The 2019 Cambrian Rally would combine the opening rounds of both the BTRDA and British Rally championships with runners in the latter National A event intriguingly set to complete an additional 3 stages in the dark.
A healthy contingent of latest spec R5 machinery at the sharp end of the entry list had added additional excitement to the North Wales based event, which included 2 M-Sport entered Fiesta’s for FIA Priority 2 seeded Chilean brothers Pedro and Alberto Heller.
It was another M-Sport Fiesta in the hands of 2018 BTRDA and BRC champion Matt Edwards that again proved to be the class of the field however. In a field stacked with quality, David Bogie and Tom Cave, would prove his closest challengers but whilst both claimed stage wins neither could match Edward’s consistency, with the Swift backed Ford man (co-driven by Patrick Walsh) going on to claim victory by 26.5 seconds. Edwards’s later describing success on his home turf as a dream come.
Cave’s challenge would infact come to an unfortunate late end; despite completing the full stage mileage, the unlikely misfortune of suffering 3 punctures over the final loop of stages left the Welshman unable to attempt the final road section, allowng Bogie to claim the runner up position in his Fabia, and the similar machine of Northern Irishman Martin McCormack to round out the podium positions.
Behind, Peugeot 208 crew, James Wilson & Arthur Kierans claimed a hotly contested BRC Junior category victory which saw the top five runners separated by just 30 seconds! Gaining the lead in stage 5, Wilson and Kierans managed to hold off a fast recovering Will Creighton (puncture delayed) over the final few stages to take class honours by less than 2 seconds!
In the National B event meanwhile, Euan Thorburn made a winning return to action in his WRC Focus. Benefiting from a healthy lead developed over the morning loop, he and co-driver Paul Beaton had just enough in hand to nurse their misfiring Ford to Goldstar glory, with the Fiesta WRC of Charlie Payne and Carl Williamson a close second.
Perhaps benefiting from a return to running first on the road, it was runners from the 1400 and historic classes that would fill the Silver Star podium positions. 2018 Champion, George Lepley switched to RWD machinery for the Cambrian and, co-driven by Arwel Jenkins, duly shone in Barry Jordan’s historic spec 8v Avenger, ending the day in a phenomenal 13th position overall and in turn claiming historic honours by over 40 seconds from the BDG powered Escort of Hugh Hunter!
2018 class winners Chris Powell and Jim Lewis, again topped the 1400 time sheets; the Sunbeam crew catching and passing 2019 Champion Dave Brick over the damp afternoon stages to claim a hard fought 2nd overall in the Silver Star category. With the final step of the 2WD podium just reward for a strong drive by Brick.
Elsewhere, Lancer Evo 9 crew, Pat Naylor and Ian Lawrence, were first home in the showroom category with 4th overall whilst Ian Bainbridge and Daniel May claimed B13 victory with an excellent 5th in their very nicely turned out Subaru Impreza.
PHOTOS (click “view full size” for best resolution)