The successful team behind the 2018 Three Castles gathers again to organise the 2019 event, but who are they all? Let's take a trip around some key team leaders.
The sporting team is led by Baz Green as Clerk of the Course, Route Planner and Test Designer. Baz is out on a rally in north Wales almost every week. There is seemingly no road (and no farmer) he doesn't know, which is utterly invaluable. Aside from this, he is a great team builder and a terrific test designer who is able to get the absolute best out of the sporting team and our fine venues alike
Matthew Vokes is again his Assistant, measuring the route precisely and creating the regularity sections that give so much of the fun. At 26 Matthew is, in my opinion, the best road rally navigator in Britain. But you don't have to take my word for it; his skills have won us the HRCR Hagerty Insurance Clubmans Rally Championship his year. Three Castles is proud to be the first event to bring his talent to bear on the design and timing of its regularity sections.
Matthew will again be assisted in his route forays by Mike Vokes, whose wisdom and advice are greatly valued, while Baz is ably supported by Deputy Clerk of the Course Robbie Jones, his right hand man on rallies throughout Wales for many years. We are hugely fortunate, too, that our fine Secretary of the Meeting Kerry Bate will again be multi-tasking by undertaking two roles…..as well as organising Documentation so well, she also acts as our in-demand travelling medic.
Peter Elliott will be leading our team of scrutineers for a sixteenth year, having been with us right from the first ’Three Castles”. And another ‘original team’ award goes to Arthur Jones who will close the course again, as he has every year. You probably don't know that Arthur is a Clerk of the Course in his own right. I think this kind of strength in depth is part of why we’ve been able to build the great reputation we have.
None of this would mean as much without the terrific turn out of marshals we rely on Ifor Davies to provide. 2018 was Ifor's first year as Chief Marshal; he has his feet well under the table now and we're delighted to have him involved again in 2019.
On the hospitality front Wendy Crammond has already been booking and working with key halts and venues and will be up in North Wales beginning to work with our new choices for 2019 shortly. Back at base Sara Keel remains at the helm of our finances as Club Treasurer and we work together every day as entries come in. Both of them are working hard on the event all year, to make sure that Three Castles competitors have a great experience at every level, both in and out of the car
Andrew Nash has been designing our entry packs and ads and you'll be seeing one of those from the end of October onwards. Andrew designs pretty much everything you see from Three Castles, except our emails. He also contributed the smooth new look we introduced on last year's test diagrams in the upgraded roadblocks, and will do so again in 2019.
Peter Keel, our Club Chairman, fresh from a year off organising duties that saw him finish just off the podium in 2018, will be curating the judging of the Concours D'Elegance, which is 2019 is sponsored by the Imperial Hotel and so (pause for drum roll) becomes the Imperial Concours D'Elegance.
Our terrific results crew, Ian & Sian Mills, have caught the travel bug and will be in China when next year's Three Castles starts, so into the breach steps the highly capable Tony Michael, with his internet results service mtc1.uk. Tony will be providing live updates on the web throughout the event so even if you choose not to stay in our HQ hotel, you'll be able to keep abreast of the latest positions on line. One side effect of this is that we must now have available to us the largest number of Liege Timers of any UK event. Expect plenty of time controls on those regularities... Tony will be able to concentrate solely on results as we’re delighted that Lee Vincent returns as Chief Timekeeper and will be running ahead of the rally like Ifor, making sure that everything runs smoothly.
Vehicle assistance is once again in the very capable hands of Norman Winchester and his four man team from Brit Assist. The team will have help from a local garage facility to offer overnight services too, backed by our enthusiastic event supporters at North Wales Volkswagen.
Over on Competitor Liaison Ian & Gill Doble will also be travelling, somewhere off the west coast of Scotland when the Three Castles runs. A very familiar name replaces them as our head CLO this year, and we're delighted to welcome Graham Raeburn to the core team, assisted by Dan Harrison. In addition to being a fine rally organiser in his own right Graham, as may will know, is the son of Nigel Raeburn, who was our longest serving CLO for almost ten years after an illustrious career as a world class rally navigator. Nigel very sadly lost his battle with cancer in 2017, and Graham has given up his commitments to no less an event than Wales Rally GB in order to find the time to come along and take up the role. We're honoured. You'll be in kind and thoughtful hands.
Last but definitely not least, our great friend Fred Bent returns in the key role of Club Steward alongside Roger Beales, to guide us all with his sage advice. Fred has many years of experience as an MSA RLO and as a rally organiser and of course was Three Castles Clerk of the Course in 2015-16. He knows the event inside and out, having also competed on it more than once.
I'll focus on a few of our unsung heroes in a later piece, but for now I don't think we've ever had a stronger team. Let's run a rally!
Ian Crammond. October 2018.