Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship 

PLAINS RALLY

  • Hirst hopes for a Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship hat-trick on the Plains

    Press release: 15 May 2022

     

    Matthew Hirst, pictured above, will be targeting an unblemished hat-trick of wins in the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship when he contests the Plains Rally on Saturday 21 May.

     

    Hirst and co-driver Declan Dear have made the perfect Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Championship start by winning both the WKD Trained Dogs Rally North Wales and Rallynuts Stages in their Pirelli-shod Delta Salvage Ford Fiesta R5+.

     

    Having conquered the famous Pantperthog, Dyfi, Big Ray, Gartheiniog, Myherin, Sweet Lamb, Hafren and Cwmysgawen forest stages, Hirst hopes his winning streak will continue as he prepares for 44 more stages miles in Aberhirnant, Llangower, Alwen and Clocaenog.

     

    Dylan Davies, pictured below, has been Hirst's nearest rival on both rounds this year and is second in the drivers' standings, six points behind. His Å koda Fabia R5+ hasn't been so sympathetic on tyre wear and a lack of traction has hampered the Llanon driver's progress, but he hopes for improvements as he and co-driver Mark Glennerster aim for their first win of 2022.


     

    Tom Llewellin arrives at the Plains Rally third in the overall drivers' standings. The 2019 Welsh Junior champion's first full season in the Brace's Bakery Mitsubishi Mirage has started well and he's quickly gaining confidence in the car. Dale Bowen, who partnered Tom on the opening round, returns to the co-driver's seat.

     

    James Giddings also had a fantastic result on the Rallynuts in his first appearance 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 should go well on the Plains too.

     

    Bob Morgan, pictured below, has made a great start to the 2022 Welsh Championship and currently leads the Ravenol Challenge and is fifth in the overall drivers' standings in his Winner Garage Å koda Fabia R5+.


     

     

    Benj Ceen has been one of the revelations of the season so far. In only his first year in a four-wheel drive car, the former Renault/Alpine Formula 1 test engineer has scored two fantastic results in his Ford Fiesta R5 and arrives at the Plains Rally sixth in the overall drivers' standings and third in the Ravenol Welsh Challenge. The car is run by MSL (which is owned by Mat Long, who is married to Benj's sister and four-time Welsh Under 25 championship winning co-driver Sarah Ceen) and the results have been achieved despite the car running with an Evo1 spec 32mm restrictor and over 30bhp down on the other Fiesta R5s.

     

    Benj's father Richard Ceen, pictured below, has been troubled by sensor failures and his Ford Focus WRC05 engine stalling at every opportunity this year. With over six minutes lost on the first two events, he hopes that as a former instrumentation engineer he can get the problems fixed to enable him and co-driver Alun Hayward to enjoy a clean run on the Plains.

     

    Richard's slightly younger brother Bob Ceen is having a good season. The 2001 and 2015 Welsh champion has successfully switched from a Subaru Impreza S9 WRC to a right-hand drive 'National spec' Ford Fiesta R5, which has been transformed by MSL and has run faultlessly so far this year.

     

    Simon Rogers/James How will be aiming for a more trouble-free run having driven around several problems so far this year in their Mitsubishi Evo 6, while Dave Tomlin/Keith Ashley will be hoping to bounce back from beaching their Axon Ford Fiesta R5 - a simple case of running a bit wide ruining a good run last time out on the Rallynuts Stages.

     

    One of the most experienced drivers in the Welsh field will be Wug Utting,pictured below, who contests the Plains Rally for the 17th time! He'll be co-driven by Bob Stokoe in their Subaru Impreza N12b. Also back in his Green Paw Subaru Impreza will be Paul Walker, this time partnered by Geraint Thomas.

     

    Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham, pictured below, arrive in Bala leading the Welsh 2WD class having finished second on Rally North Wales and first on the Rallynuts in their Burton Power/G&B Finch/Deranged Trucks Ford Escort RS. Boyd Kershaw/Keegan Rees have also won their class this year, but fifth on the Rallynuts sees them five points behind in The Flying Kiwi Escort Mk2.

    Matthew Jackson, pictured below, is third in the 2WD class after two magnificent results in his MJ Rallying Ford Fiesta R2T. He and co-driver Sasha Heriot also lead class W4 in the flying front-wheel drive car.

     

    Kevin Metcalfe, pictured below. (co-driven by Ian Jones) is the top placed BMW driver and is just one point behind Jackson in his 3-litre BMW E30.

     

    Philip Jones/Ryan Griffiths (Ford Escort), Andrew Fox/Jaime-Lee Fox (Xwatch Safety Solutions BMW 325), Michael Sawyer/Gareth Price (2350cc Datsun 1600) and Geoff Phelps/Colin Jenkins (Hartpury Farms Escort) will also be aiming for strong 2WD results.

     

    The incredibly close Restruct Welsh Historic class battles will resume on the Plains, with the top three registered finishers in each class giving themselves a chance of winning the end of season David Stokes Historic Challenge for drivers and the Guy Weaver Award for co-drivers' awards.

     

    Matt Edwards/Hamish Campbell, pictured below, head the Historic class W8 after two victories in their Pirelli-shod Fiat Abarth 131. The development work done to improve the RSD-prepared car came good in the afternoon of the Rallynuts Stages, and if that pace and reliability continues on the Plains then the three-time British drivers' champion will be hard to beat.

     

     

    Nick Elliott quickly reacclimatised to his own Fiat Abarth 131 on the Rallynuts, having not driven it in competition for over three and a half years. Now that he's stopped driving it like his Escort RS1800, Nick and co-driver Peredur Davies should be on the pace from the word go this time.

     

    Roger Chilman (Securcom Escort Mk2) lies third in class, just ahead of Rudi Lancaster (co-driven by Guy Weaver in his Woolacombe Holiday Parks Escort RS1800), with Alan Walker (together with John Connor in his JWC Financial Solutions Ford Escort RS1800) fifth. Meirion Evans kick-started his class W8 title challenge when he and co-driver Gwynfor Jones collected third-place points in their Wales Motorsport Escort Mk2 on the Rallynuts.


     

     

    Other crews aiming for their first class W8 podium finish of the year include Robert Gough/Jack Bowen (Escort RS1600 Mk2), Michael McDaid/Declan Casey (McDaid Pharmacy Escort RS1800 Mk2), Ben Friend/Cliffy Simmons (who were flying in the early part of the Rallynuts in their Allglass Escort Mk2) Will Onions/Dave Williams (who survived a Rallynuts roll in their Capital Motorsport Escort Mk2), Pete Littler/Sion Cunniff (RED Preparation & Fabrication/Select Security Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2), Ron Morgan/Marc Clatworthy (Wales Motorsport-prepared Restruct Escort Mk2), Philip Clarke/Richard Bonner (Escort Mk2), and defending Historic class W8 champions Paul Street/Ian Jones (PJS Marine Escort RS1800 Mk2).

     

    Jonathan Brace (co-driven this time by Jamie Vaughan) heads the RS1600 Mk1 contingent in his Dave Jenkins Motorsport-built Brace's Bakery Escort, with Andrew Stokes/Jonny Tad Evans and David Kirby/Martin Corbett in hot pursuit.

     

    Having finished second in class twice, Neal James/Kevin Jones (Escort Mk2) take a 19 points W7 lead into the Plains Rally. David Roberts/Gerallt Davies won the class on the Rallynuts in their Cwm Engineering Ford Escort Mk2 and Ben and Stephen Smith did likewise on Rally North Wales, while Peter Hinton/Lewis Sim are also capable of winning the class - although head gasket and suspension issues have prevented them scoring a top result this year in their Escort Mk2.

     

    Julian Birley/Emyr Hall (Talbot Sunbeam Ti 1600) have a great opportunity to recapture the lead of the Historic W6 class after missing the Rallynuts.

     

    Rory McCann, co-driven by his father Paul, will also resume their Welsh title battle in their Metalways Hillman Avenger, as will Mark Tugwell/Steve Pugh in their Lotus Twin Cam engines Metalways Ford Escort Mk1 and Malcolm Bayliss/Siobhan Pugh in their 16BAO Rally Team Ford Escort Mk1.

     

    Liam Griffiths, pictured below, (co-drive this time by Andrew Sankey) will be aiming to extend his 24-point lead at the top of the OnThePaceNote.co.uk supported Welsh Junior points table in his Discover Parks Ford Fiesta ST.

     

    This brother Callum Griffiths finished on the Welsh Junior podium last time out in only his second ever rally and he'll be aiming for another good run with co-driver William Lewis in his Discover Parks Ford Fiesta ST.

     

    Gethin Price/Matthew Baddeley lead class W3, although the gap has been closed thanks to a non-finish last time out in their Keith Price Haulage Nissan Micra. Hefin Lloyd-Davies (co-driven by Rich Jones) returns, having won the class on Rally North Wales in his Jones Bros Engineering Vauxhall Corsa. Meanwhile Dave Brick (Vauxhall Nova) and Freddy Brick (Opel Corsa) will be aiming for their first championship finish of the season.

     

    Having scored maximum Road Rally class points last time out, Brynli Thomas/Steve Griffiths will be looking to take the lead of the category in their Peugeot 306 Rallye.

     

    Martin Walters/Marie Fletcher have made a successful return to rallying after spending the past two years rebuilding their Honda Civic and head to the Plains aiming to extend their class W10 lead.

     

    Organised by Knutsford & District Motor Club, the 2022 Plains Rally will see the first car leave the start ramp at 07.01 on Saturday 21 May from the Penllyn Leisure Centre in Bala. The event will contain two high-speed passes of Aberhirnant, Llangower, Alwen South, Alwen North and Clocaenog forests and after all 10 stages/44 stage miles have been completed the finish will be back in Bala from 15.00.

     

    Spectator information is available at plainsrally.co.uk and on the Sportity app (password: PlainsRallySpectators22).

     

    For those unable to make it to the North Wales forests in person but would still like to watch the event, the action will be live streamed on facebook.com/WELSHRALLYCHAMPIONSHIP with commentary from Howard Davies.

     

    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

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

     

    2022 Plains Rally: top 10 2WD starters
    1. Matt Edwards/Hamish Campbell.......Fiat Abarth 131
    2. Nick Elliott/Peredur Davies.......Fiat Abarth 131
    3. Matthew Robinson/Sam Collis.......Ford Escort RS
    4. Henri Greham/Daniel Petrie.......Ford Escort Mk2
    5. Ben Friend/Cliffy Simmons.......Ford Escort Mk2
    6. Will Onions/Dave Williams.......Ford Escort Mk2
    7. Robert Gough/Jack Bowen.......Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2
    8. Sacha Kakad/TBC....... Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2
    9. Hugh Hunter/Rob Fagg.......Ford Escort Mk2
    10. Simon Webster/Jez Rogers.......Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2

    2022 Plains Rally: top 10 4WD starters
    401. Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear.......Ford Fiesta R5+
    402. Dylan Davies/Mark Glennerster.......Å koda Fabia R5+
    403. Tom Llewellin/Dale Bowen.......Mitsubishi Mirage
    404. David Henderson/Chris Lee.......Ford Fiesta R5
    405. James Giddings/Aled Davies.......Mitsubishi Evo 9
    406. Bob Ceen/Shaun Layland.......Ford Fiesta R5
    407. Bob Morgan/Ade Williams.......Å koda Fabia R5+
    408. Benj Ceen/Caron Tomlinson.......Ford Fiesta R5
    409. Paul Walker/Geraint Thomas.......Subaru Impreza
    411. Dave Tomlin/Keith Ashley.......Ford Fiesta R5




  • 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