2300 Club go marshalling on the Cambrian Rally

The 6.30 alarm didn’t go off in room 122 in the Travelodge in Llandudno. Luckily we were awake, feeling the  excitement, knowing it would be a big day.  The Cambrian Rally, and storm Ciara.
       The 11 strong 2300club marshalling team met in the hotel lobby at 7am with the usual banter of who would navigate to the stage start at Penmachno. With good directions and a frank Sinatra cd we arrived at the sign on point/stage start, to be greeted by one of our club mates Mark Wilkinson, who was stage commander. Once we had signed on we made our way through the stage looking for junction 16. Travelling through the forest we noted just how slippery the track was. It had a layer of damp greasy mud on top. “This is going to be fun” we thought!!
      On arrival at junction 16, which was a crossroads, we found a safe place to park all our vehicles then proceeded to make a very fine breakfast of sausage, bacon and hash brown butties with hot coffee. A proper Marshalls breakfast considering the weather, very cold and windy. Fully fuelled we were ready.
        The spectators came in their hundreds, many with cameras with long lenses. All behaved impeccably. There was a great atmosphere, despite the cold. 
      Then came the cars, and they didn’t disappoint. The superb R5 cars blending the road underneath them. So fast, awesome to see. 2300club had a special interest in the proceedings. The 2011 John Easson Award Winner Osian Pryce was at car 4 in a Hyundai i20 R5; he came through looking very fast, neat & tidy, then at car 10 was the 2018 John Easson Award Winner  George Lepley. He was in the blue WD40 sponsored Mitsubishi. Unfortunately he had stopped earlier in the stage to change a puncture. In order to make up for his lost time he was going at a good pace, but had a Proton hot on his tail!
       Our main support this year was for Ewan Tindall in car 53, a Fiesta R2, who is our current John Easson Award winner. It has to be said we were all slightly concerned when car 52 came through, then higher numbers and then a very big gap. Has he broken down or was he off the road or even ok? There were still a few cars to come but would Ewan be one of them?
      Then the sound of a rally car on full chat could be heard in the distance, then a Marshall’s whistle and a white car coming into view. It was Ewan, we all beamed and cheered. Fantastic. He was going very well, nicely through the corner and away down the freshly blended road. We were all relieved and very pleased.
     After the last car, the spectators made there way out of the stage, some even thanking us for our efforts, which was nice. It had been a pleasure. It was our job to clear the stage. This entailed removing the tape, stakes & arrows and any signs before we could leave. 
    By around 2pm we arrived in Betws-y-Coed to see the service and refuel points in action. Also time for a spot of lunch. Even managed to get a few nice photos in the service point .
    We made it back to Llandudno still frozen to the bone, just in time for the champagne finish on the ramp.  Osian Pryce finished in second place and got to spray the fizz with 1st and 3rd placed crews. There was a really nice atmosphere. George Lepley, multiple award winner, got his chance on the ramp.
Great event so far but would Ewan finish? We had agreed to meet him at the finish 45 minutes after the champagne presentation. The light was fading, it was raining, fingers crossed, we waited.  
       A White fiesta appeared on the roundabout, he pulled into the last control. We were delighted he had finished. Congratulations to Ewan for finishing a very tough, difficult event in 27th place. 
      Our job done, it had been a great day for us all. Ewan had to load up the car on the trailer and head all the way back to the northeast with storm Ciara bearing down. Our thoughts go out to the residents of Llanwrst who were very badly flooded overnight into Sunday morning. 
       We are all looking forward to our next outing.
Graham Ryding

Ewan Tindall’s Cambrian Rally Debut

Ewan Tindall endured a Cambrian Rally debut best described by the young driver as ‘character building’. The 18-year-old John Easson Award winner finished 27th overall and fifth in the R2 class, in his new left-hand-drive Fiesta. But Tindall was far from satisfied at the finish in Landudno after suffering problems on every single stage of the North Wales-based event.

“It was a day when nothing went to plan, and we didn’t get a single clean run,” said Ewan, who is contesting the 2020 BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup. “We got off to a steady start on SS1 Crafnant 1, but the stage itself was pretty rough, and halfway through we picked up a front right puncture. We were lucky the tyre didn’t come off the rim, but we were haemorrhaging time. Very tight timing on the road sections between stages meant Tindall and new co-driver Andrew Roughead lost time changing the puncture after SS1, arriving at SS2 Gwydr 1 three minutes late. We were getting into a good rhythm in Gwydr, but then smoke starting billowing into the cabin together with a smell of burning oil. Although the oil pressure was holding up, the clutch was also slipping badly and again, we began to lose time,” explained Ewan.

Arriving at service after SS2, Ewan and his service crew of dad Lee and Simon Hewitt lifted the bonnet to discover the entire engine bay covered in oil. Checking for obvious leaks, the team cleaned the engine as best they could, before deciding whether to continue or not.

“We topped up the oil and decided to try SS3 to see if things would improve,” said Ewan. “We did set a good time in Penmachno and on the following stage at the Great Orme, but the clutch slip was getting worse. At the next service, my dad and Simon discovered the leak was from the sump seal, and they did an amazing job in repairing it in the allotted 20 minutes so that we could get through the final three stages. The first two were re-runs of the opening stages, and by then, they were in an appalling condition. We had to pick our way through the rocks and boulders for fear of taking a wheel off.”

Despite all the issues, Tindall and Roughead went into the final stage, Elsi, a brilliant third in class. “How we were up to third was beyond me, given all our problems, but it looked like we might just get a good result,” he said. But the 11-mile stage, described by Tindall as ‘one of the worst I’ve ever driven’ dealt a late blow, when another puncture – which resulted in the tyre coming off – left the pair driving the last five miles on the rim.
The time lost dropped them down to fifth overall, scant reward for the team’s efforts throughout the rally. “I was very disappointed at the finish, and all competitors can have days like we had, but taking the positives, we got the car to the end and had plenty of seat time, and picked up our first points in the BTRDA Championship,” he said.

Ewan Tindall would like to thank the 2300 Club of Blackburn, dad Lee, Simon Hewitt, and Andrew Roughead.

2020 Cambrian Rally

THE 2300 Club of Blackburn will be out in force on this weekend’s Cambrian Rally.


A team of 13 are helping with marshalling duties on SS3 Penmachno,  which is due to run at 10.30am. This is the third year the 2300 Club have officiated on the Cambrian, the opening round of the 2020 BTRDA Rally Championship. It’s a link that goes back to the days when the club ran the Tour of Mull Rally, and Mark Wilkinson, who is a stage commander this weekend, was assistant chief marshal on Mull.

The team will also be out supporting the current John Easson Award winner, Ewan Tindall, who starts at car 53 in his Fiesta R2. Also out are previous JEA winners Osian Pryce, (car 4, Hyundai 20 R5) and George Lepley (car 10, Mitsubishi Evo 10).

And that’s not the only connection: a small piece of Tour of Mull history can be seen on Llandudno Promenade on Saturday. “We always had a start ramp on Mull, but when the Mull Car Club took over the running of the rally, we had nowhere to store it. Luckily, the North Wales Car Club, who organise the Cambrian, were in need of one, and we were very happy to gift it to them,” explained club spokesman Cliff Simmons.

Ewan Tindall begins challenge for 2020 BTRDA Rally Championship

John Easson Award winner Ewan Tindall begins his challenge for the 2020 BTRDA Rally Championship in North Wales this weekend.

The talented 18-year-old from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne is seeded at car 53 in his Fiesta R2 on Saturday’s Cambrian Rally. With a new car and a new co-driver – Andrew Roughead – the all-gravel event will be the start of a new learning curve for Tindall.

“I’ve never done the Cambrian before, and never driven the Fiesta in anger on the loose, so it’ll be a steady start, he said. “The stages are likely to be wet and slippery, probably fairly rutted by the time we get to them, so our plan is to settle in, get a feel for the car, particularly as it is left-hand drive, and see how our pace matches up with everyone else in the R2 Cup class. Most of the R2 contenders are seeded between 50 and 60, so we’ll be in good company, and be able to keep a close eye on their progress. I’m very happy to have Andrew Roughead alongside me. He’s a vastly-experienced co-driver who I’m sure will help me develop as a driver.”

Ewan and his dad Lee have been working flat-out for the last two weeks preparing the new car, which included completely rebuilding the gearbox. Said Ewan: “We had hoped to be able to do a gravel test before the Cambrian, but it’s not been possible. Most of the others have already been out testing, so we are on the backfoot slightly. But championships are never won on the first round!”

The 2020 Cambrian Rally starts in Llandudno at 9am with seven stages in North Wales before the finish back on the Promenade around 4pm.  For spectator information visit www.cambrianrally.co.uk

Ewan and Lee Tindall would like to thank Nick Dixon for the gearbox rebuild, and Ian Peake, Ian Gillespie and Matt Edwards for their assistance, and the 2300 Club of Blackburn.

FIESTA R2: John Easson winner Ewan Tindall’s Weapon of Choice


To mount a serious challenge for any rally championship, you need a serious car. And for 2020, Ewan will be behind the wheel of a Fiesta R2, sourced from KG Motorsport in Northern Ireland. That represents a big step-up for the ambitious youngster from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, who had previously contested the BTRDA Fiesta ST Trophy in an old-shape model.

“We had a very successful debut year in 2018 with the ST in which we finished on the podium on every round we did, and we wanted to do the same in 2019,” explained Ewan. “But it didn’t quite go to plan, and only had one outing on the Jack Frost Stages in January. We got as far as stage seven when the two centre driveshafts broke. Our pace was good, but I think it was apparent that the car was lagging behind in development, compared with newer Fiestas. After the rally, my dad and I made the decision that we needed an R2 car to be competitive, so we reluctantly decided to sell the car and start saving!”

After a quiet year on the sidelines, Ewan and his dad Lee spent a long time waiting for the right R2 car to come up for sale.

“We had a look at a Citroen C2R2, but the car to have is a Fiesta, and luckily for us, a good one came up at KG Motorsport. It has a proven track record, having been built by M-Sport and used by Tom Williams on selected WRC and European Championship events, and it came with the right spares package, which is important. The biggest challenge for me, aside from the extra power, is that the car is left-hand-drive, which will take a bit of getting used to, especially as our pace increases, and the sequential gearbox. We took the car out for the first time – I’d only driven it up the road and back – on the Christmas Stages at Croft and it was very impressive. Although we retired with a broken gearstick, the seven stages we did was enough to convince us we had the right car for 2020.”

Ewan Tindall: What The John Easson Award Means To Me

Since its inception in 2004, the John Easson Award has helped numerous rally drivers further their involvement in the sport. With £5000 in cash to the selected applicant, and a bonus £1000 if they win their overall championship class award, the JEA is recognised as the UK’s top free-to-enter scholarship.

But for 2019 winner Ewan Tindall, that support goes even further. “For me, winning the John Easson is the difference between going rallying or not going rallying,” said Ewan. “Our costs have now been halved, and we can afford to contest the full BTRDA Championhip, instead of sitting on the sidelines. Entry fees alone are £650 per event, then there’s all the additional costs of running the car, of which tyres are the biggest outlay. I’m incredibly grateful to the 2300 Club for giving me this opportunity, and I intend to repay their faith in me. I made the final last year, and missed out to George Lepley, so when I went in front of the judges this time, I knew what to expect and felt more confident. We all share the same passion, so I just talked about my ambition and plans for the future.”

The 17-year-old from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne impressed with his maturity during the selection interview in front of a panel of judges from the 2300 Club. He joins a long list of winners who have gone on to greater success, thanks to the award. They include newly crowned European Rally Champion Chris Ingram, who won in 2013 and Lepley, who went on to win the BTRDA Silver Star title.

Ewan, who contested the 2018 Fiesta ST Trophy, has swapped his ST for a more competitive Fiesta R2 for the 2020 season, acquired from KG Motorsport.

Ewan Tindall would like thank the 2300 Club, his dad Lee Tindall, mechanic Simon Hewitt and John Swinscoe of Rallytech, Withnell.

Ewan Tindall Announced as 2019 John Easson Award Winner

2300 Club are pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 John Easson Award.

Tyne & Wear Driver Ewan Tindall (centre) was chosen as the winner of this year’s prestigious award which is worth a total prize fund of £6,000.

The 18 year old was the choice of the judges after very careful deliberation, which saw the three finalists travel to Preston to take part in interviews with the panel of judges.

Ewan emerged as winner after a very close run contest with fellow finalists 18 year old Scottish driver Finley Retson (left) and 19 year old Lancashire driver Jack Hartley (right). This year the judges, Former Tour of Mull Clerk of the Course Clive Molyneux, former international co driver Ian Grindrod, Bury rally driver John Cope and guest judge former John Easson Award winner and newly crowned 2019 European Rally Champion Chris Ingram faced a very difficult task in choosing the winner.

As always It is unfortunate that there can only be one winner, however we feel Ewan will be a worthy recipient of the John Easson Award, and of course we wish runners up Finley and Jack the very best of luck with their continued rallying.

2300 Club would like to thank all candidates who applied for this year’s award.

Allan Durham
2300 Club John Easson Award Scheme Manager

Chris Ingram Wins 2019 European Rally Championship

The 2300 Club’s John Easson Award winner from 2013 has just won the ERC title in a very tense final round in Hungary. Again partnered with Ross Whittock in their Toksport Fabia R5 they endured a very slippery event and very poor conditions. The pair had a puncture and lost valuable time in leg 2 along with other championship rivals. When asked about the conditions Chris said “it’s just like Manchester”. They managed to keep on pace to finish 4th overall, only 2 positions behind their nearest rival Lukyanuk. This ensured the Championship win. A very well deserved result for the whole team and financial supporters. Unlike some of the other teams they didn’t have the financial backing, even resorting to crowd funding for the last 2 rounds. So a very inspirational season with his 2019 goal completed. One more step on the ladder to Chris’s master plan to become WRC champion by 2023.

All junior drivers and Co-drivers should be inspired by this pair. Even when times were hard and the money had run dry, they didn’t give up. With hard work and determination, anything is possible. An inspiration to us all.

You can read more about Chris’s Master Plan HERE