As the sun came up on Sweet Lamb for the start of this years Hafren Rally, riders were greeted with some typical Hafren rally weather, bitterly cold, wet, and even a bit of sleet and hail whitening the
tops. Luckily for the riders it got better as the day went on, it was a bit cold and with a few squally showers on the 1 st lap, but by the end of the day the sun was out, and it was surprisingly pleasant for November in Mid Wales.
The event started and finished at the Sweet Lamb motorsport complex, and then headed out into the vast Hafren Forest. This years event was the final round of the ACU All Terrain Rally Challenge, enjoyed by a full entry of 180 riders, with the main classes tackling two and three quarter laps of the forty five mile course, and the beginners doing two laps, with three special stages per lap, timed on the laps two and three.
The first special stage was the longest and most varied taking ten minutes for the fastest guys and nearer to twenty for some, starting off on Sweet Lamb, taking in a mini mx track, the fast flowing gravel roads of Sweet Lamb, and Hafren, mixed in with a few narrow tricky single track sections, and some rocky slatey descents, and wooped out tracks.
SS two was the shortest at about five mins for the fastest guys, but probably the most physical, it was all off road, and mainly single track, bumpy and rutted in places.
SS3 was a real mix of all sorts, open fast flowing gravel roads, rocky climbs and descents, tricky single track, taking about seven minutes for the top runners. From the end of this stage the course headed to the highest part of the route, on the edge of Plynlimon, the highest mountain in Mid Wales, and only a few miles from the source of the river Severn, and then back into Sweet Lamb for service.
The event was dominated by former British Enduro Champion Juan Knight (No: 200) making the trip over from the Isle of Man aboard a Yamaha WR450F lent to him by the Yamaha Off Road Experience. Juan had only decided to ride a few days before the event, as he was bringing his son Tom over to ride, and the Jones’s offered him a bike to have a ride. Juan won all 5 tests, with an overall winning margin of more than two minutes, and also topping the Rally Lite 2 class.
Second place went to Rally Specialist Lee Green, who had only just got back from competing in the Portuguese Baja aboard his 450 Husky, with Josh Bryceland from Stockport rounding out the top three overall.
Bradley Lilburn was fourth Overall, and just edged out James Ford by three seconds for top spot on the smaller bikes in Rally Lite 1.
Darren Soothill topped the Trail/Twin class aboard his 450 CCM, with Michael Wells topping the Rally Class, and Peter Urquhart best of the Big Bikes. In the Beginners class Amyas Holroyd was the winner from Stephen McEwan.
Hafren DBC would like to pass on their thanks to Freestyle Bikes for their sponsorship of the event, and all of the marshals/helpers who volunteered their time, as without them the event wouldn’t happen.
All photography by http://www.mx247.com – Full Hafren Rally gallery on the MX247 web site