AFTER a long break from the sport it was a good day for Luke Francis from Abergele, and co-driver John H Roberts, who took a class win in the interclub category on the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally on Saturday.

Former Welsh Rally champion, Francis stepped back from rallying in 2018 to concentrate on family life and business interests, but decided to return to the sport in memory of his late grandfather, Bob Francis who loved the event.

On the finishing podium he said he’d felt a little rusty after so long out of the sport but was delighted with the result against tough opposition. He said the Ford Fiesta R5 had been a great car to drive and praised co-driver for Roberts for his sterling effort on the pacenotes.

The overall win was taken by Tom Cave from Aberdyfi, who returned to top class British rallying with an outstanding performance driving a Volkswagon Polo GTi R5 car for the first time competitively. He won all but one of the competitive stages in the forests of Conwy county pushing 2023 British Rally Championship runner-up Scotsman, Garry Pearson into second place.

Scion of a world famous rallying family 20-year old Max McRae, put in an outstanding performance in his first ever time in an R2 vehicle to take third place in the national category. Based in New Zealand, he was supported at the event by his grandfather, five times British Rally champion Jimmy McRae who celebrated his 80th birthday on Saturday and said Max’s result was his best birthday present.

There was some disappointment for competitors and thousands of spectators when Stage 4 of the rally at Llyn Elsi in the Conwy Valley was cancelled by the organisers due to traffic congestion caused by a fatal accident earlier in the day on the A55. But clerk of the course Wenna Roberts said the decision was made in the interest of competitor and spectator safety, and expressed sympathy for the family of the victim of the traffic accident.

Awards at the finish podium were presented by the Conwy County Council cabinet member responsible for events, Cllr Aaron Wynne who said the rally was an important contributor to the county’s economy and was helping to make it the events capital of Europe.