WITHINGTON farmer Roger Chilman finished third overall in last week's gruelling Roger Albert Clark Rally.

This year's event started in Leominster, with scrutineering at Brightwells, and offered the 140 crews, 307 stage miles over five days in a total route of just under 1,100 miles.

After the Thursday evening start, thick fog and misty rain greeted crews for the proposed two nine-mile stages in Radnor Forest.

Chilman stopped the clocks third fastest on the first run, but he was relieved to hear the second stage was cancelled on safety grounds.

"That was horrendous I've never driven a stage like that, it's the right call to cancel the other stage, that was dangerous." said Chilman.

Friday's loop of eight tests in the Welsh forests saw Cilman in the Securcom, Connop and Sons, Brightwells, Morspan, Pirelli backed Escort RS1800, together with new co-driver Patrick Walsh, set consistent times without really challenging the leading duo.

Saturday saw the first of two long legs in the Keilder Forest complex, in Northumberland, with narrow tracks and deep ditches challenging drivers. Again rain and fog made conditions extremely difficult, but Chilman held his third place.

"I can't get anywhere near the front two so there is no point in taking risks," said Chilman.

Sunday saw another tough day in the smooth Scottish forests but the Wales Motorsport prepared car never missed a beat and he arrived back in the Carlisle overnight halt, still holding a comfortable third.

Monday's final leg was a sting in the tail with just five stages but 66 stage miles including two 17 mile stages back in Keilder, but another solid drive saw Chilman consolidate his third place despite a trip into a ditch in Falstone.

"It's been a case of trying to keep my concentration today to hold onto my third place," added Chilman. "It has been a long tough event, thanks to Patrick for a great job on the notes Meirion and his boys for a superb car, and all my sponsors.".

Meanwhile St Weonards driver Roger Matthews had Tom Marrott by his side in the RJ Matthews Transport backed RS1600.

This was the hauliers first attempt at the event and only his second gravel rally in two years.

After a solid start on the opening legs, despite a trip into a ditch, they headed North holding 54th overall and fifth in class.

Saturday's leg didn't start well loosing the clutch on the day's second test.

However, quick work by the service crew soon had it sorted, and by the end of day saw the duo climb up to 39th and second in class.

After good start on the opening loop on Sunday morning, a seized clutch release bearing brought retirement in service and a promising run ended.

Matthews said: "The bearing seized as I reversed out of service, the boys did everything to try and sort it, but sadly that's it, it's been a great event, a proper challenge in all weather."

Hereford co-driver Alan Jones partnered Steve Ward to 30th overall and 12th in class, while Keith Ashley sat next to David Tomlin and finished 44th & ninth in class, both in Escort RS1800's.