Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship 

Rallying, Motorsport

  • 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
  • 2021 Regulations and Registration Live

       The Championship Supplementary Regs can be downloaded from here 

       On-line Registration form can be found here


  • ACTION FROM ROUND 3 - VISIT CONWAY CAMBRIAN RALLY

     


     

  • 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
    Å koda 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
    Mirage.

    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 Å koda 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
    Mk2).
    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:
    wnrc.wamc.org.uk.

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

    Images  
    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 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.

     


     

  • Garry Pearson and Callum Black go head-to-head for 2021 Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship title on the Rallynuts Stages

    Press release: 5 November 2021 

     

     

     

    Garry Pearson, pictured, and Callum Black will go head-to-head in the battle for the Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship title as the 2021 series reaches an exciting climax on the Rallynuts Stages Rally (Saturday 13 November).

     

    Having scored maximum points on the previous two rounds, the Eventsigns Woodpecker Rally and Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally, Garry takes a six-point lead into the final round.

     

    With a score to drop towards the final points tally, if Garry and co-driver Niall Burns win again it will give the Asset Alliance Å koda Fabia R5 crew a perfect three maximum score result and their first Welsh title.

     

    If Callum wins and Garry finishes second, they would be tied on points - with Garry winning the tiebreak.

     

    Whilst Callum is currently third in the overall drivers' standings, the 2017 Pirelli Welsh champion could win the title again - but he must finish first or second.

     

    Co-driven by Jack Morton, Callum was the early leader of the Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship after taking victory on the opening Nicky Grist Stages. He kept his title hopes alive with a second-place finish in his Pallas Connections-backed Ford Fiesta R5 on the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally, but his retirement on the Woodpecker could come back to haunt him, especially in a tiebreak situation.

     

    Neither driver has rallied in Myherin, Sweet Lamb and Hafren forests for several years. Callum was last there on the 2017 Wales Rally GB, while Garry hasn't seen them since the 2014 WRGB.

     

    George Lepley, pictured, arrives at the Rallynuts Stages lying second in the overall drivers' standings. But with a second and two thirds the WD-40 Mitsubishi Evo X driver can only add five points to his current total (when taking the lowest score to drop into account) and is therefore unable to win the overall title. Together with Tom Woodburn, George is more than capable of winning the event, especially as the fast and flowing mid-Wales stages will suit his car, and he has already claimed the Pirelli Welsh Junior title and the magnificent prize of a test in a PCRS Rallysport-prepared Hyundai i20 R5, courtesy of OnThePaceNote.co.uk

     

    Work commitments prevented Ian Bainbridge, pictured, from contested the last round, but he and co-driver Will Atkins are looking forward to returning to the Welsh forests in their Gypsum Group Å koda Fabia R5. The 2018 Rallynuts Stages was Ian's first forest rally, where he was seeded at number 90 in a Subaru Impreza. His rapid rise through the rallying ranks, particularly since he acquired the Fabia, means that another good result could secure him the Pirelli Welsh runners-up spot.

     

    It's certainly not been the season Matthew Hirst (Delta Salvage Mitsubishi Evo IX) and Russ Thompson (Dunnow Plant Mitsubishi Evo IX) had been hoping for, so the respective 2019 Pirelli Welsh driver champion and runner-up will be aiming to end 2021 on a high. Matthew has been co-driven by Declan Dear all season, while Russ will have Tom Murphy alongside him this time, his third co-driver of the season.

     

    The 2018 Pirelli Welsh driver champion Dylan Davies hit a rock and lost a wheel on the Cambrian Rally and, together with Mark Glennerster on the route notes, will be hoping for better luck this time in his Subaru Impreza.

     

    Perry Gardener/Jack Bowen, who had a fantastic run to fourth on the Woodpecker, return in their Ford Fiesta R5, as do Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe (Subaru Impreza STi N12b), Nik Elsmore/Craig Drew (CDS Taxis Mitsubishi Evo IX) and Martyn and Dawn England (SW Motorsport Mitsubishi Evo X).

     

    Richard Hill/Patrick Cooper (RH Motors Mitsubishi), Saleh Hijazi/Stephen Landen (The Pallet Company Subaru Impreza STi), Keith Jones/Jonny 'Tad' Evans (Grooms Garage Subaru Impreza), Martyn Andrews/Steve Greenhill (Opie Oils Subaru Impreza) and Fraser Martin/Dylan Bargate (Slideways Motorsport Mitsubishi Evo 6) will all be aiming to finish the season in style, whilst after a good debut in their new car Bob Morgan/Adrian Williams will be another crew to watch in their Winner Garage Å koda Fabia R5.

     

    David Tomlin, who retired his Axon Ford Fiesta R5 with clutch problems on the Cambrian, will be co-driven by Ian Beamond as his regular navigator Keith Ashley is otherwise engaged as Rallynuts Stages Clerk of the Course and Chief Safety Officer.

     

    There is a good battle for the RAVENOL UK Welsh Challenge, with several drivers still in contention for the title.

     

    Owen McMackin, pictured, (co-driven by Lee Taylor) currently leads the points standings in his McMackin Plant Hire Escort Mk2, although Ashley Davies (co-driven by Sam Fordham) in his G&B Finch/Burton Power Escort Mk2 and David Crossen (co-driven by Aileen Kelly) in his Crossen Engineering Escort Mk2 could still win the title.

     

    Maxx Bradshaw/Liam Whiteley have travelled from the Isle of Man for every round of this year's Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship and after finishing fourth in the Challenge category on the Cambrian the Manx men will be hoping to end the season with a podium finish in their Renvo8/DB Autos & Sons Mitsubishi Evo III.

     

    There is also a close fight for the Restruct-sponsored Two-Wheel Drive title.

     

    Owen McMackin leads that category as well, with Ashley Davies,pictured, and David Crossen, pictured below, also able to win. In fact, the latter could win the title with a perfect score of 90 points, having won the class on the Nicky Grist and the Woodpecker.

     

    Having given his immaculate Wales Motorsport-built Restruct Escort Mk2 its debut on the Woodpecker, Two-Wheel Drive class sponsor Ron Morgan will contest the Rallynuts with Marc Clatworthy once again in the co-driver's seat.

     

    Retirement on the Cambrian Rally means that Ioan Lloyd is unable to win the Two-Wheel Drive title, although the fact that he's been challenging for that trophy in his West Wales Rally Spares Peugeot 208 R2 highlights what a talented youngster he is. Co-driven by Sion Williams, the teenager's priority was always the class W3 title, although he is in a race against time to repair his car after hitting a rocky outcrop and breaking a strut last time out.

     

     

    Paul Street/Ian Jones,pictured, lead the highly competitive Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup after a win, a second and a fourth-place finish in their Escort RS1800 Mk2. They can only be beaten to the title by Paul Barrett (Escort Mk2).

     

    Ben Friend/Cliff Simmons finished second in class on the Woodpecker and will be looking to end the season with a Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup win in their Allglass Escort Mk2, although winning the title is beyond them.

     

    Jonathan Brace/Paul Spooner (Brace's Bakery Escort Mk2),pictured, Charles Hopkinson/Alan Jones (Black Antler Design Escort RS1800 Mk2), Neal James/Kevin Jones (Mosley Rolling Road/Cwm Engineering Escort Mk2) and Michael McDaid/Declan Casey (McDaid Pharmacy Escort RS1800 Mk2) will also be hoping to end their Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup season with a good result.

     

     

    Robi Wood/Osian Davies must win the Pirelli Welsh Road Rally class in their NIBS/SWG Escort Mk2 to have any chance of winning the title. Leaders Ricky Crone/Daniel James (Escort Mk2),pictured, have one hand on the trophy, after two wins and a second this season and don't even have to finish if Robi doesn't win the class to be crowned champions.

     

     

    Graham Thatcher/Tim Samuel (Pembridge Vehicle Management Peugeot 206GTi),pictured, and Mark Lennox/Rhodri Evens (Lennox Engineering Escort Mk2) have both enjoyed a good season and excelled in the Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship's newest class.

     

    Adrian and Matthew Walk will be aiming to secure the W2 title in their PartBOX Ford Ka, having already won the class twice this year.

     

    Steve Black is already the class W3 champion and, co-driven by Paul Morris, the 586 Sports team driver will be out for a bit of giant-killing fun in his rapid Suzuki Swift 1400.

     

    To highlight the vast array of cars that are welcomed into the Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship's inclusive class structure, other registered competitors contesting the Rallynuts Stages include Paul Walker/Geraint Thomas (Subaru Impreza), James Dunkley/Dan Sayce (JD Auto Services Vauxhall Corsa), Richard Jordan/James Smith (MG ZR), Conor Tolson/Dylan Thomas (Powerhouse Turbo Garage Ford Fiesta R2), Kevin Metcalfe/Ian Jones (BMW E30), Rob Wilson/Martin Haggett (Ravenol Ford Fiesta R2), Harry Hunt/Steve McPhee (Ford Escort), Robert Bradley/Kevin Booth (Browns Furniture Ford Escort Mk2), Andrew Fox/Jaime-Lee Fox (Fitzgerald Plant Services BMW 325), Paul Lomas/Mark Leader (Plant Speed Ford Escort), Bob Morris/Dil John (Subaru Impreza), Simon Dalton/Jamie Vaughan (Subaru Impreza STi N12b), Steve Hollis/Tim Currie (Volkswagen Golf R), Tom Naylor/Tom Bishop (Ford Fiesta ST), Alan Desbois/Peter Littlefield (RWD Peugeot 306) and Simon and Alex Stanbury in their MG ZR.

     

    Experienced motorsport broadcaster Sideways Media will be at the Rallynuts Stages to capture all the action for a multi-film edited highlights package, dedicated to registered Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship contenders in every class and broadcast on the Championship's Facebook and YouTube channels in the week after the event. In addition, Howard Davies and Eifion Jones will position themselves at passage controls and at the finish where the two former esteemed co-drivers will broadcast live driver interviews and give expert analysis online.

     

    Postponed from its original date in April, this year's Rallynuts Stages Rally on Saturday 13 November will be the 47th running of the event. Voted the best Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship round in 2018 and '19, the Midland Manor Motor Club organised event will follow its now traditional format with six stages and 44 stage miles in Myherin, Sweet Lamb and Hafren forests. Rally HQ, the start, midday service and finish will be at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd.

     

    Spectators are welcome at specific stage locations (but not the service area) and more information can be found on the event's website: rallynutsrally.co.uk.

     

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

    Words Paul Evans
    Images Paul Mitchell & Chris Huish. 

     


     

  • 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 Å koda 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 Å koda 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 


     

  • Garry Pearson wins the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship drivers’ title on a tiebreak

    Press release: 14 November 2021

     

     

    Garry Pearson is the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally champion after a stunning fightback on the final two stages of the Rallynuts Stages Rally (Saturday 13 November) saw him clinch the title by the smallest of margins and winning on a tiebreak.

     

    Co-driven by Niall Burns, Garry lost 17 seconds on the opening stage through Myherin when the power steering failed on his Pirelli-shod Asset Alliance Å koda Fabia R5. A nut on the top of the reserve reservoir had come loose which had also caused the windscreen to mist up.

     

    Down in fifth overall and fourth Pirelli Welsh contender, Garry set the fastest time in Sweet Lamb and Hafren to take the Pirelli Welsh lead by the time crews reached mid-day service at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd, two seconds ahead of Callum Black and 18 seconds ahead of Ian Bainbridge.

     

    The title looked his, until a right rear puncture halfway through the repeat of Myherin cost Garry almost a minute.

     

    Now 45 seconds behind Callum and 27 seconds behind Ian, Garry needed to finish second to win the Welsh title and with just 13.47 stage miles remaining he launched an incredible fightback.

     

    Garry set the fastest time on SS5 (Sweet Lamb 2) taking 17 seconds out of Ian to set up a thrilling final run through Hafren 2.

     

    In a title or nothing final stage charge, Garry was then 12 seconds faster than Ian to overtake him on the event leaderboard and take second place Pirelli Welsh Championship points by just two seconds - which with Callum taking a maximum score was what Garry needed to be crowned 2021 champion.

     

    It was also cause for celebration for the 2018 Pirelli Welsh driver champion Dylan Davies, who owns, prepares and runs Garry's 2021 title winning Fabia R5.

     

    "It's been one of my most challenging days of my rallying career, from the power steering problem in the morning, driving half of stage four on a puncture and then a fightback on the last two stages in the afternoon," said Garry.

     

    "I took it one event at a time and it's the best year I've ever had in rallying. I'm speechless.

     

    "Credit to Dylan Davies Rallying because they've prepared a good car for us all season. And thanks to Asset Alliance, Pirelli, George Anderson Builders and all the people in the team for pulling together and getting us here."

     

     

     

    Callum, pictured,  needed to score maximum points on the Rallynuts to have a chance of winning the Pirelli Welsh drivers' title for a second time, and 2017 champion did that in spectacular style and also finished second overall on the event.

     

    Co-driven by Tom Woodford, a wrong tyre choice in the morning cost Callum time, particularly on SS2 when the Pallas Connections Ford Fiesta R5 understeered badly through Sweet Lamb. It may have cost Callum the overall rally win, but with Garry picking up the Pirelli Welsh points he needed the rally result didn't cost Callum the Welsh title.

     

    Ian, pictured, drove very well, although the work commitments that restricted his pre-rally preparations ultimately prevented him from setting the stage times that he knew he could. Co-driven by Will Atkins, Ian still finished on the Pirelli Welsh podium in his right-hand drive Gypsum Group Å koda Fabia R5, which was just reward for his gritty performance, particularly through Myherin and Sweet Lamb which he thoroughly enjoyed. The result also sees him finish third in the overall drivers' standings.

     

    Perry Gardener/Jack Bowen finished fourth Pirelli Welsh crew on the Eventsigns Woodpecker Rally, which is where they also finished this time on only their second event in a Ford Fiesta R5.

     

    Russ Thompson (co-driven by Tom Murphy) left his best until the last round and finally enjoyed a trouble-free event (save for an issue with a fuel pump on a road section) in his Dunnow Plant Mitsubishi Evo IX to come home fifth.

     

    He was followed home by Matthew Hirst, pictured below, who also finished a difficult season on a high when he and co-driver Declan Dear enjoyed a clean run, albeit surviving a near roll on the penultimate stage, to the finish in their Delta Salvage Mitsubishi Evo IX.

     

    Matthew finishes fifth in the overall drivers' standings, just behind Welsh Junior George Lepley who didn't start the Rallynuts.

     

    Dylan Davies just missed out on a top 10 Rallynuts finish in a Subaru Impreza he'd only bought the day before the event. In an extraordinary performance, he and Mark Glennerster finished 11th overall in a car that he'd not even had the time to put the characteristic Dylan Davies Rallying team yellow and black coloured decals on!

     

    Bob Morgan is still getting used to his new Winner Garage Å koda Fabia R5 - so much so that when the windscreen wipers came on in Sweet Lamb he couldn't find the switch to turn them off. Despite the distraction, he and co-driver Adrian Williams had a great run and finished 18th overall.

     

    Nik Elsmore finished one place behind in his CDS Taxis Mitsubishi Evo IX. It's been many years since he'd rallied on such slippery stages and the part worn tyres that he was using didn't help him find the required grip. Nevertheless, he and co-driver Rob Flagg enjoyed a good run and a top 20 finish.

     

    Maxx Bradshaw/Liam Whiteley were pleased with their pace and admitted they couldn't have gone any faster over the afternoon stages to record a good finish in their Renvo8/DB Autos & Sons Mitsubishi Evo III.

     

    Martyn and Dawn England lost time with a puncture in the morning but recovered well to score a good result in only their second rally in their SW Motorsport Mitsubishi Evo X,

     

    Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe lost a considerable amount of time on the morning loop with a puncture in Sweet Lamb and another in Hafren, but brought their Subaru Impreza STi N12b home for a strong finish

     

    Despite retiring after multiple punctures on SS2, Owen McMackin, pictured, clinched the RAVENOL UK Welsh Challenge title, thanks to Ashley Davies (co-driven by Sam Fordham) retiring his G&B Finch/Burton Power Escort Mk2 after the penultimate stage.

     

    David Crossen's chances of winning the title took a dive when he hit a rock, punctured a tyre and bent the steering on his Crossen Engineering Escort Mk2 on SS1. Co-driven by Aileen Kelly, his title hopes finally came to an end when a throttle cable problem saw him take a stage maximum on SS4 and he skipped the last two stages.

     

    Owen also wins the Restruct-sponsored Two-Wheel Drive title, which gives his navigator Lee Taylor the co-drivers' class trophy.

     

    Paul Street/Ian Jones are confirmed as Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup champions after a great season in their Escort RS1800 Mk2.

     

    Nick Elliott/Dave Price won the category on the day in their Escort Mk2, beating Ben Friend/Cliff Simmons, pictured, who had put gravel suspension on their asphalt Allglass Escort for the event - hence appearing in a white Mk2, rather than their more familiar red Ford.

     

    Michael McDaid enjoyed a good run on his first appearance in the classic mid-Wales forests, with he and co-driver Declan Casey taking a Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup podium in their McDaid Pharmacy Escort RS1800 Mk2 to finish third in the class at the end of the season.

     

    Jonathan Brace/Paul Spooner also ended the season on a high in their Brace's Bakery Escort Mk2, while Charles Hopkinson/Alan Jones (Black Antler Design Escort RS1800 Mk2), Neal James/Kevin Jones (Mosley Rolling Road/Cwm Engineering Escort Mk2) and Ron Morgan/Marc Clatworthy (Restruct Escort Mk2) all survived the tricky and often changeable road conditions to score good results.

     

    Ricky Crone/Daniel James (Escort Mk2) are the Pirelli Welsh Road Rally class champions after taking maximum points on the Rallynuts Stages. They had understeer problems on the first loop in their Escort Mk2 but survived to finish the season with a perfect score of 90 points.

     

    Robi Wood/Osian Davies retired their NIBS/SWG Escort Mk2 mid-way through the afternoon, thus ending their title aspirations.

     

    Mark Lennox/Rhodri Evens had a gear linkage problem on the opening stage in their Tec-Nic Motorsport/Lennox Engineering Escort Mk2, but fortunately the problem cured itself. They weren't quite out of the woods, as a problem with the limited slip differential in the afternoon was cause for concern, although they battled on to finish second in class and secure third in the final Pirelli Welsh Road Rally standings.

     

    Graham Thatcher/Tim Samuel hit a compression on SS1 which caused gear selection problems thereafter and despite starting the afternoon loop they retired their Pembridge Vehicle Management Peugeot 206GTi.

     

     Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams, pictured,  focused on getting a finish and in doing so clinched the W4 title in their West Wales Rally Spares Peugeot 208 R2. In a truly wonderful season the talented teenager also finished fifth in the Welsh Challenge drivers' standings and fourth in the Two-Wheel Drive points table.

     

    Conor Tolson/Dylan Thomas finished runners-up in class W4 after a strong season and a good first visit to Myherin, Sweet Lamb and Hafren forests in their Powerhouse Turbo Garage Ford Fiesta R2.

     

    A perfect score of 90 points also secured Adrian and Matthew Walk the class W2 title in their PartBOX Ford Ka.

     

    It also wasn't the easiest condition for a Corsa, but James Dunkley/Dan Sayce did extremely well to finish second in class in their JD Auto Services Vauxhall, despite having to ease off on the final stage when the sumpguard came loose.

     

     Steve Black put his sensible head on and was also driving for a finish. Co-driven by Paul Morris, the 586 Sports team driver's tactics were rewarded with the class W3 title in his Suzuki Swift 1400.

     

    Elsewhere Simon Dalton/Ryan Griffiths had a good run in their Blendline Subaru Impreza STi N12b, having hit a rock on the inside of a corner on SS3 and narrowly avoided being flung off the road.

     

    Andrew Fox/Jaime-Lee Fox had a worrying noise coming from underneath their Fitzgerald Plant Services BMW 325 as they suspected a dislodged propshaft guard, but they survived to reach the finish.

     

    In only his second event after coming out of a six year rally retirement Chris Gittins reached the finish in his 2.8-litre BMW Compact, ably guided by Daniel Jones.

     

    Paul Walker/Geraint Thomas were happy to finish after they hit a hole a mile from the end of the final stage which bent a wheel in their Green Power Subaru Impreza.

     

    Meanwhile Keith Jones/Jonny 'Tad' Evans (Grooms Garage Subaru Impreza), Harry Hunt/Steve McPhee (Ford Escort) and Rob Wilson/Martin Haggett (Ravenol Ford Fiesta R2) were equally delighted to cross the finish line of what had been a very demanding event.

     

    David Tomlin/Ian Beamond broke a wheel on the opening stage and then a tyre came off the rim on SS2. Their afternoon wasn't much better either and they were forced to retire when the power steering on their Axon Ford Fiesta R5 failed on SS4.

     

    Paul Lomas/Mark Leader (Plant Speed Ford Escort) and Alan Desbois/Peter Littlefield (Peugeot 306 RWD) both retired on the morning loop, while despite hitting a rock on SS2 and stopping to change a puncture David Jones/Gwyn Price retired their Tanners Arms BMW E30 in the afternoon.

     

    Further details on the  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 points after Round 4:

     

    Overall driver

    1. Garry Pearson.......87pts
    2. Callum Black.......87pts
    3. Ian Bainbridge.......77pts
    4. George Lepley.......77pts
    5. Matthew Hirst.......63pts
    6. Owen McMackin.......52pts
    7. Perry Garender.......48pts
    8. Ashley Davies.......48pts
    9. Russ Thompson.......47.5pts
    10. Richard Hill.......45pts

     

    Overall co-driver

    1. Niall Burns.......90pts
    2. Will Atkins.......84pts
    3. Declan Dear.......74pts
    4. Jack Bowen.......71pts
    5. Lee Taylor.......66pts
    6. Ian Jones.......54pts
    7. Liam Whiteley.......53pts
    8. Adrian Williams.......48pts
    9. Cliff Simmons.......48pts
    10. Sion Williams.......44pts

     

    Class winners:

     

    Pirelli Welsh Junior

    Driver: George Lepley

    Co-driver: Will Atkins

     

    RAVENOL UK Welsh Challenge

    Driver: Owen McMackin

    Co-driver: Jack Bowen

     

    Restruct Two-Wheel Drive

    Driver: Owen McMackin

    Co-driver: Lee Taylor

     

    Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup

    Driver: Paul Street

    Co-driver: Ian Jones

     

    W2 (2WD, 1001cc to 1400cc 8v naturally aspirated)

    Driver: Adrian Walk

    Co-driver: Matt Walk

     

    W3 (2WD, 1001cc to 1400cc 16v naturally aspirated)

    Driver: Steve Black

    Co-driver: Caron Tomlinson

     

    W4 (2WD, all R2 homologated cars / FIA 1000cc turbo and 1600cc)

    Driver: Ioan Lloyd

    Co-driver: Sion Williams

     

    W5 (2WD, Road Rally cars)

    Driver: Ricky Crone

    Co-driver: Daniel James

     

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

    Driver: Julian Birley and Chris Hellings (tied)

     

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

    Driver: Neal James

    Co-driver: Kevin Jones

     

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

    Driver: Paul Street

    Co-driver: Ian Jones

     

    W9 (4WD, Historic category 4b over 1600cc)

    Driver: Tom Coughtrie

     

    W10 (2WD, 1401cc to 1600cc naturally aspirated)

    Driver: Dan Jones

    Co-driver: Cyril Jones

     

    W11 (2WD, 1601cc to 2000cc naturally aspirated)

    Driver: Robert Wilson

    Co-driver: Martin Haggett

     

    W12 (2WD, 2001cc and over)

    Driver: Owen McMackin

    Co-driver: Lee Taylor

     

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

    Driver: George Lepley

    Co-driver: Declan Dear

     

    W14 (4WD, WRC/R5/S2000/RCC cars)

    Driver: Callum Black

    Co-driver: Niall Burns

     

    Pirelli Welsh Over 50

    Driver: Paul Street

    Co-driver: Ian Jones

     


     

  • 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




  • Junior drivers and co-drivers set to benefit from impressive Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship incentives

     


    Tom Llewellin says that winning a test drive in an R5 car was an "incredible experience" - and that magnificent prize is once again up for grabs to the winning Junior driver in this year's Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship. 

    The talented Pembrokeshire youngster, who is the son of double British Rally Champion David Llewellin, became Welsh Junior National Champion (as well as the Restruct Two-Wheel Drive and RAVENOL Welsh Challenge champion) in 2019 (which, owing to Covid-19 restrictions, was the last time the series was run).

     Co-driven by Peredur Davies, Llewellin - who drove his Historic-spec Ford Escort Mk2 to Junior title success - won the prize of a test in a PCRS Rallysport-prepared Hyundai i20 R5, organised by OnThePaceNote.co.uk.

     All eligible drivers and co-drivers (who must not have previously won the Junior Championship title, be under 25 years of age on 1 January 2021 and use OnThePaceNote route notes supplied directly by them) will also be invited to training days (subject to Welsh government Covid-19 guidelines). Previously, experienced drivers such as Elfyn Evans, Gus Greensmith, Osian Pryce and Jason Pritchard have been guests at these Junior training sessions, passing on their invaluable knowledge via discussions and custom-made practical tests.

    The Junior co-driver prize will be a voucher to spend on any product at Nicky Grist Motorsports. Previously this prize has been an invitation to attend a top FIA World Rally Championship team's private test session. Owing to Covid-19 restrictions it is not possible to offer this reward in 2021, but it's hoped the situation will allow the WRC team prize to be available to the winning co-driver in 2022.

     

    Tom Llewellin, the 2019 Welsh National Junior Rally Champion said: "I cannot recommend the Welsh National Rally Championship enough. I just can't fault it.

     

    "The Junior Championship has a very good incentive and to win a test drive in an R5 car was an incredible experience. Philip Case [owner of PCRS Rallysport] sat beside me and walked me through how the car works - and by the end of the day I felt very comfortable driving it at speed. Competing in an R5 car is the next step and where most junior rally driver want to be, so it was an amazing opportunity to get the chance to experience one first hand.

     "The training days were also great - and very beneficial for junior drivers like me who are trying to progress through the sport.

     "We are lucky in Wales to have some of the very best forestry stages in the world. For me just starting out, it was a bonus to be able to compete on such iconic stages without the extra expense of having to travel around the UK. In addition to the great stages, the competition was very good too. There was always a strong field of cars, and without a doubt doing well in the Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship puts you on the right road for future success."

     

    Craig Parry, OnThePaceNote UK, said: "I'm very proud that 2021 will be the third year that OnThePaceNote has been supporting and working with the Junior drivers and co-drivers in the Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship. It's great to see how the scheme has grown and continues to grow, and we are all working hard to keep that momentum going.

     "I'd like to thank PCRS Rallysport for giving us the chance to offer such a great prize, with a test in their latest spec Hyundai i20 R5 for the overall winning Junior driver - which you have to admit is a fantastic opportunity for a young driver.

     "We had three training sessions planned for 2021, and we'll run as many as Covid-19 restrictions allow. These training days have proven to be extremely popular, as they concentrate on learning through practical experience, rather than sitting in a classroom and listening. The co-drivers benefit from experienced navigators giving them a better understanding of things like writing pace notes and map reading, while the drivers go out with some of the UK's most experienced drivers. The feedback we've received from Junior crews who have attended these training days has been fantastic."

     

    Dave Evison, Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship Secretary, said: "I'd like to place on the record my thanks to Craig [Parry] and Killian [Duffy] of OnThePaceNote for supporting the Pirelli Welsh National Junior Rally Championship. The Junior prize of a test drive in a Hyundai i20 R5 is a fantastic opportunity for a young driver to experience a modern Rally2 spec car. It's surely what every up-and-coming rally enthusiast dreams of driving, and I'd also like to extend my thanks to Philip Case at PCRS Rallysport for making it possible.

     "In addition to the Junior prize, the Junior training days have proven to be extremely popular and beneficial to both drivers and co-drivers. A great debt of gratitude goes to the many experienced rally drivers that have willingly given up their valuable time in support of the Junior Programme and have freely passed on their knowledge during the Junior training days.

     "It is also very encouraging to hear Tom Llewellin, the 2019 Welsh National Junior Rally Champion, speak so highly of not only the Junior prize but his positive views on how the Welsh National Rally Championship is an ideal springboard for anyone contemplating a future in the sport."

     

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

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


    Picture caption
    Tom Llewellin, 2019 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Junior Rally Champion.





     

  • Matthew Hirst wins Rally North Wales and leads the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship






    Matthew Hirst,pictured,  got his challenge for a second Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship drivers' title off to the perfect start by winning the opening round of the 2022 series, the WKD Trained Dogs Rally North Wales.

     

    Co-driven by Declan Dear, the 2019 champion set the fastest time on six of the eight stages held in Pantperthog, Dyfi, Big Ray and Gartheiniog forests in his Delta Salvage-backed Ford Fiesta R5+.

     

    Having entered the midday service halt in Dolgellau with a one second lead, changing the Pirelli-shod car's suspension set up enabled Hirst to set fastest time on all the afternoon's repeat loop of four stages to stretch his advantage to a 24 second winning margin.

     

    "The morning loop was okay," said Hirst. "The first stage felt good but the time wasn't there, the second stage didn't feel so good but we set fastest time, and then we had a very big moment on stage three so were quite cautious through Garth.

     

    "At midday service we changed the damper clicks and it transformed the car. We were much more competitive in the afternoon and in contrast to the morning we enjoyed a nice clean run.

     

    "It was a top job from everyone in the team this weekend. Dec was on fire on the notes and the car ran faultlessly after all the hard work put in from Gaz and Jim. This result means a lot."

     

    Despite having not driven a top-flight R5 car in competition for two years, and without a pre-event test or shakedown, Dylan Davies, pictured, did brilliantly well to finish second in his Å koda Fabia R5+. Co-driven by Mark Glennerster, tyre management was the main issue of the day as Davies had to juggle tyres front to rear between stages to maximise traction. It meant he couldn't respond when Hirst picked up the pace in the afternoon, yet he was delighted to finish a strong second.

     


    Tom Llewellin/Dale Bowen, pictured, enjoyed an excellent trouble-free run to third in their Brace's Bakery Mitsubishi Mirage. The 2019 Welsh Junior drivers' champion made a cautious start but soon got into a good rhythm and put in a textbook performance for a well-deserved place on the overall podium.

     

    Bob Ceen was contesting his first rally since the 2019 WRGB National, his first Welsh Rally Championship event since 2015, his first ever event in a Ford Fiesta R5+ (having previously rallied a Subaru Impreza WRC) and his first event with co-driver Peredur Davies - yet the 2001 Welsh champion was flying in the Axes Design-backed car and finished a magnificent fourth overall.

     

    He also won the family battle, with Benj Ceen coming home seventh in the Rally North Wales Interclub results (and eighth combined). This too was a very impressive result as it was his first rally in a four-wheel drive car, having swapped his Peugeot 106 Cup car for a mighty Ford Fiesta R5+. Despite the hugely challenging conditions, he and co-driver Dylan Thomas never put a foot wrong and their place in the top 10 was very well deserved.

     

    Richard Ceen/Alun Hayward also reached the finish, although they lost a lot of time with day-long transmission problems which saw their Coedwigaeth Pencelyn Ford Focus WRC05 engine stall at hairpins and refusing to restart in a hurry.

     

    John Caine/Andrew Sankey won the battle of the Subarus with a fantastic drive to sixth in the Phil Price Rally School Impreza. Caine also picks up maximum points in the Ravenol Welsh Challenge.

     

    They secured the position on a tiebreak after Bob Morgan/Ade Williams finished on exactly the same time in their Winner Garage Fabia R5+. A small mistake on SS7 cost them a position after they had to reverse the Å koda out of a ditch, although the car ran faultlessly and has given them a strong start in the Welsh Championship.

     

    A gearbox issue cost Lewers Firth/Shaun Lapper time on the morning loop and they set out in the afternoon aiming for a top 10 finish. This they achieved with flying colours, bringing their Firth Construction Subaru Impreza home eighth in the Interclub section (10th combined).

     

    Paul Walker/Geraint Thomas had a good run in their Green Paw Subaru Impreza, while Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe also had a clean run and finished just outside the Interclub top 10 in their Geoff Jones Motorsport Subaru Impreza N12b.

     

    A sensor on the gearshift kept cutting the engine on Simon Rogers' Mitsubishi Evo 6 and it was such a distraction that it cost him an enormous amount of time in the morning. Once the problem was isolated at midday service, he and co-driver James How were back up to full speed and scored a good result and a pleasing haul of Welsh points.

     

    Josh Taylor/Will Atkins had a good maiden run in the colourful Pro-Bolt Subaru Impreza Nr4, especially after winding the diff up in the afternoon found them more grip, while Paul Davy/Roger Allan retired their Subaru Impreza N12b with a misfire at midday service.

     

    Boyd Kershaw, pictured, had a sensational run to 10th overall on the National event in what was his first rally for six years. The Flying Kiwi admitted to scaring himself on the opening loop of stages and he was convinced that he had a puncture on SS2, which he didn't. He and co-driver Keegan Rees were even faster in the afternoon and won the Welsh 2WD section despite a late fuel pump issue.

     

     

    Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham finished 20 seconds behind after a good run in their Burton Power /G&B Finch/Deranged Trucks Ford Escort RS. A puncture on SS5 cost them time, and after that their priority was to reach the finish and score Welsh Championship points.

     

    Kevin Metcalfe/Ian Jones finished third in the Welsh 2WD section after a good run in their 3-litre BMW E30. Their morning run was faultless, although a rear puncture two miles from the end of SS6 and a stall at a hairpin on both the penultimate and last stages cost them time.

     

    Geoff Phelps, co-driven by Colin Jenkins in the Hartpury Farms Escort, beat his brother Tim Phelps in his Britpart Ford Escort Mk2 after the latter picked up a rear puncture on SS6. He and co-driver Elwyn Manuel initially drove on the flat, but were forced to stop and change it mid-stage costing them four minutes.

     

    The Restruct Welsh Historic classes, which includes the David Stokes Historic Challenge for drivers and the Guy Weaver Award for co-drivers, has received one of the biggest ever entries - with fantastic class battles played out for early points on Rally North Wales.

     

    Julian Birley/Emyr Hall, pictured,got the defence of their Historic class W6 off to a great start with victory in their Talbot Sunbeam Ti 1600. The last time they were in the Dyfi forest complex it was icy, but the contrasting conditions made little difference to their speed as they flew over the now dry and dusty terrain.




     

    Welsh Junior driver Rory McCann, co-driven by his father Paul, finished second in their Metalways Hillman Avenger.

     

    Less than half a mile into SS1 the Lotus Twin Cam engine in the smart Metalways Ford Escort Mk1 of Mark Tugwell/Steve Pugh started to misfire. They managed to get out of the stage on three cylinders, but with oil in the boot around the dry sump tank their rally was over.

     

    Malcolm Bayliss/Siobhan Pugh didn't get much further, retiring their 16BAO Rally Team Ford Escort Mk1 with damaged steering on SS2.

     

    Ben Smith,pictured, has taken the early lead in both the Historic class W7 and the OnThePaceNote.co.uk supported Welsh Junior Championship after a "really good day" in the Amigos Ford Escort RS2000 Mk1. Co-driven by his father Steven, he picked up a puncture on SS5 and bent the steering on SS7 but completed an eventful afternoon with a seventh-place finish in the National section of the event.

     

    Neal James/Kevin Jones finished runners-up in class W7 last year and, after an early misfire in their Cwm Engineering Escort Mk2, started the 2022 series with second in class this year.

     

    Gareth Lewis/Ryland James retired their Escort RS2000 Mk1 with clutch problems on the morning loop, Peter Hinton/Lewis Sim retired their Escort on the opening stage, as did David Lloyd Roberts/Gerallt Wyn Davies on the following test.

     

    Matt Edwards, pictured,  won the Rally North Wales National event, finished fifth overall in the National/Interclub combined results and scored maximum points in the hotly contested Historic class W8 after a tough workout in the RSD-prepared Fiat Abarth 131. Co-driven by Hamish Campbell, the three time British Rally Champion said that he'd never done a more physically challenging 45 gravel stage miles. A weld on the front suspension broke early in SS2, which caused the Pirelli tyre to rub on the spring and they had to swap tyres front to rear several times to manage the issue. In the afternoon they hit a massive boulder on SS5 which bent the sump guard, subframe, rack and chassis leg which made the steering so heavy that Hamish had to hold the gearstick in fifth gear as Matt needed both hands to keep the car in a straight line!

     

    Nick Elliott/Dave Robson finished 16 seconds behind in their Truck & Bus Wales & West Escort Mk2, after a puncture on SS5 cost them time.

     

    Roger Chilman/Patrick Walsh finished third having driven consistently the "safe side of quick" all day in their Wales Motorsport-prepared Securcom Escort Mk2. They did however bend a TCA on SS15 and had to complete the event with heavy steering.

     

    Rudi Lancaster/Guy Weaver damaged the suspension on their Woolacombe Holiday Parks Escort RS1800 after hitting a rock at a hairpin and then a big hole on the next stage during the afternoon loop of stages. They had to nurse the car a little to ensure a finish, picking up valuable fourth placed W8 class points.

     

    Alan Walker/John Connor were happier on harder tyres in the afternoon, although they lost time when the coil lead jumped off twice on the final stage and they had to stop their Escort RS1800 Mk2 and reconnect it. Points for fifth in class W8 were their reward, finishing ahead of Rob Dennis/Andy Boswell in their Team Dennis Escort Mk2.

     

    A rough section of road on SS1 threw Jonathan Brace's brand-new Brace's Bakery Escort RS1600 Mk1 high into the air, which was the last thing he wanted on his Dave Jenkins Motorsport built car's debut. A gamble with different tyres didn't pay off in the afternoon and he and co-driver Paul Spooner, who had been suffering with food poisoning all day, were pleased to reach the finish and score good Welsh points.

     

    Defending Historic class W8 champions Paul Street/Ian Jones lost time with a series of problems in the afternoon, which included smashing a wheel on their PJS Marine Escort RS1800 Mk2, starter motor issues and intercom failure, which saw them overshoot a junction. Despite all this they reached the finish in a points-scoring position.

     

    Gary Smith/Clive Jones finished well in their Escort Mk1, with Andrew Stokes/Jonny Tad Evans just behind in the W8 points in their similar car. The latter felt lucky to reach the finish at all, after all the wheel nuts came off the front left wheel on SS5 and they took one nut off the other three wheels to keep it attached - and it stayed on like that for the final three stages!

     

    Last year's Welsh 2WD drivers' champion Owen McMackin has switched to a Historic-spec BJT Hire Centre Ford Escort Mk2 for this year and his second event in the car turned out to be an eventful one. Co-driven by Dai Roberts, he suffered a misfire on the opening stage (cured by flicking to the second fuel pump) and survived a spin on SS2 and 4. The afternoon wasn't smooth either, as they lost three minutes stopping to change a puncture on SS7.

     

    Philip Clarke/Steven Brown stalled at a hairpin in the morning and recovered to bag some early points. Ron Morgan/Marc Clatworthy had a good run in their stunning Wales Motorsport-built Restruct Escort Mk2, finishing ahead of Steve Ward/Miles Cartwright in an Escort RS1800.

     

    Ben Friend/Cliffy Simmons suffered a double puncture in their Allglass Escort Mk2 on the opening stage, ruining what they'd hoped would be a class winning day.

     

    Pete Littler/Andy Marchbank had transmission problems and retired their RED Preparation & Fabrication/Select Security Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2 after midday service.

     

    Will Onions/Dave Williams were forced to stop and change the coil pack on SS5, which put them out of contention. The same stage also saw the retirement of Meirion Evans/David Jones in their Wales Motorsport Escort Mk2. David Kirby/Rhodri Evans suffered a puncture in their Avenue Taxis Escort RS1600 Mk1, which resulted in them running up a bank when they couldn't slow down for a corner. They survived that, only to retire on SS5. Robert Gough/Jack Bowen's run in their Escort RS1600 Mk2 ended with a broken half shaft a third of the way through SS6.

     

    Brothers Liam and Callum Griffiths both finished on the Welsh Junior podium in only their second ever rally. Liam, co-driven by William Lewis in his Discover Parks Ford Fiesta ST, finished second (behind Ben Smith), while Callum and navigator Daniel James were third, having broken a driveshaft on their Presteigne Tyre Services Ford Fiesta ST half a mile from the end of the final stage.

     

    Rory McCann added fourth in the Welsh Junior Championship to his second-place finish in the Historic class W6.

     

    Gethin Price had spent the last two years rebuilding his Keith Price Haulage Nissan Micra, which was now fitted with a competition engine. He and Matthew Baddeley struggled for grip over the morning loop of stages but had a good run to the finish in the afternoon and were rewarded with a nice haul of Welsh Junior points.

     

    Graham Thatcher/Tim Samuel were gutted not to pick up maximum points in the Road Rally class after a fuel leak forced their Pembridge Vehicle Management Peugeot 206GTi into retirement at mid-distance.

     

    Hefin Lloyd-Davies/Rich Jones scored maximum class W3 points in their Jones Bros Engineering Vauxhall Corsa. In their first rally since a big off on last year's Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally, they made an understandably cautious start and were delighted with their class victory. Welsh Junior Gethin Price was second in class.

     

    The Brick brothers, Freddy and Toby, hadn't driven their Vauxhall Corsa for several years and were in and out of ditches as they got back in the swing of things. They were going well too, until they stopped in SS5. Stuart Spyer/Peter Williams retired their Vauxhall Corsa on SS3.

     

    Matthew Jackson/Sasha Heriot, pictured, were delighted with their class W4 victory after a great drive in their Ford Fiesta R2T netted them a very impressive 16th overall in the Interclub section of the event.

     

    Jonathan Jones/Osian Owen were second in their Ingospec Ford Fiesta, having successfully driven around intermittent brake problems in the morning, while Tony Simpson/Ian Bevan parked their Seacon UK/Kielder Tools Ford Fiesta by the side of SS2 with the bonnet up.

     

    Dan Jones/Cyril Jones, pictured, have started the defence of their class W10 title well with a win in their Jones Brothers/Bradley Motorsport Vauxhall Nova. Martin Walters had spent the last two years rebuilding his yellow Honda Civic and was contesting his first rally since the 2019 WRGB National. It was a successful return to competition, with he and co-driver Marie Fletcher finishing second in class.

     



    Andrew Fox/Jaime-Lee Fox survived a rear puncture on the opening stage, and overtaking a car on the final stage, in their Xwatch Safety Solutions BMW 325 to score good points in both the Ravenol Welsh Challenge and 2WD class.

     

    So too did Michael Sawyer/Gareth Price in their 2350cc Datsun 1600, despite a rear puncture almost forcing them off the road on SS5, Colin Griffiths/Tom Bishop, who finished the event on a punctured rear tyre in their BMW Compact, and David Jones/Glyn Price in their G J Price Transport BMW E30.

     

    Matthew Honeyborne said "don't tell the wife" about the new suspension on his Allweld Engineering BMW 328 Coupe. He might not want Mrs Honeyborne to know about the damage to the exhaust, a puncture on the final stage and the fact that he and co-driver Martin Allwood reached the finish but had gone OTL a few stages earlier!

     

    The live streaming coverage of Rally North Wales, which featured action from two stages and covered all the Welsh Rally Championship crews, is available to view at https://www.facebook.com/WELSHRALLYCHAMPIONSHIP

     

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


    Round 2 of the Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship is the Rallynuts Stages Rally on Saturday 9 April, which is based at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd.

     

    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

     

    WKD Trained Dogs Rally North Wales - Interclub/National top 10 finishers (combined)

    1. Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear (Ford Fiesta R5+).......43mins 57secs
    2. Dylan Davies/Mark Glennerster (SÌŒkoda Fabia R5+).......44mins 21secs
    3. Tom Llewellin/Dale Bowen (Mitsubishi Mirage)....... 45mins 22secs
    4. Robert Ceen/Peredur Davies (Ford Fiesta R5+).......47mins 37secs
    5. Matt Edwards/Hamish Campbell (Fiat Abarth 131)........48mins 19secs
    6. John Caine/Andrew Sankey (Subaru Impreza)....... 48mins 20secs
    7. Bob Morgan/Ade Williams (SÌŒkoda Fabia R5+).......48mins 20secs
    8. Benjamin Ceen/Dylan Thomas (Ford Fiesta R5+).......48mins 28secs
    9. Nick Elliott/Dave Robson (Ford Escort Mk2)....... 48mins 35secs
    10. Lewers Firth/Shaun Lapper (Subaru Impreza).......48mins 45secs

     

    2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship

    Overall drivers' points after Round 1

    1. Matthew Hirst.......30pts
    2. Dylan Davies.......27pts
    3. Tom Llewellin.......25pts
    4. Robert Ceen.......24pts
    5. Matt Edwards.......23pts
    6. John Caine.......22pts

     


     

  • 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


     


     

  • 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 (Å koda 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 Å koda 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 Å KODA Wyedean Rally

    30 October.......Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally

    13 November.......Rallynuts Stages Rally




     

  • Ravenol UK becomes joint title sponsor of the Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship and increases incentives for clubmen in the Ravenol Welsh Challenge

    Ravenol UK will enhance its involvement within Welsh motorsport this year by becoming joint title sponsor of the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship and increasing its support of the popular Ravenol Welsh Challenge.

     

    Ravenol has been a valuable technical and lubricants partner to Wales' premier forestry rally championship since 2015 and its increased support in 2022 will see wide reaching additional benefits to all registered championship contenders.

     

    In what has become an integral part of the Championship, the Ravenol Welsh Challenge is a category which aims to reward those competitors who deserve it the most, namely the clubmen who have not finished in the top 10 of a National B (or equivalent) championship gravel event.

     

    The Ravenol Welsh Challenge crew which improves most on their seeding at each event will receive £200 worth of Ravenol products of their choice, whilst this year there will also be an overall Ravenol Welsh Challenge winner who will receive a trophy and a cheque for £500 at the end of the season.

     

    Ravenol will also fund the live streaming and online highlights package, ensuring that registered competitors in every class receive unrivalled broadcast coverage for themselves and their sponsors at every qualifying event.

     

    Furthermore, all 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship registered competitors will be offered a generous 15% discount when ordering products via www.Ravenol-direct.uk. This special online offer applies to the entire range of high-performance automotive lubricants including road oils (excluding Bargain Bin items) and can be used by both driver and co-driver.

     

    "Heading into our seventh year of supporting Wales' premier forestry rally championship we are delighted to announce that we are increasing our commitment to the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship," said Brian Chase, Managing Director of Ravenol UK.

     

    "We have always supported the clubman in a variety of motorsport disciplines, and we are proud to develop the Ravenol Welsh Challenge even further by offering an event-by-event incentive and a new overall end-of-season cash reward and trophy.

     

    "As for the Ravenol products themselves, our boffins in Germany have developed some of the most technically advanced lubricants available and which provide a strong, stable viscosity even at higher temperatures whilst substantially reducing the risks of fuel dilution. There is a range of grades specifically intended for all forms of motorsport even at the highest international level and what better way to demonstrate their quality than the Welsh forests."

     

    "We are delighted that Ravenol UK is supporting the Welsh Rally Championship for a seventh year and its increased commitment to the series really is fantastic news for all registered championship contenders," added Dave Evison, Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship Secretary.

     

    "Given our long-standing partnership with Ravenol UK, which has grown every year since it commenced in 2015, it is entirely appropriate that the partnership is now recognised within the championship title. As a championship we are proud to have such great relationships with partners like Ravenol UK as it highlights our commitment to continually improve the championship year-on-year."

     

    Further details on the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship 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.

     

     

     


     

  • Record-breaking pre-season entry for the Championship


     
    Record-breaking pre-season entry for the Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship
     
    This year's Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship has received a record-breaking number of pre-season registrations - with 155 competitors already lined up to contest the six gravel round series in 2021.
     
    There is a strong entry in all 14 classes, including the Juniors (with a top prize of a test in a PCRS Rallysport-prepared Hyundai i20 R5, courtesy of OnThePaceNote) and the Restruct sponsored Two-Wheel Drive category. The battle for the overall title is poised to be more intense than ever, with 31 powerful W13 class (formerly B13) four-wheel drive cars and six W14 class (WRC/R5/S2000/RCC) cars registered.
     
    The RAVENOL Welsh Challenge, which recognises the performance of competitors who have yet to finish in the top 10 overall of a Championship round, remains popular with over 50 crews registered.
     
    The opening round of the 2021 Welsh National Rally Championship is the Nicky Grist Stages on Saturday 10 July, where over 80 registered drivers have had their entries accepted.
     
    Dave Evison, Welsh National Rally Championship Secretary since 2010, says that the currently level of interest is the result of many years of work to develop the series.
     
    "We've seen the Welsh National Rally Championship grow year on year from around thirty two registrations a decade ago to well over a hundred now," says Dave.
     
    "In 2020 Will Rogers joined the team as we looked forward to raising the Championship profile further and it's all thanks to the hard work of the Welsh Association of Motor Clubs, the individual events and the support we've received the from our long term sponsors Pirelli and RAVENOL UK.
     
    "Over sixty per cent of this year's pre-season registrations are from returning competitors, which is very pleasing because it shows that we are doing a lot of things right because the competitors have enjoyed the Championship so much that they've come back for more. We're also delighted to see so many new competitors come to the series this year, all of whom have been attracted by the fantastic calendar of events, incentives and the class structure - not least our very buoyant two-wheel drive and junior categories, plus the new road rally class.
     
    "To see so many competitors registered before the first round, and eighty-four Welsh National Rally Championship registered crews with their entries accepted for the Nicky Grist Stages, is unprecedented. We used to get excited and were very pleased when we had fifty crews contesting a rally, so we are confident that this year's competition will be the best ever. And given the rich history of the Welsh National Rally Championship, that is really saying something."
     
    Some of the drivers registered for this year's Welsh National Rally Championship include four former champions - Matthew Hirst (Mitsubishi Evo 9), Callum Black (Ford Fiesta R5), Dylan Davies (Å koda Fabia R5) and Paul Walker (Subaru Impreza).


     
    Also registered is the winner of last December's Rali Adfer Coedwigoedd Cymru test event and maximum Welsh National Rally Championship points scorer on the 2020 Cambrian Rally, Ian Bainbridge (Å koda Fabia R5), 2019 runner-up Russ Thompson (Mitsubishi Evo 9), Wug Utting (Subaru Impreza STi N12B), Nik Elsmore (Mitsubishi Evo 9), Bob Morgan (Å koda Fabia), David Tomlin (Ford Fiesta R5), Martyn England (who has swapped his Ford Fiesta R5+ for a Mitsubishi Evo 10) and the 2019 Junior champion, Tom Llewellin (who returns in a Mitsubishi Mirage R5).
     
    There is a strong contingent of two-wheel drive competitors, with Nick Elliott, Ben Friend, Rob Dennis, Pete Littler, Gavin Edwards, Owen McMackin, Philip Clarke, and Jonathan Brace, to name a few, driving Escort Mk2s, while Andrew Davison (Talbot Sunbeam), David Jones (BMW E30), Alan Desbois (Peugeot 306 RWD), Kevin Metcalfe (BMW E30) and Gary Smith (Ford Escort Mk1) are also on the list, while Road Rally experts Ricky Crone and Robi Wood join for the first time.
     
    The Welsh National Rally Championship has received 13 entries from Ireland, including the exciting Frank Kelly, Paul Barrett, Andrew Bustard and David Crossen who will all drive Escort Mk2s. There are also two registrations from the Isle of Man - Max Bradshaw (Mitsubishi Evo) and Steven Ormond-Smith (Mitsubishi Evo IX).
     
    There are plenty of quality drivers in other classes too - including Juniors George Lepley (Mitsubishi Evo 10), Ioan Lloyd (Peugeot 208 R2) and Zak Hughes (Renualt Twingo) - who will be looking to improve on his second place finish in the Juniors in 2019. Dave Brick is also back and aiming for more giant-killing performances on his Vauxhall Nova.
     
    The co-driver registrations are also brimming with experience and talent. Declan Dear, the 2019 champion, is returning, as it Andy Murphy who narrowly missed out on winning the title last time out. Multiple champion Andy Marchbank returns, as does Paul Spooner, Mark Glennerster, Dawn England, Craig Drew, Cliff Simmons, Steve McPhee, Andrew Sankey, Dave Price and many more.
     
    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
    14 August.......Plains Rally
    4 September....... Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages
    16 October....... Winner Garage Å KODA Wyedean Rally
    30 October.......Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally
    13 November.......Rallynuts Stages Rally
     



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


    Picture captions
    Top: Matt Hirst/Declan Dear, 2019 Pirelli Welsh National Rally champions (Mitsubishi Evo 9). Picture by Chris Huish.

    Middle left: Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy, 2019 Pirelli Welsh National Rally runners-up (Mitsubishi Evo 9). Picture by Paul Mitchell.
     
    Middle right: Nicky Grist Stages podium: 1st Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy;
    2nd Matt Hirst/Declan Dear; 3rd Andrew Davison/Tom Murphy (Talbot Sunbeam) - all three crews are returning to the Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship in 2021. Picture by Paul Mitchell.

    Bottom left: Dylan Davies/Mark Glennerster testing their Å koda Fabia R5.
     
    Bottom right: Paul Walker/Geraint Thomas testing their Subaru Impreza.


  • Top three drivers separated by two points as battle for the 2021 Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship heads to North Wales

     

     

    Just two points separate the top three drivers at the top of the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship standings with series leader Garry Pearson, Ian Bainbridge and George Lepley heading to Llandudno for the penultimate round of the series, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally (Saturday 30 October).

     

    Pearson (pictured) arrives in North Wales with a one point lead after he and co-driver Niall Burns won the Eventsigns Woodpecker Rally in their Asset Alliance Å koda Fabia R5. Despite fierce and experienced opposition, their first attempt at the event saw them lead from start to finish and they will be looking for nothing less than maximum points again.

     

    "I've only done the Cambrian Rally once and that was in 2014 in a Peugeot 208 R2," says Pearson.

     

    "It's only going to be my second event in Wales in an R5 car, so I'm looking forward to it. I've not got a lot of experience of the North Wales forests, but it will nevertheless be a case of opening the throttle and going for it. We're going to give it our all."



    Bainbridge is enjoying a great season too, having finished second on the opening Nicky Grist Stages and third on the Woodpecker. His last appearance in North Wales saw him win the Rali Adfer Coedwigoedd Cymru (December 2020) in Gorsedd Bran forest, and he has improved the performance and handling of his Gypsum Group Å koda Fabia R5 considerably since then - leaving him and co-driver Will Atkins, who leads the overall co-drivers' standings, as potential Cambrian Rally winners.

     
    George Lepley (pictured) finished third on the opening Nicky Grist Stages and second on the Woodpecker and also leads the Pirelli Welsh Junior category. Co-driven by Tom Woodburn, the WD-40 Mitsubishi Evo X driver is on incredible form this year and will be looking for another podium finish on the Cambrian to strengthen is double title hopes.

     

    Callum Black (pictured) led the Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship after victory on the Nicky Grist Stages but a DNF on the Woodpecker has dropped him down to seventh. But with three scores from four events to count the 586 Sports team driver is still very much in contention but will need another good result this time out. Callum will be co-driven by Jack Morton in their Pallas Connections-backed Ford Fiesta R5+.

    Also challenging for the top step of the podium will be the 2019 Pirelli Welsh Rally champions Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear in their Delta Mitsubishi Evo IX, Russ Thompson/Stephen Link in their Dunnow Plant Mitsubishi Evo IX and the 2019 Welsh Junior champion Tom Llewellin who, with co-driver Ross Whittock, will contest only his second rally in a Mitsubishi Mirage, having finished fourth first time out on the Nicky Grist Stages.

     

     

    David Crossen is enjoying a magnificent season in his Escort Mk2 as he heads to North Wales looking for this third straight win in the Restruct-sponsored Two-Wheel Drive category. The Comber driver also leads the RAVENOL UK Welsh Challenge and will be co-driven on the Cambrian by Aileen Kelly.

    Ashley Davies is currently second in the Welsh Challenge and, partnered by Sam Fordham, will be aiming to close the five point gap in his Escort Mk2.

    Having finished third on both the previous rounds, Owen McMackin is second in the Two-Wheel Drive standings, just 10 points behind in his Escort Mk2. He will be co-driven by Lee Taylor.

     

    Ioan Lloyd(Pictured) is third in both the Two-Wheel Drive and Welsh Challenge classes after a magnificent season in his West Wales Rally Spares Peugeot 208 R2. Co-driven by Sion Williams, the youngster also leads W4 after winning the class twice, while Jonathan Jones (co-driven by Alan Walker) is close behind having finished second twice in his Ford Fiesta R2.

     

    Paul Street(pictured) has a great opportunity to take the lead in the hotly contested Pirelli Welsh Historic Cup. He's currently second in the drivers' points table and enjoying a great season in his Escort RS1800 Mk2, while his navigator Ian Jones leads the co-drivers' category.

     

    They'll be pushed hard by the likes of Tom Coughtrie/Ian Fraser (pictured) in their Mitsubishi Galant VR4 and Michael McDaid/Declan Casey and Robert Gough/Aled Edwards in a pair of Escort RS1800 Mk2s.

     

    Steve Black(above) leads class W3 in his 586 Sports Suzuki Swift 1400 and he and co-driver Paul Morris will be hoping to bounce back from an early retirement on the Woodpecker with a good result. That DNF has allowed Dave Brick to close up in his Vauxhall Nova and together with Toby Brick on the route notes the battle for the class title will be intense.

     

    Maxx Bradshaw will be aiming to close the 11 point gap on Lepley in the Pirelli Welsh Junior category, and together with co-driver Liam Whiteley brings his Renvo8/DB Autos & Sons Mitsubishi Evo III over from the Isle of Man.

     

    Ricky Crone is just two points ahead of Robi Wood in the Pirelli Welsh Road Rally class in a pair of Escort Mk2s, while Graham Thatcher is a close third in his Peugeot 206GTi. Co-driven by Daniel James, Osian Davies and Tim Samuel respectively, their battle for the newest class title will continue.

     

    Adrian and Matthew Walk (pictuerd) will be looking to take the lead of class W2 in their PartBOX Ford Ka, while Dan Jones/Cyril Jones could wrap up the class W10 trophy if their winning streak continues in their Vauxhall Nova.


     

    The Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship has once again attracted a very high quality entry containing a huge variety of cars - as also competing for honour and points on the Cambrian Rally are Dave Tomlin/Keith Ashley (Axon Fird Fiesta R5), Andrew Stokes/Jonny 'Tad' Evans (Escort RS1600 Mk1), Bob Morgan/Adrian Williams (Winner Garage Å koda Fabia), rally rookie Olly Hunt/Andy Falconer (Subaru Impreza) (Pictured aboe), Ross Clements/Christopher Lee (MG ZR), Martin Frazer/Dylan Bargate (Slideways Mitsubishi Evo VI), Chris and Tim Hellings (Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1), Kevin Metcalfe/Ian Jones (BMW E30), Steve Hollis/Tim Currie (Volkswagen Golf R) and Jason Black/Karl Egan (Toyota Starlet) (pictured below) - plus many more.

    Sideways Media will once again film all registered Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship competitors and broadcast a multi-film edited highlights package on the Championship's Facebook and YouTube channels in the week after the event, featuring all classes.

     

    There will also be live coverage and interviews during the event, broadcast on the Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship social media channels.

    This year's Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally contains seven stages totalling just over 44 stage miles through the classic forests of Gwydir, Penmachno and Alwen, together with the final challenge of a new asphalt stage which has only been used before on road rallies. The service area will be located at Coleg Llandrillo.

    Spectators are welcome and tickets must be purchased in advance via the event's website: cambrianrally.co.uk. The cost of the ticket includes vehicle car parking, an event programme and access to one stage.

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

    Images: Chris Huish Rallysportmedia 
    Article: Paul Evans 


     

  • 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).