Preview of Round 5 : Nicky Grist Stages (9th July)
Elliot Payne has won the last two rounds of the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series with displays of speed and skill that defy his 19 years. With 2019 British Rally Champion Codriver Patrick Walsh installed in his Fiesta Rally2, Payne heads for Builth Wells and the Nicky Grist Stages with the express intention of making it three-in-a-row. However, as is ever the case, there will be others present in the massive 160 car entry, with a different ‘take’ on the situation!… The featured image is Elliot Payne / Patrick Walsh (Fiesta Rally2) – Winners of the Border Counties & Kielder Forest Rallies
Unlike their rivals, MRF Tyres BTRDA Gold Star® Championship leaders Perry Gardener / Jack Bowen (Fiesta R5) have maintained a 100% finishing record thus far, with 4th place on the recent Kielder Forest Rally representing their lowest score. The pressure is already on for this likeable pair to keep up the momentum as, once dropped scores come into play (following the Woodpecker Stages at the beginning of September), any maximums will really pay dividends…The other two similarly Fiesta-mounted crews with BTRDA Series victories under their belts this season are Stephen Petch / Michael Wilkinson (Malcolm Wilson Rally) and Matthew Hirst / Declan Dear (Rallynuts Stages) and, in common with Payne/Walsh, each has one dropped score although, in Hirst/Dear’s case, it was a ‘Did Not Start’ as Declan was far too busy getting married on the day of the Kielder Forest Rally !….
As far as Tom Llewellin / Ross Whittock are concerned, they’ve opted to contest the British Rally Championship section of the Nicky Grist Stages which includes a recce and, as such, precludes them from scoring BTRDA points. We wish them well and look forward to welcoming them back into the fold later in the season. There’s still time!….
While Payne Junior was going about his business on the Kielder Forest Rally, dad Charlie and co-driver Carl Williamson (Fiesta Rally2) were lying 6th after the first stage but had retired before the end of the next one, having been caught out by a crest in Bewshaugh. The 2016 Gold Star Champions’ refettled car will take the start of the Nicky Grist Stages in the hope of some better luck!
Richard Hill / Pat Cooper’s impressive season so far sees their Lancer EVO9 currently occupying 2nd place overall in the Gold Star table and, unsurprisingly, leading Class B13 as well. Having ‘won’ the two previous rounds, Russ Thompson / Steve Link retired from the Kielder Forest Rally after a big accident and, points-wise, have fallen back into the clutches of fellow Lancer crews Darren Craig / Harry Stubbs and Pat Naylor / Ian Lawrence.
Although MRF Tyres BTRDA Silver Star® Championship leader Nick Dobson (Escort Mk2) has a 23-point lead over his nearest
<<<<< Photo of Nick Dobson on the Kielder Forest Rally
challenger John Cribbins – whose co-driver, Colin Blunt, leads the Silver Star co-drivers table – they all know that the situation can change in the blink of an eye. With a maximum of 30 points available on every event, at the halfway stage of the season, there’s no such thing as a comfort zone! Rob Wright / Mark Fisher (Escort), who forfeited top spot following retirement last time out, know that only too well – however, the upside to that is another good score (they’ve already taken one maximum), allied to any sort of problem that might affect Dobson, could conceivably – to their way of thinking – restore the status quo! What they all need to be wary of, however, is that David Crossen, who has only contested two events so far but scored maximums on both, will be taking the start of the Nicky Grist Stages in his rapid Escort!…
Having suffered the indignity of a retirement on the Border Counties Rally, fortunately without affecting their Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Historic Cup lead, Grant Inglis / Gavin Chisholm (Escort Mk2) returned to their winning ways in Kielder. Nevertheless, Ernie & Patricia Lee (BMW 325i) could yet prove to be a thorn in their side, not to mention a returning Alex Waterman / Glyn Thomas in their Datsun 1600 SSS and, surely, James Lepley / Arwel Jenkins’ (Escort) luck has to change soon…
Grant Inglis & Gavin Chisholm (Escort) – Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Historic Cup Leaders >>>>>>
Four events have each produced different winners in the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup and they’re all be in mid Wales on 9th July. Yaniv Bar took first blood, followed by Mat Jackson, Tony Simpson and, most recently, Jonathan Jones.
<<<< Jonathan Jones (Fiesta R2) on the Kielder Forest Rally
Their Fiestas are joined by the Peugeot 208 of Scott Sloan and Lucy Wigley’s Citroen C2 and, should Billy Grew (Fiesta) continue his winning ways in the BTRDA Rallye R2 Junior Cup, he’ll be crowned champion at the end of the day!
After a shaky start that resulted in retirement from the Malcolm Wilson Rally, Pete Gorst / Mark Twiname (pictured [right > ] in their Nova on the Kielder Forest Rally) have totally dominated the Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA Bronze Star Championship by taking three maximums on the spin. That said, Lewis Hooper has stayed out of trouble and brought his Nissan Micra through to the finish of every event so far to maintain his lead of both the Bronze Star and BTRDA Rally First Cup. This time, the competition is set to be spiced up not only with the addition of 2021 Bronze Star Champions Steve Black / Paul Morris (Suzuki Swift) but also by the return of Aaron Rix / Abi Haycock (Escort) who haven’t been seen since their earlier-than-planned exit from the Rallynuts Stages.
SPECTATORS: The first car leaves Builth Wells at 8.30am on Saturday morning and full details can be found at : http://www.nickygriststages.co.uk/spectators/
All photos © Kevin Money / Malcolm Almond