The victorious pair of Arwel Hughes-Jones and Dafydd Sion-Lloyd. Photo credit - GPrice photography.

Arwel Hughes-Jones And Dafydd Sion-Lloyd Are Victorious In The Mervyn Hughes Memorial Rali Llyn

By Gregory Harrand

The weekend of the 19th/20th of March saw a welcome return of the Mervyn Hughes
memorial Rali Llyn to the rallying calendar, with Arwel Hughes-Jones and Dafydd Sion-Lloyd emerging as winners.

Organised by Harlech and district motor club, this popular event, sponsored by Motorsport-tools, saw a 110 mile route on OS map 123. Entries were filled very quickly by a large selection of well known faces in the road rallying community.

A total of 86 crews gathered at Glasfryn Parc in Pwlleli. Seeded at car one were 2019 winners Kevin Kerr and Huw Rhys Manion in their Mk2 Ford escort, they were in fact the first of six Mk2 ford escorts on the entry list.

Carwyn Evans and Dylan John Williams were seeded at two, with Carwyn and Dylan being three time winners of the event in the past. Gavin Edwards and Daniel Jones took the number three whilst number four went to the four time winning driver Arwel Hughes-Jones, he would be partnered with Dafydd Sion-Lloyd.

Iwan Jones and Steven Roberts took five and they were followed by Steven John Williams and Paul Roberts. The first non escort was at seven, this was crewed by Dewi Williams and Ianto Fon Jones, who were in a Peugeot 206.

Rounding off the top ten were George Williams and Cadog Davies at eight, whilst Richard Jerman and Nick Bloxham were at nine, both pairs in escorts.  Mark “GT” Roberts and Dale Furniss rounded off the top 10 in Mark’s VW golf GTI.

The first half saw some 60 miles to be undertaken, with the route going out of Pwlleli before turning back east past Pencaenewydd.

The first of the tight sections came here at selective finish three where everyone picked up penalties, least penalised were Arwel and Dafydd who stopped the clocks with 30 seconds gained. Steven John and Paul were next with 36 seconds, and then it was George and Cadog with 38 seconds.

The route headed north from here, near the village of Pant Glas, the front running seeds managed to pass through this section without gaining any penalties, although Guto Ifan and Ryan Griffiths were best of the rest with 9 seconds. Also doing well here were number 25, the expert class pairing of Adam Jones and Iwan Williams who managed a very respectful 10 seconds.

More tight sections followed as the route ran around the maze of lanes making up the peninsula, and a tight battle was on among the front runners, with only a handful of seconds separating everyone.

Unfortunately a few names appeared on the retirement sheet. Carwyn and Dylan suffering with head gasket failure, Iwan and Steven damaging a shaft and Dewi and Ianto losing their clutch all in the first half.

The petrol halt was located in Pwlleli, and Steven John Williams and Paul Roberts held a sixteen second lead with al count of two minutes and 50 seconds, Leading expert crews were Adam Jones and Iwan Williams who held eighth with five minutes and 27 seconds.

Semi expert class leaders were Thomas Jones Thomas and Gwilym Wyn Evans who were in fourteenth with six minutes and 47 seconds, whilst leading novice crew were Meilir Llwyd Huws and Guto Sion WIlliams who were in thirty-first with ten minutes and 1 second.

With refuelling done it was back out into the lanes for the next half, Selective finish 22 was the first tight section of the half where penalties were gained. Arwel and Dafydd were really pushing and managed the best time on 25 seconds.

From here there were three more tight sections along the route as it wound round Garnfadryn. The final tight section of the night was at Selective finish 28 which was located between Botwnnog and Myntho.

Here it was once again Arwel and Dafydd that did best, picking up only 33 seconds in penalties.
Back at finish venue it was declared that the winners were Hughes-Jones and Sion-lloyd who won on five minutes and one second.

Second place had gone to Gavin Edwards and Paul Jones with five minutes and 51 seconds, whilst third were Steven John Williams and Daniel Roberts who rounded off an escort top three on six minutes and eight seconds.

Winning expert class were Gwynfor Jones and Chris Evans who were seventh on ten minutes and 59 seconds.

Semi expert class went to Thomas Jones Thomas and Gwilym Wyn Evans who were tenth with 12 minutes.

Finally, novice class was taken by Sian Elen and Eleri Jones in a very respectful 21st overall with 20 minutes and 32 seconds.

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