Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Rally Championship 


  • A Game of Two Halves for Championship Leader

    After an exciting opening round of the 2020 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship, in association with Ravenol UK, it was Richmond driver Ian Bainbridge together with new co driver Dale Bowen who emerged victorious. They took maximum championship points after a superb drive to 2nd overall, in the Gypsum Group backed Skoda Fabia R5 on the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally. 

    Around 100 cars left the Llandudno base in dry cold conditions, on Saturday morning, even storm Ciara stayed thankfully at bay until the evening. 

    The notoriously tough event provided an excellent opener, using the forests of Elsi, Gwydir, Crafnant followed by a 10-mile test in the formidable Penmachno Forest, plus the superb tarmac road of the Great Orme providing the competitors with 42 miles of fast and furious action. 


    But it wasn't all plain sailing for the Skoda driver, who quipped at service despite lying 5th. "I've had an atrocious morning the harder I try, the times are not there, I'm starting to doubt myself, we’re going to make some changes in service, and push hard this afternoon. "But whatever he did worked, he set some terrific times, to lead home husband and wife team Martyn and Dawn England, Fiesta R5
    A delighted Martyn, who finished 4th overall, said, " We've had a very good run. We put some harder sidewall tyres on to take no risks, especially in Penmachno and it’s paid off."

    Completing the podium places in 6th overall was young gun George Lepley with Tom Woodburn on the notes in the WD 40/Pirelli Mitsubishi Evo 10. But it was a case of what might have been for the Newark youngster, after setting good times on the opening tests, a puncture in Penmachno saw the duo loose 2 minutes, and drop from 2nd to 16th, but a good run over the afternoon stages, brought its rewards."It was game over after the puncture for the win, we just tried to salvage some good championship points." stated Lepley.


    But the biggest losers of the day were Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy in the SW Engineering Lancer Evo 9, who had a superb run to hold 2nd overall at service." We've made a lot of changes to the car, and I was a bit rusty first thing, I just wanted a good quick run through Penmachno, that was the key stage for us." said Thompson but it all went wrong on the last stage,Elsi, when they picked up a rear puncture a mile into the final 7 mile test and driving on it to the end, dropping down to 4th Welsh championship crew and 7th overall." We're a bit deflated to say the least". Commented co driver Andy Murphy.


    The impressive Tom Llewellin, together with Peredur Davies, in the Braces Bread Escort RS1800, rounded off the top 5 Welsh contenders, with 9th overall, and 1st 2WD contender home after another excellent drive. "This afternoon stages were pretty tough, but we've had a good day, I had a good push on the last stage and really enjoyed that" said the Haverfordwest youngster.


    Just 13 seconds behind, in 10th overall, were Karl Simmons and Mark Glennerster, in the Melvyn Evans Motorsport run Skoda Fabia R5, the duo ended stage 1 with a slow rear puncture, but unaware of this, they did nearly all of Gwydir with the tyre deflated and dropped a minute. "Shame about the puncture it cost us a minute, but we've had a good day overall."Martin Andrews had a very good day to finish to take 14th overall, with co-driver Steve Greenhill from a start number of 49 in the Subaru Impreza,"Really enjoyed it, we had a few moments along the way, and the car was doing things we didn't understand at times, it went faster than I wanted it to at times." Laughed Andrews


    The spectacular Andy Davison and Tom Murphy, in the 2 litre Sunbeam, had what he described as “interesting” moments in the morning and being “rusty”. An off into a ditch on stage 5, cost them some 20 seconds, but didn't stop them taking 2nd 2WD and 15th overall.
    Hereford duo Chris Powell and Jim Lewis were yet again the giant killers in the Herefordshire Raceway 1400 Sunbeam, taking 16th overall and the early lead in class W3, after an excellent day, although Chris admitted to loosing concentration when he tried to back off on the penultimate stage. 


    Another crew to suffer a puncture that somewhat spoiled their day, were Scott Faulkner and Steve Link in their Lancer Evo 9, after a very good opening two stages the duo dropped nearly 4 minutes on the long Penmachno test. It was then a case of damage limitation, with 18th overall but top Group N runner. Ludlow youngster Perry Gardner had the experienced Andrew Sankey alongside in the TNT Tyres Fiesta R2.  They were another crew who had a trouble-free day to take 19th overall and the W4a Class. "it was nice and simple. " said Gardner.


    Local duo David Lloyd Roberts and Emyr Hall had a very good run, despite it looking to be all over at service, having experienced a persistent misfire in the morning. Some excellent work from Lloyd Roberts’s former co-driver, Dei Jones, who diagnosed a broken rocker arm, Frank Richer at Richer Motorsport stepped in and sourced a replacement.  They finished an excellent 20th overall and 1st in the W5 category, in the 2-litre historic Escort.

    Osian Owen co-drove Maxx Bradshaw to 23rd in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 2. 

    Ledbury youngster Rob Wilson with co driver Martin Haggett in the Ravenol backed Fiesta R2 had a superb run to 25th and with it runner up in the Junior category, despite admitting to a slow start. Jon Jones and his Machynlleth co-driver Lewis Griffiths were another crew to enjoy the days sport. On only the drivers second gravel rally in the Word are Skip Hire Fiesta R2, to finish 26th. "We've had a really good day, stages have been excellent." said well pleased Griffiths Yet another Machynlleth youngster Gethin Price, with Matt Baddeley in the hot seat, produced a stunning drive to net 30th overall and 3rd junior driver home, in the R Keith Price Haulage 1300 Nissan Micra, despite losing 20 seconds with an overshoot in stage 3. " We've had a really good day, fitting 4 new Pirelli tyres has made a huge difference today instead of our usual secondhand ones." Laughed Gethin.


    After some very impressive times in his new Skoda Fabia R5 West Walian duo Dylan Davies and Llion Williams, started superbly. Just 4 seconds off the lead after stage 2,  the duo stopped at the scene of an accident on stage 3. Once they knew the crew were ok, they drove to the end of the stage slowly with their hazards on and were given the actual time they took. This cost the duo 10 minutes, dropping to 60th and any hope of getting a good result. But they set top 5 stage times on the afternoon's 3 tests to finish 34th overall. "Apart from the third stage incident, we've been on the pace all day which is pleasing given it’s a new car." Said Dylan.


    Just behind was ever cheerful Scotsman Tom Coughtrie with his Isle of Mull co-driver Ian Frazer in the beautiful Mitsubishi Gallant. Despite some off road panel damage they took 35th. The duo’s next outing will be the opening Scottish championship round, The Snowman, before Tom leaves for a tarmac rally in Spain. "At least I've had some tarmac practice today, on the Orme, before Spain". quipped Coughtrie, “And if any championship contenders visit Mull you be will made very welcome in the Frazer coffee House on the Island”.

    North Wales crew Robert and Iestyn Williams had a good run to finish 40th overall in the beautiful Mk 1 RS2000. Despite admitting to being very rusty and finding the stages very slippery. Chester residents Steve Ward and Mike Crawford in the GJM built historic Escort enjoyed a run to 42nd overall. Veteran campaigners Cyril Crook and Mike Wilding in the ex Richard Edwards RWD Astra had an excellent run to 43rd overall. West Countryman Frazer Martin with Abergele’s Ian Jones on the notes, were another to suffer in stage 3, losing 10 minutes with a puncture, in the Slideways Motorsport Lancer Evo 6.The Avenger crew of Manxman Rory McCann with the experienced  Tim Tugwell calling the notes, had a frustrating day, suffering two stage maximums on stages 1 and 6,but soldiered on to finish 52nd overall.  "It's been a character building day, but I really enjoyed that last stage, it flowed so I could throw the car about." smiled the jovial McCann.

     Those who unfortunately never made the finish included, the reigning champions Matt Hirst with co-driver Declan Dear who hit a rock in Penmachno and bent a wheel, the aforementioned rock would account for 3 championship contenders.The much anticipated battle for 2WD honours with the historic Escorts of Tom Llewellin, Nick Elliott and Ben Friend only lasted a few stages, with Friend first to go with gearbox issues on stage 3. That stage also saw Elliott lose a minute when he had to stop to put a flapping bonnet down, but a broken gearbox mount in service ended his day. Damian Pratts and Jonny "Tad" Evans rolled the Tsalta Motorsport Escort out on stage 2. The now famous Penmachno rock also claimed the new Renault Twingo R2 of Zak Hughes with Will Atkins alongside, who rolled heavily. Differential failure saw the end of Steve Ormond-Smith and Simon Jones Evo7 on stage 1.Young Elliot Payne had the experience of Mike Gilbey guiding the Fiesta R2, but they were another stage 3 casualty reason unknown. Tom McKeown and Neil Thomas retired on stage 2 with suspension issues. The BMW of Kevin Metcalfe’s rally ended in Penmachno reason unknown. 

    Newtown duo Alun Horn with Ian Beamond calling the notes in the 2 litre Escort, completed the stages, despite a maximum on the last stage, but were OTL at the end. Dave Brick and Rob Woodhouse retired their Nova with engine problems on stage 3.  Meanwhile sons, Freddy and Toby Brick rally ended in stage 5.James Dunkley and Colin Jenkins lost drive in stage 5 in the Vauxhall Corsa.

    There is no doubt the event proved to be a tough opener on the tight twisty roads of the North Wales forests.

    The next Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Championship round, North Wales Rally Services Rally North Wales takes place on March 28th.  Entries are sure to be at a premium for this very popular rally which will see crews head to the wide fast flowing roads of Dyfi Forest and the superbly testing roads of Pantperthog.


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    It’s showdown time this Saturday (9th November)for competitors in the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship. The crews will head out from the start of the final Championship round, the Winner Garage Skoda Wyedean Stages Rally with the overall Welsh title, along with many class awards, still at stake.
    The fight for overall honours is effectively a two-way battle between Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy and Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear with both crews in Mitsubishi Evo IXs.
    Tom Llewellin has already clinched the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge for drivers but 2 nd and 3 rd places and the prize fund that go with them could go to any over four drivers. It’s Andy Fox who currently holds second place ahead of Josh Taylor but Hywel Davies and Perry Gardener remain in contention.
    In the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge for co-drivers, it’s Tom Murphy who has sewn up top honours but any of the next eight co-drivers in the standings could end up in the top three.
    Tom Llewellin has also claimed overall Two Wheel Drive honours but both front and rear wheel drive titles remain to be decided. Chris Powell, Andrew Fox, Hywel Davies and Andrew Davison could all still take the rear wheel drive crown, although Powell has opted to enter this event in a four-wheel drive Subaru Impreza. In front wheel drive the battle is between Perry Gardener, Callum Black, Tony Simpson, Steve Black and Dan Evans.
    Any of the top three rear wheel drive co-drivers could still take that category with the battle similarly open among the front wheel drive co-drivers.
    In class 4 for cars up to 1400cc, the fight is between the top 4 drivers and co-drivers while in Class 4, Martin Walters and Steve Deeley are battling it out for the title with the top 4 co-drivers in contention.
    Hywel Davies and Simon Jones have secured the titles in Class 5 but Escort driver Ron Morgan or Volvo man Ken Davies, whose company KGD Industrial Services is supporting the Wyedean could still finish as second placed driver.
    Class 6 is the most open class in the Championship with any of the top 7 drivers and the top 9 co-drivers while in Class 7 the fight is between the top 8 drivers and top 7 co-drivers.
    In Class 13, matters are complicated by the destination of the overall title. Josh Taylor leads the way, but he is just a single point clear of Matthew Hirst but if Hirst takes the overall drivers’ title he will not be eligible for a class award. Keith Gapper, meanwhile, in his second season in the Championship could secure a second trip to the end of season awards evening.
    Declan Dear appears favourite to secure class 13 co-drivers’ honours but could still be pipped at the post by Heather Merrison.
    Finally, in class N4, Russ Thompson and Wug Utting are tied on points and, with drivers counting only their six best scores from the season’s eight championship rounds the mathematical permutations are many and varied.
    As competitors face up to six classic Forest of Dean stages, therefore, there is still plenty to play for. Spectator information about the event, organised by Forest of Dean Motor Club, can be found on the official event web site, wyedeanstages.co.uk. More information on the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship can be found at wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the Championship Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.

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    NOTE TO EDITORS: Credit for the image below of Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy should be given to paulmitchellphotography@gmail.com
    Credit for the image of Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear should be given to rallysportmedia.com.



    Matt Hirst and Declan Dear took the 2019 Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship in style on Saturday (9th November)by taking outright victory on the final round.
    It was Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy who led the series going into the Winner Garage Wyedean Stages Rally, needing just a solid finish to take the title. When they retired on the very first stage of the rally, however, with mechanical problems that opened the door for Hirst and Dear in the similar Mitsubishi Evo 9.
    It would be no easy task for 2018 Welsh Junior Champion Hirst and his co-driver with only an outright victory allowing them to claim the crown. With the heavy rain in the days leading up to the rally leaving conditions in the stages treacherously slippery, the slightest driving error could be heavily penalised. While those conditions suggested it would be a day to favour four-wheel drive machinery, at the finish eight out of the top 10 cars were Ford Escorts.
    Lying third overall after the opening stage, Hirst and Dear moved up to second place on Stage 2 before taking a lead on the next stage which they retained all the way to the finish of the event in Mitcheldean.
    That enabled them to snatch the title from the unfortunate Thompson and Murphy by just two points.
    Following the event, Matt admitted they had written of their chances of winning the Championship three events ago. He sympathised with their rivals who lost out so narrowly following a great season-long battle, but he said the win was a great follow up for him and Declan to their victory in the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge last season.
    Second place points from the event sealed third place overall for Tom Llewellin, the Historic specification Ford Escort driver adding this to his already settled Junior and Two-wheel drive victories. The young Pembrokeshire driver had to survive a first stage spin and a trip into a ditch on Stage 3 and described the achievement as a great finish to the year adding that the Welsh series is a great championship with great competition.
    Third place on the rally went to Richard Ceen and Hamish Campbell. On only his second rally in the R5 Fiesta, Richard took a slightly cautious approach for the first run through the stages, upping his pace second time through.
    Josh Taylor and Heather Merrison went into the event leading class B13 and were looking for a finish to take the Championship class honours. Electrical problems cost them four minutes on the opening stage but they bounced back to take seventh quickest time on Stage 2. Josh later described what happened on the very next stage, “We went a little fast into a slippery downhill square right. We avoided the tree but then ended up crashing into a rock face which almost sent us down into the River Wye which meant rally over. I guess after a year without an off we were due one.” Despite that they still take the Championship Class award ahead of Richard Hill and Keith Gapper.
    Keith Gapper and Jordan Wilkinson tackled the first three stages without a heated screen leaving them with limited visibility. They then suffered a spin on stage 5 before completing the final stage without an intercom.
    With Tom Llewellin having already secured the drivers’ category in the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge, co-driver honours went to Tom Murphy. A strong run by BMW pairing Andy Fox and Jaime-Lee Fox secured second place for them with third place amongst the drivers going to Josh Taylor while Simon Jones finished third amongst the co-driver.
    Over 130 competitors registered for the 2019 Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship and it is reflection of the competitive nature of the series that after eight rallies and more than three hundred stage miles just two points separated the top two crews.
    All the award winners will receive their trophies at the annual WAMC dinner which will take place at The Hotel Metropole in Llandrindod Wells on January 25 th.
    -     ENDS     -
    NOTE TO EDITORS: Credit for the image  Rallysportmedia.com.
    Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship.





    Competitors in the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship begin the second half of their championship season this weekend (Sunday June 23rd)with their only visit of the year to the South Wales valleys for the Red Kite Stages

    Scott Faulkner currently holds a one-point advantage at the top of the overall driver’s table. The Mitsubishi Evo IX driver took maximum points on the last two rounds of the Championship, the Rallynuts Stages and the Plains Rally, but still holds the narrowest of leads over Matthew Hirst, the overall winner of round two, Rally North Wales and the 2018 Junior champion. Currently in third place, a further three points back is early season Championship leader Tom Llewellin.

    Unfortunately, Scott Faulkner will not be competing this weekend. His car needs further work following the last event and he plans to be back in action on the Nicky Grist Stages next month. So that means we are likely to see a new Championship leader on Sunday evening.

    Matthew Hirst’s co-driver, Declan Dear leads the overall standings in his category, two points ahead of Gareth Parry with Bob Stokoe holding third place.

    Meanwhile, reigning Champion Dylan Davies is scheduled to make his first appearance of the season, partnered by Mark Glennerster in a Subaru Impreza.

    Faulkner and Parry also lead the Group N Championship, five points clear of Surrey based duo Wug Utting and Bob Stokoe in their Subaru Impreza. Zak Hughes and Tom Woods hold third place in their Ford Fiesta.

    It’s Tom Llewellin, son of double British Rally Champion David Llewellin, who leads the two-wheel drive category in his historic Specification Mark II Ford Escort with a healthy 20-point advantage over fellow, for this event, Escort driver Chris Powell. Perry Gardener lies in third place.

    Looking to make up ground in the two-wheel drive standings following a non-finish on the Plains Rally, his second of the season, will be BMW stalwart Colin Griffiths in his 2.8 litre Compact. Former two-wheel drive champion Andy Fox, meanwhile, has teamed up with Den Golding in the E30 BMW and should benefit from Den’s extensive knowledge of the South Wales stages. Also looking for a strong points haul on only their second Championship appearance of the season will be Rudi Lancaster and Guy Weaver in their RS 1800 Escort.

    Top two-wheel drive co-driver is Jim Lewis, co-driver to Chris Powell, ahead of Caron Tomlinson and Keaton Williams.

    Tom Llewellin also tops the junior drivers category from Gethin Price and Zak Hughes. Leading the junior co-driver standings is Tom Murphy with a five-point advantage over both Keaton Williams and Rhys Stoneman. Rhys is in the Subaru Impreza of Craig Cameron this weekend

    It is Llewellin as well who leads the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge for drivers ahead of Perry Gardener and Tony Simpson. Heading the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge for co-drivers is Tom Murphy four points clear of Keaton Williams while Ian Bevan and Tom Woods are in joint third place.

    The rally, organised by Amman and District Motor Club, starts from Rheola Mart with cars leaving from 9.00am on Sunday morning to tackle a total of six special stages. Competitors can see the teams in action on the Rheola stage, which runs twice from 11.22am and again from 2.22pm.

    More information about the rally is available on the official website, www.redkitestages.co.uk and information about the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship can be found at wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the Championship Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.

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    Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli MotorSport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship.

     19TH JUNE 2019

    Images Rallysportmedia.com




    None of the front-running crews enjoyed a totally trouble-free run on the latest round of the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship. It was Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy who overcame their tribulations on the Builth Wells based Nicky Grist Stages, organised by Quinton Motor Club, to take maximum Championship points while Tom Llewellin retains his overall series lead.

    Scott Faulkner and Gareth Parry set the quickest time among the Championship contenders on the opening stage but after the second stage it was Thompson and Murphy who headed the field. However, just two seconds separated them from the next three crews, Richard Hill and Steffan Evans, Matt Hirst and Declan Dear and Faulkner and Parry.

    While Faulkner and Parry and Hill and Evans would both be side-lined with differential problems, Hirst and Dear overcame steering issues on their Mitsubishi Evo IX to finish second while Thompson and Murphy had to cope with a puncture on their Group N version of the same car en route to top honours.

    Third place went to the Talbot Sunbeam of Andy Davison and Tom Murphy with Tom Llewellin finishing fourth in his Historic Specification Ford Escort Mark II.

    Llewellin now holds a four point advantage in the overall drivers’ standings from Matt Hirst with Russ Thompson a further seven points back but with competitors only counting their best six scores from the eight round series, the battle remains wide open.

    Declan Dear leads the overall co-driver standings from Andy Murphy and Jim Lewis.

    Thompson and Murphy also picked up maximum Group N points, for less modified cars but they still trail Wug Utting and Bob Stokoe, who finished second in Group N on this event, by 14 points while Faulkner and Parry remain in third place.

    While Davison and Murphy claimed top points in the two-wheel drive category, sponsored by lightninghouse.co.uk, Llewellin retains the lead in this category ahead of Talbot Sunbeam mounted Chris Powell. Perry Gardener, driving a front wheel drive Fiesta, lies third.

    Top two-wheel drive co-driver is Jim Lewis, ahead of Tom Murphy with Keaton Williams in third place.

    A sixth successive maximum score in the Junior driver category means that Tom Llewellin is now unassailable in that class and he has secured the top award of a test drive in a PCRS Rallysport Hyundai i20 R5, courtesy of sponsors onthepacenote.co.uk.

    Second among the junior drivers is Gethin Price, just two points ahead of third placed Zak Hughes.

    Tom Murphy leads the junior co-driver category, 10 points clear of Rhys Stoneman with Keaton Williams third.

    Tom Llewellin also heads the drivers’ section of the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge from Subaru Impreza driver Josh Taylor with BMW pilot Andy Fox three points further back in third.

    Tom Murphy leads the co-drivers’ section of the Challenge from Simon Jones who is just one point ahead of Keaton Williams while Jessica Hockly is only three points further back.

    The next round of the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship is the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally on 31st August. The event, organised by Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club is based in Ludlow with much of the competitive action taking place in the Mid Wales forests.

    You can find out more about the rally on the official event web site www.woodpecker-rally.co.uk and about the Championship at wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the Championship Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.

     Credit for the image given to paulmitchellphotography@gmail.com

    Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship




    Competitors in Wales’s premier rally championship will be in Welshpool this weekend (Saturday 13th May)for round 3 of the series, the Plains Rally. With the opening round of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship cancelled due to adverse weather conditions and competitors able to discount their worst result of the season, everything is up for grabs. Indeed, the eventual champions may have yet to score any points.

    That’s good news for defending champions Luke Francis and John H Roberts. The Rhuddlan driver and his Colwyn Bay co-driver John H Roberts find themselves in exactly that position having missed the previous event, Rally North Wales due to car problems. They will be keen to pick up a big points tally this weekend.

    Current championship leaders Osian Pryce and Dale Furniss are not entered for this event so a strong performance for either Llanon driver Dylan Davies or for David Howells could see one of the Subaru Impreza drivers move to the top of the standings. As well as the threat from Francis and Roberts, however, they can expect stiff opposition from Bala based Ieuan Rowlands and Emyr Hall as well as from Lampeter’s Andy Davies partnered by reigning junior co-driving champion Max Freeman.

    Other crews in contention for top honours should include Callum Black and Elliott Edmondson in their R5 specification Ford Fiesta and Keith Parry and Eryl Evans in their Impreza while Hugh Hunter and Rob Fagg come fresh from victory on last weekend’s Manx National Rally in their Ford Focus World Rally Car.

    While Andy Davies currently tops the standings in Group N, for less modified cars, a strong performance from Daniel Moss, Wug Utting or James Watkins could see them move to the top of the table.

    We can expect a close fight for two wheel drive championship points as well. Ieuan Rowlands and Emyr Hall currently lead the way but Rudi Lancaster will be looking to keep up his challenge for the title as will another Escort driver, John Rowlands. David Young and Hywel Davies currently make it an all Escort top five but expect Colin Griffiths to try hard to spoil the Ford party in his BMW Compact.

    The battle for junior driver points is set to be between current leader Rhydian Price, in his Ford Focus and Toyota Yaris mounted Ed Fossey while Hannah McKillop, in the Subaru Impreza of Ross Leach, will want to extend her advantage in the junior co-driver category.

    There’s currently a four way tie in the Ravenol Welsh Challenge where points are awarded based on a driver’s performance within their class. Dylan Davies, Ieuan Rowlands, Andy Davies and Rudy Lancaster all currently have 15 points with Hywel Davies just one point back.

    Competitors will leave Welshpool from 8:00am to tackle eight special stages all in the Dyfi Forest complex. Spectator information is available on the event web site, www.plainsrally.co.uk. Information about the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship is available on the series web site, www.wnrc.wamc.org.uk, the championship Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.

    -         Ends     -

    Issued 9th May 2017

    Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship




    The Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages saw the battle for maximum Championship points in the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship go right down to the final stage. The outcome also means that the overall drivers’ title, along with many of the other Championship awards, will not be decided until November and the final round of the series, the Wyedean Stages Rally.

    With competitors heading out from Ludlow Racecourse to tackle five special stages, it was a short-lived event for Championship contenders Matt Hirst and Declan Dear, their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX succumbing to engine problems on the opening stage.

    As the cars emerged from that opening stage it was Scott Faulkner and Gareth Parry who led the way ahead of Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy, with Richard Hill and Steffan Evans third among the Championship runners.

    When the cars returned to service after two stages, Thompson and Murphy had moved ahead of fellow Evo IX runners Faulkner and Parry with Hill and Evans still third in their Subaru Impreza. Faulkner and Parry were quickest on stage three by a single second, but Thompson and Murphy retained their lead.

    Another quick run through stage four saw Faulkner and Parry head into the final test in Radnor Forest with a three second advantage. A spin for them on that stage, however, meant that when the cars returned to the finish at the Racecourse it was Thompson and Murphy who took the win by 13 seconds, Hill and Evans finishing in third place behind Faulkner and Parry.

    The overall Championship points table for drivers still shows Tom Llewellin with the highest points tally in his Mark II Ford Escort but, with competitors only allowed to count their top six scores from the eight Championship rounds, the amended totals show Thompson with a fifteen point lead over Llewellin while Hirst and Faulkner third and fourth respectively. As a result of this, Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy win the free entry on Wales Rally GB National Rally, provided by Motorsport UK as part of their Road to Wales initiative.

    While Tom Llewellin cannot now catch Thompson, both Hirst and Faulkner can still do so depending on the outcome of the Wyedean Rally.


    Tom Llewellin may have lost the opportunity to take the outright title but there was no small consolation for the youngster as he secured the overall two wheel drive title, sponsored by lightninghouse.co.uk to add to the junior title, backed by onthepacenote.co.uk and the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge for drivers, which he had already claimed. With his two-wheel drive victory comes a made-to-measure HRX Tutor race suit provided by lightninghouse.co.uk.

    The overall co-drivers’ title is now a three-way fight between Andy Murphy, Declan Dear and Gareth Parry while in Group N, the drivers’ title is a straight two-way fight between the current points leader Wug Utting in his Subaru Impreza and second placed Russ Thomson with their respective co-drivers, Bob Stokoe and Andy Murphy

    While Tom Llewellin has secured the overall two-wheel drive award, the separate awards for front and rear wheel drive have still to be resolved. Among the co-drivers in two-wheel drive cars, just six points separate Tom Murphy and Jim Lewis with the destination of the HRX race suit that comes with that title still to be settled.

    The fight for runners up spot among the junior drivers is a close one with just a single point separating Zak Hughes and Gethin Price. Tom Murphy holds a fourteen point lead in the junior co-drivers’ standings but three others still hold at least a mathematical chance of taking the title.

    Andy Fox or Josh Taylor could still claim the runner up spot in the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge and while the Woodpecker saw Tom Murphy clinch the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge for co-drivers there are six other co-drivers who could yet finish as runner-up to him.

    The final round of the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship is the Wyedean Stages Rally on November 9th. There is more information about that event of the official web site, wyedeanstages.co.uk and about the Championship on wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the Championship Facebook page and on Twitter, @WnRC.


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    Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship