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Thursday, 21 November, 2002, 16:44 GMT
Fans caught speeding during rally
Rally car and crowd
Thousands of fans were caught speeding during the rally.
Thousands of motor sport fans were caught breaking the speed limit on roads across south Wales during last week's World Rally Championship.

Police revealed on Thursday they had caught 2,336 speeding drivers on camera during the four-day event.


Some people were driving at ridiculously high speeds

John Rowling, South Wales Safety Camera Partnership

Two drivers were stopped after clocking up 135mph and more than 1,500 drivers were reported for speeding on roads around the Neath Valley which hosted the longest stage of the rally.

On the second day of the rally, which saw the action move to stages in west Wales from Cardiff, 182 motorists were recorded driving over the speed limit in just four hours on a short stretch of the M4 between Pyle and Margam.

Disappointing

John Rowling, of the South Wales Safety Camera Partnership, which operates speed and red light camera enforcement in the Gwent, South Wales and Dyfed-Powys Police force areas said the results were very disappointing.

"Some people were driving at ridiculously high speeds and had no regard for the safety of other road users," he added.

For next year's event, the Partnership plans to bring in more Field Inquiry Offices to allow foreign nationals caught speeding in Wales to be tracked down and fined by magistrates before they leave the country.

A Partnership spokeswoman said: "A small percentage of those caught speeding this year were from other countries.

"It is only fair that we deal with them the same way we would UK nationals if they are caught breaking the law.

"The Field Inquiry Offices will track down vehicles quickly so drivers can be dealt with."

The Network Q rally, the climax of the rallying season, attracted thousands of motor sport fans from across the world to Cardiff and forests in south and west Wales.

rally
Fans flocked to south Wales for the Network Q rally

Police had warned rally fans to watch their speed when travelling between stages, but the appeal was not heeded by some spectators.

In the Neath Valley, residents in the village of Abergarwed appealed for police to crack down on speeding motorists after some were recorded driving in excess of 60mph through the village - more than double the legal speed limit.

And there was also an increase on speeding offences recorded on the A465 Heads of the Valleys road during the event, which took place between 14 November and 17 November.

High speeds

John Rowling of the Safety Camera Partnership, added: "Stricter controls were introduced for the 2002 event as a result of the high speeds and driving offences recorded during the 2001 competition.

"We do not operate a policy of catching people out and, for this reason, we surrounded the enforcement with advanced warning and high publicity."

During the rally spectator problems also forced the cancellation of a stage.

The second running of the Brechfa forest stage in Carmarthenshire was called off because of crowd congestion.

Brechfa location map
Organisers cancelled the a stage in the Brechfa forest

And last year the world governing body for rallying, the FIA, ordered a report into the safety of the event after an incident in Brechfa last year when 13 spectators were injured after being hit by a competitor's car.

Despite the problems, organisers of the event won their bid to hold the final leg of the World Rally Championship in Wales for the next four years.

The event will be renamed the Wales Rally GB and could generate 50m for the Welsh economy.


More from south west Wales

More from south east Wales
See also:

16 Nov 02 | World Rally
26 Jan 02 | Wales
27 Nov 01 | Wales
26 Nov 01 | Wales
17 Nov 02 | Wales
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