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Rali Cilwendeg - The MN Championship Years 1968 to 1987

First published in the 2010 Rali Cilwendeg 50th Anniversary Programme

For twenty years the Cilwendeg was a round of the Motoring News Road Rally Championship, the most prestigious competition that the sport has known. And for most of that time it was acknowledged as the premier event in the country. It was the only rally to have been a round of the championship for every year from 1968 to the demise of the series in 1987.

Cilwendeg 2010

The Cilwendeg’s inclusion in the MN Championship may have started a year earlier than it did; it had been considered as a round in 1967 but wasn’t selected as it clashed with the Morecambe Rally, which was already well established in the competition.

The 1968 event was therefore the first encounter that most MN regulars had with the Cilwendeg. The elements that would make the rally famous were already there: the start at the Newcastle Emlyn Mart; the huge number of spectators and an intricate route in the maze of lanes of West Wales. The rally was led for most of the distance by the Lotus Cortina of Chris Benyon/John Henderson, however they suffered a head gasket failure on the final section and had to be towed to the finish. Their misfortune allowed Colin Malkin/John Brown through to take victory in their Sunbeam Imp. This crew went on to win the MN Championship that year having won six of the 17 rounds. In his Autosport report Norman Salt wrote of the rally: “The club are to be complimented on a very good, no-nonsense event and competitors will no doubt oversubscribe next year’s Cilwendeg”.

1968 Results: 1 C Malkin/C R J Brown (Sunbeam Imp) 205pts; 2 R Cooper/I Cooper (Lotus Cortina) 338pts; 3 R Fidler/B Hughes (Triumph 2000) 365pts; 4 J Bullough/D Barrow (Ford Escort TC) 389pts; 5 R Bean/C Nash (Lotus Cortina) 452pts; 6 A King/N Salt (Lotus Cortina) 458pts; 7 R Hudson-Evans/M Hayward (Mini Cooper S) 1357pts; 8 C Benyon/J Henderson (Lotus Cortina) 1569pts; 9 T Rickards/C Francis (Mini Cooper S) 1640pts; 10 P Hughes/I Jones (Ford Escort TC) 1780pts.

The Cilwendeg route ventured as far North as the Abergwesyn Pass in 1969, with Petrol at Llangamarch Wells. The rally belonged to John Bloxham/Richard Harper. They were 39 seconds faster than any other crew over Abergwesyn and held a six minute lead by Petrol. This was extended to 10 minutes at the Finish. Nigel Rockey held second place until an off on the Viaduct road North of Cynghordy put him out. Colin Malkin/John Morgan were going well in their Lancia Fulvia before a conrod pushed its way through the block. Once again the rally was well received. Martin Holmes, in his Autosport report, said: “….. the route was a pleasure to experience, a long, hard grind past well-primed inhabitants” …. “the pressure of the Cilwendeg put the event into the unforgettable class.”

Cilwendeg 1969

1969 Results: 1 J Bloxham/R Harper (Ford Escort TC) 22m35s; 2 J Russell/P Valentine (Porsche 911) 32m05s; 3 F Pierson/C Francis (Lotus Cortina) 36m20s; 4 G Frickel/M Winrow (Ford Cortina V4) 40m33s; 5 A Dawson/M Lindsay-Jones (Hillman Imp Sport) 49m41s; 6 R Platt/M Whetton (Ford Cortina GT) 56m15s; 7 R Hudson-Evans/M V W Holmes (Mini Cooper S) 56m33s; 8 D Cardell/A Hobbs (Mini Cooper S) 58m53s; 9 R Badham/D Tucker (Hillman Rallye Imp) 59m57s; 10 C Beynon/T Vaux (Ford Escort TC) 60m02s.

By 1970 the Cilwendeg was accepted as one of the best Welsh events. The rally turned out to be a triumph for the Mini Cooper S. However it was the Escort TC of Ian Harwood/Martin Holmes that led initially, but they were to retire later on with broken steering. Will Sparrow/Nigel Raeburn moved into the lead after the third selective, a lead they weren’t to lose. Frank Pierson/Colin Francis pushed the Mini crew hard in their Escort TC until a slipping clutch slowed them; they eventually finished in sixth place. Jim Bullough/Don Barrow were going well when they holed the gearbox casing on their Escort TC. Also on the retirement list were Dave Sutton/John Taylor, who were forced out with throttle problems.

Sparrow/Raeburn led home a Mini 1-2-3 with Bob Lawrence/Dave Stephenson in second in their ex-works example. Phil Cooper/John Brown were third but might have been higher if they hadn’t encountered severe brake problems. Brian Dennis/John Payne, who took fastest time on the last selective, finished in fifth in their Cooper S. Less fortunate were Denis Cardell/Richard Harper who rolled their Mini near the end of the rally.

Cilwendeg 1970

1970 Results: 1 W Sparrow/N Raeburn (1340 Cooper S) 21m24s; 2 R Lawrence/D Stephenson (1293 Cooper S) 23m15s; 3 P Cooper/J Brown (1293 Cooper S) 25m02s; 4 C Beynon/L Andrews (Ford Escort TC) 25m53s; 5 B Dennis/J Payne (1310 Cooper S) 27m15s; 6 F Pierson/C Francis (Ford Escort TC) 28m05s; 7 E Davies/W Thomas (1275 Cooper S) 28m49s; 8 J Price/J Griffiths (Ford Escort TC) 29m13s; 9 A Thick/J Tolson (1293 Cooper S) 35m21s; 10 P Clarke/J Smith (Ford Escort TC) 36m05s.

After a Mini whitewash the previous year, the 1971 Cilwendeg saw Escorts to the fore. The rally turned out to be a battle between Harold Morley/Pete Bryant and Jimmy Bullough/Don Barrow. However at the finish both crews were initially given fails for alterations on their time cards. When the relevant check sheets were reviewed it was shown that the change on Bryant’s time card was valid, their fail was lifted and they took their first Championship win.

George Hill/Keith Wood took second place on a furthest clean tie break from Eric Davies/Alan Jones. Hill had led at Petrol but then lost time after going off. The Mini of Will Sparrow/Nigel Raeburn went out with gearbox selector problems, while the similar car of Russell Brookes/Martin Holmes retired with a misfire.

Cilwendeg 1971

1971 Results: 1 H Morley/P Bryant (Ford Escort RS1600) 2049; 2 G Hill/K Wood (Ford Escort TC) 2076; 3 E Davies/A Jones (Mini GT) 2076; 4 C Beynon/L Andrews (Ford Capri 3000) 2231; 5 L Jones/R Jones (Ford Escort TC) 2460; 6 M Briant/D Close (Ford Escort TC) 2587; 7 J Price/J Payne (Ford Escort GT) 2636; 8 J Williams/J Henderson (Ford Escort TC) 2673; 9 J Edwards-Parton/D Taylor (Ford Anglia GT) 2761; 10 B Bennett/S Harrold (Ford Escort TC).

The 12th running of the rally in 1972 saw a win for Frank Pierson/Colin Francis, the navigator having competed on every Cilwendeg Rally up to that point. The crew had been the only ones to clean the first selective and finished the rally almost a minute ahead of the field. Laurie Richards/John Henderson finished second despite the driver struggling with a broken arm which meant he couldn’t use the handbrake. They would have won but picked up an unnecessary one minute penalty after cleaning an early section and waiting too long for their time.

Will Sparrow/Nigel Raeburn took third. They had been stopped for nine minutes at one point repairing a broken throttle cable but were fortunate that the section was later scrubbed due to a faulty clock. Top seeds Harold Morley/Pete Bryant had been in the lead but were forced to cut route in the second half after their Escort encountered engine problems.

Cilwendeg 1972

1972 Results: F Pierson/C Francis (Ford Escort RS1600) 32m47s; 2 L Richards/J Henderson (Ford Escort RS1600) 33m23s; 3 W Sparrow/N Raeburn (Vauxhall Firenza) 34m48s; 4 P Faulkner/M Holmes (Ford Escort RS1600) 36m54s; 5 N Rockey/P White (Ford Escort Mexico) 37m37s; 6 M Clark/C Plummer (Ford Escort TC) 41m48s; 7 K Videan/R Palmer (Ford Escort RS1600) 37m08s; 8 J Dodd/C Bevan (Ford Escort RS1600) 46m11s; 9 T Seal/M Nicholson (Mini Cooper S) 47m00s; 10 A Jenkins/L Jenkins (Ford Escort Mexico) 47m59s.

The Motoring News report for the 1973 Cilwendeg included the statement: “The Cilwendeg is a unique event even amongst the quality of current Welsh events. With its start venue, its atmosphere, the sheer number of spectators and its tight, twisty route it represents all that those who love tarmac rallying look for in an event”.

The rally, which in the later stages was run in heavy rain, was won by Nigel Rockey/Paul White, who finished six minutes ahead of the Mexico of Russell Brookes/John Brown. Dai Roderick/Mike Woodward ended their rally when they crashed out in a farmyard landing in a pool of slurry. Class B was won by the Mini of Terry Kaby/Terry Hughes.

Cilwendeg 1973

1973 Results: N Rockey/P White (Ford Escort RS1700) 36m51s; 2 R Brookes/J Brown (Ford Escort Mexico) 42m55s; 3 M Clark/D Stephenson (Ford Escort RS1700) 45m06s; 4 K Videan/P Valentine (Datsun 240Z) 48m13s; 5 B Bean/A Greenwood (Ford Escort Mexico) 51m19s; 6 C Beynon/L Andrews (Ford Escort TC) 51m32s; 7 R Davies/J Morgan (Ford Escort RS1600) 53m42s; 8 J Edwards-Parton/D Davidson (Ford Escort Mexico) 56m46s; 9 A Conley/M Holmes (Clan Crusader) 57m43s; F Pierson/C Francis (Vauxhall Viva 2.3) 58m35s.

George Hill/Keith Wood had a bad start to the 1974 Cilwendeg when they picked up a puncture and lost 5 minutes as a result, the car then developed a water leak. Despite these dramas they came back to take the win. Long time leaders John Edwards-Parton/Don Davidson came in second in front of Mick Briant/John McKerrell who lost two minutes with a wrong slot in the latter stages.

Don Kettleborough/Dennis Osborne surprised many by getting their Allegro into the top ten before they went out after getting bogged down in a muddy field.

Cilwendeg 1974

1974 Results: G Hill/K Wood (Vauxhall Firenza 2.3) 46m38s; 2 J Edwards-Parton/D Davidson (Ford Escort BDA) 47m03s; 3 M Briant/J McKerrell (Ford Escort RS2000) 48m46s; 4 R Shipp/D Whitely (Vauxhall Firenza 2.3) 50m48s; 5 B Gwynne/T Thorpe (Ford Escort BDA) 51m34s; 6 T Cowell/J Chitty (Ford Escort RS2000) 52m53s; 7 C Bolton/D Stephenson (Mini 1500) 53m06s; 8 F Pierson/C Francis (Ford Escort BDA) 56m10s; 9 B Roe/P Forrester (Ford Escort Mexico) 59m28s; 10 J Griffiths/J Bowie (Avenger Tiger) 62m19s.

Motoring News described the 1975 event as “a classic amongst classics .…… It was without doubt the best Cilwendeg ever and possibly the best Championship round for many years”. This was achieved despite the two Clerks of the Course having been involved in a car accident and hospitalised on the Thursday before the rally.

Dai Roderick/Derek Tucker took victory but only after having to siphon petrol from Cyril Bolton’s Mini, their Escort having run out of fuel at one point. Kevin Videan/Pete Valentine took the runner up spot in their big Datsun 240Z, they had been in third at Petrol but moved up a place after a combination of a late call and brake problems saw Mick Briant/John McKerrell go off into a ditch.

1975 Results: 1 D Roderick/D Tucker (Ford Escort RS1800) 58m08s; 2 K Videan/P Valentine (Datsun 240Z) 61m53s; 3 B Gwynne/T Thorp (Ford Escort RS1800) 65m41s; 4 C Bolton/P White (Mini) 66m17s; 5 E Davies/K Wood (Ford Escort RS1600) 67m41s; 6 H Davies/P Jones (Ford Escort RS2000) 68m35s; 7 M Briant/J McKerrell (Ford Escort RS2000) 69m17s; 8 T Cowell/J Chitty (Ford Escort RS2000) 71m59s; 9 J Griffiths/J Bowie (Ford Escort RS1700) 73m02s; 10 G Hathway/J Robinson (Opel Ascona) 73m09s.

“For me this is the fulfilment of an ambition. Ever since I started rallying I have wanted to win the Cilwendeg,” so said David Taylor after he’d navigated Mike Pattison to victory on the 1976 event. Once again the rally had been affected by severe weather with gales and heavy rain. For most of the night it looked as if Eric Davies/David Jones, a former C-of-C, would take the win but a seized engine put them out on the final section. Pattison had gone off early on and bent a TCA, he contended with odd steering until Petrol when, with the assistance of a Armco post and a tow rope, the offending part was straightened.

Cilwendeg 1976

1976 Results: 1 M Pattison/D Taylor (Ford Escort RS) 55m33s; 2 T Brown/J McKerrell (Ford Escort RS) 56m14s; 3 S Courtney/P Watts (Ford Escort RS) 57m30s; 4 C Bolton/N Raeburn (Mini) 58m14s; 5 M Briant/D Kirkham (Ford Escort RS) 59m37s; 6 H Davies/P Jones (Ford Escort RS) 59m53s; 7 P Gerbez/D Osborne (Ford Escort RS) 64m35s; 8 B Roe/P Forrester (Ford Escort RS) 66m49s; 9 J Edwards-Parton/K Wood (Ford Escort RS1700) 66m58s; 10 J Corner/T Thorp (Ford Escort Mexico) 67m20s.

Cilwendeg 1977

Eric Davies/David Jones made up for their disappointment the previous year by finally winning in 1977, the first local win since the Cilwendeg joined the Championship. Danny Owens/Andrew Sleeman led by five minutes at Petrol but retired later on with a broken half shaft. Mick Briant/Dave Kirkham then took the lead but a late charge by Davies/Jones saw the pair coming home three minutes clear. Fog affected much of the route and most crews reported over shots. Bill Gwynne/Steve Fellows, who had been in third, went off on the last section, they hit a tree and were out of the rally. Ron Beecroft/John Millington finished third after suffering from a misfiring engine for most of the second half.

1977 Results: 1 E Davies/D Jones (Ford Escort RS1800) 57m35s; 2 M Briant/D Kirkham (Ford Escort RS1800) 60m19s; 3 R Beecroft/J Millington (Ford Escort RS2000) 65m08s; 4 G Kitney/A McCann (Ford Escort RS2000) 66m24s; 5 P Gerbez/D Osborne (Ford Escort RS1700) 66m59s; 6 G Davies/P Jones (Ford Escort RS2000) 69m30s; 7 J Griffiths/J Bowie (Hillman Avenger GT) 75m34s; 8 A Murphy/B Hill (Ford Escort RS2000) 76m07s; 9 R Young/P Forrester (Ford Escort RS1700) 77m19s; 10 G Stone/B Malynn (Saab 96) 79m19s.

Cilwendeg 1978

The local win in 1977 was followed by another in 1978 when Gwyndaf Evans/Martin Thomas took first place in their RS2000. Eric Davies/David Jones were less fortunate retiring their 2.3 Vauxhall Chevette when a propshaft mounting broke. Evans/Thomas led all the way but were chased hard by Mick Briant/Dave Kirkham and Bill Gwynne/Terry Thorp. These three crews being well clear of the rest of the field all night.

Lawrence Jones/Peter Watts were in fourth place when they went off a track into a field, they were still trying to get out when Ted Cowell/Pete Forrester arrived on the scene and crashed into the rear of their car. Cowell/Forrester were eliminated on the spot but Jones/Watts continued and retained their fourth place.

Chris Evans/Haydn James, competing on their first rally, won the Novice Class and even took second fastest time on Selective 2 which passed their homes.

1978 Results: 1 G Evans/M Thomas (Ford Escort RS2000) 66m12s; 2 M Briant/D Kirkham (Ford Escort RS2000) 69m44s; 3 B Gwynne/T Thorp (Ford Escort RS2000) 69m55s; 4 L Jones/P Watts (Ford Escort RS2000) 75m48s; 5 H Davies/P Jones (Ford Escort RS2000) 77m42s; 6 T Bengry/P Watkins (Ford Escort RS1700) 84m39s; 7 G Kitney/A McCann (Ford Escort RS2000) 86m29s; 8 N Jones/H Davies (Ford Escort RS2000) 80m09s; 9 D Owens/L Vincent (Ford Escort RS2000) 90m20s; 10 K Edwards/P Rushforth (Ford Escort) 92m00s.

Since its inception the Cilwendeg had run in early September, however in 1979 a fuel crisis caused by a tankers driver strike saw the rally postponed from its planned September date to November, where it remained for the next decade.

The delayed Cilwendeg saw victory going to the fearsome TR7 V8 of Neil Jones/Peter Watts. Danny Owens/Andrew Sleeman repeated their performance of two years previous, where they led at the first petrol halt, they had been passed by Jones/Watts by the second halt but then went out when their Escort’s engine blew.

Mick Briant/Dave Kirkham took the runner up spot for the third year in succession. They had spent a worrying time in the middle of the rally when the oil light on their Sunbeam flickered on and off but the fault rectified itself before the end. Bill Gwynne/Paul Watkins were one of 28 crews to initially be given a fail for a WD from a PC, this was quashed after an appeal to the Stewards at the Finish but the time lost in the incident meant that they finished just behind Championship rivals Briant and Kirkham.

Cilwendeg 1979

1979 Results: 1 N Jones/P Watts (Triumph TR7 V8) 29m31s; 2 M Briant/D Kirkham (Lotus Sunbeam) 31m40s; 3 B Gwynne/P Watkins (Ford Escort RS2000) 31m49s; 4 H Morley/N Raeburn (Ford Escort RS2000) 33m59s; 5 E Davies/D Jones (Vauxhall Chevette 2.3) 34m09s; 6 S Hill/D Taylor (Ford Escort RS2000) 36m07s; 7 J Bloxham/R Harper (Fiat 131) 39m37s; 8 R Moran/S Potter (Ford Escort RS2000) 40m30s; 9 T Cowell/J McKerrell (Ford Escort RS2000) 44m20s; 10 G Jones/P Cracknell (Hillman Avenger) 46m45s.

The 1980 Cilwendeg ended in controversy, the decision on the winner being made by an RAC Tribunal. Mick Briant/Dave Kirkham would have won the rally but were awarded a fail for having initially driven through a TC without stopping and then doubling back to get a time – a fail was given for visiting the control twice. Briant took the matter to the RAC claiming that the control was at the incorrect location. The Tribunal found that the reference provided was within the tolerance allowed, thus Theo Bengry/Andrew Sleeman were confirmed as winners.

Bengry/Sleeman had been slowed by brake problem early on but they managed to just keep ahead of Ron Beecroft/John Millington, who had suffered from a lack of lights after a heavy landing. Ian Donaldson/Barry Cooper completed a Sunbeam 1-2-3 in their left hand drive version.

Peter Vaughan had persuade Terry Harryman to compete on his first top line road rally for 16 years. Their rally ended when they rolled their Escort.

Cilwendeg 1980

1980 Results: 1 T Bengry/A Sleeman (Sunbeam 2.0) 26m40s; 2 R Beecroft/J Millington (Sunbeam Lotus) 26m45s; 3 I Donaldson/B Cooper (Sunbeam Lotus) 27m03s; 4 M Hutchinson/N Harris (Ford Escort RS2000) 28m02s; 5 M Pattison/D Taylor (Ford Escort RS2000) 30m30s; 6 R Moran/S Potter (Ford Escort RS2000) 31m02s; 7 R O’Neil/A Kay (Vauxhall Chevette) 36m42s; 8 K King/P Jones (Ford Escort RS2000) 37m16s; 9 T Cox/J Kiff (Ford Escort RS2000) 38m01s; 10 C Bowen/C Hughes (Ford Escort RS2000) 38m03s.

After several near misses Dave Kirkham finally won the Cilwendeg in 1981. Kirkham on this occasion was navigating for Peter Vaughan who had won the previous MN round, The Ides. Derek Carless/Pete Forrester had led for most of the rally but then went off in the second half, losing two minutes in the process and bending the steering. They survived to take the runner up spot in front of Ron Beecroft/John Millington, who were considered their performance ‘mediocre’. Mike Htchinson/Nigel Harris were fourth having lost five minutes with a puncture early on.

Cilwendeg 1981

1981 Results: 1 P Vaughan/D Kirkham (Ford Escort RS2000) 59m00s; 2 D Carless/P Forrester (Ford Escort RS2000) 60m19s; 3 R Beecroft/J Millington (Sunbeam 2.0) 63m37s; 4 M Hutchinson/N Harris (Ford Escort RS2000) 64m04s; 5 R Platt/R Parmley (Sunbeam) 65m51s; 6 A Williams/J Youd (Ford Escort RS2000) 66m36s; 7 E Jones/J James (Opel Kadett) 68m44s; 8 C Sissons/K Savage (Opel Kadett) 73m30s; 9 B Walker/A Tomkinson (Ford Escort RS2000) 76m24s; 10 D Welding/’Polly’ (Avenger) 79m00s.

Cilwendeg 1982

Six years after their previous victory, Mike Pattison/Dave Taylor became the first crew to win two MN Championship Cilwendegs when they secured first place on the 1982 event. Peter Vaughan/Peter Watts had led initially but went out when their Escort’s radiator was holed by a broken fan blade. Pattison/Taylor took over the lead but lost it after going off and damaging their lights. Thus Mick Briant/Andrew Sleeman hit the front until their engine went sick on the fourth selective. This allowed Pattison/Taylor back into a lead they weren’t to lose.

Derek Carless/Pete Forrester had held second for much of the rally but went out when their Escort’s diff failed in the latter stages. Roger Moran/Tony Beddoes overhauled the Ascona 400 of Theo Bengry/Paul Watkins in the last part of the rally to take second.

1982 Results: 1 M Pattison/D Taylor (Ford Escort RS) 38m06s; 2 R Moran/T Beddoes (Ford Escort RS2000) 39m42s; 3 T Bengry/P Watkins (Opel Ascona 400) 39m55s; 4 K King/P Jones (Ford Escort RS2000) 42m59s; 5 P Gerbez/G Jones (Ford Escort RS2000) 47m44s; 6 P Burke/J Kiff (Ford Escort RS2000) 47m59s; 7 B Walker/A Tomkinson (Ford Escort RS) 48m46s; 8 J Edwards-Parton/R Palmer (Talbot Sunbeam) 49m18s; 9 R Collinson/S Bye (Ford Escort RS2000) 50m51s; 10 T Hornett/D Fryer (Ford Escort RS) 54m47s.

Cilwendeg 1983

Mike Pattison/Dave Taylor repeated their success in 1983, taking their third Cilwendeg win. They were chased hard all night by Mike Hutchinson/Nigel Harris but a ten minute penalty for a Wrong Departure dropped the latter crew to fifth. Theo Bengry/Paul Watkins took second which was enough to secure the MN Championship after their only rivals Mick Briant/Dave Kirkham had hit a bank and retired. The up and coming crew of Steve Davies/Nicky Grist took third place.

Peter Vaughan/Peter Watts once again had a short rally, retiring with a broken throttle cable after only eight miles. A large number of crews, including Derek Carless/Pete Forrester, were victims of an inconsistent Judge of Fact at a Give Way.

Steve Retchless/Les Robinson took the 1300cc Class win and 13th overall.

1983 Results: 1 M Pattison/D Taylor (Ford Escort RS2000) 30m14s; 2 T Bengry/P Watkins (Opel Ascona 400) 31m05s; 3 S Davies/N Grist (Ford Escort RS2000) 37m46s; 4 J Edwards-Parton/R Palmer (Sunbeam Lotus) 39m54s; 5 M Hutchinson/N Harris (Ford Escort RS2000) 40m17s; 6 E Kitney/A Sleeman (Datsun Violet) 42m16s; 7 D Arnold/P Maynard (Ford Escort) 42m47s; 8 G Jones/T Thorp (Vauxhall Chevette) 47m25s; 9 I Woof/D Fryer (Vauxhall Chevette) 47m25s; 10 W Morris/M Kidd (Ford Escort RS2000) 47m32s.

Cilwendeg 1984

Fulfilling the predictions of many commentators, Steve Davies/Nicky Grist took first place on the 1984 Cilwendeg. Gwyndaf Evans/Edwyn Evans had led the rally until a valve spring broke just after second petrol, they cruised to the Finish but still took fourth place. Despite a wrong slot, being held up by spectator cars and having difficulty restarting the engine after it stalled, Davies/Grist secured the win.

Dave Kirkham once again took the runner up spot, navigating Steve Hill to the position on what he considered to be “one of the best rallies of all time”. Kevin King/’Polly’ survived a puncture on the last section to take third. Gearbox problems accounted for Mike Pattison/Dave Taylor and Peter Vaughan/Peter Watts.

1984 Results: S Davies/N Grist (Ford Escort RS2000) 39m11s; 2 S Hill/D Kirkham (Ford Escort RS2000) 40m12s; 3 K King/’Polly’ (Ford Escort RS2000) 40m49s; 4 G Evans/E Evans (Vauxhall Chevette) 41m40s; 5 W Morris/R Palmer (Ford Escort RS2000) 42m15s; 6 T Bengry/P Watkins (Peugeot 205 GTi) 42m54s; 7 S King/A Tomkinson (Opel Manta GTE) 43m02s; 8 N MacKinnon/D Fryer (Ford Escort RS2000) 43m56s; 9 N Wakefield/R Allan (Talbot Sunbeam) 46m03s; 10 D Arnold/B Cooper (Ford Escort RS2000) 46m18s.

Cilwendeg 1985

Steve Hill/Dave Kirkham dominated the 1985 Cilwendeg, leading from Start to Finish. The previous year’s winning driver Neil Jones, navigated on this occasion by Alan Thomas, took second, albeit three minutes behind the winners. Brian Price/Ryland James took third after a close battle with Welsh Championship rivals Will Morris/Mike Kidd, the latter having struggled with brake problems throughout most of the rally.

Ron Beecroft/John Millington had been in second when they retired with gear selector trouble in the second half, while Graham Middleton/Andrew Sleeman went out with electrical problems on the first section.

1985 Results: S Hill/D Kirkham (Ford Escort RS2000) 28m13s; 2 N Jones/A Thomas (Ford Escort RS2000) 30m57s; 3 B Price/R James (Ford Escort RS2000) 31m31s; 4 W Morris/M Kidd (Ford Escort RS2000) 34m06s; 5 D Arnold/D Chennels (Ford Escort RS2000) 35m13s; 6 K King/J Flavell (Ford Escort RS2000) 35m48s; 7 H Davies/H Lewis (Ford Escort RS2000) 38m40s; 8 T Bengry/P Watkins (Peugeot 205 GTi) 39m00s; 9 E Price/B Hill (Ford Escort RS2000) 39m13s; 10 K Middleton/W Davies (Ford Escort RS2000) 39m28s.

Cilwendeg 1986

Steve Hill/Dave Kirkham won for a second year in a row after they overcame a night long challenge from Mike Pattison to take victory on the 1986 Cilwendeg. The win also secured the pair the MN Championship after their nearest rivals, Ron Beecroft/Mike Kidd and Jon Ingram/Andrew Sleeman, both retired.

The front wheel drive category was won by the VW Golf of Phil Roach/Mike Roach as their main competitors hit problems - Steve Davies/Nicky Grist retired their Nova with a broken brake pipe and Wynne Jenkins/Phil Mills had to cut route after stopping to mend a damaged exhaust on their Samba.

1986 Results: 1 S Hill/D Kirkham (Ford Escort RS2000) 26m56s; 2 M Pattison/P Forrester (Ford Escort RS2000) 27m21s; 3 D Arnold/G Lacey (Ford Escort Mk1) 30m37s; 4 S King/A Thomas (Opel Manta) 30m43s; 5 S Egglestone/A Kellitt (Ford Escort RS2000) 30m48s; 6 J Bothwell/J Morris (Vauxhall Chevette) 33m57s; 7 W Morris/R Palmer (Ford Escort RS2000) 35m40s; 8 E Price/C Hughes (Ford Escort RS2000) 36m14s; 9 B Price/R James (Ford Escort RS2000) 37m33s; 10 P Wells/J Hine (Ford Escort RS2000) 38m33s.

Cilwendeg 1987

Derek Carless/Pete Forrester won the last Cilwendeg of the Targa Timing era in 1987. Jon Ingram/Andrew Sleeman took the lead initially before they crashed out. Steve King/Andrew Kellitt then led until the diff on their Manta failed. This allowed Ron Beecroft/Mike Kidd to hit the front, they were then slowed by a rear axle problem but survived to take second on what they termed “a typically good and memorable last Cilwendeg”.

For Carless it was his first MN Championship win in seven years and for Forrester his first Cilwendeg win after fifteen years of trying.

Theo Bengry/Andrew Sankey took the FWD Award and 5th overall in their Peugeot 205 GTi, while the 1300cc Class win went to the Escort of Pete Tonks/Phil Mills, this was despite their Escort suffering from alternator and gear selector problems.

1987 Results: 1 D Carless/P Forrester (Ford Escort Mk3) 24m17s; 2 R Beecroft/M Kidd (Ford Escort RS2000) 26m52s; 3 D Quinn/D Fryer (Ford Escort RS2000) 28m45s; 4 G Wong/M Roach (Ford Escort RS2000) 29m08s; 5 T Bengry/A Sankey (Peugeot 205 GTi) 29m18s; 6 P Wells/J Bolsover (Ford Escort) 31m51s; 7 B Price/P Carter (Ford Escort) 32m45s; 8 N MacKinnon/M Stayte (Ford Escort) 33m04s; 9 S Bennett/A Cook (Ford Escort) 34m14s; 10 E Jones/N Davies (Opel Kadett) 38m42s.