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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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.
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)
As announced a few weeks ago, Tom Cave and his co-driver James Morgan will debut a Hyundai Motorsport-built New Generation i20 R5 in the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship on this weekend’s Pirelli Rally (29th & 30th April).
They head to the second round of the UK’s top rally series lying second in the championship standings after an impressive performance on round one, the Border Counties Rally. Having led the event at the halfway stage, conditions and the determination to secure a good result saw them end a tough but successful weekend in second place.
Tom (from Aberdovey) will drive the Hyundai for the first time in advance of the Pirelli Rally when he and co-driver James Morgan (from Hirwaun) test the car in Kielder Forest on Thursday (27th). Whilst the i20 R5 is new to them both, competition at rallying’s highest level in the UK is not and therefore their hopes are high for another top result, as Tom explains:
“It’s a brand new car and for us, a brand new team, so this will be a learning curve for everyone. The whole package looks great and I’m pleased to report that everything is coming together well. We have a test day planned for Thursday when I’ll be driving the Hyundai for the first time and I’m really looking forward to it.
“I’m familiar with the Kielder stages, so for James and I the plan is to carry on from where we left off on round one. While we want to make sure we stay in the running for the championship, we also want to do the best job we possibly can for everyone involved with this exciting project.”
The Pirelli Rally starts and finishes in Carlisle. The route features 100 competitive miles in Kielder Forest, split into four stages on Saturday afternoon followed by a further four stages on Sunday morning.
Tom’s British Rally Championship campaign is supported by DMACK Tyres, the Trefeddian Hotel, Walero temperature regulating base layers and Atech Racing.
Following a highly successful 2016, when he finished runner-up in the MSA British Rally Championship, Aberdovey driver Tom Cave kicks off his 2017 season with the Llandudno-based Cambrian Rally that takes place on Saturday 11th February. The 25-year old is pleased to be starting his year with one of his most local rallies and consequently, is aiming for nothing less than a top result.
In order to enhance his chances of success, Tom has acquired a WRC Subaru S14 from McKinstry Motorsport to contest the event that hosts the first round of the BTRDA Rally Series. Although having never driven the car before and with his most recent gravel outing that of the Nicky Grist Stages in July, Tom’s experience in four-wheel-drive machinery last year is destined to stand him in good stead. Indeed, it’s worth noting that Tom took outright victory in the last BTRDA event he contested, the Plains Rally in May.
Starting and finishing on Llandudno Promenade, this year’s Cambrian Rally features 42 competitive miles split into six stages in the Clocaenog, Alwen and Penmachno forests, all previously used for the Wales Rally GB.
“I’m passionate about supporting events in Wales, especially this one as it’s organised by my car club, so to compete on a rally that takes place only 20 miles from where I live and features such good stages is a perfect way to start the season. It’s also an excellent way to promote my sponsors, including our family business, the Trefeddian Hotel.
Tom’s season takes on a different look to that of last year’s when he got within one place of winning the British title:
“Of course, I did consider continuing in the British Rally Championship this year, as I feel I could have really challenged for the title. But following the cancellation of the opening round – the mid-Wales Stages – it made it a difficult to justify a BRC campaign to many of my sponsors.
“My plans are now to enter a series of selected rallies that will expand my experience and continue to keep me match-fit. As to what events these will be is still to be decided, but I’m really looking forward to what’s going to be an interesting season ahead, especially as I’ll be kicking things off by driving a WRC car on the Cambrian Rally.”
Tom will be joined next weekend by his regular co-driver from 2017, James Morgan from Hirwaun. The car will carry the livery of Tom’s sponsors: Trefeddian Hotel, Dmack tyres, Walero and Atech Racing:.
A test has been organised in nearby forests on Friday 10th February and Tom has extended an invitation to the media to sit along side him as he shakes-down and acclimatises to the Subaru. Those who would like to attend should get in touch with Press Officer Simon Slade: firstname.lastname@example.org / 07966 1535555.