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: email@example.com / 07966 1535555.