There is no stopping Llanelli rally driver Bob Fowden.
He became the JD Tyres Welsh Tarmacadam Rally Champion again in 2016, his win a remarkable fourth title, that had not looked in doubt for some time but finally sealed with a dominant victory on the Peter Lloyd Stages Rally at the Pembrey Motorsports Centre.
The Comline Auto Parts – Kumho Tyres – NGK backed Subaru Impreza WRC machine was fastest over all but one of the five stages at the venue on the Welsh coastline, and the rally also secured the Welsh Championship of 2016, adding to the wins on six previous rounds.
With seven maximum scores Fowden and co-driver Paul Wakely could not be beaten in the premier Welsh series, and will collect the winners trophies at the WAMC Presentation Dinner at the Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells on 21 January.
Bob Fowden has taken the top spot in 2011, 2013, and 2015, with 2016 setting an unequalled record in the process, and the successful season gives co-driver Paul Wakely his first victory in the series, in his first year competing with the Fowden Motorsport Team.
The Llanelli driver started his long and successful rallying life at the wheel of a number of very rapid Mini Cooper S cars, self constructed and backed by his own business, Fowden Motor Factors of Llanelli, in which he also contested forest events as well as tarmacadam, and attracted sponsorship from a number of companies as he progressed up the rallying ladder.
Later cars would include ex-works Triumph TR7 – in which Bob and Hywel Thomas took a podium finish on the 1983 Castrol Welsh International Rally – and Rover SD1 machines, with support from the major Welsh road haulage company Owens Road Services.
Many Irish rallies were included in the team plans with Bob teaming up with another local expert as co-driver, the late Hywel Thomas, and together they entered into Irish rallying history with many victories on the island which widened their fan base.
Many successes came on the mainland too, he and Hywel Thomas becoming legends again over the military roads of Mynydd Epynt above Sennybridge, where the pair could go as fast in dense fog as in sunshine, such was their familiarity of those snaking ribbons of tarmacadam and their trust in each others abilities…if Hywel called a blind crest as ‘flat’, meaning go at full speed, then Bob would do just that, and the combination became virtually unbeatable.
Other cars replaced the mighty Rover and Triumph cars, including Ford Sierra and Escort RS models, a Mitsubishi Lancer, before the Subaru Impreza became the Bob Fowden choice, progressing to the current state of the art WRC model that has brought that fourth title.
With tarmacadam rallying in Britain hit hard by the news that the MSA National Aphalt Championship has been shelved for next year following the retirement of the co-ordinator and the unavailability of his replacement, the rallying options have decreased somewhat, but the Fowden Motorsport Team plan to be back in action again next year, and with the Welsh Championship continuing its success a target of a fifth victory in that premier Welsh rally series may not be out of the question !
The team is currently in discussion with new backers for the year ahead, and interested parties can contact the team’s media-man Roger Gale at firstname.lastname@example.org to initially discuss any proposals.