DURSLEY'S David Stokes, with a somewhat under-the-weather co-driver Guy Weaver, finished eighth overall and second in category two on last weekend's Severn Valley Stages.

The event was the latest round of the WWRS RAC championship and attracted the best quality entry of the year for 45 miles of quality stages in Crychan, Halfway and Cefn forestry complexes.

One-hundred-and-fifteen cars left the start in Builth Wells for an action packed day, and there was plenty of competition in category two with a returning Ernie Graham, reigning Welsh historic champion Roger Matthews, Warren Philliskirk, the hard-charging Chris Browne, all RS1600 mounted, plus Peter Smith in his Opel Ascona.

The opening loop of four stages went well, Stokes returning to service with a slender three second lead over Ernie Graham.

The afternoon stages was a repeat of the morning loop and on the first test, a six miler in Crychan, Graham took an amazing 12 seconds out of Stokes, which adds up to two seconds per mile, to hold a nine second lead over the Dursley baker.

The London-based Irishman then increased his advantage over the final three tests when Stokes damaged a steering arm, which hampered any fightback, and he had to settled for second on this occasion.

Stokes' next outing will see the RAC series return to Kielder forest for the D-Mack Carlisle Stages on June 21, followed a week later by the Scottish Rally, a round of the Mintex MSA series.

The Dumfries-based event is now a one-day national rally, not the tough five-day event of the 1970s and 80s.