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Rali Cilwendeg 1997

Sponsored by N.D. Signs + G.D. Tyres & Exhausts

Teifi Valley Motor Club

1st/2nd November 1997

Clerk of the Course: Tony Davies & Dyfan Davies

Route: 150 Miles

Maps: 145

Starters: 90

Winners: Gwyndaf Lloyd/John Hands (Ford Escort)

After 150 miles of the most demanding road rally in Wales only two seconds separated the top two crews at the finish of the Cilwendeg. What made the result even more amazing was that the two drivers involved were brothers and that it was the comparatively inexperienced Gwyndaf Lloyd who pulled off the victory from multi-event winner Gareth Lloyd.

Rali Cilwendeg 1997

The Cilwendeg was at the time arguably Wales' premier road rally and despite declining to join any major championship it still attracted a full 90 car entry. There event has a long history of providing a major challenge to competitors and there is a unique atmosphere throughout the weekend of the rally. Many hundreds of spectators throng the start venue at Newcastle Emlyn and the numerous viewing points along the route. It is an event that all road rallyists in the Principality want to win and on this ocassion many came close to achieving this ambition but saw victory snatched from them.

Alan Gaunt/Maurice Leach in their Peugeot 205 looked to have first place sewn up for three-quarters of the rally, however a missed passage control put them out of contention. They had been chased hard all night by Pete Cotton/Dave Pitchford but they also missed the same control. Gethin Lewis/Aled Jones took over the lead with three minutes in hand over their nearest challenger, however with only three miles to go their Escort's engine went very sick. They nursed it to the finish but lost four minutes and three places in the process.

So it was that Gwyndaf Lloyd/John Hands, running at Car 46, only led for three miles, however it was the most important three! Gareth Lloyd/Ryland James were only two seconds down but had lost a great deal of time throughout the second half after their Escort's fan belt kept jumped off the pulley. Third after a steady and undramatic run was the Toyota Corolla of Geraint Davies/Emyr Jones.

A number of fancied runners weren't so lucky - Mark Williams/Rob Richardson, Arwyn Thomas/Ieaun Thomas and Malcolm Walters/Andy Bowen had all retired by the halfway point. While Ceri Richards/Owen Dodd could have challenged for the win, but lost five minutes after picking up a puncture on their Escort; they finished sixth. Most unlucky of all Nigel and Karen Davies, they lost 20 minutes as the throttle cable broke on their Escort 1.3 as they drove to the starting ramp.

The Semi-Expert Award was taken by the unusual Mazda 4WD Turbo of Hefin George/Dilwyn John, who were ninth overall. The five surviving novices were led home by Gordon Howells/Daniel Thomas in an Escort 2.0. The Wooden Spoon went to Jon Stobbs/Gary Robbins who managed to accumulate a total of 50 fails after booking in early at one control and then repeating the offence a number of times. There were 43 finishers.


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Gwyndaf Lloyd John Hands Ford Escort 9m 53s
2 Gareth Lloyd Ryland James Ford Escort 9m 55s
3 Geraint Davies Emyr Jones Toyota Corolla 10m 53s
4 Gethin Lewis Aled Jones Ford Escort 10m 58s
5 Martyn O'Connor Peter Collins Vauxhall Astra GTE 11m 15s
6 Ceri Richards Owen Dodd Ford Escort 12m 44s
7 Jon Gwilym Neil Spiers Ford Escort 13m 58s
8 Dave Davies Phil Clarke Vauxhall Cavalier SRi 14m 40s
9 Hefin George Dilwyn John Mazda 323 Turbo 14m 54s
10 Wyn Owens Hefin Owens Ford Escort 14m 57s