Cambrian Rally 2023 Winners
Posted on October 30, 2023
IT WAS an impressive return to top class British rallying for Aberdyfi’s Tom Cave, when he and co-driver Dale Furniss took an emphatic victory at Saturday’s Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally.
They stamped their mark on the event right from the start and pulled away from 2023 British Rally Championship runner-up Scotsman Garry Pearson to emerge the victor at the ceremonial finish on Llandudno promenade.
Cave, who was driving a Volkswagon Polo Gti R5 in competition for the first time commented: “I was thrilled to get the win. My pre-rally nerves were sky high but we soon got back into the groove and after Stage 1 we settled into a nice rhythm winning five out of the six stages.”
It was a good day too for Luke Francis from Abergele, and co-driver John H Roberts, who took a class win in the interclub category and won the award for the leading North Wales based pairing. Former Welsh Rally champion, Francis stepped back from rallying in 2018 to concentrate on family life and business interests, but decided to return to the sport in memory of his late grandfather, Bob Francis who loved the event.
On the finishing podium he said he’d felt a little rusty after so long out of the sport but was delighted with the result against tough opposition. He said the Ford Fiesta R5 had been a great car to drive and praised co-driver for Roberts for his sterling effort on the pacenotes.
Scion of a world famous rallying family 20-year old Max McRae, put in an outstanding performance in his first ever time in an R5 vehicle to take third place in the national category. Based in New Zealand, he was supported at the event by his grandfather, five times British Rally champion Jimmy McRae who celebrated his 80th birthday on Saturday and said Max’s result was his best birthday present.
There was some disappointment for competitors and thousands of spectators when Stage 4 of the rally at Llyn Elsi in the Conwy Valley was cancelled by the organisers due to traffic congestion caused by a fatal accident earlier in the day on the A55. But clerk of the course Wenna Roberts said the decision was made in the interest of competitor and spectator safety, and expressed sympathy for the family of the victim of the traffic accident.
Awards at the finish podium were presented by the Conwy County Council cabinet member responsible for events, Cllr Aaron Wynne who said the rally was an important contributor to the county’s economy and was helping to make it the events capital of Europe.
The Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally is a round of the British Rally Championship, the MRF Tyres British Trials and Rally Drivers Association Championship, the Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Championship, Bowler Motorsport Championship, the Mini Rally Challenge, the IPS Paint Challenge, and the Association of North Western Car Clubs Championship. It is supported by Conwy County Borough Council and Llandudno Town Council who value the contribution made to the local economy.