From the Express and Star of 16th March 1964
CONDITIONS MADE WINNER 'EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMER'
By our motoring correspondent
COMPETITION for the "Express and Star" British national motor rally on Saturday night was keen. It would have been keener if it had not been for a tree stump - some said it was a tree root in the Lythbank area south of Shrewsbury.
WHATEVER IT WAS, ROOTS OR A WHOLE TREE, THE RALLY WAS BARE 15 MINUTES OLD FROM ITS X-CONTROL AT ATCHAM BEFORE TWO OF THE EXPERTS OUT OF THE RUNNING WITH DERANGED FRONT WHEELS OR SUSPENSIONS BECAUSE THEY HIT IT.
The two missing after the first three controls were number two and five on the road, David Seigle-Morris (Cortina) and Phil Simister (Cortina G.T.)
As it was the premier award, the Express and star trophy was brilliantly won by Lancashire expert Reg McBride navigated by Don Barrow in a Ford Anglia. They were only eight minutes late after some 200 miles of motoring when they checked in at the finish at Llandrindod Wells.
In the language of rally drivers the route was not "On”; it could not be covered at night-with the additional hazard of fog for the first, hour or so-within the time limit set by the organisers Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire Car Club.
MADE IT EXCEPTIONAL
Richard Binns, of Albrighton navigator in the Austin. Cooper driven by David Friswell and placed second with 13 minutes lost, said afterwards: "It was tough, muddy and very foggy for the first two hours."
And Friswell said that by losing only eight minutes under, these conditions McBride's performance had been exceptional.
But grey-haired Reg McBride knew nothing of all this, however strongly he may have suspected he had won.
He had to hurry away from the finish at Llandrindod Wells to be in Manchester by mid-morning for a family christening.
There might have been a slightly different order to the general classification. But the stewards did not uphold a protest by last year's winner, Tony Fisher, of Barnt Green, over his penalisation of one "Fail" for making up more time than was permitted between controls 37 and 38 which included the halfway petrol halt.
Fisher and is navigator Brian Melba, travelling in a Vauxhall Viva, were 11 minutes late at the finish and apart from that extra penalty would have been placed second instead of 22nd.
For Fisher the latter part of the first half of the route was difficult his steering wheel had started to come loose on the column and he could not spare, time to fix it until he reached the petrol halt at Tregygon.
Although inevitably a few cars were bent by contact with hedges and banks, there were no incidents in the rally in which of the 138 starters 53 cars were classified as having finished within the maximum lateness allowed.
Very few had to abandon en route for mechanical reasons.
General classification: 1 and " Express a Star" trophy. R. McBride (Anglia); 2 D. Friswell (Austin Cooper); 3. R. Clarke (Cortina G.T.). 13. 4, K. Watkinson (Cooper). 18. 5, C. Twigdon (Anglia). 18. 6, A Allard (Cortina G.T.). 18. 7, M. Gibbs (Allardette). 19: 8,. E. Jackson (Cortina G.T.). 19, 9. Tiny Lewis (Imp), 19. 10, D. Pollard (Imp) 20. 11, R. Richards (Cortina GT.) 20. 12, R. Fidler (Spitfire), 21; 13. D.. Ray (Allardette). 21. 14, D. J. Carmlchael (Spitfire) 23; 15, J. Barnes (Peugeot), 24.
First Class awards: R. Walker (Imp), D. Friswell (Cooper), R. Clark (Cortina G.T.), R. McBride (Anglia) D. Cotton (Austin Healey)
Second Class: B. Williams (Mini). D. J. Carmichael (Spitfire). A. Allard,(Cortina G.T.), K. Watkinson (Morris Cooper). J. Bloxham (Austin Healey 3000).
Team awards: McBride and Friswell and D. Ray and J. Barnes.
Best women's crew: Miss Pat Spencer, Miss Yvonne Hilton (Austin Cooper)
Best Wolverhampton and South Staffs. C.C. members: D Friswell and R Binns.
Best club team of three cars : Newport C.C.
Non-experts: 1. D. J. Carmichael (Spitfire), 2. M. Bowyer (Cortina G.T.); 3. A. N. Umpleby (Morris Cooper); 4. M. Ashall (Lotus Elan); 5, B. Williams (Mini).
Best British Trials and Rally Drivers association members: R. McBride.
Special awards : Billingham Trophy (best Ford) R. McBride; F. C. Bishop Cup (best Rootes Group car) Tiny Lewis (Imp): Norman Dawkins cup (best Standard-Triumph). R. Fidler (Spitfire), Charles Clark trophy (best Austin), D. Friswell: Bradburn and Wedge (best Nuffield). K. Watkinson (Morris Cooper); J. R. Gibbon 'trophy (best European make), J. La Trobe (Volkswagen 1500S): Gold Star Garage trophy (best Vauxhall). T. Fisher (Viva).