Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship 

HistoricRallyCars

  • Callum Black flies to Championship honours on the Nicky Grist Stages

     

     

    Callum Black and co-driver Jack Morton took victory on the opening round of the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship, the Nicky Grist Stages, winning the Interclub Rally section of the event and finishing an incredible seventh overall in their Ford Fiesta R5.

     

    In his first rally outing for almost two years, and his first in an R5 car for three and a half years, Callum, the 2017 Pirelli Welsh National Rally champion, drove brilliantly to score maximum points on the 44 stage mile event, held on the classic mid-Wales forest stages of Llyn Login, Monument, Halfway and Crychan.

     

    Despite a handling problem in the morning, caused by a broken anti-roll bar, and a spin on SS2, the 586 Sports team driver finished 21 seconds ahead of Ian Bainbridge/Will Atkins, who were delighted with the set-up changes they'd made to their Å koda Fabia R5 during lockdown. Ian was a lot faster in the afternoon, when all four stages were repeated - a full 20 seconds faster through Crychan the second time in fact.

     

    Third place went to George Lepley/Tom Woodburn in their AMS-tuned Mitsubishi Evo X. After a very good start, they found the afternoon loop was much more challenging, but did well to stay in touch with the R5 cars. They were also top Welsh Junior crew home - Lepley staking first claim to the top end-of-season prize of a test in a PCRS Rallysport-prepared Hyundai i20 R5, courtesy of OnThePaceNote.

     

    It's the same Junior prize that Tom Llewellin won in 2019, and the former Welsh Junior champion appeared this time in a Mitsubishi Mirage. Together with co-driver Ross Whittock, he made a fantastic four-wheel drive competition debut, and never put a foot wrong as he got valuable miles under his belt on his way to fourth.

     

    Scotland's Garry Pearson/Niall Burns picked up points for fifth in their Mitsubishi Evo IX. Richard Hill and Elgan Davies were paired together for the first time in their Mitsubishi Evo IX, and the new driver/co-driver partnership worked so well that they caught the car ahead of them on SS4. Their speed continued in the afternoon, coming home sixth, while Gareth Mimnagh/Barry McCarney had a good run to an untroubled seventh place in their Mitsubishi Evo VI - and topped the RAVENOL UK Welsh Challenge category.

     

    2019 Pirelli Welsh National Rally champions Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear had a nightmare of an opening loop, with an engine misfire on SS1 and 2 and a broken driveshaft on SS3 and 4 in their Mitsubishi Evo IX. Despite this, they showed their class with a brilliant recovery in the afternoon, which rewarded them with 11th at the finish.

     

    Also struggling was the 2019 championship runner-up Russ Thompson, who snapped a pair of driveshafts on his Mitsubishi Evo IX upon landing after a jump on SS2. Having missed two stages, he completed the afternoon's loop of stages - both for testing and to get seat time with new co-driver Peredur Davies.

     

    Andy Davies/Ian Beamond were having a good run before a TCA broke on their Subaru Impreza.

     

    Bob Morgan's first rally for three years was hampered a little with his super-smart and self-prepared Å koda Fabia struggling to launch off the start lines. Co-driven by Adrian Williams, the Winner Garage boss was to retire in the afternoon with brake problems.

     

    Wug Utting was sporting a new hip, having had a replacement operation only a month ago. He and co-driver Bob Stokoe were on fine form in their Subaru Impreza STi N12, completing the event without drama. It was also a good debut for Martyn and Dawn England, who, after many years in their Ford Fiesta R5+, had purchased a Mitsubishi Evo X just four days before the event. And they got to the finish without an issue.

     

    It was also great to see Nik Elsmore return to the sport, having only contested three rallies in the last 12 years! On his first event since the 2015 Wyedean Stages Rally, he and co-driver Craig Drew were quickly back up to speed in a Mitsubishi Evo IX, getting used to a sequential gearbox and route notes after a long time away. Elsmore joked that, "it's a good opportunity to blow plenty of cobwebs away, although the event doesn't have much faith in us, seeding us at ninety-one." And he was correct, for he was a second per mile quicker through the stages in the afternoon and came home ninth registered Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship contender.


    David Crossen won the Restruct-sponsored Two-Wheel Drive category, the Irishman finishing eighth with Aileen Kelly on the notes in an Escort Mk2.

     

    Paul Barrett/Gordon Noble were almost a minute behind in their Escort Mk2 - but were nonetheless overjoyed to win the hotly contested Historic class.

     

    Frank Kelly, co-driven by his daughter Lauren, had a tyre come off the rim on SS2 - but their afternoon was a lot better as they came home third 2WD in their famous Baby Blue Escort Mk2. Owen McMackin/Lee Taylor and Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham finished fourth and fifth in the 2WD section in their Escort Mk2s.

     

    Having very kindly donated 500 packets of fabulously moreish Brace's Welsh Cakes for all the volunteer marshals, Jonathan Brace had a good start to the event - despite picking up a puncture in SS2. Sadly for him and co-driver Paul Spooner, his immaculate Escort Mk2's engine cut out a mile into the final stage and refused to restart.

     

    Ben Friend/Cliff Simmons also had high hopes of a good result, but their run ended after their Escort Mk2 broke its differential on landing after a crossroads junction.

     

    Paul Street/Ian Jones finished second in the Historic section in their RS1800 Mk2. 2000 Pirelli Welsh National Rally champions Pete Littler/Andy Marchbank and Michael Mcdaid/Daniel Petrie came home third and fourth in a pair of Escort Mk2s, while Tom Coughtrie/Ian Fraser were fifth Historic home in their Mitsubishi Galant VR4.

     



    Gary Smith/Clive Jones won the private RS1600 Mk1 battle, beating Andrew Stokes/Jonny 'Tad' Evans and David Kirby/Martin Corbett. They might have been seeded in the 200s, but you'd be hard pressed to find a more competitive group of drivers - and that battle is set to rage all season.

     

    Also enjoying themselves were Julian Birley/Steve White. They won the RallySport championship 40 years ago in a Talbot Sunbeam Ti, and have returned this year in a 1600cc Sunbeam - having rebuilt the engine, gearbox and rear axle during lockdown. Their preparation efforts paid off, as they recorded a trouble-free W6 class win.

     

    Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams enjoyed a fantastic run in their Peugeot 208 R2, a spin on SS2 not getting in the way of a well-earned W4 class victory. Jonathan Jones/Alan Walker were second in their Fiesta R2, while Charlie Todd/Glyn Thomas completed the top three Welsh Juniors in their Fiesta R2T. Jonathan Lee Jones/Lewis Griffiths gently rolled their Fiesta R2T in Halfway, but sadly a holed radiator meant that they could go no further.

     

    James Dunkley/Dan Sayce won the W2 class in their Vauxhall Corsa. Steve Black/Paul Morris (Suzuki Swift S1400) beat David and Toby Brick (Vauxhall Nova) to the W3 class trophy.

     

    Robi Wood/Osian Davies (Escort Mk2) won the new Road Rally (W5) class, with Ricky Crone/Daniel James (Escort) finishing second and Graham Thatcher/Tim Samuels (Peugeot 206) completing the top three.

     

    David Edwards/Paul Dolby (Escort Mk2) beat Neal James/Kevin Jones (Escort) to the W7 award, while Dan and Cyril Jones (Vauxhall Nova) won W10. On their first forestry rally and their first event outside Ireland, Jason Black/Karl Egan won the W11 class in their rear-wheel drive Toyota Starlet.

     

    "It's been three and a half years since I last drove an R5 car and almost two years since I've done a rally, so it's been a very enjoyable event and I'm delighted with the result," said Callum Black.

     

    "It was good to just be back in a rally car - and I was surprised to be right up there and leading the very strong Welsh National Rally Championship section after stage one. Between stage one and two, I noticed that the anti-roll bar had snapped, so I had to disconnect it on the road section. The stability was compromised and the car was trying to get away from me on the faster sections after that, so stages two, three and four were a bit of a challenge.

     

    "The team fixed the car at midday service and after giving it a good go on the first two stages in the afternoon, we decided to bring the car home safely and get through the last two stages without any heroics and take home maximum championship points. I'm very happy with the result and I'm already looking forward to the next event."

     

    While the Nicky Grist Stages was a non-spectator event, fans could watch live streaming with Howard Davies and Eifion Jones interviewing crews from strategic points along the route. Sideways Media was there to film the action, and it is producing a 30 minute programme dedicated to the Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship, which will be uploaded onto social media channels as early as possible.

     

    After a 518-day enforced break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it truly was a fantastic opening round to the 2021 Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship.

     

    The series continues on Saturday 4 September with the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages.

     

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




    Picture captions
    Top: Callum Black/Jack Morton (Ford Fiesta R5) - 1st overall, Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship, 2021 Nicky Grist Stages.
    Bottom: Ian Bainbridge/Will Atkins (Å koda Fabia R5) - 2nd overall, Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship, 2021 Nicky Grist Stages.
    Top Middle: George Lepley/Tom Woodburn (Mitsubishi Evo X) - 3rd overall and 1st Junior, Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship, 2021 Nicky Grist Stages.
    Middle : David Crossen/Aileen Kelly (Ford Escort Mk2) - 1st Two-Wheel Drive, Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship, 2021 Nicky Grist Stages

    Please credit 'Chris Huish, RallySport Media' if reproduced.

     


     

  • Championship unveils the David Stokes Historic Challenge award

     

    This year's Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship will include a new end-of-year award for competitors in the Historic classes and honour one of British rallying's most loved and greatly missed drivers, David Stokes.

     

    The recipient of the David Stokes Historic Challenge award will be a driver who has most impressed the judging panel - which will consist of representatives from the championship, a Welsh Association of Motor Clubs committee member and members of the Stokes family - and be based on a number of criteria including (but not limited to) sportsmanship, unflappable determination, performance improvement and the way in which they promote motorsport in a positive and safe manner.

     

    It's some of the many attributes shown by the competitor to whom this special award is named after. The way the late David Stokes always went rallying. With style, good grace and incredible driving talent.

     

    All drivers registered for the Historic classes of the Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship (namely classes W6, W7, W8 and W9) will automatically be eligible for the David Stokes Historic Challenge award - and contenders who finish the 2022 season in the top three positions in each eligible will be considered for the accolade.

     

    There will also be a separate Guy Weaver Award for co-drivers - Guy being David's navigator between 2006-2015.

     

    To the eligible for both the David Stokes Historic Challenge and Guy Weaver awards competitors must:

     

    • Be registered for the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship.

     

    • Display the mandatory championship decals as provided, and display the additional David Stokes Historic Challenge decal, at each championship round.

     

    • Show a measurable improvement in performance and results during the championship year.

     

    • Demonstrate an ability and requisite pace to be competitive at a higher level, and to show a keenness to build on that in the future.

     

    • Show the correct demeanour towards championship personnel, event officials and the award sponsors and to be a good ambassador for the sport should you be selected as the outright winner.

     

    • Present yourself and your vehicle to a standard that reflects well on the driver, co- 
driver, team, championship, and sponsors.

     

    • Show an understanding of the teamwork element of rallying and in conjunction with your driver/co-driver investigate methods of improving your teamwork and thereby performance together.

     

    "I'm absolutely thrilled with the creation of the David Stokes Historic Challenge award and that David's legacy will continue in the Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship as Welsh rallying was very close to his heart," said Sue Stokes.

     

    "I will play a very active role in the process of finding a worthy winner of this award and aim to attend as many of the events as possible - to meet old and new friends in our extended motorsport family. I'm delighted to be involved and look forward to working with the Welsh National Rally Championship on this wonderful new initiative."

     

    "We are pleased and excited to announce this very special David Stokes Historic Challenge," added Dave Evison, Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship Secretary.

     

    "The challenge will reward competitors who strive to improve and can demonstrate the desire and performance to succeed and enjoy the sport in a positive and safe manner. These characteristics were ably demonstrated by David throughout his many successful decades in the sport."

     

    Further details on the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship can be found online at: wnrc.wamc.org.uk.

     

    For more information, please contact:

     

    Dave Evison

    Secretary, Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

    Paul Evans

    Press Officer, Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

    14th January 2022


     

  • Hirst Seals Hat Trick of Wins with Victory on the Plains

    Press release: 22 May 2022
     




     
    Matthew Hirst has made it three wins from three starts in this year's Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship after scoring victory on the Plains Rally (Saturday 21 May).
     
    Co-driven by the soon to be married Declan Dear, Hirst clinched another impressive victory in his Pirelli-shod Delta Salvage Ford Fiesta R5+, this time winning by 1 minute and 25 seconds.
     
    With Hirst's nearest rivals Dylan Davies/Mark Glennerster retiring their Å koda Fabia R5+ on the opening stage, he has increased his lead at the top of the drivers' standings to 22 points.
     
    "It certainly wasn't an easy day, with three punctures and a few other headaches along the way," admitted Hirst. 
     
    "The steering rack locked solid just after the podium ceremony, so we were very lucky for it to happen after we'd reached the finish.
     
    "Next up is one of my favourite events, the Nicky Grist Stages - with just the small matter of Dec and Gemma's wedding in between!"
     




    James Giddings, pictured above,  finished second in only his second event in his newly acquired Group N Fordpad Mitsubishi Evo 9. Co-driven by Aled Davies, the former Fiesta ST Trophy and Citroën C2 Challenge champion drove superbly well to eventually get the better of Bob Morgan/Ade Williams - who continue to lead the Ravenol Challenge after an excellent run to the podium in their Winner Garage Å koda Fabia R5+.



    Bob Ceen, pictured above, suffered a puncture on the morning loop of stages, but after that the 2001 and 2015 Welsh champion flew in his 'National spec' Ford Fiesta R5. Co-driven by Shaun Layland, a good afternoon's performance netted a very well earned fifth-place Welsh Championship points finish.
     
    Simon Rogers (co-driven this time by Matthew Baddeley) had a much better run this time out in his Mitsubishi Evo 6. A rear right puncture in the afternoon was nothing compared to what he's had to survive in the previous two rounds, and eighth-placed Welsh Championship points was a just reward.
     
    Paul Walker/Geraint Thomas had a great run in their Green Paw Subaru Impreza. A morning puncture didn't prevent them from finishing ahead of Richard Ceen/Alun Hayward in the 4WD section, although the latter suffered launch control issues in their Ford Focus WRC05.
     
    Benj Ceen/Caron Tomlinson lost over five minutes in SS4 in their MSL-prepared Ford Fiesta R5 and finished down the order, while Dave Tomlin/Keith Ashley retired their Axon Ford Fiesta R5 during the morning loop of stages.
     



    Boyd Kershaw/Keegan Rees, above,overcame a few gearbox issues in the morning to score maximum Welsh 2WD class points for the second time this year in their black Flying Kiwi Escort Mk2.
     
    Kevin Metcalfe/Ian Jones picked up a puncture on the opening stage in their 3-litre BMW E30 but recovered to score second place 2WD points - with the Horsham driver now second in the standings, just five points behind Kershaw.
     
    Matthew Jackson remains third in the 2WD class, and leads class W4, after he and co-driver Sasha Heriot put in another great performance in their MJ Rallying Ford Fiesta R2T
     
    Philip Jones/Ryan Griffiths enjoyed a good run in their Ford Escort and are now fourth in the 2WD section. Andrew Fox/Jaime-Lee Fox survived a nervous final road section after their Xwatch Safety Solutions BMW 325 broke a driveshaft on the last stage. 
     
    Michael Sawyer/Gareth Price enjoyed a good day in their 2350cc Datsun 1600, Geoffrey Phelps/Colin Jenkins survived a big moment on SS6 which damaged the steering on their Hartpury Farms Escort Mk2, Matthew Honeyborne/James Curtis recorded their first finish of the season in their BMW 328 Coupe, Clive Price/John Fellowes had to nurse their BMW Compact to the finish and Alun Horn/Ian Beamond enjoyed a great day and survived sliding wide on the final stage to reach the finish in their Ford Escort Mk2.
     
    Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham had been leading the Welsh 2WD class going into the Bala-based event in their Burton Power/G&B Finch/Deranged Trucks Ford Escort RS, but stopped in SS2 - which drops them down to fifth in the standings.

     
     

    One of the stars of the Plains Rally was Matt Edwards,pictured above,  who scored his third straight victory in the Restruct Welsh Historic class W8 and picked up points for fourth overall in the Welsh Championship drivers' standings. Co-driven by Hamish Campbell, the triple British rally champion was simply outstanding once again in his Fiat Abarth 131, winning the 2WD section of the event by exactly a minute. The result also moves Edwards up to second in the overall Welsh driver standings.
     
     

    Michael McDaid/Declan Casey, pictured above, had their best run of the season to date, finishing second in class in their McDaid Pharmacy Escort RS1800 Mk2 - and with that getting themselves onto the list for a chance to win the David Stokes Historic Challenge award for drivers and the Guy Weaver award for co-drivers at the end of the season.
     
     
     
    Robert Gough/Jack Bowen,above, finished third after a textbook drive in their Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2, beating the defending Historic class W8 champions Paul Street/Ian Jones (PJS Marine Escort RS1800 Mk2) to the final Historic podium position by 29 seconds.
     
    Will Onions/Dave Williams (Capital Motorsport Ford Escort Mk2) picked up fifth place Welsh Historic points, ahead of Rudi Lancaster/Guy Weaver (Woolacombe Holiday Parks Escort RS1800), while Jonathan Brace/Jamie Vaughan were the first Escort Mk1 home after a great run in their Brace's Bakery RS1600.
     
    Others collecting a good haul of Welsh Championship points were Pete Littler/Sion Cunniff (RED Preparation & Fabrication/Select Security Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2), Philip Clarke/Richard Bonner (Escort Mk2), Ron Morgan/Marc Clatworthy (Wales Motorsport-prepared Restruct Escort Mk2) and Andrew Stokes/Jonny Tad Evans in their Ford Escort Mk1.


    Owen McMackin/Barry Ferris had a frustrating day, which began when their BJT Hire Centre Escort Mk2 dropped onto three cylinders on SS3 and their attempts to nurse it home for a finish failed. Meanwhile, Nick Elliott/Peredur Davies retired their Fiat Abarth 131 on the road section after SS2 with engine problems.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Neal James/Kevin Jones, above, made it three second place finishes in a row in the Historic W7 class and continue to lead the category in their Cwm Engineering Ford Escort. David Lloyd Roberts/Gerallt Davies have closed the gap after winning W7 - despite a misfire in their Ford Escort Mk2 on SS1, spinning the car on SS2 and going off the road on SS3. Peter Hinton/Lewis Sim came home third in class in their Escort Mk2.
     
     

    Julian Birley/Emyr Hall have retaken the lead of the Historic W6 class after taking maximum points for the second time this year in their Talbot Sunbeam Ti 1600. Mark Tugwell/Steve Pugh were hoping to close the gap on the leaders but retired their Lotus Twin Cam engines Metalways Ford Escort Mk1, as did Malcolm Bayliss/Siobhan Pugh in their 16BAO Rally Team Ford Escort Mk1.
     
     
     
    Liam Griffiths, above, has extended his lead in the OnThePaceNote.co.uk supported Welsh Junior points table to 43.5 points after he and co-driver Andrew Sankey won the category in only the driver's third event in his Discover Parks Ford Fiesta ST. Rory and Paul McCann came home second in their Metalways Hillman Avenger.
     
     
    Hefin Lloyd-Davies, above, scored his second W3 victory of the season to take the class lead. This time he was co-driven by Rich Jones in his rapid Jones Bros Engineering Vauxhall Corsa. Stuart Spyer/Peter Williams finished second in their Vauxhall Corsa, while Freddy and Toby Brick retired their Opel Corsa midway through the afternoon loop of stages.
     
     
    A great run on the Plains saw Brynli Thomas, pictured above score back-to-back wins and take the lead in the Road Rally class, the Peugeot 306 Rallye driver loving forestry events after many years in the lanes.
     
    Another W10 victory, to go with their win on the Rallynuts and second on Rally North Wales, has given Martin Walters/Marie Fletcher a healthy class lead in their Honda Civic. David Forrester scored his first points of the season when he and co-driver Ian Nichols finished second in their Peugeot 205GTi.
     
    Action streamed live from the Knutsford & District Motor Club-organised Plains Rally is available to view at facebook.com/WELSHRALLYCHAMPIONSHIP, with commentary from Howard Davies.
     
    Round 4 of the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship is the Builth Wells-based Nicky Grist Stages on Saturday 9 July, with stages in and around the famous Epynt military range, including the classic Crychan and Halfway forests.
     
    Further details on the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship, together with registration information, can be found online at: wnrc.wamc.org.uk
     
    Plains Rally - top 10 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship finishers
    1. Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear (Ford Fiesta R5+).......41mins 30secs
    2. James Giddings/Aled Davies (Mitsubishi Evo 9).......42mins 55secs
    3. Bob Morgan/Ade Williams (Å koda Fabia R5+).......43mins 22secs
    4. Matt Edwards/Hamish Campbell (Fiat Abarth 131).......43mins 38secs
    5. Bob Ceen/Shaun Layland (Ford Fiesta R5).......43mins 52secs
    6. Michael McDaid/Declan Casey (Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2).......44mins 38secs
    7. Robert Gough/Jack Bowen (Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2).......44mins 47secs
    8. Simon Rogers/Matthew Baddeley (Mitsubishi Evo 6).......44mins 50secs
    9. Paul Street/Ian Jones (Ford Escort Mk2).......45mins 16secs
    10. Will Onions/Dave Williams (Ford Escort RS).......45mins 18secs
     
    2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship
    Overall drivers' points after Round 3
    1. Matthew Hirst.......90pts
    2. Matt Edwards.......68pts
    3. Bob Morgan.......66pts
    4. Dylan Davies.......59pts
    5. Bob Ceen.......53pts
    6. James Giddings.......49pts


    For more information please contact: 
    Dave Evison
    Secretary, Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship 
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
     
    Paul Evans
    Press Officer, Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship 
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Pictures courtesy of Paul Mitchell. Please credit 'Paul Mitchell Photography' if used.
    paulmitchellphotography@gmail.com
     
     

  • Hirst Targets Four Championship Wins in a Row


     
    Matthew Hirst will be targeting his fourth straight 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship win when he contests the Nicky Grist Stages on Saturday 9 July in his Pirelli-shod Delta Salvage Ford Fiesta R5+.
     
    Co-driven by Declan Dear, Matthew became the first driver since Callum Black in 2017 to win three Welsh Championship rallies in a row when he won the Plains Rally last time out - and if he wins again he will be the first driver to win four in a row since Luke Francis in 2016. Both Callum and Luke went on to win the Welsh title in those years!
     
    "The Nicky Grist Stages is one of the events which we look forward to each year," says Matthew. 
     
    "The pace at the front of the field just seems to get quicker every year. I'd put this down to the fact that the route doesn't generally alter dramatically year-on-year, typically with just small changes here and there. That allows you to build confidence with the pace notes and generally gives a good feeling to the pre-event preparations. 
     
    "It's also the only time to compare the Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship pace against the BRC which is an interesting opportunity, albeit on the proviso that they have had the opportunity to recce the stages beforehand. It's always good to get the excuses out early!
     
    "This will be the fifth time that we have entered the event and upon reflection we have yet to have a proper clean run. In the last three starts, we have had mechanical problems with a broken driveshaft, broken gear-lever and collapsed steering column. 
     
    "Hopefully we can get through this year with no dramas!"
     
    James Giddings finished second last time out in his Group N Fordpad Mitsubishi Evo 9 to shoot up the points table and become a real title contender. Co-driven this time by Lee Taylor, the former Fiesta ST Trophy and Citroën C2 Challenge champion has taken very little time to get used to his new car and will be one of many trying to stop Hirst's winning run. 
     
    Bob Morgan/Ade Williams are also having a fantastic season in their Winner Garage Å koda Fabia R5+. They lead the Ravenol Challenge and arrive at the Nicky Grist Stages as the top-placed Å koda crew.


     
    We've not seen the best of Dylan Davies yet this year. He's had a troubled start to the season, and that will make the 2019 Welsh champion all the more determined to score maximum points as he and co-driver Mark Glennerster contest the event in their Å koda Fabia R5+.
     
    Another former champion Bob Ceen, who won the title in 2001 and 2015, arrives in Builth Wells on top form having scored a fifth-place Welsh Championship points finish last time out on the Plains. He and co-driver Shaun Layland know the classic mid-Wales forests well and will have their sights set on another strong performance in their 'National spec' Ford Fiesta R5.

    Bob's brother Richard Ceen (co-driven by Alun Hayward) hopes to have finally sorted out the sensor gremlins which have ruined many a good stage performance this year in his Ford Focus WRC05. 
     
    Meanwhile, Richard's son Benj Ceen will be aiming to return to his fantastic early season form, as the former Renault/Alpine Formula 1 test engineer and co-driver Caron Tomlinson contest the event in their MSL-prepared Ford Fiesta R5.
     
    Perry Gardener/Jack Bowen scored a Welsh podium finish on the Rallynuts Stages and will be challenging for maximum points again in their Ford Fiesta R5+, while Tom Llewellin/Ross Whittock appear in a Brace's Bakery-backed Ford Fiesta R5, having switched from a Mitsubishi Mirage.
     
    Russ Thompson makes his second appearance of the year after recording an excellent fourth-placed points finish on the Rallynuts Stages. Co-driven by Stephen Link, another good result in his Dunnow Plant-backed Mitsubishi Evo 9 could bring the 2019 Welsh Championship runner-up right back into contention for the 2022 title.
     
    Having sorted out a few reliability issues with his Mitsubishi Evo 6, Simon Rogers enjoyed a much better run on the Plains. Co-driven by James How, he'll be hoping that it continues on the Nicky Grist Stages - while Phil Price Rally School owner John Caine returns in his Subaru Impreza and, co-driven by Andrew Sankey, will be aiming for a strong top 10 finish and more Ravenol Welsh Challenge points.
     
    Class 13 leader Paul Walker is enjoying a great season and will be out again with Geraint Thomas in his Green Paw Subaru Impreza, while Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe will also be pushing hard in their Geoff Jones Motorsport-prepared Subaru Impreza N12b.

     
    Last year's Nicky Grist Stages saw the return of Nik Elsmore, who was contesting his first rally for over six years and only his third rally in 12 years. He's done very little since, but it's great to see him and co-driver Craig Drew back in their Mitsubishi Evo IX and preparing to blow the cobwebs away in their characteristic hard-charging style.
     
    Frazer Martin/Dylan Bargate will contest the event in their Mitsubishi Evo 6, Lewers Firth/Shaun Lapper are back in their Firth Construction Subaru Impreza, Rob and Ashley Aslett wheel out their Subaru Impreza, as do Martyn Andrews/Steve Greenhill, Steven Ormond-Smith/Simon Jones and Geoff Cottrill/Nathan Crewe both appear in Mitsubishi Evo 9s, while Dave Tomlin/Keith Ashley will be hoping for a much-needed change of fortune in their Axon Ford Fiesta R5.
     
    Having scored two wins from three starts, Boyd Kershaw/Keegan Rees lead the Welsh 2WD class in their Flying Kiwi Escort Mk2. They really are enjoying a sensational season in the black Ford and will be aiming for a class hat-trick this time out. 

     

    Kevin Metcalfe (who also leads class W12) is just five points behind in his 3-litre BMW E30 and together with Ian Jones is always great to watch. And to illustrate how diverse the 2WD category is, Matthew Jackson arrives third in class in his MJ Rallying Ford Fiesta R2T. Partnered by Sasha Heriot (who is second in the co-drivers' standings), Jackson also leads class W4.
     
    Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham remain Welsh 2WD title contenders. Having won the class on the Rallynuts and finished second on Rally North Wales, another strong run in their Burton Power/G&B Finch/Deranged Trucks Ford Escort RS could put them right back into title contention - and with five scores from seven counting towards the end of season points total, they hope to be able to drop the low score they received after retiring on the Plains.




     
    Also ready to score big in the 2WD category are Philip Jones/Ryan Griffiths (Ford Escort), Andrew Fox/Jaime-Lee Fox (Xwatch Safety Solutions BMW 325), Michael Sawyer/Gareth Price (2350cc Datsun 1600) Geoffrey Phelps/Colin Jenkins (Hartpury Farms Escort Mk2), Matthew Honeyborne/James Curtis (BMW 328 Coupe), Tim Jones/Liam Whiteley (Ford Escort Mk2), Clive Price/John Fellowes (BMW Compact), Alun Horn/Ian Beamond (Ford Escort Mk2), Colin Griffiths/Lucy Wilding (BMW Compact), Richard Warne/Chris Deal (Escort Mk2), David Jones/Glyn Price (BMW E30) and Tim Phelps/Elwyn Manuel who return in their Britpart Ford Escort Mk2.
     
    The battle for the OnThePaceNote.co.uk supported Welsh Junior title is hotting up nicely, with seven under 25-year old drivers aiming for the coveted trophy. Two wins and a second sees Liam Griffiths in the lead and the Presteigne youngsters will be hoping to continue that good run when he and co-driver Daniel James take to the mid-Wales forests in their Discover Parks Ford Fiesta ST.
     
    Liam's brother Callum, co-driven by William Lewis, will be a tough competitor in his Presteigne Tyre Services Ford Fiesta ST, as will the rapid James Lepley/Arwel Jenkins in their Escort Mk2.
     
    Robert Wilson won the Junior category on the Rallynuts, which was his first event in his Ravenol Mitsubishi Evo 7 - and he and co-driver Richard Crozier will be aiming for maximum points this time again.


     
    Rudi Lancaster has the opportunity to take the Historic class W8 lead. Co-driven by Guy Weaver, he's already scored three very good results in his Woolacombe Holiday Parks Escort RS1800 Mk2 and a first or second would give him the outright class lead.

     
    However, victory could also give the defending class W8 champions Paul Street/Ian Jones the lead as they aim for top points in their PJS Marine Escort RS1800 Mk2.

     

     
    Nick Elliott has been super-fast this year, although an engine issue on the Plains Rally has dropped him to fourth in the table. But with it fixed, he and co-driver Dave Price should be right back challenging for class victory in their Fiat Abarth 131.


    Jonathan Brace has been the fastest Escort Mk1 driver all season and despite a power disadvantage is fifth in class W8. Reunited with co-driver Paul Spooner, who was away on holiday when the Plains took place, Jonathan will be out to impress in his Brace's Bakery RS1600. 
     
    Robert Gough scored his best result of the season last time out and together with Sam Collis will be aiming to keep up that momentum going in their Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2.
     
    Andrew Stokes/Jonny Tad Evans will be aiming for their fourth straight points-finish in their Ford Escort Mk1, as they start the event seventh in class, one point ahead of Roger Chilman/Patrick Walsh (Wales Motorsport-prepared Securcom Escort Mk2) and Michael McDaid/Declan Casey (McDaid Pharmacy Escort RS1800 Mk2). 
     
    Also aiming for class W8 points are Ben Friend/Cliffy Simmons (Allglass Escort Mk2), Will Onions/Dave Williams (Capital Motorsport Ford Escort Mk2), Pete Littler/Andy Marchbank (RED Preparation & Fabrication/Select Security Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2), Philip Clarke/Richard Bonner (Escort Mk2), Ron Morgan/Marc Clatworthy (Wales Motorsport-prepared Restruct Escort Mk2) and Owen McMackin/Sean Ferris in their BJT Hire Centre Escort Mk2.



     
    Neal James/Kevin Jones have a healthy lead in the Historic W7 class after three second-place finishes in their Cwm Engineering Ford Escort Mk2. They'll continue to be pushed hard by second-placed David Lloyd Roberts/Gerallt Davies, who have won twice in their Escort Mk2, and Ben Smith/Stephen Smith who took victory on the opening round in their Escort Mk2. Peter Hinton/Lewis Sim (Escort Mk2) and Gareth Lewis/Ryland James (Escort RS2000 Mk1) are also out.


     
    Julian Birley/Emyr Hall lead the Historic W6 class after taking two wins from two starts in their Talbot Sunbeam Ti 1600. Welsh Junior driver Rory McCann, co-driven by his father Paul, is second in class in his Metalways Hillman Avenger.
     
    Chris Squires/Shaun Hughes, who celebrated contesting their first gravel rally with class W6 victory on the Rallynuts, are back in their Trevor Morris Engines Ford Escort Mk2, while Mark Tugwell/Steve Pugh (Lotus Twin Cam engines Metalways Ford Escort Mk1) and Malcolm Bayliss/Siobhan Pugh (16BAO Rally Team Ford Escort Mk1) will be aiming for top points as well.
     
    In addition to valuable points, the top three finishes in each historic class will automatically be put forward for the end-of-season David Stokes Historic Challenge award for drivers and the Guy Weaver award for co-drivers.
     
    James Dunkley has a great opportunity to take the class W2 lead when he and co-driver Dan Sayce contest the event in their Opel Corsa.
     
    Gethin Price will be aiming to make a dent in Hefin Lloyd-Davies's class W3 lead as he and co-driver Matthew Baddeley contest the event in their Keith Price Haulage Nissan Micra. They'll be battling for maximum class points with Adrian and Matthew Walk (PartBOX Ford Ka) and brothers Freddy and Toby Brick (Opel Corsa).
     
    Matthew Jackson may have a good lead in class W4, but he'll have to be on his best again as Jonathan Jones/Jez Rogers (EDSL Sport-run Ingospec Ford Fiesta), Tony Simpson/Ian Bevan (Seacon UK/Kielder Tools Ford Fiesta R2T) and Yaniv Bar/Osian Owen (Ptravel Club Ford Fiesta R2) challenge for maximum points.

     
    Brynli Thomas leads the Road Rally class and together with co-driver Sion Rowlands will be aiming to extend his lead in his Peugeot 306 Rallye. Aiming to stop them will be the earlier leaders of the W5 class, Graham Thatcher/Tim Samuel in their Pembridge Vehicle Management Peugeot 206 GTi.

     
    Martin Walters/Marie Fletcher aim to strengthen their healthy class W10 lead in their high-revving yellow Honda Civic. Dan Jones led the class after the opening round and will want to return to the top step on the class W10 podium when he and Cyril Jones tackle the event in their Jones Brothers/Bradley Motorsport Vauxhall Nova. Aiming for their first finish of the season will Alan Desbois/Peter Littlefield (Peugeot 306 RWD) and Michael Jenkins/Scott Dance (Peugeot 205).
     
    The Welsh Championship's live streaming service will be even bigger and better on the Nicky Grist Stages, with even more action and interviews. Howard Davies will commentate on the live stage action and will also roam with a camera and microphone around midday service, interviewing Welsh Championship drivers and co-drivers. Everything will be broadcast live on: facebook.com/WELSHRALLYCHAMPIONSHIP.
     
    Organised by Quinton Motor Club, the 2022 Nicky Grist Stages will start from Strand Street in the centre of Builth Wells at 08.31. After a loop of stages through Llyn Login, Monument, Halfway and Crychan forests, cars will return for a midday service on the Builth Wells RFC pitch before a repeat run over the stages. After all eight stages and 45 stage miles have been completed, the podium ceremony will take place in Groe Park at 15.30, with the River Wye and the landmark 18th Century bridge in the background.

    Further details on the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship, together with registration information, can be found online at: wnrc.wamc.org.uk


    For more information please contact: 
    Dave Evison
    Secretary, Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship 
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
     
    Paul Evans
    Press Officer, Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship 
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
     

    Picture captions - top left to bottom right
    Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear (Ford Fiesta R5+)
    Bob Ceen/Shaun Layland (Ford Fiesta R5)
    Bob Morgan/Ade Williams (Å koda Fabia R5+)
    Paul Walker/Geraint Thomas (Subaru Impreza)
    Nick Elliott/Peredur Davies (Fiat Abarth 131)
    Rudi Lancester/Guy Weaver (Ford Escort Mk2)
    Peter Hinton/Lewis Sim (Escort Mk2) 
    Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham (Ford Escort Mk2)
    Ron Morgan/Marc Clatworthy (Ford Escort Mk2) 
    Matthew Jackson/Sasha Heriot (Ford Fiesta R2T) 
    Boyd Kershaw/Keegan Rees (Ford Escort)
    Freddy Brick/Toby Brick (Opel Corsa) 
    Paul Street/Ian Jones (Ford Escort Mk2) 
    Neal James/Kevin Jones (Ford Escort Mk2) 
    Rob Wilson/Richard Crozier (Mitsubishi Evo 7) 
    Brynli Thomas/Steve Griffiths (Peugeot 306 Rallye) 


    Pictures courtesy of Paul Mitchell. Please credit 'Paul Mitchell Photography' if used.
    paulmitchellphotography@gmail.com

     


     

  • Pearson takes Championship lead after victory on Woodpecker Stages

     

    Garry Pearson has taken the lead in the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship after scoring a stunning victory on the Eventsigns Woodpecker Rally in his Asset Alliance Å koda Fabia R5.

     

    Despite having never contested the event before, he and co-driver Niall Burns led from start to finish, taking a six second lead after the open stage and building it into a 58 second winning margin after all five stages and 44 stage miles through the ultra-fast Radnor forest complex had been completed. It was a near perfect performance in their Dylan Davies Rally car - a spin on SS2 and an overshoot at a junction on SS4 their only minor dramas.

     "It's my first time at the Woodpecker Rally and I couldn't ask for much better to be fair. It didn't feel like we were going very well in the morning, but the times were there," said Garry."We upped our pace in the afternoon and made a couple of small mistakes, but we managed to reach the end and get the result we wanted."

     

    George Lepley moves up to third in the Pirelli Welsh overall drivers' standings and extends his lead in the Pirelli Welsh Junior category after an incredible drive to second on the Woodpecker in his WD-40 Mitsubishi Evo X. The AMS-tuned car had new brakes fitted for the event, which took some bedding in on the opening loop of two stages, and from then on his confidence and speed grew as he and co-driver Tom Woodburn flew to a truly wonderful result.

     

    Ian Bainbridge/Will Atkins had expected more grip in Radnor and had gambled with harder suspension on their Gypsum Group Å koda Fabia R5. The result was that the car was impossible to stop on the slippery opening two stages, with overshoots galore putting them down in fourth, over a minute behind Pearson, after two stages. The car was "chalk and cheese" after softer springs had been fitted, and from SS3 on they were able to push hard and finished third - after surviving a very big moment on a jump on SS5. Ian is now second in the Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship overall drivers' standings, just one point behind Garry and tied on points with George.

     

    Perry Gardener's first ever event in an R5 car was nothing short of sensational, as he finished fifth overall (4th Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship) in his Ford Fiesta R5. He had a slight scare on SS4 when the oil pressure light came on and he had to stop the car to reset the system, but he pressed on hard and, co-driven by Jack Bowen, never eased off and even gained a position on the final stage.

     

    Richard Hill/Pat Cooper lost almost a minute on SS4 when their RH Motors Mitsubishi Evo IX picked up a puncture. In only their fourth event in the car, they finished a magnificent ninth overall (5th Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship), despite a late engine misfire. The result moves Richard up to fourth in the overall drivers' standings.

     

    Callum Black arrived at the Woodpecker leading the Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship, following his victory on the opening Nicky Grist Stages. His Pallas Connections-backed Ford Fiesta R5+ was only geared for 106mph, and the 586 Sports team driver was losing time as the car bounced off the rev limiter in the many flat-out sections. He and co-driver Jack Morton were still second, until they clipped a log and broke the steering arm on SS4. The retirement drops Callum down to seventh in the overall drivers' standings.

     

    All hopes Russ Thompson/Stephen Link had of victory vanished when their Dunnow Plant Mitsubishi Evo IX picked up a puncture on SS2, costing them three minutes. They fought back well to finish 15th.

     

    The 2019 Pirelli Welsh Rally champions Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear were early retirements - a broken gearbox in their Delta Mitsubishi Evo IX ending their run after SS1.

     

    Paul Barrett/Gordon Noble finished an incredible 10th overall (6th Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship) to make it two maximum points scores out of two rounds in the Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup.

     

    They finished 43 seconds ahead of Ben Friend/Cliff Simmons who had chased them very hard all day in their similar Allglass-backed Escort Mk2.

     

    Robert Gough/Aled Edwards finished third in the Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup in their Escort Mk2. They overtook the car ahead of them on SS2, despite taking too harder compound tyres for the first loop, and then spun and picked up a puncture while running in the dust of another car on SS4 - yet a fine run gives them their first significant points score of the season.

     

    Paul Street remains second in the Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup drivers' points table after a strong run in his Escort RS1800 Mk2. Co-driven by Ian Jones, it was only Paul's third event in the car, and he was understandably a lot quicker through the afternoon stages.

     

    Jonathan Brace/Paul Spooner had a good run, the rapid Escort Mk2 duo getting their first finish of the season with fifth in the Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup section in their Brace's Bakery-backed car.

     

    Rob Dennis/Andrew Boswell had a good return to the forests in their Denwell Coach Hire Escort RS1800 and picked up points for sixth Historic car home. They finished ahead of Tom Coughtrie/Ian Fraser who overshoot a hairpin on SS2 and picked up a puncture on SS4 in their Mitsubishi Galant VR-4.

     

    Andrew Stokes/James Hedges had a good run in their Escort RS1600 Mk1 - Andrew moving up to fifth on the Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup points table. They finished ahead of Michael McDaid/Declan Casey in their Escort RS1800 Mk2.

     

    Ron Morgan enjoyed a magnificent run in his new Wales Motorsport-built Escort. Co-driven by Marc Clatworthy, the immaculate Restruct-sponsored car was a sight to behold, and the Bridgend driver described it as the best Mk2 he'd even driven.

     

    Charles Hopkinson/Alan Jones enjoyed a great run in their Escort RS1800 Mk2 to score another good finish.

     

    There was disappointment for former Pirelli Welsh National Rally champions Pete Littler/Andy Marchbank, who were forced out with a broken driveshaft in their Escort Mk2, while Gary Smith/Clive Jones were leading the H1/2 class on the event by 36 seconds when they retired their Escort Mk1 with a puncture.

     

    It is also two maximum scores from two start for David Crossen in the Restruct-sponsored Two-Wheel Drive category. Partnered by Darren Curren, the Comber driver picked up a number of punctures during the day - the most costly of which saw him do almost all of SS2 with a flat. Yet he finished 18th overall in his Escort Mk2 on what was a sensational first attempt at the Woodpecker. The result also gives David the lead in the RAVENOL UK Welsh Challenge.

     

    Owen McMackin/Lee Taylor move up to second in the Two-Wheel Drive standings, despite having to wait until the final stage to enjoy their first clean run of the day after brake, confidence and dust issues on the previous four stages in their Escort Mk2.

     

    Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham were having a fantastic run until they misjudged a hairpin on SS4 and put their Escort Mk2 into a ditch for 35 seconds.

     

    Ricky Crone has taken the lead of the Pirelli Welsh Road Rally class after an incredibly close battle. Partnered by Daniel James, the Escort Mk2 driver finished just 14 seconds ahead of Mark Lennox/Rhodri Evans - despite getting held up in dust on SS4, when the car ahead was slowed with a puncture. Mark recovered magnificently well after a costly first loop, when he lost over a minute with brake and handbrake failure on his Lennox Escort Mk2.

     

    Robi Wood had arrived at the Woodpecker leading the Road Rally class, but he and co-driver Osian Davies lost three minutes on SS4 when they stopped their NiBS Escort Mk2 to change a puncture. They still finished third in class, after Graham Thatcher/Tim Samuel had a very difficult run in their Peugeot 205 GTi. The day began by breaking a rear shock absorber on SS2, which they had to run with for the rest of the event. The resulting rough ride contributed to the fuel filler neck coming loose on the second loop, filling the car with fumes, and they finally got blasted with dust after catching a car on the final stage!

     

    Maxx Bradshaw/Liam Whiteley were mightily impressive in their Renvo8/DB Autos & Sons Mitsubishi Evo III. The Isle of Man crew reached the finish despite a difficult last two stages, when firstly the turbo boost pipe came off just a mile into SS4 (which cost them 28 seconds) and then they lost all the brakes on SS5. They have moved up to second in the Pirelli Welsh Junior class and are 11 points behind George Lepley (who has scored two maximums).

     

    Dan Jones/Cyril Jones have taken the lead of class W10 in their Vauxhall Nova. They lost a lot of time when the gear linkage broke on the second corner of the first stage, leaving them in third gear for SS1 and 2. They punctured a tyre halfway through SS4, but still made it to the finish.

     

    Alan Desbois was driving his RWD Peugeot 306 for the first time in two years. Partnered by Peter Littlefield, he overshot a hairpin on the morning loop but otherwise enjoyed a great day.

     

    Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams had a fantastic run in their West Wales Rally Spares Peugeot 208 R2 - winning the R2 class on the day, finishing 22nd overall and scoring two wins out of two in the Pirelli Welsh W4 class.

     

    Jonathan Jones won the award for getting the most amount of dust into a car and maintains his second place in class W4 after a good run (co-driven by Alan Walker) in his Ford Fiesta R2.

     

    Adrian and Matthew Walk won class W2 after a trouble-free run in their PartBOX Ford Ka. James Dunkley (co-driven by  Dan Sayce) finished second after a fine drive in his JD Auto Services Vauxhall Corsa and leads the W2 drivers' standings by two points.

     

    As far as first rallies together go, it didn't start well for Ross Clements/Nick Wilkins when they rolled their MG ZR on SS2. They got going again and finished the event, with Ross scoring his first Pirelli Welsh points of the season.

     

    Martyn Andrews/Steve Greenhill spent a minute in a ditch on SS2 but were impressive after that in their Subaru Impreza, setting a time 1min 36secs quicker through the same stage when it was repeated as SS4.

     

    John Caine/Andrew Sankey enjoyed a good run. Their Subaru Impreza was fitted with a new clutch and they were quickly able to find a good rhythm - with the fast stages suiting both car and driver extremely well.

     

    Ian Baumgart/Dave Robson went straight on at a hairpin on both the opening two stages and arrived at first service with bent suspension. They got that fixed and went well after that in their Subaru Impreza.

     

    Simon Rogers/James How overshot a hairpin on SS2 in their MacWhirter Motorsport-tuned Mitsubishi Evo VI, but otherwise had a good run.

     

    On only his fourth ever rally, Olly Hunt experienced his first mid-stage wheel change when he and co-driver Andy Falconer picked up a puncture on SS4. Olly is certainly learning very quickly, as his performance in his Subaru Impreza highlighted.

     

    Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe were also going well in their Subaru Impreza STi N12, but lost time with a puncture on the final stage.

     

    Bob Morgan/Adrian Williams had a frustrating outing in their Winner Garage Å koda Fabia, as the car kept stalling at every opportunity to begin with and once that was fixed and they were going well they were badly held up and delayed in a slower car's dust. They failed to reach the finish, reportedly stopping with gearbox problems.

     

    There were no such dramas however for Dave Tomlin/Keith Ashley, who had a good run in only their second rally in their Axon Fiesta R5 to finish 32nd overall.

     

    Martin Frazer/Dylan Bargate lost the brakes on their Slideways Mitsubishi Evo VI on SS1 and took a stage maximum on SS2. Their woes weren't over, as they had to stop and change a puncture on SS4, meaning that they finished the event running last car on the road.

     

    The returning Nik Elsmore felt less confident on the super-fast Radnor stages and unfortunately he and co-driver Craig Drew were forced out when the fuel pump failed on their CDS Mitsubishi Evo IX on SS4.

     

    Robert Morris/John Dilwyn were going well until the power steering pump caught fire and they were forced to retire their Subaru Impreza STi N14 on the final stage, while Steven Ormond-Smith/Lewis Griffiths reported rolled their Mitsubishi Evo IX near the end of SS4.

     

    Steve Black/Paul Morris retired on SS1 with a broken oil cooler pipe on their 586 Sports Suzuki Swift 1400, while Dave and Toby Brick retired their Vauxhall Nova on the opening stage as well. Geoff Phelps/Daniel Petrie retired their Escort with gearbox problems.

     

    Many drivers were full of praise for the magnificent efforts made by the event organisers, Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club, who had been forced to relocate the service area to Badlands Farm. With very little road mileage, plenty of service time to repair cars and five very challenging stages in the nearby Radnor forest, it really was a fantastic day's rallying.

     

    Sideways Media was there to capture all the action from all five stages, which will be put into a new multi-film edited highlights package featuring competitors from all the classes within the Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship. The programmes will be broadcast on the Championship's Facebook and YouTube channels this week.

     

    Round 3 of the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship is the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally on Saturday 30 October.

     

    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 2:

    1. Garry Pearson.......53pts
    2. Ian Bainbridge.......52pts
    3. George Lepley.......52pts
    4. Richard Hill.......45pts
    5. Paul Barrett.......40pts
    6. David Crossen.......38pt
    7. Callum Black.......35pts
    8. Owen McMackin.......29pts
    9. Ashley Davies.......27pts
    10. Ben Friend.......26pts


     


     

  • VIBRANT NEW CLASS STRUCTURE FOR 2021

    Press release: 19 April 2021

     

    Registrations flood in for the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship - which features a vibrant new class structure designed to attract a wide variety of cars and drivers

     

    Registrations are flooding in thick and fast for this year's Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship, which will feature 14 different classes catering for a wide and diverse range of cars and drivers - including, by popular demand, a new category for Road Rally cars.

     

    With points awarded to the top 22 finishers on each round, the battle for the overall Welsh National Rally Championship title is always a very close one - like in 2019, when Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear pipped Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy and Tom Llewellin/Peredur Davies in the race for the coveted crown on the final round.

     

    The overall champion can come from any class, meaning that a well-driven Escort Mk2 can battle for overall honours against four-wheel drive machinery.

     

    Every class and all registered competitors are important to the inclusive and friendly Welsh National Rally Championship, and this philosophy has enabled the series to develop a class structure rich in quality and quantity.

     

    A classic example is the Ravenol Welsh Challenge, which has established itself as one of the top clubman categories within the Welsh National Rally Championship. It is open to competitors in both two- and four-wheel drive cars, who have not finished in the top 10 of a National B (or equivalent) championship gravel event. This very well supported category fits exactly the criteria sponsor Ravenol UK MD Brian Chase was looking for when promoting Ravenol UK to the motorsport fraternity.

     

    The Restruct sponsored Two-Wheel Drive category has also increased in popularity since its introduction a decade ago. Open to and rewarding crews competing in either front- or rear-wheel drive cars, this category has successfully attracted historic vehicles across into the open class structure. It has proved so successful that a bit of fine-tuning will now see historic vehicles separated within a new class structure to increase the already strong competition, as well as retaining the category's integrity.

     

    Registrations have started to flow in from drivers such as Andrew Davison (Talbot Sunbeam) and Gary Smith (Ford Escort Mk1) - as well as a significant number of serious enquiries from Irish rally drivers, including from Frank Kelly in his famous Baby Blue Escort, which bodes well for an exciting Irish presence in the championship.

     

    Meanwhile Welsh National Rally Championship regular Wug Utting (Subaru Impreza STi N12B) is amongst several registrations in the four-wheel drive classes - and one of the UK's most experienced co drivers Paul Spooner has registered again in a bid for top honours. 

     

    A very important element to the Welsh National Rally Championship is the development of talent in the Under 25 section - and in recent years, six championship winning drivers have started in the Junior category. As in 2019, the prize for the winning Welsh National Rally Championship Junior driver is a test in a PCRS Rallysport-prepared Hyundai i20 R5, courtesy of OnThePaceNote.

     

    There is also a new class for Road Rally cars, in an acknowledgement of the increasing number of competitors who would like to try stage rallying without having to go to market and buy another vehicle. Cars will be allowed to run under Motorsport UK stage rally rules for tyres and graphics, and they must conform to both road rally and stage rally regulations. Registrations have also already been received for this class.

     

    The full list of 14 classes in the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship are:

     

    W1: 2WD - up to and including 1000cc naturally aspirated

    W2: 2WD - 1001cc to 1400cc 8v naturally aspirated

    W3: 2WD - 1001cc to 1400cc 16v naturally aspirated

    W4: 2WD - all R2 homologated cars / FIA 1000cc turbo and 1600cc

    W5: 2WD - Road Rally cars

    W6: 2WD - Historic Cat 1 (including up to 1600cc category 2, 3 and 4a)

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

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

    W9: 4WD - Historic category 4b over 1600cc. Complaint to R49.1.5 MSUK Year Book

    W10: 2WD - 1401cc to 1600cc naturally aspirated

    W11: 2WD - 1601cc to 2000cc naturally aspirated

    W12: 2WD - 2001cc and over

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

    W14: 4WD - WRC/R5/S2000/RCC cars

     

    Dave Evison, Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship Secretary, said: "In response to requests from competitors, we have made some positive changes to the class structure of the Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship. With the inclusion of the Road Rally class, and the healthy competition in the popular two-wheel drive category, I believe the balance we have struck will maintain the competition between crews - which is so important to deliver a successful series."

    The opening round of the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship is the Nicky Grist Stages on Saturday 10 July.


    Paul Evans
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Picture caption


    Andrew Davison/Tom Murphy (Talbot Sunbeam). Picture courtesy of Chris Huish, RallySport Media 
    Gary Smith/Phil Clarke (Ford Escort RS 1600 Mk1). Picture courtesy of Chris Huish, RallySport Media
    Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe (Subaru Impreza STi N12B). Picture courtesy of Chris Huish, RallySport Media
    Damian Cole/Jamie Edwards (Road Rally spec Ford Escort Mk2).