September 20th / 21st 1969

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It was 1969 that was the Express and Star newspaper's last year of title sponsorship after an association which enabled the event to develop quickly and successfully into one of the most respected rallies of the calendar.
The event and the Club were going through troubled times. In 1967 the Express and Star had run 125 miles of special stages on Forestry Commission land. As this was the days before the central forestry agreement with the RAC, with it's standard costs for the hire of the roads, the Club had taken out an insurance policy to cover the risks. Negotiarions were still continuing over the outstanding claim submitted by the Commission when the 1969 event was being planned. The Commission would not allow the event to use any more of the roads until the matter was settled. The Club was forced into the decision to run the 1969 Star as a all navigation night event. The event did start, however, with one special stage on a private disused airfield outside Shrewsbury.
This event marked another turning point as Colin Francis and Dave Stephenson took over as joint Clerks of the Course from Richard Harper. Colin and David were both leading navigators at the time as was Richard. In fact Richard went on to be the Motoring News Champion Navigator, with John Bloxham as his driver, later in this year.
The 1969 "Star" turned out to be a tough, no nonsense thrash with, would you believe it, John Bloxham and Richard Harper leading the pack home.