When Bob Fowden started rallying a pint of beer cost 40p, a litre of petrol was 17p and you could drive out of your local Ford showroom in a brand-new Cortina for around £2,500.
That was back in 1978 – and in Fowden’s remarkable 44-year rallying career the Llanelli living legend has amassed over 260 rally starts, including 70 on Epynt, and scored 32 overall victories and over 60 class wins.
And together with Aled Davies on the notes, Fowden will contest the opening round of the 2022 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship, the Nigel Ferguson Fabricators Tour of Epynt (Saturday 16 April), in his Comline Auto Parts/NGK backed Subaru Impreza S11 WRC.
It all began in a modest Mini on gravel events, and Fowden’s impressive performances soon caught the attention of British Leyland team manager John Davenport. Thanks to this, it wasn’t long before Fowden found himself driving an ex-works Triumph TR7 and moving to asphalt rallies. Success was swift and his early rally wins included victory on the Mewla Rally in 1982, where he was co-driven by Dave Whittock.
Fowden has had many great co-drivers over the years and at the end of 1982 he teamed up with Hywel Thomas. In 1983 they moved to another ex-works car, the mighty Rover 3500 Vitesse, which began a memorable period of rally success.
More Epynt wins followed, including on the Merlin Fireplaces Stages and Schreider Zenith Virgo in 1984 and the Virgo and Harry Flatters in 1985.
The big Rover eventually began to show its age and in 1988 Fowden moved to a Group N Ford Sierra RS Cosworth and events in Britain and Ireland, with fourth overall on the 1989 Donegal International one of the many highlights.
A Group A Sierra RS Cosworth followed, with victory on the West Cork and Manx National coming in 1999.
A Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI eventually replaced the Cosworth, in which Fowden finished second overall and first Group N on the Tour of Epynt in 2001 and 2002.
2004 saw the arrival of the first Subaru Impreza that Fowden Motorsport campaigned up to 2015, providing consistent success, rally wins and championship titles.
In 2016 Fowden acquired the ex-Petter Solberg Subaru Impreza S11 WRC which he rallies today.
And he remains just as fast and as committed as ever – highlighted by the fact that Fowden currently leads the Welsh Tarmacadam Championship.
And supported by Comline Auto Parts and NGK, Fowden will be aiming for nothing less than victory on Epynt on Easter Saturday – just as he always has.