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CAN THORBURN PUT GRIST TO HIS MILL?.…

Euan Thorburn and co-driver Paul Beaton have won all four rounds of the 2019 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series so far. One more victory from the three remaining events in the calendar will put the destination of this year’s JRS BTRDA Gold Star® Championship crown beyond doubt – and the first opportunity for them comes on the Nicky Grist Stages. Their Focus WRC arrives in Builth Wells fresh from its victory on the Argyll Stages, the latest round of the Motorsport UK Scottish Rally Championship – which Thorburn/Beaton also lead – and closing out the first part of their plan would give them more time to concentrate on the second!…    The photo above is Euan Thorburn / Paul Beaton (Focus WRC) in characteristic pose on the Plains Rally!

Following a miserable start to their campaign, 2017 Nicky Grist Stages winners Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson are now heading in the right direction once more! Their Fiesta WRC was 2nd overall on the Plains Rally but, unlike the flying Scotsmen, they have no margin for error between now and the end of the season if they are to make an impact on the leader board! Following a retirement on the Plains with damage sustained by a puncture, Sam Bilham, partnered by the ubiquitous Patrick Walsh, could also do with a good result in mid Wales. He’s certainly getting the hang of his Fiesta but, with two DNFs already, pressure is mounting. Fiesta R5s also appear amongst the leading entries in the very competitive hands of Connor McCloskey and Martyn & Dawn England. Meanwhile, Theo Bengry/Les Forsbrook are having another outing in their recently acquired Proton Iriz R5 in the hope of improving on the 3rd in class they netted on the Plains.

In direct contrast to the overall Gold Star situation, Class B13 has produced different winners on each of the four rounds. Although not one of them, Richard Hill has kept his nose clean and produced four more-than-adequate results to put his Impreza marginally ahead of Richard Sykes/Simon Taylor whose Lancer EVO9 triumphed last time out on the Plains. Having recorded DNFs on the first two events, Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear put their EVO9 into top spot on the Rallynuts Stages but still have considerable ground to make up while the defending champions, Ian Joel/Graeme Wood (Escort Cosworth), and Ian Bainbridge (Impreza) have, thus far, only finished one event apiece…..

<   Scott Faulkner/Gareth Parry’s results in their Group N Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 have been sufficiently impressive to put them into runners-up spot in the overall JORDAN Road Surfacing Gold Star® Championship points table!  It’ll therefore come as no surprise to learn that they’re also leading the BTRDA Production Cup. Their nearest challengers, who have also maintained a 100% finishing record, are MRF Fiesta ST Trophy leaders Zak Hughes/Tom Wood. The Lancers of former Cup champions Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence & Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy have both retired from one event and, consequently, have some catching-up to do. However, as Faulkner/Parry have already amassed three maximums, anyone else with designs on this year’s title better get a move on!…

We’ve mentioned before that George Lepley seems oblivious to the fact that it’s not in the script for an Historic spec. car to be leading the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Silver Star® Championship. However, as he’s already accrued four maximums at the wheel of Baz Jordan’s Hillman Avenger, there’s presently some frantic re-writing of that script going on as, in a similar situation to Euan Thorburn, one more and it’s game-over for the opposition! Co-driver Tom Woodburn missed the opening event and, consequently, doesn’t feature (should that read ‘yet’?…) at the top of his particular points table. Needless to say, then, that the BTRDA Historic Cup is also currently heading the Newark driver’s way….                                                                                            George Lepley / Tom Woodburn on the Plains Rally    >

In Silver Star terms, Perry Gardener / Keaton Williams (Fiesta R2) are maintaining a close eye on Lepley – or as close as is possible! – but, at the same time, with three maximums and a second, they’re seemingly on course to succeed him to the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup. If they’re still in that position after the Woodpecker Stages at the beginning of September, they’ll be in line for the prize drive on the National section of Wales Rally GB through the event’s ‘Road to Wales’ scheme.

<    Perry Gardener/Keaton Williams (Fiesta) – BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup leaders

Tony Simpson/Ian Bevan are the only R2 Cup contenders who’ve managed to beat the Ludlow crew so far – a feat they achieved on the Malcolm Wilson Rally and which helps to keep them in touch with the leaders. The Tordoffs, Mat & Tim, are the only other R2 hopefuls with four scores to their credit and there’s still time for the make-up of the leader board to alter significantly before the end of term!

Callum Black/Michael Gilbey let the Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA 1400 Championship start without them but, since they joined in the fun on Round 2, their MG ZR has not been headed.  Three ‘wins’ see the pair lurking dangerously down in 5th place in the table, thanks in no small way to the reliability of the opposition. Each of the four drivers in front of them – Chris Powell (Talbot Sunbeam), Steve Black (Suzuki Swift), Dominic Hodge (Nissan Micra) & Noel Lappin (Ford Escort) – have maintained clean sheets but, as dropped scores come into play after the Nicky Grist Stages, those maximums will come into their own!                                                      Callum Black / Michael Gilby 

While brothers Mat & Dan Evans (Peugeot 205) had been in imperious form in the battle for Class 1400C honours on each of the first three rounds, they’d been unable to shake off the attentions of Richard Garnett’s Micra. Then, last time out, the tables were turned, and the Peugeot was beaten into 2nd place by just 15s. So, whose turn is it this time? Due to the Evans’ non-availability for the penultimate round of the Series, this is one that could well have to wait until the Trackrod Forest Rally at the end of September before the outcome is known….

Joseph Keen’s MG ZR leads the BTRDA Rally First Championship but the sole aim of the 2-litre version of Graham Roberts will be to reduce its advantage over the remaining events…

The NG Stages is the second of the four counting rounds of the new BTRDA Junior Driver incentive which has been donated by Adam Kent, the 1998 BTRDA Gold Star Rally Champion.  Adam’s company, Install Automation Ltd, will provide a £2,500 prize fund for a leading BTRDA Junior Driver to be used for entries to events in the 2020 BTRDA Rally Series. The winner will be chosen from a short-list of the three drivers with the highest total points score on the final 4 events in the 2019 BTRDA Junior Championship.  After the Plains Rally it is George Lepley, Matthew Hirst and Zak Hughes who are in the frame, but at this early stage it is still all to play for.

The first of the 125 crews will leave the start of the Nicky Grist Stages in Builth Wells at 8.31am on Saturday morning and on the menu are 44 miles of special stages in some of the classic mid-Wales forests. Cars then begin arriving back at the finish from 3.30pm that afternoon.

All photos © Kevin Money / Malcolm Almond.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

The BTRDA is very pleased to announce an exciting new incentive for Junior Drivers contesting the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series which has been donated by Adam Kent, the 1998 BTRDA Gold Star Rally Champion.

Adam’s company, Install Automation Ltd, will provide a £2,500 prize fund for a leading BTRDA Junior Driver* to be used for entries to events in the 2020 BTRDA Rally Series.

The winner will be chosen by the BTRDA Rallies Committee from a short-list of the three drivers with the highest total points score on the remaining 4 rounds of the 2019 BTRDA Junior Championship, starting with the Plains Rally.  The prize will be presented by Adam at the 2019 BTRDA Rally Series Awards Evening in January.

“It’s 21 years since I won the BTRDA Gold Star Rally Championship said Adam, and it’s great to be able to put something back into the sport and provide some support to talented young drivers who were born around that time”

Home Automation & Lighting Control/Design

www.installautomation.com

*  To qualify as a Junior Driver you must have been born on or after 1st January 1995.

Main photo is George Lepley / Tom Woodburn on the recent Rallynuts Stages.   21 year old George is currently leading the 2019 BTRDA Junior Drivers.  This new prize will be based on the scores from the remaining 4 events starting with the Plains Rally.

PLAINS TAKES OFF FOR OSWESTRY….!

Marking a change to the recent format of Knutsford & DMC’s Plains Rally, the Shropshire market town of Oswestry is preparing to welcome competitors for the fourth round of the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series®, and third of the MAXXIS Motorsport UK 2019 English Rally Championship, which takes place on Saturday 11th May. However, whether the move signals a change in the fortunes of the current front-runners remains to be seen!…

The JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Championship has, so far, been the preserve of Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton whose Ford Focus WRC has proved unbeatable on each of the three events to date. It goes without saying, therefore, that the Scotsmen arrive at the start of Round 4 as series leaders and, having won the Plains Rally in both 2013 & 2014, it would be seen as brave to bet against them doing it for a third time! That said, a bad day at the office could potentially see them demoted from their exalted position at the top!

 

<<< This is currently the view that everyone else has of Gold Star leaders Euan Thorburn & Paul Beaton’s Focus!

Having managed to avoid the pitfalls that have interrupted the progress of many others, Scott Faulkner & Gareth Parry’s Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9 (see main photo) is the current occupant of runner-up spot in the Gold Star table. However, as the season reaches the halfway point, there’s still plenty of room for manoeuvre in each of the classes and categories that make up the BTRDA Rally Series!

Irishmen Mark Donnelly and Connor McCloskey return in their Fiestas as they seek to capitalise on their 2nd & 4th places respectively last time out on the Rallynuts Stages. Then Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson, whose own Fiesta finished between the two Irish R5s a month ago, need to keep the momentum going. DNFs on the opening two events in the calendar have left them with no further margin for error, no matter how caused, if they are to deem their campaign a success. Sam Bilham’s experience in an R5 continues to expand – two consecutive Top Six finishes have seen him and co-driver Patrick Walsh move into the upper echelons of the points table and more of the same would prove beneficial to the pair!

Class B13 has developed into something of a ‘now you see ‘em, now you don’t’ affair! Different crews have taken maximum points on each of the first three events but, in each case, that’s the only score they’ve managed to put on the board. Hence, Ian Bainbridge (Impreza), Matthew Hirst (Lancer EVO9) and Ian Joel (Escort Cosworth) find themselves huddled together at the foot of the table. The consistency shown by both Richard Hill (Impreza) and Richard Sykes (Lancer EVO9) sees them in 1st & 2nd places, while their co-drivers – Simon Taylor (Sykes) and Steffan Evans (Hill) – also dominate the sharp end of the table, albeit diametrically opposed to their drivers!  

 

Petr Krizan & Lukas Sintal were on course to join them, but rolling their EVO9 right in front of the BTRDA photographers on the Rallynuts Stages has put any such euphoria on hold!                                >>>

 

As mentioned above, Scott Faulkner/Gareth Parry’s season has started extremely well and, in addition to their Gold Star success, they also currently lead the BTRDA Production Cup. As far as the opposition is concerned, it’s turning into a game of ‘Snakes & Ladders’! Having led the charge after the Cambrian, Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence didn’t finish the Malcolm Wilson but came back strongly on the Rallynuts Stages. Meanwhile, although defending champions Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy also had a day to forget in the Lake District, actually getting their EVO9 to the finish gained them some valuable points. However, there was to be no such happy ending last time out as the car finished up on its roof on the opening stage….

Zak Hughes/Tom Wood’s domination of the MRF Fiesta ST Trophy – three wins from three starts – has also moved them into the ascendancy in the overall Production Cup points table where, prior to the Plains Rally, they are Faulkner/Parry’s biggest headache. So, in Fiesta ST terms, it’s Wales in the lead (Hughes/Wood) from Scotland (Bobby Mitchell/Shannon Turnbull), with Ireland (David Kelly/Kenny Bustard) in 3rd. England is obviously far too busy with Brexit – no results to speak of there either!….

By fitting a larger capacity BRM engine in Baz Jordan’s Hillman Avenger, the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Silver Star® Championship leader George Lepley (with Tom Woodburn) automatically changed classes to H3 for the Rallynuts Stages. However, that’s the only thing that did change! 13th overall and first 2WD car home ensured that he not only maintained, but also extended, his lead in both the Silver Star Championship and BTRDA Historic Cup and won the £500 award for the highest placed BTRDA Historic Cup driver!  This was despite the heroic efforts of both Ben Friend / Cliff Simmons, 15th overall (Escort Mk2) and Tom Llewellin / Ross Whittock, 18th overall (Escort Mk2) who were pressing him all the way.

 

Ben Friend & Cliff Simmons (class H3) pushing very hard on the Rallynuts Stages >>>

 

 

BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup leaders Perry Gardener/Keaton Williams (Fiesta) are clinging to Lepley’s shirt tails in the Silver Star Championship – indeed, Williams leads the Co-drivers’ table – but in R2 Cup terms, with two firsts and one 2nd place, they’ve earned themselves a bit of breathing space from Tony Simpson/Ian Bevan. Even so, any mistakes will be penalised as Tommi Meadows and the Tordoffs, Mat & Tim, also remain within striking distance.  If perseverance counts for anything, Taylor Gibb/Jane Nicol must be due for a change of fortune soon – their score sheet shows three starts and three retirements while, breaking the R2 Fiesta monopoly, Jersey’s Ed Fossey returns for the Plains Rally, with Rhys Stoneman riding shotgun, in his Peugeot 208.

<<< Perry Gardener & Keaton Williams leading the BTRDA Rally R2 Cup

 

Even with four events still to run, the Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA 1400 Championship is shaping up for a grandstand finale. The current Top Six have finished all three rounds so far and the 7th placed driver – Callum Black – missed the opening encounter, only to take maximums on the two he has contested….

                             Callum Black & Michael Gilbey’s MG ZR on its way to BTRDA 1400 Championship success on the Rallynuts Stages  >>>

So, Chris Powell/Jim Lewis (Talbot Sunbeam) currently hold the bragging rights, but the Suzuki Swift of Steve Black/Paul Morris isn’t far behind. Dominic Hodge/Stefan Arndt’s Micra has the edge over Noel Lappin’s Escort – just! – while 1400C leaders, with three maximums already, Mat & Dan Evans (Peugeot 205) have a narrow advantage over the Micra of classmates Richard Garnett/Rob Gilham.

The BTRDA Rally First Championship will see Wesley Gilford’s 2.0 Fiesta ST attempting to fend off the attentions of series leader Joseph Keen’s MG ZR and the formerly successful – but currently recalcitrant! – Seat Arosa of Sam & Liam Johnson….

Following its recent visit to the closed-road asphalt Tendring Clacton Rally, the MAXXIS Motorsport UK 2019 English Rally Championship now moves to the Welsh borders – or should that be English borders?… – for Round 3.  Joint leaders in the class-based series prior to the off are Euan Thorburn (Focus WRC), Ian Joel (Escort Cosworth), Andy Davison (Talbot Sunbeam VXR), George Lepley (Avenger) and Zak Hughes (Fiesta ST), each of whom will be fighting to make top spot their own!

Similarly, Sam Bilham (Fiesta), Richard Hill (Impreza), Callum Black (MG ZR), Tony Simpson (Fiesta R2) and Tim Phelps (Ford Escort) are a mere two points behind the leaders and currently share 6th place. Judged on how well they each perform against others in their respective classes, further success will pay dividends as the season progresses.

The first of the 12O+ starters on the Plains Rally leaves Oswestry at 8.00am on Saturday 13th May and heads for special stages in Dyfnant, Aberhirnant and Llangower which offer 42 miles of competition.  Once completed, the finish back in Oswestry beckons from 3.45pm that afternoon.

Words by Andrew Haill. Photos courtesy of Kevin Money & Malcolm Almond.

RALLYNUTS CRACKER !…

The Rallynuts Stages, Round 3 of the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series, has attracted a superb entry of 137 cars that will all be converging on the Royal Welsh Agricultural Showground in Builth Wells for the event which takes place on 13th April.

Thus far the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Gold Star® Championship has been dominated by Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton whose Ford Focus WRC has claimed outright victories on both the Cambrian & Malcolm Wilson Rallies. Last time the Scotsmen had a serious tilt at the Gold Star title – they won it in 2013 – the Rallynuts Stages wasn’t part of the calendar. So, will any possible unfamiliarity of the terrain prevent them making it three-in-a-row?…   As you can imagine, in an entry of this size, there’ll be people queueing up to wish them bad luck (in the nicest possible way, of course!) on their visit to mid Wales!  With five events remaining and with just the five best scores to count towards the end-of-season tally, it’s still quite possible for anyone to still register for the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series at the Rallynuts Stages and to clean up….

            Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton’s Focus WRC going about its business on the Malcolm Wilson Rally!    >>>

Like Thorburn/Beaton, another driver who’ll be a long way from home is Irishman Connor McCloskey who has already proved that he has some empathy with the stages, winning the event on his last visit in 2017! It’s also perhaps worth mentioning that, having missed the Cambrian, Connor only managed to complete the opening stage of the Malcolm Wilson Rally in his Fiesta before he was forced to retire, but he did set FTD….

2016 Gold Star Champions Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson’s season could have started better, but that of their successors, Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson, hasn’t started at all yet! In BTRDA terms, their Fiesta has recorded two consecutive DNFs and really needs a good result this time to kick-start its challenge.

Sam Bilham’s introduction to a Fiesta R5 continues and, following a very respectable Top Six finish on the Malcolm Wilson, he and Patrick Walsh will be looking to progress further up the learning curve in Wales.

After their retirement on the Cambrian, Ian Joel/Graeme Wood’s 2nd overall in Cumbria in their Escort Cosworth has certainly livened up the Class B13 battle. However, with two good scores to his credit, Richard Hill’s Impreza leads the charge from Petr Krizan/Lukas Sintal’s Lancer EVO9. Finding themselves in a similar situation to Petch/Wilkinson, Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear’s 2019 scorecard currently reads: Started 2 – Finished 0. Hence, they won’t need to phone a friend – or anyone else! – in search of an answer to their situation. Early leader Ian Bainbridge (Impreza) must also put his Cumbrian DNF behind him and look to restoring his advantage as the season moves towards the halfway point.

Scott Faulkner/Gareth Parry (Lancer EVO9) hold the upper hand in the BTRDA Production Cup, but Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy and Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence, whose own EVO9 was eventually recovered undamaged from a Lake District ditch, won’t be going away any time soon!                                                                                                                                                            

<<<<<<<  Scott Faulkner/Gareth Parry (Lancer EVO9) – BTRDA Production Cup Leaders

With two MRF Fiesta ST Trophy to their credit already, Zak Hughes/Tom Wood are mixing it with their turbo-charged four-wheel drive counterparts in the overall Production Cup table.  As the only Fiesta crew to maintain a 100% finishing record to date, whatever happens on the Rallynuts Stages, the pair will still be leading at the end of it. However, should something go awry, the likes of Bobby Mitchell, Steven Ormond-Smith and several others could be an awful lot nearer to them than is currently the case!

Nobody seems to have told George Lepley that an Historic specification Hillman Avenger is not the sort of car that one readily associates with leading the BTRDA Silver Star® Championship. [See main photograph] Nevertheless, following an exceptional couple of runs, (11th overall and first 2WD car on the Malcolm Wilson! ) it is to be found at the top of the points table and, at the same time, shares joint ownership of the BTRDA Historic Cup with David Gathercole’s Escort RS1600.  In addition George won the £500 prize for the highest placed Historic Car and the £150 TCS prize for the highest placed Junior driver.

Damian Pratts/Jonny Tad Evans were closest to Lepley on the Cambrian but tipping their Escort upside down in the Lake District prevented them from maintaining the pressure. So, the Rallynuts Stages presents them with a further opportunity… Zak Hughes’ efforts are paying dividends in the Silver Star category as well but, behind him, there are a trio of R2 Fiestas in the hands of Perry Gardener, James Giddings and Tommi Meadows who, after just two rounds, are too close for comfort!

In the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup itself, Fiestas certainly rule the roost with the top seven places currently occupied by such vehicles. Gardener leads, Malcolm Wilson ‘winner’ Tony Simpson is next and then tied for third place are Giddings and Meadows but, as ever, one slip and the look of the points table could alter significantly…

<<<<<<<  In spite of inverting their Fiesta, Ross Leach/Hannah McKillop carried on to score good R2 Cup points in Cumbria!

The Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA 1400 Championship has the makings of a gigantic tussle this year – numbers are on the up and the top six cars, led by the Talbot Sunbeam of Chris Powell / Jim Lewis, have already banked two scores. Then Callum Black/Michael Gilbey (MGZR) missed the Cambrian and came out on top in Cumbria, while Dave & Toby Brick (Corsa) were Powell’s closest rivals in North Wales but then opted out of the trip to the north west.  They’re all present in Builth Wells – so, stand (well!) back and watch the fireworks…

Mat & Dan Evans’ Peugeot 205 has proved victorious in Class 1400C on both outings to date, but, at the same time, has been unable to shake off the attentions of the Nissan Micra of Richard Garnett/Rob Gilham. Nobody’s relaxing here yet, either!…

Joseph Keen’s MG ZR took top honours in the BTRDA Rally First Championship on the Cambrian Rally but then sat out the trip to the north-west. Starting their campaign on Round 2, Sam & Liam Johnson were unable to capitalise on the leader’s absence when their Seat Arosa stopped after three of the eight stages on offer in the Lake District. So, for the first time this season, we now have the chance of a head-to-head…

The first car leaves the start of the Rallynuts Stages at 8.30am on Saturday 13th April for the first of six special stages, totalling 44 miles, and is due to return to the Showground for the finish at 4.00pm that afternoon.

Note: Competitors who have not yet registered for 2019 can do so via the on-line BTRDA membership and registration system or print off a Registration Form and post it to the BTRDA Membership Secretary Paul Price.  If all else fails, you can still register at the BTRDA desk on the Friday afternoon / early evening before a championship event.  The Registration fee includes BTRDA club membership and registration for both the BTRDA Rally Series and the English Rally Championship. (BTRDA membership gives eligibility to all BTRDA Rally Series and English Rally Championship events). There is a £10 discount if both members of the crew register together. NB: BTRDA membership and Rally Championship registration is FREE to new BTRDA members under the age of 25 on 1st Jan 2019, for their first year of registration.

All photos © Kevin Money or Malc Almond

WEATHER – or not……!

Preview of Round 2 : Malcolm Wilson Rally – 9th March
This time last year the country was in the grip of the ‘Beast from the East’ and, in spite of their best efforts, the organisers of the Malcolm Wilson Rally, the second round of the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series, were forced to concede defeat at the hands of the elements. Such are the vagaries of the British climate that we have recently experienced the ‘warmest February day since records began’ – followed immediately by snow in the Lake District, so in terms of long-term planning, there’s just no way of predicting what might happen. Unbowed, the event organising team is waiting to welcome almost 100 competitors to M-Sport’s premises in Dovenby on 8th March for the pre-event formalities, prior to a cracking day in the Lake District forests.
In terms of the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Gold Star® Championship, Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton’s victory on the season-opening Cambrian Rally in their Focus WRC sees them start the Malcolm Wilson Rally as leaders. They’ve already won it twice before but, then again, their closest rivals on the Cambrian, Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson (Fiesta), have also tasted champagne in Cumbria – so, whatever happens on the day, no-one can expect an easy ride!
Steve Simpson will be looking to improve on his 7th place on the Cambrian while, following retirements first time out, fellow Fiesta crews Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson, Sam Bilham, who has Patrick Walsh alongside for company on this occasion, and Brian Bell/Paul Spooner will be looking for an opportunity to open their respective accounts.
In the B13 class battle, Ian Bainbridge/Daniel May’s Impreza came out on top in North Wales, ahead of the similar car of Richard Hill and the Mitsubishis of Richard Sykes and Petr Krizan/Lukas Sintal, each of whom will be heading to Cumbria for the next instalment. Also appearing on the list of retirements on Round 1, both Ian Joel/Graeme Wood (Escort Cosworth) and Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear (Lancer EVO9) will be reporting for duty as they attempt to re-establish themselves in the upper echelons of the points table!

Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence lead the BTRDA Production Cup at this early stage, having finished an excellent 4th overall on the Cambrian in their Lancer EVO9. Defending champions Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy and Scott Faulkner/Gareth Parry also registered Top Ten finishes in their examples and, as the saying goes, this one will ‘run and run’….
Welshmen Zak Hughes/Tom Wood are current kings of the MRF Fiesta ST Trophy castle as they head north but, as the Malcolm Wilson Rally is the closest event in the BTRDA Series to current runners-up, Bobby Mitchell (Dunbar)/Shannon Turnbull (Motherwell), they may be hoping for some degree of ‘home’ advantage!… Donegal’s David Kelly continues the multi-national flavour to this year’s line-up, while Matt Baddeley/Phil Kenny will be amongst those representing England!

Beginning 2019 where they left off at the end of last season, albeit in a vastly different car, George Lepley/Arwel Jenkins showed the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Silver Star® Championship hopefuls a clean pair of heels in Barry Jordan’s Historic spec. Hillman Avenger on the Cambrian Rally. However, they’ll be aware that the presence of the more powerful Escorts of Damian Pratts/Johnny Tad Evans and Owen McMackin/Lee Taylor cannot be ignored, while the threat posed by Andy Davison/Tom Murphy’s Talbot Sunbeam VXR – a DNF in Wales – must also be taken seriously.

<<<<<<<<   George Lepley / Arwel Jenkins pressing on during the Cambrian Rally

In BTRDA Historic Cup terms, Lepley/Jenkins are on level pegging with David Gathercole’s Escort RS1600 at the top of the table but, as this is only the second round and with everyone’s five best scores from seven events to count, it’s still possible for someone that we haven’t met yet to come along and sweep all before them…especially with the incentive of £500 per round for the BTRDA Historic Cup winners..!

As the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup enters its second year, its popularity and relevance to the current UK rallying scene is there for all to see. Perry Gardener (son of former Gold Star Champion Shaun Gardener) and Keaton Williams (Fiesta) stamped their authority on the proceedings in Wales and may take small comfort from the absence of runners-up Ed Fossey/Will Rutherford this time. Notwithstanding, all the other ‘starters’ in the category are back for more, with the Fiestas of Tommi Meadows/Emma Morrison and James Giddings/Sion Cunniff leading the charge.

Whilst we’re not yet back to the halcyon days of entry levels in the Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA 1400 Championship, there has certainly been something of an upturn from the start of the new season, and the pace at the front is as hot as ever! Chris Powell/Jim Lewis wrung every ounce of power out of their Sunbeam on the Cambrian to beat Dave & Toby Brick’s Corsa by just 7s. However, there’s no sign of the Bricks on the Malcolm Wilson entry list, but Steve Black/Paul Morris will be taking their Suzuki Swift for a trip up the M6, while Pete Gorst/Phil King (Nova) won’t have far to go from their homes in Kendal !     

<<<<<<<<    Chris Powell/Jim Lewis (Sunbeam) – Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA 1400 Championship Leaders

Class 1400C leaders Mat & Dan Evans (Peugeot 205) will be looking to extend their advantage after the opening round but, rest assured, Richard Garnett/Rob Gilham (Micra) will have other ideas on that score!… Meanwhile, Sam Johnson’s Seat Arosa and the Fiesta ST of Wesley Gilford will be going head-to-head in the BTRDA Rally First Championship.

 

The MAXXIS Motorsport UK 2019 English Rally Championship also takes a bow in Cumbria as its new season gets underway. A mixed-surface seven-event calendar (5 forest and 2 asphalt) beckons for competitors in this class-based series that caters for all vehicles that comply with the current Motorsport UK Technical Regulations. There are seven separate capacity classes and, the points will reflect achievement against other competitors in the same class, and as such, the eventual champions could come from any one of them – indeed, the Ford Escort Cosworth of 2018 English Rally Champions Ian Joel / Graeme Wood were not from the most powerful class.

Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence’s MAXXIS Tyres-sponsored Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9       >>>>>>>>

Following the opening round – the Malcolm Wilson Rally – there could be several joint leaders, i.e. the winners from each class, and it’s only as the season gets into full swing that success will pay dividends. There’s plenty of time for everyone to sort themselves out – the final event, the Wyedean Stages, isn’t until mid-November!…

NB: The MAXXIS Tyres Motorsport UK 2019 English Rally Championship registration is part of the 2019 BTRDA Rally Series and BTRDA membership package.

The first car leaves the start of the Malcolm Wilson Rally from M-Sport at 7.00am on Saturday 9th March for the first of eight special stages in the Lake District, before the finish at the Hired Lad, on the outskirts of Penrith, at 15.00.      AH

Main photo is Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Focus WRC) on the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally.           All photos © Kevin Money or Malcolm Almond

PETCH PERSISTS….!

PETCH PERSISTS…!  Preview of Round 1 – Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally.

The 2019 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series® hits the road on 16th February when crews converge on Llandudno for the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally. 2017 BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Championship winners Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson were thwarted in their attempts to take back-to-back titles last year, having to settle for the runners-up spot behind Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod. However, undaunted, they’re back for more and their Fiesta will leave the start one minute in front of the similar car of 2016 Gold Star winners Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson.  Add to that an intriguing entry from the 2013 Gold Star Champions Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton from Scotland (Focus WRC)  – and so, straight away, there’s a battle to keep a close eye on!…   Adding a spot of variety to the current Ford Fiesta domination, the Citroen DS3 R5 of Irishmen Niall Henry / Damien Duffin will, no doubt, provide some tough opposition!

2017 Fiesta ST Trophy winner Sam Bilham moves up to a Fiesta R5 for an assault on the Gold Star Championship this year. Indeed, his Greenlight Sports sponsored Fiesta started life in the hands of Stephen Petch and, most recently, won the Cadwell Park Stages with Guy Smith at the helm.  Former UK Asphalt Rally Champion Steve Simpson and multiple BTRDA Forest Rally Champions Brian Bell / Paul Spooner will also be wheeling out their respective Fiestas for the start of the BTRDA’s 66th year of ‘Serious Fun’!….

Ian Joel / Graeme Wood (Escort Cosworth) achieved some impressive results in 2018 on their way to claiming the Class B13 crown. A season-ending 5th overall on the Trackrod Forest Stages last September will see them full of confidence as they embark on a new campaign – but nobody said it was going to be easy! The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 of Matthew Hirst / Declan Dear proved to be a thorn in their side for much of the year – and they’re also back for more! Then Richard Hill / Pat Cooper’s Subaru Impreza and the Lancers of Ieuan Rowlands / Emyr Hall and Richard Sykes / Simon Taylor will also be playing their part in what promises to be a very competitive class.

Meanwhile, the BTRDA Production Cup caters for FIA-homologated Group N machinery, both two and four-wheel drive, and the two front-running Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9s of 2017 winners Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence and defending champions Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy are set to renew their intense rivalry! This time, however, they are joined by a third example in the hands of Scott Faulkner/Gareth Parry who will be intent on upsetting the apple cart!…

Cars contesting the MRF Fiesta ST Trophy also qualify for the Production Cup and, while only benefitting from two driven wheels, as opposed to the four of the Mitsubishis, consistency has seen them punching above their weight on a number of occasions in the past. 2018 winners James Giddings / Sion Cunniff have moved on to the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup – more of which anon – but new recruits Manxman Steven Ormond-Smith, Scotsman Bobby Mitchell and Welshman Elliott Stafford are set to ensure that Giddings’ successor could come from anywhere in the UK!

Notwithstanding George Lepley’s 2018 Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Silver Star® Championship victory in his R2 Fiesta, the two-wheel drive series has been the domain of rear-wheel drive vehicles in recent times. Lining up at the start of the Cambrian in the hope of rekindling that trend will be the Escorts of Owen McMackin / Lee Taylor, Steve Hopewell/Clive Jones and 2011 Champions Allan McDowall / Gavin Heseltine. Breaking the Ford monopoly is the rapid Talbot Sunbeam VXR of Andy Davison / Tom Murphy and, whilst entered in one of the Historic classes, a pair of Hillman Avengers for series sponsor Barry Jordan & Paul Wakely and that man Lepley are also eligible for Silver Star points!  Hoping to repeat his Class H4 win of last season, Tom Coughtrie returns in his Mitsubishi Galant VR4, while Jordan’s main rival may well be David Gathercole’s Escort RS1600.

A Fiesta is still the car of choice for several drivers hoping to succeed Lepley to the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup. In addition to Giddings/Cunniff, Mathew & Tim Tordoff and Richard Wells/Calvin Houldsworth also move across from the STs, while Perry Gardener and Tommi Meadows up the ante from the 1400s for the new season. Intent on showing the Ford devotees the error of their ways, 2017 BTRDA 1400 Champion Ed Fossey returns with a Peugeot 208 R2 and is partnered by fellow Jersey resident Will Rutherford-Child who, himself, sampled 1400 Championship glory with Julian Wilkes in both 2012 and 2013!

In the first full season since Motorsport UK’s relaxation of the rules in relation to the running order on events, much attention will be paid to the Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA 1400 Championship – in particular the level of entries. Competitors in this category run at the front of the field and initial signs are that the take-up is encouraging. Defending Champions Dave & Toby Brick (Corsa) return and the father-and-son team will, once again, be up against the Talbot Sunbeam of Chris Powell / Jim Lewis. Steve Black / Paul Morris’ Suzuki Swift beat the Bricks last time out, while Callum Black, whose Fiesta R5+ was dicing for the overall Gold Star Championship lead on his last serious attempt in 2017, is back in an MG ZR. Kieran Darrington made a welcome reappearance in his Vauxhall Corsa during last year and, with Abi Haycock reading the notes, he’ll be hoping to put his recent experience to good use. Also listed under ‘returnees’, 2016 BTRDA Rally First® Champions Dominic Hodge / Stefan Arndt are back for an assault on the 1400s in their Nissan Micra.

With classes that include cars up to 2-litre, the BTRDA Rally First Championship allows only limited modifications. The leading crews last year were in Toyotas but interest so far has been shown by such varying machinery as the Seat Arosa of Sam & Liam Johnson, Joseph Keen’s MG ZR and Alan King / Michael Jones’ 2.0 VW Lupo GTI.     Gentlemen, start your engines!….

Seven special stages in some of the classic North Wales forests await competitors on the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally and, following their completion, the first car is due back at the finish in the centre of Llandudno at 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon.

Photo is Stephen Petch / Michael Wilkinson on their way to winning the 2017 BTRDA Gold Star Championship.

Something for everyone in 2019….!

The 2019 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series is open to all stage rally cars and includes a broad spread of categories and competition classes, so there is something for everyone. The 2019 Regulations and calendar of events can be viewed via the Competitors section of this website.

Competitors who have not yet registered for 2019 can do so now via the on-line BTRDA membership and registration system or print off a Registration Form and post it to Paul Price, the Membership Secretary. If all else fails, you can still register at the BTRDA desk on the Friday afternoon / early evening before the championship event.

The Registration Fee includes BTRDA club membership and registration for both the BTRDA Rally Series and the English Rally Championship. (BTRDA membership gives eligibility to all BTRDA Rally Series and English Rally Championship events). There is a £10 discount if both members of the crew register together.  NB:  BTRDA membership and Rally Championship registration is FREE to new BTRDA members under the age of 25 on 1st Jan 2019, for their first year of registration.

*NEW PRIZES FOR 2019*

BTRDA Historic Cup:    On each round of the championship the overall winner of the BTRDA Historic Cup will receive £500 – a total of £3,500 over the seven-event series – and the overall BTRDA Historic Champion will be presented with the prestigious AC de Monaco Trophy at the end of year BTRDA awards ceremony.

BTRDA Junior Championship Awards:   2019 sees the 40th anniversary of legendary rally results provider Tynemouth Computer Services (TCS), and also 40 consecutive years of involvement with the BTRDA Rally Championships. In order to help celebrate this milestone, TCS founder Martin Liddle is supporting the BTRDA Junior Championship with cash awards on each individual round. Based on the Index of Performance classification, as used to calculate the Junior Championship points, the first, second and third Junior Driver on each BTRDA Rally Series event will receive cash awards of £150, £100 & £50 respectively, while the Junior Co-drivers will also benefit to the tune of £75, £50 & £25 – a total of £3,150 over the seven-event series. These awards are open to all registered competitors who were born on or after 1st January 1995.

In addition, there are end of season awards of £250 for both the highest placed Junior Driver in the BTRDA Rally Series and the English Rally Championship, courtesy of Mintex.

ROAD to WALES:     For several years the BTRDA Rally Series has benefitted from a free entry for Wales Rally GB National Rally through its ‘Road to Wales’ initiative. This will continue in 2019 and the prize – worth around £1,000 – will go to the leading BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup driver after the Woodpecker Stages.

Photo on the right is of Fiesta ST Trophy winners James Giddings  / Sion Cunniff on the 2018 Trackrod Forest Stages. They return in 2019 in a Fiesta R2 to have a go at the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup.  >

Main photo above is Pat Nayor / Ian Lawrence (Gp N Mitsubishi Evo 9) trying very hard on the Trackrod Forest Stages.  They will resume their rivalry with Russ Thompson / Andy Murphy (Gp N Mitsubishi Evo 9) once again in 2019.

New BTRDA Historic Cup prizes for 2019…..!

The JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series is very pleased to announce a brand new incentive for this year’s BTRDA Historic Cup competitors.               

 

On each round of the championship the overall winner of the BTRDA Historic Cup will receive £500 and at the end of the year the overall Historic Champion will be presented with the prestigious AC de Monaco Trophy at the BTRDA awards ceremony.

BTRDA Rally Committee Chairman, Neil Cross said “This is a fantastic prize for the winner of the BTRDA Historic Cup on each of our 2019 events.  We hope that these prizes will encourage the clubman Historic competitors to come and compete on the BTRDA Rally Series events and enjoy the close competition over classic forest stages around the country.”     

                                                                                                      BTRDA Rally Series Sponsor Barry Jordan’s Historic Fiat 131 on the Plains Rally   >

These prizes for BTRDA Historic Cup competitors add to the incentives already announced for Junior competitors from Tynemouth Computer Services (TCS) to mark their 40th anniversary, and the end of year awards from Revolution Competition Wheels for the leading drivers in Gold Star, Silver Star, Fuchs Lubricants 1400’s, Rallye R2 Cup, Historic Cup and Production Cup

Registrations for the 2019 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series and the MAXXIS Motorsport UK 2019 English Rally Championship can be completed on-line [see Competitor page] or by post to the BTRDA Membership Secretary.   Competitors are encouraged to register a.s.a.p. so that we can post out the championship decals before the first round of the Series

Entries for the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally have now passed the 100 mark.  The organisers have confirmed that all the forest stages have been regraded / reinstated by Rally4Wales and are in excellent condition.  This combined with the brand new service area in the heart of Llandudno Town makes this a excellent event for the start the 2019 BTRDA Rally Series.

The main photo is 2018 BTRDA Historic Cup winners Ernie Graham / Robin Kellard on the 2018 Woodpecker Stages. 

ENTRIES NOW OPEN for the 66th YEAR OF SERIOUS FUN !

The BTRDA are pleased to announce the 2019 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series and confirm that the 2019 championship registration is now open.
The 2019 BTRDA Rally Series encompasses the 66th BTRDA Gold Star® and Silver Star® Rally Championships, plus the BTRDA 1400 and BTRDA Rally First Championships and includes the BTRDA Historic Cup, BTRDA Production Cup, BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup and Fiesta ST Trophy. It is consistently the most popular stage rally championship in the UK and will continue to provide competitors and followers with some Serious Fun!

The calendar includes seven one-day forest stage rallies, starting with the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally in February and finishes with the Trackrod Forest Stages in North Yorkshire at the end of September. The final points tables will be based on a competitor’s best 5 scores, which provides some flexibility to fit in the events around family or business commitments or even to recover from unexpected car problem.
The 2019 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series (Best 5 scores to count)

• Saturday 16th February    Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally   (Llandudno)
• Saturday 9th March      Malcolm Wilson Rally   (Cockermouth)
• Saturday 13th April    Rallynuts Stages Rally   (Builth Wells)
• Saturday 11th May    Plains Rally   (Oswestry)
• Saturday 13th July    Nicky Grist Stages   (Builth Wells)
• Saturday 31st August    Woodpecker Stages   (Ludlow)
• Saturday 28th September    Trackrod Forest Stages   (Filey)

We are grateful for the wholehearted commitment of the event organising teams, because without their efforts we could not promote such a successful rally championship. Regulations and entries for the Cambrian Rally, the opening round of the 2019 BTRDA Rally Series, are now available at www.cambrianrally.com

The BTRDA Rally Series is open to all stage rally cars and includes a broad spread of categories and competition classes, so there is something for everyone.
The 2019 BTRDA Rally Series Regulations are now published in the Competitors section of this website, along with a link to the on-line BTRDA membership and BTRDA Rally Series & Motorsport UK 2019 English Rally Championship registration. There is a copy of the Registration Form that can be downloaded for those who prefer to register by post. (Championship decals will be posted out at the end of January to drivers who have registered for the 2019 Championships).
Please note that the Registration Fee includes BTRDA club membership and registration for both the BTRDA Rally Series and the English Rally Championship. (BTRDA membership gives automatic eligibility to all BTRDA Rally Series and English Rally Championship events). There is a £10 discount if both members of the crew register together.
BTRDA membership and Rally Championship registration is again FREE to new BTRDA members under the age of 25 on 1st Jan 2019, for their first year of registration.

Fuchs Lubricants (UK) take on the mantle of headline sponsors of the BTRDA 1400 Championship for the new season. Following the relaxation of the regulations governing the running order on events, the Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA 1400 Championship is poised for a strong season as all eligible vehicles, along with all the BTRDA Rally First cars and the older, less powerful Historic Cars will be running within the first group of rally cars through the forest stages on all BTRDA Rally Series events.
Revolution Wheels, REIS the Motorsport Insurance Specialists and Mintex will again be providing invaluable support for the BTRDA Rally Series. We are grateful to all our sponsors and look forward to working with them during the forthcoming year.

2019 sees the 40th anniversary of the formation of rally results provider Tynemouth Computer Services (TCS), and, at the same time, 40 consecutive years of its involvement with the BTRDA Rally Championships. To help celebrate this milestone, TCS founder Martin Liddle will be supporting the BTRDA Junior Championship with cash awards on each individual round.
Based on the Index of Performance classification used to calculate the Junior Championship points, the first, second and third Junior Driver on each BTRDA Rally Series event will receive cash awards of £150, £100 & £50 respectively, while the Junior Co-drivers will also benefit to the tune of £75, £50 & £25 – a total of £3,150 over the seven-event series. These awards are open to all registered competitors who were born on or after 1st January 1995, and are in addition to the £250 end of year awards from Mintex for the leading Junior drivers in both the BTRDA and English championships.

The BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup is open to all FIA homologated R2(B) cars and in recognition of the increasing number of R2 cars we now have separate classes for the R2 cars from the class B10 cars.

The ROAD to WALES:  For several years the BTRDA Rally Series has benefitted from a free entry for Wales Rally GB National Rally through its ‘Road to Wales’ initiative. We are delighted to confirm that the scheme is to continue and for 2019 the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup will again take centre stage. Such is the date of the 2019 Wales Rally GB (3rd – 6thh October), in relation to the BTRDA Rally Series calendar, that the prize – worth in the region of £1,000 – will go to the leading Rallye R2 Cup driver after the Woodpecker Stages which takes place on Saturday 31st August.

Photo is of Alan McDowall / Gavin Heseltine on the NG Stages, courtesy of Malcolm Almond.

NEW FOR NINETEEN..!

The BTRDA is delighted to welcome two new initiatives ahead of the start of the 2019 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series – and both feature long-time staunch supporters of the most popular Rally Championship in the UK….

Fuchs Lubricants (UK) take on the mantle of headline sponsors of the BTRDA 1400 Championship for the new season. Following the relaxation of the regulations governing the running order on events, the Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA 1400 Championship is poised for a strong season as all eligible vehicles will, once again, be running within the first group of rally cars through the forest stages on all BTRDA Rally Series events.

In confirming the arrangement, Russell Kenyon, Fuchs Lubricants (UK) plc Automotive Director, said, ‘We’re pleased to announce our renewed partnership with the BTRDA in sponsoring the 1400 Rally Championship and wish all participants the best of luck for the coming season and thank the organisers for their continued dedication and good work.”

710 Oil are the official distributor of Fuchs Lubricants products and they will be attending all the BTRDA Rally Series events. Information about the wide range of Fuchs Lubricants motorsport products can be found at www.710oil.co.uk

2019 also sees the 40th anniversary of the formation of rally results provider Tynemouth Computer Services (TCS), and, at the same time, 40 consecutive years of its involvement with the BTRDA Rally Championships. Tynemouth Computer Services were the pioneers of computerised rally results and live update of event results to the Internet as a rally takes place. Their rally results archive goes back to the 1970’s.  www.tynecomp.co.uk/Archive/index.html

In order to help celebrate this milestone, TCS founder Martin Liddle will be supporting the BTRDA Junior Championship with cash awards on each individual round. Based on the Index of Performance classification, as used to calculate the Junior Championship points, the first, second and third Junior Driver on each BTRDA Rally Series event will receive cash awards of £150, £100 & £50 respectively, while the Junior Co-drivers will also benefit to the tune of £75, £50 & £25 – a total of £3,150 over the seven-event series.

These awards are open to all registered competitors who were born on or after 1st January 1995.

Further information and Regulations for the 2019 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series, which begins with the Cambrian Rally on 16th February, will be published on this website.

The 2019 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series calendar      (Best 5 scores to count)

  • Saturday 16th February    Cambrian Rally   (Llandudno)
  • Saturday 9th March    Malcolm Wilson Rally   (Cockermouth)
  • Saturday 13th April    Rallynuts Stages Rally   (Builth Wells)
  • Saturday 11th May    Plains Rally  (Oswestry)
  • Saturday 13th July    Nicky Grist Stages  (Builth Wells)
  • Saturday 31st August    Woodpecker Stages   (Ludlow)
  • Saturday 28th September    Trackrod Forest Stages   (Filey)