March 16th / 17th 1963

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From the Express and Star of 16th March 1963

160 rally drivers 'invade' W'ton

By "Express and Star" motoring correspondent.

LATER today, Wolverhampton will be "invaded" by about 160 of Britain's leading rally drivers, who have entered in the "Express and Star" British national rally, starting in Chapel-Ash tonight.
Now in its sixth year, the rally is this year described by its organisers, Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire Car Club, as a "tour de force"; literally the special event of the British national calendar, a reputation which it established in 1962 and which the club hopes it will keep for 1963.
Cars will start from the Chapel Ash premises of Staffordshire Motor Tyre Co. Ltd., at minute intervals from 9.30 p.m. The last car will not leave until midnight.
From Chapel-Ash competitors have a generously timed run out to the Church Stretton area, where they will be restarted on the rally route proper. None of them will get details of the route until they start.
All that can be said is that the route finishes in the area of Devil's bridge, in Cardiganshire, before dawn, and that from there on competitors have another generously timed run to the final control at the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells.
There breakfast will await them: and the results team, will be hard at it, working, out who has won what.


Opinions of the joint clerks of it course, Harry Morgan and Richard Binns, vary on the time that is outright winner will lose en route.
Harry Morgan said today: " I think the winning car will be at least 15 minutes late," but Richard Binns' estimate is that the winners will be not more than six minutes down.
Neither of these experienced rally competitors expect any car to have a clean sheet. This year, the rally route is split with about 68 time control points. The longest distance between it two controls is seven miles, and many are less than four miles apart.
On form at least, the outright winner should come from the first 20 competitors in the starting list, because all those 20 have gone all the top experts.
They include David Siegle-Morris, Tony Fisher (current R.A.C. rally champion), Ron McBride, Mrs. Pauline Mayman. Mike Sutcliffe, Vic Elford, John Sprinzel, P. Simister, Peter Astbury, Roy Fidler, John La Trobe, Brian Harper, Don Grimshaw and Bill Bengry.


No. 1 starting position really belongs to last year's winner, Pat Moss. She would have been with us tonight but for the fact that Ford, for whom she drives, has required her to be in Nairobi, ready for practice for the East African Safari rally.
By virtue of the fact that her navigator, David Stone, has teamed up with David Siegle-Morris, another Ford works driver, the honour of starting first goes to the Siegle-Morris-Stone Anglia.
Cash awards in the general classification remain unchanged, with £40 and the Express and Star Trophy for the winner, down to £4 for the driver finishing` 15th. This year, extra money has been allocated to the non-experts class, but even the non-experts are not to be thought of as novices.
Because of recent hard weather and heavy snowfalls on part of the route, there was great danger at one time that the rally would have to be cancelled.
Now the thaw has come, just in time, the complete and original route is open and "on " (as the saying is), even if many of the very minor roads to be used have been badly damaged by frost and are very muddy.


Organising an event of this sort requires a great deal of voluntary assistance. Much of it has come from the Wolverhampton area, with help from members of neighbouring car clubs.
Each of the 68 or so control points, many of them in remote Welsh country districts, will be manned by at least two people, and, in many instances parties have been made up for the eight to help with the rally.