Roger Manning & David Edwards

Roger Manning & David Edwards

The rallying partnership to beat during the 1980s

Combining driving talent and navigational expertise, Roger Manning (below left) and David Edwards (below right) were one of the most successful combinations in the Club’s history. Their first major win came in the 1981 June Rally, and there would be many more in the decade to come.

Manning was the more experienced of the two, his involvement dating back to the second June Rally in 1958, in which he and Ronnie Alleyne finished 39th in an Opel Kapitan. Manning’s father Harold had won one of the earliest motor sport events in island history – a hillclimb in 1934 – so it was likely that at least one of his three sons should get hooked. Manning recalls: “My father’s driving always influenced me, he was good, but very cautious.” Manning was a natural, his car control keeping his name at the top of the results sheets from 1960s dexterity tests in cars as varied as a Morris Minor, Opel Rekord and Singer Vogue through a broad range of disciplines, including early circuit races at Bushy Park in the 1970s, to the rallies of the 1980s, by which time his loyalty to Mitsubishi was unwavering.

Edwards started rallying a decade after Manning and, after trying both sides of the car, settled happily into the navigator’s seat. By the time of their first partnership in 1979, when they finished second, Edwards had not only already twice finished in that position, but had also displayed his navigational expertise by setting the June Rally in 1975 and ’76.

Following their 1981 victory in a Mitsubishi Galant, they won again in 1984 and ’88 in a Mitsubishi Lancer GSR, becoming only the second crew to win the event three times (after Richard Cummins and Richard Rose) and doing it in a much shorter time span, eight years, compared with 15. Ironically, it was the two Richards who prevented them becoming four-time winners, beating them by a mere 53 penalty points in 1982.

Manning and Edwards are still involved in their separate ways; both have sons who compete, Manning an enthusiastic supporter and provider of hospitality to friends and family in his home-built wagon at a number of events during the year, while Edwards went on to be Club Chairman and a respected event organiser in the late 1980s, and remains a Trustee and Vice-President to this day.

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