By Anwen Francis
THE Bro Preseli Rally organised by the Teifi Valley Motor Club will reach a milestone on Saturday, April 1, as it celebrates its 20th year.
A well-known and popular novice night rally based in north Pembrokeshire and the surrounding areas will see up to 75 competitors striving to win.
The Bro Preseli Rally is a great event for those starting off in the world of rallying. With demanding routes around the Preseli Mountains, the Gwaun Valley and Brynberian, this year sees a new organising team – the experienced Huw Phillips, and novices to the event – navigator Richard Davies and driver Jason Davies, who won the rally in 2013.
Huw has been Clerk of the Course for the Cilwendeg on three occasions and won the Bro Preseli in 2007 in the driver’s seat with Tim Chell as his navigator.
“The Club was short of experienced organisers and with my son, Daniel, starting his rallying career, I thought I’d support the Club and take on an official role. It will be both thrilling and exciting and we hope to raise as much money as possible for local charities whilst at the same time giving our members the opportunity to start at grass roots level,” said a delighted Huw.
The first ever winner of the Bro Preseli was Mark Lloyd ‘bach’ back in 2003. With Mark in the driving seat and supported by Delyth Morgan-Davies, his navigator, in a Peugeot 205, the pair soldiered on from their starting position of 28th to finish in first place.
Mark will be competing this year with Paul Jones and is looking forward to another spin.
“It’s a brilliant rally and I enjoy doing it. I remember coming into petrol and they said we were doing quite well, but we were actually leading the rally but no one told me. I also took part in the 10 year anniversary with John Hawkins and this year Paul and I will take part,” said Mark who will see his son Dafydd Sion and Chris Hill (past Bro Preseli organisers), taking part too.
2023 Teifi Valley Motor Club Chairman Peter Lewis, himself a past Bro Preseli competitor in 2014 gaining third position overall, says the rally is a must in the calendar.
He said: “It’s a rally for the novices and a good first ever rally near my home turf in the Crymych area. It’s very important to keep it going and for local youngsters to enjoy the sport. As always, I’d like to thank the start and finish venues, petrol half way and all landowners and residents along the route.”
The Bro Preseli is a great event for rally enthusiasts, and 2005 saw husband and wife Peter and Jo Collins claiming the winning spot. This was their third attempt at the Bro Preseli having competed successfully at the Classic Tracks day rally and a day event in the Forest of Dean with local rallying enthusiast Martyn O’Connor as their marshal.
“Whenever we’d go on long car journeys, Jo would always read the newspaper or read a map and was never travel sick, so is just perfect as a navigator. We really enjoy it and we’ve always been involved with the Club. This year, I’m stewarding but one day we’ll get back to it when life is less busy,” said Peter who has been a member of the TVMC since the 1980’s.
The only driver to have officially won the event twice is Brynberian farmer Hefin Lewis. Father of two Hefin won the rally in 2008 with navigator Carwyn Evans in a white Astra and in 2014 with Gethin Sollis by his side in a mini.
Hefin was delighted with both of his wins and says the Bro Preseli Rally is a must for novice drivers and navigators.
“The best bits are the narrow, winding and tight roads around the area. The rally is as challenging as any other and naturally, very competitive, but I enjoy the competitiveness between friends, the meeting up at the start and at the finish venues – it’s just all good fun,” said Hefin who will be out watching the rally this year.
But it’s not all about being the best driver and the best navigator on the night, it’s also about raising money. The Bro Preseli Rally has raised thousands of pounds for local charities over the years as TVMC Club Secretary Olwen Davies explains:
“We donate a lot of money for local charities from the event such as MS Cymru, Cardigan Cancer Care, Crymych First Response and Bloodbikes Wales. In total we’ve donated over £40,800 for local charities and the rally is something people love doing.”
TVMC is as always very grateful for its sponsorship – this year again sponsored by Arjay Factors, Cardigan and Robin’s Taxis of the town who have supported the Rally for a number of years.
Last year’s winners were nephew and uncle Steffan Davies and Iwan Williams, but who will have their hands on the trophy this year with many top drivers and navigators taking part? The Bro Preseli Rally will start this year from Garej Wyn in Crymych on Saturday, April 1, with petrol in Brian Llewellyn and finishing at Nantyffin Motel.