Tag Archives: Kevin Rae

Cambrian Crown reward for Bogie Brilliance

David Bogie and Kevin Rae were in a class of their own during the 60th running of the Cambrian Rally; claiming victory by 54 seconds after 45 competitive stage miles.

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Despite the overall Gold Star title being wrapped up, the final round of the 2015 BTRDA rally championship had attracted one of the highest quality entries of the season, headed by Scottish Championship regular David Bogie and joined by the likes of Sam and Josh Moffett in WRC Fiestas, Jonathan Greer in an R5 Citroen and Osian Pryce in the brand new R5 Mitsubishi Mirage.  And whilst the top prize had been claimed, it was all to play for in the 1400, Silver Star and Historic categories as the BTRDA regulars headed to Llandudno for the 60th anniversary running of the Cambrian Rally.

GOLD STAR

It was clear from the outset that it would take some drive to defeat number 1 seeds David Bogie and Kevin Rae in their Fiesta R5+; the Scotsman opening up a 20 second lead after setting fastest time on the first three stages of the day.

With such a strong class B14 entry list however it was with some surprise that Luke Francis and John H Roberts were lying in second place overall at the halfway point in their ageing B13 specification Evo 9.  The local man clearly had the bit between his teeth and it was he who halted Bogie’s run of stage victories with a stunning time in Penmachno South, trimming the overall lead to 18 seconds at the Glan y Gors service halt.

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2 stages later however we were looking at a very different leaderboard.  Outgoing BTRDA Gold Star champion, Steve Perez had being lying 3rd at service, but lost over a minute on the second running of Crafnant when the turbo pipe became detached, before ending the day in the Llyn Elsi scenery after trying to make up the lost time.  Meanwhile the fast starting Luke Francis dropped 43 seconds in the same stage, demoting the North Wales man to third and splitting the two WRC Fiestas of Josh and Sam Moffett.   As a result Bogie now held a commanding 57 second lead.

With just 2 runs through Penmachno followed by a loop of the Great Orme remaining you could have forgiven Francis for consolidating his third place overall and class B13 lead.  However Francis is blessed with an all or nothing attitude; the deficit to Josh Moffett reduced to 4 seconds with just 2.95 miles of tarmac to go.

And whilst local knowledge is a big advantage on the Orme, no one would have expected Francis to set a time 8 seconds quicker than anyone else, especially given the traction of some of the newer machines!  This had been a phenomenal drive by the Mitsubishi pilot; B13 rally victory also enough to claim the BTRDA class championship glory and end the year fifth in the Gold Star rankings.

The victorious Bogie had done all of the hard work early on and once Francis had dropped back in stage 6, the victory was never really in doubt; a leisurely run over the Great Orme finale reducing the winning margin to just under 1 minute by the time the crews arrived at the Llandudno finish.  This had been a mature and accomplished drive by the Scotsman on the tight and twisty North Wales stages; surely a BRC championship contender in 2016 should he appear on the entry list.

HYUNDAI GENPOWER PRODUCTION CUP

In a category marred by the tragic loss of Andrew Mort on the previous weekends Tour of Mull, it was Patrick Naylor and Ian Lawrence who took the victory with an excellent 7th place overall in their N4 specification Evo 9.

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Having claimed category victory on both the Woodpecker and Trackrod rallies, the West Midlands based duo had already wrapped up the title and so were free to fight for class honours on the final round of the season;  Naylor and Lawrence recording N4 victory by 34 seconds from the similar machine of Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy who themselves claimed the runner up spot in the title race.

Elsewhere, In a great sporting gesture, Aaron McClure elected not to claim championship points, which had he and Elliott Edmondson finished, would have still allowed Tom Naughton and the late Andrew Mort to finish the year in third position.  It is fitting that the much loved Scotsman will be forever in the BTRDA history books.

Further back, even after suffering a 1 minute time penalty, Owain Rowlands and Caron Tomlinson claimed class N3 honours with 78th position overall in their ME Rallysport Ford Fiesta.

SILVER STAR

Callum Black was clear favourite for the Silver Star title coming into the final round of the championship, requiring just a 7th place finish to wrap up the honours.  And all was going to plan by the end of stage 5, as the Northamptonshire man held a 4 second Silver Star lead in his Citroen DS3.  But disaster struck on the second run through Llyn Elsi as he and co driver Paul Wakely were forced into retirement with a gearbox issue.

This paved the way for Boyd Kershaw to snatch the title away from Black at the final hurdle, realistically just needing to complete the 3 remaining tests to take the crown.

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And that they did.  While local man John Rowlands, co driven by Glenn Latham went on to take their MK2 Escort to event Silver Star and class B11 victory with a strong 13th position overall, Kershaw and Bryan Hull finished in 24th, 4th Silver Star crew home; this after a very steady time on the Great Orme finale courtesy of clutch problems.  Bryan Hull may have missed out on the Silver Star title courtesy of his Malcolm Wilson Rally absense, however his points tally was enough to share the B11 championship victory with his Reading based driver.

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After the unfortunate demise of Black and Wakely, B12 honours went the way of Meirion Evans and Jonathan Jackson with an impressive 15th position overall; the Welsh duo increasing their speed over the drier afternoon stages to climb 11 places from 26th position at the halfway point.

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Meanwhile Class B10 saw one of the closest finishes of the event; Rene Torcato and Keegan Rees taking victory by a mere 2 seconds from Kit and Tim Leigh, denying the latter class victory on what was their 100th event.  The class had been expected to be claimed by Tom Cave in his Fiesta R2, however the WRC regular was forced into retirement after the second stage, leaving Josh Cornwell and Dai Roberts in a similar machine to take up the mantle.

A stage maximum in stage 7 dropped Cornwell to third however, leaving a two way battle for the class honours over the final 2 stages.  Having lost 29 seconds to Torcato in stage 2, Leigh was on an afternoon charge, cutting the gap to 21 seconds by stage 4, 12 seconds after 6 and 8 seconds as they arrived at the Orme.  61st quickest time however was enough for Torcato and Rees to keep the Fiesta crew at bay in their Citroen C2.

KICK START 1400

The championship was destined to go 1 of 3 ways heading into the Cambrian with David Bennett, Ash Slights and Dave Brick all in with a shot at the crown.

By the end of stage 2 however, the championship was looking a little more clear cut as Bennett and Alistair McNeil held a 34 second lead over Brick with Slights 7 seconds further back following a puncture after a trip into a ditch.  Chris Powell in his Sunbeam meanwhile was interrupting the championship battle as he held an excellent second.

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In fact Bennett and McNeil went on to claim the title in style by setting top 25 stage times on all of the remaining tests to finish the event in 14th overall, equal on time with top 2WD crew, John Rowlands and Glenn Latham, but losing out on 13th courtesy of a 1 second slower opening stage time.

Behind, Chris Powell and Jim Lewis put in a great performance to take second in the 1400 class, while third was enough for Dave Brick to claim the runner up spot in the title race.  Ash Slights may have had a disappointing end to the season, however he and Alex Lee can reflect on what has been a successful year, a year which has seen the Yaris become a front runner in the class and at times more than a match for the super quick Bennett.

BTRDA HISTORIC CUP

The historic category on the Cambrian rally had attracted several none registered crews and it was Simon Webster and Frank Richer who inherited the lead from Ben Friend after stage 2 and never looked back; the MK2 Escort crew taking the Historic and class H3 rally victory with 25th position overall.

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Paul Street however was the first BTRDA registered points scorer home in 5th, allowing the Mansfield man to snatch the Historic cup and class H3 titles away from RX-7 pilot, Jake Scannell by just a solitary point.

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H2 victory went the way of David Lloyd-Roberts and Dei Jones with 38th position overall.  Meanwhile second in class was enough for Dave Forrest and Charlie Carter to claim the BTRDA class title.

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In Class H1, Barry Jordan found himself up against the similar Hilman Avenger of Gary Edgington and Kate Bannister.  Jordan and Gratton-Smith are a formidable pairing these days however, the H1 class championship winners going on to claim victory by more than 2 minutes with 48th position overall.

FULL RESULTS
THE FINAL WORD

Having not been in the forests for the best part of three months, it was great to encounter David Bogie on top form; his speed and pin point accuracy a pleasant reminder of what we had been missing! This, combined with the balls out approach of Luke Francis amongst top commitment from several other crews, made the BTRDA season finale an enjoyable day out.

Llyn Elsi is another stage to tick from the list, and maybe more new territory can be explored early next year as the Cambrian becomes the opening round of the 2016 BTRDA championship.   After a year of being in the news for all the wrong reasons we can but hope that 2016 represents a new dawn for British rallying.

IMAGES

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All images © Paul Commons (Paul Commons Motorsport Photography)

 

 

Scottish Champs take BTRDA opener

David Bogie & Kevin Rae started 2014 in the best possible fashion by taking a commanding victory on the Wyedean Forest Rally.   Meanwhile Matthew Robinson & Sam Collis took the Historic honours and Mat Smith & Giles Dykes claimed top spot in the 1400 category.

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With the terrible recent weather, I was half expecting this event to be cancelled.  I should however have known better as the organisers have history; managing to keep the event on in prior years when faced with sheet ice and several inches of snow!  Off to Car Park H we therefore headed for stages 2 and 7.

Thoughts of whether a boat would be more appropriate transport than the 4×4 were soon dispelled on arrival as the Sallowvallets stage had held up surprisingly well.  Having headed towards the end of the stage last year we decided to go in the opposite direction with junction 6 being the chosen location.  As per usual this event had attracted a large number of spectators with many also headed to this fast 90 right.

The action however was already underway as the crews headed to Mailscot; the first stage of the day.  On paper it was difficult to pick a winner with any of the top 4 focus WRC crews more than capable of taking top spot.  Bogie had obviously had his weetabix for breakfast though as his devastatingly quick time of 5.55 was a whole 9 seconds quicker than anyone else.  Mat Smith was also on it from the off taking the same margin out of David Bennett in the battle for the 1400 victory.  A category which has grown to almost 60 competitors in 2014.

Back on stage 2 it was tough conditions for us photographers with sporadic rainfall and light levels changing by the minute.  It proved to be a good spot to watch the 1400’s though with some flamboyant driving on display.

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Dave Brick had few problems transferring his infamous driving style to the little Nova, entering the corner as sideways as humanly possible.  The Historic entries were also highly entertaining through this section providing a good opportunity to shoot straight into the sun for a decent black and white conversion.

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At the front, Bogie was quick again in Sallowvallets and managed to extend his lead by a further 3 seconds over Scottish championship rival Euan Thorburn.  The orange Focus was awesome to watch through Junction 6; entering the 90 right almost backwards in similar style to his late great World Champion Countryman.  Colin would have been proud.

Below, recent four wheel drive convert, Russ Thompson was another star performer at this bend.  The light proving troublesome when shooting from the inside but aided by use of a polarising filter.

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Any thoughts of a Thorburn comeback were soon put to bed as Bogie’s big rival would unfortunately retire on stage 3.  This left the Scotsman with a 34 second lead over the fellow Focus WRC crew of Paul Bird and Aled Davies at the lunchtime service halt.  Jim McNeil was having a superb drive and maintaining third overall in his B13 spec Subaru.  Whilst 2nd in B13 and 4th overall were Mitsubishi crew Luke Francis and John H Roberts.  Matthew Robinson was leading the historic class by 40 seconds with 9th overall and Mat Smith was upto his usual giant killing antics with 13th overall but only 12 seconds in front of close rival David Bennett.

The downhill hairpin at junction 30 of Serridge was our choice for the afternoon loop of stages.  Pleasingly the risk of further rain seemed to have faded allowing more variety of shot choice.  We had been to this location before when it was run in the opposite direction but thankfully this time it was much more of a spectacle.  Again the top 1400’s were the stars around here, fighting to keep the power on as they headed down to the open hairpin left at Junction 32.

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Before the crews reached us the battle for B13 was effectively over as early leaders Jim McNeil & Tom hughes were hit with a 2.5 minute road penalty.  This left Luke Francis & John H Roberts free to claim the class honours and with it a fantastic 3rd overall behind the WRC machines of Bogie and Bird.

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Ollie Mellors and Roland Llewellin were the main movers in the afternoon.  Mellors & Alex Lee moving from 7th to 4th in the crowd pleasing S2000 Proton and Llewellin and Jamie Edwards rising from 10th to 6th.  The pair of them sandwiching the very impressive Russ Thompson & Andy Murphy who in turn claimed the group n victory.  Jim McNeil would eventually take 8th overall with Rob Smith and Ross Weir 9th in the WRC impreza.

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It was a blue oval lockout of the historic class podium where Matthew Robinson and Sam Collis managed to maintain their lead and take a sensational 7th overall.  The winning margin rising to well over a minute by the end of the event.

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Theo Bengry & Les Forsbrook put in a solid performance themselves to claim 2nd in class and 15th overall.  Whilst the third historic crew home were Rob Dennis & Simon Rodgers in their similar MK2.

David Bennett & Alastair McNeil would rue the time lost on stage 1 as the Ford Ka of Mat Smith & Giles Dykes would take the class win by a mere 14 seconds.

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Darren Pinchin and Karen Jenkins would take third in class in their Proton Satria with 24th overall.  This could be one hell of a year for the smaller engined machines.

All in all it was a great performance from David Bogie and Kevin Rae.  To take victory by over a minute from Paul Bird’s newer machine, over just 45 stage miles, is pretty impressive.  It would be a great spectacle if he and keen rival Thorburn were to contest the whole championship season.  As fans we can but hope ….

Dad would have to wait until gone 6 before he got his overdue ‘cuppa’ due to afternoon delays.  Inadvertently this did however allow for the odd shot in the dark.

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As usual we were one of the last cars to the leave the car park.  And following the traditional stop at Mitcheldean chippy it was time to head back towards the M50 and home.  We will have to wait until the Somerset stages for our next fill of BTRDA action but before then there is the excitement of Pikes Peak downhill on the Mid Wales Stages.  Roll on 2nd March ….

For full results see the BTRDA website.

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All images © Paul Commons (Paul Commons Motorsport Photography)