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Greenleaves Rally 1997

Sixty & Worcestershire Motor Club

13th/14th April 1997

Clerk of the Course: Richard Wheeler & Peter Davies

Route: 130 Miles

Maps: 147 148 & 161

Starters: 37

Winners: Paul Holmberg/Ian Vale (Ford Escort)

Paul Holmberg/Ian Vale repeated their 1994 victory by winning the Greenleaves Rally. They achieved this despite losing almost twelve minutes on the event's one section timed to the second. Luckily for them everyone else either had greater difficulty with the same section or picked up fails for silly errors.

Greenleaves 1997

The event was a round of the Welsh, West Midlands and North Western Road Rally Championships, however it still only attracted 37 starters, a legacy of the rally's previous reputation for difficult navigation. As it turned out those that stayed away missed a straight forward plot 'n bash event using a excellent route.

The five route hand outs for the first half were handed out in sealed envelopes at the start control and three more covering the second half were issued at the petrol halt; crews could only open the envelopes at the start of the relevant section. All controls were specified by six figure map references. The first four time controls were regularities, but crews were allowed to stop outside them, their time being taken as they passed the board; all other sections were standard sections timed to the minute, with the exception of one control in the second half which was timed to the second.

The 130 mile route formed a figure-of-eight pattern with the petrol halt at the join, that break being the only non-competitive part all night. The first half went south of the start at Hay-on-Wye, looping around to Petrol at Clyro, and crews then headed north for a clockwise loop on Map 148 before heading back to the finish again at Clyro.

The first retirement of the night was the Maestro of John Harmer/Pat Gadsby, they, along with a number of other crews, were confused by the instructions for the first passage control, and became stuck when they attempted the wrong approach. They were rescued by the course closing car, this unfortunate incident did however allow them to race across country and welcome John's wife, Sarah, at the finish of the Poxihen Rally in Norfolk. Nick Broadway/Andy Oakes also picked up a fail at PCA after being similarly confused but they then went on to have a good run and ended up ninth overall.

The two fastest crews of the night ended up way down the order after picking up fails; Paul Webb/Sarah Preece (Toyota Corolla) seemed to be the leaders at Petrol having cleaned all the timed sections, unfortunately they had picked up a fail at the penultimate PC. The second half got worse for them as they picked up another fail and then a puncture; they finished 13th.

The other quick crew were Des Phasey/Paul Middleton in their Escort 1.6, they would also have been clear of time penalties at the halfway point if they hadn't entered one of the regularity time controls three minutes early, they dropped six minutes due to this incident, however they could still have won the event as they were fastest by two minutes through the tie break section, unfortunately a brain storm by Middleton on the very last section saw them pick up four fails as they missed out a group of PCs; they were eventually classified 19th.

Paul Holmberg/Ian Vale had dropped only a minute by Petrol, however they, along with most of the other leading runners, were to have a difficult time on the first two sections in the second half. Holmberg/Vale wrong slotted early on and were followed by Dennis Quinn/Andrew Thomson, who had been close behind. As both crews realised the error and retraced their steps they met Cyril Crook/Chris Ware about to enter the track, all three turned around and resumed the correct route. However they then all went left at a T-junction where they should have gone right, they were followed down there by Baron Glaze/Brian Jenkins and Pete Cotton/Dave Pitchford. When they reached a dead end it took a number of minutes to turn all the cars around and continue on the correct road.

Holmberg/Vale dropped 11m 45s while Quinn/Thomson picked up 10m 10s, however the latter had dropped three minutes in the first half and were to add another minute later on so that Homlberg took victory by just 25 seconds. Graham Evans/Ian Mills, in their new Toyota Corolla, would have been third a further 50 seconds back, but they picked up a fail after failing to note down a code board. They had to be content with sixth. Baron Glaze/Brian Jenkins therefore took third; they'd had a bad first half with seven minutes dropped, but remaining fail free allowed them to move up the leader board despite dropping nine more minutes in the second.


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Paul Holmberg Ian Vale Ford Escort 12m 45s
2 Dennis Quinn Andrew Thomson Ford Escort 13m 10s
3 Baron Glaze Brian Jenkins Ford Escort 16m 20s
4 Karl Hancock Steve Durbin Ford Escort 17m 36s
5 Dai John Paul Bevan Toyota Corolla 22m 20s
6 Graham Evans Ian Mills Toyota Corolla 1F 14m 02s
7 Gareth Morgan Carl Williamson Skoda 120RS 1F 14m 18s
8 Cyril Crook Chris Ware Talbot Sunbeam 1F 15m 39s
9 Nick Broadway Andy Oakes Ford Sierra 1F 24m 09s
10 Peter Zjalic Richard Preece Toyota Corolla 1F 24m 22s
11 Huw Evans Patrick Walsh Ford Escort 1F 26m 27s
12 Neil Griffiths Dai Bevan Ford Escort 1F 68m 03s
13 Paul Webb Sarah Preece Toyota Corolla 2F 13m 14s
14 Brian Davies Jayson Brown Ford Escort 2F 13m 55s
15 Gethin Lewis Aled Jones Ford Escort 2F 19m 20s
16 Gareth Jones Iestyn ap Dafydd Toyota Corolla 2F 25m 20s
17 Keith Pashley Kevin Belcher Toyota Corolla 2F 49m 19s
18 Pete Cotton Dave Pitchford Ford Escort 4F 21m 37s
19 Des Phasey Paul Middleton Ford Escort 5F 9m 24s
20 Brian Harrison Cliff Washbrook Ford Escort 5F 54m 53s
21 Peter Crighton Amanda Ceely Opel Ascona 7F 46m 23s
22 David Davies Pete Morris Ford Escort 8F 14m 22s
23 Dick Lee Karl Ellis Ford Escort 8F 22m 58s
24 Tony Watkin Medwyn Evans Mini 8F 75m 51s
25 Andrew Edwards Dewi Evans Ford Escort 27F 64m 33s
26 Gary Marshallsea Mike Parry Mini 998 32F 28m 00s
27 Sarah Warburton Alan Warburton Rover Metro 35F 66m 49s
28 Mark Kirkham Roger Morgan Ford Escort 44F 47m 00s
29 Malcolm Hoskins Mark Thomas Ford Escort 48F 22m 00s