News

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]

ONWARDS – AND UPWARDS !…

ONWARDS – AND UPWARDS!…

Following the enforced curtailment of the 2020 MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series and Motorsport UK 2020 English Rally Championship in association with Seacon, we now look forward to the 2021 season with renewed vigour and are pleased to announce a well-spaced calendar of events beginning with the Kielder Forest Rally in mid June. The BTRDA Rally Series maintains its position as the UK’s most popular Stage Rally Championship, catering for any vehicle complying with current Motorsport UK Technical Regulations.

The comprehensive class structure, that has proved so popular in the past, is maintained with 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 BTRDA Rallye R5 Cup, BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup and the BTRDA Historic Cup.

The BTRDA Rally First Championship, for which eligible vehicles are only allowed minimal modifications to their original specification (except when it comes to safety!), is viewed as both an excellent entry-level series and an ideal way for those reacquainting themselves with the sport to compete.

> The much reduced preparation and running costs make Rally First a more affordable option for competitors, even with a limited budget.
> For those who prefer to leave the car preparation to others and hire a rally car, the deals on offer will reflect the lower preparation and running costs of a Rally First car.
> Hiring a Rally First car is also a good way to experience stage rallying for the first time as a competitor, before making the decision to invest in your own car.
> Rally First is the logical next step for a Junior (under 17 yrs) rally competitor coming into senior level stage rallying. The existing Junior F1000 specification car is eligible for Rally First.

For its 68th year of ‘Serious Fun!’, the BTRDA Rally Series calendar encompasses eight of the best UK forest events and, in order to give competitors extra choice, everyone’s five best scores will count towards their final tally.

The 2021 BTRDA Rally Series calendar* (as at 19th February) 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 Motorsport UK approval and any further restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As previously announced, all 2020 BTRDA Rally Series competitor registrations will be carried over into 2021 and BTRDA Membership will be held at £30.00 per person for a further year. Registrations for the 2021 MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series will be available in early December via : www.btrdarally.com/competitors
For further details, contact Ian Arden – Tel : 07917 355169 / E-mail: [email protected]

The main image is of Tony Simpson and Ian Bevan (Fiesta R2) on the 2020 Malcolm Wilson Rally.

– ENDS –

2020 MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series – Cancellation

2020 MRF TYRES BTRDA RALLY SERIES CANCELLED  

At a recent ‘virtual’ meeting of the BTRDA Rallies Committee – organisers of the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series, the Motorsport UK 2020 English Rally Championship in association with Seacon and the MRF Tyres Mixed-Surface Challenge – the remainder of the 2020 season was the main topic of discussion. With all the uncertainty currently surrounding the viability of forest rallying in the immediate future due to the ongoing Covid 19 outbreak, it was unanimously decided that with great regret, in the best interests of everyone concerned, the 2020 season should be brought to a halt forthwith.  

BTRDA Rallies Committee Chair Neil Cross expressed his disappointment at the outcome. ‘We’d been leaving a decision on the rest of the season for as long as possible, but the odds were stacked against us and, in the end, we felt we were left with no other option than to cancel. I’m sorry for our registered competitors, sponsors and event organisers who, like us, had been hoping for some positive news but, rest assured, we’re already working on our plans for 2021, details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.’  

It has been confirmed that all the 2020 BTRDA Rally Series registered competitors will have their Championship registration fees carried forward into 2021, while BTRDA Membership fees are to be held at £30 for a further year.  

The photo above is Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson (Fiesta WRC) on their way to wining the 2020 Malcolm Wilson Rally which was the final forest rally in the UK before the Covid-19 lockdown.  They were leading the Gold Star Championship points table after the two rounds that were possible to run in 2020.   

THE GENERATION GAME

The second round of the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series takes contenders to the Lake District and the Malcolm Wilson Rally which is an event that the current MRF Tyres BTRDA Gold Star® Championship leader, Stephen Petch, has yet to win. However, his dad – Steve – is a three-time Malcolm Wilson Rally victor, the most recent coming exactly twenty years ago! So, having set a cracking pace to come out on top of the opening round of the Series, can Stephen and co-driver Michael Wilkinson (Fiesta WRC) maintain their momentum and repeat the success?….  [The Main photo is Stephen Petch / Michael Wilkinson on the recent Cambrian Rally].

One of their main adversaries in the battle to succeed Euan Thorburn to the BTRDA Gold Star crown, Charlie Payne (Fiesta WRC), was the winner here in 2016 – coincidentally on his way to claiming the title for himself. Now, with Patrick Walsh ensconced in the co-driver’s seat and following a retirement last time out, the pair will be looking to put their campaign back on track. Ian Bainbridge’s Fabia was runner-up to Petch on the Cambrian but another Skoda crew whose season got off to a less-than-satisfactory start was Dylan Davies / Llion Williams. They’ll be relishing the chance to considerably improve their standing in Gold Star, Class B14 and the new BTRDA Rallye R5 Cup. Chasing similar goals will be the Fiestas of Martyn & Dawn England, Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge and Hugh Brunton/Paula Swinscoe.

Class B13 is as popular as ever with the Top Four finishers on the Cambrian Rally – George Lepley/Tom Woodburn (Lancer EVO X), Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy (Lancer EVO 9), Ian Joel/Graeme Wood (Escort Cosworth) and Maxx Bradshaw (Lancer EVO 2) – all heading for M Sport’s premises in Dovenby for the start of the Malcolm Wilson Rally. They are joined by Matthew Jackson/Will Atkins in their Subaru Impreza who aim to break up the Mitsubishi dominance. Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear (Lancer EVO 9) failed to make it to the finish ramp in North Wales and it goes without saying that there is now extra pressure on a result this time. 

By finishing ahead of their main rivals Scott Faulkner/Steve Link on the first round – i.e. having fewer time-consuming problems! – Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence (Lancer EVO 9) lead the BTRDA Production Cup. Both crews are set to resume their quest for supremacy in the Lake District and, should something untoward happen, several Fiesta STs will be lurking in the background ready to capitalise on any such misfortune! In spite of their vehicles’ relative lack of power and traction in comparison to their four-wheel drive turbo-charged counterparts, the presence of Bobby Mitchell, Jonny Sproat & Callum Hughes must be regarded as a potential threat!

Naylor/Lawrence are also joint-leaders of the MRF Tyres Mixed-Surface Challenge following the opening encounter, a position they currently share with Ewan Tindall/Andrew Roughead (Fiesta R2). Joel/Wood (Escort Cosworth) and Chris Powell/Jim Lewis (Talbot Sunbeam) are suitably placed to alter the look of the leader board before the Challenge then heads off to the first asphalt event in its eight-round calendar.

Andy Davison/Tom Murphy took their Talbot Sunbeam VXR to maximum MRF Tyres BTRDA Silver Star® Championship points on the Cambrian Rally, leaving no-one in any doubt as to the driver’s intentions in terms of improving on his 2019 runner-up spot! However, opposition could come from several different directions! Baz Jordan/Arwel Jenkins (Hillman Avenger) and Nick Dobson/Jonathan Turnbull (Escort Mk2) begin their quests for glory in the north-west, David Gathercole and Ben Friend’s Historic MkI & Mk2 Escorts cannot be discounted, along with a whole host of Fiestas that will also be squabbling over BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup points.
<<<<<<<<<<<   Andy Davison/Tom Murphy (Sunbeam VXR) – BTRDA Silver Star® Championship Leaders After Round 1

In that latter category, Motorsport UK 2020 English Rally Championship sponsor Tony Simpson and co-driver Ian Bevan join the fray on the Malcolm Wilson Rally where they’ll come up against the similar Fiestas R2’s of leaders Perry Gardener/Andrew Sankey, Rob Wilson/Martin Haggett and the aforementioned Ewan Tindall/Andrew Roughead who are amongst the 10 BTRDA R2 Cup crews. Now, there’s a scrap to keep an eye on!…

The Cambrian Rally proved problematic for a number of front-running Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA 1400 Championship contenders but, avoiding the pitfalls that befell others, Chris Powell/Jim Lewis (Talbot Sunbeam) returned home to Herefordshire as leaders of the race to claim the 2020 BTRDA Bronze Stars. They now journey up to north-west England with the express intention of consolidating – and, hopefully, extending! – their advantage. The likes of Dave Brick/Rob Woodhouse (Nova), Aaron Rix/Rob Cook (Escort) and Richard Jordan/James Gratton-Smith (MG ZR) may have other ideas, but you get the drift!…
Chris Powell/Jim Lewis (Sunbeam) – BTRDA Bronze Star Championship Leaders After Round 1   >>>>>>>

Similarly, Dominic Hodge/Stefan Arndt (Nissan Micra) emerged victorious from a very closely fought Class 1400C battle on the Cambrian Rally and, now, Richard Garnett/Rob Gilham (Micra), Sam & Liam Johnson (Seat Arosa) and Dale Glover/Sean Ward (Vauxhall Nova) will be on hand to ensure that whoever comes out on top this time will have had to work for it!
Simon Double/Jessica Mitchell (MG ZR) will put their ‘nil points’ on Round 1 of the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally First Championship behind them and turn their attention to keeping the similar car of Joe Keen/Paul Barbet in their rear-view mirror – hopefully!…

 

The Motorsport UK 2020 English Rally Championship, in association with Seacon UK, begins on the Malcolm Wilson Rally, the first of a six all-forest event calendar that rewards success within its class structure, rather than from out-and-out speed. Hence, the eventual winner could come from any of the seven capacity classes – indeed, the 2019 winner was Steve Black in his 1400cc Suzuki Swift!…

<<<<<<<<   Motorsport UK English Rally Championship Sponsor Tony Simpson (Fiesta R2)

The first car leaves the start of the Malcolm Wilson Rally from M-Sport at 7.00am on Saturday 14th March for seven special stages in the Lake District, before the finish on the outskirts of Penrith, from 14.30.
Further information on the Motorsport UK 2020 English Rally Championship in association with Seacon UK and be found at www.englishrally.co.uk

All photos © Kevin Money / Malcolm Almond.
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THE GOLD STANDARD…!

2020 MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series Preview:   As the BTRDA Rally Series enters its 67th year of ‘Serious Fun’, MRF Tyres join the party as they begin a three-year term as headline sponsors of the UK’s most popular Rally Championship. Current BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Champions, Scotsmen Euan Thorburn / Paul Beaton, have elected not to defend their title and hence we look to the opening round of the 2020 MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally, for some clues as to who might possibly succeed them….
In the Blue (Oval!) corner there are Fiestas for 2016 Gold Star Champion Charlie Payne, who has reigning British Rally Champion Co-driver Patrick Walsh for company this year, 2017 Gold Star Champions Stephen Petch / Michael Wilkinson, plus more recent converts Sacha Kakad / James Aldridge, Irishmen Niall Henry / Damien Duffin and Taunton husband-and-wife Martyn & Dawn England. Meanwhile, choosing Skoda Fabia R5s for their tilt at the coveted crown are Ian Bainbridge / Dale Bowen, Dylan Davies / Llion Williams and Karl Simmons / Mark Glennerster and it won’t be until after Signing-On & Championship registration in Llandudno closes that we’ll know if anyone else has put their head above the parapet by joining them!  New for 2020 is the BTRDA R5 Cup and, hence, those with compliant cars can add it to their quest for overall and Class B14 honours!

<  Ian Bainbridge’s Skoda Fabia R5 on the Trackrod Forest Stages  (photo © Kevin Money)

Although not coming under the designation of ‘World Rally Cars’, there are a number of well driven – not to mention extremely quick! – four-wheel drive turbo-charged cars in Class B13 that can reasonably be expected to be there, or thereabouts. George Lepley and Tom Woodburn, [2019 Silver Star Champions] who appeared in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X towards the end of last season and managed to show all the WRC cars a clean pair of heels on the Woodpecker Stages, are returning for a crack at the Gold Star, as are the 2018 Motorsport UK English Rally Champions, Ian Joel / Graeme Wood, in their MRF Tyres supported Escort Cosworth. However, they must be prepared for a barrage of Mitsubishi Lancer EVOs, not least of which will be that of former BTRDA Production Cup winners Russ Thompson / Andy Murphy and current Welsh Stage Rally Champions Matthew Hirst / Declan Dear who took a couple of BTRDA class wins last season in their EVO9 but a string of retirements saw to it that their efforts would go unrewarded at the end of the season.

The Cambrian Rally also plays host to the inaugural MRF Mixed Surface Challenge – an eight round series featuring four on gravel and four on asphalt. Two of the above-mentioned Lancer EVOs, driven by Manxmen Stephen Ormond-Smith and Maxx Bradshaw, set out on the road which will take them, eventually, to their ‘home’ event, the Pokerstars Rally, in November. Pat Naylor / Ian Lawrence remain loyal to their FIA-homologated Group N Lancer, which has undergone a complete rebuild over the winter, as they eye up another Production Cup title. However, what could prove to be a rather large fly in their ointment is that the current holder, Scott Faulkner, has also indicated his intention to take another pop at top spot!   Fiesta ST Trophy cars also qualify for the Production Cup and on occasions, while only benefitting from two driven wheels, consistency over the course of a Championship has seen contenders taking podium finishes on events. Returnee Bobby Mitchell will be joined by some new faces, including those of Alex Hawkins, Callum Hughes and Jonny Sproat.

As far as the two-wheel drive MRF Tyres BTRDA Silver Star® Championship is concerned, with the winner in 2018 & 2019, George Lepley, transferring his allegiance to four-wheel drive (see above), there’s also going to be a different name on the trophy this time. Last year’s runner-up, Andy Davison (Talbot Sunbeam VXR), would dearly love it to be his, but there’ll be plenty of others with similar ambitions. In addition to the higher-powered cars, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the top 1400s were making regular appearances on the Silver Star podium during last season!  Now entering its third year, the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup has struck a chord with competitors. Perry Gardener returns to defend his title but, with competitor numbers in double figures, he’ll no doubt have his work cut out to keep the marauding pack at bay! Having missed last season, teenager Ewan Tindall, who made quite an impression on his debut in 2018, rejoins in North Wales and will be looking to continue where he left off! Once again, whoever leads the R2 Cup after the Woodpecker Stages in September will have earned themselves a free entry on Wales Rally GB National Rally through its ‘Road to Wales’ scheme….  The winner of the Install Automation Ltd ‘Looking to the Future’ prize, Zak Hughes, is also at the wheel of a Fiesta R2. Having won the MRF Fiesta ST Trophy last year, the Welshpool driver will be using the £2500 to fund BTRDA Rally Series event entry fees for the current season.

Having relinquished the mantle of overall Rally Series title sponsor for 2020, Baz Jordan is maintaining his links with the BTRDA by putting up on-event prize money for successful JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Historic Cup competitors. Indeed, Baz himself will be behind the wheel of his recently-completed Subaru Legacy which will be competing for honours in Class H4 where he’ll find Tom Coughtrie’s Mitsubishi Galant VR4 keeping him company.

Last year’s BTRDA Historic Cup runner-up, David Gathercole, pictured on the 2019 Trackrod Forest Stages, returns in his Escort Mk I while Ben Friend / Cliff Simmons’ Mk2 version scored a couple of excellent finishes in 2019 but, unfortunately, they were interspersed with a number of retirements which adversely affected their end-of-season position. Nevertheless, 5th overall and a class win on last November’s Wyedean Stages Rally should give them renewed confidence for the campaign ahead.

Having regained their rightful place running at the front of the field, the Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA 1400 Championship contenders can always be relied upon to produce fireworks! 2019.  Motorsport UK English Rally Champion Steve Black and Paul Morris, who missed out on the Co-drivers’ title on a tie-break, return with their Suzuki Swift which finished all seven rounds of the 2019 Championship, in an attempt to add the 1400s to their respective CVs.  Chris Powell / Jim Lewis (Talbot Sunbeam), who were just ahead of Black & Morris last year, are also back for more, as are the Brick family – Dave and son Freddie will be out in a Vauxhall Nova and Corsa respectively. Dave’s 2019 season was curtailed early on but not before he’d taken runner-up spot, behind Powell, on the Cambrian Rally.

MRF Tyres have also put their name to the BTRDA Rally First® Championship for the new season – always targeted as an excellent way to enter (or even re-enter!) the sport, suitable vehicles require only minimal modifications to comply with the regulations. For example, Simon Double’s 2.0 litre MG ZR ticks all the boxes, as does the Ford Puma of the FIA’s WRC Category Manager – and former M-Sport Business Development Manager – Andrew Wheatley.

So, the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series once again makes a beeline for Llandudno, and the Cambrian Rally, to set the wheels in motion – literally!  As ever, each competitor’s five best scores, from the seven rounds, will count towards their final total and, in this way, holidays, work or non-availability on any given day need not detract from the completion of the requisite number of events. We know it starts here, but no-one yet knows how it’ll finish!…

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