top of page

Toyota Harlech Stages 2023

Nine members of Ludlow Castle Motor Club took to the stages on the 10th Anniversary of the event at Llanbedr Airfield run by Harlech and District Motor Club.

The route consisted of 48 special stage miles over six stages with one central service area. It was a qualifying round of the following championships: JD Tyres Welsh National Tarmacadam WAMC, IPS Paint Rally Challenge, ANWCC Stage Rally Championship, North Wales Stage Rally Challenge, ANWCC Ladies Rally Championship, ANWCC All-Rounder Championship, ANWCC Mini Challenge with Rallyme, Heart of England Rally Championship & Formula 1000 & Formula 1000 Junior Rally Challenge.

Despite the rain prior to the event, the event day was without any further downpours, the sun made a welcome appearance and the tarmac dried quickly. It proved to be an excellent event for championship points and every club member finished.

Photograph courtesy of RS Motorsport Photography

Oliver Davies/Jack Bowen – 3rd Overall, 1st in Class E (Ford Escort Mk 2)

Seeded at Car 4 the usual pairing found their first stage very slippy with no grip, spinning the rear wheels in every gear. On stage 2, they clipped a lorry tyre which put them on two wheels nearly rolling by the spectator area. It was recovered but they ended up on the wet grass and lost around 20 seconds in the process of trying to get back to the stage. Pushing on well in stage 3 saw them starting to retrieve some of the lost time but a mile from the end of the stage they snapped a half shaft, limped out of the stage and dropped around 30 seconds. During the two-hour service, the boys worked hard to get them back out and fix the car. A clean run was the order of the day over the last two stages although horrible noises were starting to come from the diff at the finish.

Chris Simmons/Frazer Moss – 11th Overall, 4th in Class E (Darrian T90 GTR)

Stefan Morris/Chris Ridge – 12th Overall,5th in Class D (Ford Escort Mk 2)

Stefan Morris headed to Harlech, leading the Heart of England Championship going into this penultimate round, with a plan to secure a strong finish and gain as many points as possible in his Morris Autos and CT Morris sponsored Ford Escort Mk 2. What the pair thought was a steady start actually proved to be better than expected. Following a long delay at the start of stage 2 wets were not the correct tyre choice for the front but the hard charging pair still managed to set decent times. Getting into the swing of things at the halfway halt and other competitors dropping out of the championship running a finish was a must. Some minor issues were resolved by the service crew between stage 3 and 4 although they were held up on stage 4 losing some valuable time. A clean run on stage 5 meant that Stefan took maximum championship points on the day and a strong overall position in his first full season.

Tim Baker/Neil Hallworth – 15th Overall, 5th in Class E (Talbot Sunbeam)

Following a pretty major off at Fulbeck the car was ready just in time for the event. A very cautious start in greasy conditions saw the crew registering only 41st on stage 1. A change of tyres for stage 2 improved the driver’s confidence although they still seemed to be well off the pace. From stage 3 onwards things got better and on the reversed loop in the afternoon with some suspension adjustments and new front tyres the stage times were much better.

John Petrie/Michele Petrie – 24th Overall, 4th in Class C (Peugeot 106 GTI)

For John’s first outing of the year, the stages were incredibly slippy early on and with the little Peugeot steering from the rear, a different tyre choice was made which assisted with the handling considerably for the next couple of stages. Flat out everywhere was the order of the day however they found themselves being unable to challenge for class honours as the stages dried and the larger and more highly tuned engines took off into the distance. Both very happy with a finish and no damage.

Richard Fletcher/Cassy Romeo – 49th Overall, 16th in Class C (Citroen C2)

Not the best of starts for the pair with an issue with the throttle bodies straight off the start line on stage one which resulted in a stage maximum. The issue was fixed in service to allow them to compete for the rest of the day setting some good times in class but unfortunately the earlier incident meant that they didn’t get a decent class finish. Both enjoyed the event and look forward to doing it again next year.


bottom of page