Epynt Excitement

The Epynt Military Ranges are hallowed ground for the rallying world, especially those who specialize in tarmac competition. The stages are fast, incredibly challenging and always attract a cracking entry of high-quality cars and drivers.

Mike Manning Ford Puma 4x4

Mike Manning set double FTDs in his native Wales (thanks to Our Correspondent).

 

Although most of the ranges are unsuitable for use as hillclimbs, for the past few years Brecon Motor Club have persurvered, found an appropriate strip of tarmac, and have run a fairly lengthy club hillclimb.

We have always wanted to pop along and have a look at this event, but again this year the opportunity unfortunately wasn’t there… However, Our Correspondent was at a loose end and decided to hit the A40 and see what it was all about.

He has kindly put together a report for us all:

“As the weekend of 15th & 16th June contained no major hill climbs I decided to make the 145 mile trip to take in an event that I will be unlikely to visit again whilst I continue to follow the British Championship season.

Only operating on one weekend a year, Epynt is possibly the most unusual hill climb venue I have visited situated in the middle of the Sennybridge Army Field Training Centre. The quirks started after spotting the traditional motor sport orange arrows on the verge of the A40 where after turning off into a country lane it becomes a military road with public usage rights.

Immediately off the trunk road the lane splits into a dual carriageway of narrow single tracks with high banks, long grass and a hedge in the middle for part of the first half mile. It rises in a series of steps until you reach a cattle grid and you are then on an open moor side with sheep everywhere. The single carriageway after the grid is in fine condition although fairly narrow and closely follows the contours up and down and can be seen stretching into the distance.

There are warnings about remaining on the road and ominous red flags flying from poles. You pass a number of small camps, of Nissen type huts and a large parking area for military trucks. 6 miles after leaving the A40 a motor sport arrow directs you to the right down a smaller military road and you can see a village ahead and as you draw close you can see it is a fake, the somewhat notorious ‘German Village’ built during the cold war of the 1950′s.

After another mile or so the road drops into a narrow valley and you discover the paddock immediately after a couple of miltary buildings. This is another surprise as the building is like a council parks changing rooms and toilets although all are grubby and in need of some work. So there are no portaloos and there is space for signing on and a room for the marshals briefing.

The paddock itself is remarkably civilised in comparison with a few other venues, some of it a proper tarmac truck park and the rest a gravel surface. The track itself rises up from the start about 75 meters from the paddock which is in a military road junction over a bridge on a tumbling stream. A mile in length it is currently the longest British hillclimb. and the first half is very steep indeed as a series of sweeping bends,. After the first chicane in a side track junction it levels a little but still climbs hard.

After the second chicane there is a flat out blind up to to a 90 right onto a lesser track with the finish only about 50 metres after the apex. Then the unique feature of a 4.5 mile return road back to the main miltary road and down to the paddock along the route followed when forst arriving.

The feature which prevents the course ever being used for full on racing cars are the high drops offs at the side of the track which can seriously damage the Locaterfields that make up around 50% of the entry if they do run off the edge of the tarmac. Even if racers didn’t use the return road there would be too much risk if a single seater went off course.

Another enormous quirk is the training area safety briefing document with the most significant line being ‘Do not pick up or touch any military equipment or debris. IT MAY EXPLODE AND KILL YOU’.

Just to experience the unique nature of the event, do consider making the trip next year. Everyone is welcoming and you may see a number of familiar faces.”

Sounds great Ed, thanks for putting the report together!

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