Dominant Hirst hits home run with Rallynuts Stages win

Saturday 16th April 2022 4:00 pm
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101 NOT OUT: Brecon Motor Club crew Dai Jones and Glyn Price had an enjoyable and trouble-free run in their centurion BMW
101 NOT OUT: Brecon Motor Club crew Dai Jones and Glyn Price had an enjoyable and trouble-free run in their centurion BMW (Mark Griffin )

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The tranquil forests of mid Wales were awakened by the sound of tuned engines last Saturday as the Rallynuts Stages rally returned to Builth Wells, writes Mark Griffin.

Last year’s event took place in November but with the schedule of the rally calendar returning to some form of normality, the event returned to its traditional springtime date.

Formally known as the Seven Valley Stages, the rally was always eagerly awaited and this year was no exception. As in previous years the event attracted crews from all corner of the UK and beyond, largely due to the popularity of the smooth flowing gravel stages that mid Wales offers.

Returning to the event schedule was the Cwmasgawen test near Abbey-Cwm-Hir. Veteran competitors recalled famous rally incidents from past decades to catch out the unwary in this stage within the Coed Sarnau forest complex.

Hafren and Myherin forests also formed part of the schedule and the start, finish and mid day service area were located within the Royal Welsh Showground.

As a capacity entry of 140 crews made their way over the Elan Valley mountain road from Rhayader to Cwmystwyth, hail and ice was the “welcome to Wales” greeting as they approached the first timed test in Myherin.

Doncaster driver, Matthew Hirst and co-driver Declan Dear driving a Ford Fiesta R5 made their intentions clear from the outset, blitzing their rivals and stopping the clock some 15 seconds faster over the treacherous 11-mile opening test – they proceeded to record fastest times on a total of four of the six timed stages to score a comfortable victory. Last year’s winners Elliot Payne and Patrick Walsh were their nearest challengers, taking second overall in their Ford Fiesta Rally2 whilst Dylan Davies from west Wales partnered by Mark Glennerster took the final step of the podium in their Skoda R5.

Despite a particularly slippery first stage, where a hail storm caused problems with no grip, Brecon Motor Club crew; Dai Jones and Glyn Price wheeled out their BMW E30 for its 101st event and as in a majority of its previous outings the car proved fun and reliable and the pair secured an solid finish.

Rallying action resumes next Saturday on Mynydd Epynt with the opening round of the Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship; Port Talbot Motor Club running the annual Tour of Epynt Rally.

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