August 17th 1974

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1974 was the year that really founded the modern rally. The organising team was a strengthened version of the one assembled for the Castrol Timpson Rally. Roger Willis of Castrol and David Stephenson, the Clerk of the Course, worked together to put on an event to celebrate Castrol's 75th. year. Stage rallying had matured into a specific rally format and the right cars were available, an exciting era was underway.
A route of containing over 60 miles of special stages had been assembled. Of the 15 stages one was a short tarmac dash the rest classic Welsh Forestry. The rally started round the lake in Llandrindnod Wells in a long meandering path northwards then westwards for an hour's lunch halt at Machynlleth. No servicing in this hour it was for the refreshment of the crew!
It was the north again before turning east and heading for the finish. The rally ended with a prizegiving and disco. at the Lord Hill Hotel in Shrewsbury. The total route was over 250 miles all to scheduled time and no service stops built in. It was a long arduous day with relentless pressure, a well prepared car and a switched on crew was needed.
It came as no surprise that the immaculate and fast Mk I Escort of motor engineer, Tony Drummond co-driven by rising star Dave Richards emerged the winners. What was a surprise was the second place of Russell Brookes and John Brown because it was a Group 1 (Group N today) RS 2000. This giant killing act of beating many more powerful Group 2 (Group A) machines was the first of many to come.