News

SCRATCHING THE SURFACE !

Newark-based JORDAN Road Surfacing, title sponsors of the BTRDA Rally Series, was set up by Barry Jordan – or ‘Baz’ as he’s universally known! – more than 25 years ago. Having worked in the industry since he left school, he now lists amongst his clients a number of blue-chip companies, including several well-known supermarkets, plus the likes of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire County Councils. ‘As a service provider, we’re a one-stop shop,’ says Baz. Everything, apart from the tarmac, required for their contracts is available in-house and Jordan Road Surfacing’s slogan ‘Working with you – not for you’ obviously strikes a chord that, along with Baz’ dogged determination and hard work, has seen the company evolve into the success it is today.

As a self-confessed ‘petrol-head’, it was Baz’ involvement in rallying that culminated in the JORDAN Road Surfacing sponsorship of the BTRDA Rally Series which features seven of the best forest rallies that England & Wales have to offer. Baz’ love of motorsport, both on two wheels and four, dates back to his teens – indeed, this allied to a particular affinity with Ford Escorts, led to his first rally car arriving as a result of a part-exchange deal when he was 18. His initial foray into the world of competition occurred not far from home on a ‘single-venue’ event held at the former RAF base at Fulbeck in 1985. We’re not privy to how he fared but it was the beginning of an active love affair with the sport that is as big now – if not more so – than it was then!

In the past 30+ years, any number of Escorts have passed through Baz’ hands, not to mention examples of each of the ten different Mitsubishi Lancer EVOs and a Subaru Impreza formerly driven by Juha Kankkunen, the 1991/93 World Rally Champion. None has spent more than twelve months, or so, in the Jordan stable before being moved on but, when a deal for a Ford Focus World Rally Car fell through, it prompted the purchase of an ‘Historic’ specification Hillman Avenger. Not possessing a particularly illustrious pedigree in terms of competition, no great hopes were attached to its arrival but, four years and 68 rallies later, it’s still there!

Baz Jordan and Paul Wakely on their way to another class win in their Hillman Avenger       

Photos © Kevin Money

‘We’ve had such a laugh,” says Baz, ‘and it’s been great fun developing it’. A 100% finishing record on all seven rounds of the 2017 BTRDA Rally Series – no mean feat in itself – saw the Avenger finish 3rd overall in the two-wheel drive category, only beaten by a couple of far more powerful Ford Escorts. This year Baz and co-driver Paul Wakely, from West Wales, have concentrated on the Historic section of the Series, winning their class by a country mile and finishing runners-up in the category overall – and the smiles are still evident!

Running a company the size of JORDAN Road Surfacing is a 24/7 operation that requires a huge commitment and, although acutely aware that he’s in a privileged position which allows him to indulge in his passion (notwithstanding the fact that it’s Baz who has engineered that situation!), he regards rallying as free time. ‘When you’re travelling flat out through the forests, absolute concentration is required – you can’t be thinking about anything else.’ So then, and only then, does work take a back seat…

As a family man, there’s also a balance to be struck, but Baz thinks nothing of getting up at 5.00am on a Sunday morning, going and checking on a couple of jobs and being back home in plenty of time to take his wife out.  Perhaps, in addition to all the other attributes required to maintain such a busy and successful life, ‘Juggler’ should also be added to Baz’ CV!…..

Andrew Haill

Congratulations to all the 2018 Award Winners > now for the Awards Presentation !

The Trackrod Forest Stages in North Yorkshire rounded off another very successful BTRDA Rally Series sponsored by JORDAN Road Surfacing. The final 2018 championship points scores can be found HERE

Congratulations to the 2018 champions.  Matt Edwards and Darren Garrod become the 65th BTRDA Gold Star Champions and for Matt this is the culmination of a long journey which began back in 2004 when he first started to compete on BTRDA events in a 1300 Astra.  Since then he has become the BTRDA 1400 Champion and English Rally Champion in 2010 in a MG ZR and then in 2012 he was the Gold Star Championship runner up in a Mitsubishi Evo.

George Lepley is the 65th (and youngest) BTRDA Silver Star Champion Driver and Tom Woodburn is the Silver Star Co-Driver Champion.  In addition to the Silver Star titles they also won the inaugural BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup.  The BTRDA 1400 Championship titles in 2018 have been won by the Ludlow father and son team of Dave and Toby Brick, whilst Matthew Baddeley is the BTRDA Rally First Champion driver and Liam Johnson the Rally First winning co-driver.

A list of all the 2018 Award Winners can be found HERE  There are also some ‘Special Achievement Awards’ on the list to be presented by the BTRDA, but these will not be announced until the Awards Evening.  The names of all the previous BTRDA Rally Champions going right back to 1954 can be found HERE

The awards for the 2018 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series will be presented, along with the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship awards, at the 2018 Dinner and Awards Ceremony which takes place on Saturday 12th January 2019 in the function suite at the Drayton Manor Hotel near Tamworth, B78 3SA.  This date also coincides with the 2019 Autosport Show at the NEC so competitors would be able to combine the two events if they wish to do so.

Ticket Application forms for the Awards Dinner can be downloaded HERE  Please note if you require accommodation there are preferential room rates available for BTRDA guests at the at the Drayton Manor Hotel.  (Details on the Ticket Application form)

The 2019 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series calendar has now received outline MSA approval and is as published in the earlier News Item HERE     Championship Regulations will be out in early December.

2019 > The 66th year of Serious Fun!

The BTRDA is very pleased to confirm the calendar for the 2019 BTRDA Rally Series which will continue to be sponsored by JORDAN Road Surfacing.

It includes a great selection of one-day forest events, starting with the Cambrian Rally in North Wales in February and finishing at the end of September with the Trackrod Forest Stages in North Yorkshire.  The final points table will be based on each competitor’s best 5 scores, providing some flexibility to fit around family or business commitments.

2019 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series

  • Cambrian Rally   16th February
  • Malcolm Wilson Rally   9th March
  • Rallynuts Stages Rally   13th April
  • Plains Rally   11th May
  • Nicky Grist Stages   13th July
  • Woodpecker Stages   31st  August
  • Trackrod Forest Stages   28th  September

The JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series is open to all stage rally cars compliant with current MSA Technical Regulations and, in addition to the Gold Star and Silver Star Rally Championships, includes the BTRDA 1400 Championship, BTRDA Rally First, the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup, Historic Cup, Production Cup and the Fiesta ST Trophy. The spread of competition

classes ensures that there is something for everyone. (more details and announcements to follow)   We are pleased to confirm that all the 2019 BTRDA Rally Series events will be taking advantage of the flexible running order arrangements now permitted by Motorsport UK.         

We are grateful for the wholehearted commitment of the event organisers and the support from our title sponsor, without which we could not promote such a successful Rally Series.

Maintaining the ethos of the BTRDA, you can be sure that the 2019 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series will continue to provide competitors and followers with some Serious Fun!

Main photo is the 2018 Silver Star Champions & BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup winners George Lepley and Tom Woodburn on the Rallynuts Stages.        (Photos courtesy of Kevin Money & Malcolm Almond)

PAYNE FULL OF CONFIDENCE…!

Preview of Round 8: Trackrod Forest Rally   (Photo is leading BTRDA 1400 contenders Chris Powell & Jim Lewis)      

Having won the Trackrod Forest Stages in both 2016 & 2017, it’ll be no surprise to learn that Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson are starting the final round of the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series with No.1 on the doors of their Fiesta. While having no influence on the standings in this year’s BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Championship – a title they won for themselves in 2016 – their speed over the stages of the driver’s ‘home’ event will, doubtless, provide a yardstick for those still hoping for an improvement in their end-of-season results. It also goes without saying that 2017 Gold Star Champions – and Trackrod runners-up for the past two years – Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Fiesta WRC) would dearly like to go one better this time. Having triumphed on several BTRDA Rally Series events in the past, this one has thus far eluded them (by just 0.2 second last year! ). Meanwhile, 2008 Gold Star Champion Hugh Hunter and Manx co-driver Rob Fagg (Fiesta) will be keen to put their early demise from the recent Woodpecker Stages behind them and end the season on a high.

Class B13 is certainly going to be a race to the finish – having been leading the charge, Ian Joel/Graeme Wood’s retirement last time out, when their Escort Cosworth suffered damaged suspension, dropped them to 3rd in the category, allowing Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear (Lancer EVO9) and Lee & Craig Burgess (Impreza) to nip in front. Add a returning Richard Hill/Steffan Evans (Impreza) into the mix and there’ll be some fireworks while this one sorts itself out.

Having already put the BTRDA Production Cup out of reach of the chasing pack on the Nicky Grist Stages back in July, Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy were another crew not to see the finish line of the Woodpecker Stages after their Mitsubishi Lancer’s gearbox cried ‘enough’. Notwithstanding, as they arrive in Filey they’re occupying the final Gold Star Championship podium spot and a good run over the North York Moors could just seal a Top Three finish for the season. Mind you, their closest rivals, Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence, start right behind them and, with a score in hand over Thompson/Murphy, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that they could claim third place for themselves….

James Giddings/Sion Cunniff lead the MRF Fiesta ST Trophy from Mat & Tim Tordoff, and no matter what happens on the day, that order won’t change. However, being in a position to contest a rally without any Championship pressures to worry about will be a refreshing change for both crews!

The 2018 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Silver Star Champions, George Lepley/Tom Woodburn, are absent on this occasion as they prepare for next weekend’s Wales Rally GB. Having dominated the inaugural BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup in their Fiesta, they won the prize-drive through the event’s ‘Road to Wales’ scheme.  Andy Davison/Tom Murphy (Talbot Sunbeam VXR – photo) are safe in runners-up spot in the Silver Star Championship but 3rd place, currently occupied by Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard’s Historic Spec. Escort Mk2, could have changed hands by the end of the day. Graham/Kellard are already confirmed as winners of the BTRDA Historic Cup this season and, while Barry Jordan/Paul Wakely’s Hillman Avenger could get very close to them in Yorkshire, so could Tom Coughtrie’s Mitsubishi Galant VR4. While, as previously discussed, George Lepley/Tom Woodburn have made the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup all their own this season, finishing with a full-house (five maximum scores), Bob Vardy/Keaton Williams’ runners-up spot could be under threat from Tony Simpson/Ian Bevan but, whatever the final order, it’ll be a Fiesta 1-2-3!

As we slowly adapt to the return of the lower-powered cars running at the front of the field, Guy Butler finds himself hogging the limelight as his BTRDA Rally First Championship specification Toyota Corolla T Sport will be the first car away from the start of the rally from the Forest Drive in Dalby at 09.01 on the Saturday morning. With reverse seeding in force, team-mate Matt Baddeley will have an extra couple of minutes in bed before setting off in his identical car, with the VW Lupo of Mark Cox attempting to keep the pair of them honest!

Stuart Spyer/Peter Williams lead the BTRDA 1400 Championship contingent into the stages in their Vauxhall Corsa but, once again, the action will be fast and furious…. The Corsas of Chris Bush/Robert Smith and Kieran Darrington/Simon Jones precede Steve Black’s Suzuki Swift and the Ka of Tommi Meadows/Emma Morrison, before the Nova of Dave & Freddy Brick and Chris Powell/Jim Lewis’ Talbot Sunbeam enter the fray. The maths in regard to these two crews is somewhat complicated but, should Powell take a maximum and Brick finish 4th or lower, the former will leapfrog the latter to become 2018 BTRDA 1400 Champion.   Don’t worry! It’ll all become perfectly clear on the day….

The MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship doesn’t reach the end of the road in Yorkshire. Contenders still have the Wyedean Stages, in early November to look forward to before 2017 victors Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson’s successors are known. In the meantime, competition is extremely tight with the top 6 drivers in the Championship covered by just 5 points. A graphic illustration of the Championship’s strength and depth would focus on Ian Joel who arrived at the start of the Woodpecker as series leader but, following his aforementioned demise, actually dropped ten places in the points table! There’s still time to make amends but with no margin for error!…

With both Matt Edwards and George Lepley not contesting the Trackrod Forest Rally because of Wales Rally GB the following weekend, it would appear that Tommi Meadows (Class 2), Ernie Graham (Class 4), Dave Brick (Class 2) and Matthew Hirst (Class 7) are in the best position to take a big step towards the title with a good result in Yorkshire.

<  Ernie Graham / Robin Kellard on the recent Woodpecker Stages

A full list of all the MAXXIS MSA English Championship points can be viewed at www.englishrally.co.uk/english-championship-points and this just shows the many permutations that can still occur depending on success on the Trackrod and the Wyedean.

For further information on the Trackrod Forest Stages visit: www.rallyyorkshire.co.uk
– ENDS

A NEW PECKING ORDER !…

Preview of Round 7:  Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages (1st September)

Following the MSA’s relaxation of the rules in respect of the running order on rallies, the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages, the penultimate round of the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series®, will see all the two-wheel drive cars in the entry traversing the stages first, in reverse order, before the four-wheel drive element leave the start ‘in the order of anticipated performance’. In this way it’s hoped that, over time, the numbers of lower powered cars that have dramatically declined in recent years, will begin to increase once more. Whether we ever return to the halcyon days of up to 60 1400cc cars battling it out in the forests remains to be seen but, in the meantime, as this season draws towards its conclusion, those 140 crews setting off from Ludlow Racecourse will need to give 100% concentration to the task in hand!

Having been victorious on three of the five Championship rounds that have taken place so far, and finished runners-up on a fourth, it’ll come as no surprise to learn that Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod lead the coveted JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Championship in their Fiesta. With just the Woodpecker and Trackrod Forest Stages, which runs in the North Yorkshire forests to go, the North Walians require one more good result and the title will be theirs. However, as we all know, there’s many a slip, such that the ‘fat lady’ hasn’t even begun practising her scales yet!…

Fiestas are also currently the car of choice for many of those hoping to rain on Edwards/Garrod’s parade and include Luke Francis/John H Roberts and the defending Gold Star Champions – and 2016 Woodpecker winners – Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson. Then 2008 Gold Star Champion Hugh Hunter, accompanied by Manxman Rob Fagg, Sacha Kakad/Jamie Edwards and Ilminster husband-and-wife Martyn & Dawn England will all be hoping for a slice of the action as well!

<  Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy have already put this year’s BTRDA Production Cup out of the reach of their pursuers. Four category wins and a second in their Group NR4 Mitsubishi Lancer have ensured that the best that former champions Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence can hope for is runners-up spot, but that isn’t safe yet either!..

Contenders for the MRF Fiesta ST Trophy, who also qualify for Group N but whose two-wheel drive cars will be running in the first section of the entry, include James Giddings, Mat Tordoff and Zak Hughes, each of whom are currently holding podium places. Meanwhile, teenager Ewan Tindall, whose entry into the series was necessarily delayed until he passed his driving test, has already shown the opposition a clean pair of heels on one occasion and is well placed to considerably improve his overall standing by the end of the season.

The JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Silver Star® Championship has seen different winners on each of the five rounds so far. Most recently it was Max Utting/Mike Ainsworth (Fiesta ST Max), but consistency sees George Lepley/Tom Woodburn’s R2 version leading at present.  2018 heralded the inaugural BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup and, back in the spring, it was announced that the leaders at the conclusion of the Woodpecker would receive a free entry to Wales Rally GB National through the ‘Road to Wales’ scheme. However, George & Tom haven’t had to wait that long to claim their prize – their total domination of the R2 Cup has seen them run out winners on all five events to date, leaving the opposition trailing in their wake! They will leave Ludlow Racecourse a minute behind Utting/Ainsworth as they attempt to make it six out of six!

 <   Max Utting/Mike Ainsworth (Fiesta ST Max) on their way to Silver Star victory on the Nicky Grist Stages

Following an aberration on the Welshpool-based Plains Rally in May which saw their Escort Mk2 failing to reach the finish, Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard returned to their winning ways next time out, on the Carlisle Stages, in pursuit of victory in the BTRDA Historic Cup. Their nearest challengers are series sponsor Barry Jordan and co-driver Paul Wakely in the former’s Hillman Avenger, while Tom Coughtrie’s Mitsubishi Galant VR4 has already made sure of the newly-instigated Class H4.

As mentioned above, the BTRDA 1400 and BTRDA Rally First Championships are not currently attracting the numbers they once were. However, the commitment from those who are competing in such vehicles is no less formidable, such that Chris Powell’s Talbot Sunbeam leads the Nova of Dave Brick by a single point as they head for the Woodpecker Stages. The Brick family farm overlooks Ludlow Racecourse and, consequently, there’ll be no worries in regard to getting stuck in traffic on the way to the start! What he and Chris Powell will need to concern themselves with, however, is the presence of Kieran Darrington (Corsa) who, after several seasons away from the sport, has removed any doubts as to his ‘match fitness’ with a string of good results, and Tommi Meadows – son of 2000 BTRDA Gold Star Champion Martin – whose Ka came up trumps in Carlisle.

                                                                                                                              Chris Powell / Jim Lewis on the recent Nicky Grist Stages  >

Team-mates Matt Baddeley and Guy Butler continue their friendly (we hope!) rivalry for BTRDA Rally First Championship honours on the Woodpecker Stages in their identical Toyota Corolla Sports. Prior to the start, Matt leads Guy by one point but, with up to 20 on offer on each event, that could easily have changed by close of play…

So, whatever the outside temperature on 1st September, we can guarantee that the pace will be very hot! There’s a lot at stake and, certainly as far as this season is concerned, time is running out for those with designs on the various BTRDA titles!…    The first car leaves Ludlow Racecourse at 8.30am and is due to finish the event at around 4.40pm.

AH       All photographs courtesy of Kevin Money / Malcolm Almond

SHOWGROUND SHOWDOWN!…

Preview of Round 6: Nicky Grist Stages – 14th July                                            Photo is Pat Naylor / Ian Lawrence on the Carlisle Stages … and yes they were trying very hard!  

As contenders for the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series prepare for their second visit of the season to the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells for the Nicky Grist Stages, the pressure on the leaders – not to mention those who have designs on podium places! – in each of its various facets is beginning to mount. With just two rounds to go after this weekend, no-one is yet in a position to relax. Indeed, apart from the inaugural BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup which, thus far, has been completely monopolised by the Fiesta of George Lepley/Tom Woodburn, each category has seen at least two different winners from the four events that have already taken place.

Meanwhile, contenders for the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship are really only just getting into their stride. The unfortunate cancellation of the Malcolm Wilson Rally put the start of this year’s ERC back to the Carlisle Stages at the beginning of June, with the Quinton Motor Club-organised Nicky Grist Stages as the second round, and then there are still another three to complete after this weekend.

Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson won last year’s Nicky Grist Stages, on their way to claiming the BTRDA Gold Star® Championship crown – and the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship – and have made no secret of their wish to repeat the exercise in 2018.  However, their efforts have so far been somewhat upstaged by Matt Edwards/ Darren Garrod (Fiesta WRC) and current BTRDA Rally Series leaders Paul Bird/Jack Morton (Focus WRC) who have amassed two maximum scores apiece.   

2016 Nicky Grist Stages winners Luke Francis/John H Roberts have changed their allegiance to a Fiesta WRC this season – with mixed results. A couple of excellent second-place points scores have been bookended by DNFs, placing them just outside the Top Ten in the Gold Star Championship points. There’s still time to make amends but any further ‘misfortunes’ will cost them dearly. 2016 Gold Star Champions Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson start behind them in their hastily-repaired Fiesta following its inversion last time out in Kielder, while Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge continue to acquaint themselves with their new R5 Fiesta. Martyn & Dawn England (Fiesta R5+) were 4th overall on last year’s Nicky Grist Stages and the Ilminster husband-and-wife team return in an attempt to improve on that excellent result.

Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence travelled back to the Midlands from Carlisle last month with maximum BTRDA Production Cup points in the bag but, up until then, Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy had come out on top of the Lancer EVO battle and that, allied to their 100% finishing record, sees them arriving in Builth Wells as top dogs. The Impreza of Jon Ross/Martin Auskerin returns after absenting itself from the trip up north and a good result now will keep both car and crew in the mix.

Meanwhile, there’s a strong Welsh element to the MRF Fiesta ST Trophy entry! The top seeded crew is Zak Hughes (Welshpool) & Tom Wood (Cwmbran) who’ll be followed a couple of minutes later by Kalvin Green (Treorchy)/Osian Owen (Rhyl) and current leaders James Giddings (Swansea)/Sion Cunniff (Gaerwen). Mathew & Tim Tordoff are the highest placed ‘English’ crew prior to the Nicky Grist but they all need to be keeping a sharp eye out for 17-years old Ewan Tindall and co-driver Paul Hudson who, on the grounds of the driver’s age, have only been able to contest the last two events – and ‘won’ the second!…

As JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Silver Star® Championship leaders following the Carlisle Stages, Rob Dennis/Andy Boswell have the honour of being the first of the main series contenders away from the Showground in their Escort Mk2. Right behind them are Owen McMackin/Lee Taylor in their larger-engined version, with Allan McDowall/Gavin Heseltine’s 2.5 litre car and the Sunbeam VXR of Andy Davison/Tom Murphy also in close attendance.

As mentioned above, George Lepley’s stranglehold on the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup is such that, unless something untoward happens on the Nicky Grist Stages, he will qualify for the free entry to Wales Rally GB through the ‘Road to Wales’ scheme. Nevertheless, the words ‘chickens’ and ‘counting’ spring to mind!… Will Graham/Steven Davey, in another Fiesta, are handily placed to benefit from any misfortune that may occur to the current R2 Cup leader and then ‘crunch time’ – when the prize-winner is revealed – is at the finish of the Woodpecker Stages at the beginning of September. Bob Vardy, Roger Nevitt and a returning Sam Bilham, (the 2017 Fiesta ST Champion) also in Fiesta R2’s, are also sure to provide George with some strong competition.

George Lepley/Tom Woodburn (Fiesta) – BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup Leaders on the Carlisle Stages

In the battle for the BTRDA Historic Cup, normal service was resumed on the Carlisle Stages following a blip on the previous month’s Plains Rally. Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard not only took their Escort to a category win but also claimed 3rd-place Silver Star points in the process! Tom Coughtrie’s Mitsubishi Galant VR4, which had also failed to finish the Plains, went some way to restoring its driver’s faith with a class win to keep it in contention for the overall lead.

So, we now move on to the contenders for the BTRDA 1400 & Rally First Championships who, along with crews in Historic Category 1 & 2 cars (+ Category 3 with single cam engines), will start at the front of the field, following the MSA’s relaxation of the rules regarding the running order on events, but in reverse order. Still with us? Splendid!….

Perhaps the people who need to be most aware of the situation are Emma Morrison, who has switched roles to take over the driving seat for this event, and Jon Quintrell who will be first away from the start of the Nicky Grist Stages in a Rally First Volkswagen Lupo GTI. The two Rally First 2.0 litre Toyota Corollas of Championship leader Matthew Baddeley and Guy Butler resume their friendly rivalry – on the Carlisle Stages, one didn’t start and the other didn’t finish!… Having also been absent last time, leaders after the opening round, Sam & Liam Johnson, will be hoping that their Seat Arosa will be in a position to give them a second maximum in mid Wales.

The ‘Historic’ Hillman Avenger of series sponsor Barry Jordan and co-driver Paul Wakely, who also missed out on the finish celebrations in Carlisle, starts a minute in front of Tommi Meadows’ Ford Ka, 1400 Championship winner last time. Then Steve Black’s Suzuki Swift has each of the current top six drivers in the table breathing down his neck, viz. Stuart Spyer (Corsa), Perry Gardener (Nova), Richard Cole (Escort MkII), Kieran Darrington (Corsa), Chris Powell (Sunbeam) and Dave Brick (Nova). Fireworks in July? You’d better believe it!…

 

                                                                                                                Chris Powell / Jim Lewis (Talbot Sunbeam) on the recent Carlisle Stages

 

Following the opening round of the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship, as a class-based series, a look at the points tables reveals multiple leaders. It’s only now, as contenders have a second chance to exert their supremacy that the number of names with maximum points begins to decrease. Those dining out on their success prior to the Nicky Grist include Ernie Graham (Escort Mk2), George Lepley (Fiesta R2), Paul Bird (Focus WRC), Tommi Meadows (Ka) and Ian Joel (Escort Cosworth). It goes without saying that all these good folk are preparing for a trip to Builth Wells on 14th July!

The first car (Emma Morrison/Jon Quintrell) leaves the start of the Nicky Grist Stages at 8.31am on Saturday morning and on the menu are 45 miles of special stages in some of the classic mid-Wales forests. Cars then begin arriving at the finish from 3.30pm that afternoon.  For further information on the Nicky Grist Stages, visit: www.nickygriststages.co.uk

AH             (Photographs courtesy of Kevin Money & Malc Almond)

BACK TO THE FRONT….!

Preview of Round 5: ATL Carlisle Stages – 9th June.

The ATL Carlisle Stages is the first event in the 2018 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series to take advantage of the MSA’s recent relaxation of their regulations in relation to permitted running order. In this instance, it not only allows contenders for the BTRDA 1400 and BTRDA Rally First Championships and the older Historic Rally cars to run at the head of the field, but also in reverse seeded order.

As this is also a joint event with the British Historic Rally Championship it could be Paul Mankin / Desmond Bell in a Lotus Cortina who lead the event away from the start at 8.00am on Saturday 9th June.  Kieran Darrington/Adrian Cooper and Stuart Spyer/Pete Williams will be relying on their respective Corsas to carry them to the finish of the Carlisle Stages.  Having sampled an R2 Fiesta last time out on the Plains Rally, Tommi Meadows/Emma Morrison revert to their 1400cc Ford Ka once again whilst Richard Cole (Ford Escort) will be travelling all the way from South Devon to compete on the event.  Meanwhile, Chris Powell/Jim Lewis (Talbot Sunbeam) and Dave & Toby Brick (Corsa) who both have maximum scores to their credit already, will be looking to outdo each other and add another one to their accounts.     Main Photo is Dave & Toby Brick (Corsa) on the 2018 Rallynuts Stages.

Following the initial group of competitors, the event returns to ‘conventional’ seeding for JORDAN Road Surfacing Gold Star® Championship contenders. Matt Edwards (a former BTRDA 1400 Champion in 2010) and Darren Garrod (Fiesta R5) have emerged victorious from the previous two encounters this year and will now be chasing a hat-trick. However, those out to see that there’s a change at the top of the leader board on this occasion include Luke Francis/John Roberts (Fiesta WRC) and current Gold Star Championship leaders Paul Bird/Jack Morton who are keeping the faith with their Focus WRC. Bird lives in nearby Penrith and will be very much hoping that local knowledge plays a part in the outcome! 

Current BTRDA Rally Series leaders Paul Bird / Jack Morton (Focus WRC) on the recent Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally >>>>>>>>

Defending Gold Star Champions Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Fiesta WRC) are keeping up the pressure on Bird/Morton but can’t afford to make any mistakes as they continue their quest for back-to-back titles. A welcome return for Mick O’Brien accompanied by Rob Fagg (Fiesta R5+) are next away, followed by Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge (Fiesta R5) and the 2016 BTRDA Gold Star Champion Charlie Payne in another Fiesta who has Dale Bowen for company this time.

Late arrivals to the party, Richard Hill/Steffan Evans (Impreza) swept all before them in Class B13 on their first outing, the Plains Rally, finishing in front of the Lancer EVO9 of Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear.  Ian Joel/Graeme Wood put their Escort Cosworth off the road in Wales and now need to make up the lost ground. They still have plenty of time but a good result in Carlisle would be hugely satisfying….

Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy have grabbed this year’s BTRDA Production Cup by the scruff of the neck, taking their Lancer EVO9 to maximum points scores on each of the three rounds so far. Following Tom Naughton’s big accident on the Plains a month ago, his enforced absence leaves Thompson to concentrate on keeping fellow Lancer devotees Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence at a safe distance. However, rest assured that the Midlands crew will have other ideas on the subject!…

Having finished in the Top Ten overall last time and taking maximum JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Silver Star® Championship points to boot, Ieuan Rowlands/Emyr Hall head north with their Hillman Avenger in an attempt to repeat the process. Nevertheless, it’ll come as no surprise to them that the ‘Escort Brigade’ – Rob Dennis/ Andy Boswell, Owen McMackin/Lee Taylor, Allan McDowall/Gavin Heseltine, Nick Dobson/Steve Pugh & Steve Hopewell/ Clive Jones to name just a few – will be doing everything in their power to thwart their plans!  Then, we can’t ignore Andy Davison/Tom Murphy’s rapid Sunbeam VXR or, indeed, Barry Jordan/Paul Wakely in the JORDAN Road Surfacing Avenger.  

Starting the season in such good form in their quest for BTRDA Historic Cup honours, Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard (Escort) and Tom Coughtrie (Mitsubishi Galant VR4) will have been somewhat underwhelmed by the Plains Rally which saw them both listed among the retirements. Even so, in spite of the setback, they start the Carlisle Stages leading their respective categories and will be looking for another opportunity to stamp their authority on the proceedings.

In BTRDA terms, the inaugural Rallye R2 Cup is proving to be a welcome addition to the fold as eleven drivers have already scored points. Be that as it may, George Lepley/Tom Woodburn have ignored all the others, instead treating the category as if it was their own!  Three maximum scores from three events unsurprisingly sees their Fiesta leading the table as they head off up the M6 to the start of the Carlisle Stages. Will Graham/Steven Davey, in another Fiesta, occupy 2nd place and, in the absence of Jack Leese as he recuperates following his major off on the Plains, Bob Vardy/Keaton Williams are next.  Zak Hughes/Tom Wood lead the MRF Fiesta ST Trophy runners, followed some 10 minutes later by James Giddings/Sion Cunniff and Kalvin Green/Rhys Stoneman.

2018 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship

Following the unfortunate cancellation of the Malcolm Wilson Rally back in March due to the attentions of the ‘Beast from the East’, the ATL Carlisle Stages hosts the rescheduled start of the 2018 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship and we’re now looking at a five-round championship, with everyone’s four best scores to count.. Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Fiesta) managed to hold off the attentions of Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence (Lancer EVO9) to take last year’s title but, as a class-based series, it’s perfectly possible for the eventual winners to come from any one of the eight capacity classes.

Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson begin the defence of their MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship title

Starting in Carlisle for the ATL Carlisle Stages, the action in an all-gravel format then moves to the Quinton Motor Club promoted Nicky Grist Stages six weeks later. After a similar gap, the Woodpecker Stages will welcome contenders to Ludlow Racecourse for some of the famous Marches special stages. The North York Moors play host to the penultimate round, the Trackrod Forest Rally, at the end of September before the finale, a welcome return to the Wyedean Stages, in the picturesque Forest of Dean on 10th November.

Revised 2018 Calendar
• ATL Carlisle Stages Rally    9th June    Kielder Forest West
• Nicky Grist Stages    14th July    Mid Wales Forests
• Woodpecker Stages    1st September    Shropshire and the Welsh Borders
• Trackrod Forest Rally    29th September    North Yorkshire
• Wyedean Stages Rally    10th November    Forest of Dean

So, this could be a second bite at the cherry so to speak, especially for those that have had a ‘difficult start to the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series.     NB: The MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship registration is all part of the 2018 BTRDA Rally Series and BTRDA membership package.

All participating vehicles must comply with the current MSA Safety & Technical Regulations for Special Stage Rallies but then the Championship will be split into 8 championship classes with the scoring system reflecting achievement against other competitors in the same class. Let the fun begin!…

The ATL Carlisle Stages is based at the premises of H & H Auctions in Carlisle, from where the first car leaves at 8.00am on the Saturday morning. Five challenging stages later, the cars begin appearing back there for the finish from 3.10pm.

Photos supplied by Kevin Money & Malcolm Almond                                                                                                                                                                                                                     AH

PETCH’S INTENTION IS PLAIN !…

Preview of Round 4: Plains Rally – 12th May.

On their way to claiming the 2017 BTRDA Gold Star® Championship crown, Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson won the Plains Rally outright in their Fiesta WRC and, as they continue with a very robust defence of their title, a similar result on the fourth round of the 2018 JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series would do very nicely, thank you!

Solid runs on both the Cambrian and Rallynuts Stages Rallies have put Petch/Wilkinson into 2nd place in the Championship points, almost within touching distance of the current leaders, Paul Bird/Jack Morton (Ford Focus WRC).  However, the ‘men of the moment’ are Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod who not only took their M-Sport prepared Fiesta to victory on the Rallynuts Stages but then followed it up with a similar result on the opening round of the British Rally Championship, the Pirelli Rally, at the end of April.  As a result they are seeded at No 1 on the Plains Rally and but for problems experienced on the Cambrian Rally, they would be arriving in Welshpool for the Plains as Gold Star leaders themselves….. The photo above is of Matt and Darren (Fiesta R5) – on their wat to victory on the Rallynuts Stages Rally.   (Image courtesy of Malcolm Almond)

Another crew to experience difficulties on the season-opener – in this case leading to a DNF – were Luke Francis/John Roberts who are sampling Fiesta WRC power for the first time this year. They went some way to putting their BTRDA campaign back on track with 2nd overall on the Rallynuts Stages, but now need to do it all over again to keep up with the leaders. Having forsaken their Mitsubishi Lancer, Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge have also joined the ever growing ranks of Fiesta R5 owners but its debut on the Cambrian was very short-lived after their particular example developed starter motor problems prior to the opening stage. Steve Simpson/Mark Glennerster (Fiesta S2000) will be hoping to emulate, or even improve on, the 5th place they attained the last time they contested the event together in 2016.  However, one crew who will be absent from the line-up are 2009 Plains winner Hugh Hunter and co-driver Rob Fagg who will be defending their victory on the 2017 Manx National Rally which, this year, takes place over the same weekend.

Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) have come out on top of the BTRDA Production Cup contenders on both occasions so far and will, no doubt, be looking to continue this trend on the Plains Rally. Their main rivals, Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence and Tom Naughton/Will Rogers have registered one DNF apiece and, consequently, have a spot of catching up to do! Meanwhile, unlike these three Lancer EVO crews, Jon Ross/Martin Auskerin have put their faith in a Subaru Impreza for their challenge and, so far, it has rewarded them with a couple of good points scores.

Although it’s still early days, James Giddings/Sion Cunniff lead the race to become MRF Fiesta ST Trophy champions but, prior to the Plains, Kalvin Green/Osian Owen are only three points behind them. Trophy winners on the Cambrian Rally, Zak Hughes/Tom Wood, suffered the indignity of a retirement on the Rallynuts Stages and now need a result to regain their momentum. However, several others, including the likes of Mat Tordoff, Martin Laverty and Richard Wells, would all like a say in how the situation pans out this time!

Two events, two different winners so far in the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Silver Star® Championship – and both crews feature in the starting line-up for the Plains. John Rowlands/Glenn Latham took first blood in their Escort, while Rob Dennis/Andy Boswell (see picture) did likewise on the Rallynuts Stages. Dennis leads the table from Ulsterman Owen McMackin whose bigger-engined Escort is up against the similar car of Ieuan Rowlands/Emyr Hall who performed a giant-killing act on the event last year by finishing 10th overall and first two-wheel drive, more than two minutes in front of their nearest rivals!

Andy Davison/Tom Murphy will be bringing their rapid Talbot Sunbeam VXR and, having been absent from the Rallynuts Stages, Barry Jordan returns with his Hillman Avenger. Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard maintain a vice-like grip on the BTRDA Historic Cup in their Escort, while Tom Coughtrie’s Mitsubishi Galant VR4 is exerting a similar level of dominance in Class H4.

 

On the subject of superiority, George Lepley has taken his Fiesta to maximum points scores on both rounds of the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup so far but, close behind, Jack Leese (Peugeot 208) and Bob Vardy (Fiesta) are tying for 2nd place. None of them will need reminding that even a minor indiscretion on the Plains Rally could result in a vastly different look to the leaderboard by the end of the day!…  It’s also interesting to note that Tommi Meadows has upgraded from his 1400cc Ka to an R2 Fiesta for the Plains – he’s obviously got his eye on the free entry to Wales Rally GB which will go to the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup leader after the Woodpecker Stages in September.

                                                                                     George Lepley / Tom Woodburn (Fiesta R2) on the Rallynuts Stages  > > >

Perry Gardener’s Vauxhall Nova leads the BTRDA 1400 Championship after two rounds, but he must be very wary of the two driver/car combinations that have already scored maximums. Having had a fantastic run on the Cambrian Rally, finishing second 2WD car on the day, Chris Powell/Jim Lewis’s Talbot Sunbeam let them down on the Rallynuts Stages. Hopefully, the severe dressing down it’ll have received, once recovered to its Hereford base, has been heeded and will now take its crew to further glory on the Plains Rally…. Then Perry has fellow Ludlow crew Dave & Toby Brick to contend with – having sat out the Cambrian, the father and son took their Vauxhall Corsa to the top step of the podium last time out and will be looking to repeat the exercise on the Plains. Meanwhile, Kieran Darrington’s return to the sport continues – a successful run on the Rallynuts Stages to 2nd 1400 in his trusty Corsa and he, too, will be heading for Welshpool.

BTRDA Rally First Championship contestants Matt Baddeley and Guy Butler started the Rallynuts Stages one minute apart in their identical Toyota Corollas and, by the finish, the gap had reduced to a mere 15s! The main difference here was that it was Baddeley’s second score while Butler had retired from the opening encounter. Sam & Liam Johnson (Seat Arosa), who showed the others the way home on the Cambrian, are back for more and, following successive retirements, Richard Ingleby/Alex Booth will be encouraging their MG ZR to get them to the finish this time!

The first car leaves the start of the Plains Rally in Welshpool at 8.00am on Saturday 12th May and 8 special stages await the 125-car entry. The organisers, Knutsford & District Motor Club Ltd., are delighted that, for the first time for 14 years, they’ve been able to include stages in Dyfnant forest and extend their gratitude to the various agencies that have made this possible.

The first car is then due back in Welshpool for the finish at 6.00pm.

Images courtesy of Kevin Money and Malcolm Almond.

 

 

FULL CIRCLE !…

Preview of Round 3: (2nd event)  Rallynuts Stages – 14th April.

For the first time since 1989, the Rallynuts Stages (or ‘Severn Valley’ as it was known prior to the involvement of its current sponsor) features in the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series and, following the unfortunate cancellation of the Malcolm Wilson Rally due to the effects of the ‘Beast from the East’, moves up to become effectively the second event in the calendar. The organisers, Midland Manor Motor Club Ltd, have attracted a quality entry of 130 crews who will be heading for the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells on 14th April.

Coincidentally, the Top Three finishers from the 2017 Rallynuts Stages – Connor McCloskey/John Rowan, Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson and Martyn & Dawn England – are all chasing JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Gold Star® Championship points in their respective Fiestas this year. They will be joined by series leaders following the Cambrian Rally, Paul Bird/Jack Morton in the former’s Focus WRC, plus a gaggle of Fiestas in the hands of defending Gold Star Champions Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson, Julian Reynolds/Patrick Walsh, Hugh Hunter/Rob Fagg and Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod who set multiple fastest stage times on the Cambrian but whose chances of a top result were ruined by damaged suspension during the morning.  Following a retirement in North Wales, Luke Francis/John H Roberts will also be looking to put their Gold Star season back on track in Mid Wales. The photo is of Luke and John (Fiesta WRC) – trying very hard before their retirement on the Cambrian.  (Images courtesy of Kevin Money)

In Class B13, the rivalry between Dylan Davies/Llion Williams (Impreza) and Ian Joel/Graeme Wood (Escort Cosworth), which went marginally in favour of the former crew on the Cambrian, is set to continue but, amongst others joining the fray this time, Richard Hill/Steffan Evans, in another Impreza, will doubtless be aiming to upset the apple cart!

Maintaining the theme of close competition, especially over the past couple of seasons, the BTRDA Production Cup has become used to seeing a handful of seconds separating winners and ‘others’. Defending Cup Champions Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence lost out to Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy in the battle of the Lancer EVOs last time and will be hoping for a spot of role reversal on the Rallynuts Stages. Meanwhile, for their part, Tom Naughton/Will Rogers will be looking for a finish after mechanical bothers saw to it that their Lancer didn’t reach the final control on the Cambrian.

With the possible exception of Fiesta ST Trophy leaders Zak Hughes/Tom Wood, all the other contenders will be out to change the look of the points table on the Rallynuts Stages. James Giddings/Sion Cunniff and Kalvin Green/Osian Owen are currently in the remaining podium positions and would dearly love to ‘up’ their game – in more ways than one!

Zak Hughes/Tom Wood – Fiesta ST Trophy Leaders >

After its amazing run on the Cambrian Rally to 17th overall, the 1400cc Talbot Sunbeam of Chris Powell/Jim Lewis will be the best-placed JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Silver Star® Championship starter next weekend. However, it goes without saying (but we will anyway!) that there’ll be some more powerful cars with the express intention of raining on their parade. The Escorts of Rob Dennis/Andy Boswell, Nick Dobson/Steve Pugh, Allan McDowall/Gavin Heseltine and the Citroen DS3 R3T of Richard Sykes/Simon Taylor plus the Talbot Sunbeam VXR of Andy Davison/Tom Murphy could, potentially, lead the charge but there’ll be others – lots of others!…

The addition of a BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup to the BTRDA’s Rally Series arsenal this year has certainly struck a chord. Nine drivers scored points first time out and now, on Round 2, the entry list has increased still further. George Lepley/Tom Woodburn (Fiesta) are the first-ever leaders of this particular category but, at this early stage of the season, the slightest of problems could spell disaster. Not wishing ill on their rivals (much!), Bob Vardy/Keaton Williams are best-placed to benefit from any misfortune that might hinder the leaders’ progress, with Jack Leese/Sam Spencer (Peugeot 208) hoping that lightning could possibly strike twice and upset both crews’ rhythm on the day! The entry list also benefits from a couple of R2 cars crewed by BRC regulars.

And so to the BTRDA 1400 Championship – another area in which the BTRDA took a pioneering stance, in this case some 16 years ago. In spite of the decline in numbers, due in no small part to the insistence that the lesser powered vehicles are no longer able to run at the front of the field, those who campaign such cars exhibit a similar level of commitment to those fighting for outright victory! Previously mentioned in despatches, Chris Powell/Jim Lewis will have been dining out for the past couple of months on their Cambrian result, but now it’s time to do it all over again!

 

<   Chris Powell/Jim Lewis (1400cc Talbot Sunbeam)

Among those hoping they don’t/can’t, we find Tommi Meadows (KA) and Perry Gardener (Nova) and good to see the return of Kieran Darrington (Corsa).    There’s an entry from the Brick family in a Corsa but, currently, that’s the only information to which we’re privileged! Nevertheless, historically, such is the reputation of the Ludlow farming dynasty that, come the day, whoever is ensconced in the driving seat will require careful monitoring by those hoping to come out on top. 

Although the BTRDA Rally First Championship caters for cars up to 2-litres, albeit with minimal technical modifications, competitors find themselves under the same constraints in regard to running order as do the 1400s. Notwithstanding, a trio of 2-litre cars have been entered by the ‘rallyme’ organisation for Wesley Gilford/Ryan Griffiths (Fiesta ST) and Matt Baddeley & Guy Butler (both Toyota Corollas). Having missed the opening round, 2017 Champions Bart Lang/Sinclair Young return in their all-conquering Nissan Micra.

The first car leaves the start of the Rallynuts Stages at the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells at 8.30am on Saturday 14th April. 45 miles of competition in the forests of Crychan, Cefn, Gwibedog and Radnor are on the agenda prior to the finish, back at the Royal Welsh Showground, from 15.50 that afternoon.

No Time To Lose…!

Preview of Round 2: Malcolm Wilson Rally – 3rd March.
With the Cambrian Rally moving back a week this year and the second round of the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series, the Malcolm Wilson Rally, running a week earlier, there’s barely time to draw breath before contenders for each of the various Championships head off to event sponsor M-Sport’s premises in Dovenby for the pre-event formalities.

Although his car is prepared in the Scottish borders, one person who won’t have far to travel to the start on this occasion is the current Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Gold Star® Championship leader Paul Bird who hails from Penrith. He will be chasing a record-breaking 5th win on his ‘home’ event – his fourth came in 2014 which put him on a par with Bill Dobie, the Cumbrian who took his four victories in five years between 1978 & 1982. Bird and co-driver Jack Morton will be out to consolidate the advantage their Focus WRC gained on the opening round of the series but will be under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge ahead of them.

Defending Gold Star Champions Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Fiesta WRC) are right behind Bird/Morton after the season’s opening encounter and, having retired from last year’s Malcolm Wilson, need to keep up the pressure if their aim of back-to-back titles is to become a reality. Meanwhile, Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod (Fiesta) set FTD on five of the Cambrian’s seven stages but damaged suspension ruined any chance of translating that speed into a good result. So, in Gold Star terms, a sizeable haul of points in Cumbria is a pre-requisite….
Breathing down their necks will be another trio of Fiestas in the hands of Julian Reynolds/Patrick Walsh, Hugh Hunter/Rob Fagg & Charlie Payne/Ian Windress, with a further couple crewed by Luke Francis/John H Roberts and Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge aiming to put their BTRDA seasons back on track following retirements on the Cambrian.

In the B13 class battle, Dylan Davies/Llion Williams (Impreza) narrowly beat Ian Joel/Graeme Wood (Escort Cosworth) on the Cambrian but, when it comes to the Malcolm Wilson Rally, the latter crew currently holds the bragging rights – they finished 13th in 2017 whilst Davies/Williams retired!…

Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy lead the BTRDA Production Cup runners but, if that situation is to continue, they will need to see off challenges from the likes of fellow Lancer EVO crews Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence, Tom Naughton/Will Rogers and Dan Moss/Sam Allen, as well as from the Imprezas of Andy Davies/Max Freeman and Jon Ross/Martin Auskerin.   Fiesta ST Trophy contenders Zak Hughes/Tom Wood are ‘Kings of the Castle’ after the Cambrian, a situation which both James Giddings/Sion Cunniff and Calvin Green/Osian Owen will be out to change on Round 2, while Martin Laverty/Phil Kenny would just be happy with a finish following retirement last time out.

Neither John or Ieuan Rowlands, who finished 1st & 3rd respectively in the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Silver Star® Championship on the Cambrian, will be present on the Malcolm Wilson, giving Chris Powell/Jim Lewis the opportunity to put their 1400cc Sunbeam, which took 2nd place points in North Wales, into the mix once again. However, looming large – and that’s not just in engine capacity! – are the Escorts of Rob Dennis/Andy Boswell, Alan McDowell/Gavin Heseltine and Nick Dobson/Steve Pugh, plus the Citroen DS3 of Richard Sykes/Simon Taylor and Talbot Sunbeam VXR of Andy Davison/Tom Wood. Also appearing on the entry list is the name of Matthew Robinson whose exuberant – not to mention very quick! – driving style helped him on his way to secure the domination of the BTRDA Silver Star Championship for a period of three years from 2012 to 2014. Co-driven by Dave Robson, he has entered the Malcolm Wilson Rally in an Escort RS which also conforms to the BTRDA Historic Cup® regulations….

In the pursuance of its policy of welcoming all-comers to the Rally Series, the BTRDA has introduced a Rallye R2 Cup this year and, first time out, nine drivers scored points. Thus far, Fiestas (R2s, of course!) seem to be the most popular mode of transport, a theory to which both George Lepley/Tom Woodburn and Bob Vardy/Keaton Williams would subscribe, while Jack Leese/Sam Spencer have opted for a Peugeot 208. As ever, at this early point of the season, the jury is out as to the wisdom of their individual choices!

As mentioned above, Chris Powell/Jim Lewis made the BTRDA 1400 Championship all their own on the Cambrian but, in football parlance, you’re only as good as your last result and, thus, there’ll be no room for complacency – or problems! – this time. Attempting to keep them honest will be Tommi Meadows/Ian Oakey (Ford Ka), Pete Gorst/Phil King (Vauxhall Nova) and a brace of Corsas driven by Scott & David Sloan and Stuart Spyer/Pete Williams.
Each of the BTRDA Rally First Championship crews who scored points on the opening round opted for different makes of car. Sam & Liam Johnson’s Seat Arosa came out on top, while Matthew Baddeley/Shaun Hughes, who finished 2nd in the points in a 2.0 VW Lupo, have entered the Malcolm Wilson in a 1.0 litre Toyota Corolla. The comparison between the two, not least in power output, will be interesting!

This year’s MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship sets sail in the Lake District and, having been reformatted last year, now encompasses all vehicles conforming to the MSA’s current technical regulations. Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson came out on top in their Fiesta WRC but, as a class-based series, the eventual winners could potentially come from any one of the eight classes. Indeed, the Top Six from 2017 featured two World Rally Cars, Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence’s Group N Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9, a couple of two-wheel drive cars and a ‘Rally First’ spec. Nissan Micra!…

The first car leaves the start of the Malcolm Wilson Rally from M-Sport at 7.00am on Saturday 3rd March for the first of nine special stages in the Lake District, before the finish at the Hired Lad, just off the M6 on the outskirts of Penrith, at 14.50.

Main photo is George Lepley/Tom Woodburn (Fiesta R2) – BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup Leaders on the Cambrian.   (Photo by Malcolm Almond)