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Pacemaker Rally 1996

Sponsored by Presteign Tyre Services

Knighton Motor Club

18th/19th May 1996

Clerk of the Course: Alan Jones & Mike Hart

Route: 110 Miles

Maps: 137 & 148

Starters: 60

Winners: Dennis Quinn/Nick Darkin (Ford Escort 2.2)

Dennis Quinn and Nick Darkin took a second consecutive Welsh Championship win on Knighton Motor Club's Presteigne Tyre Services Pacemaker Rally. However their margin of victory couldn't have been smaller; after a route that took in 110 miles of Welsh border lanes Wyn Jones/Phil Clark were only one second behind at the finish. These crews survived a night of torrential rain, and at times even snow, while other possible challengers exited the rally after off road excursions.

Pacemaker Rally 1996

The Pacemaker, the fifth round of the Welsh Championship, started at Bengry's Car Auctions near Leominster before taking a broad clockwise sweep through the border areas of Herefordshire, Powys and Shropshire, with the finish at Presteigne. The route was split into six sections, each with at least one Intermediate Time Control. All sections used plot 'n bash navigation with six figure map references to define the route. To ensure a result the organisers had taken advantages of the large number of slow twisting lanes available to them in their area and had avoided using any fast roads on competitive sections.

The early pace setters and the leaders at Petrol were Cyril Crook/Chris Ware (Talbot Sunbeam); they had cleaned what was supposed to have been the tie break second selective but dropped a minute in the wet conditions on the third section, which used the whites to the east of Radnor Forest. However they lost their lead and dropped to fourth when they suffered a puncture on the fifth section. They then went out of the rally altogether when they slid off the road on a tightening right hander and hit a solid post only five miles from the end.

Two other leading crews had already suffered a similar fate in the first half: John Evans/Deian Rees (Hillman Avenger) had slipped off the road early on, while top seeds Malcolm Walters/Lee Ellis (Ford Escort G3) had dropped into a stream on the very slippery third section; it took two tractors to recover the car. None of the crews were injured and all cars suffered little more than superficial damage.

At halfway three crews had been very close to Crook/Ware; only a second behind them were Jon Gwillyn/Byron Jones (Ford Escort), however on the first section after petrol their car became wedged on a rock, which lifted the rear wheels off the ground. This left them blocking the road. It was only with the arrival and assistance of the following Jones/Clark that they managed to get free. They survived to take third, three minutes down on the leaders and a similar margin ahead of Paul Holmberg/Maurice Leach (Ford Escort), who recovered from a bad start, when they lost three minutes with a wrong slot, to finish fourth.

Quinn/Darkin (Ford Escort 2.2) had been a minute off the lead at Petrol, with Jones/Clark (Ford Escort 2.0) just that vital second behind. With both dropping five minutes in the second half, that was the way it was to stay; Jones/Clark were obviously frustrated by the time lost moving Gwillym's Escort out of the way. The result moves Jones up to third place in the Drivers' Championship. Baron Glaze, although only finishing a disappointing 13th, takes the lead of the title race, with Holmberg only eight points behind. Dave Pitchford, who non-started the event, still leads the navigators' table, with Clark moving up to share second place with the absentee Phil Pugh. This left Clark and Pugh only one point behind Pitchford.

The Under 1400 Award was taken by Clive Pugh/Ian Mills, who brought their Skoda Favorit into fifth place on what was the driver's first ever event. Sixth placed Mark Jukes/Jon Stobbs won the Standard Production Class in their Toyota Corolla. The only Semi-Expert crew to finish fail free, and therefore winning the class, were Robert Fearn/Brian Jenkins (Ford Escort). While past West Midlands' Driver's Champion Nigel Hall swapped seats and navigated Frank Burton to victory in the Novice Class.


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Dennis Quinn Nick Darkin Ford Escort 7m 00s
2 Wyn Jones Phil Clark Ford Escort 7m 01s
3 Jon Gwillym Byron Jones Ford Escort 10m 01s
4 Paul Holmberg Maurice Leach Ford Escort 13m 00s
5 Clive Pugh Ian Mills Skoda Favorit 14m 15s
6 Mark Jukes Jon Stobbs Toyota Corolla 21m 00s
7 Martyn Whiteland Aneurin James Volvo 760 23m 32s
8 Chris Wilson Roger Fildes Vauxhall Astra 24m 00s
9 Richard Roe Dave Sillars Talbot Sunbeam 25m 50s
10 Paul Webb Sarah Preece VW Golf GTi 27m 01s
11 Paul Wood Neil Spiers Ford Escort 29m 55s
12 Karl Hancock Damian Cole Ford Escort XR3i 31m 00s
13 Baron Glaze Peter Davies Ford Escort 31m 38s
14 Nigel Lloyd Iestyn Leyshon Ford Escort 32m 57s
15 John Jones Chris Rowlands Renault 11 33m 23s
16 Chris Painter Steve Quine Vauxhall Nova 37m 38s
17 Sarah Harmer Pat Gadsby MG Maestro 38m 00s
18 Wayne Edwards Sharon Jarvis Ford Escort 40m 00s
19 Nigel Thomas Phil Stocking Ford Escort 44m 12s
20 Robert Fearn Brian Jenkins Ford Escort 59m 48s
21 Frank Burton Nigel Hall Ford Escort 1h 00m 55s
22 Lloyd Evans Mike Roach VW Golf GTi 1F 33m 09s
23 Jason Rees Steve Durbin Talbot Sunbeam 2F 27m 30s
24 Darren Williams Mat Morgan Vauxhall Astra 2F 48m 57s
25 Garett Morgan Carl Williamson Skoda 120 3F 39m 30s
26 Stephen Williams Ian Taylor Talbot Sunbeam 3F 1h 1m 33s
27 Brian Davies Jason Brown Ford Escort 4F 49m 23s
28 Peter Cook Phil Ralphs Opel Ascona 4F 1h 7m 49s
29 Jon Ross Dave Stocking Ford Escort 8F 49m 36s
30 Gareth Jones Andrew Perry Toyota Corolla 9F 1h 11m 54s
31 Brian Spurr Jim Clarke Ford Escort 12F 1h 3m 37s
32 Brian Jones Nigel Roberts Ford Escort 14F 50m 09s
33 Paul Boxall Jon Dunson Ford Fiesta 14F 1h 16m 58s
34 Geraint Davies Emyr Jones Toyota Corolla 17F 1h 2m 57s
35 Alan Thompson Neil Boyd Toyota Corolla 17F 1h 14m 19s
36 Wayne Morris Steve Holder Ford Escort 21F 1h 2m 26s
37 Simon Price Alan Lovett Ford Escort 22F 34m 02s
38 David Wilmer Darren Morris Ford Escort 24F 1h 2m 27s
39 Steven Hilditch Paul Hughes Rover Metro 29F 47m 00s