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It was good day for co-drivers at Llabedr, as Jack Bowen and Fiona Crump topped the Heart of England Championship runners.

Bowen was navigating Oliver Davies’ Escort and shared second overall with HOE rivals Jason/Lee Wilson’s after the opening stage.

Davies hit a truck tyre on stage two, which not only put him on two wheels onto the grass, but broke a driveshaft too, dropping him to fifth overall.

Wilson became the new leader and had started to build on his advantage, but his glory wasn’t to last. “We popped a coolant pipe on SS4,” said Jason.

Davies managed to reclimb the leaderboard and took maximum HOE points for co-driver Bowen, from third overall, despite problems with the rear axle on stage three too.

Ash Furlong/Pete Phennah’s Renault Clio was third HOE runner after the opening stage, behind Wilson and Davies, chasing Wilson for class points too. “Gutted up to seventh overall and the clutch exploded,” he explained after retiring on SS3.

Fiona Crump was now in third, co-driving Tom Evans’ Mitsubishi E9, but only a second up on Stefan Morris/Chris Ridge’s Escort. “I lost time on SS2 on wets, as it just wouldn’t turn in as it started to dry out. But despite a front arm snapping on SS4, I was still second HOE Challenger and won Class C,” he said after edging out Evans from stage four.

Tim Baker/Neill Hallworth’s Talbot Sunbeam came home fourth to top Class D, having worked their way up the order after a “very cautious start.” “After Fulbeck and having to rebuild the car by myself, I was very cautious, as it was so greasy. I was down in 41st, but then put full wets on for SS2 and started to make progress,” said Baker, who fourth best HOE contender after three stages.

Baker’s charge finally netted Class D winners points from fourth best HOE, with Class T winners George Clarke/Lewis Griffiths’ Mini Cooper S completing the top five.

It had started well for Simon Tattersall/Reece Brookes’ Club Classic Escort, they were sixth HOE after two stages and Class leaders, having made 20 places overall. But went no further after damaging a drive shaft and brake calliper on a kerb near the stage end.

Tattersall’s retirement moved Harry Pinchin/Colin Jenkins up to seventh in their Citroen C2. “We were going well until we missed the finish exit on stage four and lost three minutes. We were leading the Class in the overall rally until then,” said Pinchin.

Both Jonathan/Dylan Davies’ Peugeot 205 Gti and Eifion/Ioan Thomas’ 206 GT made the most of Pinchin’s mistake, but with both being in Class C, Pinchin still took max Class B HOE points.

For Thomas it had been a determined fightback, after a number of early spins, clinching third in Class C.

Class B rivals Jason/Liam Farr and Connor/Gary Powell’s Saxon completed the top 10. Farr after a spin on SS1 and Powell after breaking a gearbox mounting.

In Class A Raj/Arjun Kainth’s Peugeot 205 Rallye comfortably took the victory spoils over Graham/Jen Bartl’s Peugeot 206, while Richard Fletcher/Cassy Romeo’s Class B Citroen C2 VTS was 13th after a stage one maximum, when they broke the throttle pedal off the start.

Simon Tuckman/Denzil Heeks were classified too, despite rolling their Escort on stage six, which was then cancelled. They had been running well inside the HOE top 10, but they still topped their Class.

Mark Norwood/Adam Fern’s Mini Cooper S was the final finisher as Matt/Ade Walk’s Fiesta broke a driveshaft on the opener, Andrew Brinkley/Helena Mayall’s BMW M3 collided with another car on the same stage, Gordon Davies/Jack Morris’ Mini Cooper S broke an alternator belt, Ryan Lloyd/James Wardle’s Saxo vacated Class B lead and eighth HOE with a broken gearbox mount after the second stage and finally Andrew/Hollie-Leigh Norris’s Fiesta retired with engine problems after SS2.

It's all eyes on Donington Park next, where the Championship concludes on Sunday December 3rd.

Published by Peter Scherer for Heart of England Rally Championship (AWMMC) October 25th 2023



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