HRCR Mini Sport Cup: Pentraeth Glyn Memorial Stages 5th Round Review

The weekend of 20th/21st November saw 8 of our Mini crews gear up to compete in the Pentraeth Glyn Memorial Stage Rally for the 5th Round of the 2021 HRCR Mini Sport Cup!

Competing over the course 16 stages on Trac Môn Anglesey Circuit, our Mini Sport Cup crews were competing for poll position & Class honours!

Teaming up with Michael Anderson again for this round, Peter Ellerby was having Mini troubles before the event began... Michael explained that Peter was having "troubles getting oil pressure on the car, so he took the engine out again on the Thursday night to find the oil pump gasket had split. A new pump & gasket was sourced & during the course of Friday the engine was reassembled & installed. This caused a late set off and we finally arrived at our accommodation around 9.30 

pm!"  The following morning Peter decided that driving the Mini to the circuit would be the safest bet to check all was okay with the Mini... All was going well until Michael noticed that Peter had vanished from his rear view. Michael added that, "a quick phone call & I was told it had shredded the fan belt & overheated. A quick U turn, car put on the trailer & off to the circuit we went..." Luckily for the pair Michael's expert Mini mechanic knowledge & experience meant that he could quickly fit a new belt & reposition the alternator bracket on service. With the Sump Guard & Spot Lights fitted it was time for noise check & scrutineering. Michael went on to add that, "Stage one was completed, relatively steady to make sure all was well. On the way to stage two a misfire was detected and the worst was been thought about. Had it done the head gasket? Turned out the exhaust had come apart and after putting it back together all was well. The next day light stages went reasonably well but once darkness came Peter and others found visibility poor, especially when there were cones reflecting the light back making it difficult to see. Sunday and daylight was resumed and our times were not as quick as we would like it was going well until stage 14! On the long left hand corner near the stage finish there was a sudden “BANG”. All seemed ok but as we crossed the finish line there was an unusual noise and vibration occurring. Having got back to service we found the crankshaft pulley bolt had come out and was trapped causing the noise / vibration. Game over..."

With the rally over for Peter & Michael, unfortunately Peter then announced his retirement from rallying. Such a character, Peter will be missed on event!

Category 2 Class leaders, Andrew O’Hanlon & Kevin Hogan arrived at the very scenic Trâc Mon circuit on Anglesey still in with a chance of snatching the overall championship and determined to try their hardest to do so - unfortunately, the rally gods were not going to be on their side! Kevin explains, "Things started well and despite a trip onto the grass after the infamous jump, we managed to pip championship leaders King/Bird by 4 seconds on the first stage. Roles were reversed on the second stage with the honours going to King/Bird by 5 seconds. The battle continued for a couple more stages and after 4 stages, just 4 seconds separated the 2 crews. Stage 5 was the first to use the circuit the “right” way round and tackle t

he ‘left over blind brow’, ‘Rocket’ corner - trying to close the gap, this was taken like a rocket, resulting in a huge moment, much twirling of arms to get the Mini straight again and a loss of some 10 seconds! As evening started to close in (4:00 pm !!), lights were being put onto the cars and were in full use by stage 7. Taking some time to get to grips with the conditions cost us dearly and by close of Saturday’s proceedings after stage 8, our championship chances were all but gone..." With a cold, yet dry & sunny start to Sunday, the team were determined to try and close the gap. Not deterred by the damp & greasy track, the duo planned to attack - unfortunately the Corkscrew hairpin got the better of Kevin & Andrew resulting in them spinning & stalling! Kevin added, "With the track drying, we were trying very hard and times were improving well, despite a lurid spin through the chicane at the ‘Hairpin’. Unfortunately it wasn’t to last. A small oil leak had appeared on the previous Cheviot Hills round which was thought to be from a small gasket between engine and gearbox. The service team (Colin !) had been keeping an eye on this but it had got worse during the weekend. After losing some 2 pints of oil on stage 12, the culprit was finally found and it wasn’t the gasket. A crack had appeared in the oil filter housing which was getting progressively worse. With the likelihood of this breaking off completely, resulting in possibly damaging the engine, not to mention depositing oil all over the track, the tough decision was taken to retire..."  Despite having to retire, Andrew & Kevin have still managed to hold on to the Cat 2 Class win for the 2021 Championship - congratulations to them both! Kevin also wants to add, "warm congratulations to 2021 Mini Sport Cup winners Clive King & Anton Bird. It was the Mini Sport Cup’s first visit to this event and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all. The track is in a great location and the organising team put on a great event that was a worthy addition to the championship. The spectators and officials seemed genuinely pleased to see the Mini’s competing and are looking forward to welcoming them back again. Thanks also to all of the other crews who took part in this years championship, the sponsors, organisers, coordinators and all who made it happen. We look forward to another great year in 2022 (with hopefully fewer event cancellations?)."

Harvey Stevens & Lawrence Selly teamed up once again for the Pentraeth Stages, with the crew looking for a top 5 finish. Harvey explained that, "this circuit should suit the 12" tyre setup used by our Cat 2 Mini, the attack plan was to start cautious and build up the pace as the rally progressed..." Steady away for the first 5 stages, but they were lower down the leaderboard than they would have liked. Harvey went on to add, "the prospect of rallying at night and in the wet as the rain came in off the coast was daunting... Never having rallied in the dark, it was always going to be a test for us.  A close encounter with a chicane tyre wall didn't nothing to settle the nerves and the final 3 stages of the day were completed in a 

steady and controlled manner. We ended the day 7th Mini overall but were satisfied that we were competing and starting to take time back off the 5th & 6th place Minis in front of us." A sense of determination on Sunday morning resulted in a much faster drive than the previous day, with Harvey making use of the multiple loop style rally which by virtue of the merges had them placed on the rear bumper of fellow Mini crews. Harvey explains that, "being able to shadow a fellow competitor meant that we could push the Mini to limits it had never gone before and the stage times reflected the new found pace! A misfire on stage 12 caused by a tappet working itself loose meant that the progress up the leader board was halted and greater effort over the final 4 stages would be needed to catch Craig or Peter, (Andrew now being out to mechanical failure)." The splits and merges that had proved to be an asset earlier in the day would ultimately be a hinderance for the crew... Having caught one of the Silverstone's Rally School Nissan Micras and been forced to remain behind them for an extraordinary long time as the car refused to yield to the faster Classic Mini, the two cars approached a tight hairpin... With the crew explaining that, "the Nissan appeared to pull over to the right inviting us to pass on the inside... However the driver of the Nissan had other ideas and attempted a hand break turn that went horribly wrong and placed the Nissan side on in front of our Mini. A low speed "T" bone collision ensued with the Nissan driving off. The full frontal impact albeit light was sufficient to crack the Distributor cap and render us out of the stage. Not being recovered to the end of the next stages effectively ended our aspirations of a top 4 finish. Realising that there was little to gain by rejoining the rally with two maximum stage times we decided to call it a day and a season... But all of our team have thoroughly enjoyed the rivalry, camaraderie and friendship that the championship has provided and look forward to challenging again next year."

Callum Powell & Robert Wainwright were back out rallying after Callum's crash at YMF hill-climb... This time teaming up with a novice navigator Robert. Callum explained that, "We had a fuelling issue which turned out to be more a ‘complete lack of fuel in the tank’ heading into the 3rd stage... This meant Rob had to run back to the paddocks to grab a can! We had a few more good stages then we were plagued with a misfire that was rapidly getting worse, leading into the dusk stages. The cause of which was a sub quality Lucas fuse box. Once we bypassed this, we went on to do a few cracking stages in the dark! Day 2 started in the damp, with us being re-seeded in last place overall. This led to some entertaining overtakes against the slower Micras. We seemed to be back on it when we thought we had brake fade, that rapidly turned into the hub and disk shearing off, taking us into the grass on 3 wheels! A quick repair, and one more stage missed, we completed the last one and finished the rally, more or less in one piece!"
Callum & Robert finished 2nd in Cat 2 & 5th Mini o/a.

Craig King teamed up with Paul Kendrick for this event, getting off to perhaps an overly-cautious start. The duo were struck with a bizarre misfire, particularly on fast bends - which unfortunately is the main characteristic of the Anglesey circuit! Craig explained, "when it got dark, we found our mojo & started climbing the leaderboard... Day 2 we were still suffering from our mystery misfire, but I was driving better... Until Stage 10 when we were struggling to find 3rd & 4th gear! Mini Sport's Michael Anderson (navigating on this event for Peter Ellerby) diagnosed the problem which luckily, I was able to fix fairly easily. After this, for reasons still unknown, the misfire that had plagued us now disappeared & we had a fantastic last 6 stages. I'm now very much lucking forward to next years season!"

Craig & Paul finished 1st in Cat 2 & 4th Mini o/a.

Another steady run for Shane Gamble & Bob Ward saw them finish high on the leaderboard.

Shane & Bob finished 2nd in Cat 1 & 3rd Mini o/a.

The pressure was on for Clive King & Anton Bird who only needed to secure a finish to cinch the Championship title. Despite a steady start disaster struck straight from the off as Clive explained, "the new battery in the intercom failed, so the Stage was driven completely on sight. This dropped us to 3rd of the Minis by a few seconds,  but we thought this will still win the Mini Cup!" With the intercom finally working, Clive & Anton managed to move their way up the leaderboard, shaving valuable time off their competitors. This was unfortunately taking its toll on the tyres, but the crew persevered. Clive noted that, "by the time evening arrived, the lights were fitted & we attacked the stages leaving something in reserve... At the end of the first day we were 2nd Mini behind Ryan & Lucy. Meaning we were 1st Historic Mini as Ryan runs in the Open Class. The 2nd day started with a wet track which made the roads very slippery,  but we drove well within ourselves to continue to pull time on are rivals. We had to swap our tyres around as the front ones were being over heated on the long bends, but other than that there was no further issues! The Mini Sport engine never missed a beat to take us to a Championship win and 1st Historic Mini!"

Clive & Anton finished 1st in Cat 1 & 2nd Mini o/a.

It was a great weekend's rallying for Ryan Taylor & Lucy Wilding, despite a breaking a rocker following Stage 5. That was the only drama for the pair with Ryan adding, "We Just drove the pants off the Mini!  Lucy was 1st class all weekend, as normal & the service crew were spot on too. We pulled it out of the bag big time! Looking forward to competing next season in CAT 3..."
Ryan & Lucy finished 1st in Open Class & 1st Mini o/a.


Andrew O'Hanlon was the winner of the 2 Yokohama tyres, 5 litres of Classic Mini Oil went to Clive King, the Snap On tools award went to Shane Gamble & the Questmead prize for best improvement on seeding was awarded to Shane Gamble.

Thank you to the generous sponsors of the HRCR Mini Sport Cup – Mini SportMintexYokohamaPenrite & Questmead, without whom there wouldn’t be a Championship.

To catch up with all the action from the 2021 Mini Sport Cup Championship, please see here.

For more information on the Mini Sport Cup, please see our Facebook page here.

(Photos - HRCR, Callum Powell, Harvey Stevens, Kevin Hogan & Ryan Taylor)

(Words - Ryan Taylor, Clive King, Kevin Hogan, Harvey Stevens, Callum Powell, Craig King & Michael Anderson)