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Holrus '96 Road Rally

Newtown & District Auto Club

7th/8th December 1996

Clerk of the Course: Graham Evans & Mark Hill

Route: 120 Miles

Maps: 136 & 137

Starters: 57

Winners: Richie Lewis/Phil Pugh (Toyota Corolla)

Richard Lewis/Phil Pugh took victory on Newtown AC's Holrus Rally to make it four wins out of the eleven rounds of the Welsh Road Rally Championship, however this still didn't put them in the hunt for the series win. This was battled out between Wyn Jones/Phil Clarke and Baron Glaze/Dave Pitchford; Jones led the drivers table prior to the Holrus, while Pitchford was top navigator, however neither had a decisive lead.

Holrus '96 Road Rally

The rally started and finished at Newtown but the majority of the 150 mile route used the lanes of Shropshire. The first half was split into four sections, while there was just one forty mile test after Petrol; the last control before the halfway halt was timed to the second as a tie breaker. All sections were plot 'n bash. The night was to get progressively colder and ice was a major problem through out the night and especially in the second half.

The sections up until the tie breaker were generally cleanable by the top crews however a couple of front runners had problems. The 1994 winners, Colin Bound/Shaun O'Gorman, picked up a fail after missing a passage control. While the first time pairing of Dennis Quinn/Andrew Thomson lost three minutes and part of their Escort's front wing after visiting a ditch on the third section.

The crew who set the pace on the ten mile section timed to the second were Phil Harding/Paul Middleton. On home ground they cleaned the test with over fifty seconds to spare, their nearest challengers were the eventual winners, Lewis/Pugh, who were a minute behind, picking up 13 seconds penalty.

Harding/Middleton therefore looked likely to take their first rally win when four miles into the second half their Chevette picked up a puncture, they dropped two minutes changing the tyre and then lost a further six when the throttle cable broke a few miles later. They eventually finished a dejected 11th overall.

In the race for the Welsh Rally Championship Jones/Clarke literally hit trouble when their Escort's exhaust was knocked apart on a tight hairpin at the end of the first half. They managed to patch it together and tackled the second half in a subdued manner, coming home seventh overall. Despite their problems this result was enough to secure the Welsh titles for both of them as Glaze/Pitchford had put their Escort off the road and out of the event just before Petrol.

Glaze also failed in his quest to win the West Midlands Championship, of which the Holrus was also the last round. The title went instead to Paul Holmberg, who partnered by Maurice Leach, took the runner up spot by finishing the Newtown event in second place. This result meant that Holmberg finished first in both the ANWCC and AWMMC championships, and third in the Welsh. The West Midlands navigator's crown was taken by Roger Fildes who finished ninth, runner up was Steve Quine, who, with his regular driver Chris Painter, won the Holrus' Semi Expert class.

Lewis/Pugh, along with seven other crews, cleaned the icy second half to take the win and secured the Welsh Production Class title. The championship's novice award went to Carl O'Grady/Gwyn Williams, who finished a consistent year by taking third in the Semi Expert class. While the Under 1300 WAMC title went to Wayne Edwards/Sharon Jarvis.

The third set of titles decided on the Holrus were those for the well support Welsh Border CC championship. A fourth place on the event was enough for Cyril Crook/Chris Ware to secure the trophies. Owen Dodd had led the navigator's table prior to the last round, however he had a troubled night as his planned driver, Huw James, had to withdraw his entry just an hour before scrutineering started when a fire destroyed his car's wiring. Dave Evison then gave up his seat alongside Phil Turner so that Dodd could defend his title lead. Unfortunately they only scraped home in 38th place after suffering two broken fan belts and a twenty minute off.

Des Phasey/Steve Price finished third having lost time on the tie breaker section when they found the Avenger of John Evans/Eurig Evans stuck on a hairpin and needing a push before they could get going again. That was the only time dropped by Phasey/Price all night, as they, and six other crews, cleaned the extremely slippery second half. Geraint Mills/Ian Mills were one of the others to be clean from Petrol to the Finish, this didn't allow them to recover from the three minutes they lost stuck behind a non-competing car over the Stipperstones. They finished in sixth.


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Richard Lewis Phil Pugh Toyota Corolla 0m 13s
2 Paul Holmberg Maurice Leach Ford Escort 1m 04s
3 Des Phasey Steve Price Ford Escort 1m 19s
4 Cyril Crook Chris Ware Talbot Sunbeam 2m 28s
5 Dave James Colin Bowen Ford Escort 3m 44s
6 Geraint Mills Ian Mills Opel Manta 3m 47s
7 Wyn Jones Phil Clarke Ford Escort 3m 47s
8 Dennis Quinn Andrew Thomson Ford Escort 5m 57s
9 Chris Wilson Roger Fildes Vauxhall Astra 8m 08s
10 John Evans Eurig Evans Hillman Avenger 8m 44s
11 Richard Roe Dave Sillars Talbot Sunbeam 9m 00s
12 Phil Harding Paul Middleton Vauxhall Chevette 9m 00s
13 Chris Painter Steve Quine Toyota Corolla 13m 17s
14 Nigel Lloyd Iestyn Leyshon Ford Escort 17m 11s
15 Brian Davies Jayson Brown Ford Escort 18m 06s
16 Wayne Edwards Sharon Jarvis Ford Escort 18m 09s
17 Simon Price Alan Lovett Ford Escort 18m 35s
18 Tony Davies Ieuan Thomas VW Golf GTi 18m 38s
19 John Jones Chris Rowlands Renault 11 Turbo 18m 47s
20 Gareth Morgan Carl Williamson Skoda 120RS 19m 27s
21 Nick Broadway Andy Oakes Ford Sierra 20m 37s
22 Sean Rowlands Mike East Peugeot 205 GTi 20m 39s
23 Dave Price Deggy Ford Escort 21m 02s
24 Mark Jukes Gary Robbins Toyota Corolla 23m 08s
25 Sarah Harmer Cath Woodman MG Maestro 23m 54s
26 John Ross Dave Stocking Ford Escort 24m 03s
27 Kev Nunns Nigel Roberts Toyota Corolla 30m 32s
28 Carl O'Grady Gwyn Williams VW Golf 41m 46s
29 Matthew Pearce Brian Jenkins Ford Escort 43m 09s
30 Tony Watkin Medwyn Evans Mini 1275 GT 46m 58s
31 Karen Dewson Dave Dewson VW Golf GTi 57m 44s
32 Colin Bound Shaun O'Gorman Ford Escort 1F 4m 34s
33 Peter Zjalic Richard Preece Toyota Corolla 1F 14m 08s
34 David Wilmer Darren Morris Ford Escort 1F 50m 06s
35 Malcolm Middleton Graham Ford Ford Fiesta XR2 4F 56m 28s
36 Wayne Morris Steve Holder Ford Escort 5F 30m 13s
37 Gerwyn Evans Damian Cole Ford Escort 5F 31m 25s
38 Phil Turner Owen Dodd Toyota Corolla 9F 19m 00s
39 Kevin Hesketh Andrew Mellings Ford Escort 9F 53m 00s
40 Will Parry Roger Harris Ford Escort 15F 1h 3m 56s
41 Roddy Daniels Bill Williams Vauxhall Astra GTE 35F 22m 00s