Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Rally Championship 





  • Garry Pearson extends Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship lead as title battle goes down to the final round





    Garry Pearson has increased his lead in the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship after scoring maximum points on the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally, which is his second series win in a row.


    Co-driven by Niall Burns, Garry made a great start in his Asset Alliance Škoda Fabia R5 to establish an early lead which he was able to maintain until the finish, despite a small issue with the car on the afternoon loop of stages.


    “We started in the morning with a bit of a push to try and get an early lead, which was just as well because on the fifth stage in the afternoon we hit something and bent the steering,” said Garry.


    “It got progressively worse, and for the last couple of stages we were forced to back off. But by then we had established a good lead and were able to maintain it until the finish.”


    The Cambrian Rally proved an extremely challenging event, with recent heavy rain leaving the gravel roads in Gwydir, Penmachno and Alwen forests with a lot of deep standing water and the additional hazard of low sun on both the early morning and late afternoon stages.


    But it was a challenge many rose to, including Callum Black, pictured, who got his title challenge back on track with a second-place finish in his Pallas Connections-backed Ford Fiesta R5+. A puncture on SS4, a fast fifth gear brush with a hedge on SS5 and a slight ride up a grassy bank on the final asphalt stage couldn’t prevent the 586 Sports team driver and co-driver Jack Morton from scoring a magnificent second podium finish, having netted maximum WNRC points on the opening Nicky Grist Stages. The result moves Callum up to third in the overall drivers’ standings and in with a shout of the title.



    George Lepley also had a great run on the Cambrian. Not only did a superb performance in his WD-40 Mitsubishi Evo X net him a third place WNRC points finish, but he also clinched the Pirelli Welsh Junior title. His reward is a prize of a test in a PCRS Rallysport-prepared Hyundai i20 R5, organised by OnThePaceNote.co.uk. Co-driven by Tom Woodburn, George’s fantastic result in North Wales puts him second in the overall drivers’ standings, six points behind Garry and 15 points ahead of Cullum.


    Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear finished fourth in the WNRC section in their Delta Mitsubishi Evo IX, despite the spare wheel coming loose in the boot on the opening stage and dislodging the diff pump. They also survived a couple of punctures during the afternoon loop of stages.


    Jason Black scored his best overall result of the season finishing an incredible fifth in his Toyota Starlet. Co-driven by Karl Egan, he also leads class W11.


    Owen McMackin was also in inspired form, finishing sixth overall in his Escort Mk2. Co-driven by Lee Taylor, the result gives Owen the lead of both the Restruct-sponsored Two-Wheel Drive category and the RAVENOL UK Welsh Challenge.




    Ashley Davies remains second in Two-Wheel Drive category and moves up to second in the Welsh Challenge after he and co-driver Sam Fordham mastered the conditions in their Escort Mk2.


    Unfortunately, it wasn’t such a good day for David Crossen. Coming into the event leading both categories the Comber driver picked up a puncture on the opening stage and, together with co-driver Aileen Kelly, retired his Escort Mk2 on the afternoon loop.


    Paul Street has taken the lead in the hotly contested Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup after scoring maximum points with a controlled drive in his Escort RS1800 Mk2. Partnered by Ian Jones, Paul picked up a puncture and bent a wheel on the opening stage, but a more cautious approach paid dividends after that.


    Robert Gough moves up to fourth in the Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup after finishing second (co-driven by Jack Bowen) in his Escort Mk2, which was a magnificent result considering that they have entered the car on the Roger Albert Clark Rally and were keen not to damage it.


    Unfortunately, Michael McDaid/Declan Casey retired their Escort RS1800 Mk2 on SS5, which puts an end to their Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup title hopes.



    Steve Black has clinched the class W3 title after a great drive in his Suzuki Swift 1400. Co-driven by Paul Morris, the 586 Sports team driver was able to ease off in the afternoon when rivals Dave and Toby Brick suffered clutch failure in their Vauxhall Nova


    Dan Jones/Cyril Jones have clinched the W10 title after securing their third straight class win in their Vauxhall Nova.


    Adrian and Matthew Walk continue to lead W2 in their PartBOX Ford Ka and scored maximum class points on the Cambrian having survived a couple of spins in SS2 when the windscreen misted up and a puncture on SS4.


    While Matthew has secured the W2 co-drivers’ title, Adrian is in a close battle for the drivers’ trophy with Ross Clements who (co-driven by Christopher Lear) enjoyed a good run in his MG ZR.


    Ricky Crone has extended his lead in the Pirelli Welsh Road Rally class to five points after he and Daniel James won the category for a second time in a row in their Escort Mk2. Early leaders Robi Wood/Osian Davies remain second in the standings after finishing second on the Cambrian in their Escort Mk2 while third place Graham Thatcher/Tim Samuel could still win the title after another strong performance in their Peugeot 206GTi. Mark Lennox lost time when his Escort Mk2’s windscreen misted up on SS1 and he caught a car on SS2. He and co-driver Rhodri Evens recovered well, but their third-place finish leaves them a little short on points to win the title this year.


    Bob Morgan/Adrian Williams had a great maiden outing in their new Winner Garage Škoda Fabia R5 to score their first finish of the season, while Maxx Bradshaw/Liam Whiteley reached the finish unscathed in their Renvo8/DB Autos & Sons Mitsubishi Evo III.


    The tough terrain contributed to several retirements including Tom Llewellin/Ross Whittock (Brace’s Mitsubishi Mirage), Dylan Davies/Dafydd Evans (Subaru Impreza) and Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams (West Wales Rally Spares Peugeot 208 R2) all of whom hit the same outcrop of rock on SS2 which damaged the suspension of each car and forced them into instant retirement. Tom was particularly unlucky as the impact threw the car into a roll.


    Russ Thompson/Stephen Link stopped after SS1 when their Dunnow Plant Mitsubishi Evo IX picked up an electrical problem, Harry Gardner/Elliott Graham also retired their Mitsubishi Evo 9 on the opening stage, a severe misfire with their BMW 325’s engine forced Andrew Fox/Jaime-Lee Fox out on SS2 while that was also as far as Alex Moore/Merfyn Williams got in their Subaru Impreza.


    Dave Tomlin/Keith Ashley retired their Axon Ford Fiesta R5 with clutch problems on SS4 while Robert Morris/Dil John put their Subaru Impreza off the road on SS5.


    With cameras on every stage, Sideways Media will produce a multi-film edited highlights package featuring competitors from all the classes within the Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship to be broadcast on the Championship’s Facebook and YouTube channels this week.


    The final round of the 2021 Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship is the Rallynuts Stages Rally on Saturday 13 November.


    Further details on the 2021 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 overall driver points after Round 3:

    1. Garry Pearson….83pts
    2. George Lepley….77pts
    3. Callum Black….62pts
    4. Ian Bainbridge….52pts
    5. Owen McMackin….51pts
    6. Ashley Davies….47pts
    7. Matthew Hirst….46pts
    8. Richard Hill….45pts
    9. David Crossen….43pts
    10. Paul Barrett….40pts

    Images - Paul Mitchell 
    Press Release - Paul Evans 


  • Top three drivers separated by two points as battle for the 2021 Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship heads to North Wales



    Just two points separate the top three drivers at the top of the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship standings with series leader Garry Pearson, Ian Bainbridge and George Lepley heading to Llandudno for the penultimate round of the series, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally (Saturday 30 October).


    Pearson (pictured) arrives in North Wales with a one point lead after he and co-driver Niall Burns won the Eventsigns Woodpecker Rally in their Asset Alliance Škoda Fabia R5. Despite fierce and experienced opposition, their first attempt at the event saw them lead from start to finish and they will be looking for nothing less than maximum points again.


    “I’ve only done the Cambrian Rally once and that was in 2014 in a Peugeot 208 R2,” says Pearson.


    “It’s only going to be my second event in Wales in an R5 car, so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve not got a lot of experience of the North Wales forests, but it will nevertheless be a case of opening the throttle and going for it. We’re going to give it our all.”

    Bainbridge is enjoying a great season too, having finished second on the opening Nicky Grist Stages and third on the Woodpecker. His last appearance in North Wales saw him win the Rali Adfer Coedwigoedd Cymru (December 2020) in Gorsedd Bran forest, and he has improved the performance and handling of his Gypsum Group Škoda Fabia R5 considerably since then – leaving him and co-driver Will Atkins, who leads the overall co-drivers’ standings, as potential Cambrian Rally winners.

    George Lepley (pictured) finished third on the opening Nicky Grist Stages and second on the Woodpecker and also leads the Pirelli Welsh Junior category. Co-driven by Tom Woodburn, the WD-40 Mitsubishi Evo X driver is on incredible form this year and will be looking for another podium finish on the Cambrian to strengthen is double title hopes.


    Callum Black (pictured) led the Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship after victory on the Nicky Grist Stages but a DNF on the Woodpecker has dropped him down to seventh. But with three scores from four events to count the 586 Sports team driver is still very much in contention but will need another good result this time out. Callum will be co-driven by Jack Morton in their Pallas Connections-backed Ford Fiesta R5+.

    Also challenging for the top step of the podium will be the 2019 Pirelli Welsh Rally champions Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear in their Delta Mitsubishi Evo IX, Russ Thompson/Stephen Link in their Dunnow Plant Mitsubishi Evo IX and the 2019 Welsh Junior champion Tom Llewellin who, with co-driver Ross Whittock, will contest only his second rally in a Mitsubishi Mirage, having finished fourth first time out on the Nicky Grist Stages.



    David Crossen is enjoying a magnificent season in his Escort Mk2 as he heads to North Wales looking for this third straight win in the Restruct-sponsored Two-Wheel Drive category. The Comber driver also leads the RAVENOL UK Welsh Challenge and will be co-driven on the Cambrian by Aileen Kelly.

    Ashley Davies is currently second in the Welsh Challenge and, partnered by Sam Fordham, will be aiming to close the five point gap in his Escort Mk2.

    Having finished third on both the previous rounds, Owen McMackin is second in the Two-Wheel Drive standings, just 10 points behind in his Escort Mk2. He will be co-driven by Lee Taylor.


    Ioan Lloyd(Pictured) is third in both the Two-Wheel Drive and Welsh Challenge classes after a magnificent season in his West Wales Rally Spares Peugeot 208 R2. Co-driven by Sion Williams, the youngster also leads W4 after winning the class twice, while Jonathan Jones (co-driven by Alan Walker) is close behind having finished second twice in his Ford Fiesta R2.


    Paul Street(pictured) has a great opportunity to take the lead in the hotly contested Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup. He’s currently second in the drivers’ points table and enjoying a great season in his Escort RS1800 Mk2, while his navigator Ian Jones leads the co-drivers’ category.


    They’ll be pushed hard by the likes of Tom Coughtrie/Ian Fraser (pictured) in their Mitsubishi Galant VR4 and Michael McDaid/Declan Casey and Robert Gough/Aled Edwards in a pair of Escort RS1800 Mk2s.


    Steve Black(above) leads class W3 in his 586 Sports Suzuki Swift 1400 and he and co-driver Paul Morris will be hoping to bounce back from an early retirement on the Woodpecker with a good result. That DNF has allowed Dave Brick to close up in his Vauxhall Nova and together with Toby Brick on the route notes the battle for the class title will be intense.


    Maxx Bradshaw will be aiming to close the 11 point gap on Lepley in the Pirelli Welsh Junior category, and together with co-driver Liam Whiteley brings his Renvo8/DB Autos & Sons Mitsubishi Evo III over from the Isle of Man.


    Ricky Crone is just two points ahead of Robi Wood in the Pirelli Welsh Road Rally class in a pair of Escort Mk2s, while Graham Thatcher is a close third in his Peugeot 206GTi. Co-driven by Daniel James, Osian Davies and Tim Samuel respectively, their battle for the newest class title will continue.


    Adrian and Matthew Walk (pictuerd) will be looking to take the lead of class W2 in their PartBOX Ford Ka, while Dan Jones/Cyril Jones could wrap up the class W10 trophy if their winning streak continues in their Vauxhall Nova.


    The Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship has once again attracted a very high quality entry containing a huge variety of cars – as also competing for honour and points on the Cambrian Rally are Dave Tomlin/Keith Ashley (Axon Fird Fiesta R5), Andrew Stokes/Jonny ‘Tad’ Evans (Escort RS1600 Mk1), Bob Morgan/Adrian Williams (Winner Garage Škoda Fabia), rally rookie Olly Hunt/Andy Falconer (Subaru Impreza) (Pictured aboe), Ross Clements/Christopher Lee (MG ZR), Martin Frazer/Dylan Bargate (Slideways Mitsubishi Evo VI), Chris and Tim Hellings (Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1), Kevin Metcalfe/Ian Jones (BMW E30), Steve Hollis/Tim Currie (Volkswagen Golf R) and Jason Black/Karl Egan (Toyota Starlet) (pictured below) – plus many more.

    Sideways Media will once again film all registered Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship competitors and broadcast a multi-film edited highlights package on the Championship’s Facebook and YouTube channels in the week after the event, featuring all classes.


    There will also be live coverage and interviews during the event, broadcast on the Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship social media channels.

    This year’s Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally contains seven stages totalling just over 44 stage miles through the classic forests of Gwydir, Penmachno and Alwen, together with the final challenge of a new asphalt stage which has only been used before on road rallies. The service area will be located at Coleg Llandrillo.

    Spectators are welcome and tickets must be purchased in advance via the event’s website: cambrianrally.co.uk. The cost of the ticket includes vehicle car parking, an event programme and access to one stage.

    Further details on the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship can be found online at: wnrc.wamc.org.uk.

    Images: Chris Huish Rallysportmedia 
    Article: Paul Evans