By Martin Leonard
Just a few words from me about Denis and the time that I knew him. I first met Denis at Cathedine Cottage in the early eighties when I also first knew Stuart, Den had been away for a motor sport 'do' somewhere and arrived back in his Porsche 911. He frightened me to death to begin with but it soon became clear that despite the huff and the puff he was a very nice, knowledgeable person. In particular his knowledge of wine an trying it was truly amazing! I went on a trip to West Cork with him and Stuart amongst others in the days of the Rover SD1 rally car which turned into an epic adventure with a drama before we even arrived in Fishguard when he thought that he had forgotten the clocks which were to be used to time the whole rally. 'SHIT AND CORRUPTION, THE CLOCKS'! was the cry but they were soon found and we moved on into Ireland where the first stop was Ahearne's restaurant in Youghal and of course Den knew the owners and a good evening ensued. The rally was a blur and was inconsequential as the bar of the Courtmacsherry Hotel was the epicentre of the weekend. An all night session after the rally was followed a couple of hours later with a dash for the ferry but not before a return to Ahearne's where lunch was followed by them sending us off with a box of glasses, ice, lemon and tonic to go with two bottles of CDC gin that happened to be in the van! There are other stories but that's enough of that for now!
A few words should be said about his impact on motor sport on a wider scale too, he was a clerk of the course of the International Welsh Rally, winner of the Cilwendeg Rally, a member of the RACMSA board, International Time Keeper and Steward and Chairman of the WAMC for many years. He was also instrumental in finding the Colnbrook HQ when the MSA made the move from central London. As a competitor he loved British cars and he rallied Minis, an Austin Allegro, Morris Marina and a Rover SD1, they were all driven with verve and made many visits to the scenery! That's a very short resume of his achievements, there were many more.
Later on Denis became a key member of Brecon Motor Club and sat as chairman for a number of years, clerked the Gremlin Rally and the Harry Flatters Rally and was instrumental in the Flatters becoming a part of the British Historic Rally Championship on its inception. The Gremlin was loved and loathed in equal measures by competitors but it was always a stern challenge with roads used that had not been used before on Epynt and the surrounding forests and have not been used since. Things did go awry occasionally and I remember one of Den's events where a regularity section came off Epynt down the Cilieni valley to Pentre Bach. We were surprised to find that the tulip road book contained an instruction for a roundabout in the village! Pentre Bach does not and never has had a roundabout.................
In later years Den stepped back from organising duties but was always keen to attend club meeting right up to a nav scatter that was run just after Christmas. He will be missed by us all, he had his moments and his faults but above all he was a very well respected member of the club. Rest in peace Denis, you will be missed.
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