The Mewla came to life in 1974 as a road rally run by the relatively newly formed Epynt Motor Club. It used OS maps147, 160 and 146 and started from the Station yard in Llanwrtyd Wells. In 1978 the event moved to the Epynt ranges to become a night stage rally. Imagine, a stage rally run in the dark with minimal radio cover, it would never be allowed these days! This first event was won by Frank Pierson and Ed Morgan in an RS 1800.
Two years later it was decided to run the rally in daylight much to the relief of the sheep and wildlife on the hill (and the results team!). This was the first year for the event to be sponsored by Rally Radio Link – a partnership between sponsor and club that was to continue for 15 years during which time the organising team of club members and Mike Summerfield, his team and family became firm friends.
Soon the Mewla became a part of the British National Championship and ran for a whole day and night with only a short break. The winner of the event was Phil Collins who went on to glory for 3 years in succession and was crowned ‘King of Epynt’ after his third victory.
During this time the event had outgrown the smallest town in Great Britain (Llanwrtyd Wells) and so moved headquarters to the Metroprole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells. 1992 saw another move to the Royal Welsh Showground where it is still based today.
Over the years the Mewla has seen many changes and indeed been the occasion for many ‘firsts’ – the first event to use an OK board, the first event to see Tony Pond’s Metro with additional spoilers, the first event to have an Air Ambulance at Dixies corner. The format however has changed little. We like to think that we keep things as simple as possible in order for the event to be free flowing one with as few opportunities for hold ups as possible. This generally has meant two laps in the morning and two in the afternoon after a short lunch break at which time the direction of stages is turned around.
We have been lucky to be supported by several sponsors – Rally Radio Link being the first, followed by Rally Marketing and our current sponsors EventSigns and Field Fare Catering. We thank them all for the encouragement and help that they have given over the years.
The Mewla Organising team has changed very little over the last quarter of a century although you may notice a few more lines of the brows of some of the officials and a few grey hairs on the heads of those who still have some to go grey! (We have the photographs to prove it.) It is good however, to see that a new generation of sons and daughters is now joining the team and helping to make the event the success that it is today.
You may ask why ‘Mewla’. If you look up the word in a dictionary I doubt that you will find it. In fact the name came about after a chance remark from a late Epynt Motor Club member who was heard to say, having observed one of the quicker entrants on the ‘Welsh’ rounding a corner….. ‘He was mewling on a bit!’ and so the word was minted. The expression stuck in the minds of others in the group and when a suitable name had to be found for this new event it seemed an appropriate one to use.
In conclusion – whether you be competing, servicing, marshalling, spectating or anything else (within reason) on the event – we hope that you all have a Mewla of good day!