Author Archives: Howard Wilcock


Preview of Round 5: Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally – 30th October.

As the 2021 MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series® moves towards its conclusion, George Lepley finds himself with a slender lead in the race for the BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Championship. The 24-year old, from Newark, has already clinched the BTRDA Junior Driver title and, with a ‘full-house’ of four maximum scores, he and co-driver Tom Woodburn are confirmed as winners of Class B13 in their Mitsubishi Lancer EVOX. However, they still have a battle on their hands if they are to taste Gold Star glory!
    Title photo shows George Lepley / Tom Woodburn (Mitsubishi Lancer EVOX) in a hurry!

Returning to its once-traditional autumn spot, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally (30th October) is the penultimate round of the MRF Tyres BTRDA Series and will see contenders for all the various categories heading for its base in Llandudno. In Gold Star terms, a pair of Skoda Fabias in the capable hands of Garry Pearson / Niall Burns [the 2021 Scottish Rally Champions! ] and Ian Bainbridge / Will Atkins are Lepley / Woodburn’s nearest rivals, while Elliot Payne and Callum Black, both of whom have scored maximums on earlier events this season in their Fiestas, could also attain top spot when it matters most!  Meanwhile, fresh from 3rd overall on the recent Trackrod Forest Stages in his Mitsubishi Mirage, and still with an outside chance of success,

Tom Llewellin’s first full season in both a four-wheel drive vehicle and the BTRDA Series continues. Anyone doubting the youngster’s commitment does so at their peril !… See photo on left.

<<<<<   Tom Llewellin (Mitsubishi Mirage) on the recent Trackrod Forest Rally.

Although, as stated, Class B13 has been claimed, the intensity of the battle for the other podium places shows no sign of abating! Matthew Hirst / Declan Dear, Maxx Bradshaw / Liam Whiteley & Russ Thompson (Lancers) will square up to Ian Baumgart / Dave Robson (Impreza) and the MRF Tyres-sponsored Escort Cosworth of Ian Joel / Graeme Wood.




The MRF Tyres BTRDA Silver Star® Championship has seen different ‘winners’ on each of the four events so far. Such distribution of top honours currently leaves the way open for upwards of a dozen crews to walk away with the title, come mid-November. That number will, doubtless, be depleted somewhat following the Cambrian Rally but, prior to a rapid trip round parts of North Wales, it’s Paul Street / Ian Jones who hold sway in their Escort by the slenderest of margins from the Avenger of Baz Jordan / Arwel Jenkins.

                                     Baz Jordan / Arwel Jenkins’ rapid Hillman Avenger  on the Trackrod Forest Rally >>>>>>>

Owen McMackin’s 30 points on the Trackrod moved his Escort up to 3rd in the table, with Ashley Davies / Sam Fordham (Escort) and Ioan Lloyd / Sion Williams’ Peugeot 208 R2 in close attendance. Maintaining the family tradition, Robert Gough (Escort) took maximum Silver Star points on the Woodpecker Stages – an event which his dad, Richard, has won five times outright – and could now do with a repeat performance on the Cambrian Rally to further enhance his chances of the title.

The Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Historic Cup points table is, in part, a mirror-image of that for the Silver Star in that it’s Baz Jordan, himself, who leads the charge but, once again, by just a solitary point from Paul Street! Touch wood, Tom Coughtrie has ironed out the problems that dogged the initial forays in his Mitsubishi Galant VR4 and, with four finishes from four starts so far, he and Ian Fraser occupy 3rd place in the Historic Cup standings.

With three maximum scores in each, Ioan Lloyd / Sion Williams lead both the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup & BTRDA R2 Junior Cup in their Peugeot 208. Put one way, this means that the pair have two further opportunities to take the one maximum required to put the matter beyond doubt or, put another, it still gives Jonathan Jones (R2 Cup), Connor Tolson and Sam Bilham (both R2 & R2 Junior Cups) hope that they can halt the charge in their respective Fiestas!…

As far as the Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA 1400® Championship is concerned, having missed the Trackrod Rally, Adrian & Matt Walk return in their giant-killing 1400C Ford Ka which came out on top on the Woodpecker Stages. For their part, Richard Jordan / James Gratton-Smith (MG ZR), Steve Black / Paul Morris (Suzuki Swift), Dave & Toby Brick (Nova) and Aaron Rix (Escort) will all be intent on ensuring that they don’t afford the Ka the opportunity to repeat the procedure, leaving the ball firmly in their court!…

                                     Steve Black / Paul Morris, Bronze Star winners on the Trackrod Forest Rally >>>>

<<<<<<   Tom Naylor / Tom Bishop (Fiesta ST) are engaged in mortal combat with Simon Double/ Jessica Mitchell (MG ZR) for the bragging rights in the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally First Championship, with the former driver currently holding the upper hand – just!  For the first time this season, they’re joined by Andrew & Oliver Wheatley (1.4 Ford Puma) who, while obviously not in contention for overall honours, have previously exhibited sufficient speed suitable to keep the front-runners on their toes!

Prospective spectators should consult for event information.

All photos © Kevin Money / Malcom Almond                          AH 22/10/2021


Preview of Round 4 : Trackrod Forest Stages – 25th September.
The Trackrod Forest Stages, the fourth round of the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series® and third in the Motorsport UK 2021 English Rally Championship in association with Seacon UK, takes competitors on to the North York Moors and features some of the fastest special stages they’ll experience all season. Contenders for both series will be heading for the Yorkshire seaside town of Filey which acts as host to the event on 25th September.

Prior to the start, the MRF Tyres BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Championship is in a particularly tense situation as just two points separate the top three drivers and, with a possible 30 available on each of the three remaining rounds, no-one can afford to put a foot wrong. A win on the recent Woodpecker Stages sees Garry Pearson (Fabia) atop the Gold Star drivers’ table, one point ahead of Elliot Payne (Fiesta), with the roles reversed for their respective co-drivers – Cameron Fair (Payne) leads Niall Burns (Pearson) by a single point. Then George Lepley / Tom Woodburn (Lancer EVOX) are both 3rd, also by a similar margin, while Ian Bainbridge / Will Atkins (Fabia) currently occupy 4th, two points further back but still only four behind the leaders!…
All the above are reaping the benefits of classification as finishers in each of the three events so far but, with another three still to run and every competitor’s four best scores to count, those with one – or even two – DNFs to date can still haul themselves back into contention. Tom Llewellin (Mitsubishi Mirage) was absent from the Woodpecker while the Fiesta of Charlie Payne wasn’t seen until the Scottish Rally, but both have taken good results from the two events they have contested.

2019 BTRDA Bronze Star (1400) Championship winner Callum Black, with Jack Morton directing operations in his Fiesta, started as he hoped to continue – with 2nd place points on the Nicky Grist Stages but, since then, fate has not been kind to him with, firstly, a double puncture and then broken steering putting paid to finishes on either of the last two events. However, albeit with no further room for error (no matter who or what is deemed to be at fault!), the pair can still rescue the situation and gain the required number of scores for a serious tilt at the title.

Lepley/Woodburn have, thus far, exerted a vice-like grip on Class B13 in their Lancer but, as above, there are still those in a position to rain on their parade. Richard Hill (Lancer EVO9), Ian Baumgart / Dave Robson (Impreza) and Manxmen Maxx Bradshaw / Liam Whiteley (Lancer EVO3) have also crossed the finish line on three occasions, while Ian Joel / Graeme Wood (Escort Cosworth) and another couple of Lancers in the hands of Matthew Hirst / Declan Dear and Russ Thompson each have ‘previous’ when it comes to class wins at BTRDA Rally Series level.

George Lepley / Tom Woodburn (Mitsubishi Lancer EVOX) – Class B13 Leaders  >>>>>>

So far in 2021, the MRF Tyres BTRDA Silver Star® Championship and JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Historic Cup have been inextricably linked in that the top points scorer in one has done likewise in the other! The latest recipient of both accolades is Robert Gough whose Historic spec. Escort Mk2 came up trumps on the Woodpecker Stages.
In Silver Star terms, Ioan Lloyd / Sion Williams (Peugeot 208 R2) were one place and six seconds behind Gough, laying memories of their roll and subsequent DNF on the Scottish Rally to rest, while Owen McMackin’s Escort was right behind them to take 3rd on the day. Paul Street/Ian Jones (Escort Mk2) and Baz Jordan/Arwel Jenkins (Avenger) both recorded their third consecutive finish of the season to maintain 1st & 2nd places respectively in both Silver Star and Historic Cup tables.
Setting out to defend their 2019 Silver Star runner-up driver and champion co-driver status, Andy Davison and Tom Murphy have had a nightmare of a season to date. Their hitherto reliable Talbot Sunbeam VXR registered two consecutive DNFs at the start of its campaign and an absence from the Woodpecker now means that the four scores necessary to challenge for a decent end-of-season result are unobtainable. However, the crew take the start of the Trackrod Forest Stages in an attempt to salvage something for their not inconsiderable efforts!
Tony Simpson / Ian Bevan (Fiesta) will be the first BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup contenders to leave the start followed, a couple of minutes later, by the Peugeot 208 of Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams who will not only be chasing down R2 Cup points but also defending their lead in the BTRDA R2 Junior Cup. However, Rob Wilson, Sam Bilham and Connor Tolson (all Fiestas) will each have other (slightly differing!) ideas on that score…

<<<  Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams (Peugeot 208 R2) – BTRDA Rallye R2 Junior Cup Leaders


Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA 1400 Championship front-runners Steve Black/Paul Morris (Suzuki Swift), Richard Jordan/James Gratton-Smith (MG ZR) and Dave & Toby Brick (Nova) will be looking to North Yorkshire as a chance to restore what, in their collective view, is some form of normality to the results after none of them reached the end of SS1 on the Woodpecker Stages! Jordan/Gratton-Smith retain their Championship lead but by a much-reduced margin from the MG ZR of Class 1400C leaders Edward Wain/Noel Murphy and 1400S winners on the Woodpecker, Aaron Rix/Abi Haycock (Escort). They are joined on the Trackrod by Chris Bush’s Corsa for what will be the Glossop driver’s first BTRDA outing of the season.

Tom Naylor/Tom Bishop (Fiesta ST) once again take on Simon Double/Jessica Mitchell (MG ZR) in the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally First Championship as Naylor seeks to extend his current two-point lead in the overall table. Jacob Neal also rejoins the fray after his Corsa failed to finish last time out on the Nicky Grist Stages.

Following a two-month break after the Nicky Grist Stages, contenders for the Motorsport UK 2021 English Rally Championship in association with Seacon UK are called to arms for the second time in three weeks. With two maximum scores to their credit, George Lepley (Lancer EVOX) and Ioan Lloyd (Peugeot 208) are the joint leaders, with Garry Pearson (Fabia) and Owen McMackin (Escort) equal 3rd, two points behind, and then Elliot Payne (Fiesta), Paul Street (Escort Mk2) and Jonathan Jones (Fiesta R2) a similar margin back.
With such a closely fought battle, it’s quite (very!) likely that good performances in Yorkshire will bring other names to the fore but, with the cancellation of the Wyedean Stages Rally, originally scheduled for next month, we’ll have to wait until the Grizedale Stages in early December, to see just who comes away with the title!…
Prospective spectators should consult for event information.

The featured image is Garry Pearson / Niall Burns (Skoda Fabia) going about their business on the Woodpecker Stages

All photos © Kevin Money / Malcolm Almond


Round 3 : Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages – 4th September (NON-SPECTATOR)

With Covid restrictions still rife across the country, the organisers of the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages, the third round of the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series and second of the Motorsport UK 2021 English Rally Championship in association with Seacon UK, have been forced to make some major changes to its tried-and-tested format in order that the event can take place at all. Not least of these is that Sixty & Worcs. M.C. has had to move away from its traditional Ludlow Racecourse base for the first time since 1997!….

Notwithstanding, the enduring popularity of the ‘Woody’ has been responsible for a high-quality entry and those with designs on MRF Tyres BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Championship points will need to be on their mettle if they are to take the opportunity to progress. Having retired their Fiesta last time out, Callum Black/Jack Morton have some catching up to do while maximum scorers in Scotland, Garry Pearson/Niall Burns (Fabia), are the nearest challengers to current leaders Elliot Payne/Cameron Fair (Fiesta).                                                                 


                                                                   Pearson/Burns (Skoda Fabia) kicking up the dust on the Scottish Rally      >>>>>>>


Behind Payne/Fair, Ian Bainbridge/Will Atkins (Fabia) & Tom Llewellin (Mitsubishi Mirage) also have 100% finishing records, thereby maintaining pressure on the leaders such that another good showing, combined with the ever-present possibility of something untoward upsetting the rhythm of those in front, could considerably alter the order at the sharp end of the points table by the end of the day!…
George Lepley/Tom Woodburn (Lancer EVOX) have seized the early initiative in Class B13 with two ‘wins’ to their credit, but every day’s a school day and, with a string of well-driven EVO9s in the hands of Richard Hill, Russ Thompson and Matthew Hirst, not to mention Ian Baumgart’s Impreza and the always-immaculate Escort Cosworth of Ian Joel hunting them down, it’s far too early in the season to regard anything as secure….

Paul Street and Ian Jones (Escort Mk2) are the current Two-Wheel Drive Kings as they lead both the MRF Tyres BTRDA Silver Star® Championship & Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Historic Cup tables. (See main image)  Although not BTRDA-registered, this time they’ll be pitting their skills against two former Woodpecker winners – Richard Gough, who was victorious on five occasions (the most recent a quarter of a century ago in 1996!), is wheeling out his ex Rothmans Escort, now suitably restored to its original 1981 livery, while 2012 victor Roger Chilman has also forsaken his Impreza for an Escort for this latest appearance.  Baz Jordan/Arwel Jenkins (Avenger) are Street/Jones’ nearest challengers in both Silver Star and Historic Cup terms but there are any number of other crews ideally placed to step up to the plate, given half a chance!


The BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup sees Jonathan Jones (Fiesta) in the ascendancy after early leaders Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams inflicted enough damage to their Peugeot 208 on the Scottish Rally to preclude a finish. Having missed the opening encounter, Tony Simpson/ Ian Bevan (Fiesta) announced their arrival in fine style north of the border and will now be hoping for similar on the Woodpecker.

<<<<<  Tony Simpson / Ian Bevan

In BTRDA Rallye R2 Junior Cup terms, Lloyd/Williams retain their lead but, having both declined the opportunity of a trip to Lockerbie, Connor Tolson/Dylan Thomas and Robert Wilson/ Martin Haggett (Fiestas) are now set to rejoin the fray once more.


Meanwhile, Steve Black/Paul Morris’ desire to consolidate their lead in the Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA 1400® Championship in Scotland came to nought when their Suzuki Swift left the road in Twiglees. Richard Jordan/James Gratton-Smith (MG ZR) moved to the top of the table with their second consecutive finish but we can now expect fireworks as the two crews are not only joined by Dave & Toby Brick’s rapid Nova (at least it is when those two are in it!) on what is their ‘home’ event, but also Aaron Rix/Abi Haycock’s Escort. Brace yourselves!…


Richard Jordan/James Gratton Smith (MG ZR) – BTRDA 1400 ‘Bronze Star’ Championship Leaders


The MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally First® Championship is set for a ‘Clash of the Titans’ as the winner of the first round Tom Naylor (Fiesta), who was absent from the second, meets the victors on Round 2, Simon Double/Jessica Mitchell (MG ZR), who didn’t contest the season-opener….

Having had a couple of months off since their opening round, contenders for the Motorsport UK 2021 English Rally Championship in association with Seacon UK now face the prospect of two events in three weeks. So, very shortly, the six joint leaders – as is always the case after the opening round of a class-based series – will start to reduce! Indeed, two of them haven’t entered the Woodpecker, leaving defending champion.

Steve Black (Suzuki Swift), George Lepley (Lancer EVOX), Elliot Payne (Fiesta) and Ioan Lloyd (Peugeot 208) to fend off their respective aggressors as they attempt to maintain their advantage. However, they won’t need reminding that there are another six drivers, all of whom will be present, a mere two points behind them – for now!…
Due to the event being designated ‘Non-Spectator’, the action will be broadcast LIVE throughout the day across the Woodpecker Stages social media feeds. Event news and results will also be updated across its social platforms to enable you to keep up to date with all the happenings from home.

All photos © Kevin Money / Malcolm Almond


Preview of Round 2: 75th Scottish Rally – 24th July (NON-SPECTATOR EVENT)
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 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


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

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       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.