Author Archives: Howard Wilcock

Charlie is the Gold Star Champion in 2016

Congratulations to Charlie Payne on winning the 2016 RAVENOL BTRDA Gold Star Championship.  He is the 63rd Gold Star Champion Driver and joins a long list of rally champions going back to 1954!   BTRDA Rally Champions

Maximum scores on the Malcolm Wilson Rally and the Carlisle Stages were the basis for the championship title which were combined with four other great results to create an unbeatable total of 170 points.  As we know the main challenge throughout the season came from Luke Francis / John Roberts but their ‘off’ and subsequent retirement on the Woodpecker meant they simply ran out of events.

Other title winners on the Woodpecker were Cameron Davies and Lee Taylor who were the winners of the Fiesta ST Trophy. Cameron also wins a place in the D-Mack End of Season Shoot Out which is an opportunity he deserves.

Finally the BTRDA Historic Cup was won by Robin Shuttleworth and Ron Roughead in the Mk 1 Escort.  Six starts and six finishes is hard to beat and it means they deservedly get their hands on the famous AC de Monaco Trophy at the end of season awards presentation.

Competition for the RAVENOL Silver Star, Thomas Panels 1400 and Vital Equipment Rally First Championship titles plus the BTRDA Production Cup will resume on the Trackrod Forest Stages. Good luck to everyone.

Photo is Charlie Payne / Carl Williamson on the Woodpecker courtesy of ralliphotoswales.

Can Payne Cross the Threshold?…. Woodpecker Preview

As the RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series®’ traditional summer break comes to a close, Sixty & Worcestershire Motor Club’s Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages rally serves to bring all the various Championships to order once again. The eight weeks since the Nicky Grist Stages have given those with designs on title success a chance to regroup and prepare for the final push for victory. Not least of these will be Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson whose Ford Fiesta has topped the RAVENOL BTRDA Gold Star Rally Championship points tables since the Malcolm Wilson Rally back in March. The opportunity to put the matter beyond doubt last time out was missed when their hitherto reliable car succumbed to electrical failure, allowing their closest rivals, Luke Francis/John H Roberts (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) through to not only take another victory – their third of the season so far – but also to keep the pressure on in the race to succeed Dave Weston/Kirsty Riddick as Gold Star Champions.

So, Ludlow Racecourse beckons for all those contesting the Woodpecker Stages as the BTRDA Rally Series moves into the final furlong! However, as befits such a popular and well-supported Championship, Gold Star honour is not purely between Payne and Francis – there are others just waiting for the opportunity to pounce, should something untoward occur to those in front! After an indifferent start to the season, Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Fiesta R5+) have taken two seconds and one third on the last three events to move themselves into contention when it matters, while Paul Benn/Richard Cooke (Focus WRC) have been right behind them on both the Carlisle and Nicky Grist Stages. All the aforementioned have work to do if their ambitions are to be realised – notwithstanding the fact that, on paper, there are several others who could still theoretically come good. As part of the ‘Road to Wales’ initiative, the eventual winner of the 2016 RAVENOL BTRDA Gold Star Rally Championship will have earned themselves a free entry into the Wales Rally GB National Rally.

With two events to go and dropped scores about to come into play, the BTRDA Production Cup table has something of a strange look about it. Having finished all six rounds to date, Sam Bilham’s consistency puts his Fiesta ST into the lead of this highly competitive category. However, a mere three points adrift and with three maximums from just four scores on the board, Russ Thompson (Lancer EVO9) is next with Cameron Davies, who has taken maximum Fiesta ST Trophy points on all five events he has contested thus far, one behind him. Then we have another DaviesAndy, partnered by Max Freeman in a Subaru Impreza, who also has a couple of maximums to his credit but, like Thompson/Murphy, these are matched with a couple of DNFs, leaving neither crew with any margin for error between now and the end of September. In the Fiesta Trophy itself, Davies and Bilham are neck-and-neck at the top, with George Lepley in third place.

The Top Ten cars in the RAVENOL BTRDA Silver Star® Championship all have ‘Ford’ badges adorning their bodywork but the final pecking order is by no means settled yet. Assisted by a maximum last time out, Gavin Edwards/Caron Tomlinson lead the charge in their Escort, with the ever-present Cameron Davies/Lee Taylor (Fiesta) next. Defending Champion Boyd Kershaw and co-driver Bryan Hull (Escort Mk2) are third and, even though they already have two firsts and two seconds on the board, the pressure is now on to maintain this level of performance through to the close. Phill Burton/Mal Capstick’s aspirations were dented (literally!) on the Plains Rally and they were forced to miss the Carlisle Stages while their Escort underwent the work necessary to return it to the shape originally envisaged by the designers at the Ford Motor Company! They’ve been 3rd in the Silver Star points four times now – as the end of the season beckons, a couple more scores of a similar value – or better! – would do wonders to their final tally!

Ludlow farmer Dave Brick, who scored maximum Thomas Panels BTRDA 1400 Championship points in his Nova on the opening round of the season, returns for his ‘home’ event and, while no longer in the hunt for overall honours, could still show the regulars a thing or two! Jordan & Paul Hone (Proton Satria) & James Williams/Paul Wakely (Ford Ka) will be following him away from the Racecourse, while Brick Junior, Freddy, is also in the line-up. His particular Nova came up trumps on the Somerset Stages, but three retirements have set his campaign back somewhat.
Nissan Micras are the preferred mode of transport for Charlie Barlow/Dale Furniss and Matt Jackson/Claire Williams and, while they’ll be concentrating on their own private battle, an interesting entry will separate them from the start…. 1994/5 BTRDA Gold Star Champion Ricky Evans, co-driven by son Mathew, takes to the stages once again in a Peugeot 205…..
As they make a bee-line for Ludlow, Neil Andrew/Dom Adams lead the Thomas Panels-backed series from Carl Davies/Richard Jones, also in Micras, with the Hones in 3rd place but, as is the case with everything else, watch this space!

Dominic Hodge/Stefan Arndt, in their familiar Micra, are the leading Vital Equipment BTRDA Rally First Championship contenders in the Woodpecker entry, ahead of Richard Wells/Calvin Houldsworth (VW Polo). Retirement on the Nicky Grist Stages saw the series lead slip from Hodge/Arndt’s grasp, the cudgel gratefully taken up by Emily & Eliot Retallick (Peugeot 205XS). Somerset Stages ‘winner’ Chris Hickman and Sheldon Furby/Carrie Rogers (both MG ZRs) will also be looking to the event as an opportunity to move their campaigns forward.

After a brief foray via the Tyneside Stages, the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship returns to the gravel on the Woodpecker as Cameron Davies attempts to consolidate his lead in the points. Kit Leigh in a Fiesta R200 is next, while Freddy Brick, Emily Retallick and Sam Bilham are all keeping close company, comfortably in range of the leaders. So, there is plenty of unfinished business here, too!  (A Preview of the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship on the Woodpecker can be found Here )

Photo is Silver Star leaders Gavin Edwards & Caron Tomlinson on the Nicky Grist Stages.   Courtesy of ralliphotoswales

SERIOUS FUN in 2017 !

The BTRDA are very pleased to confirm the 2017 calendar for the RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series*

The 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series, which will include the 64th Gold Star and Silver Star Rally Championships plus the BTRDA 1400 and Rally First Championships and the BTRDA Historic Cup and Production Cup, is consistently the most popular rally championship in the UK and will continue to provide the very best selection of popular forest stage rallies.

The 2017 calendar contains eight one-day events starting with the Cambrian Rally in North Wales 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 (Subject to MSA approval)*

  • 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

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

Back to the 2016 season and the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages, the penultimate round of the 2016 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series, has again attracted a huge and varied entry. If you are intending to compete then you need to submit an on-line entry A.S.A.P. in order to be included on the seeded entry list.    Woodpecker Stages – Competitor Information
If you want to be part of the Woodpecker Stages, then the event organisers will still welcome any offers of help especially with marshalling on the stages which is essential for the event to be a success. Please contact the Chief Marshal Andrew ‘Bob’ Long via e-mail andrewlongec@aol.comor or phone 07769 661030.

Entries are now open for the Trackrod Forest Rally on Saturday 1st October which is the final round of the 2016 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series. This year the Rally HQ and ceremonial finish are at Scampston Hall near Malton but with the central service area at Adderstone Field located between the Dalby and Staindale stages. 45 miles of single use stages are on offer which should provide a fitting finale to the 2016 season.    Trackrod Forest Stages – Competitor information

The photo is Stephen Petch / Michael Wilkinson on the recent Nicky Grist Stages (photo courtesy of ralliphotoswales)