British Rally Championship round two – Preview
West Cork Rally, Clonakilty, Ireland – 14-15 March 2020
Tom is looking forward to returning to the event where he posted his first of three British Rally Championship victories last year, the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally, which takes places this coming St Patrick’s Day weekend – 14th & 15th March. He will be partnered by co-driver Dale Furniss.
In a nail-biting, final stage shoot out in 2019 against fellow Welshman Matt Edwards, driving his PCRS prepared, Get Jerky supported Hyundai i20 R5, Tom and his co-driver on that occasion James Morgan secured an impressive win by a margin of 4.8 seconds. Scroll forward to 2020 and the rivalry is rekindled, with Edwards also returning to West Cork in a Ford Fiesta R5.
But the competition for BRC honours this year doesn’t end there, with the appearance of another Welsh driver Osian Pryce in a VW Polo R5, WRC regular Rhys Yates in a Fiesta, 2019 Billy Coleman Award winner Josh McErlean – also in a Hyundai – and Ollie Mellors driving a Proton Iriz R5.
Tom sets the scene: “To win the British Championship round and finish third overall against so many top Irish drivers last year was fantastic and very satisfying. Looking at the entry list for this year, the competition is just as tough – if not tougher – so we’ll need to be on our game and as well prepared as we can be, make sure the pre-event test and recce go well and then give it our best shot.”
Tom and Dale initially led the opening round of the British Championship, last month’s Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally, before clipping a rock and breaking a wheel. The subsequent time lost pushed them outside the top-ten, but a fight back through the field saw them end the day a credible sixth.
“We need to keep our championship hopes on track and to do that, scoring points is all-important”, explains Tom. “The West Cork Rally is a demanding event with 14 stages and 135 miles on closed public roads. So whilst it’s not a sprint, you can’t afford to back off, especially with strength of competition we’ll be up against. I can’t wait!”
Following a ceremonial start in Clonakilty on Friday evening, the action gets underway on Saturday morning and features eight stages providing 68 competitive miles. Sunday’s distance is similar, with its six stages covering 67 miles of competition.
Tom’s 2020 rally campaign is supported by: Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing, Pirelli Tyres, Trailhead Fine Foods and Get Jerky, Shukers Hyundai of Aberystwyth, WD40 and Atech Racing.
Whilst away in December 2019 on holiday, there was head space to reflect on the year gone by. There were no realistic options on the horizon for 2020. I was un sure whether I was going to move forward for another year in the British Rally Championship. Not because I didn't want to, it down to circumstances out of my control.
2019 on the whole was successful, 3 outright rally wins, handful of podiums, albeit one sizeable accident on the Ulster Rally. Which only dented pride thankfully. I was never at one with car on that event, I had to push with out it coming naturally, Matt drove very well I could not get near to chinking his armour. I learnt a lot about my self that weekend too, I never voiced my opinions afterwards to anyone, I suppose I didn’t want to show a sign of weakness, but I was immensely disappointed, I knew the championship title was going to be a mountain climb blindfolded, near impossible! Fast forward to Galloway Hills rally, the minimum required was to win from my side, I didn’t feel the pressure, because I had nothing really to lose, it was all on Matts shoulders. We came out on fine form never the less, we won 8 of 8 stages and claimed the rally victory. This was a huge confidence boost, moving forward and a relief that I extracted a small positive from the past few weeks. Phillip and his army of mechanics, spent the best part of 2 weeks prior to Galloway Hills solidngly, working, cutting, welding, ALZ R550 back together again after the Ulster rally incident. That win was for them, in large quantise of gratitude towards their efforts on getting the car ready for Scotland.
Wales Rally GB: A new co driver, Dale Furniss. I had known Dale for many years on and off events. I was looking forward to working together. The event on whole was very good. We started with few a car issues, one to note was a complete re wire job of the steering wheel, there was broken wire which was causing intermittent responses to my wheel output controls, Anti Lag control, Boost control, wipers etc. In the end all controls were lost on the wheel, prior to stage 2 Elsi. We didn’t have anti lag, or full boost then onwards for elsi and penmachno. The long road section down to Dyfnant gave us a opportunity to have a go at a road side repair job. Much to Dales delight in the pouring rain, Ciaran our engineer sent us over a wiring diagram, find attached photo! And we attempted a successful fix, having to use our teeth to strip the wire back! The time loss was on average, 25 secs a stage to fastest R5 car, so over 2 stages we lost the best part of a minute to my frustration!
To put the overall result into perspective we finished 15.9 seconds behind 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg & 59 seconds behind 1st R5 car, Kalle Rovenpera!
On reflection, It was a weekend of what ifs, whats ifs; Or like Guy Martin said I quote; “If, ifs and buts were pots and pans, we would all be scrap mental merchants” The result was my best finish to date on Wales Rally GB, 11th overall. It is an event I love, an event I looked upto when I was young lad, out spectating with my dad, and hopefully one day I get the opportunity to compete on WRGB in a WRCcar.
A new decade has began, it had been a tough 8 weeks, more from a personal perspective, a family bereavement, which puts added pressure on every one close to you, and you don’t realise how much it had niggled away in your own head in till you reflect back on it. We learnt an opportunity was possible do BRC again, in the Hyundai I20 R5. Heading to the Autosport Show at the NEC, discussions were carried out with our partners of 2019, and we agreed to go ahead with a programme in the BRC. As always these things never come together when you would like them to, but nonetheless I am grateful we have a programme to aim for, 4 weeks and counting to round 1, Cambrian rally.
Our pre event test was the first time I had been in the car since November. I knew we had a good setup from Wales rally GB, stages are similar on the Cambrian rally, same Pirelli Tyres. There wasn’t to much to learn from the test. We had a upgraded set of suspension to test, I felt the traction and feeling in the car was improved greatly with the upgrded shocks, so we opted to use these for the rally. Conditions were perfect, cold, crisp air & potent combination for a R5 car, engine felt strong all was happy heading into the recce.
As many of you have seen, the rally wasn’t successful. We came out fastest out the blocks, albeit Matt did stall on the start line of Stage 1. Matt fought back on stage 2 taking 1.5 seconds back over 8 miles. Heading into Penmachno stage 3, there was a small delay at the start. That gave us all a chance to have a catch up, chat abit of nonsense as we always do in-between stages.. I like to break out the Haribo’s keeps things sociable!
4.5 miles into the stage 3, the rear got away from me on a 3rd gear right hand corner, and the rear left wheel, struck a large rock. Consequently breaking the wheel, and brake disc into 3 pieces. I carried onto the next junction, I knew that was only 200 metres away. Luckily I did, because we could not get the jack under the car, thankfully the spectators lifted the car up enough to get the jack lined up with the jacking post, and we got the wheel changed, albeit 3 mins 35seconds have gone by. But it felt much longer working away on the side of the road changing the wheel in all the chaos, with cars hurdling past every 1 minute or so, and with hot wheel nuts to contend with, a VERY hot brake disc hanging off, the rally win had long disappeared into the horizon!
Overall result, we fought our way back up to 6th overall, scored crucial championship points, fastest times on the board too. Moving onto West Cork Rally in March; great event and based 2019, we showed good pace.
That is all for now, I hope you enjoyed my blog…
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British Rally Championship round one – Report
Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally – 8th February 2020
Having led the event from the start, Saturday’s Cambrian Rally saw Tom and his co-driver Dale Furniss having to call on their skills and resolve when a broken wheel and the subsequent time lost on stage three, forced them to fight back to go on to score a hard-earned sixth place.
It wasn’t the result the two Welshman had been looking for to kick start their 2020 British Rally Championship campaign, but they came away from the event consoled in the knowledge that the pace is there to win when the opportunity and better fortunes allow.
The Llandudno-based Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally featured six North Wales forest stages plus a run on asphalt around the Great Orme headland – an area that Tom and Dale know well having been rewarded with success in November when they finished 11th overall and top non-WRC registered crew on the Wales Rally GB.
Using his knowledge of the area, combined with his confidence in the PCRS-prepared Hyundai i20 R5, Tom was fastest out of the box and after stage two led the event by a margin of 1.7 seconds from his perennial rival, Matt Edwards.
With the scene set for an intriguing battle for the remainder of the rally, stage three proved pivotal, when Tom and Dale clipped a rock with the rear, nearside wheel. The impact was enough to break the alloy and puncture the tyre, forcing them to stop at the side of the road to change the wheel.
Although carrying out the running repairs as quickly as they could, nearly four minutes were lost. Consequently, the only option now was damage limitation and get to back on the trail to score as many points as possible.
Now in tenth place, Tom and Dale picked off the cars ahead of them stage-by stage. After setting another fastest time on the seventh and final stage of the day, Elsi – a forest Tom knows well, following impressive runs over its testing seven miles in the past two Rally GB outings – the Welshmen crossed the line in sixth place. Clearly, whilst it wasn’t the result they had hoped for, both were satisfied that given the circumstances, it was the best that they could have done and that championship points were now on the board.
“I was pleased in the knowledge that we were on the pace right from the start. I felt at home in the Hyundai from the word go. The PCRS team know how to build a reliable car and set it up just how I like it. So, even though the competition was tough, I knew we had a great chance of a top result.
“It therefore came as quite a blow that when we clipped a rock on the outside of a fast right-hander, the consequences were as severe as they were. All we could do from then on was exactly what we did and bring home as many points as possible. We have the team, the car – in fact the whole package – to challenge for the British title, so we’ll now re-group and focus on the next event. Thanks go to Dale and the team for a job well done and our sponsors for their invaluable support.”
The second round of the British Rally Championship is the West Cork Rally. Having scored a fiercely fought victory last year, Tom will be gunning to do exactly the same again on 14th & 15th March.
Tom’s 2020 campaign is supported by: Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing, Pirelli Tyres, Trailhead Get Jerky, Shukers Hyundai, WD40 and Atech Racing.
Photo by Stanislav Kucera.
Back to challenge for this year’s British Championship title is Aberdovey’s Tom Cave, who will embark on a second season driving a PCRS prepared Hyundai i20 R5 on Saturday’s Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally.
This year will see him partnered by Dale Furniss from Llanfylin, who co-drove for Tom when he recorded his best ever World Rally Championship result of 11th overall in October’s Wales Rally GB. In doing so, Tom and Dale finished third of the WRC2 class entries, first independent entry and top Welsh Crew.
After winning three of lasts year’s six British Rally Championship rounds and setting more fastest stage times than any other driver, Tom ended the 2019 British season as runner-up and therefore, has his sights firmly fixed on grasping the title this year.
“It’s great to be back in the British Rally Championship and after finishing second place for the third time last year, adding to my results in 2016 and 2012, I feel I have some unfinished business to attend to. We’ve spent the past few weeks bringing everything together for this season, so I’m delighted to be able to kick things off with the Cambrian Rally this weekend.”
As well as entering this year’s British Championship, Tom also aims to maintain his podium-finishing profile at world level and therefore, plans to enter two WRC events this season: Rally Finland in August and Wales Rally GB at the end of the October.
“In addition to all six rounds of the British Championship, if all goes well we are planning to go back to Finland, where I scored third in the WRC2 class in 2017 driving a Hyundai. Likewise, having finished third of the R5s in last year’s Rally GB, it would be great to do the same again. It would be a perfect way to round off the season.
“However, we have to focus on the first event and although the Cambrian Rally is fairly local to me, it’s a tough one to start with and we’ll need to hit the ground running. I’m sure the PCRS team will do their usual fantastic job when it comes to providing a strong and reliable car, so I’m hoping we’ll get off to a great start. It feels like a long time since last October and my last outing in the car, so I can’t wait to get started. Bring it on!”
The 65th edition of the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally will be based in the event’s familiar home of Llandudno and – as it did for last year’s Wales Rally GB – the town hosts the event’s start and finish.
Running second car on the road, behind last year’s winner Matt Edwards, Tom will leave the Promenade at 09.02. Then, together with the rest of the 100+ car field, will head south to tackle three gravel-surface stages in Crafnant, Gwydir and Penmachno forests, followed by a run around the Great Orme headland road on asphalt before the midday service halt at Rhos-onSea near Colwyn Bay.
The afternoon sees a further three forest stages in Crafnant, Gwydir and Elsi which, as his performances from the previous two Rally GB outings have shown, is one of Tom’s favourite stages. After completing 44 miles of competition, cars return to Llandudno Promenade for the finish from 15.43.
Tom’s 2020 rally campaign is supported by: Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing, Pirelli Tyres, Trailhead Foods Get Jerky, Shukers Hyundai of Aberystwyth, WD40 and Atech Racing.
To acknowledge the success of its customer racing teams in 2019, Hyundai Motorsport’s Customer Racing division held a prize-giving event at its Alzenau-based headquarters on Monday (November 26).
Tom was delighted to be one of the drivers invited to attend this prestigious occasion that saw more than 50 people who represented many of Hyundai Motorsport’s most successful customer campaigns from around the world. Those attending were responsible for victories with the Hyundai i20 R5 in rallying and the Hyundai i30 N TCR and Hyundai Veloster N TCR in racing.
The prize-giving ceremony, where the leading drivers and team representatives were awarded a specially designed trophy, was held only metres away from the workshops where the winning cars are built, in the same facility that also houses Hyundai Motorsport’s championship winning WRC team. And as well as a day to reward the teams’ performances during the season, the event also gave them a chance to catch up with some of the Customer Racing department engineers and mechanics.
Rallying customers were well represented among the guests, including national title champions from Slovenia, Romania and Netherlands, who were joined by runners up in the German, Spanish, Portuguese national series’ and of course, the British Rally Championship. Also receiving an award was Philip Case of PCRS, the Letterkenny-based team that did such a great job of preparing and running the Hyundai i20 R5 that Tom drove to success this season, not only in the BRC, but also in October’s Wales Rally GB.
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Senior Sales Associate Andrew Johns said: “The day when we get to host our successful customers in Alzenau is always one of the highlights of the year. It’s a great opportunity to firstly celebrate the championship and race wins, but also to build on the strong relationships we have with our customer teams. To have so many attend is fantastic and really shows the strength of the R5 and TCR cars can deliver. Hopefully we can see some of the same faces back this time next year, together with some new names on the roll of honour after another successful season.”
Following the event, Tom commented: “It was a privilege to be invited to Hyundai Motorsport’s Customer Racing event and to be presented with an award for our efforts this season – especially amongst other leading drivers and teams from around the world. It’s been great to be part of the HMSG family this year and to be associated with the success of the company’s R5 programme. I therefore hope that we can continue the relationship into 2020 and look forward to making further announcements soon.”
Tom went on to thank everyone who has been involved with his campaign in 2019: Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing, Trailhead Beef Jerky, Cambrian Training, Michelin Motorsport, Pirelli, Go Fetch, Intervino, Ponsse UK, Shukers Hyundai, HN Nuttall Foodservice and Atech Racing.
Tom also extended his appreciation to PCRS and his co-drivers during 2019: Dale Bowen, James Morgan and Dale Furniss.
* Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA
Wales Rally GB – 3-6 October 2019
Tom, together with co-driver Dale Furniss, delivered a personal best performance on this year’s Wales Rally GB – Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship – when he finished an impressive 11th overall and took third place in the fiercely competitive R5 category.
Tom and Dale also collected awards for being the first privateer entry, the first non-WRC registered entry and top Welsh crew.
The rally began on Thursday afternoon with a well-attended ceremonial start and autograph session at Liverpool’s Waterfront development. With the first and second finishers in the British Rally Championship nominated to head the field, Tom had the privilege of being flagged away as car two by the city’s mayor, behind his season-long BRC rival and PCRS Hyundai team-mate for this event, Matt Edwards.
Competitors headed to Oulton Park for the first of the event’s 22 stages – a spectator-friendly affair that used parts of the circuit and a variety of the venue’s in-field roads. Greeted by a light drizzle, conditions were extremely slippery and after loosing the effect of the car’s power steering in a man-made watersplash and then spinning later in the stage, Tom and Dale dropped a few seconds to their category counterparts. However, they were through the test safe and sound and ready to start the first day ‘proper’ in the northwest Wales forests that are familiar territory to Welsh pair.
As Tom went to start the first of the morning’s four stages, he noticed something amiss with the car’s electronics that caused an issue with the launch control and ALS (Anti-Lag-Strategy). Add to this a fault with the wipers – not ideal in the conditions – he and Dale did exceptionally well to get back to service lying 20th overall and as the ninth R5 entry out of 28.
With the PCRS team returning the Hyundai to 100%, Tom was able to pick up the pace for the afternoon’s five stages – a re-run of the morning’s four plus the Slate Mountain spectator stage – and bit-by-bit he and Dale moved up the leaderboard to end the day 15th and 6th respectively.
The weather improved for Saturday morning’s three-stage loop in classic Rally GB mid-Wales territory. With the car, tyres and crew all set and raring to go, an impressive display of driving saw Tom battling with former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg in a VW Polo R5, Tom initially getting ahead before the Norwegian legend took back the place, albeit by a handful of seconds.
Although weather conditions worsened for the afternoon’s repeat run of the morning’s stages plus another spectator affair at Colwyn Bay in the evening, another fast and consistent performance enabled Tom and Dale to improve their position and when they pulled into the service area in Llandudno for the overnight halt, they were 13th overall, 4th in the R5 category and just 0.3 seconds from being the first privateer entry.
Albeit overcast and blustery, Sunday dawned without the accompaniment of rain. It was clear to see by their time through the first of the day’s first run in Alwen Forest that Tom and Dale were fired up for a final-day push by claiming two places and in doing so, elevated themselves to 11th overall and third of the R5 cars, behind the Pro WRC2 entry of Kalle Rovenpera in a works Skoda and Solberg, who was now 12 seconds ahead.
The next stage in Brenig Forest – which saw another well executed delivery by the Welsh pair – should have been followed by a run around the Great Orme, but the prevailing windy conditions and consequently no diver cover in the sea below the stage led to the stage being cancelled. Therefore, when Tom and Dale arrived for the mid-morning service, the timesheets showed they had held station.
With just two more stages left – a re-run of Alwen and Brenig – Tom pushed as hard as he could to see if he and Dale could edge into the top 10. However, everyone else pushed too and when they returned to Llandudno sea front for the finish, the results revealed they had consolidated their position of 11th overall and 3rd in the R5 (RC2) category, as well as finishing first non-WRC registered entry, first privateer and top Welsh crew.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with this result” said an elated Tom at the finish. “To record my best ever result on a World Rally Championship round is just what I had hoped for, especially against such a high quality field of drivers in R5 cars.
“After a challenging start and having to cope with difficult conditions, Dale and I just kept up a consistent pace and from Friday afternoon onwards we knuckled down, fought our way up the leader board stage-by-stage and made sure we got the job done on Saturday so that we were where we wanted to be on Sunday and able to challenge for a top-ten overall position.
“I really have to thank everyone who made this event possible: For Dale and all the work he did inside the car and the PCRS team for all they did outside it. A truly fantastic job all-round. I also have to thank our sponsors and supporters for their invaluable contributions: Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing, Pirelli tyres, Trailhead Fine Foods and their Get Jerky snack brand, Cambrian Training, Shukers Hyundai of Aberystwyth, Intervino personalised gifts, Go Fetch pet transport and Atech Racing. We couldn’t have done it without you!”
Fresh from his successful British Rally Championship campaign, where he won three of the season’s six rounds and claimed dominant victory on the final event in Scotland a few weeks ago, Aberdovey driver Tom Cave now sets his sights on the Wales Rally GB. Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship starts on Thursday afternoon (3rd October) from Liverpool and finishes on Sunday (6th October) in the rally’s host town of Llandudno.
Accompanied for the first time by Dale Furniss from Llanfyllin, Tom will drive the same Philip Case Rally Sport prepared Hyundai i20 R5 that he used to such great effect in this year’s BRC. Consequently, he will be looking to continue the momentum from his season in the UK to the world status event and emulate the pace he showed last year when he set four fastest-stage times in the RC2 class, beating many leading world championship regulars in this fiercely contested category.
“I start this year’s Wales Rally GB in a much better place than I did last year, as I come straight from a season in the British Rally Championship driving the same car. Even without the experience of a full season in 2018, I was very pleased to be able to set four fastest times against the regular WRC2 drivers and challenge for a podium position until we retired the final day. I’m therefore looking forward to another good run this year, although the quality of the entry is really high so it’s going to be no easy task.”
This year will see Tom’s tenth Rally GB start. His first was in 2008 when, just a few days after his 17th birthday, he became the youngest ever driver to contest the event. His best result was in 2017, when he finished third in the WRC2 category, 13th overall and top privateer driver.
“It’s going to be an interesting few days. The stages are in an area I’m familiar with, which helps, but it’s never that straightforward. It’s Dale Furniss and I’s first event together and we’re on Pirelli tyres for this event, so there’s going to be some acclimatisation. Having said that, testing has gone really well; the car felt great and everything worked perfectly, so we’re as ready as we can be. I can’t wait!”
The Wales Rally GB follows a new format this year, with the ceremonial start taking place on Thursday from Liverpool’s historic Waterfront at 16.00. Following a spectator stage at Oulton Park Circuit that evening, teams head to the service area in Llandudno for the overnight halt.
Friday features nine stages in northwest Wales forests, with a further seven in mid-Wales on Saturday followed by four forest stages and a run around the Great Orme asphalt road on Sunday. The finish ceremony takes place in Llandudno at 13.30.
Tom’s 2019 Wales Rally GB campaign is supported by: Trailhead Fine Foods and its Get Jerky snack brand, Cambrian Training, Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing, Pirelli, Shukers Hyundai of Aberystwyth, Go Fetch, Intervino personalized gifts and Atech Racing.
Perfect performance in Scotland provides Tom with third British Rally Championship victory of the season
British Rally Championship Round Six – Report
Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally – Castle Douglas, Scotland
14th September 2019
Tom Cave delivered a perfect performance on Saturday’s (14th September) Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally by setting the fastest time on all of the event’s eight stages and in doing so, recorded his third victory of the season by nearly a minute. It was all he and co-driver Dale Bowen could do in order to give themselves the best chance of claiming this year’s British title, but with their main rivals Matt Edwards/Patrick Walsh finishing third, it meant they end the season in second place.
Based in the forests of southwest Scotland, the sixth and final round of this year’s British Rally Championship comprised nine stages and 71 competitive miles over some of the most demanding gravel roads in the UK. With Edwards ahead on points following round five, it meant that if he finished seventh or higher, even if Tom won the rally, Edwards would still secure the title.
As cars set off from the start near Castle Douglas on a bright and sunny morning, Tom knew what he had to do to give himself the best chance of securing the title. And he did just that. Stage-after-stage, he and Dale set the pace, posting fastest time after fastest time, never putting a foot wrong in the process. The Michelin tyres worked well and the Philip Case Rallysport prepared Hyundai – which had been rebuilt following the previous round – ran faultlessly.
With organisers cancelling the ninth and final stage, Tom and Dale crossed the finish line having set eight out of eight fastest times to record their third British Rally Championship victory of the season. They ended the day 54.9 seconds ahead of Jonny Greer/Dai Roberts and 2 minutes 16 seconds ahead of Edwards/ Walsh, who had also done exactly what they needed to do and finished third.
At the finish, Tom said:
“To be quickest on all the stages and win without any problems is the best result you can hope for. We pushed from the start and did everything we could today to keep a grip on the title, but the difference in points between Matt and I was just too much. We didn’t lose the title today, it was the DNFs on round one, the Cambrian Rally and round five in Ulster that set us back.
“To have completely rebuilt the Hyundai in three weeks following our off in Ulster – and then for it to run faultlessly throughout this event – is a fantastic achievement and testimony to the PCRS team’s hard work and professionalism. Today’s win is for them.
“After three victories – one on asphalt and two on gravel – we’ve proved that the Hyundai i20 R5 is capable of winning in the British Rally Championship. And whilst we didn’t quite get our hands on the title, it’s great to have finished the season on a high.”
“There are so many people I would like to thank for making our 2019 British Rally Championship campaign happen: Trailhead Fine Foods and its Get Jerky snack brand, Cambrian Training, Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Michelin Motorsport, Shukers Hyundai of Aberystwyth Ponsse UK, H.N. Nuttall Foodservice, Go Fetch Ltd, Intervino and Atech Racing. We couldn’t have done it without you!”
Tom now looks forward to his next challenge, the Wales Rally GB – Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship – that takes place between 3rd and 6th October.
Tom battles for honours in brand new Welsh event and prepares for British Championship showdown in Scotland
Get Connected Rali Bae Ceredigion Report
British Rally Championship Round Six Preview: Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally – Castle Douglas, Scotland
Tom Cave and co-driver Dale Bowen took time out of their British Rally Championship Campaign on Sunday (8th September) to take part in a brand new and groundbreaking event: the Get Connected Rali Bae Ceredigion. Having overcome brake issues in the morning’s four stages, driving their PCRS prepared Hyundai i20 R5, the Welsh pair fought back to challenge for the lead in the afternoon and crossed the line in second place.
With the inaugural running of the first closed road stage rally in Wales based in Aberystwyth, just down the coast from his home town of Aberdovey, it was an event Tom couldn’t miss. Seeded at number one and therefore running as the first competitor on the road, he made history by being the first driver to ever compete in a stage rally on a closed public highway in Wales.
An issue with his car’s front brakes in the first of the day’s eight stages in the Cambrian Mountains meant that Tom was on the back-foot from the start and dropped time to fellow Welshman Osian Pryce in a similar car. With the PCRS team fixing the brakes in the lunchtime service halt at Aberystwyth University, Tom set out to make up for lost time in afternoon’s loop, which were a re-run of the four stages used in the morning.
Following a determined drive over the technically demanding roads, Tom and Dale were able to reduce the gap to 7.7 seconds by the time they returned to the finish outside the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.
“Even though we had a few issues in the morning and it was a shame we could not gain the lead in the afternoon, I really enjoyed the event and driving a great car on such great stages. The organisation of the rally was fantastic and everyone involved should be congratulated for a job well done. I’m already looking forward to next year!”
Tom now focuses on the final round of the British Rally Championship, the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally, which takes place on Saturday (14th September). Based in south west Scotland, the event features a competitive distance of 75 miles on gravel forest roads in the region.
After sharing the championship lead with his main rival Matt Edwards, a DNF on the Ulster Rally means that Tom has a fight on his hands to claim the title this weekend and will need to target a win to have the best chance of lifting the spoils:
“I’m looking forward to competing on a gravel surface again and with Matt in a stronger position to take the title, we have to target a win this weekend. Because he’s currently on 93 points and I’m on 68 with a potential 31 up for grabs, Matt has to finish seventh or higher to secure the title. It sounds like a long shot, but as it’s been proved time-after-time in this sport, nothing is ever certain – and if there’s a window of opportunity then rest assured, I’ll be going for it.”
Tom’s 2019 campaign is supported by: Trailhead Fine Foods and its Get Jerky snack brand, Cambrian Training, Michelin Motorsport, Ponsse UK, Go Fetch Ltd, Intervino, Atech Racing, Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing and Shukers Hyundai, Aberystwyth.
(Photo: RallySport Media)
Tom Cave will travel just a few miles down the coast from his hometown of Aberdovey this weekend to the more southerly seaside resort of Aberystwyth for Sunday’s (8th September) inaugural running of the Get Connected Rali Bae Ceredigion.
The event is the first ever stage rally to be held on closed public roads in Wales and therefore, as Tom and his co-driver Dale Bowen from Hirwaun are seeded at number one, they will make history by being the first car to compete on a rally of this kind in their home country.
The event features a route that passes through stunning scenery in the Cambrian Mountains, over roads that have a reputation for their driving appeal and demanding nature.
“From what I’ve heard, the stages are very technical, so it’s going to be interesting to see what the roads are like at competitive speed”, explains Tom.
“Being so local, I really wanted to take part in the event and support the organising team, who I know have worked extremely hard to make it happen.”
Tom and Dale will contest the event’s 44 competitive miles in a similar Hyundai i20 R5 to the one they have been successfully campaigning in the British Rally Championship this year. Tom’s car will – as it has been all season – be supplied by leading rally preparation specialists PCRS, who’s professionalism and performance has seen the team become a highly respected operation within the sport.
“There’s a few crews in R5 and WRC cars this weekend, so there should be a good battle between us and, with this being the first running of the rally, it’s going to level the playing field. There’s a real buzz about the event, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
The rally is based at Aberystwyth University, which hosts the event HQ, start, finish and service area. Tom will lead the 120-car field over the start line outside the National Library of Wales at 9.30am and, after contesting a loop of four stages in the morning, will return to the campus for the lunchtime service halt. Then, following a re-run of the morning’s quartet of stages, crews will return to the National Library for the finish from 3.30pm.
Tom’s is supported by: Trailhead Fine Foods and its Get Jerky snack brand, Cambrian Training, Michelin Motorsport, Ponsse UK, Go Fetch Ltd, Intervino, Atech Racing, Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing and Shukers Hyundai, who are based in the rally’s host town of Aberystwyth.