FORMER talented Teifi Valley rally driver, well-known businessman and top tenor Washington James, of Cenarth, has died aged 87.

‘Washy’ as he was popularly and affectionately known and who ran Cenarth Garage and bus company for many years, died peacefully at Glyn Nest Baptist Home in Newcastle Emlyn.

A singer of note, he won the Blue Riband at the 1993 National Eisteddfod at Llanelwedd, Builth Wells.

In his younger days he was part of a highly successful rally team alongside co-driver Alun Rees of Carmarthen and navigator and co-driver Hywel Thomas of Neath, both of whom have passed away.

He prepared a Hillman car at his garage and the three friends took part in the 1970 World Cup Rally against top works teams and professional drivers from all parts of the world.

The rally from Wembley Stadium in London to the Aztec Stadium in Mexico City was over 16,000 miles of difficult terrain and in three continents.

One hundred cars entered the event with only 23 completing the rally and remarkably Washy and his co-drivers finished 15th in a car prepared as a hobby at a local garage.