Thanks to Will Hughes for this very well compiled report. Results to be found at the foot of this this section.
The Build Up
The Barnes Auto Engineering Valentine Rally 2020 was the second year for Deio and I to take on the joint Clerks of Course role on the event, with our team agreeing to help us once again, as well as Lee Barnes coming on board as title sponsor once more. We set about improving upon last year’s success and aimed to put on an event we would love to do ourselves as avid competitors.
The biggest change for 2020 would be a return to Anglesey Circuit as a Start & Finish venue, as the facilities available offer the perfect base for a Road Rally but, most importantly, it provides the perfect opportunity for a special test at the start, giving competitors and spectators an opportunity to enjoy themselves within a safe area.
Over the weeks leading up to the event the route took many revisions due to various issues such as PR problems and road closures. In the end we had a 67-mile route offering a good balance of competitive and non-competitive sections, featuring some of the best roads that OS Map 114 has to offer.
Once again this year, the entries were opened for three classes 1. Expert, 2. Novice, 3. Beginner and a maximum entry of 40 crews, with priority given to class 2 and 3 competitors. As soon as the entry system went live the laptop went crazy! Entries flew in one after another and by the following morning we had exceeded the specified 40. Within days we had almost 50 class 2&3 crews wanting a run; therefore the decision was made to refund all experts and extend the maximum entry from 40 to 50 for class 2&3 competitors only.
At The Start
When we arrived at the start venue, the first task that faced Deio and me was get the test ready. A member of the Circuit staff started setting up tyres, I took control of arrows and Deio took charge of cones, alongside young Dyl “Chips” who’s a bit of a venue expert.
Once the test was set up, we headed down to the paddock where Scrutineering and Signing On were in full swing. Everything seemed to be going as smooth as possible in the middle of a mad rush.
At 20:45 all competitors made their way to the garage for a drivers’ briefing, which started with a minute silence in memory of John Robinson, the Vice President of the Club, who sadly passed away shortly before the event. The briefing then went to cover as much information as the crews may require for the event, followed by an opportunity to ask any questions they may have.
As Anglesey Circuit can only be described as featureless in the dark, at 21:10 hours a sighting lap gave all competitors the opportunity to have a run through the test in convoy behind a safety car, enabling all crews would have a good idea of what to expect.
The one-mile test, similar to the ones we use on the Cefni Garage Targa, was relatively fast and flowing with a few technical bits to test the driver and three Passage Controls to make sure the navigators were on form.
The fastest time on the test award went to car 6, Peredur Davies and Tomi Emlyn William, a crew clearly on a mission to show off the new car and show what could have been on the Cefni Garge Targa if a slight collision with a tyre hadn’t seen them drop a few places! Lying second after the test, 5 seconds behind, were Car 2, Berwyn and Mari Evans, the father and daughter crew, also familiar with the venue, being regular stage rally competitors in their Millington Powered Escort Mk2, but showing they had just as much ability in their road rally specification Mk2.
Third fastest on the test, a further 6 seconds behind, was the father & son team of Heath and Dylan Griffiths in Car 22. Their regular attendance to the venue for events such as the Cefni Garage Targa and Stuff the Turkey Autotest providing them with all the knowledge needed to set a competitive time in the BMW.
On The Road
The first half of the rally was split in to four selectives made up of short technical droppers and long slack sections. SS1 was from Engedi towards Gwalchmai with TC1A located in the middle of the selective, just as the cars crossed the A5. All but 11 crews would drop to this clock. In the wet and windy weather these crews were showing impressive pace, which worried Deio and myself as we considered this selective to be a guaranteed dropper! Clearly the class of 2020 we much faster than we anticipated!
SS2 was a straightforward run from Mona to Llangwyllog via Llynfaes, with only one RC along the 2.5 mile section to confirm correct route. SS3S at Tregian to TC3A in Rhosmeirch was a timed to the second section where everyone apart from Cars 2, 5 and 6 would drop time. From here competitors would cross over to the Penmynydd Road and slot off at Ceint, heading towards the finish clock just outside Rhoscefnhir.
The 2.5 mile section, from SS4S at Llansadwrn to SS4F near Castellior just off the Penmynydd Road, is usually a relatively fast and enjoyable road, but in the wet weather some parts of this section would be better suited for a jet-ski!!! SS4 would be the first control of the night for car 2 to drop time, losing 5 seconds to the finish clock. A handful of cars would clean the section, namely car 5 (Roberts/ Campbell) and Car 6 (Davies/Williams) which would be the only 2 cars to have cleaned to every clock along the first half of the rally.
The halfway results would show car 6, the MX-5 of Peredur Davies and Tomi Williams leading the event with a commanding lead of 10 second over car 2 Berwyn and Mari Evans in the Escort. A further 7 seconds behind, in joint third place, were car 5, the Yaris of Phillip Roberts & Andrew Campbell, who had dropped no time on the road, and car 25 of Iwan Jones and Iwan Roberts, who set an impressive test time and dropped very little on the road section, proving that power isn’t everything in the little 1300cc Ford Ka.
Having snapped the alternator belt on SS4, time recovery would have provided the perfect opportunity for Peredur to carry out the much-needed repairs to continue. Unfortunately, he would soon realise that his spare alternator belt was, in fact, at home, on the garage floor, not in the boot of the MX-5. Therefore, he had no choice but to retire, saddened with the disappointment of what could have been. Further down the order, in the beginner class, Robat and Carwyn Davies in car 42 would have an impressive 9-minute lead over their nearest class rivals in the battle for the Valentine Shield.
On The Road Again
With car 6 now out of the battle, SS5 from Pentreberw to Brynsiencyn would see car 25 take the lead in the little Ka. This short technical section wouldn’t be as succesful for Car 12, Deio and Harry Jones, who had got as high at 6th at halfway and unfortunately a dramatic bump with a stone wall would see them go no further.
SS6 started on the scenic seafront of Brynsiencyn just outside Foel Farm, then headed up towards Dwyran. Here we saw the Ka lose time to its main rivals, putting car 2 back in the lead with car 5 on a catchup mission. car 29 of William Banks & Dafydd Jones set a fantastic pace along this selective and took 25 seconds out of the main challengers for the win.
In the Beginners class, car 42 Robat & Carwyn Davies would drop 9 minutes to TC6A, losing much of their hard work from the 1st half, and put car 45 Tudur Jones & Tomos Shakespeare back in the battle for the class honours.
SS7 would be the longest selective and biggest challenge of the night. The 10.5 mile selective would be split in to 4 sections with 2 clocks timed to the second; therefore everything was still to play for. The first 3.5 miles from Cerrigceinwen to Soar was relatively straight forward and would get crews warmed up nicely for the challenging section ahead. This section would be a quick loop heading from TC7A at one end of Soar towards Tre-Ddafydd, with TC7B at the opposite end of Soar. The crew that would drop the least between these two points would be car 2, Phillip Roberts & Andrew Campbell. They would be followed by the Fiesta of car 4, Carey Lindley & Iolo Hughes, with another Fiesta, car 13 of Tom Thomas & his last minute navigator, Owain Baum-Jones, who were also trying to join in the battle for an award. Car 2 Berwyn & Mari Evans would lose 11 seconds to the Yaris along this section but would still hold a lead of five seconds heading into the final few miles.
TC7B to TC7C, just outside Pencaernisiog, would be a simple section despite lots of standing water; but from TC7C onwards to the Finish, just outside Rhosneigr, would see the biggest dropper of the night, ..…as competitors came face to face with huge puddles and the only white on the route! All crews would drop time to the final clock with only five cars dropping less than a minute here.
Near the top of the table car 3, Dylan Rees Jones & Aron Jones, would pick up a puncture and would take the decision to pull over 200m from the finish to change the wheel and allow the following car to pass. This showed some great sportsmanship and they threw away any hope of a result to minimise the effect on other competitors.
Just after 3:00 crews started to arrive back at Anglesey Circuit where a fantastic breakfast had been prepared by Ruth and the rest of the Tepot Pridd crew in the Circuit Cafe. As crews tucked into their breakfast and exchanged tales of their adventures around Anglesey, Wenna Roberts & Alan Jôs worked tirelessly to get the results sorted.
With hardly any queries and not a Blue Book in sight, results went final at 05:20 hours. The results showed that car 2, Berwyn & Mari Evans had managed to keep the lead, and finally take the Valentine win they had truly earned after several previous attempts and just missing out. It was great to see it all come together at last. It was a fantastic feeling to finally present the Mick Lindley Memorial Shield to them.
Car 5, Phillip Roberts & Andrew Campbell, finished 16 seconds behind in second place after giving the Yaris a good hammering to challenge the Escort Mk2 all night. A well-deserved third overall went to Tom Thomas & Owain Baum-Jones, hours of car preparation and hunting for a navigator had clearly been well worth it for Tom.
In the Beginners Class and the battle for the Valentine Shield, Robat & Carwyn Davies would take the class win by over two minutes after leading the class from start to finish.
One More Thing
If you’ve got this far well done! Sorry, it may have seemed a bit long winded, but I felt the need to tell the story as best as I could.
I’d like to finish off by thanking everyone who supported the event once again this year and hope to welcome you back in 2021.
Thanks to Lee Barnes our sponsor and the rest of the organising team.
As for the marshals, you’re all heroes standing out in that weather to enable others to have fun - you all deserve the biggest of thanks; hopefully we can arrange some nicer weather for you next year and provide another enjoyable event for all.
Will Hughes, Joint Clerk of the Course, Barnes Auto Engineering Valentine Rally 2020
List of starters - 2020 Valentine List of Starters
Summary of results in overall position order - 2020 Valentine Results Summary
Chart of penalties - 2020 Valentine Penaltiess Chart
Non Starters and Retirements - 2020 Valentine Retirements
Award winners - 2020 Valentine Awards
This is our grass roots event planned as an introduction to road rallies, keeping the route, controls, plotting and timing as simple as possible. For Joint Clerks of the Course, Deio Hughes and Will Hughes this is their second year of running the event and we are extremely pleased to have Barnes Auto Engineering associated with the event once again and are very grateful to Lee Barnes for his enthusiastic support.
This rally is primarily aimed at beginners and novices and those with more experience will only be offered a place if the entry is not full.
Forms and Documents
You may require one or more of the following in order to compete on the event. Please read the Supplementary Regulations in order to establish what you need.
For 2020, Motorsport UK has introduced the requirement for all competitors to hold a new RS Clubman Licence as a minimum. All drivers and navigators competing in this event will need a club membership card and this licence - application is free via the Motorsport UK website here: RS Clubman Licence application.
Jelf Driver Declaration form to apply for a Letter of Acceptance: 2020 Driver Declaration Form
C&A Motor Club membership application form - Become A Member
A competitor under 18 years old whose parent, guardian or carer is unable to attend at signing-on, will need a person authorised to sign on behalf of the parent, guardian or carer and produce this completed consent form - 2020 Parental Consent Authorisation
PLEASE READ THE REGULATIONS TO AVOID ASKING US UNNECESSARY QUESTIONS!
Supplementary Regulations: Barnes Auto Engineering Valentine Road Rally Supplementary Regulations
Access to the online entry form here: Barnes Auto Engineering Valentine Road Rally Entry Form
Rhian Owen Jones
01248 345203 firstname.lastname@example.org
Joint Clerk of the Course
Joint Clerk of the Course