Author Archives: 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

NO PRESSURE FOR PETCH !…..

Having secured the 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Championship titles on the recent Woodpecker Stages, Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Fiesta WRC) start the final round of the series, the Trackrod Forest Stages, in the enviable position of being able to enjoy the North York Moors-based event without the added burden of any Championship pressures!

Twelve months ago they were runners-up and, to conclude their best-ever season, it would be fitting for them to win their ‘home’ rally. However……As is ever the case on an event of this stature, there are any number of others with their own views on the make-up of the last leaderboard of the season! Not amongst them, though, are confirmed RAVENOL BTRDA Gold Star Championship runners-up Callum Black/Elliott Edmondson whose entry on the forthcoming Wales Rally GB has focused their attention, such that they have excused themselves from the trip to Filey.

In deference to their win on last year’s Trackrod Forest Stages, outgoing Gold Star Champions Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson (Fiesta WRC) will be first away from the start, followed by Petch/Wilkinson and then Hugh Hunter/Rob Fagg, fresh from their 5th overall on the recent Rally Isle of Man. Currently 3rd in the Gold Star tables, a result in Yorkshire will virtually guarantee their podium finish but, as we all know, nothing is ever quite that simple!

Peter Taylor / Andrew Roughead (Fiesta WRC) and Thomas Preston / Stuart Louden (Skoda Fabia R5) are recent additions to the entry list and both have the pace to win the event outright.  Karl & Guy Simmons (Impreza WRC) and Ian Joel/Graeme Wood (Escort Cosworth), both of whom failed to finish the Woodpecker Stages at the beginning of the month, are looking to end their BTRDA campaigns on a high, as are Peter Smith/John Millington (Fiesta R5) and Peter Stephenson/Ian Windress (Focus WRC), the latter finishing 4th overall on the Carlisle Stages in June.

Meanwhile, the destination of the BTRDA Production Cup has yet to be settled. Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy (Lancer EVO9) lead the race for the title but Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge (EVOX) are just three points adrift. Both crews have finished all six rounds to date and, with each competitor’s best five scores to count, can only improve on their worst score. Third-placed Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence (EVO9) have a score in hand over their rivals but, if they are to stand any chance of overhauling them, nothing less than a maximum will do. Although consecutive retirements on the Plains and Carlisle Stages Rallies have conspired to hold them back, on their day Richard Hill/Steffan Evans (EVO9) are proven category winners too. So, there’s a massive battle in prospect!….

Fiesta ST Trophy champions Sam Bilham/Cameron Fair opted to sit out the Woodpecker but are back for the Bingley driver’s ‘home’ event. Behind them, Alasdair Currie could still be beaten for runner-up spot by late-comer Finlay Retson who only passed his driving test in the days leading up to the Carlisle Stages in May!

After a season that has seen five different maximum scorers in the RAVENOL BTRDA Silver Star® Championship, there are now four drivers – three of whom who aren’t included in the ‘maximum’ club! – who could possibly arrive back in Filey as the 2017 title holder. The maths are rather complicated and, in several instances, success relies in part on the failure of others…. With its unblemished finishing record, Barry Jordan/James Gratton-Smith’s Avenger BRM is the highest-seeded contender, with current leaders Rob Dennis/Andy Boswell (Escort Mk2) right behind them.

Having started the season at a canter in their 1600cc Corsa, Dave Bennett/Alistair McNeil’s luck ran out and two retirements preceded a couple of non-starts. However, the former BTRDA Rally First and BTRDA 1400 champions are back for the finale and could well put the cat among the pigeons! Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham (Ford Escort Mk2) are the only Silver Star crew with two maximums to their credit and, with just four scores, can count whatever points they earn in Yorkshire to their total. At the same time, should Dave Brick’s 1400cc Nova come up trumps – it’s already finished 2nd twice! – and some of its rivals fall at the last hurdle, it could be his name that graces the trophy for 2017!….

Thomas Panels BTRDA 1400 Championship leaders Ed Fossey/Chris Sharpe-Simkiss (Toyota Yaris) start one minute ahead of Dave Brick who, with son Toby co-driving, will be hoping to rearrange the look of the points table before the end of the day. With all the usual caveats, Carl Davies/Richard Jones (Nissan Micra) could move up to 2nd at the last gasp, while Tommi Meadows’ first season of BTRDA Series events has been ‘character building’ – probably a syndrome that co-driver Ian Oakey had thought was behind him! Although not in line for Championship honours this year, the combination of the teenage driver and his Ka have shown potential which we look forward to being fulfilled in the future.

Having already amassed three maximums and one second-place, Bart Lang/Sinclair Young’s Micra leads the BTRDA Rally First Championship as the pair heads for North Yorkshire. The only blot on their horizon comes in the shape of David Perkins who, with Jordan Joines pointing the way, could possibly upset their apple cart. Breaking the Micra domination is Phil Spilsted’s MG ZR as the battle to succeed Dominic Hodge/Stefan Arndt as RF Champions reaches its conclusion.

In a change from previous years, the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship also reaches its climax in Filey. In the absence of Callum Black, Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson are crowned Champions without actually turning a wheel, but Black’s current runner-up spot is still to be confirmed subject, obviously, to results on the Trackrod Forest Stages. A maximum of 20 points can be awarded in each of the eight English championship classes and with additional points available up to a maximum of 25, were they to be the recipients of such a haul, Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence could find themselves overhauling Black for 2nd.

The permutations for some of the class awards are even more complicated but, in addition to those already mentioned, the names of Bart Lang, William Hill, Barry Jordan, Andy Davison, Robert Dennis, Ashley Davis, Richard Sykes, Russ Thompson and Sacha Kakad amongst many others, are certain to all be in the mix.  Calculators at the ready!…

The first car leaves the start of the Trackrod Forest Stages from Filey Country Park at 8.30am on 30th September. On the menu are 45 miles of single-use special stages in such famous forests as Dalby, Langdale, Cropton and Gale Rigg. Answers to all the questions posed above will be available by the time cars begin arriving back at the finish from around 3.00pm onwards!

Photo is Stephen Petch / Michael Wilkinson on the recent Woodpecker Stages.  (Courtesy of ralliphotoswales)

STILL ALL TO PLAY FOR !…

The Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages is the penultimate round of the 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series and the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship and the organisers, Sixty & Worcestershire Motor Club, have attracted a superb entry running to more than 140 cars. In BTRDA terms, with the exception of Sam Bilham and co-driver Cameron Fair who have already made sure of this year’s Fiesta ST Trophy, the titles of all the other constituent parts of the Series are still to be won and lost. The ‘pretenders’ to the various crowns have just the Woodpecker and the North York Moors-based Trackrod Forest Stages at the end of September to stake their claims. Hence, spectators out on either – or both – of these events are in for a treat!

As far as the RAVENOL BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Championship is concerned, this year’s winners are likely to be either Callum Black/Elliott Edmondson or Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson. The two Fiesta crews have spent much of the season running fairly close together but, with five scores to their credit, Black/Edmondson currently lead the table from Petch/Wilkinson. The latter failed to finish the Malcolm Wilson Rally in March but, since then, have taken three outright victories on the four events they have finished. Dropped scores come into play now, but whoever is to succeed Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson, (running at number 7 in a Fiesta WRC), as Gold Star Champions still have some work to do to achieve their goal.

As far as outright winners of the Woodpecker Stages are concerned, in addition to the three crews mentioned above, although Luke Francis/John H Roberts have had a disappointing season to date by their high standards, their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 is a proven winner at this level and cannot be discounted. Former Gold Star Champion Hugh Hunter, with Manxman Rob Fagg pointing the way, is still getting to grips with the intricacies of his particular Fiesta and needs a good result following a DNF on the Nicky Grist Stages, while Martyn & Dawn England have improved beyond measure in the twelve months since they took delivery of theirs. 4th overall last time out – worth a punt? Possibly!….

Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy are leading the BTRDA Production Cup in their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 by the narrowest of margins from Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge. The only crew to score two category maximums so far, Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence, could possibly overhaul both the aforementioned but, in order to do so, top notch results are required on the final two outings – a position in which both Richard Hill/Steffan Evans (Lancer) and Andy Davies/Max Freeman (Impreza) also find themselves.  Leaving the Ludlow Racecourse start line astern will be Davies, Naylor, Thompson, Hill & Kakad but, for all concerned, the order in which they arrive back there for the finish will be of much greater importance!  The Fiesta STs also conform to Group N (Production Cup) specification and, although the overall Trophy winners have been identified, the other podium positions still have to be sorted, with Alasdair Currie/Steven Brown currently laying claim to runners-up spot.

The RAVENOL BTRDA Silver Star® Championship caters purely for those with two-wheel drive cars and, with different winners on each of the five events to date, no-one has taken the series by the scruff of the neck!  Barry Jordan/James Gratton-Smith’s consistency – five starts, five finishes – sees their Hillman Avenger BRM atop the table but, on this occasion, Leominster’s Theo Bengry/Les Forsbrook will be the first crew away in their Escort, followed by the similar cars of Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham and Rob Dennis/Andy Boswell, neither of whom scored any points on the Nicky Grist. A good result from Steve Hopewell/Clive Jones could also elevate them into the Top Three at this important stage of the season.

Much has been written on the subject of the insistence of seeding in order of anticipated performance and the effect this has had on entry levels of the smaller capacity cars. However, that is not to decry the efforts of those who are competing in such vehicles as their commitment is no less intense! While Jersey’s Ed Fossey and his Blackpool-based co-driver Chris Sharpe-Simkiss are leading the Thomas Panels BTRDA 1400 Championship in their Toyota Yaris, Dave Brick can see the Woodpecker Stages HQ at Ludlow Racecourse from his farm! He and son Toby took their Nova to top honours on the Nicky Grist Stages and, if local knowledge counts for anything, the others better watch out!… Although not quite as close to Ludlow as the Bricks, Chris Powell/Jim Lewis (Talbot Sunbeam) aren’t that far away in Hereford and, given a clear run, can be relied upon to put on a good show. Bring it on!…

Bart Lang/Sinclair Young (Nissan Micra) have emerged victorious on the last three rounds of the BTRDA Rally First Championship, such that were they to sit the Woodpecker out, they would still be leading their respective categories at the end of the day. However, with two rounds to go, the destination of the winner’s trophy is yet to be decided! Chris Hickman/Alex Stanbury (MG ZR) & David Perkins/Jordan Joines (Micra) could still influence the final outcome, while category winner on the Malcolm Wilson Rally, Andrew Wheatley (Ford Puma) also returns to join in the fun on this occasion.

As far as contenders for the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship are concerned, the Woodpecker Stages represents a return to forest rallying after the option of three consecutive asphalt events. This year’s Championship has been completely revamped and, whilst it is still class based, any vehicle complying with MSA Technical Regulations is eligible to compete. After a good run on the Tyneside Stages over the Otterburn Military Ranges, Stephen Petch currently holds sway but, as every competitor is pitted against those in his/her class, it’s just as feasible that the eventual winner will come from one of the smaller capacity classes.  The latest championship points can be found at www.englishrally.co.uk/english-championship-points  In 2016 Sam Bilham, in his 2-litre two-wheel drive Fiesta ST, was victorious and there’s no saying that a similar giant-killing act will not be performed by someone this time. We’ll know by the end of September!…

For further information on the Woodpecker Stages, visit : www.woodpecker-rally.co.uk

Photo is Callum Black/Elliott Edmondson (Fiesta R5+) on the Nicky Grist Stages.     All photos courtesy of ‘Ralliphotoswales’

SERIOUS FUN in 2018!

The BTRDA are very pleased to confirm their provisional calendar* for the 2018 BTRDA Rally Series.

The BTRDA Rally Series, which will include the 65th running of the Gold Star and Silver Star Rally Championships plus the BTRDA 1400 and Rally First Championships, the BTRDA Historic Cup and Production Cup and the Fiesta ST Trophy, is consistently the most popular rally championship in the UK and will continue to provide the best selection of popular forest stage rallies.

The 2018 calendar contains eight one-day forest rallies starting on 17th February with the Cambrian Rally in North Wales and finishing on 29th September with the Trackrod Forest Stages in North Yorkshire.  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 (*subject to MSA approval)

Round

Event

Date

Location

1 CAMBRIAN RALLY February 17th North Wales
2 MALCOLM WILSON RALLY March 3rd Lake District
3 RALLYNUTS STAGES RALLY  April 14th Mid Wales
4 PLAINS RALLY May 12th West Wales
5 CARLISLE STAGES June 9th Kielder Forest West
6 NICKY GRIST STAGES July 14th Mid Wales
7 EVENTSIGNS WOODPECKER STAGES September 1st Shropshire/Welsh Border
8 TRACKROD FOREST STAGES September 29th North Yorkshire

We are very grateful for the wholehearted commitment from all the event organisers, because without their unstinting efforts we could not promote such a successful rally championship.

Details of all the categories, classes and incentives plus the TV coverage will be confirmed over the next couple of months, but competitors and supporters can be assured that the BTRDA Rally Series will continue to provide competitors and followers with some Serious Fun!

Back to the 2017 season and the EventSigns Woodpecker Stages, the penultimate round of the 2017 BTRDA Rally Series, which has again attracted a huge and varied entry of more than 140 cars. If competitors are still planning to compete then you need to submit an on-line entry A.S.A.P.

If you want to be part of the Woodpecker Stages, then the event organisers will still welcome any offers of help, especially with marshaling on the stages which is essential for the event to be a success. Please contact the Chief Marshal – Graham Hopewell via e-mail at [email protected]

Entries are now open for the Trackrod Forest Stages on Sat 30th September which will be the final round of the 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series and the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship. The event is based at Filey on the Yorkshire coast and uses all the best forest roads in North Yorkshire to provide 45 miles of single use stages. This is always a popular event with competitors and spectators and where the Championship winners will be confirmed.  Event regulations and on-line entries at www.rallyyorkshire.co.uk/competitors-information

Photo is the current BTRDA Rally First leaders Bart Lang / Sinclair Young.     (images courtesy of ralliphotoswales)