Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship 


  • Matthew Hirst Becomes 2022 Champion after Victory on the Wyedean

    Matthew Hirst has won the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally
    Championship title with a perfect 150 points score after winning the penultimate
    round of the series, the Wyedean Stages Rally (Saturday 15 October).
    It's the second time that Hirst and co-driver Declan Dear have been Welsh
    champions, having won the title in 2019.
    Driving his Pirelli-shod Delta Salvage Ford Fiesta R5+, Hirst scored maximum points
    on the opening four rounds of the series - the WKD Trained Dogs Rally North Wales
    in March, April's Rallynuts Stages Rally, the Plains Rally in mid-May and the Nicky
    Grist Stages at the start of July - leaving the Doncaster driver only needing one
    more good result to secure the title. And he did that in style in the Forest of Dean -
    leading the 40-stage mile Wyedean Stages from start to finish and winning by a very
    impressive 47 seconds.
    "This season couldn't have gone better really, with five maximum scores from five
    events," said Hirst.
    "Coming into the Wyedean it felt that I had a lot to lose and not much to win, and to
    win the Welsh Rally Championship again is a great feeling."
    It was far from easy, as heavy showers of rain and fallen leaves made the forest
    roads extremely slippery - and even Hirst wasn't immune to a few problems,
    overshooting a couple of junctions on the opening loop of three stages and getting
    tangled up with a barrel that had been positioned to prevent a corner being cut on


    19-year-old Robert Wilson scored this first overall forest rally stage win and his first
    ever overall podium on his way to a stunning second place in his Ravenol Mitsubishi
    Evo 7. Co-driven this time by Martin Haggett, the Herefordshire teenager survived a
    few overshoots and an off on SS5 which saw the car come to rest on a tree stump,
    but the great result jumps him to fifth in the overall drivers' standings. Wilson has
    also closed the gap in the race for the supported Welsh
    Junior title, having scored four maximums from his four appearances.


    Nik Elsmore/Rob Fagg (CDS Mitsubishi Evo 9) and John Caine/Andrew Sankey (Phil
    Price Rally School Subaru Impreza) were tied for third going into the seventh and
    final stage. But local knowledge paid dividends as Elsmore took one second per mile
    out of Caine to secure the final podium position. It was a magnificent performance by
    both crews, which sees Caine move from fifth to third in the overall Pirelli Ravenol
    Welsh drivers' points table and extend his lead in class W13, while Sankey secures
    the class co-driver's title.

    Bob Morgan's excellent season continued with fifth in his Winner Garage Å koda
    Fabia R5+. He and co-driver Ade Williams were third at mid-distance, but Morgan
    admitted to pushing a bit too hard in the afternoon and he lost time when he got
    tangled up at a chicane on SS6. Morgan was eventually denied a podium finish
    when a tyre came off the rim on the final stages, although another good result keeps
    him second in the overall drivers' standings and he continues to lead the Ravenol
    Welsh Challenge - although Caine is now just one point behind.

    Paul Walker/Geraint Thomas survived a big overshoot on the opening stage to bring
    their Geoff Jones Motorsport-prepared Green Paw Subaru Impreza home an
    excellent seventh in the Pirelli Ravenol Welsh standings, finishing 20 seconds ahead
    of David Tomlin/Keith Ashley who scored their best result of the season in their Axon
    Ford Fiesta R5.

    Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe scored a solid top 20 result in their Subaru Impreza N12B -
    their vast amount of experience ensuring a clean run through the challenging seven
    stage event.
    Simon Rogers' 100% finishing record came to an end when the power steering
    alternator belt popped off his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6. That was a great shame, as
    he and co-driver James How had made a great start and looked on course for a
    great result.
    Bob Ceen/Shaun Layland retired when they put their Axes Design-backed Ford
    Fiesta R5+ off the road on SS2 (on a corner which caught out several others), while
    Benj Ceen/Caron Tomlinson were forced out with power steering issues on their
    MSL-prepared Ford Fiesta R5 after SS3.
    James Giddings/Aled Davies survived the opening loop of three stages, but on their
    way to SS4 their Fordpad Mitsubishi Evo 9 lost power and they retired with
    suspected turbo failure. Steve Hollis/Tim Currie retired their Volkswagen Golf with oil
    pump failure on SS2.


    Michael McDaid was the first two-wheel drive finisher, coming home a magnificent
    sixth overall in his McDaid Pharmacy Escort RS1800 Mk2. It was the first time that
    the County Fermanagh driver had been to the Forest of Dean, but he and co-driver
    Declan Casey were on sensational form as they mastered the tricky conditions. The
    result also gives them the lead in the hotly contested Historic class W8.
    Andrew Stokes/Jonny Tad Evans had a fabulous run to second in class W8 in their
    Ford Escort Mk1, Charles Hopkinson/Alan Jones also had their best result of the
    season with third in class in their Ford Escort Mk2 RS1800 and Ron Morgan/Marc
    Clatworthy came home fourth in their Wales Motorsport-built Restruct Escort Mk2.
    Not so lucky was Jonathan Brace, whose unblemished finishing record came to an
    end after he buzzed the engine of his Brace's Bakery Escort Mk1 RS1600 coming
    into a 90 right on SS5. He continued, only for the car to drop a valve on the next
    stage, right in front of where co-driver Paul Spooner's family were watching!

    Ben Smith won the Historic class W7 for the third time this year in his Amigos Ford
    Escort RS2000 Mk1. Co-driven by his father Steven, the Isle of Man youngster made
    a brilliant Forest of Dean debut and never put a foot wrong.

    Neal James/Kevin Jones continue to lead the class W7 standings after finishing
    second in their Cwm Engineering Ford Escort Mk2. Wrong tyres for the conditions
    and a lack of grip were a major hindrance and they were just pleased to reach the
    finish unscathed. David Lloyd Roberts/Gerallt Wyn Davies came home third in class,
    just four seconds behind, in their Ford Escort Mk2 and still have a chance of winning
    the class title.
    Those who finish in the top three of each Historic class (W6, W7 and W8) at the end
    of the season will be put forward for the David Stokes Historic Challenge award for
    drivers and the Guy Weaver award for co-drivers.

    Boyd Kershaw/Keegan Rees have become Pirelli Ravenol Welsh 2WD champions
    after another great performance in their Flying Kiwi Ford Escort Mk2. It wasn't easy
    for them, as Kershaw broke a finger on the gearstick, just as he had done on the
    Plains Rally. After a magnificent season-long performance which has seen them win
    the class four times, their 2WD title is richly deserved.

    Tim Jones/Liam Andrew Whiteley finished a season best second in class in their
    Escort Mk2, while Geoff Phelps/Colin Jenkins came home third in their Hartpury
    Farms Ford Escort Mk2, despite admitting to being too ragged at times, especially on
    the Speech House stage.



    Andrew Fox/Jaime-Lee Fox secured the class W12 title after another fine drive in
    their Xwatch Safety Solutions BMW 325. David Jones/Glyn Price finished second in
    class in their BMW E30, while Michael Sawyer/Gareth Price retired their 2350cc
    Datsun 1600.

    Liam Griffiths still leads the Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Junior category, although he could
    only manage third in class this time (behind Robert Wilson and Ben Smith) after he
    and co-driver Daniel James put their Discover Parks Ford Fiesta ST off the road on
    SS2, losing over a minute.
    His brother Callum Griffiths (co-driven by William Lewis) retired in first service with
    clutch failed in his Presteigne Tyre Services Ford Fiesta ST.


    Brynli Thomas is the Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Road Rally class champion after scoring
    his fourth maximum points score in his Peugeot 306 Rallye. Co-driven by Sion
    Rowlands, it was the perfect present for Thomas, who had celebrated his 50th
    birthday the day before!
    Rival Graham Thatcher needed to win to maintain his title challenge but retired his
    newly painted yellow Pembridge Vehicle Management Peugeot 206 GTi on the
    opening loop when a gearbox mount broke. His navigator Tim Samuel has, however,
    clinched the co-drivers' class title.

    Adrian and Matthew Walk continue to lead class W3 but had to settle for second this
    time after hitting a pile of logs on SS6 and damaging their PartBOX Ford Ka. Stuart
    Spyer/Peter Williams won the class in their SG Motorsport Opel Corsa.


    Having already secured the class W10 title, Martin Walters/Marie Fletcher won for
    the fourth time in their Honda Civic, beating Alan Desbois/Peter Littlefield (Peugeot
    306 RWD) and Michael Jenkins/Scott Dance, who finished second and third
    The Wyedean was live-streamed and all the action footage remains online and can
    be viewed at:
    The seventh and final round of the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally
    Championship is the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally on Saturday 29 October.
    Further details on the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship
    can be found online at:

    Pictures by Jon Price and Russ Otway.

    Wyedean Stages Rally - top 10 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally
    Championship finishers
    1. Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear (Ford Fiesta R5+).......42mins 04secs
    2. Robert Wilson/Martin Haggett (Mitsubishi Evo 7).......42mins 57secs
    3. Nik Elsmore/Rob Fagg (Mitsubishi Evo 9).......44mins 03secs
    4. John Caine/Andrew Sankey (Subaru Impreza).......44mins 11secs
    5. Bob Morgan/Ade Williams (Å koda Fabia R5+).......44mins 57secs
    6. Michael McDaid/Declan Casey (Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2).......46mins 39secs
    7. Paul Walker/Geraint Thomas (Subaru Impreza).......47mins 33secs
    8. David Tomlin/Keith Ashley (Ford Fiesta R5).......47mins 53secs
    9. Ben Smith/Steven Smith (Ford Escort RS2000 Mk1).......48mins 14secs
    10. Boyd Kershaw/Keegan Rees (Ford Escort Mk2).......48mins 43secs

    2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship

    Overall drivers' points after Round 6
    1. Matthew Hirst.......150pts
    2. Bob Morgan.......112pts
    3. John Caine.......107pts
    4. Bob Ceen.......98pts
    5. Robert Wilson.......95pts
    6. Dylan Davies.......86pts