The history of the BTRDA Rally Championships

history1959The BTRDA began life in 1938 as the British Trial Drivers Association but as cars developed there were many competitors who wished to participate in longer and more arduous motorsport events. To meet this demand the BTRDA Rallies Committee was formed in 1953 and it began the Gold Star and Silver Star Rally Championships. The original events included the RAC Rally, Circuit of Ireland, Morecambe Rally, Scarborough Rally, Scottish Rally and Rally of the Dams as these were the most challenging rallies in the UK at the time and were mostly long distance, endurance road events. However as the championship developed so the events changed to include many of the most competitive night-time road rallies in the UK including the Express & Star, Mini Miglia and the London Rally.

history1972In the mid 1960’s some events began to incorporate timed ‘Special Stages’ in addition to a competitive night road rally. A typical example was the Dukeries Rally of 1968, which started with 6 special stages using private roads on the Saturday evening. A brief supper halt was followed by a full 200 mile Derbyshire / Staffordshire road rally with selectives timed to the second. At dawn the event changed yet again to a stage event and ran 6 stages in Sherwood Forest before a lunchtime finish.
By 1970 competitors and cars were beginning to specialise and 1972 was the last Gold Star Championship to use both stage and road events. From 1973 the Gold Star Championship was contested exclusively on stage rallies whilst the Silver Star Championship continued for road rally competitors.

history1982Both these championships were very popular throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s with good events and huge entries including some of the best competitors from around the UK.

Because of a rising demand from club competitors the BTRDA Rally Committee introduced a BTRDA Clubmans Stage Championship in 1987 that placed more emphasis on lower cost forest rallies. That year also saw Ron Beecroft / Brian Kidd crowned as the final champions of the very competitive Silver Star and Motoring News National Road Rally championship; the demise of which is still much lamented.

history19911993 was a year of consolidation with the Gold Star and Clubmans Rally Championships running on the same calendar of events. The BTRDA Stage Rally Championships maintained their popularity throughout the 1990’s with various innovations including eight successful years (1993 – 2000) when the Gold Star championship, supported by Peugeot Sport, was exclusively for Formula 2 cars and the Silver Star was awarded for non F2 cars.

In 2001, to reflect rally car trends and competitor demand, the format was changed, with the Gold Star Championship again being open to all rally cars and the creation of the BTRDA 1400 Championship. In 2008 the BTRDA Rally First category for standard cars was introduced

The BTRDA Rally Championships are administered by the BTRDA Rallies Committee, which has always been dominated by competitors. Mike Broad, Phil Short, Chris Lord, Ron Crellin, Stephen Bye and Mike Sones all had a big influence on previous Rallies Committees. Ian Butcher [GS Champion 94/95] was chairman when the BTRDA was the first rally championship to switch to Formula 2 and Richie Holfeld [GS Champion 1991] was chairman when we adopted the current successful format.

The present committee under the Chairmanship of Neil Cross continues to include a wide range of current and former competitors, event organisers and officials so that it has first hand experience of present day stage rallying and the best chance of understanding what competitors want.

history2003The current BTRDA Rally Series, sponsored by JORDAN Road Surfacing, is split into four distinct parts. The Gold Star Championship is open to all cars over 1400cc. the Silver Star Championship which is exclusively for two wheel drive cars over 1400cc, the BTRDA 1400 Championship and the BTRDA Rally First category for standard cars up to 2000cc. The BTRDA Rally Series is consistently the most popular Rally Championship in the UK with hundreds of registered competitors participating each year.

A roll of honour of the all the BTRDA Rally Champions is on the adjacent section.

The success of the BTRDA Rally Championship very much depends on the quality of the individual rallies organised by the participating motor clubs. Since 1973 the BTRDA have awarded the Bill Turner Trophy to ‘Best Event in the BTRDA Rally Series’. (listed below)

YEARMotor Club
2018Trackrod Motor Club
201760 & Worcester Motor Club
2016Quinton Motor Club
2015Burnham-on-Sea MC & Minehead MC
2014North Wales Car Club
2013Burnham-on-Sea MC & Minehead MC
2012Quinton Motor Club
201160 & Worcester Motor Club
2010Quinton Motor Club
2009Forest of Dean Motor Club
2008North Wales Car Club
2007Knutsford & District Motor Club
2006Dukeries Motor Club
2005Quinton Motor Club
2004North Humberside Motor Club
200360 & Worcester Motor Club
2002Forest of Dean Motor Club
200160 & Worcester Motor Club
2000Port Talbot Motor Club
1999Morecambe C C, Kirby Londsdale M C & West Cumbria C C.
199860 & Worcester Motor Club
199760 & Worcester Motor Club
199660 & Worcester Motor Club
1995Quinton Motor Club
1994Dukeries Motor Club
199360 & Worcester Motor Club
1992Knutsford & District Motor Club
1991Hadrian Motor Club
1990Hawick & Border Motor Club
1989Hawick & Border Motor Club
1988North Wales Car Club
1987Knutsford & District Motor Club
1986Forest of Dean Motor Club
1985Hadrian Motor Club
1984Knutsford & District Motor Club
1983Hadrian Motor Club
1982Hawick & Border Motor Club
1981Trackrod Motor Club
1980Welsh Counties Car Club
1979Hadrian Motor Club
1978Teify Vally MC & Vale of Cothi MC
1977Knutsford & District Motor Club
1976Forest of Dean Motor Club
1975Teify Valley Motor Club
1974Morecambe Car Club
1973Lincolnshire A C & Louth M C