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Up and coming Welshpool youngster, Stuart Jones, set Pembrey alight with stunning drive to take a class win by almost two minutes on the Welsh Clubmans Tarmac Championship opener Rali Cwm Gwenraeth at the Welsh Motorsports Centre at Pembrey.
Partnered once again by his father, Mad Mick Jones’ regular co-driver, Andy Morgan. The duo were fastest in their class on all but the first of the six stages. “We were one of many crews to fall foul of the notoriously slippy Beach Road section, but thankfully a handful of spectators helped us regain the road.” said Andy. But the resulting time loss dropped them well back from the class lead. “We made an optimistic tyre choice for the first stage and it didn’t work out according to plan. Cut slicks were not ideal for the conditions as once we got onto Beach Road we had no grip whatsoever!” said Stuart.
With a change of tyres for SS2 Stuart was a lot happier and had moved into joint second in the class. “Today is a learning day. Our plan is to learn about the car and the handling in these conditions and also get more seat time. The car is still on forestry settings and with the conditions being what they are it is not a disadvantage.”
By SS3 they had made up the deficit and took the class lead ahead of the Toyota Corollas of Mark Jukes/John Stobbs and Wayne Palmer/Martin Jones. Their storming run through SS3 saw them net 8th fastest time overall in the Mick Jones Timber backed Peugeot 206 Challenge car against a host of seasoned tarmac regulars.
By SS5 and SS6 their tyres were starting to go off, not that it showed with young Jones still extending his lead stage by stage. On the final stage, SS6, Jones had to contend with slower cars on Beach Road and his frustration at being held up gave co-driver Morgan a tense time keeping his young charger on a tight reign. “Just like his father, he was looking to the left, to the right, over and under for a way past, but had to just sit back and wait until we came off Beach Road before we got a clear run. We lost around 24 seconds to our previous stage time, but the class win was safe so we were not too worried about it.”
At the finish the duo had taken a commanding class win and 16th overall with driving that showed a maturity belying his young age and relative lack of experience especially on tarmac.