the car in anger at Swansea Bay.
Another driver keen to do well in 1600's is Ian Mculloch. The Oxon driver travels to each event minus a service crew and generally has to keep his Toyota Corolla going by himself. Despite what many would see as a handicap, Mculloch has been the model of consistency this year, frequently getting into the Top 10 on some of the rounds.
Elsewhere, a number of drivers will be looking for good results to maintain their Top 10 Championship positions this weekend. Well travelled Allan McDowall brings his potent Opel Kadett down from Scotland, whilst Pickering's Steve Magson brings the ex-George Hill Opel Kadett V6 to South Wales. Magson failed to get out of SS1 on the event last year so is hoping for a better year in 2003!
Further down the field, the experienced Dick Slaughter has the equally experienced Liz Jordan on the notes for this event and should feature strongly. David Gratrix brings his unusual Fiesta to the event, and Howard Forrester is there and thereabouts in the results. One man to keep an eye out for will be Steven Belcher. Driving his 1300cc Mini, Steven is going for a hat-trick of Class One victories on this event, after tasting success on both the Astra and Mutiny Rallies. Good luck Steven - and good luck to all on what will surely be a major test of ability in South Wales.