Author Archives: Howard Wilcock

The Choice of Champions!….

Round 1 : Cambrian Rally.

The ‘Choice of Champions’ was once the famous by-line of a former Wolverhampton-based tyre manufacturer and, as all the contenders for the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series convene in Llandudno for the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally, we wonder just who is going to have a ‘good year’ in 2018!…      Twelve months on from the disappointment shared by all following the abandonment of the 2017 event due to adverse weather conditions, the 2018 Cambrian’s entry list is littered with former BTRDA Champions and previous event winners, for the start of what will be the 65th running of the BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Championship.  Winners of the 64th, Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Fiesta WRC), have already made it perfectly clear that they intend to take on all-comers as they strive for back-to-back championships but, as is ever the case, there are any number of others with a different take on how the new season will pan out!

At 8.00am on Saturday 17th February Petch/Wilkinson will lead the 120 crews away from Llandudno, ahead of 2012 & 2016 Cambrian Rally winners Luke Francis/John H Roberts who have forsaken their hitherto successful Mitsubishi Lancer and joined the ranks of Fiesta owners for their latest assault on the coveted title! Both they and fellow North Walian Hugh Hunter (Fiesta WRC), who won the Cambrian Rally in 2008 on his way to Gold Star glory that same year, will be hoping for better starts to their respective BTRDA campaigns. Having entered last year’s Cambrian, neither was able to actually contest it following a road traffic accident and engine trouble respectively the previous day rendered their cars hors de combat. Quietly, they must have breathed sighs of relief when the event was curtailed!….

Breaking the Fiesta monopoly, 2003 Cambrian winner Paul Bird, who has former MSA Asphalt Rally Champion Co-driver Jack Morton to guide him round the stages, keeps faith with his trusty and very effective Focus WRC. Meanwhile Matt Edwards (Fiesta), son of Cambrian Clerk of the Course Alyn, who had such a superb British Rally Championship campaign last year, is planning a busy season which encompasses both BRC & BTRDA events. Matt is no stranger to the BTRDA Series, having won the 1400 Championship back in 2010.

Missing the first half of last year awaiting the arrival of a new car, 2016 Gold Star Champion Charlie Payne (Fiesta) is now back up to speed – literally! He won the final round of the 2017 Rally Series, the Trackrod Forest Rally, by just 0.2s from Petch and is well acquainted with just what is required to put his name on the trophy for a second time. Payne, who has Ian Windress with him on this occasion, starts in front of Hunter and Manxman Rob Fagg, while next away will be Julian Reynolds/Patrick Walsh in their Fiesta R5. Although absent from the BTRDA Series for a while, Reynolds is also a proven winner at this level….

Ian Joel/Graeme Wood are wheeling out their recently rebuilt Escort Cosworth while, maintaining the top-quality pedigree of the entry, further down the order we find 1999 Champion Brian Bell, who has Paul Spooner – most recently Champion Co-driver in 2010 – for company, in his Focus WRC. Also noted is the welcome appearance of Brian’s former co-driver (and 2003 World Rally Champion) Phil Mills, accompanying Simon de Banke who won the recent snowy event at Croft.

And so to the BTRDA Production Cup…. Having taken a sabbatical in 2016, Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence returned last year and, immediately dispelling any doubts as to their match fitness, went on to take their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 to victory in what was a very competitive category – and all the signs are that life is going to be just as hectic  in 2018!  Former Cup winners Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy, who came so close to pipping Naylor/Lawrence to the post last year, start right behind the defending champions in another Lancer, while Andy Davies/Max Freeman will once again be pinning their hopes on a Subaru Impreza. 2014 Group N Champion Tom Naughton (Lancer EVO9) returns after a couple of years away from the sport and Jonathan Ross (no – not that one) also has his feet in the Subaru camp. However regular Production Cup contenders Sacha Kakad / James Aldridge have foresaken their Group N Evo10 to try the delights of a (slightly more nimble) Fiesta R5.

Also complying with the Group N Production Cup regulations are those contesting the Fiesta ST Trophy. In the absence of Sam Bilham who comprehensively claimed the 2017 title, Richard Wells/Calvin Houldsworth are the top seeded crew, followed by the similar car of Zak Hughes/Tom Wood.  Then, starting line astern are Mathew & Tim Tordoff, Kalvin Green/Osian Owen, James Giddings/Sion Cunliff and Martin Laverty/Phil Kenny, all of whom will have designs on succeeding Bilham!…

The JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Silver Star® Championship caters purely for two-wheel drive cars and it’s in this particular category that series sponsor Barry Jordan has come good in recent times. Overall leader for a while last season in his Avenger BRM, he’s back to try and improve on his 3rd overall. However, great minds and all that!… The major threat on the Cambrian is likely to come from the Rowlands brothers, Ieuan and John. Ieuan has forsaken his usual Escort for the aforementioned Barry Jordan’s Avenger BRM (Barry has entered a similar 2-litre car), while John will be out in his usual Escort. BRC competitors William Creighton/Liam Regan from Ulster are next in their Peugeot 208 which is also eligible for the inaugural BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup. The Citroen DS3 of Richard Sykes/Simon Taylor and last year’s Silver Star runners-up Rob Dennis/Andy Boswell (Escort Mk2) then start just behind the Ulstermen.

This event also sees the start of the new BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup and there are at least 8 crews who have confirmed that they will be contesting this in 2018.  The BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup is open to all FIA homologated R2(B) cars and is a recognition of the increasing number of R2 cars that are now competing in UK stage rallying.

The BTRDA has been a pioneer of the 1400cc and Rally First Championships for more than a decade and, while recent circumstances have dictated that participating numbers are not what they once were, both series still harbour an extremely competitive nature. The Talbot Sunbeam of Chris Powell/Jim Lewis is already familiar with the BTRDA 1400 Championship winners’ enclosure, while Bala’s Hefin Lloyd-Davies (Vauxhall Corsa) will be hoping to hold sway on the day! Teenager Tommi Meadows (Ford Ka) and co-driver Ian Oakey (1997 Gold Star Champion)  had an up-and-down season – in more ways than one! – in 2017 but, in what was the driver’s first season of competition at this level, he acquitted himself admirably and will now be able to put his new-found familiarity with the events to good use.

The BTRDA Rally First Championship, which was won by Bart Lang’s Nissan Micra last year, allows only limited modifications to competing cars. Hoping to emulate his success in 2018, Richard Ingleby/Alex Booth’s vehicle of choice is an MG ZR, while Sam & Liam Johnson are in a Seat Arosa and Owen McConochie/Rhodri Williams will be more than happy if the Micra’s dominance is perpetuated!

Seven special stages, totaling around 45 miles, in some of the classic forests of North Wales await competitors on the Cambrian Rally and, following their completion, the first car is due back at the finish in Llandudno at 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon.

JORDAN Road Surfacing to Sponsor the BTRDA Rally Series

The British Trial & Rally Drivers’ Association is very pleased to announce that the 2018 BTRDA Rally Series is to be sponsored by Newark-based JORDAN ROAD SURFACING. As a regular competitor in the BTRDA RALLY Series, Managing Director Barry Jordan says that he’s very pleased to be associated with title sponsorship of the BTRDA Rally Series and, after all the years of competing, never thought that he would be involved in this way!

Confirming the new arrangement at the 2017 Awards Presentation, held on 6th January, BTRDA Rallies Committee Chairman Neil Cross said ‘We’re delighted that Barry has agreed to take on the mantle of headline sponsor of what is continually the most popular Rally Championship in the UK. 2018 sees the 65th consecutive running of the BTRDA Gold Star® Championship and we’re sure that Jordan Road Surfacing’s involvement with us will prove to be mutually beneficial’.

Full details of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series are published on this website. The Competitors section includes a link to the on-line BTRDA membership and BTRDA Rally Series & MSA English Rally Championship registration.  BTRDA on-line Membership / Registration
Please note that the 2018 Registration Fee includes BTRDA club membership and registration for both the BTRDA Rally Series and the MSA English Rally Championship.  BTRDA membership and Rally Championship registration is again FREE to new BTRDA members under the age of 25 on 1st Jan 2018, for their first year of registration.

Regulations / entries for the Cambrian Rally, the opening round of the 2018 Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series, are available at www.cambrianrally.com

Barry Jordan on the Trackrod Forest Rally – picture courtesy of Kevin Money

65 years of Serious Fun in 2018 !

The BTRDA are pleased to announce the 2018 BTRDA Rally Series and confirm that the 2018 championship registration is now open.
The 2018 BTRDA Rally Series, which encompasses the 65th BTRDA Gold Star® and Silver Star® Rally Championships, plus the BTRDA 1400 and BTRDA Rally First Championships and includes the BTRDA Historic Cup, BTRDA Production Cup, BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup and Fiesta ST Trophy, is consistently the most popular stage rally championship in the UK and will continue to provide the best selection of Nat B forest stage rallies.
The 2018 calendar is made up of eight one-day events, starting with the Cambrian Rally in February and finishing with the Trackrod Forest Stages in North Yorkshire on 29th September. The final points table will be based on a competitor’s best 6 scores, which provides some flexibility to fit in the events around family or business commitments or even to recover from an expensive car problem.
2018 Calendar
 Cambrian Rally                 17th February      North Wales, Llandudno
 Malcolm Wilson Rally      3rd March            Lake District, Cockermouth
• Rallynuts Stages Rally    14th April             Mid Wales, Builth Wells
 Plains Rally                        12th May              West Wales, Welshpool
 Carlisle Stages Rally        9th June               Kielder Forest West, Carlisle
 Nicky Grist Stages           14th July               Mid Wales, Builth Wells
• Woodpecker Stages        1st  September    Shropshire/Welsh Border, Ludlow
 Trackrod Forest Stages   29th  September   North Yorkshire, Filey

Regulations / entries for the Cambrian Rally, the opening round of the 2018 BTRDA Rally Series, will be available from 1st January.   See www.cambrianrally.com for more details.

The BTRDA Rally Series is open to all stage rally cars and includes a broad spread of competition classes so there is something for everyone.  The changes for 2018 include: –

  • The new BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup which is open to all FIA homologated R2(B) cars. This is in recognition of the increasing number of R2 cars that are now competing in UK stage rallying.
  • A new class specifically for Historic Category 4b cars, which opens up the opportunity for rally cars that were homologated before the end of 1990. These include such iconic rally cars as the Subaru Legacy, Mitsubishi Galant, Ford Sierra and Sapphire, Toyota Celica 165, Lancia Delta 8v and BMW M3. To be eligible these cars must comply with all aspects of R49.1.5
  • As part of our ongoing commitment to the concept of BTRDA Rally First, there will be a new RF2.0 class in addition to RF1.4 and RF1.6. This will be for cars over 1600cc and up to 2000cc that comply with BTRDA Rally First regulations. This class will include the clubman spec Fiesta ST Trophy cars and any other standard spec cars over 1600cc and up to 2000cc.
  • We have removed all the additional restrictions previously required for cars in the 1400S class to score points in the BTRDA Rally Series. The 1400C class will be retained and the 1400S class will be open to all other cars up to and including 1400cc.

We are grateful for the wholehearted commitment from the event organisers, because without their efforts we could not promote such a successful rally championship.  You can be assured that the 2018 BTRDA Rally Series will continue to provide competitors and followers with some Serious Fun!

The BTRDA Rally Series Regulations are published in the Competitors section along with a link to the on-line BTRDA membership and BTRDA Rally Series & MSA English Rally Championship registration at BTRDA on-line Membership / Registration
Please note that the 2018 Registration Fee includes BTRDA club membership and registration for both the BTRDA Rally Series and the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship.

BTRDA membership and Rally Championship registration is again FREE to new BTRDA members under the age of 25 on 1st Jan 2018, for their first year of registration.

ON EVENT FUEL:  Vital Equipment will be providing a re-fuel service at all the events in 2018, supplying both a MSA compliant Super Unleaded fuel and an quality FIA spec Carless turbo fuel. We strongly emphasize the convenience, safety and organisational benefits that using the Vital Equipment re-fuel facility brings for competitors. To order your fuel please use their on-line order facility listed in the Competitors section of this website. The deadline for orders is 7 days before an event.

Photos are courtesy of Ralliphotoswales   

TIM HOBBS (Tim on right with Will Onions)

TIM HOBBS

1956 – 2017

It is with great sadness that the BTRDA can confirm the passing of Tim Hobbs early on Tuesday morning. Tim had been a member, and Treasurer, of the BTRDA Rally Committee since 2003 and more recently became a member of the Board of the British Trial and Rally Drivers Association Ltd.  During this time the BTRDA was able to draw on his extensive knowledge and experience, and he made an invaluable contribution towards the success of the BTRDA Rally Series.

On leaving school he worked in retail banking and was subsequently Enterprise Manager for The Princes Trust charity.

He competed extensively for many years, having started in the early 1970s with his brother Phil. In 2009 he was BTRDA Silver Star Champion Co-driver, sitting alongside Will Onions. (See photo above) He also competed on thirteen Rally GB’s and despite his ill health, he continued competing up until 2017. He has served as Chairman of the International Rally Drivers Club and was an active member of Telford AC. He enjoyed being an organiser and was always ready and willing to be involved on events in any capacity.

Tim was a quiet, unassuming person who had an enormous enthusiasm for motor sport and was mischievously and dryly humorous about those who failed to meet his own high standards.

We, and his many friends throughout motorsport, remember him with great affection and will miss him tremendously.

We offer our sincere condolences to Tim’s brother Phil and his family.

 

 

Tim (second on the left) in 2016 with Steve Gregg, Norman Robertson and Howard Wilcock

Congratulations to the 2017 Award Winners plus more info on 2018

The Trackrod Forest Stages in North Yorkshire rounded off another very successful Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series.     A full list of all the 2017 championship point scores can be found HERE

Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson become the 64th BTRDA Gold Star Champions and to mark this achievement they had a resplendent gold roof on their Fiesta WRC. (see photo above)  Stephen now emulates his father Steve who put his name on the famous Gold Star trophy in 1992 !   Ashley Davies is the 64th Silver Star Champion Driver and Andrew Boswell is the Silver Star Co-Drivers Champion. The BTRDA 1400 Championship titles have been won by 19 year old Ed Fossey and Chris Sharpe-Simkiss, whilst Bart Lang and Sinclair Young are the BTRDA Rally First Champions.  The names of all the BTRDA Rally Champions going back to 1954 can be found HERE

A full list of all the 2017 Award Winners can be found HERE

All the awards for the 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series will be presented along with the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship awards at the 2017 Dinner and Awards Ceremony which will take place on Saturday 6th January 2018 at the RAMADA Penns Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands. B76 1LH.  Ticket Application forms can now be downloaded HERE

We can also confirm more info about some of the changes that will be introduced to the BTRDA Rally Series in 2018.

  • There will be a new Rallye R2 Cup open to all FIA homologated R2(B) cars. This is in recognition of the increasing number of R2 cars that are now competing in UK stage rallying.
  • A new class specifically for Historic Category 4b cars, which opens up the opportunity for rally cars that were homologated before the end of 1990. These include such iconic rally cars as the Subaru Legacy, Mitsubishi Galant, Ford Sierra and Sapphire, Toyota Celica 165, Lancia Delta 8v and BMW M3. To be eligible these cars must comply with all aspects of R49.1.5
  • In our ongoing commitment to the concept of BTRDA Rally First, there will be a new RF2.0 class in addition to RF1.4 and RF1.6. This will be for cars over 1600cc and up to 2000cc that comply with BTRDA Rally First regulations. This class will include the future clubman spec Fiesta ST Trophy cars and any other standard spec cars up to 2000cc.
  • We will remove the additional restrictions previously required for class 1400S cars to score points in the BTRDA Rally Series. The 1400C class will be retained and the 1400S class will be open to all other cars up to and including 1400cc.

The 2018 BTRDA Rally Series calendar has now received MSA approval and will be as published in the earlier News Item HERE