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Night Owl Rally 1996

Sponsored by Packaging Plus

Aberystwyth & District Motor Club

27th/28th April 1996

Clerk of the Course: Keith Morgan & Haydn Williams

Route: 130 Miles

Maps: 135

Starters: 70

Winners: Graham Evans/Ian Mills (Opel Manta)

Graham Evans/Ian Mills took their Manta to a close fought victory on Aberyswyth MC's Packaging Plus Night Owl Rally. They emerged at the front after what had been a four way battle for the lead for most of the event. For the navigator it was a maiden win, however for Evans it was his second road rally victory as a driver - his previous success being on the 1978 Gemini Rally.

Night Owl 1996

The organiser's had laid out a compact 140 mile route never venturing more than ten miles from its base at Aberyswyth. After taking in the extreme south west corner of Map 135, the route moved, after the petrol halt, back east to Ponterwyd, before heading back to the coast via the Pendam area. It was split into nine sections, all timed to the second and just for good measure three in the first half also had Intermediate Controls. A straight forward plot 'n bash format was used, with route hand outs at the start of each section. Unusually for Welsh rallying two route cards had letter codes disguising the references.

A number of crews were soon in trouble as they ran into a blackspot in Trebenter village. Those affected included 'Steaky'/Andy Bowen (Escort 2.0) and Kevin Nunns/Dave Evison (Corolla 1.6), but most notably top seeds, Gary Davies/Neil Spiers (Escort 2.0). With three fails for the first offence Davies/Spiers continued, however early in the second half they picked up a further fail for a wrong approach and decided to retire. Despite this they, very sportingly, continued as course opening car after the two official cars hit problems.

With all crews dropping time on the second section, Arwyn Thomas/Shaun O'Gorman (Escort) found themselves leading by 14 seconds from the eventual winners, with the Peugeot 205 of Alan Guant/Dorian Evans over a minute behind. However by the petrol halt Guant/Evans had taken the lead with a 3 second advantage over Thomas/O'Gorman; Evans/Mills were now a minute down, with the Sierra of Hefin Lewis/Deinan Rees only 11 seconds behind.

These positions remained the same, with the margins varying only fractionally, over the next four tests. The result was that by the start of the penultimate selective the top four were covered by less than a minute. It was to prove a decisive section; it took in thirteen miles over Pendam. At the first Passage Control there was a route amendment referring to the segment immediately following the control - this caused some problems for a number of crews. It was Evans/Mills who emerged fastest dropping 3m 02s, enough to give them a fifty second lead over Lewis/Rees' Sierra. Gaunt/Evans were two and a half minutes back and dropped to fourth behind Cyril Crook/Chris Ware (Sunbeam 2.1) who were second fastest. Worse affected however were Thomas/O'Gorman who lost over twenty minutes and plummeted to eighth. With only a short, easily cleanable, final section to complete the rally, these were to be the positions at the finish.

A number of crews missed out on possible good results with minor slip ups. Former West Midland Champions, Nigel Hall/Dave Pitchford (Escort 2.0), teamed up for the first time in the season, and would have finished second but missed a passage control on the second section. While Nigel Thomas/Phil Stocking (Escort 2.0), Nigel Lloyd/Iestyn Leyshon (Escort 2.0) and Mark Robinson/Steve Durbin (Cavalier SRi) all picked up wrong approaches at the triangle control at TC8.

The Semi-Expert Class and 10th overall was taken by Richard Roe/Dave Sillars (Sunbeam), who were two minutes ahead of Gethin Lewis/Aled Jones (Escort). The Novice award went to the South Wales crew of Geraint Davies/Hywel Ifans (Sunbeam). The Production Class was won by Lampeter's Martin Whiteland/Aneurin James, who brought their huge Volvo 740T home in sixth place.


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Graham Evans Ian Mills Opel Manta 10m 08s
2 Hefin Lewis Deian Rees Ford Sierra 10m 53s
3 Cyril Crook Chris Ware Talbot Sunbeam 11m 37s
4 Alan Gaunt Dorian Evans Peugeot 205 11m 40s
5 Simon Maczack Dai Richards Ford Escort 15m 03s
6 Martin Whiteland Aneurin James Volvo 740T 23m 04s
7 Gary Robbins Eurig Evans Vauxhall Astra GTE 25m 20s
8 Arwyn Thomas Shaun O'Gorman Ford Escort 27m 42s
9 Gareth Jenkins Carl Williamson Opel Ascona 35m 31s
10 Richard Roe Dave Sillars Talbot Sunbeam 37m 38s
11 Gethin Lewis Aled Jones Ford Escort RS 39m 48s
12 Hefin George Dilwyn John Mazda 323 Turbo 48m 36s
13 Llion Rees Mark Lloyd Ford Escort 53m 55s
14 Glan Habard TBA Ford Escort 54m 30s
15 Nigel Hall Dave Pitchford Ford Escort 1F 10m 38s
16 Nigel Lloyd Iestyn Leyshon Ford Escort 1F 19m 10s
17 Nigel Thomas Phil Stocking Ford Escort 1F 22m 32s
18 Richard 'Tyson' Morris Owen Dodd Toyota Corolla 1F 24m 46s
19 Brian Davies Jason Brown Ford Escort 1F 27m 32s
20 Gary Tabias Jon Stobbs Hyundai Pony 1F 28m 17s
21 Simon Stock Patrick Walsh Ford Escort XR3i 1F 34m 35s
22 Gareth Evans Dylan Evans Ford Escort 1F 40m 44s
23 Graham Evans Mark Hill Ford Escort 1F 46m 26s
24 Nick Evans Alan Hands Ford Escort 1F 52m 22s
25 Dave Boucher Stephanie Lomax BL Mini 1F 88m 56s
26 Gareth Jones Andrew Perry Ford Escort 2F 30m 50s
27 M D Williams M J Morgan Opel Manta 2F 30m 56s
28 Simon Price Alan Lovett Ford Escort 2F 39m 18s
29 Mark Robinson Steve Durbin Vauxhall Cavalier SRi 2F 40m 49s
30 John Evans Gary James Opel Ascona 2F 54m 33s
31 Mark Daniel Lorian Thomas Ford Escort 3F 44m 20s
32 Jon Ross Steve Quine Ford Escort 3F 48m 17s
33 Gareth Lloyd TBA Ford Escort 4F 13m 48s
34 Kevin 'Steaky' Morgan Andy Bowen Ford Escort Van 4F 15m 26s
35 John Jones Chris Rowlands Renault 11 Turbo 5F 45m 47s
36 David Manning Peter Manning Ford Escort 7F 50m 54s
37 David Wilmer Darren Morris Ford Escort 7F 53m 14s
38 Cyril Jones Mike Daska Ford Escort 9F 38m 47s
39 Stuart Martin Michael Roach Austin Mini 11F 68m 51s

CLASS 3 RESULTS - Not eligible for overall positions due to a shorter route

Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Geraint Davies Hywel Ifans Talbot Sunbeam 3F 82m 38s
2 Gareth Liles Rhian Liles Ford Fiesta 3F 105m 06s
3 Dylan Parry Meirion Williams Ford Escort 4F 59m 48s
4 Peter Cook Adrian Bachelor Opel Ascona 13F 95m 40s
5 Huw Evans Paul Yates Ford Escort XR3 23F 66m 22s