It all started one day when I took our dog down the country lane for his lunch time amble. At the bottom of the lane lives a lovely couple who often give us a portion of their vegetable harvest, and this leads to frequent, and sometimes lengthy chats about everything under the sun. We have solved so many of the world’s problems, both large and small, but on one visit I was asked if I knew about the Cilwendeg Rally 2013 that was coming past their house on the night of 26/27 October. At that stage I wasn’t aware of it, so they gave me a piece of paper with the details of the event that had been left with them by the rally organisers from the Teifi Valley Motor Club (TVMC).
A quick search on the internet indeed revealed that the annual Cilwendeg Rally was to take place through Llanllwni. Being a motorsport journalist and photographer this was one event that I could not miss, as there are not that many rallies to come through our village in a year, and so I absolutely could not let this one get away no matter the time of night. Perhaps I made that claim a little too early and a little too loudly, because I then discovered that the first cars were planned to hit Llanllwni around 2:00am on the Sunday morning. Having covered the Le Mans 24-Hours for a number of years, one usually sneaks off for a couple of hours of shut-eye around this time of the morning, but getting up at around this time for a few hours to cover an event is a different story.
As the day approached, I had the family geared up and prepared for an interrupted night. The Saturday afternoon I paid a visit to the Newcastle Emlyn Rugby Club for the media sign-on and it was great to meet some of the drivers, marshals and organisers. It was here that I learned that the rally has been going for some 52 years. Astonishing! I felt privileged to be there.
The alarm went at 1:00am on Sunday morning, and blarry-eyed we got out of bed, switched the kettle on in the kitchen while the dog looked at me as though I was a bit mad. The weather, which the previous weekend had been great, had turned nasty on the Thursday and Friday, and as the Club’s Vice Chairman Gary Robbins had said to me earlier that day, “This changes the rally completely.” The storm that was developing over the Atlantic threatened to cut a path through South and West Wales starting on Sunday, and so one could have expected some early signs of the storm to shake the trees on Sunday morning.
Apart from the marshal’s vehicle, we were the first car to arrive at the cross roads near the Railway Inn on the Maesycrugiau section of the route at around 1:20am on Sunday morning. It was dry, no rain, and the moon and stars were out…that is, for the first 15 minutes, then the rain came, and the wind and that was the weather set for the rest of the night.
According to the entry list, the first car was to leave the starting blocks in Newcastle Emlyn at 8:20pm on Saturday night, and the 75 cars would then make their way through West Wales over the 96 mile course. The first car was expected back at the finish at 2:40am with the last car scheduled to arrive back at 4:30am. Leaving at 1 minute intervals, one could expect all the competitors to pass a given point in a little more than two hours. However, due to an incident in the Brynhossnant area, we only saw around ten cars coming through our station in about an hour and a half, and so at 3:30am, with the storm strengthening and thunder and lighting around, we decided to call it a night, leaving behind some 12–15 other hardened spectators. Fortunately though, despite the very difficult conditions and a few incidents, there were no injuries or damage to property in the narrow lanes.
Back at home we could hear the cars in the valley below us, and see the lights of the cars as they made their way through the Teifi Valley and I was wondering if we hadn’t left our station too early…I would love to be back out there, I thought, but maybe next time.
The Cilwendeg Rally 2013 is run on open roads and therefore competitors must maintain an average speed of 30 mph. Are we going to be there next time…you bet!
Class 1 – Masters:
|2||Kevin Davies/Dale Bowen||Ford Escort||0:21:22|
|4||Daniel Jones/Gerwyn Barry||Ford Escort||0:21:25|
|5||Dyfrig James/Emyr Jones||Ford Escort||0:22:01|
|Class 2 – Experts:|
|29||Garry Lewis/Steven Hicks||Subaru Impreza||0:25:36|
|27||Wyn Owens/Jenny Evans||Ford Escort||0:26:38|
|49||Richard Williams/Alex Crowley||Ford Escort||0:36:48|
|Class 3 – Novices:|
|67||Huw Tagg/Michael Williams||Peugeot 206 GTi||0:40:44|
|73||Daniel Thomas/Darren Jones||Subaru Impreza||0:41:19|
|63||Llion Rees/Iwan Griffiths||Ford Puma||0:42:57|
|Best Presented Car|
|Steven John Williams/Lowri Davies||Ford Escort||DNF (Head Gasket)|
|1st – Delfryn Owens/Fiona Balchin||Renault Clio||0:40.36|
|1st – Geraint Davies/Iwan Williams||Mini||0:40.11|
|1st – Jon Stobbs/James Rees||Proton Compact||0:31.39|
|32nd – Matthew Broadbent/Joe Cruttenden||Volvo 340||0:53.47|
For the rally report check out the Teifi Valley Motor Club website.