The Junior 1000 Rally championship once again ventured down to south Wales and the historic Pembrey circuit for the Peter Lloyd Stages. The weather conditions were everything you’d expect from Autumn, with strong winds and constant showers making the infamous “coast road” very slippery.
Welshman Tom Llewllin arrived at the venue full of confidence after not only winning the previous round, but also winning a rally cross event the day before at Croft and getting home at 1am. With newly crowned Junior champion Ewan Tindall not taking part for the rest of the season, the door was wide open for Llewellin, Tom Rawlings, rookie Elliott Payne, James Hall and Eddie Lewis to challenge for the overall win.
The car that Ewan Tindall had dominated in this season was also at the event as the crew of Steven Jones had purchased the car and upgraded from their trusty Micra. All eyes were on Jones to see how he would adjust to the C1. The championship also welcomed 2 new drivers with Jonathan Davies driving his older brothers old C1 and Joseph Palmer getting behind the wheel of a Micra for their first ever stage rally.
As the juniors started their first stage, the rain started to fall making both the track surface and muddy coast roads almost impossible to keep the car straight and make each tight turn. The majority of the field had some sort of spin or over shoot, however Llewellin seemed on top of the tricky conditions to be leading by 19 seconds after stage 2. Ioan Lloyd was making the most of the great handling from his Micra and was sitting in 2nd place ahead of Tom Rawlings and Elliott Payne in 4th.
Both new drivers Davies and Palmer completed their first stages in one piece escaping without any damage and boosting their confidence for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, both James Hall and Riley Banks slipped wide at some of the mud covered back section of the stages and got stuck in the mud. Handing them a maximum time for the stage and putting them out of contention.
As the day went on, the conditions got dryer and the pace started to pick up, benefitting the faster C1’s and dropping Ioan Lloyd down to 4th place. Llewellin continued to lead, but his gap was being eaten into by Elliott Payne, who was flying in his red C1 and determined to catch the Welshman. After Stage 4, the margin at the top was now down to 12 seconds as Llewellin led the way from Payne and Rawlings with just one stage to go. Steve Jones day in his new C1 ended in spectacular fashion on stage 4 as he lost control along the coast road and ended up in a deep ditch. Both he and his co driver Chris Brierley were unhurt, but the championship winning cars damage looks only to be superficial rather than structural.
On the final stage Payne pushed as hard as he could to close the gap, but Llewellins class shone through as he matched the rookies time in the final stage to take his 2nd Junior rally win in a row. Rawlings came through in a comfortable 3rd place with Ioan Lloyd completing a great day by finished 4th overall and winning the Pre ’03 tropy. Although Payne had to settle for 2nd overall, he also finished as top rookie and in doing so, clinched the Rookie Cup championship with 2 rounds to go. Another driver clinching a title was Rob Wilson, he went under the radar for most of the day, but brought his Micra home in 5th overall and 2nd in the Pre’03 Trophy to win the inaugural Lewis Reporting Pre ’03 Trophy championship.
Here are the final standings: