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Valley Services Rally 1996

Sponsored by Valley Services, Llandysul

Llandysul Motor Club

17th/18th August 1996

Clerk of the Course: Andrew Thomson

Route: 135 Miles

Maps: 145 & 146

Starters: 90

Winners: Geraint Davies/Emyr Jones (Toyota Corolla)

Geraint Davies/Emyr Jones emerged as winners of Llandysul MC's Valley Services Rally, the seventh round of the WAMC Road Rally championship. Their victory came after a steady run which saw them finish three minutes clear of their nearest rivals, Elgan Jones/Byron Jones. However for most crews it was a difficult night as the tough nature of the event took it's toll, of the 90 starters only 37 made it to the finish.

Valley Services Rally 1996

The K&N Filter Controversy

Two Toyota Corollas were excluded at scrutineering for the Valley Services Rally, the event had scheduled to be the seventh round of the Welsh Championship. The issue involved the fitting of K&N air filters on the Corollas. The scrutineers felt that the change controvened those regulating Standard Production vehicles - the Toyota's were governed by these rules as their twin cam engine excluded them competing in the open class on road rallies.

The Standard Production Car regulations allowed for the air filter to be modified. The two crews had, quite legally, fitted a non-standard K&N Filter, however the Valley Services' scrutineers were unhappy with some aspects of the fitting assembly, feeling that the way in which the new filter had been installed allowed a change in the air/fuel mixture from that of the standard model.

The cars affected were those of Richard Lewis/Phil Pugh and Peter Zjalic/Gerallt Davies. Having failed scrutineering, the two crews were prevented from starting the event. As the issue was a technical matter, the event stewards were not allowed to adjudicate. Additionally there was no possibility of the cars running under protest.

An appeal was submitted to the RAC MSA. A hearing was held in late October. The RAC tribunal backed the two Corolla crews. It highlighted the fact that the regulation in question referred to the whole air filter element and not just the air filter itself. Evidence was also supplied by Toyota that the removal of the standard unit hadn't affected the emission control equipment on the induction.

The successful appeal meant that, because key contenders had been incorrectly stopped from competing, the Valley Services was dropped from the Welsh Championship.

The popularity of road rallying in West Wales was demonstrated by the fact that the 90 car entry was filled within a week of opening and this was over two months before the rally actually took place.

There was controversy before the start when championship hopefuls and the winners of three previous rounds, Richard Lewis/Phil Pugh, found that their Corolla, along with that of Peter Zjalic, failed scrutineering. An appeal to the Stewards was rejected and so the matter was passed to an MSA Tribunal which found in favour of Lewis and Zjalic. This finding meant that the Valley Services was excluded from the Welsh Championship [See Side Bar].

Clerk of the Course, Andrew Thomson, had laid out a demanding test for the competitors, the 122 mile route used a large proportion of whites many of them very difficult to locate, most crews reported difficulties finding the entrance to least one track. The only comfort for the entrants was that the whole route card was given out at the first control and, after a initial three mile section, they were given a generous amount of time to plot the rest before the start of the second test.

Significantly fifteen crews failed to make it that far. Most notably the Pedley brothers whose Avenger had a half shaft fail only half a mile into the event, similarly Sarah Harmer/Pat Gadsby had a drive shaft fail on their MG Maestro. Those that survived had four standard sections to face in the area to the north of Newcastle Emlyn before returning for petrol at Llandysul. At the halfway halt it was found that Cefin Evans/Dyfan Davies, seeded at 22 in their Corolla, had a 40 second lead. They had this lead cut to only two seconds on the section after the halt, however on the seventh test they wrong sloted dropped six minutes after investigating an incorrect white; they eventually finished eighth.

Immediately after petrol crews were faced with a six mile regularity section; there was a secret intermediate check but crews were allowed to stop in sight of it and were only timed on their entry to it. This control saw many crews clean, with most others losing only a few seconds. Despite an average speed of 28 mph most competitors lost time from the ITC to the end of the section as it used one of the difficult to find whites.

Most of this was irrelevant for Dennis Quinn/Nick Darkin as they booked in early at the section start, the resultant fail dropping them way down the order, they eventually finished in 22nd place.

Interestingly an attempt was made to get the control scrubbed due to the fact that the time allowed from MC3 at the petrol halt to the start TC was only three minutes, thus meaning that the two controls must have been less than two miles apart - this contravenes RAC Regulations. However the protest was thrown out because the control was on private land and wasn't therefore covered by that rule.

The rest of the second half took crews south to the Brechfa area and then back to the lanes and tracks surrounding Newcastle Emlyn. It was over these sections that Davies/Jones steered their Corolla to a comfortable win. Elgan Jones/Byron Jones were second, although they had originally been given a fail for a wrong approach at one control - they were not alone in this. It was then was discovered that the offending control had in fact been 400 yards off plot, all penalties for it were therefore ignored.

Third, after a clear run, were Mark Jukes/Jon Stubbs, while fourth were Baron Glaze/Dave Pitchford. They had a survived an early scare when their battery seemed to be ready to fail. The result appeared to be a major boost to their Welsh Championship hopes; Glaze had now finished all seven rounds and has a commanding lead in the driver's table, while Pitchford moved into second place in the navigator's league. Of course, this became irrelevant when the Valley Services was later dropped from the series because of the exclusions at Scrutineering.

Wyn Jones/Phil Clarke (Ford Escort) finished in 13th place, their lowly result was due to clutch problems which cost them ten minutes near the end. Paul Holmberg, partnered by Maurice Leach, failed to finish his first rally in 40 starts, as he was among eleven crews excluded for give way offences on the penultimate section. Welsh Border Car Club members seemed to be particularly affected by these exclusions, as Cyril Crook/Chris Ware (Talbot Sunbeam), John Jones/Chris Rowlands (Renault 11)and Richard Roe/Dave Sillars (Talbot Sunbeam) also fell foul of the DSOs.

Fifth overall went to the winners of the Semi-Expert class Wyn Owens/Hefin Owens. While the first novices appearred at sixth overall, these were the Teify Valley crew of Anthony Reynolds/Alan Davies.


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Geraint Davies Emyr Jones Toyota Corolla 2m 04s
2 Elgan Jones Byron Jones Vauxhall Astra GTE 5m 12s
3 Mark Jukes Jon Stobbs Toyota Corolla 5m 25s
4 Baron Glaze Dave Pitchford Ford Escort 6m 50s
5 Wyn Owens Hefin Owens Ford Escort 8m 09s
6 Jonathan Hands Rob Duke Vauxhall Chevette 8m 21s
7 Anthony Reynolds Alan Davies Toyota Corolla 8m 28s
8 Cefin Evans Dyfan Davies Ford Escort 8m 43s
9 Arwyn Thomas Andy Bowen Ford Escort 9m 34s
10 Alan Gaunt Dorian Evans Peugeot 205 12m 02s
11 Dave Davies Owen Dodd Vauxhall Cavalier SRi 12m 57s
12 Mario Mangano Steve Weston Fiat Strada 18m 20s
13 Wyn Jones Phil Clarke Ford Escort 18m 47s
14 Llion Rhys Mark Lloyd Ford Escort 20m 13s
15 Carwyn Jones Dalis Ifans Ford Escort RS2000 30m 27s
16 Roger Harris Jane Harris Opel Manta 35m 10s
17 Stephen Williams Ian Taylor Talbot Sunbeam Ti 36m 51s
18 Gareth Morgan Carl Williamson Skoda 120RS 41m 04s
19 Geraint Jones Hywel Ifans Talbot Sunbeam 73m 47s
20 Andrew Lewis Dave Howells Ford EScort RS2000 102m 04s
21 Robert Fearn Brian Jenkins Ford Escort RS2000 109m 13s
22 Dennis Quinn Nick Darkin Ford Escort 1F 8m 39s
23 Nigel Lloyd Iestyn Leyshon Ford Escort RS2000 1F 31m 32s
24 Gareth Evans Dylan Evans Ford Escort RS2000 1F 90m 06s
25 Glan Harbud Deian Rees Ford Escort 2F 21m 01s
26 Jim Pritchard Garyl Evans Ford Escort 3F 19m 12s
27 Huw Davies Gary Hazelby Mitsubishi Colt 3F 21m 05s
28 Kath Rumney Arfon Jones Ford Escort 3F 177m 19s
29 Hefin Evans Howell Davies Ford Escort RS2100 4F 62m 44s
30 Tony Watkins Medwyn Evans Mini 1275GT 4F 77m 28s
31 Vince Davies Aled Jones Vauxhall Astra 5F 134m 20s
32 Neil Griffiths Darren Miles Ford Escort RS2100 7F 112m 57s
33 John Evans Eurig Evans Hillman Avenger 9F 107m 00s
34 Dai Wilmer Darren Morris Ford Escort 11F 334m 40s
35 Matthew Waner Dylan Hughes Opel Manta 16F 145m 18s
36 Martin Ellaway Matthew Farr Ford Escort 19F 335m 32s
37 Kim Turk Beth Evans Ford Escort RS2000 21F 230m 11s