Chris Simmons

Chris Simmons is the 2023 JD Tyres Welsh Tarmacadam driver’s champion after an impressive season in his Darrian. Pic JJP Media.

Chris Simmons And Lucie Gutteridge Secure The 2023 Welsh Tarmacadam Driver And Co- Driver Championship Titles

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By Simon Gronow

Chris Simmons and Lucie Gutteridge have secured the 2023 JD Tyres Welsh Tarmacadam Championship driver and co-driver titles respectively, after another close and thrilling year-long battle came to an end on the two-day Glyn Memorial Stages Rally.

The tenth and final round of the series took place at the Anglesey Racing Circuit, which was the third time that crews had visited the Ty Croes venue this year.

The first day consisted of eight special stages, with the later ones running in the dark and Thomas Cooper led the charge of the Welsh Tarmacadam entrants.

Lucie Gutteridge Lucie Gutteridge secured the Welsh Tarmacadam co-driver’s title after guiding Alastair Moffatt to seventh. Pic JJP Media.

Driving a Ford Fiesta R5 for the first time, Cooper was quickly on the pace holding third position, before moving into the lead.

At the end of the first day, he had dropped back to second, but with points awarded for each day he took maximum day one points and was ready to challenge for the lead on day two.

His second day started well with fastest time on the first stage of the day, but unfortunately had to retire after the test when his Fiesta suffered gearbox issues.

The event was proving demanding with several Welsh crews destined for short runs.

Former champion Richard Merriman, with Karen Phelps alongside for this event, retired his Darrian T90 with radiator damage after hitting a tyre wall.

Fellow Darrian crew Russell Davies/Richard Suter also failed to make the finish after breaking driveshafts on both days, but nonetheless ended the year as championship class three winners.

Marc Mayes/Fiona Crump didn’t make day two after their Vauxhall Nova was withdrawn following alternator problems, costing Crump the chance of winning the overall co-driver’s title.

James Davies/Owen Rowcliffe, who had been holding second in class, retired their Proton Satria with a blown engine.

With his Darrian T90 GTR suffering differential problems on day one, Chris Simmons failed to complete the event – but nevertheless scored enough points to round off a great season by claiming the overall driver’s championship title.

On the first two rounds of the series, Simmons had been accompanied by Lucie Gutteridge who only started competing as a co-driver this year.

Competing with a number of different drivers on subsequent rounds, Gutteridge partnered Alistair Moffett on this final event.

Following a good run, they took their Ford Escort Mk2 to seventh overall enabling Gutteridge to win the overall co-driver’s and top female awards.

On the day, Gutteridge finished one place behind Sam Weller.

The Brecon youngster was co-driving for Josh Taylor in a Subaru, and ended a great season with a maximum Welsh points score.

Kevin Davies/Sion Rowlands took their Peugeot 207 to second in class on the event, which secured them the championship class two win in the process.

After winning their class on every round they completed, Leighton Smith/Karen Phelps were clear championship winners in class four in their Peugeot 205 GTi.

Keith Daniels was first home in class one in his Vauxhall Corsa, while Phil Turner headed the championship class six runners in his Škoda Fabia R5.

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