Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Rally Championship 

Press release: 14 November 2021

 

 

Garry Pearson is the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally champion after a stunning fightback on the final two stages of the Rallynuts Stages Rally (Saturday 13 November) saw him clinch the title by the smallest of margins and winning on a tiebreak.

 

Co-driven by Niall Burns, Garry lost 17 seconds on the opening stage through Myherin when the power steering failed on his Pirelli-shod Asset Alliance Škoda Fabia R5. A nut on the top of the reserve reservoir had come loose which had also caused the windscreen to mist up.

 

Down in fifth overall and fourth Pirelli Welsh contender, Garry set the fastest time in Sweet Lamb and Hafren to take the Pirelli Welsh lead by the time crews reached mid-day service at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd, two seconds ahead of Callum Black and 18 seconds ahead of Ian Bainbridge.

 

The title looked his, until a right rear puncture halfway through the repeat of Myherin cost Garry almost a minute.

 

Now 45 seconds behind Callum and 27 seconds behind Ian, Garry needed to finish second to win the Welsh title and with just 13.47 stage miles remaining he launched an incredible fightback.

 

Garry set the fastest time on SS5 (Sweet Lamb 2) taking 17 seconds out of Ian to set up a thrilling final run through Hafren 2.

 

In a title or nothing final stage charge, Garry was then 12 seconds faster than Ian to overtake him on the event leaderboard and take second place Pirelli Welsh Championship points by just two seconds – which with Callum taking a maximum score was what Garry needed to be crowned 2021 champion.

 

It was also cause for celebration for the 2018 Pirelli Welsh driver champion Dylan Davies, who owns, prepares and runs Garry’s 2021 title winning Fabia R5.

 

“It’s been one of my most challenging days of my rallying career, from the power steering problem in the morning, driving half of stage four on a puncture and then a fightback on the last two stages in the afternoon,” said Garry.

 

“I took it one event at a time and it’s the best year I’ve ever had in rallying. I’m speechless.

 

“Credit to Dylan Davies Rallying because they’ve prepared a good car for us all season. And thanks to Asset Alliance, Pirelli, George Anderson Builders and all the people in the team for pulling together and getting us here.”

 

 

 

Callum, pictured,  needed to score maximum points on the Rallynuts to have a chance of winning the Pirelli Welsh drivers’ title for a second time, and 2017 champion did that in spectacular style and also finished second overall on the event.

 

Co-driven by Tom Woodford, a wrong tyre choice in the morning cost Callum time, particularly on SS2 when the Pallas Connections Ford Fiesta R5 understeered badly through Sweet Lamb. It may have cost Callum the overall rally win, but with Garry picking up the Pirelli Welsh points he needed the rally result didn’t cost Callum the Welsh title.

 

Ian, pictured, drove very well, although the work commitments that restricted his pre-rally preparations ultimately prevented him from setting the stage times that he knew he could. Co-driven by Will Atkins, Ian still finished on the Pirelli Welsh podium in his right-hand drive Gypsum Group Škoda Fabia R5, which was just reward for his gritty performance, particularly through Myherin and Sweet Lamb which he thoroughly enjoyed. The result also sees him finish third in the overall drivers’ standings.

 

Perry Gardener/Jack Bowen finished fourth Pirelli Welsh crew on the Eventsigns Woodpecker Rally, which is where they also finished this time on only their second event in a Ford Fiesta R5.

 

Russ Thompson (co-driven by Tom Murphy) left his best until the last round and finally enjoyed a trouble-free event (save for an issue with a fuel pump on a road section) in his Dunnow Plant Mitsubishi Evo IX to come home fifth.

 

He was followed home by Matthew Hirst, pictured below, who also finished a difficult season on a high when he and co-driver Declan Dear enjoyed a clean run, albeit surviving a near roll on the penultimate stage, to the finish in their Delta Salvage Mitsubishi Evo IX.

 

Matthew finishes fifth in the overall drivers’ standings, just behind Welsh Junior George Lepley who didn’t start the Rallynuts.

 

Dylan Davies just missed out on a top 10 Rallynuts finish in a Subaru Impreza he’d only bought the day before the event. In an extraordinary performance, he and Mark Glennerster finished 11th overall in a car that he’d not even had the time to put the characteristic Dylan Davies Rallying team yellow and black coloured decals on!

 

Bob Morgan is still getting used to his new Winner Garage Škoda Fabia R5 – so much so that when the windscreen wipers came on in Sweet Lamb he couldn’t find the switch to turn them off. Despite the distraction, he and co-driver Adrian Williams had a great run and finished 18th overall.

 

Nik Elsmore finished one place behind in his CDS Taxis Mitsubishi Evo IX. It’s been many years since he’d rallied on such slippery stages and the part worn tyres that he was using didn’t help him find the required grip. Nevertheless, he and co-driver Rob Flagg enjoyed a good run and a top 20 finish.

 

Maxx Bradshaw/Liam Whiteley were pleased with their pace and admitted they couldn’t have gone any faster over the afternoon stages to record a good finish in their Renvo8/DB Autos & Sons Mitsubishi Evo III.

 

Martyn and Dawn England lost time with a puncture in the morning but recovered well to score a good result in only their second rally in their SW Motorsport Mitsubishi Evo X,

 

Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe lost a considerable amount of time on the morning loop with a puncture in Sweet Lamb and another in Hafren, but brought their Subaru Impreza STi N12b home for a strong finish

 

Despite retiring after multiple punctures on SS2, Owen McMackin, pictured, clinched the RAVENOL UK Welsh Challenge title, thanks to Ashley Davies (co-driven by Sam Fordham) retiring his G&B Finch/Burton Power Escort Mk2 after the penultimate stage.

 

David Crossen’s chances of winning the title took a dive when he hit a rock, punctured a tyre and bent the steering on his Crossen Engineering Escort Mk2 on SS1. Co-driven by Aileen Kelly, his title hopes finally came to an end when a throttle cable problem saw him take a stage maximum on SS4 and he skipped the last two stages.

 

Owen also wins the Restruct-sponsored Two-Wheel Drive title, which gives his navigator Lee Taylor the co-drivers’ class trophy.

 

Paul Street/Ian Jones are confirmed as Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup champions after a great season in their Escort RS1800 Mk2.

 

Nick Elliott/Dave Price won the category on the day in their Escort Mk2, beating Ben Friend/Cliff Simmons, pictured, who had put gravel suspension on their asphalt Allglass Escort for the event – hence appearing in a white Mk2, rather than their more familiar red Ford.

 

Michael McDaid enjoyed a good run on his first appearance in the classic mid-Wales forests, with he and co-driver Declan Casey taking a Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup podium in their McDaid Pharmacy Escort RS1800 Mk2 to finish third in the class at the end of the season.

 

Jonathan Brace/Paul Spooner also ended the season on a high in their Brace’s Bakery Escort Mk2, while Charles Hopkinson/Alan Jones (Black Antler Design Escort RS1800 Mk2), Neal James/Kevin Jones (Mosley Rolling Road/Cwm Engineering Escort Mk2) and Ron Morgan/Marc Clatworthy (Restruct Escort Mk2) all survived the tricky and often changeable road conditions to score good results.

 

Ricky Crone/Daniel James (Escort Mk2) are the Pirelli Welsh Road Rally class champions after taking maximum points on the Rallynuts Stages. They had understeer problems on the first loop in their Escort Mk2 but survived to finish the season with a perfect score of 90 points.

 

Robi Wood/Osian Davies retired their NIBS/SWG Escort Mk2 mid-way through the afternoon, thus ending their title aspirations.

 

Mark Lennox/Rhodri Evens had a gear linkage problem on the opening stage in their Tec-Nic Motorsport/Lennox Engineering Escort Mk2, but fortunately the problem cured itself. They weren’t quite out of the woods, as a problem with the limited slip differential in the afternoon was cause for concern, although they battled on to finish second in class and secure third in the final Pirelli Welsh Road Rally standings.

 

Graham Thatcher/Tim Samuel hit a compression on SS1 which caused gear selection problems thereafter and despite starting the afternoon loop they retired their Pembridge Vehicle Management Peugeot 206GTi.

 

 Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams, pictured,  focused on getting a finish and in doing so clinched the W4 title in their West Wales Rally Spares Peugeot 208 R2. In a truly wonderful season the talented teenager also finished fifth in the Welsh Challenge drivers’ standings and fourth in the Two-Wheel Drive points table.

 

Conor Tolson/Dylan Thomas finished runners-up in class W4 after a strong season and a good first visit to Myherin, Sweet Lamb and Hafren forests in their Powerhouse Turbo Garage Ford Fiesta R2.

 

A perfect score of 90 points also secured Adrian and Matthew Walk the class W2 title in their PartBOX Ford Ka.

 

It also wasn’t the easiest condition for a Corsa, but James Dunkley/Dan Sayce did extremely well to finish second in class in their JD Auto Services Vauxhall, despite having to ease off on the final stage when the sumpguard came loose.

 

 Steve Black put his sensible head on and was also driving for a finish. Co-driven by Paul Morris, the 586 Sports team driver’s tactics were rewarded with the class W3 title in his Suzuki Swift 1400.

 

Elsewhere Simon Dalton/Ryan Griffiths had a good run in their Blendline Subaru Impreza STi N12b, having hit a rock on the inside of a corner on SS3 and narrowly avoided being flung off the road.

 

Andrew Fox/Jaime-Lee Fox had a worrying noise coming from underneath their Fitzgerald Plant Services BMW 325 as they suspected a dislodged propshaft guard, but they survived to reach the finish.

 

In only his second event after coming out of a six year rally retirement Chris Gittins reached the finish in his 2.8-litre BMW Compact, ably guided by Daniel Jones.

 

Paul Walker/Geraint Thomas were happy to finish after they hit a hole a mile from the end of the final stage which bent a wheel in their Green Power Subaru Impreza.

 

Meanwhile Keith Jones/Jonny ‘Tad’ Evans (Grooms Garage Subaru Impreza), Harry Hunt/Steve McPhee (Ford Escort) and Rob Wilson/Martin Haggett (Ravenol Ford Fiesta R2) were equally delighted to cross the finish line of what had been a very demanding event.

 

David Tomlin/Ian Beamond broke a wheel on the opening stage and then a tyre came off the rim on SS2. Their afternoon wasn’t much better either and they were forced to retire when the power steering on their Axon Ford Fiesta R5 failed on SS4.

 

Paul Lomas/Mark Leader (Plant Speed Ford Escort) and Alan Desbois/Peter Littlefield (Peugeot 306 RWD) both retired on the morning loop, while despite hitting a rock on SS2 and stopping to change a puncture David Jones/Gwyn Price retired their Tanners Arms BMW E30 in the afternoon.

 

Further details on the  Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship can be found online at: wnrc.wamc.org.uk.

 

2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship

Provisional points after Round 4:

 

Overall driver

  1. Garry Pearson….87pts
  2. Callum Black….87pts
  3. Ian Bainbridge….77pts
  4. George Lepley….77pts
  5. Matthew Hirst….63pts
  6. Owen McMackin….52pts
  7. Perry Garender….48pts
  8. Ashley Davies….48pts
  9. Russ Thompson….47.5pts
  10. Richard Hill….45pts

 

Overall co-driver

  1. Niall Burns….90pts
  2. Will Atkins….84pts
  3. Declan Dear….74pts
  4. Jack Bowen….71pts
  5. Lee Taylor….66pts
  6. Ian Jones….54pts
  7. Liam Whiteley….53pts
  8. Adrian Williams….48pts
  9. Cliff Simmons….48pts
  10. Sion Williams….44pts

 

Class winners:

 

Pirelli Welsh Junior

Driver: George Lepley

Co-driver: Will Atkins

 

RAVENOL UK Welsh Challenge

Driver: Owen McMackin

Co-driver: Jack Bowen

 

Restruct Two-Wheel Drive

Driver: Owen McMackin

Co-driver: Lee Taylor

 

Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup

Driver: Paul Street

Co-driver: Ian Jones

 

W2 (2WD, 1001cc to 1400cc 8v naturally aspirated)

Driver: Adrian Walk

Co-driver: Matt Walk

 

W3 (2WD, 1001cc to 1400cc 16v naturally aspirated)

Driver: Steve Black

Co-driver: Caron Tomlinson

 

W4 (2WD, all R2 homologated cars / FIA 1000cc turbo and 1600cc)

Driver: Ioan Lloyd

Co-driver: Sion Williams

 

W5 (2WD, Road Rally cars)

Driver: Ricky Crone

Co-driver: Daniel James

 

W6 (2WD, Historic Cat  including up to 1600cc category 2, 3 and 4a)

Driver: Julian Birley and Chris Hellings (tied)

 

W7 (2WD, Historic 1601cc and over 8v single cam (category 2, 3 and 4a)

Driver: Neal James

Co-driver: Kevin Jones

 

W8 (2WD, Historic 1601cc and over 16v multi valve (category 2, 3, 4a and 4b up to 1600cc)

Driver: Paul Street

Co-driver: Ian Jones

 

W9 (4WD, Historic category 4b over 1600cc)

Driver: Tom Coughtrie

 

W10 (2WD, 1401cc to 1600cc naturally aspirated)

Driver: Dan Jones

Co-driver: Cyril Jones

 

W11 (2WD, 1601cc to 2000cc naturally aspirated)

Driver: Robert Wilson

Co-driver: Martin Haggett

 

W12 (2WD, 2001cc and over)

Driver: Owen McMackin

Co-driver: Lee Taylor

 

W13 (4WD, all four-wheel drive cars, excluding class W14 and W9)

Driver: George Lepley

Co-driver: Declan Dear

 

W14 (4WD, WRC/R5/S2000/RCC cars)

Driver: Callum Black

Co-driver: Niall Burns

 

Pirelli Welsh Over 50

Driver: Paul Street

Co-driver: Ian Jones