One of the great characters in Welsh and International rallying has died.
Despite being fiercely patriotic about all things Welsh, Denis Cardell was quick to point out that his family originated from the Scottish Borders.
Born in 1934, Denis started competing in major rallies in the sixties, first co-driving for South Wales car dealer Norman Harvey in a Cooper S on the 1963 RAC Rally and then again on the 1964 Monte.
Denis went on to drive and co-drive in national and international events for many years, including a Mini Cooper and Mazda on the Welsh Rally and tackling the Zanussi West Cork Rally in Brian Field’s MGB V8 and later in a Rover SD1 with his son Stuart.
He served several successful terms of office as chair of the Welsh Association of Motor Clubs and on the RAC Motorsport Council acting as Chairman of the rallies committee. He also applied his wise and logical counsel as an RAC and FIA steward, respected by competitors and organisers alike while his 9 to 5 job was businessman and entrepreneur.
Socially, Denis was a smooth bon viveur and in the 1970s helped create MESS, an acronym for Motor Enthusiasts Sporting Society. Although MESS’s mirthful and uproarious dinners were few and far between, they took place at the best hotels, with motorsport’s ‘who’s who’ as guests.
Throughout the sometimes-marathon black-tie event, anyone could be appointed speaker or joke-teller if passed the infamous femur-shaped baton! Additionally, Denis was a member of the illustrious ECF – Ecurie Cod Fillet – and a regular attendee of their gatherings.
Sadly, Denis’s devoted wife, Dee, passed away two years ago but despite failing health, Denis’s indomitable spirit saw him attend many motorsport functions from his rural home in Brecon and he was a welcome participant at October’s Interclub Quiz at Taffs Wells Rugby Club back in October.
We offer our sincere condolences to Denis’s family and many friends within the sport.
© Ken Davies, with thanks to Huw Davies for additional information & images