A top trailer firm has come to the aid of a rally duo aiming to take a top racing title.
Thanks to Ifor Williams Trailers, driver Hefin Lloyd-Davies and his navigator Mark Lewis will be able to relax in comfort during the down time in the Wales Rally GB, which heads off from Colwyn Bay on November 13.
After the gruelling race around the forests and roads of North Wales the competitors head back to the central base – known as Parc Fermé – at Toyota at Deeside to rest and repair their vehicles.
And this year the pair will be able to put their feet up in style, because they will be using a top-of-the range business inabox trailer – which recently helped support competitors at the Tour de France through Yorkshire in summer.
Complete with a sleeping and living area, it’s been loaned to them for the three-day event by Ifor Williams Trailers, which has manufacturing bases at Deeside, close to the Parc Fermé, and Corwen and nearby Cynwyd.
It means that Hefin, from Betws Gwerfil Goch near Corwen, and Mark, a paramedic from Machynlleth, won’t have to make the lengthy trip home after each stage and can instead spend time tweaking their Vauxhall Corsa rally car and preparing for the next day’s stage.
The pair are aiming to top the runners-up place they landed in last year’s contest. As amateur drivers they take part in the Wales Rally GB National – which runs alongside the main event – in the B class, for cars under 1400CC.
Ifor Williams Trailers Sales Account Manager Daniel Joyce said: “We were very happy to be able to help a North Wales team in this race by lending them one of our business inabox trailers.
“This has living accommodation at the front kitted out like a two-berth caravan with seating for three people and a kitchen area.
“The Parc Fermé brings in thousands of spectators, who walk around admiring the cars – we realised it would be an excellent opportunity for us to showcase our trailer. Ironically, it’s not long back from Yorkshire, where it was used during the Tour de France.”
The company stepped in to help after a plea from Hefin, a contracts manager with Ruthin-based civil engineering firm Jones Bros.
He said: “Last year we thought it would be straightforward to drive back home each night, but we found it very tiring after a full day of rallying. It meant we had less time to work on the car itself and to plan our driving for the next day, which put us at a disadvantage.
“However, the space we have at the Parc Fermé is not huge, only eight metres by eight metres so we were struggling to get a car trailer and a caravan on it. Then when I was at the Flint and Denbigh show I saw the new trailers with living accommodation being produced by Ifor Williams Trailers and realised one of them would be perfect.
“As the company’s Cynwyd base is close to where I live, and it has a base at Deeside, I thought I’d write and ask if they’d let me have one for a few days. I was delighted then they said yes,” added Hefin.
Rallying has recently taken a back seat for Hefin, thanks to the arrival of baby daughter Betsan, now aged six months. He and his wife Rhian also have a son Twm, aged two.
“The family has had to come first, but we’ve back out on the road recently going over the route. It’s going to be a challenge but I can’t wait,” added Hefin.
He has driven rally cars for more than 20 years with is brothers Arwyn and Gareth, after their interest was sparked by their parents, members of Bala and District Motorclub.
Hefin has driven in motorsports for past 15 years with Mark, a paramedic based at Machynlleth – who has picked up a raft of titles, including Welsh Co-driver Champion. This will be Mark’s fifth time in the Wales GB rally, and he’s co-driven everything from Minis to world class cars.
“This time we will be in the 1400CC class which is one of the toughest classes,” said Mark. “We are determined to do well – because we’ve driven together so much in the past we get on well. I read the road for him and he listens to what I say.
“It is enjoyable to spend so much time with somebody you know well in a competition like this – we’re both quite easy going, so that helps.
“Last year I stayed over at Hefin’s house but we found we didn’t have much time to prepare for the next day. We are grateful to Ifor Williams Trailers for their generous offer to loan us a Business inabox trailer – it means we will have time to focus directly on the competition.”
Mark, dad of two teenage sons, also uses his navigating skills in his day job with the Welsh Ambulance Service.
“We take turns to drive the ambulance from shift to shift but when we are answering an emergency call and looking for some of the more remote addresses in this area, such as farms, to the ability to read a map in a fast-moving vehicle is very useful.”
Wales Rally GB speeds off from Eirias Stadium, Colwyn Bay, at 4.30pm on November 13, finishing at Llandudno on November 16. It is the final round of the 2014 globe-trotting FIA World Rally Championship, with competitors staying between stages at the Parc Ferme at Toyota, Deeside.
The three-day Wales Rally GB National runs over a 97-mile course, alongside the main event with all competing teams being based next to the world championship outfits in Deeside. This year’s itinerary features the Welsh forest stages tackled by the WRC crews as well as RallyFest stages at Chirk Castle and Kinmel Park.
The National Rally fills the gap between the WRC’s two passes through the Gartheiniog, Dyfi, Hafren Sweet Lamb and Maesnant stages in mid Wales on Friday November 14. Over the weekend it then follows the International route through Clocaenog (East and Main), Aberhirnant, Dyfnant and Chirk Castle timed sections on Saturday, then through Kinmel Park, Alwen and iRobot Brenig stages on Sunday.