It was a clear success for the Maltese Team taking part in the first ever King of the Valleys event held in South Wales. The heavily modified vehicle driven by veteran drivers Maurice Farrugia and Mario Xuereb performed perfectly although sustaining two roll overs and several mechanical failures. The Service Crew namely Roderick Azzopardi, Rudy Farrugia, Kevin Mallia and Alex Fenech worked throughout the event and during the night so that the vehicle is always ready for the start of the next stage during the three days of extreme challenging event.
The long journey to UK started by transporting the vehicle from Malta on a vehicle carrier of LMS transport to a UK depot in Kent. Mr Chris Tomley, former organiser of the Welsh Hill Rally, and his family, offered their assistance and supported the Maltese crew by picking up the vehicle from the depot and delivering it to the competition site after a five hour drive, reducing the need for the Maltese crew to travel earlier to UK. Chris and his family were part of the service crew along the event.
The highly modified vehicle, a Land Rover 90 prototype with a 2.8 TGV diesel engine was originally built for the Croatia Trophy Offroad challenge event, but was re-modified for this particular vehicle. This vehicle also took part in other foreign events in Sicily and Italy.
The event knocked off successfully for the Maltese team with an encouraging 6th overall placing with an astonishing time of 10:58, just a minute away from the best time of the top UK performing vehicles. Second day, 34 registered teams started the 1st timed stage. The Maltese team sustained a flat tyre, resulting in being relegated down the order. Overtaking along the fast tracks was impossible due to the dry and dusty tracks making it practically impossible to see the vehicles in front. To add to this negative start, the team sustained the first roll over while overtaking a stationary vehicle. The vehicle was soon back on its wheels however the misfortune of the day continued with the vehicle refusing to start up due to some electrical problem that probably was caused by the roll. Once the crew managed to get into motion, the wipers refused to move resulting in a prolonged stage finishing in 3hours 6minutes.
2nd Stage, was more rewarding with the crew managed to tackle this stage very positively, gaining places to end up 8th overall finishing in 1hour 41minutes. Now it was all up to the Sunday’s final day, a good start in the first stage but the vehicle sustained another roll in the 2nd and final stage in a gulley and thanks to UK competitors Jim Marsden and his co-driver Mark, managed to roll the vehicle back on its wheels and were off again in no time finishing in a very good time of 1hour 29mins.
Final placing for the Maltese Team was 5th overall, a rewarding achievement after such an adventurous event.
The Maltese team would like to thank all the teams that helped them in a way or another along the event and in particular Devon4x4, Gigglepin and the others who provided them with vehicle parts needed. Moreover the Team would like to thank Silcolene Lubricants, Kamoy Engineering, Street Rod Customs, Julio’s Garage, Ciapella Garage, AWDC Malta and Malta Motorsport Federation.