Preview of Round 7: the Trackrod Forest Stages (23rd September) .
Moving swiftly on from Ludlow and the Woodpecker Stages, the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series heads north to Filey on 23rd September for its penultimate round, the Trackrod Forest Stages. In terms of the MRF Tyres BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Championship, Arron Newby / Jamie Edwards (Fabia R5) took victory last time out but defending champion Elliot Payne and co-driver Tom Woodburn (Fiesta Rally2) – runners-up in the Marches – still hold the upper hand, albeit by a reduced margin.
• The featured image is Arron Newby and Jamie Edwards (Fabia R5) – the winners of the 2023 Woodpecker Stages Rally
2022 Trackrod winners David Henderson / Chris Lees (Fiesta Rally2) are back and, quite rightly, take the No.1 spot. Then Payne and Newby start either side of Matthew Hirst / Declan Dear for whom the Woodpecker was an unmitigated disaster after their Fiesta R5’s engine failed at Scrutineering, forcing them to withdraw their entry. Onwards and upwards, men!…
Newly-crowned Class B13 champions Russ Thompson and Steve Link (Lancer EVO9) leave the start one minute in front of Rob Wilson / Richard Crozier whose EVO7 finished marginally ahead of them on the Woodpecker to claim the final podium spot. Then, carrying on where they left off last time out, Al Ginley / Craig Thorley (Fiesta Rally2) and Ian Bainbridge / Will Atkins (VW Polo) set off line astern. Colin Minton / Bonnie Papper (Fiesta R5) will be looking to maintain their 100% finishing record and, if successful, should get their hands on the MRF Tyres Motorsport Trophy, the prize for which includes a number of free entries and sets of tyres for use in the 2024 BTRDA Rally Series.
Meanwhile, the MRF Tyres BTRDA Silver Star® Championship was turned on its head on the Woodpecker, with the top two crews prior to the start – Boyd Kershaw / Keegan Rees and Robert Gough / Paul Morris (Escort Mk2’s) – both failing to finish. Kershaw / Rees have hung on to a reduced lead but Gough has been deposed by Andy Davison whose Sunbeam VXR now occupies 2nd place. Keeping their heads while all around etc. etc., early-season leaders Ben Friend and Cliff Simmons returned to their winning ways by guiding their Escort to top spot, a handful of seconds in front of the Opel Adam of Robert Proudlock / Steven Brown.
<<<<< Ben Friend / Cliff Simmons (Escort Mk2) – Silver Star winners on the Woodpecker Stages
Gough / Morris’ DNF, allied to an excellent run by Ernie & Karen Graham (Escort RS1600) at the beginning of the month has seen them move into the lead of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Historic Cup at this stage. Nevertheless, the Escorts of Gough, Steve Ward / Phil Sandham and Ben Friend / Cliff Simmons are all still in with a chance of altering the look of the leaderboard between now and the end of the season.
Robert Proudlock / Steven Brown (Opel Adam) – BTRDA Rallye R2 & R2 Junior Cup Leaders >>>>>
In so many different sports the result that puts you over the winning line is often the most difficult to obtain! Nigel & Kaz Jenkins have taken their Nova to four maximums and one second-place in the Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA Bronze Star Championship, such that a good run on the Woodpecker would have clinched the 2023 title for them. However, that well-known rallying phrase ‘to finish first, you must first finish’ will be ringing loudly in the husband-and-wife team’s ears after their hitherto reliable Nova’s engine let go on SS2… On the plus side, they still lead the charge and have two more opportunities, starting with the Trackrod, to put the matter to bed once and for all…
Last year’s MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally First Cup winner Lewis Hooper (Micra) arrives in North Yorkshire ahead of Luke Watts (MG ZR), Dylan Fowler-Bishop (Micra), Chris Greenall (Nova), Ashley Francis-Adams (Micra) and Chris Bush (Corsa) but, on paper at least, all of them could still win the race to succeed Pete Gorst as the 2023 Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA Bronze Star Champion!…
<<<<< Dylan Fowler-Bishop/Dan Evans (Micra) – Woodpecker Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA Bronze Star Winners
In similar fashion to the BTRDA Gold Star Championship, Arron Newby’s Woodpecker victory has also closed the gap on Elliot Payne’s grip on the Motorsport UK English Rally Championship, in association with Seacon UK, which still has three rounds remaining. Ernie Graham (Escort RS1600) and Rob Wilson (Lancer EVO7) also scored maximums but, with 75 points still on offer, such is the competitiveness of the championship that the table tells us that, theoretically, any one of the first couple of dozen drivers could succeed Nick Dobson to the title!…
SPECTATORS : Tickets for the spectator stages in Cropton and Dalby are available online at https://www.rallyyorkshire.co.uk/spectator-information/
All photos © Kevin Money & Malcolm Almond