On the road once again, the Gigglepin Racing team travel this time to Walter’s Arena in Neath for the Welsh One50! Here’s their report from the event:
The Welsh Xtrem is one of the biggest challenge events in Europe, so when its mastermind decided to launch a new race there was always going to be a lot of interest. “Can you beat my course?” was the simple question and the Welsh ONE50 was born! 150 km of Welsh hell waited for those brave enough.
30 teams manned up for the challenge filling the entry in under 20 minutes of the event going live. Racing at Walters arena with its deep valleys, fast tracks and serious rocks is amazing and is a mecca for off-road race junkies.
Jim teamed up once again with Alex Wilson and the guys got down to Wales on Friday afternoon to check out the track, arriving back at the pits 2 hours later absolutely shattered, but with big smiles. “This course is going to rock.”
The teams lined up at 9am, the starting order had already been decided and they were 11th off the line with teams leaving every two minutes. Engines roared as they hit the dirt and Jim set a fast pace in the early morning mist. At the end of lap one Jim and Alex had the lead and were loving it.
As the skies cleared and the sun rose, “Little Lady” tore up the track. But it wasn’t plain sailing and for each 10km lap three challenge stages had to be completed or bypassed, along with a “Bogey-stage” that had to be completed once during the event. Jim and Alex took out the “Bogey stage” early on day one smashing in a fast time of 1 minute 44 seconds. A time that would not be beaten all weekend.
The layout of the track is fantastic and when you complete a lap you can return to the pit before starting the next lap or just hang out waiting for clear air if you need to. It’s little things like this that make big differences, and everyone was having fun.
Jim was keeping a good pace. Soon lap 10 approached and they pit for fuel. It was a seamless stop and they were back on course in quick time. “Can you feel a vibration?” asked Alex. But before Jim could reply all hell broke loose under Alex’s seat as the front prop shaft rear universal joint failed, hitting the gearbox and destroying the electrical connector, oil spewing everywhere.
“You have got to be joking!” mutters Jim as they exit the car and start working on removing the prop and getting the car operational once again. They were working against the clock and in under three minutes were back on track in rear wheel drive and heading to the pits. A few small winch pulls later and they crossed the line. This is when having a good team is the difference between winning and losing and the Gigglepin crew are the best.
Jim, Alex and Lawrence dived straight in, helped by the two Steve’s. Before long the gearbox was on the floor and the damaged wiring harness was being replaced. They got it back together and were on the start line for the night stage with 30 seconds to spare. What a team! Jim loves night stages and you knew he was going to be looking for a fast time. But Alex was there to keep him controlled as they headed off the line in 1st position.
They put down three fast times with their Lazer lamps cutting through the night sky. But they ccouln’t complete all 15 laps as they had to complete at least one lap in each window of the event. So, it was back to base to check over the car and be ready for the start on Sunday morning.
Next morning was another bright sunny day and it was t-shirts from 7am. “Are we really in Wales?” We are more used to torrential rain and freezing temperatures, so this is a really pleasant surprise!
It was smiles all around on the start line as “Little Lady” thundered off. The course had changed massively overnight and looked like someone had deforested some areas. But the boys were on fine form and they brought it home with the fastest lap of the event in a staggering 22 minutes and 53 seconds with no bypasses. An insane pace that no one else could match.
It’s always great to win and to win great events is very special. Plus, we were the first team to enter the WelshONE50 “Hall of Fame” along with the only other four teams that completed this grueling course. Thank you to Jason Nobby Morgan, Staci Reeson and the rest of The WELSH ONE50 team for making it so enjoyable. Thank you to the other racers for being so much fun to race and a massive thank you to our Gigglepin Racing team and our sponsors who make it all possible. Next, it’s back to Europe and the 8-day marathon that is the Breslau Rallye Poland.