Author Archives: Howard Wilcock

CROSS BORDER SKIRMISH…!

Preview of Round 2: 75th Scottish Rally – 24th July (NON-SPECTATOR EVENT)
CROSS-BORDER SKIRMISH!.
Hot on the heels of the Nicky Grist Stages in what is shaping up to be a crowded calendar for the rest of the year, the 75th Scottish Rally welcomes MRF BTRDA Rally Series contenders to Lockerbie on 24th July. What is also significant is that this will be the first time the BTRDA Series has ventured north of the border for nearly thirty years – the 1992 Border Rally being the last!… Indeed, the BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Championship trophy currently resides in the Scottish Borders as Euan Thorburn dominated the 2019 Series in his Fiesta, taking victory on each of the first five rounds.
So, to 2021 and, somewhat belatedly, the race for the various BTRDA titles has begun in earnest and, in Gold Star terms, it’s Elliot Payne who holds the early small advantage from Callum Black. On this occasion, in start order we have the Fiestas of Black and Payne, ahead of the Skoda Fabia’s of Garry Pearson/Niall Burns, Ian Bainbridge/Will Atkins and Dylan Davies/Mark Glennerster. Tom Llewellin makes the long journey up from deepest West Wales with his Mitsubishi Mirage, hoping to add to his 5th place points tally from the Nicky Grist and then, into the teens, we find John Wink’s Hyundai i20 and Charlie Payne, Elliot’s dad, in another Fiesta co-driven by Patrick Walsh.

<<<<   MRF Tyres BTRDA Gold Star Championship Leader Elliot Payne (Fiesta)

Mitsubishi Lancers of various denominations hold sway in Class B13, with the odd Subaru Impreza thrown in for good measure! In the former we find George Lepley/Tom Woodburn, Russ Thompson/Peredur Davies, Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear and Richard Hill, while Ian Baumgart/Dave Robson will be hoping that the pendulum swings in their Impreza’s favour.

In the absence of Jason Pritchard, BTRDA Silver Star® Championship leaders after the Nicky Grist, Frank & Lauren Kelly lead the field away in their Escort Mk2, with the similar cars of Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham and Rob Wright/Mark Fisher in close attendance. Following a rare retirement in Wales, Andy Davison & Tom Murphy, 2019 Silver Star Runner-Up and Champion respectively, need to put their season back on track with a good run in their Talbot Sunbeam VXR.
Paul Street/Ian Jones (Escort) and Baz Jordan/Arwel Jenkins (Avenger) renew their friendly rivalry in the quest for JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Historic Cup® points, while Steve Ward/Mike Crawford and David Dobson/Steve Pugh (both Escorts) will also be hoping to get in on the act! Tom Coughtrie (Mitsubishi Galant VR4) won his class (H4) last time out and a repeat performance wouldn’t do the Ayr driver any harm at all!

Somebody else facing a long drive to the start is BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup leader Ioan Lloyd. However, needs must if the Llandysul driver and co-driver Sion Williams (Peugeot 208) are to maintain their advantage. Opposition in the form of Tony Simpson/Ian Bevan, Ewan Tindall and Jonathan Jones (Fiestas) will also be present, obviously with other ideas on the subject!…

                                          Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams (Peugeot 208R2)  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA Bronze Star Championship contender Richard Jordan (MG ZR) starts the event just in front of his dad’s Avenger but, in 1400 terms, he and co-driver James Gratton-Smith will need to pay more attention to the car two minutes behind – the Suzuki Swift of Steve Black/Paul Morris which got the better of them on the Nicky Grist!…

 

<<<<   Richard Jordan/James Gratton-Smith (MG ZR)

Meanwhile the MRF Tyres Mixed-Surface Challenge continues in Scotland with the second gravel event in its seven-round calendar. Brendan Wellman’s Fiesta holds 4th place after the opening encounter but, with the MRF Tyres-sponsored cars of Callum Black (Fiesta) and Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence (Lancer EVO9) also bidding for glory, some fireworks can be expected!

Unfortunately, due to the current Covid restrictions, the 75th Scottish Rally is a NON-SPECTATOR event. Please respect this ruling – it is a MSUK and Scottish Government requirement – and follow the event online.

Registration for the 2021 BTRDA Rally Series & Motorsport UK 2021 English Rally Championship.
If you have not yet registered for the 2021 championships, you can still do so online at www.btrdamembership.com 2021 Regulations are in the Competitor section of this website
Please complete this registration A.S.A.P. if you wish to be eligible score points on the Scottish Rally. NB: Due to the prevailing Covid 19 restrictions we are not allowed a BTRDA signing on desk at the events. You must register online. Championship decals etc will be available at the events from the BTRDA Championship Co-ordinator Ian Arden. Tel: 07917 355169.

All photos © Kevin Money / Malcolm Almond        AH/170721

KIELDER POWER AWARDS 2021

KIELDER POWER AWARDS in 2021
Thanks to generous support from KIELDER Works Team, they will be awarding one of their valuable “Layer Cake Spare Wheel Kits” as a prize on each round of the 2021 MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series.

Details of these specially designed Motorsport Spare Wheel Kits, which include an impact wrench, can be viewed HERE  !

To give all BTRDA Rally Series crews a chance of winning one of these great prizes they will be awarded as follows:-

Round 1: Highest Placed Driver in the BTRDA Bronze Star
Round 2: Highest placed Driver in the BTRDA Silver Star
Round 3: Highest Placed Driver in BTRDA Rally First
Round 4: Highest placed Driver in the BTRDA Historic Cup
Round 5: Highest Placed Driver in the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup
Round 6: Highest Placed Driver in the BTRDA Gold Star

More information about the whole range of Kielder specialist tools and products can be found at www.kielder.co

Photos:  Tony Simpson (left) on the Malcolm Wilson Rally and Zak Hughes (below) on the NG Stages.

 

Registration for the 2021 BTRDA Rally Series & Motorsport UK 2021 English Rally Championship.
If you have not yet registered for the 2021 championships, you can still do so online at www.btrdamembership.com       2021 Regulations are in the Competitor section of this website
Please complete this registration A.S.A.P. if you wish to be eligible score points on the NG Stages.   NB: Due to the prevailing Covid 19 restrictions we are not allowed a BTRDA signing on desk at the NG Stages.   Championship decals etc will be available at the event from the BTRDA Championship Co-ordinator Ian Arden. Tel: 07917 355169.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN !

Round 1 : NICKY GRIST STAGES – 10th July (NON-SPECTATOR EVENT)
ON THE ROAD AGAIN!.…
And, whatever the weather on 10th July, there’s bound to be plenty of ‘Canned Heat’ expended by competitors on the Nicky Grist Stages, the first round of the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series to take place following the enforced lay-off since the Malcolm Wilson Rally back in March 2020. Quinton Motor Club Ltd has been inundated with requests for entries for its Builth Wells-based event and, consequently, the organisers have been faced with the unenviable task of whittling them down to its permitted maximum of 170.

2019 BTRDA Bronze Star (1400) Champion Callum Black (accompanied by Jack Morton) returns to the Series in an MRF Tyres-sponsored Fiesta R5 as he attempts to add the BTRDA Gold Star title to his rallying CVs. Callum contested the 2017 Series in a similar car, narrowly missing out on outright victory.  See main photo.  The popular Fiesta R5s are also the chosen mode of transport for Vivian Hamill / Andrew Grennan, Gareth Sayers / Gareth Gilchrist and Trevor Gamble / Ron Roughhead. Meanwhile Dylan Davies / Mark Glennerster and Ian Bainbridge / Will Atkins, (photo from 2020 Cambrian Rally) who have both had excellent BTRDA results in previous years, will bring their Skoda Fabia R5s back for the 2021 campaign.  Also joining the race to succeed Euan Thorburn as BTRDA Gold Star Rally Champion this year is Tom Llewellin, son of 1989/90 British Champion David, at the wheel of a Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage R5. This will be the young Welshman’s first foray into the world of four-wheel drive rallying but, based on the speed at which he adapted from an F1000 Nissan Micra to a full-house Escort Mk2 (and with an excellent instructor on hand 24/7!), no-one should underestimate the level of commitment to the task ahead!

In times past Class B13 has been a hot-bed of competition and this season looks to be no different on that score. George Lepley / Tom Woodburn return in their Lancer EVOX while Martyn & Dawn England have forsaken their Fiesta for a similar vehicle. Matthew Hirst / Declan Dear and Russ Thompson / Peredur Davies return with their EVO9s, while 2018 English Rally Champions Ian Joel / Graeme Wood remain loyal to their trusty Escort Cosworth.

George Lepley was the 2019 BTRDA Silver Star® Champion but, having now transferred his allegiance to a four-wheel drive car, the way is open for a new name on the Silver Star trophy. Frank Kelly is bringing his famous Escort Mk2 (Baby Blue) across from the Emerald Isle to join the ‘home-grown’ talent and, if his proven speed through the Irish lanes can be translated into the Welsh forests, the likes of 2019 Silver Star runner-up Andy Davison (Talbot Sunbeam VXR) will really have to be on their mettle! 

2017 Silver Star Champion Ashley Davies (2.4 Escort Mk2) is back > (Photo from 2017 Woodpecker) > and Jason Pritchard / Phil Clarke will be hoping their Historic spec. Escort Mk2, which took them to a class win on the 2019 Nicky Grist, can do the same again!  Opposition in the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Historic Cup is likely to come from Barry Jordan, himself, in his Hillman Avenger while Tom Coughtrie returns with his Mitsubishi Galant VR4.

One of the many success stories of the BTRDA Rally Series in recent years has been the introduction of the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup. Now taking the concept a stage further, the BTRDA JUNIOR R2 1600 Cup caters for drivers under the age of 25 in relatively affordable 1600cc normally aspirated R2 cars, and carries with it an impressive array of awards for those who are ultimately successful. While Fiestas are currently the predominantly favoured cars – at least Connor Tolson and Rob Wilson believe them to be so! – Ioan Lloyd is pinning his hopes on a Peugeot 208!

Defending FUCHS Lubricants BTRDA Bronze Star (1400) Champion Steve Black, with Paul Morris ensconced in the co-driver’s seat once more, leads the category in his Suzuki Swift, with the Nova of Dave & Toby Brick and Richard Jordan / James Gratton-Smith’s MG ZR in hot pursuit. Among those with an eye to upsetting the apple cart will be Aaron Rix / Abi Haycock (Escort) and Chris Bush / Robert Smith (Corsa).
Meanwhile the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally First Championship sees Andrew Bustard (Escort Mk2) and Simon Stanbury (MG ZR) going head-to-head in the 2.0 litre class with Tom Naylor, son of BTRDA Production Cup Champion Pat Naylor, setting out on the next step of his rallying career in a Nissan Micra.

The Motorsport UK 2021 English Rally Championship in association with SEACON UK also sets sail on the Nicky Grist Stages. In the class-based series, defending champion Steve Black begins his campaign to put his 1400cc Suzuki Swift at the head of the points table when it matters most once again. However, as all BTRDA-registered crews are automatically eligible for English Championship points, not to put too fine a point on it, the opposition will be considerable!…

<<<<<<<  Steve Black (Suzuki Swift) – Motorsport UK 2019 English Rally Champion

The 2021 Nicky Grist Stages has benefited from excellent co-operation and support from Powys County Council, the Ministry of Defence and Natural Resources Wales, but Covid restrictions and MoD Training decree that it will be a NON-SPECTATOR event – the organisers advise that non-compliance could threaten any, or all, of the proposed route. Please stay at home and watch the live-streaming, details of which will be available via the ‘Special Stage’ Facebook page.

Registration for the 2021 BTRDA Rally Series & Motorsport UK 2021 English Rally Championship.
If you have not yet registered for the 2021 championships, you can still do so online at www.btrdamembership.com       2021 Regulations are in the Competitor section of this website
Please complete this registration A.S.A.P. so that we have received your application before the NG Stages.   NB: Due to the prevailing Covid 19 restrictions we are not allowed to set up a BTRDA signing on desk at the NG Stages so registrations must be completed in advance of the event. Championship decals etc will be available at the event from the BTRDA Championship Co-ordinator Ian Arden. Tel: 07917 355169.

AH/040721

A MIRAGE IN THE FOREST !….

Tom Llewellin, son of 1989 and 1990 British Rally Champion David, is to contest the 2021 MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series in a Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage R5. The 20-year old from Rudbaxton entered his first Junior Rally at Knockhill in 2015 and, until the enforced Covid break, had been gaining valuable experience ever since.
2018 saw Tom joining the Swift Sport Rallycross series and then, three months after his 17th birthday, he entered the Nicky Grist Stages for his first taste of ‘proper’ rallying! A full-scale assault on the Welsh Championship in an Historic-spec. Escort Mk2 was on the menu for the following season and, although still learning the art of driving a RWD car quickly and acclimatising himself to the use of pace-notes, he finished 3rd overall in the Championship, picking up the U-23 and 2WD awards along the way!
The Cambrian was to be the only rally Tom started last year – 9th overall and 1st 2WD were an excellent foretaste of what he hoped was to come in a full season of the British Historic Championship. Alas, it was not to be and now he says ‘I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to contest the BTRDA Rally Series and can’t wait to see what I can do in a four-wheel drive car’! Tom – you’re not the only one!…
Among others who also have their eyes on the prestigious BTRDA Gold Star® Championship crown is Callum Black (Fiesta R5), who narrowly missed out on the title in 2017 when he finished runner-up to Stephen Petch. Martyn England and Hugh Brunton are also pinning their hopes of success on a Fiesta R5, while the duelling Mitsubishi Lancers of Pat Naylor, Russ Thompson and Matthew Hirst are also back for more of the same. Based on past performances, someone they’ll all need to keep an eye on, however, is George Lepley who is set to reappear in the Lancer EVO X that took him to 2nd overall – and maximum BTRDA Series points – on the 2019 Woodpecker Stages….
Brace yourselves!…

Note: Entries for Round 1 of the 2021 MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series, the Nicky Grist Stages, open from 6pm on Monday 24th May. For the first few days entries have been reserved specifically for 2021 Championship registered crews, but we expect there will be a huge demand for entries, so please don’t delay submitting your entry. More info can be found at www.nickygriststages.co.uk

The main photo shows Tom’s Mirage being put through its paces during a recent test.    © Stan’s Photos

BTRDA JUNIOR R2 1600 CUP ANNOUNCED

Running within the 2021 MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series, the BTRDA is delighted to announce an exciting new initiative for Junior drivers, i.e. those under 25 years old on 1st January 2021.

The top three drivers in normally-aspirated R2 1600s will benefit from cash awards on each round1st £150, 2nd £125, 3rd £75 – and the driver of the highest-placed Fiesta on each event will also receive a parts voucher, to the value of £150, from reigning double British Rally Champion Matt Edwards.   [Subject to a minimum of five registered competitors]

There will be a free pre-season test session at Forest Experience Rally School for all the BTRDA 1600 R2 runners (not just juniors).

In addition at the end of the season, the BTRDA Junior R2 Cup winner will be in line for : –

  • A Kielder WT Tools package
  • On the Pace Note’ notes + DVD’s for the following year (max of 6 and subject to OTPN being involved in the events they contest)
  • Next Steps’ coaching via Trevor Agnew (plus a group session for all contenders prior to the start of the season)
  • 1-2-1 coaching at their own test from Tom Williams (ex JWRC Driver)
  • A R5 20km test from 586 Engineering + insurance from Shepherd Compello (This does not include any excess)

Tony Simpson, of Seacon UK, who has put the package together, says “The R2 Cup has been the most competitive class in BTRDA over the last few years and the 1600 R2 cars across all the brands that produce them are now very much the entry level for an aspiring Junior driver. With this in mind, David Williams, of Genesis 3D Design, and I set about putting a prize structure together and, once some of my own existing partners heard of our plans, they all wanted to get involved!  We now have one of the most comprehensive prize packages seen at national level for many years and we are all very proud and excited!  We engaged with the BTRDA at an early stage in our planning and we now have a great category for under 25 drivers in any brand of R2 1600.”

On behalf of the BTRDA, Rallies Committee Chair Neil Cross commented “The BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup has been a great success since we introduced it to the BTRDA Rally Series a few years ago and now it’s become one of most hotly-contested Cups. Tony Simpson and David Williams have taken that formula as a basis for an exciting new Cup and prize-fund to encourage Junior drivers to join us using modern, available cars with a proven record in the World Rally Championship.”           Tony Simpson in action on the 2020 Malcolm Wilson Rally >>>

Note:  BTRDA Rally Series registration and BTRDA Club membership are free to new members under 25 for their first year of registration.  

The featured image is of 2015 BTRDA Junior Drivers Champion Rhys Yates in a 1600 R2 Fiesta. © Ralliphotoswales.

Although the Fiesta is the most popular 1600 normally aspirated R2 car in the UK, there are many other eligible R2 cars including the Peugeot 208 R2, Opel Adam R2, Renault Twingo II, Škoda Fabia R2, Citroën C2R2,and the Suzuki Swift R2. 

Below are photos of the 2018 BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup winner George Lepley and the 2019 BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup winner Perry Gardener

UNDER STARTERS ORDERS ?

The BTRDA is pleased to confirm that Regulations for the 2021 MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series are now available (see the Competitor section of this website) and that the 2021 on-line BTRDA Membership / Championship Registration is now open.

It is currently envisaged that the BTRDA Rally Series will begin on Saturday 10th July with the Nicky Grist Stages and feature seven rounds, of which each competitor’s five best scores will count towards their final Championship positions.

The 2021 BTRDA Rally Series calendar* is as follows : –

  • 19th June     Kielder Forest Stages / Hexham
  • 10th July     Nicky Grist Stages  / Builth Wells
  • 24th July     Scottish Rally / Lockerbie
  • 14th August     Plains Rally / Mallwyd, Mid Wales
  • 4th September     Woodpecker Stages / Ludlow
  • 25th September     Trackrod Forest Stages / Filey
  • 30th October     Cambrian Rally / Llandudno
  • 13th November     Rallynuts Stages / Royal Welsh Showground

* Subject to any further restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The comprehensive class structure, that has proved so popular in the past, is maintained.  The BTRDA Gold Star® Championship (Overall), BTRDA Silver Star® Championship (Two-Wheel Drive) and BTRDA 1400 Championship (for which the overall winners will receive BTRDA Bronze Stars) are augmented by the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally First Championship, the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Historic Cup (with on event cash prizes), the BTRDA Rallye R5 Cup and the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup.  In addition we will soon be announcing an exciting new Junior 1600 R2 Cup competition.   

As previously announced, all competitors who were registered for the BTRDA Rally Series (which includes the Motorsport UK English Rally Championship and the MRF Mixed Surface Challenge) in 2020 can register for the same championship in 2021 at zero cost, leaving you with just the cost of BTRDA club membership which has been held at £30.00 per person for a further year.  (Note:  For the on-line system to be able to detect you were registered for the BTRDA Forest Rally Series in 2020 you must use the same Username that you did in 2020 and you must rejoin BTRDA rather than joining as a new member).  

BTRDA Rally Series registration and BTRDA membership are free to new members under 25 years of age on the 1st January 2021, for their first year of registration.

Covid restrictions dictate that the traditional pre-event Signing-On sessions will not take place and, hence, the opportunity to actually register for the BTRDA Series on events will be severely compromised. Nevertheless, we want you to join in some ‘Serious Fun’ and, hence, we would implore all prospective contenders to avail themselves of the online registration system prior to their first appearance of the season.  Alternatively there is a Membership / Registration form which can be downloaded.

Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton were the BTRDA Gold Star Champions in 2019 and Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (pictured in their Fiesta © Kevin Money) were leading the charge last year after 2 events before we were forced to call a halt to the proceedings. So, we can’t wait to see who will take the limelight in the Gold, Silver & Bronze Stars once we’re up and running once more!

We can also confirm that the team from Special Stage will be on hand to record the action from every event in the forthcoming season….

For further details, contact Ian Arden – Tel : 07917 355169/E-mail : [email protected]