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Tom’s return to top-level national rallying for the first time in over two years resulted in a resounding victory on the Visit Conwy Cambrian National Rally on Saturday 28th October. The Aberdovey driver led the event from start to finish, showing he had lost none of his former pace by going on to win by a margin of 21.5 seconds.

Based in Llandudno – the town that hosted the last running of the Wales Rally GB in 2019 – meant the day brought back fond memories for Tom, who finished 11th overall and top privateer on that occasion. The Rally GB connection was also reflected in the Cambrian Rally’s route, with its six stages utilising many of the forestry roads that were used in the World Rally Championship qualifier.

Tom tested the Melvyn Evans Motorsport Volkswagen Polo R5 last week and, even though it was his first outing in a VW, he quickly acclimatised to the car and its characteristics. Accompanied by Dale Furniss – who has co-driven for Tom on a number of occasions – whilst confident he had the team around him to challenge for a win, before the start Tom admitted to feeling a little nervous with this his first outing in an R5 car since June 2021.

However, as soon as the lights went green at the start of the first stage, an 8.93-mile run through Elsi Forest, the nerves disappeared with Tom up to speed from the word go – even in the slippery conditions – setting a time 10.2 seconds quicker than leading British Rally Championship driver Garry Pearson.

Comfortable with the pace, Tom continued his stage-winning form with two more fastest times in SS2 Craig and SS3 Brenig – measuring 8.43 and 4.73 miles respectively – and booked into the lunchtime service halt holding a 13.6 second lead.

With SS4, a shorter 5.41-mile run through Elsi Forest, cancelled due to traffic congestion caused by an incident unrelated to the rally, two stages remained: Hiraethog Trail, the longest of the event at 13.11-miles, followed by another visit to the 5.41-mile version Elsi.

A win by a margin of 8.9 seconds in SS5 meant Tom and Dale now held comfortable lead when they entered SS6, a position they consolidated in the final stage to record a measured and well-deserved victory by 21.5 seconds ahead of Gary Pearson, who was a further 55.5 seconds ahead of Max McRae.

At the finish a delighted Tom said: “Today has reminded me why I love the sport so much. It’s great to get back behind the wheel of a top-class car and drive these stages. It’s also great to experience that ‘winning’ feeling again.

“I have to admit that I was a little nervous on the lead up to the rally but as soon as we got underway everything started to click into place, which I’m as pleased as I am relieved about.

“The Polo ran perfectly all day and I have to thank the Melvyn Evans Motorsport team for giving me such a great car to drive. I must also thank Dale for doing such a good job on the notes and to everyone who has helped me to take part in this event. Without their support it just wouldn’t have been possible.

“I now can’t wait to be back out again and really hope we can put a full season campaign together for 2024.”

Tom’s Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally campaign was supported by: Go Fetch, ALG Security, GF Grigg Construction, Tayna Batteries, Garej Arwyn Cyf, Mid Wales Golf Academy, Atech Racing
The Unicorn Hotel Caersws, SJ Automotive Solutions, Graham Ottaway Builders, HN Nuttal Foodservice, Dovey Valley Shooting Ground and Sprinklers Direct.


Photo credits:
Action: Dan Morris – Apex Capturee
Finish: RallyingUK
Static: JMS Photography

Following a successful outing driving a Vauxhall Corsa-e in the Get Connected Rali Ceredigion at the beginning of September, Aberdovey’s Tom Cave has been invited to compete in the final round of the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup, the 3 Städte Rallye (3 Cities Rally), by the car’s owners Myerscough College & University Centre.

Taking place between 13th and 15th October, the rally is unique as its route takes competitors into three countries: Bavaria, Austria and for the first time this year, Czech Republic. The event represents the seventh and final round of the only one-make rally series in the world for fully electric vehicles, consequently attracting a great deal of attention from the sport’s governing bodies, manufacturers and event organisers who are looking at how motorsport’s future can become more sustainable.

Students from Lancashire-based Myerscough College and University Centre are first-time visitors to Germany when they will support their car on this, the final round of the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup as part of their Motorsport Competition Car Technology course. Following the successful appearance on Rali Ceredigion, team manager and lecturer at Myerscough College Simon Moss invited Tom to drive the car on the 3 Städte Rallye.

“We were very pleased with the way things went on the Rali Ceredigion, so when the opportunity to take the car to the final round of the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup came up, I had no hesitation in asking Tom if he was available to drive the car.” explains Simon.

“With the experience of Tom and his co-driver on this occasion Dale Furniss, we are hoping they can compete with the front runners in the series and if we could come away with a podium finish it would be a great way to end the season for the students and the College. It would also serve to draw attention to what we’re doing and showcase how alternatively powered vehicles can be used for motorsport.”

Tom is equally as intrigued about his trip to Germany:

“It’s great to be invited to drive the Corsa-e again. My previous outing in the car was an interesting and enjoyable experience, albeit different to what I’m used to. However. I’m very pleased to be involved with what is clearly a very significant and important innovation in the sport that could shape the future of rallying and its sustainability for years to come.

“Whilst I’ve not taken part in this rally before, I’m hoping that my previous overseas outings will serve me well, although I’ll be up against drivers who have a far more experience of driving the Corsa-e. I’m fascinated to see how things go, especially as unlike Rali Ceredigion, I’ll be competing against others in the same machinery and there’s the infrastructure in place for charging the cars between the stages.”

Following a pre-event shakedown on Thursday (13th October), the 3 Städte Rallye gets underway from Waldkirchen in Bavaria at 14.30 on Friday with six stages before the overnight halt. Saturday sees another eight stages before the finish at 18.00 in Breitenberg, also in Bavaria. The 14 stages combined provides competitors with a total of 168.5 kms crossing the borders of Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.


When you take part in any sport it’s important to go into an event with an open mind and treat it as an opportunity to learn new things. Well, this weekend’s Get connected Rali Ceredigion was certainly one of those occasions.

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would drive a Vauxhall Corse-e on the rally. It would be the first time a 100% electric vehicle had ever competed on a multi-venue stage rally. Without knowing too much about car I said yes as again, it was a chance to learn something new.

I knew that because it was a first and the rally was focussing on sustainability and promoting lower-carbon transport initiatives, it would gain a lot of publicity for all sorts of reasons. I tested the car last week to get a feel for it and I must admit that whilst I’ve competed in small hatchbacks before, it felt very different from any other I’ve ever driven.

This is mainly because of the transmission. There isn’t any. It’s just direct drive to the wheels from the electric motors. You can still left-foot-brake and use the handbrake as you would in a traditional rally car though, which is good.

The car was built by Opel Motorsport to take part in the ADAC Opel e-rally Cup in Germany. It’s currently owned by Myerscough College & University Centre in Preston, Lancashire, where a team of motorsport students maintain and prepare the car. They did a fantastic job of looking after Will Atkins – my co-driver for this event – and I throughout the event.

Without many moving parts, there was never going to be much that needed to be done at the service halts, other than charging the battery of course. Because you’re driving flat out on the stages, they told me it would drain the power four-times quicker than that of normal driving. Therefore, we had to schedule our rally a little differently to other competitors.

We did the two short Saturday stages that ran from Aberystwyth marina, around the sea front road beneath the castle grounds, into the town and then finished just before the prom. It was fantastic to see so many people watching. It was more than I’ve seen on some WRC events! A real credit to the organisers.

The route then headed inland for two much longer stages in the countryside. However, with delays caused due to a few incidents and cars blocking the roads, we only completed one of the stages before the overnight halt.

I then drove all of the stages on Sunday once, whereas other competitors completed them twice. Whilst the Corsa would have probably made it round the whole route, this was a huge learning exercise for everyone involved and we didn’t want to push our luck.

I was absolutely overwhelmed with the attention surrounding the project and the number of questions I was asked. Clearly, it was well received and people seemed to be very interested in what this meant for the future of the sport. They understood this represented a significant moment in the history of rallying and I have to say that I was proud to be part of it.

I remember making history three years ago, when in 2019 the event was held for the first time. Running at number one meant that I became the first driver to compete on closed public roads in Wales.

On that occasion I was driving a Hyundai i20 R5 and of course, it would be good to have been challenging for the overall lead again this year. But sport is cyclical and I’m sure that opportunity will come round again before too long. Whether or not it’s in a fully-electric, Hybrid or conventionally powered car, we’ll just have to wait and see…

Thanks and congratulations goes to everyone involved with the Corsa-e project: Myerscough College & University Centre, Cawdor Group – Vauxhall dealers covering Mid and West Wales – Renewable Developments Wales, Go Fetch pet travel, Michelin tyres, Garry Davies Accident Repairs and ATech Racing.


In his first rally since February 2020, Aberdyfi’s Tom Cave together with co-driver Dale Furniss from Llanfylin, took the fight to the forests when following an event-long battle for the lead, they emerged from the eighth and final stage of this year’s Nicky Grist Stages Rally in second place, just five seconds from victory behind British Rally Championship rivals Matt Edwards and Darren Garrod.

Driving a Ford Fiesta Rally 2 for the very first time and having not competed for 16 months, Tom was eager to hit the ground running from the off. And following a successful test a couple of days before the event, that’s exactly what he did.

Starting and finishing from the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells, the Nicky Grist Stages comprised four stages in the morning followed by a second loop of the same route in the afternoon. It was clear from the start that Tom carried on where he left off last year when he set the second-fastest time on stage one Llyn Login, just one second behind Osian Pryce.

Another second-fastest time on stage two Monument, followed by a win on stage three in Halfway Forest saw Tom take the lead, albeit sharing the same overall time with Edwards. The fourth stage of the day was also the longest, a nine-mile encounter through the infamous Crychan Forest.

Another impressive performance enabled Tom to keep in contention and, as crews entered the lunchtime service halt in Builth Wells, he and Dale found themselves in second place, two second behind Edwards and Garrod. And, with Pryce and his co-driver Noel O’Sullivan third, just five seconds further back, the scene was set for an intense battle in the afternoon.

And the leading trio didn’t disappoint. Tom and Edwards posted equal-fastest time on SS5, with Pryce one second behind. Then in SS6, Edwards found an extra four seconds, whilst Tom and Pryce shared the second-fastest time.

With Edwards gaining another second and Tom doing likewise from Pryce in SS7, the timesheets at the start of the eighth and final stage showed a gap of seven seconds between the leading pair, who had pulled out the same margin from Pryce in third. It was now all down to the final stage, but with no breeze and the gravel roads now bone-dry, the dust generated by the cars ahead was destined to prove decisive.

Throwing almost everything he had in his rally-skills arsenal for the second run through Crychan, Tom drove a blinder and at the end of the stage Edwards – who was running first on the road – waited anxiously at the finish control. As the clock stopped, it was revealed that Tom had closed the gap to just five seconds, with Pryce claiming third, seven seconds later.

“I’m happy with that. Of course, it would have been good to win on my return to the British Championship, but I’m satisfied with second, especially with the visibility issues to contend with”, said a satisfied Tom at the Finish.

“When you’re out of the seat for a while, you do start to wonder whether you’re going to be on the pace, but today’s event has answered that question. It’s been a fantastic battle all day with Matt and Osian. Just like old times. I have to congratulate Matt for job well done and Osian for keeping me on my ‘A’ game from start to finish.

“A big thanks goes to Dale for doing such a good job alongside me today. I’m also grateful to the team at Dom Buckley RSC who provided me with a car that ran faultlessly. They also did a great job getting everything organised during the lead up to this event.

“I have to especially thank each and every one of my sponsors: Trailhead Fine Foods – Get Jerky, Intervino, Go Fetch, Pirelli Motorsport, Atech Racing and all of the unsung heroes that are involved with the considerable operation that’s required to deliver a successful rally. I know it’s a cliché to say that we couldn’t have done it without them, but we really couldn’t. I know that together we can build on what we’ve achieved today, with the ultimate aim of challenging for the British title.”

Final results

1 Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod       VW Polo R5               42m 30s
2 Tom Cave/Dale Furniss                Ford Fiesta Rally 2    42m 35s
3 Osian Pryce/Noel O’Sullivan         VW Polo R5              42m 42s
4 Rhys Yates/James Morgan           Ford Fiesta Rally 2    43m 26s
5 Matthew Wilson/Stuart Loudon     Ford Festa Rally 2     43m 30s