Author Archives: Howard Wilcock


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.


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       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.



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

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