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Rali Cilwendeg 2003

Sponsored by West Wales Rally Spares

Teifi Valley Motor Club

19th-21st September 2003

Clerk of the Course: Dyfan Davies, Eurig Evans & Aled Jones

Route: 260 Miles

Maps: 145

Starters: 75

Winners: Daniel 'Lwni' Jones/Owen Dodd (Ford Escort)

Daniel 'Lwni' Jones/Owen Dodd emerged as clear and deserved winners of the West Wales Rally Spares Rali Cilwendeg. An assured performance over the two nights of the event propelled them to victory on the classic West Wales road.

Rali Cilwendeg 2003

Teifi Valley MC repeated the format so successfully used for the first time the previous year, splitting the rally over Friday and Saturday night. A capacity 75 car entry faced a demanding route which utilised 260 miles of lanes plus numerous tracks and farm yards. The challenge for competitors was made even greater as the roads were extremely slippery as a long dry spell was broken by rain on Friday morning.

The early sections used the lanes and farmyards to the north of the Cardigan to Newcastle Emply road. The route then ran south to Petrol at the Derwydd Garage, Cynwyl Elfed. Crews then snaked their way back to the rally's base at Llechryd.

Top seeds Toby Adam/Byron Jones (Ford Sierra) were one of the first retirements; they went off on a white. Martyn O'Connor/Peter Collins (Vauxhall Astra GTE) got stuck as they attempted to get around the stranded Sierra, they lost a minute in the episode. They arrived at Petrol in fifth place.

Also out early on were Alun 'Timo' Evans/Rob Richardson, their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo3 broke its gearbox. A failed alternator stopped the VW Golf of Tony Davies/Darren Garrod.

It was Arwyn Thomas/Jeff James (Ford Escort) who led the field at Petrol. They were 15 seconds ahead of Hefin George/Dilwyn John (Nissan Sunny), the latter navigator cursing himself as he had wrong slotted just three miles from his home; they had lost a minute before regaining the correct route.

Gary Jones/Dave Pitchford were third, 29 seconds off the lead. They thought that they might have to back off as the rear axle of their Escort was working loose. The eventual winners, Jones/Dodd, were in fourth exactly a minute behind first place.

Rali Cilwendeg 2003
Third Placed: Arwyn Thomas/Jeff James (Ford Escort)

From a start number of 43, Gethin Morgan/Martin Richards (Ford Sierra) were in sixth place. They fell back down the field and were eventually forced out on the second night by engine problems.

John Davies/Neil Bevan were forced to use a very standard 1200cc Vauxhall Nova after their intended machine had broken a crown wheel and pinion at Scrutineering. They were in ninth place at Petrol, but crashed out soon afterwards.

They were not alone; Dylan Parry/Dafydd Williams arrived at Petrol with a large dent in the navigator's door and then, early in the second half, crashed out in spectacular fashion.

By the end of the first night, Arwyn Thomas/Jeff James still led, but Daniel Jones/Owen Dodd were now only five seconds behind them. Martyn O'Connor/Peter Collins were in third, 54 seconds off the lead, while Hefin George/Dilwyn John were fourth, they had a gearbox oil leak that was causing the clutch to slip. Gary Jones/Dave Pitchford had fallen to fifth as they nursed their Escort to the halfway halt.


Dave Pitchford

Dave Pitchford died in a car accident on his way home from the Rali Cilwendeg, no other vehcile was invovled. An inquest found that he had probably fallen asleep at the wheel and his car had collided with a tree.

The 40 year old Malvern-based navigator had been involved in road rallying for several years and in 2002 had started co-driving on stage events, having a close association with the Peugeot 205 Championship. As well as these club level activities, he was involved with assisting the Subaru WRC team.

Dave had built up a reputation as a highly competent navigator and achieved significant success in the seasons prior to his death.

He had won the West Midlands Road Rally Championship in 1999 & 2000. He and Gary Jones had built up a formidable partnership, they had won a number of rallies, including the Pacemaker and the Barcud in the weeks just prior to his death. Dave had also taken victory with Baron Glaze, Pete Cotton, Paul Holmberg and Wayne Morris. He had narrowly lost out on winning the 1999 Welsh Championship after not contesting the whole series.

In 2002 Dave had co-driven for Peugeot 205 Challenge front runner David Crossen and in 2003 he teamed up with Matt Barker for the 205 1.9 Scholarship. They were due to be crowned as champions of that series in the week of Dave's death.

Barker said of his friend: "Dave was always the life and soul of the party. He made competing fun".

Several hundred people attended Dave's funeral, which was held on 2nd October at Worcester Crematorium.

Fifty-five cars made it through the Friday Night sections. Among those that had retired were: Jonathan Gwillym/Neil Spiers (Ford Escort - failed engine); Simon Cottrell/Paul Holmberg (Ford Escort - stuck after wrong slot); Dave Watts/Eric Tong (Peugeot 205 - clutch) and Richard Briddon/Edryd Evans (Toyota Starlet - broken shaft).

Saturday Night used a route that looped around the Preseli Mountains before turning north to the lanes below Cardigan. The halfway halt was at Efailwen.

The first section of the night was short, but it was decisive. It finished just outside Crymych and included the farm track through Fronlas. Jones/Dodd were fastest and, critically, were 28 seconds quicker than Thomas/James. They took a lead that they weren't to lose. They completed the route 1m 56s ahead of the rest of the field.

O'Connor/Collins had a clear run on Saturday Night to take the runner up spot, while Thomas/James slipped back to third place, three and a half minutes off the lead.

Surprisingly fourth place had to be decided on a tie break; Jon Stobbs/Gary Robbins (Mazda 323), who had lost time with a wrong slot on Friday, and Gary Jones/Dave Pitchford tied on time. The matter was resolved by the time that the two crews had taken at ITC1, where Stobbs/Robbins were two seconds faster than Jones/Pitchford.

The Nissan Sunny of Hefin George/Dilwyn John finally stopped with gearbox failure, two sections from the end. John 'Mark One' Thomas/Nigel Nelson had had a miserable rally, finishing the first night with two fails. Their event ended on Saturday Night when they cracked their Escort's sump after a heavy landing. Howard Price/Cyril Jones went out when a tie bar on their Escort's rear axle broke on the first section on Night Two.

Owen Llwyd Edwards/Daniel Thomas (Vauxhall Astra) had been in sixth place at the end of the first night and finished in the same position after a trouble free run. Michael Pedley/David Pedley (Ford Escort) had lost time with a wrong slot at the same point that had caught out Stobbs/Robbins on Friday Night; the brothers finished in seventh place.

The Standard Production Award went to Owen Turner/Andrew (Rover Metro), who were placed in tenth overall.

The Sierra 4x4 of Stew Dale/Richard Holdsworth was using two litres of oil every ten miles, but they managed to make the finish in eleventh place.

The 2003 Cilwendeg was the last two-night road rally to run in Wales until the Border 200 in 2018; remarkably that was also won by Daniel 'Lwni' Jones.


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Daniel 'Lwni' Jones Owen Dodd Ford Escort 18m 22s
2 Martyn O'Connor Peter Collins Vauxhall Astra GTE 20m 18s
3 Arwyn Thomas Jeff James Ford Escort 21m 52s
4 Jon Stobbs Gary Robbins Mazda 323 24m 36s
5 Gary Jones Dave Pitchford Ford Escort 24m 36s
6 Owen Llwyd Edwards David Thomas Vauxhall Astra 25m 12s
7 Michael Pedley David Pedley Ford Escort 28m 46s
8 Kevin Jones Paul Bevan Vauxhall Astra 32m 51s
9 Rob Wilson Dylan Jenkins Peugeot 205 34m 57s
10 Owen Turner Andrew Dadswell Rover Metro 34m 59s
11 Stew Dale Richard Holdsworth Ford Sierra 4x4 37m 06s
12 Iain Scott Jez Harris Peugeot 309 GTi 39m 17s
13 Gareth Owens John Gilbey Ford Escort 40m 27s
14 Alyson Acreman Matthew Maidment Honda Civic 40m 31s
15 Gareth Harries Dalis Ifans Honda Civic 41m 23s
16 Andrew Blackburn Rob Duke Toyota Corolla 41m 51s
17 Rob Price Mark Coleman Vauxhall Astra 42m 15s
18 Ian Williams Daniel Maclachlan Ford Escort 47m 35s
19 Paul Jenkins Brian Thomas Ford Escort 49m 33s
20 Gareth Williams Owen Jones Peugeot 205 54m 01s
21 Colin Thomas Mark Kehrein Nissan Cherry 1h 06m 41s
22 Tomas Davies Edwin Venville Ford Escort 1h 11m 53s
23 Ian Lloyd Paul Dolby Toyota Corolla 1F 35m 29s
24 Hefin Owen Iwan Williams Toyota Corolla 1F 44m 24s
25 Robert Pardoe Delyth Brown Vauxhall Nova 1F 1h 00m 24s
26 Mark Jonah Roy Thomas Peugeot 205 1F 1h 01m 26s
27 Andrew Thomas Alan James Peugeot 205 1F 1h 11m 21s
28 Ieuan Reeves Philip Evans Ford Escort 1F 1h 11m 23s
29 Eifion Thomas Afan Thomas Ford Sierra 1F 1h 14m 23s
30 Robert Brown Alex Gill Peugeot 309 2F 1h 20m 30s
31 Kevin Evans Owain Thomas Vauxhall Nova 2F 1h 26m 09s
32 Elrik Davis Andrew David Vauxhall Nova 3F 1h 27m 44s
33 Rhidian Rees Jo Bond Peugeot 205 4F 1h 24m 35s
34 Aled Davies Lee Plant Vauxhall Astra 4F 1h 33m 24s
35 Nick Evans Steve Roderick Toyota Corolla 8F 1h 31m 33s
36 Tom Barber Geraint Hands Peugeot 309 9F 1h 22m 07s
37 Hefyn Thomas Paul Morris Vauxhall Astra 10F 40m 46s
38 Paul Davies Steven Hicks Vauxhall Nova 11F 1h 28m 37s
39 Marc James Anthony Davies Ford Sierra 4x4 23F 38m 36s
40 Gareth Reed David Bradley Peugeot 205 34F 1h 10m 48s
41 Dai Bevan Bernard Hill Ford Escort 37F 30m 37s