Author Archives: Howard Wilcock

Looking forward to a renewed challenge in 2017

We are now three weeks away from the start of the 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series and things are falling into place.
Firstly, we are very pleased that the Cambrian Rally will be going ahead on 11th February. It has been a very challenging time for all Stage Rally Event Organisers, particularly those using the iconic Welsh forest stages, but thanks to the tremendous effort of many people we are able to start the 2017 championship season off as planned in Llandudno. With forest stages such as Aberhirnant, and Llangower on the menu the Cambrian should certainly provide some Serious Fun.
If you have not yet entered the event then you can do so at www.cambrianrally.co.uk

Part of the continuing RAVENOL support package to encourage competitor participation includes a £60 voucher for Ravenol Motorsport engine and transmission oils and racing brake fluids for every driver that registers for the 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series, up to and including round 3.
With annual BTRDA membership and registration for the 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series and the Maxxis MSA English Rally Championship costing just £75 for a driver, this means the cost of the package has effectively been reduced to £15!  That is except for drivers under 25 who are joining BTRDA for the first time. For them the cost of membership and registration is already FREE so the RAVENOL £60 voucher is a bonus.  The £60 RAVENOL voucher will be e-mailed to drivers seperately after they have registered for the 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series, and can be redeemed via the RAVENOL on-line shop at www.ravenol-direct.uk

As an extra incentive for drivers to register in advance, if you have done so by the 1st February then we will be able to post out the championship decals to you so that they can be put on the car before your first event.

In addition to RAVENOL UK continuing as title sponsor, we are pleased to confirm additional support from MAXXIS Tyres and that Thomas Panels, Revolution Wheels, Hyundai Genpower and Mintex will be continuing their valuable support. We are also particularly pleased to welcome back Reis. We are grateful to all our sponsors and we look forward to working with them during the forthcoming year.

This additional support means that we can confirm the TV coverage of the 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series with dedicated programmes from each of the 8 events, plus more short clips to preview and review the action at events, produced once again by our friends at Special Stage.

Vital Equipment will be attending all the events the events in 2017 so we encourage all competitors to use their refuelling service and to order either their MSA Super Unleaded fuel or their Carless FIA spec 102 octane fuel via their on-line ordering facility. Link to Competitors page  Vital Equipment Fuel Order Form      NB: Fuel must be ordered in advance.

Finally, and rather belatedly, we do hope you enjoyed the Awards evening. Our thanks to Nikki for organising the evening and to everyone who came, especially all the award winners.  The photo includes some of the principal 2016 winners.  Photo courtesy of Writtle Photographic

A full list of all the 2017 winners and the recipients of the 2016 Special Awards which were announced on the night can be found in the Bulletins section.

2017 Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series

Serious Fun in 2017 !
The BTRDA are pleased to provide more information about the 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series and confirm that championship registration is now open.
The 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series, which will include the 64th Gold Star and Silver Star Rally Championships plus the Thomas Panels BTRDA 1400 and BTRDA Rally First Championships and the BTRDA Historic Cup, BTRDA Production Cup and Fiesta ST Trophy, is consistently the most popular rally championship in the UK and will continue to provide the very best selection of Nat B forest stage rallies.
The 2017 calendar includes eight one-day events, starting with the Cambrian Rally in February and finishing with the Trackrod Forest Stages in North Yorkshire on 30th 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.
2017 Calendar
Cambrian Rally  11th February  North Wales, Llandudno
Malcolm Wilson Rally  11th March  Lake District, Cockermouth
Somerset Stages  8th April  West Somerset, Minehead
Plains Rally  13th May  West Wales, Welshpool
Carlisle Stages Rally  10th June  Kielder Forest West, Carlisle
Nicky Grist Stages  8th July  Mid Wales, Builth Wells
Woodpecker Stages  2nd  September  Shropshire/Welsh Border, Ludlow
Trackrod Forest Stages  30th  September  North Yorkshire, Pickering

The BTRDA Rally Series is open to all stage rally cars and includes a range a Championships and Categories and 14 competition classes so there is something for everyone. You can be assured that the BTRDA Rally Series will continue to provide competitors and followers with some Serious Fun!
We are very grateful for the wholehearted commitment from the event organisers, because without their efforts we could not promote such a successful rally championship. Entries will open for the first round of the 2017 BTRDA Rally Series, the Cambrian Rally, on 1st January. The event has an exciting new route including stages in Aberhirnant and Llangower. Cambrian Rally 2017

The 2017 Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series Regulations are now published in the Competitors section > drop down menue.
The on-line BTRDA membership and BTRDA Rally Series & MSA English Rally Championship registration is now open at BTRDA on-line Membership / Registration
The 2017 Registration Fee includes BTRDA club membership and registration for both the BTRDA Rally Series and the MSA English Rally Championship. Note: BTRDA membership and Rally Championship registration is FREE to new BTRDA members under the age of 25 on 1st Jan 2017, for their first year of registration.

A Guide to the BTRDA Membership website for ‘Forest Rally’ competitors (BTRDA Rally Series and MSA English Rally Championship competitors)
Log in to the membership website www.btrdamembership.com . If you have forgotten any of your login details, just follow the on-screen instructions. If you have not been a member before you will need to register a new account.
In all cases the first part of the process is to join BTRDA (the motor club) and then register for the championships.
Please check the contents of your basket and delete anything that you don’t want before paying.

If you are registering together as a Crew you save £15: –
The first member (can be either the driver or co-driver) should log in
1. Join BTRDA as Crew Membership (first member)
2. Register for the Forest Rally championship as a Driver or Co-Driver
3. Register for any other BTRDA motorsport championships if required
4. Pay for the order (The first process includes ALL the crew fees and the second process is free).
5. Wait for the “Confirmation of Order” email. This should take a few seconds. It contains the code which is required for the second crew member
6. The second crew member should log in (this can be completed by the first member on behalf of the second member)
7. Join BTRDA as Crew Membership (Second member) and enter the code when requested
8. Register for the Forest Rally Championship as a Co-Driver or Driver
9. Register for any other BTRDA motorsport championships if required
10. It will still be necessary to click on “Proceed to Payment” even though there is nothing to pay. The system will not require any payment details but a “Confirmation of Order” email will still be sent.
Membership cards will be sent out a few days later.  Please include your date of birth which is essential to calculate eligibility for Junior and Senior awards. We cannot make retrospective changes to championship points if this has not been provided.

Photo is Kit and Tim Leigh on the 2016 Woodpecker Stages.  Courtesy of ralliphotoswales

Success in Yorkshire forests brings 2016 season to a close.

CHARLIE MAKES TRACKROD HIS OWN WITH BACK-TO BACK WINS
Having already clinched the RAVENOL BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Champion Driver’s crown on the Woodpecker Stages, Charlie Payne finished the season off in fine style by taking his second consecutive victory on the Trackrod Forest Stages and, in so doing, confirming Carl Williamson as this year’s Champion Co-driver.
Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson opened the scoring with FTD on Staindale, but thirteen miles in Langdale later, a misfire had hampered their efforts to stay at the front and Payne had slipped past to assume the lead which he held through to the finish. So, Petch / Wilkinson were 2nd, confirming their runners-up spots in the Gold Star Championship – a very commendable performance, especially when considering their retirements from both the Malcolm Wilson and Somerset Stages which saw them languishing way outside the Top Ten mid-season.
Third Championship-registered crew home on the Trackrod were Phil and Simon Pickard in their Impreza. From a start number of 18, they slowly (well, it wouldn’t have seemed slow if you’d been spectating in the forests!) set about climbing up the leader board. However, as their appearances this season have been sporadic, they were not fighting for any end-of-season awards. Neither for that matter were Ian Joel/Graeme Wood whose recently completely rebuilt Escort Cosworth finished comfortably in the Top Ten, despite refusing to come out of 5th gear on the final stage. Bit more work to do yet, then!….
Richard Hill took his Lancer EVO9 to its second consecutive maximum in the BTRDA Production Cup, ahead of Peter Stephenson’s Focus WRC which rounded off a very competitive Top Ten. Brian Bell/Jamie Edwards (Focus WRC) recorded their fifth finish, from five starts – had that all-important sixth score been in place, the driver, who was 1987 BTRDA Clubmans and 1999 Silver Star Champion, would have finished in the Top Ten of the 2016 BTRDA Gold Star Championship….. Paul Benn/Richard Cooke, whose performances in their older model (judging by the registration plate, anyway!) Focus WRC had kept them in contention for outright Gold Star honours for much of the season, finally let them down on the Trackrod. They were 3rd in the battle for Championship points after Langdale, but then ground to a halt midway through Dalby.

BTRDA PRODUCTION CUP and FIESTA ST TROPHY – THOMPSON’S (PRODUCTION) CUP RUNNETH OVER!
As mentioned elsewhere, in BTRDA Production Cup terms, Richard Hill (Lancer EVO9) emerged victorious from the Yorkshire forests but, not having begun his campaign until July, his efforts would not directly affect the battle for the title. That honour fell to Russ Thompson & Andy Murphy who, despite brake problems which afflicted their EVO9, took 2nd place on the day to claim the BTRDA Production Cup title. Daniel Moss/Sam Allen (also EVO9) were chasing them down, eventually finishing less than 20s adrift, giving the Gloucestershire crew their best result of the season. Challenges from Andy Davies/Max Freeman (Impreza) and Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge (Lancer EVOX) both evaporated in ditches on Langdale, whilst (shock, horror!) Cameron Davies’ hitherto invincible Fiesta ST succumbed to a broken driveshaft in Cropton. Sam Bilham’s persistence paid off – having completed all eight events in this year’s Fiesta ST Trophy, he took a maximum to confirm his runner-up place in the inaugural series. However, Tom Easson’s similar car was only six seconds adrift by the finish, with Tim KirvanRodgers/Abi Haycock also completing the season with a bag of points.

RAVENOL BTRDA SILVER STAR® CHAMPIONSHIP – BURTON’S PERFORMANCE CENTRES ON RELIABILITY!
Having been 3rd in the RAVENOL BTRDA Silver Star® Championship points on five separate occasions so far this season, Phil Burton & Mal Capstick finally came away with a maximum on the Trackrod Forest Stages. Their Escort was the first two-wheel drive car home which gave them a class win and confirmed their 2nd place in the overall Silver Star Championship table. Jody Bowcott/David Millard were next, leaving their best till last, with Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham taking the final podium spot on the day. Outgoing BTRDA Historic Champion Paul Street, with Ian Jones reading the notes, took his Escort to its only maximum of the season, collecting 4th Silver Star points along the way, with Barry Jordan/James Gratton-Smith’s Hillman Avenger and the Escort Mexico of 2016 Historic Champions Robin Shuttleworth & Ron Roughead in 2nd & 3rd respectively.
Now, seasoned Silver Star Championship watchers will have realised that there are a number of names missing from the above! Let’s start with Gavin Edwards & Caron Tomlinson – they arrived in Yorkshire as championship leaders and, despite exiting the event in Dalby, managed to hang on to that coveted spot due, in no small way, to problems experienced by their rivals. Nothing less than a maximum, even after the demise of Edwards/Tomlinson, would do for Boyd Kershaw/Bryan Hull if they were to return south as champions. Ah, right – well, they’d already blotted their copybook by rolling their Escort in Staindale, so that was them out of the equation even before Edwards/ Tomlinson’s departure. Cameron Davies’ consistency in his Fiesta ST had also put him in with an outside chance of success in this particular category but, as detailed above, he wasn’t destined to see the finish for the first time this season either. Even so, he still takes 3rd place behind Edwards and Burton – pretty impressive in a Group N car!… Unfortunately, Kershaw’s dream of back-to-back Silver Star titles was not to be – his untimely, not to mention undignified, exit from the Trackrod demoted him and Hull to 4th place in the final analysis.

THOMAS PANELS BTRDA 1400 CHAMPIONSHIP – HONES KEEP HEAT ON TO TAKE TITLE!...
Ulstermen Jordan & Paul Hone overcame boiling brake fluid on the Trackrod to put their Proton Satria into a winning position, not only on the event but also in the 2016 Thomas Panels BTRDA 1400 Championship. Their third maximum of the season saw them finish ahead of Joe Evett/Phil Hall (MG ZR), with Ed Fossey’s Toyota Yaris in 3rd. Gordon Alexander’s MG ZR took a 1400C class win from the Micra of Carl Davies/Richard Jones, but both had to give best to Neil Andrew/Dom Adams (Micra) who, although absent on this occasion, finish the season as class winners and runners-up in the overall Thomas Panels series. Charlie Barlow’s hopes of improving his Championship position before the season ended were dashed when his Micra was forced out in Langdale. OK, due to the ongoing issues with seeding, we know entries aren’t what they once were in the 1400 Championship but, rest assured, with five different ‘winners’ from the eight events, competition at this level is still extremely healthy!

VITAL EQUIPMENT RALLY FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP  – WELLS WINS BATTLE ON TRACKROD!
Richard Wells/Calvin Houldsworth took their VW Polo to its third consecutive maximum score in the Vital Equipment Rally First® Championship on the Trackrod Forest Stages. By the end of the day Dominic Hodge & Stefan Arndt were just a handful of seconds behind them in their Micra, despite a 90mph sideways moment in Dalby which will probably result in a fairly hefty dry-cleaning bill! Whatever, following their own three maximums scored earlier in the season, another 2nd gave them the 2016 Rally First Championship title by a narrow margin from Wells/Houldsworth. Erstwhile leaders prior to the start of the final round, Emily & Eliot Retallick began steadily over the first couple of stages, giving best to Hodge/Arndt. However, having promised to up the pace in their Peugeot 205XS, they soon found themselves sidelined with mechanical issues. At this stage, whether the two issues were connected is really neither here nor there but, at a stroke, they dropped to 3rd in the final table. Tom Williams/ Emma Morrison were 3rd on the day in their Fiesta R1, confirming their 4th place for the season, ahead of David Perkins/Osian Owen (Micra) – both crews finishing all six events they started.
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
A full list of all the 2016 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series points and Award Winners can be found in the Competitor section of this website.  The Awards Presentation evening will be held on Saturday 7th January 2017 at Ramada Penns Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.  Ticket Application forms can be downloaded from the Newsletter section.

Photos are courtesy of Ralliphotos Wales. Contact ralliphotoswales@yahoo.co.uk

Half a Crown just isn’t Enough…!

Round 8 (Final): Trackrod Forest Stages

Yorkshireman Charlie Payne travels the relatively short distance to Scampston Hall, near Malton, for the final round of the 2016 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series®, the Trackrod Forest Stages, having already been confirmed as the 2016 RAVENOL BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Champion. However, as far as co-driver Carl Williamson is concerned, the situation isn’t quite as clear cut. Yes, he leads his category in the Championship points table – and has done for months – but it’s still possible that he could be pipped at the post!
The pair will lead the field away in their Fiesta but, right behind them, Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Fiesta R5+) will be brimming with confidence, having won the Woodpecker outright – and this is where Williamson’s potential problem lies. Whilst a good result for Petch, who is currently 3rd in the Drivers’ table, on the North York Moors could possibly move him up a place, should Payne/Williamson fail to finish, another maximum for Wilkinson would see him tying on points with the current leader, but taking the title with two maximums to Williamson’s one. Phew!…   Also in search of more Gold Star points on the Trackrod will be Paul Benn/Richard Cooke (Focus WRC), while Steve Simpson/Patrick Walsh (Fiesta S2000) & Tom Preston/Jack Morton (Skoda Fabia R5) are all perfectly capable of ‘getting in the way’ of Petch/Wilkinson’s ambition….

The destination of the BTRDA Production Cup is also yet to be settled. Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy (Lancer EVO9) currently lead the race for the title but, should something go wrong on the last outing of the season, Andy Davies/Max Freeman (Impreza) & Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge (Lancer EVOX) are far too close for comfort! Fiesta ST Trophy winners Cameron Davies/Lee Taylor are still in with a mathematical chance of taking the title, although that does rely on none of the aforementioned 4WD crews lasting the distance. Then, of course, Richard Hill (Lancer EVO9), who trumped the lot of them on the Woodpecker, is also back for more! Place your bets, ladies & gentlemen, please…
On the subject of Fiestas, Sam Bilham, George Lepley & Jon Ambler are still in a position to dispute runner-up spot in the inaugural Fiesta ST Trophy and from experience so far, the car’s proven reliability is such that banking on someone else not finishing in order to gain ground is a forlorn hope!

In terms of the RAVENOL BTRDA Silver Star® Championship, Gavin Edwards/Caron Tomlinson (Escort Mk2) have been the dominant force, especially recently with maximums on the last two events. They arrive on the Trackrod as leaders but, should they register a DNF on the last outing of the season and Boyd Kershaw/Bryan Hull emerge from Yorkshire as top dogs, the look of the table, especially at the top, would significantly alter!
Phill Burton/Mal Capstick’s 2.4 litre Escort has taken 3rd place points no less than five times this season and, if everything fell into place on the Trackrod, they could conceivably wrest 2nd place in the Championship from current occupants, Cameron Davies/Lee Taylor. It’s, perhaps also worth mentioning that former triple Silver Star Champion Matthew Robinson has entered the Trackrod in his Fiat 131S. Although he and co-driver Sam Collis haven’t done enough BTRDA Series events this year to be troubling the leaders, they can never be ignored!

The Thomas Panels BTRDA 1400 Championship is going down to the wire as well! Consistency – six starts, six finishes – has pushed Neil Andrew/Dom Adams’ Nissan Micra to the top of the pile, but Jordan & Paul Hone will be hoping that their Proton Satria will give them a sixth result and, in so doing, elevate them to the rank of Champions! Keith & Mairi Riddick (MG ZR) start just behind the Hones, with Joe Evett/Phil Hall’s similar car and Charlie Barlow/Dale Furniss (Micra) also running together a little further down the field.

Dominic Hodge/Stefan Arndt (Micra) will lead the Vital Equipment BTRDA Rally First Championship contenders into battle for the final time, obviously with the express intention of being in the same situation at the end of the day! However, that would be to deny the presence of current series leaders Emily & Eliot Retallick (Peugeot 205XS) and Richard Wells/Calvin Houldsworth (VW Polo). The Retallicks already have six scores and can, therefore, only ‘improve’ on their lowest, while both Hodge and Wells are where they are from five, giving them the opportunity to add anything they can earn in Yorkshire to their final tallies.

The ‘mixed-surface’ BTRDA Rally Challenge draws to a close in Yorkshire and, whilst Jack Morton has already been confirmed as Champion Co-driver, successfully defending the title he won in 2015, the destination of the Driver’s Award has yet to be identified. Stephen Petch (Fiesta R5+) currently leads the list of nominations, but his supremacy could be usurped by either Julian Barnett (Impreza) or, were he to score a maximum in Yorkshire, Steve Simpson (Fiesta S2000). Simpson, who was absent from the first couple of events, has taken maximums on each of the last two Challenge rounds, elevating himself into the frame for overall glory. Although a couple of no-shows and a DNF have put them on the back foot, early-season leaders George Morrison/Jon Quintrell (MG ZR) return to finish what they started!
Good luck to all the competitors.

Photo is Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Ford Fiesta R5+) on the Woodpecker.   Photo courtesy of ralliphotoswales