Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Rally Championship 


  • Gardener Digs In For Wet Weather Win

    Despite heavy overnight rain that produced treacherous conditions for competitors, Shaun Gardener made it back to back maximum points scores in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, leading home the series contenders on the Winner Garage Skoda Wyedean Stages Rally.
    The Ludlow driver and co-driver Ben Innes headed the Championship cars throughout the event in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5.9.2. Second place went to Worcester pairing Paul Davy and Roger Allan in their Subaru Impreza while Andrew Jones and Keaton Williams took their Mark 2 Ford Escort to third.
    Absentees Luke Francis and John H Roberts had already secured the overall driver and co-driver titles but the lower positions were still up for grabs. Sixth place points were just enough for Surrey’s Wug Utting and co-driver Bob Stokoe to claim the overall runner-up spot. Third in the driver standings was secured by Andrew Jones while Mark Glennerster finishes third among the co-drivers.
    While outgoing Group N champions Paul Davy and Roger Allan took maximum points on this event, Utting and Stokoe secured the title for less modified cars. The absent Andy Davies and Max Freeman take second place while completing the drivers’ Group N Championship podium is Simon Dalton. Roger Allan finishes the season as third placed Group N co-driver.
    Andrew Jones takes the two wheel drive honours along with the Vital Equipment junior title for drivers under 25. Rear wheel drive honours go to Flying Kiwi Boyd Kershaw and Tim Cains takes the front wheel drive title. Top two wheel drive co-driver is Caron Tomlinson. He takes the place by just a single point from Richard Crozier while Martin Griffiths and Richard May take rear and front wheel drive honours.
    Rhydian Price and Jake McKenna complete the Junior driver top 3 while Max Freeman heads the Vital Equipment Junior co-driver standings despite missing the rally. Just one point back, in second place, comes Simon Jones who misses out on the title after finishing behind Keaton Williams on the event. Ahead of Williams and third in the end of season standings is Chris Davies.
    McKenna and Price take the drivers’ titles in Class 2 and 3 respectively with Cal McElhinney and Claire Williams heading the class co-driver standings. Bob Vardy and Rhodri Evan are top C lass 4 driver and co-driver while the honours in Class 5 go to Hywel Davies and Richard Crozier.
    In Class 6, it’s Gavin Edwards and Bryan Hull who take the laurels with Colin Griffiths and Emyr Hall picking them up in Class 7. 
    The hotly contested class 8 goes to Dylan Davies who finishes a single point ahead of Simon Thomas, while Mark Williams is top co-driver.
    Despite retiring from this event, Martyn England wins Class WRC1 with Mark Glennerster top co-driver.
    Arwel Jenkins will take the crown as leading Class N3 co-driver while top driver and co-driver in Class N4 are Andy Davies and Max Freeman.
    Speaking after the rally Championship Co-ordinator Dave Evison commented, “I would like to thank all the competitors, event organiser and marshals who have supported us throughout the season. In particular, I would like to thank everyone involved in making the final event of the year a success in very difficult conditions.”
                                                                        -     Ends     -
    Issued 13th November 2016
     Credit for the attached photographs given to rallysportmedia.com
    Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship



  • Black heads Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship field as battle continues on the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages

    Callum Black will be aiming to extend his early lead at the top of the 2021 Motorsport UK
    Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship when Round 2 of the series, the
    Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages, takes plac on Saturday 4 September.
    Black and co-driver Jack Morton won the opening round, the Nicky Grist Stages, in
    their 586 Sports team-prepared Ford Fiesta R5. They go into the next round three
    points ahead of Ian Bainbridge/Will Atkins, who will be out to turn the tables in their
    Škoda Fabia R5.

    George Lepley/Tom Woodburn finished third on the opening round in their AMS-
    tuned Mitsubishi Evo X and arrive at the Woodpecker also leading the Welsh Junior
    Championship. With the top Junior driver end-of-season prize of a test in a PCRS
    Rallysport-prepared Hyundai i20 R5, courtesy of OnThePaceNote, up for grabs,
    Lepley will be keen to extend that advantage – although he will be chased hard by
    the likes of Jason Black/Karl Egan (Toyota Starlet), Gethin Price/Matthew Baddeley
    (Nissan Micra), Maxx Bradshaw/Liam Andrew Whiteley (Mitsubishi Evo III) and Aoife
    Raftery/Dylan Doonan (Ford Fiesta).
    Former Welsh Junior champion Tom Llewellin had a great run on the Nicky Grist
    Stages to come home fourth on his rally debut in a four-wheel drive car. Co-driven by
    Ross Whittock, he’ll be keen to once again get maximum mileage in his Mitsubishi

    There will also be a number of crews aiming to kick-start their title assaults after a
    difficult start. These include the 2019 Pirelli Welsh National Rally champions
    Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear, who finished 11th on the Nicky Grist after an engine
    misfire and a broken driveshaft in their Mitsubishi Evo IX.
    The 2019 championship runner-up Russ Thompson has already dropped a score
    courtesy of snapping a pair of driveshafts on his Mitsubishi Evo IX. Partnered this
    time by Stephen Link, good results from here on in are essential if he’s to challenge
    for the title this year.

    Bob Morgan/Adrian Williams will be hoping that their Škoda Fabia’s brake issue
    which forced them to non-score last time out are fixed, while the 1990 Woodpecker
    Rally winner Graham Middleton, co-driven by Steven McPhee, is set to make his first
    appearance of the season in his Mitsubishi Mirage.
    David Crossen will be aiming to extend his lead in the Restruct-sponsored Two-
    Wheel Drive category, as well as closing in for the lead of the RAVENOL UK Welsh
    Challenge category. This time the Comber driver will be partnered in his rapid Escort
    Mk2 by Darren Curren.
    Ron Morgan will also contest the event in his newly built Escort Mk2. He’ll be co-
    driven by Marc Clatworthy.

    As always, there is a high calibre of Escorts on the entry list. Paul Barrett/Gordon
    Noble lead the Historic class in their Escort Mk2, while Owen McMackin/Lee Taylor
    and Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham will also be aiming to continue their good starts to
    the season in their Escort Mk2s.

    Having retired from the opening round when their Escort Mk2’s engine cut out,
    Jonathan Brace/Paul Spooner will be hoping for better luck on the Woodpecker.
    Likewise, Ben Friend/Cliff Simmons will be aiming to bounce back in their Escort
    Mk2, after a broken differential put them out of the Grist.
    Also expected to go well are the likes of Paul Street/Ian Jones (Escort RS1800 Mk2)
    former Pirelli Welsh National Rally champions Pete Littler/Andy Marchbank (Escort
    Mk2), Ricky Crone/Daniel James (Escort Mk2) and Phil Clarke/Steve Pugh (Escort
    Having blown the cobwebs off on the Nicky Grist by contesting his first event since
    the 2015 Wyedean Stages Rally, expect Nik Elsmore to be back on the pace in his
    Mitsubishi Evo IX. He had only done three rallies in the last 12 years but, together
    with co-driver Craig Drew, was quickly into his stride – and will be one to keep an
    eye on this time for sure.

    Wug Utting is likely to be more up to speed too. He’d only had a replacement hip
    operation a month before the Nicky Grist, so expect him to be back to his old self
    when he and co-driver Bob Stokoe hit the Woodpecker stages in their Subaru
    Impreza STi N12.

    The Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship launched a new online video service
    on the Nicky Grist Stages, with the first round of the series attracting 272,000 views.
    In response to this fantastic audience figure, experienced motorsport broadcaster
    Sideways Media will increase its ability to capture the very best of the action with five
    cameras on the Woodpecker. It will edit this footage with onboard action and driver
    interviews and expert analysis from Howard Davies and Eifion Jones for an exciting
    new multi-film edited highlights package, dedicated to registered Championship
    contenders in every class, to be broadcast on the Championship’s Facebook and
    YouTube channels in the week after the event.

    Organised by Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club, this year’s non-spectator
    Woodpecker Stages will take place entirely within the Radnor forest complex in
    Powys, and contain 44 stage miles on roads which are in superb condition.
    Further details on the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally
    Championship, together with registration information, can be found online at:

    For more information, please contact:
    Paul Evans
    07710 743167 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Chris Huish, RallySport Media’


  • 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 Škoda 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 Škoda 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 (Škoda 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.



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





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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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




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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


    2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship

    Provisional overall driver points after Round 3:

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

    Images - Paul Mitchell 
    Press Release - Paul Evans 


  • Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship roars back into action.


    After a 518-day enforced break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship roars back into action next weekend. The Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 10 July) will feature one of the largest fields of championship contenders ever gathered, all gunning for points in pursuit of title success.


    Covid-19 restrictions have seen motorsport in Wales halted, barring a few exceptions, since the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally on 8 February 2020.


    But now, finally, rallying in the Welsh forests is returning – with an unprecedented demand for places on the start list. This level of interest has produced a quality field of drivers and co-drivers and a vast array of cars unlike anything seen for many years.


    The inclusive Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship class structure features an incredibly wide range of cars driven by former champions, old rivals, newcomers and juniors. The list features the strongest ever contingent from England, Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man, aiming to beat the proudly patriotic and famously fast Welsh home grown rally talent.


    Former Pirelli Welsh National Rally champions preparing for battle are 2019 (and defending) overall title winners Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear in their Mitsubishi Evo IX. They are joined by the 2018 driver champion Dylan Davies/Mark Glennerster (Škoda Fabia R5), the 2017 driver champion Callum Black/Michael Gilbey (Ford Fiesta R5) and the 2000 champions Pete Littler/Andy Marchbank (Ford Escort Mk2).


    These champions will be under pressure from the likes of Ian Bainbridge/Will Atkins, who scored maximum Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship points on the 2020 Cambrian Rally and won last December’s Rali Adfer Coedwigoedd Cymru test event in a Škoda Fabia R5. 2019 championship runners-up Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy (Mitsubishi Evo IX), Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe (Subaru Impreza STi N12) and Nik Elsmore/Craig Drew (Mitsubishi Evo IX) will join the fray. Meanwhile, Martyn and Dawn England have swapped their Ford Fiesta R5+ for a Mitsubishi Evo X.


    Also in a new car for this year is the 2019 Welsh Junior champion, Tom Llewellin. Tom, co-driven on this occasion by Ross Whittock, makes his competition debut in a four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Mirage. Elsewhere in the field, Paul Walker/Geraint Thomas have exchanged their Mitsubishi for a Subaru Impreza.


    With great rallies to learn their skill and the lure of a magnificent prize of a test drive in a PCRS Rallysport-prepared Hyundai i20 R5 (courtesy of OnThePaceNote), the Junior category is buoyant again this year. George Lepley/Tom Woodburn will compete in their Mitsubishi Evo X, Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams will move up from the Formula 1000 Junior Championship (and a few great road rally results) to a Peugeot 208 R2, and Zak Hughes/Ian Beamond bring their Renault Twingo R2 Evo.


    Other Under-25-year-old hard chargers to look out for include Aoife Raftery/Dylan Doonan (Ford Fiesta), Charlie Todd/Glyn Thomas (Ford Fiesta) and Gethin Price/Matthew Baddeley (Nissan Micra). Lining up alongside will be Jason Black/Karl Egan (Toyota Starlet) and Maxx Bradshaw/Liam Andrew Whiteley, who travel from the Isle of Man in their Mitsubishi Evo III.


    The ever-popular Restruct-sponsored Two-Wheel Drive category has received one of its strongest entries. Nick Elliott/Dave Price, Jonathan Brace/Paul Spooner, Steven Ormond-Smith/Matty Daniels and Frank/Lauren Kelly (to name but a few) are all in Ford Escort Mk2s. Andrew Davison/Tom Murphy bring their Talbot Sunbeam, Alan Desbois/Peter Littlefield wheel out their Peugeot 306 RWD, while David Jones/Glyn Price and Kevin Metcalfe/Ian Jones both appear in BMW E30s.


    More than 50 crews are eligible for the RAVENOL UK Welsh Challenge, which rewards drivers and co-drivers who have yet to finish in the top 10 overall of a Championship round and is open to any competitor in any class.


    The Historic classes are very well represented this year, with many of the front-running Two-Wheel Drive category crews in contention for this title as well. In addition to those Escort Mk2 crews already mentioned, others will be piloted by Paul Barrett/Gordon Noble, David Edwards/Paul Dolby, Paul Street/Ian Jones, Phil Clarke/Steve Pugh, Ryan Barrett/Paul McCann, Robert Gough/Keaton Williams, Rob Dennis/Andy Boswell, Richard Lane/Jez Rogers, Michael Mcdaid/Daniel Petrie, Neal James/Kevin Jones and Ben Friend/Cliff Simmons. Gary Smith/Clive Jones, Andrew Stokes/Jonny Tad Evans, and David Kirby/Martin Corbett appear on the opening round in Escort Mk1s, while Julian Birley/Steve White wheel out a Talbot Sunbeam Ti.


    The new class for Road Rally spec cars has sparked a lot of interest, with the likes of Graham Thatcher/Tim Samuels (Peugeot 206) and the Escort Mk2 duo of Ricky Crone/Daniel James and Rob Wood/Osian Davies battling for early class honours.


    Such is the inclusive class structure of this year’s Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship that a driver and co-driver are likely to be eligible for multiple awards. David and Toby Brick are a great example of this, as the giant-killing Vauxhall Nova crew will be battling for honours in the Overall, RAVENOL UK Welsh Challenge, Two-Wheel Drive and Over 50s categories!


    “What a fantastic Nicky Grist Stages we have in prospect,” says Dave Evison, Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship Secretary.


    “With just a few days to go, perhaps it’s time to reflect on the massive undertaking by all stakeholders involved in making this happen. Events of this stature under normal circumstances take up to eighteen months to organise. Add in a pandemic, and the timeframe is the same, but the commitment required over the same period is immeasurable.


    “The rally fraternity, though, has responded as only they can with a fantastic entry received in an unbelievable fifteen minutes.


    “Event organisers want entries in quality and quantity – they have it! Competitors want competition – they have it! They want fantastic roads – they have them! I can’t wait to see the outcome.”


    The Nicky Grist Stages contains 44 stage miles spread over eight stages – with a loop of four gravel tests through Llyn Login, Monument, Halfway and Crychan forests in the morning and repeated in the afternoon following a midday service halt at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd.


    Spectators are not permitted to watch in any of the stages nor the service area. Instead, the Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship will broadcast live from the event on its Facebook page. Experienced motorsport broadcaster Sideways Media will be filming the action, with driver interviews and expert analysis from Howard Davies and Eifion Jones.


    After each round, a 30 minute edited highlights package will be produced, dedicated to the Welsh National Rally Championship runners, and broadcast on the Championship’s Facebook and YouTube channels.


    The Plains Rally, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday 14 August, has been cancelled – meaning that the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Championship will now consist of five rounds, with the best four scores to count. Round 2 will now be the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages on Saturday, 4 September.


    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


    2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship calendar

    10 July….Nicky Grist Stages

    4 September….Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages

    16 October….Winner Garage ŠKODA Wyedean Rally

    30 October….Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally

    13 November….Rallynuts Stages Rally



    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).