March 17th / 18th 1962

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From the Motoring News of 22nd March 1962


A BRILLIANT drive by Pat Moss (navigator, David Stone) secured for her Saab the sole unpenalised run in Saturday night's National Rally-the Wolverhampton and South Staffs C.C. "Express and Star." Her victory was assisted by a marshalling system involving stops of only a few seconds at each control. Average time allowance between controls (apart from a 20-minute section on main roads at half-distance) was less than five minutes, in a superbly organised and straight forward rally.
The start at the Staffs Tyre Company's premises was in the hands of Stan Annis, and arrangements were slick, although scrutiny of 170-odd cars in a rather confined space proved to be a fairly hectic task. Last year's winners, Brian Harper and Ron Crellin (Sprite) led the long column away from the industrial Midlands on a 45-mile run to Control X. This was near Aston Hall, on B4385 (north-west of corner of sheet 129) and, although there had been many accurate guesses before the start, this was the first positive indication as to which map was to be used.
Sure enough, out came sheet 128-and what a well-prepared map it was! All local knowledge was removed by the inclusion of 15 marked non-goers, and the correct route was otherwise made entirely obvious by the mileages and directions of approach given in the road book. Noise zones, prohibited areas, and the petrol halt were all marked, making only two documents necessary for the whole rally-the road book and one map.
Waiting at Control X, competitors could hear exhaust notes disappearing uphill to the left, but doubts were quickly dispelled when they found a small portion of sheet 129 added to the marked map. The first section, then, started off 'up the Welsh border road over Aston Hill to a control half-a-mile north-west of Bishopsmoat, four minutes being allowed. Sections 2, 3 and 4, to a point 1½ miles south of Montgomery, were all "warmer-uppers." The approach to T.C.5 was fraught with red blobs on the map (non goers) and direction signs on the road (Llandyssil); Harper/Crellin, however, managed to approach from the wrong direction, which was very unfortunate as this "home team " had lost only three minutes by the end of the rally. T.C.7 to T.C.8 was from Cwm Erl to Crossways, involving the rough bit in Grid Square 1887, and from 8 to 17 the accent was on "maximum mileage in minimum area." The route went through Bryn-mawr, Caldy Bank, spot-heights 1303, 1318. 827, 1237, Llanwolley, Cwm-brain, Stonypound, Springhill (approach from north), Cwm Collo. Graig and Selley Hall. With all this hopping up and down, the lights of other cars could sometimes be seen apparently approaching on the same road, only to disappear again. The narrow white road from Melin-y-Grog was marked "no-go" purely to make sure that there were no head-on meetings at Cwm Collo. These sections were first-class, and involved no rough stuff.
Section 20, following the ascent of Bailey Hill, was very interesting. 215734 to the tunnel near Llangunllo Station, where the road is partly obliterated on the map, meant visiting Dolyfelin and Cwmheyope in this case. The railway bridge in G.S. 2172 caused the sudden retirement of Bobby Parkes and Geoff Howarth, and their big Healey no longer wore its broad grin. This bridge also meant a quick change of car for Richard Binns, before he could continue opening the course. Easy stages, including an allowance for refuelling, led to T.C. 23 near Llanfihangel Rhydithon.
Rough roads and fords appeared more frequently from now on and spare time was not available as the column move on through Rhonllwyn to Bryn-Thomas. The direct route from here to Frank's Bridge is a regular goer, and so it was on Saturday but it had frozen hard into deep ruts, and sub-frames and sumps were becoming corrugated. Here Ron Briggs Healey 3000 had its first puncture, at a particularly difficult point to pull off the road (the spare tyre later picked up a nail) and that was that-this happened on the run in to the finish.
An easy catch-up section, beginning some four miles north of Builth Wells on A483, consisted of avoiding local built-up areas-all of which were placed out of bounds.
Five short sections running roughly parallel for B4518 (touching it at St. Harmon, where they had run out of white roads) included the ford in G.S. 0075. Fords were more hazardous for late numbers, as the water deposited at the exit immediately froze. Well-primed locals were out in force, revelling in the antics of the cars as they dragged themselves over miniature ice rinks, and goading them to disaster! Don Grimshaw was seen stationary near here, his Healey and navigator Valerie Domleo both-under the weather. The Volkswagens were as usual disliking the fords, and Bill Bengry/David Skefflngton lost most of their time due to this.
A corner of sheet 127 had been attached to the marked map and on the crossing to T.C. 37 David Bache/Ian Macloed (Mini) lost all their oil on one of three humpy bits. The route rejoined sheet 128 at 880827 to circle west and north of Llanidloes, where the road over Pen-y-banc was found to have deteriorated, but a new white one through Gellilefrith was perfect. The next three sections to the Moat Lane level crossing were something of a breather, and John la Trobe/ Julian Chitty (using the latter's Rapier this time) were able to keep to the route despite cooling and brake troubles. Tony Fisher / Brian Melia were virtually out of brakes too, and their third place is all the more remarkable.
The road over Cefn-nith was used next and at the famous, Flannel Factory, the "missing" road was actually marked on tho map in yellow by the organisers. The last three sections were uneventful, and after a watch check at T.C. 51 came the run-in on A483, itself an entertaining road. A short detour for a special test at Dolau Jenkin, where the Mini-Cooper of David Seigle-Morris was best, preceded the finish at Llandrindod Wells. Here a number of bent motor-cars were, to, be seen, including a Mini being rebuilt out of cardboard-or so it appeared. The Mini-Cooper-of Tom Paton/Jim Bryden, who were on another of their sorties from Scotland, had rolled too but with very little damage.
Results were out quickly, a protest-time passed unnoticed This is not surprising, as not one person had anything but praise for this brilliant National. Everything possible was done to assist competitors, even an official inquiry into the question of smallpox jabs for the South Wales contingent!
Parts of the unmetalled sections were rougher than expected but this was largely due to hard frost following previous usage. Cut mileages were invisible and excellent use was made of one map to provide 140 mile of meat in a model rally.
Wolves for t'cup!

A. W.

RESULTS 1. Miss P. Moss/D. Stone,(Saab) 0 minutes lost: 2, D. Seigle-Morris/J. C. Brown (Austin-Cooper) 3: 3, A, Fisher/B. Melia (Austin-Cooper) 4; 4, Giblett/D. Mabbs (A.H 3000) 5; 5, G. Allen/B. Hughes (Austin-Cooper) 6: 6 V. Elford/M. Butler (D. K. W. Junior) 7:7. G. F. Flint/G. Kendall Jackson (Simca) 7: 8. A. E. Bengry/D. Skeffington (Volkswagen) 7; 9, B. Hadfield/G.D.Haggie (Herald) 8:10, J. W. Waddington/J. Wood (T R.3a) 11; 11, M. Sutclife/R. Fidler (Austin Seven) 12. 12. R. McBride/D, Barrow (Austin-Cooper) 13:13, R. E. Culceth/P. J. Noad (Sprite) 14: 14, Dr. J. Spare/J. F. Bailey (Rapier) 17: 15, P. Simister / R.P, Lichtensteiger (Anglia) 17.
Best Team: Miss P. Moss/D. Seigle Morris.
Club team : Cavendish "A" (Huddersfield) McBride Simister.
Best W. and S.S.C.C. crew :Gibbon/Jones (Volkswagen).
Class awards : Miss P. Moss/D. Stone (Saab); D. Seigle - Morris/J. R. C. Brown (Austin-Cooper), Dr. J. Spare/J. Bailey (Rapier), J. Casewell /A. Austin (Jaguar 3.8). A. E. Bengry / D Skeffington (Volkswagen), P. Giblett/D. Mabbs (A.H. 3000).