This year’s Cat’s Eyes Rally, run on February 7th and 8th, was a most disappointing affair for both competitors and organizers. Mild weather made the Sussex Downs too easy for the 190-odd competitors, and 16 came through the road section without penalty; most of the awards winners were sorted out by two simple driving tests.
Outline of the event: Two starting controls, in Dunstable and Woodford, with routes converging near Farnham. Simple map-reference section which many made more difficult than it was, then a break for supper at Eastleigh airport, followed by a long blind across Sussex Downs, with ten time controls and numerous route checks all plotted by map references. This finished near Petworth, where competitors takled an Eight Clubs section, and finally came a tame average-speed section through the early hours of Sunday back to Southend for their tests and the finish.
While most motoring journals seem merely to have seen “black skid marks leading off the road,” the writer was more fortunate. R.K. Davies took his Morgan straight on at a T-junction with all four wheels locked when he should have turned right — luckily nothing solid interrupted his meanderings. A Magnette, leading a group of cars on a downhill sectioin, slid off the road without damage; the following three cars passed him before he’d even stopped moving.
There was little ice on this clear night, and it was no surprise that there were so many clean sheets. Since driving tests give little indication of a car’s road capabilities the winners’ names are hardly worth recording, but here are the 16 who finished the road section clean, in starting order:
R. Michalkiewicz (TR3); P. Steiner (Simca Grand Large); W. Wood (Austin-Healey 100/6); D. Thompson (Ford Anglia); J. Hayes (Riley 1.5); J. Adams (Riley 1.5); B. Kallend (Renault Dauphine); R. Cooke (Riley 1.5); L. De Meza (Ford Zephyr); R. Richards (Wolseley 1500); D. Barton (Volkswagen): W. Rennie-Roberts (Ford Zodiac); K. Piper (Messerschmitt); H. Appleby (Austin-Healey Sprite); R.N. Lunn (Morris Minor 1000); J. Sprintzel (Austin-Healey Sprite). — J.B.M.