As a young true petrol head and with a small income Pat would borrow his father’s Morris Van, removing the rear doors for better vision whilst reversing, and take part in Autotests for a number of years.
In the mid 60’s Pat was able to afford to build a Mini to compete in Club Allnight Rallies, over the years the engines became bigger, eventually graduating to a Mini Cooper ‘S’ in 1969 to compete in his first of many Motoring News Championship events.
In the early 70’s Pat built a Morris Minor rally car – unheard of, as most rally cars were Escorts or Minis at the time and he even won a Club Allnighter with it. This car was used successfully until in 1974 it was replaced with another odd rally car being an MG Midget, in which he almost won the Welsh Road Rally Championship.
1975 a ‘semi – works’ drive was on offer from Howells of Cardiff in the works built Austin Allegro and Pat won the last all night rally held in the Cowbridge area in it.
A Mini Clubman was built for 1976 for road and stage rallies, competed on the Welsh International Stage Rally until the gearbox failed.
Through the latter half of the 70’s an Escort RS2000 was built and used, again for road rallies and stage events, securing sponsorship from British Telecom (Buzby) to compete in the International Welsh Rally again, coming third in the class and 20th overall in 1978.
In 1981 he was offerd the use of the Alex Thom of Cardiff Mazda rally car, which was used on a number of events until he put it upside down in a Mid Wales forest, result -end of the car!!
1984 he built a Triumph Vitesse to compete on the first historic event held for old rally cars, a 2nd in class was the result.
Motorsport took a back seat then, whilst cycling took over as a cheap competitive sport until by accident in 2003, a slow burning project was started to resurrect an old Avenger rally car of Keith’s to current day specification. This took until 2006 when the seeds were sown and a tentative ‘toe in the water’ was taken with a Lavernock built, fairly basic rally Corsa.
Since then the team at Lavernock have built a number of cars for rally use. These cars have been mostly successfully and as a result have led to the garage securing further work for rally car preparation from other competitors, and then extending into the Track Day Car Market, and high performance car customers.
At a very early age in the 60’s he was fascinated with rally cars, going to local rally starts on his push bike until he passed his driving test. As soon as the test was in hand, Keith joined the local motor clubs and started building his own Rally Minis and Lotus Cortinas – competeing on Autotests, Sprints, small navigational events and the odd Club Allnight Rally.
Alas, after a few write off’s over the years due to running out of ability and money!!!, Keith decided that co-driving might be a better and somewhat cheaper option. Through the 70’s and into the 80’s Keith competed regularly all over Wales and Ireland using his organisational skills with a number of different drivers in Avengers, Escorts, Sunbeams and a Firenza of all things.
In 1974 Keith found what he was best at – organising things – and joined the team that ran the International Welsh Stage Rally, run by South Wales Automobile Club with sponsorship at that time from the Wester Mail and Echo, with its’ start based in Cardiff City Centre. He rose through the ranks to become the youngest Clerk of the Course for any International Stage Rally in Britain, which he did from 1978 to 1982. The event at that time attracted over 200 crews from all over the world, calling on the services of over 1000 volunteer marshals, covering over 250 competitive miles in forests and closed tarmac army training areas, with another 500 road miles to link the stages, in a grueling 36 hour tough event.
Still actively competing through into 1984, when he and Pat started cycling, which eventually led to them starting the business together, and again building and preparing rally cars from 2003, and yes again involved back in the thick of rallying, either in the workshop or back out on the events. Keith’s old Avenger Rally car was restored to current Historic Rally specification, and is still successfully being used today. 2005 saw the first 1400 Corsa built at the workshops being campaigned by the team, after a few years this was replaced with a 2.0 litre, 4WD Mitsubishi Evo 3, followed by a RWD Sierra Cosworth, and finally taking us to the end of 2015 for a few years with an MG ZR – they have all gone off to different parts of the country and still being rallied to this day. For 2016 the team are building an MG TF with a 220+bhp turbo engine for track day use – should be quite interesting!!
The ‘Boys’ in 2013 together with Mike Woodward (Photography) from Sully and Derrick Morgan from ‘Alpha Yapps’ in Lisvane did the 54 miles Taff Trail Cycle Challenge for Ty Hafan, Raising over £2000 between them for the charity from friends and customers alike. And again in 2014 we had two teams from the garage (Daren/Gavin/Anthony and Ronnie Morgan of Restruct who stepped in at the last minute to replace Wayne who had to drop out) – We raised a further £1700 – Thanks to everyone who helped us. And again in 2015 The garage team have done the Ty Hafan run, and should have now raised about £5000 in total for the hospice over the three years – thanks to everyone.
Autotests – Are speed and car handling courses around obstacles and cones, held at race circuits and private land venues – the basic starting blocks for competitive driving.
Club Allnight Rallies – A team effort of navigation and driver skill, held overnight in the lanes and highways authorised by the police and motorsport governing body (100 miles approximately)
Motoring News Championship – The pinnacle of the allnight rallies, consisting of about 16 events held all over the entire country throughout the year. (150miles plus)
Club/National Stage Rallies – Using Special Stages, mainly held on forestry commission, army ranges or closed public roads with public road link sections (100 miles of Stages and road links approximately)
Internatinal Stage Rallies – The pinnacle of Stage Rallies in this country, only five in number held per year with approximately 250 stage miles and 500 plus road miles held over two days and a night with very little rest.