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Classic Lanes Rally 1996

Sponsored by Cambrian Autoparts

Welsh Border Car Club

27th/28th July 1996

Clerk of the Course: Gareth 'Paddy' Edwards & Kev Nunns

Route: 120 Miles

Maps: 125 126 & 117

Starters: 47

Winners: John Jones/Chris Rowlands (Renault 11 Turbo)

After a two year break Welsh Border Car Club once again ran the club's only road rally of the season, the Cambrian Autoparts Classic Lanes. Of the 120 mile route, eight crews cleaned all but one section, the remaining five mile tie breaker was the only plot and bash segment of the night and saw the Renault 11 Turbo of John Jones/Chris Rowlands fastest.

Classic Lanes Rally 1996

The rally was split into nine standard sections, the eighth had an ITC timed to the second as a tie breaker. The whole route, other than the five mile sector leading up to the ITC, was issued at MC1 and 45 minutes was given to travel the short distance to TC1, this allowed most crews to plot the whole route prior to the start of the competitive sections. All Time Controls and most of the Passage Controls were manned. Unmanned Passage Controls were marked by a code board; competitors had to note down the code board on their time card and get it signed for at the next manned control. There were no code boards at manned controls.

With top seeds Kevin Parry/Gareth Price non-starting, the pre-event favourites were Cyril Crook/Chris Ware in their Sunbeam. Unfortunately their rally ended after less than ten miles when they slid off on a tightening right hander. Cyril suffered a sprained wrist as his hand was caught by the steering wheel as it hit the fence. The car sustained similar damage to that which was inflicted on it by an off on the Pacemaker earlier in the year. A number of other crews reported moments at the same corner, most notably Dave James/Sarah Preece, they did a 'wall of death' around the outer bank but survived to finish the rally. Dave James had in fact broken a bone in his hand in the incident, although he didn't find this out until after he'd finished third on the Suzanne Crowley Memorial Rally the following weekend.

With the pre-plotted route and comparatively fast sections in the Oswestry area, most of the top twenty found it easy to remain free of any penalties. As the first half unfolded it was mechanical problems that were sorting the competitors out rather than any difficulty with the route. The engine in the Chevette of John Walsh/Chris James cried enough on the second section, while the clutch broke on Phil Turner/Pete Hughes' Opel Kadet just before Petrol. They were joined in retirement at the halfway halt by Alyson Acreman/Byron Jones - the headgasket on their Astra failed. All three crews were clean of penalties when they retired. Phil Harding/Paul Middleton had survived in their Chevette, but had dropped time, firstly when they lost all their lights and then on another section when the coil failed.

With eight crews still clean the event was to be decided on the five mile plot 'n bash section which took in a number of whites around Pontfadog, in the north-western corner of Map 126. An impressive run saw Jones/Rowlands' Renault fastest by 39 seconds, thus giving them their first rally win. It had been a problem free event for them, other than having to change the distributor cap at Petrol to cure a misfire. Nigel Thomas/Phil Stocking followed them home in what was their best ever result.

The Classic Lanes was a round of the well support Welsh Border CC Championship, the leaders before the event being the pairing of Richard Roe/Dave Sillars. They completed the rally and seemed to have put in a good performance but then found they'd been excluded for failing to stop at a secret check. Kevin Ikin/Dave Pitchford suffered a similar fate, also after looking in line for a high placing. With his rally victory John Jones now leads the WBCC Championship. The navigator's table is led by Owen Dodd, who finished 8th on the Classic Lanes after the Maestro he shared with Paul Hughes was delayed on the tie break section when they caught another car.

With Roe/Sillars' demise the semi-expert class went to Andrew Morris/Ralph Harvey-Robson, who took 6th overall, almost seven minutes clear of their nearest class rival. None of the small novice entry managed to finish fail free, but Ken and Adrian Whittal took the class award with just one fail.


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 John Jones Chris Rowlands Renault 11 Turbo 2m 30s
2 Nigel Thomas Phil Stocking Ford Escort 3m 09s
3 Graham Evans Ian Mills Opel Manta 3m 40s
4 Anthony Smith Paul Green Toyota Corolla 4m 00s
5 Steve Bishop Sean Caddick Ford Escort 4m 00s
6 Andrew Morris Ralph Harvey-Robson Ford Escort 4m 30s
7 Ian Lloyd Paul Dolby Ford Escort 4m 36s
8 Paul Hughes Owen Dodd MG Maestro 5m 11s
9 Nick Onions Steve Quine Talbot Sunbeam 6m 38s
10 Phil Harding Paul Middleton Vauxhall Chevette 7m 15s
11 S Kukula Graham Ford Peugeot 7m 53s
12 Sean Rowlands Mike East Peugeot 205 GTi 8m 06s
13 Adrian Hodgson Alan Lovett Renault Fuego 10m 20s
14 Rob Williams Dave Howell Vauxhall Chevette 11m 07s
15 Brian Spurr Jim Clarke Ford Escort 12m 35s
16 R Jones Paul Jones Ford Escort 16m 39s
17 A Edwards H Lewis Renault 26m 30s
18 A Griffiths TBA Peugeot 30m 30s
19 Tony Watkins Medwyn Evans Mini 1275GT 31m 03s
20 Paul Pritchard Jon Stobbs Ford EScort 1F 7m 00s
21 Dave James Sarah Preece Ford Escort 1F 8m 35s
22 K Whittall A Whittall Vauxhall Nova 1F 27m 12s
23 Kath Rumney Paul Owen Ford Escort 4F 40m 52s
24 Kevin Roberts Mike Daska Ford Capri 3F 18m 00s
25 David Williamson Martyn Allen Ford Fiesta XR2 3F 39m 50s
26 Brian Jones Craig Parry Ford Escort 4F 19m 20s