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Rali Mynydd Ddu 1997

Sponsored by Park Garage Ltd

Amman & District Motor Club

4th/5th October 1997

Clerk of the Course: Malcolm Walters & Alan Ginn

Route: 120 Miles

Maps: 146 159 160 & 170

Starters: 44

Winners: Gareth Jones/Iestyn ap Dafydd (Toyota Corolla)

The Semi-Expert crew of Gareth Jones/Iestyn ap Dafydd emerged as the surprise winners of Amman & District Motor Club's Rali Mynydd Du. The tenth round of the Welsh Road Rally Championship ended in confusion as it became clear that most competitors had misunderstood the regulations regarding Intermediate Time Controls. This resulted in only five crews being fail free at the Finish and many top runners finishing well down the order.

Rali Mynydd Ddu 1997

The 44 starters were faced with an excellent 120 mile route in the southern reaches of the Brecon Beacons. Three standard sections preceded the petrol halt at Llandovery before the second half which consisted of two standard and two regularity sections.

The third standard section had a number of controls timed to the second and it was here that the majority of crews missed the fact that, unusually, they had to carry any seconds dropped at one intermediate control on to the next; normal practise is to round back to the previous minute. The same rule applied, as is usual, to the regularity sections as well. However these rules were given greater importance by the fact that the penalty for early arrival was a fail per 10 seconds.

All this was of little importance to the 1996 winning driver, John Evans, who had Ieaun Thomas on the maps. Evans/Thomas only got a few miles into the event before a halfshaft on their Avenger broke. Dai John/Paul Bevan (Toyota Corolla) were also early retirees, they withdrew after damaging their Corolla's exhaust. Jonathan Gwillym/Damian Cole (Ford Escort) also failed to make it to the end of the first sections after damaging their Escort's sump on a deep rut which ran across one of the forest tracks.

Jones/ap Dafydd were one of only a couple of crews to notice the implications of the regulations and thus reaped the rewards and crowned a season which has seen them putting in ever improving results. Peter Zjalic/Richard Preece made it a Toyota Corolla 1-2. They had a difficult event after damaging the steering gear of their car on the same deep rut as Gwillym had hit, while Preece was plagued by illness throughout the night. However the result put them back in contention for the Welsh Standard Production title.

Aled Davies/Clive Selby (Ford Escort) took fourth overall and the Semi-Expert Class in their Escort, while the Novice Award and 11th overall went to the similar car of Robert Rees/Ann Rees. Eighth place was enough for Aled Jones to secure the 1997 Welsh Championship Semi-Expert Navigator award with two rounds to spare.

The rather odd result from the Mynydd Du meant that the overall Welsh Championship position was now wide open with a number of crews still in the running. Baron Glaze/Pete Davies (Ford Escort) finished ninth and they still led their respective tables. Their main challengers, Dennis Quinn/Andrew Thomson (Ford Escort), only managed 15th and would require two good results on both the remaining rounds to take the title. Pete Cotton/Dave Pitchford (Ford Escort), who had taken the top championship score on the previous two rounds, finished in 31st after being caught out by a secret regularity check whose control board had been placed just around a corner. The hapless Midlands pairing failed to stop before passing the control board, which was the timing marker - they were almost two minutes early.

The quickest crew of the night were Alyson Acreman/Byron Jones who dropped only 3.26 in their new Nova, unfortunately they fell foul of the intermediate time controls and ended up with 6 fails, putting them in 18th place.

The final placed finishers in 33rd place were Ian Elias/Joel Haylock (Ford Escort) who ended up with 101 fails.


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Gareth Jones Iestyn ap Dafydd Toyota Corolla 9m 06s
2 Peter Zjalic Richard Preece Toyota Corolla 13m 01s
3 Jason Harries John Hands Ford Escort 17m 20s
4 Aled Davies Clive Selby Ford Escort 23m 36s
5 Carl O'Grady Gwyn Williams VW Golf 25m 18s
6 Clive Greves Rob Duke Vauxhall Chevette 1F 6m 34s
7 Neil Griffiths Bernard Hill Ford Escort 1F 10m 36s
8 Gethin Lewis Aled Jones Ford Escort 1F 11m 57s
9 Baron Glaze Pete Davies Ford Escort 1F 12m 18s
10 Clive Wakeley Dave Howells Ford Escort 1F 14m 56s
11 Robert Rees Ann Rees Ford Escort 1F 46m 17s
12 Huw Richards Derek Davies Opel Manta 2F 46m 17s
13 Graham Evans Ian Mills Toyota Corolla 3F 7m 32s
14 Toby Adam Andrew Card Ford Escort 3F 9m 30s
15 Dennis Quinn Andrew Thomson Ford Escort 4F 3m 51s
16 Dai Wilmer Darren Morris Ford Escort 4F 16m 59s
17 Darren Jones Darren Miles Ford Escort 4F 19m 44s
18 Alison Acreman Byron Jones Vauxhall Nova GSi 6F 3m 26s
19 Karl Hancocks Steve Durbin Ford Escort 6F 10m 01s
20 Stuart Thomas Adrian Belcher Peugeot 309 GTi 6F 26m 17s
21 Huw Evans Patrick Walsh Ford Escort 7F 4m 20s
22 Nick Broadway Andy Oakes Ford Sierra 8F 27m 21s
23 Wyn Owens Hefin Owens Ford Escort 9F 8m 00s
24 Richard Roberts Steven Roberts Ford Escort 12F 22m 18s
25 Kevin Ikin Chris Rowlands Ford Escort 13F 9m 09s
26 Cyril Crook Chris Ware Talbot Sunbeam 13F 14m 00s
27 Dylan Parry Mark Lloyd Ford Escort 15F 14m 17s
28 John Usher Brian Usher Ford Escort 16F 22m 19s
29 Dai Bevan Owen Dodd Ford Escort 18F 7m 54s
30 Robert Carr Gavin Davies Ford Escort 20F 29m 45s
31 Pete Cotton Dave Pitchford Ford Escort 27F 10m 18s
32 William Johnson Justin Thomas Ford Escort 46F 62m 07s
33 Ian Elias Joel Haycock Ford Escort 101F 14m 51s