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Greenleaves Rally 1996

Sixty & Worcestershire Motor Club

13th/14th April 1996

Clerk of the Course: Richard Wheeler & Peter Davies

Route: 126 Miles

Maps: 147 148 160 & 161

Starters: 61

Winners: Dennis Quinn/Nick Darkin (Ford Escort)

Dennis Quinn/Nick Darkin scored a comfortable victory on Sixty & Worcestershire MC's Greenleaves Road Rally. Their Ford Escort triumphed after a 126 mile route in the maze of lanes in the regions surrounding Builth Wells, Hay-on-Wye and Brecon. This was their second win on the event in three years.

Greenleaves 1996

The Greenleaves was the fourth round of the Welsh Championship, as well as counting towards both the West Midlands and North Western Championships. Despite this there were only 61 starters, due mainly to the reputation for navigational trickery that the event has had in the past. This year's route cards used straight forward six figure references but had, in the main, difficult to read lay outs. This combined with the intricate route, plus the twisty nature of the lanes used, made it a very demanding night for the navigators.

The route itself took in the four adjoining corners of Maps 147, 148, 160 and 161, this added the complication of fourteen map changes during the night. There were only five competitive sections, some had a number of intermediate time controls. Six time controls were timed to the second. The distribution of route hand outs had been simplified by the method of issuing them in separate sealed envelops to the competitors at the Start; the individual envelops could only be opened as crews left the start of the relevant section.

There was excitement at the start for Paul Holmberg. He found out that his intended navigator, Maurice Leach, had been involved in a non-inujuring car crash on his way to the event. This forced Holmberg to press his marshal, Ian Vale, to sit in the left hand seat.

After a short run out from the start at Builth Wells the rally started with two short sections of eight and ten miles respectively. The rest of the first half was made up of one 32 mile section split by five time controls. Two crews who had made the long journey from the south east, and who, due to the difficult navigation, had been fancied for good finishes, were soon in trouble - Sarah Harmer/Cath Woodman (MG Maestro) were excluded on the first section for a giveway offence, while Ian Mepham/PRAR (VW Golf GTi) had only made it as far as the second section when they hit a rock which wrecked their front suspension.

The top seeds, Tony Davies/Emyr Jones, had a disasterous start; they had picked up 3 fails by the time that they had reached the second timing point. They finished the event in 18th place.

At the petrol halt most crews reported wrong slots as they struggled to plot the route while negotiating the maze of lanes. Initially Graham Evans/Ian Mills (Opel Manta) appeared to have a five minute lead however this was reduced to one and a half minutes when the longest of the intermediate sections was scrubbed. The cancellation was due to Paul Holmberg/Ian Vale (Ford Escort) finding no route instruction within one of their envelops. The positions at petrol were therefore, Evans/Mills 6m 15s, Quinn/Darkin 7m 36s, John Evans/Eurig Evans (Hillman Avenger) 7m 39s, Wyn Jones/Phil Clarke (Ford Escort) 10m 13s and Holmberg/Vale 10m 29s.

The second half was less strenuous as the faster lanes to the west of the Epynt Ranges allowed the navigators more time to get the route plotted. However there were to be dramatic changes to the leader board. The first to hit problems were third placed Evans/Evans when problems with their pedal box caused them to run without a clutch for most of the second half; they dropped ten minutes but survived to take seventh.

However the incident which had the biggest effect on the eventual outcome occurred when an ambiguous route definition led a number of crews to wrong slot and attempt to get up a badly rutted 'white'. Championship leaders Richard Lewis/Phil Pugh (Corolla 1.6), who had been in 10th place at halfway, were the first to get stuck and were soon joined by rally leaders Evans/Mills. The two crews helped to extricate each other, but it was an expensive error. Evans/Mills dropped 14 minutes and lost certain victory; they were eventually classified 8th. The delay cost Lewis/Pugh 18 minutes; they finished 11th.

Quinn/Darkin survived the second half without incurring any further penalty to take the win and lead the 34 finishers back to the finish at Builth Wells. The only other crew to clean the two sections were Baron Glaze/Dave Pitchford (Ford Escort), this moved them from seventh at Petrol to third at the finish and was enough to give Pitchford the Welsh navigator's championship lead by one point from Phil Pugh. In turn Glaze was now only three points behind Richard Lewis in the drivers' table.

A notable result was achieved by Dave James/Sarah Preece (Ford Escort 1.3) who finished sixth on only the driver's second event, this was despite having to run the first two sections on dipped headlights. The Semi-Expert award and 12th overall was taken by Des Phasey/Steve Price (Ford Escort 1.6), an exact replication of Phasey's result on the Red Dragon. The novice award went to Malcolm Middleton/Richard Preece (Ford Fiesta 1.6), who headed home an impressive eight finishers from 14 class starters.


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Dennis Quinn Nick Darkin Ford Escort 7m 36s
2 Paul Holmberg Ian Vale Ford Escort 10m 36s
3 Baron Glaze Dave Pitchford Ford Escort 12m 35s
4 Wyn Jones Phil Clark Ford Escort 13m 20s
5 Nigel Thomas Phil Stocking Ford Escort 13m 38s
6 Dave James Sarah Preece Ford Escort 15m 13s
7 John Evans Eurig Evans Hillman Avenger 18m 17s
8 Graham Evans Ian Mills Opel Manta 20m 15s
9 Richard Marston Owen Dodd Vauxhall Nova 20m 45s
10 Mark James Jon Stobbs Toyota Corolla 22m 16s
11 Richie Lewis Phil Pugh Toyota Corolla 32m 27s
12 Des Phasey Steve Price Ford Escort 32m 41s
13 Kevin Ikin Martin Saunders Ford Escort 1F 17m 59s
14 Chris Thomas Carl Williamson Ford Escort 3F 29m 10s
15 Jonathan Ross Dave Stocking Ford Escort 2F 36m 15s
16 Chris Painter Steve Quine Vauxhall Nova 3F 29m 05s
17 Clive Wakely Justin Davies Ford Escort 3F 29m 10s
18 Tony Davies Emyr Jones Toyota Corolla 3F 33m 27s
19 Chris Wilson Roger Fildes Vauxhall Astra 3F 54m 45s
20 Dave Evans Chris Ware Peugeot 205 4F 14m 28s
21 Bob Gibbons Bev Williams Ford Cortina 7F 29m 19s
22 Peter Zjalic Gerallt Davies Toyota Corolla 7F 41m 33s
23 Tony Watkin Medwyn Evans Mini 9F 54m 26s
24 Malcolm Middleton Richard Preece Ford Fiesta 11F 29m 59s
25 James Perry Nick Bloxham Vauxhall Nova 11F 51m 10s
26 Toby Adam Robin Davies Ford Escort 11F 79m 25s
27 Carl O'Grady Gwyn Williams VW Golf 12F 38m 19s
28 Matthew Pearce Simon Cross Ford Escort 14F 45m 25s
29 Robert Fearn Brian Jenkins Ford Escort 17F 47m 42s
30 Timothy Elvins James Quinn Ford Escort 21F 38m 34s
31 Frank Burton Dave Webley Ford Escort 23F 44m 48s
32 Alex Medinger Tim Burge Renault 29F 29m 55s
33 David Williamson Martyn Allen Ford Fiesta 29F 45m 41s
34 Andrew Hardiman Andrew Allen VW Golf 31F 70m 39s