Twenty-one years ago Osian Pryce visited a rally for the first time, watching his father and grandfather’s heroes fly through the woods on their doorstep. Seven years ago, Osian and his friend Dale Furniss sat and waited patiently for car number one on the same rally.
Osian and Dale talked that 2010 day about their hopes and dreams, their hopes and dreams of maybe, one day, starting Rally North Wales and driving the same roads as their own idols.
Today (Saturday) Osian and Dale started that rally. More than that, theirs was that car #1 they were waiting for seven years ago. More than that, they won.
Actually, they didn’t just win, they dominated, setting fastest time on all six stages in the Alphera/Hills Ford Fiesta R5.
Box ticked. Dream done.
Reigning Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy champion Osian was competing at home as a way to further familiarise himself with the Spencer Sport-run Fiesta R5 he’s using in this year’s British Rally Championship. And the run through two loops of the Dyfi forest complex couldn’t have gone better; men and machine ran in perfect harmony on the Dolgellau-based event.
Despite some atrocious conditions, Osian didn’t put a foot wrong or a wheel out of place as he tore up the tracks which will make up Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship (Dayinsure Wales Rally GB) at the end of the season.
Beating fellow BRC competitor Euan Thorburn by 18 seconds on the opening Gartheiniog stage, Osian and Dale didn’t look back and reeled off a further five scratch times to ensure total domination of the Saturday stage times in mid-Wales. That domination of Rally North Wales was all the more impressive considering it was only his second event in the Spencer Sport-run car.
“Things really clicked on this event,” said Osian. “On the rallies I’ve done before, maybe I haven't driven so well, I don’t think I’ve got the best out of the car. To be honest, I was a bit naïve when it came to setting an R5 car up in the past, but I really feel I’ve got it here. The car was absolutely fantastic, just incredible to drive, it totally did what I wanted it to. Everything feels much more natural now, not like I’m trying to force it. What a fantastic day.
“The good thing about the event is that we had really changeable conditions. The water was unbelievable in the first stage, it looked like the tide had come in when we came through some of the corners! As the day progressed, the roads dried a bit, but the surface polished-up making it more and more slippery. These kind of evolving conditions are just what you want from a test; OK Kielder’s quite a different prospect on the next BRC round, but I go to the Pirelli [International Rally] with a much better handle on the car.”
Time and experience is great, but what Osian and Dale really wanted was the win. The home win.
“This rally has real history for me and my family,” said Osian. “We’ve watched it year after year. I’ll be honest, the first time I came, 21 years ago, I was only three years old and I hated it! I hated the noise and everything, couldn’t wait to get home. Things have changed a bit since then."