The 2017 Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship reaches its penultimate round this weekend (September 2nd) with competitors tackling the Ludlow based Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally. There is plenty at stake, too, with the overall title fight, as well as many of the class battles, still wide open.
The cancellation of the Red Dragon Rally means that competitors will now count their best four results from six events meaning there is a good opportunity for competitors to improve their championship standing with good results on this event and the final round, the Wyedean Rally in November.
Surrey driver Wug Utting took the lead at the previous round, the Nicky Grist Stages, and now has a 10 point advantage over early season leader Andy Davies. With Dylan Davies in third place, fourth placed Callum Black has taken his R5 Fiesta to maximum points in each of the two rounds that he has contested so far.
The championship front-runners, however, can expect stiff opposition from, among others, Hugh Hunter and Rob Fagg in their Ford Fiesta WRC while Martyn and Dawn England have taken second place in each of the last two rounds and would love nothing more than to go one better in their R5+ Fiesta this weekend. Meanwhile, veteran Peter Stephenson will be looking to give some of his younger rivals a run for their money in his Focus World Rally Car.
Wug Utting’s co-driver Bob Stokoe leads their overall championship standings, 11 points clear of reigning Junior co-driving champion Max Freeman while Llion Williams is in third place.
Utting and Stokoe also head the Group N standings for less modified cars ahead of Andy Davies and Max Freeman while Scott Faulkner and Dom Adams are in third place.
Colin Griffiths leads a close fought two wheel drive category in his BMW Compact but Andy Fox will be looking to make up ground in his BMW 328.
In the Junior driver category, Rhydian Price, driving a Ford Fiesta, looks on course to take the title and with it a free entry to the National Rally on Wales Rally GB, provided by the organisers of the British round of the World Championship, IMS as part of their Road to Wales initiative.
Things are much closer in the Junior co-driver category and one competitor who could move up the standings this weekend is Elliott Edmondson, sat alongside Callum Black.
The RAVENOL Welsh Challenge runs alongside the Championship. With a prize fund valued at £3000, drivers gain points based on their performance within their class. Colin Griffiths tops the standings by just a single point from Andy Davies with Wug Utting three points further back.
Championship competitors can look forward to a break following this weekend before the final round, the Wyedean Rally on November 11th, so we can expect them to be pushing to the limit on the Woodpecker’s challenging stages as the stake their claims for a top honour at the end of the season.
With competitors leaving Ludlow Racecourse from 8:30 on Saturday morning, spectator information is available on the event website, www.woodpecker-rally.co.uk. There is more information about the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship on their website, www.wnrc.wamc.org.uk , their Facebook page and on Twitter, @WnRC.
- Ends -
Issued 29th August 2017
Credit for the attached photograph Rallysport Media
Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship
Tel: 07768 095156
The EventSigns Woodpecker Stages is the Subject of Ongoing Economic Benefits Survey
The Ludlow based event used to gather evidence of financial benefits rallying brings to local communities.
This year’s EventSigns Woodpecker Stages is a round of several major championships will be used to gather information from event officials, spectators, marshals, competitors and their support teams to help establish their direct financial input into the local economies.
The 60 & Worcester Motor Club organised event takes place in and around the area of Ludlow and Mid Wales over the first weekend in September and will see around 150 crews from around the United Kingdom and beyond contest the event in the world renowned forest stages near the town.
Conducted by The Welsh Association of Motor Clubs, the study will be used to gain a valuable insight into the economic value a motor rally brings to the area during an event. Thankfully many villages, towns and cities recognise the many economic opportunities this brings as they welcome motorsport into their villages halls, hotels and businesses.
The importance of the ‘value’ of the motorsport ‘pound’ spent locally during events was brought to the attention of many following the successful Rally4Wales campaign in 2016.
Managing Director of Rally4Wales Contracts, Jamie Edwards is well aware of the benefit rallying brings to local communities in Wales. “Every penny makes a difference to the rural Welsh economy. It's no secret that the sport brings tourism revenue of around £15 Million per annum into Wales - but I urge everyone to play their part in helping further showcase the financial and economic benefits that rallying brings to Wales. Whilst we cannot imagine a Wales without rallying, there are many businesses in Wales who would struggle without the added financial benefits a rally brings to their town. We all need to play our part in supporting the local businesses and local economy in Wales by giving a clear insight as to the true value of motorsport in Wales.”
We would like to thank the event organisers for helping us promote the questionnaire. The event is one of the several chosen during the year to gather the information that is so important when it comes to selling our sport to the wider community.
The survey can be completed online and is available for completion on any device. Note it can be started and finished later if not all the information is to hand. Don't worry if you don't have time in the build up to the event although the survey is live now it will remain live for a minimum of two weeks post event. If you are asked to participate again, please do so as it helps us build a bigger picture locally and nationally.
To participate simply use the QR code below or visit: http://rallydata.co.uk/465915 THANK YOU
The cancellation of the Red Dragon Stages, Rd 6 and the abandonment of The Cambrian Rally due to weather conditions earlier this year has reduced the number of championship rounds to six. The sliding scale in Championship Regulation 5.1 is implemented.
This means that the 2017 Championship will be based on contenders best four scores from the six events.
For full details please visit the Championship Regulations. Here
Port Talbot Motor Club issued the following statement regarding the cancellation of the Red Dragon Stages.
It is with a real sense of regret that Port Talbot Motor Club have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel the Red Dragon Rally 2017. There are a number of contributing factors but the over riding situation is regarding the continued ill health of Clerk of Course Alan Stoneman. This decision was made at a General Committee meeting last night (Monday24th).
Competitors who have entered will be contacted as soon as is possible by the entry secretary and the situation regarding fees will be resolved at that point. The decision is that competitors will get a full refund.
Port Talbot Motor Club continues to work tirelessly to promote Motor Sport and Rallying in particular and is looking forward to 2018 and the way forward.
The Nicky Grist Stages (July 9th) saw Brackley driver Callum Black become the first driver this season to take a second maximum points score in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship. Meanwhile, problems for the Subaru Impreza of Andy Davies mean it’s Surrey driver Wug Utting who now tops the Championship standings.
It was Somerset crew Martyn and Dawn England who headed the Championship competitors at the end of the opening stage with Black and co-driver Elliott Edmondson in third place behind Hugh Hunter and Rob Fagg. Meanwhile, erstwhile championship leaders Andy Davies and Max Freeman were already out of the event, their Subaru Impreza parked up in the opening stage with a failed ball joint.
Positions remained unchanged after the second stage but stage 3 saw Black take the lead in his R5+ specification Ford Fiesta ahead of the similar car of England and the R5 version of Hunter, with less than 4 seconds separating the three crews.
Black reinforced his position with a fastest time on stage 4 after which the crews returned to the Royal Welsh Showground for mid-event servicing. Hunter moved up to second place but his event would end on the very next stage, courtesy of a misfire on the Fiesta. One stage later the event lost another front running championship team when Dylan Davies and Llion Williams parked their Subaru Impreza with a broken power steering pipe.
That moved Peter M Stephenson and Will Rogers into third place in their Ford Focus World Rally Car with the top trio remaining unchanged over the final two stages.
Fourth place at the finish was enough to put Wug Utting and Bob Stokoe at the head of the championship standings, the Impreza crew displacing Andy Davies and Max Freeman. With Dylan Davies and Llion Williams in third place, Callum Black and Elliott Edmondson move up to fourth despite having contested only two championship rounds to date.
Utting and Stokoe also lead the Group N category for less modified machinery from Davies and Freeman. Meanwhile, an epic two wheel drive battle saw Dave and Toby Brick take top honours in their 1400cc Vauxhall Nova. A tight battle with Chris Powell and Jim Lewis ended when the Talbot Sunbeam crew were forced to retire on the final stage of the rally. Second place among the two wheel drive crews ultimately went to Andy and Jamie Lee-Fox in their BMW 325i while the Ford Fiesta of Bob Vardy and Keaton Williams finished third.
It’s BMW driver Colin Griffiths who heads the two wheel drive championship standings, however, ahead of absent Ford Escort pairing David and James Young with Andy and Jamie Lee-Fox next up.
Points in the Ravenol Welsh Challenge are awarded based on drivers’ performance within their class and it is Colin Griffiths who also leads that with a single point advantage over Andy Davies while Wug Utting is a further three points back.
With three rounds of the championship remaining the battle for overall honours remains wide open as does the destination of many of the class awards. The next event is the Red Dragon Rally. Based in the Neath Valley, the event takes place on August 19th. More information on that event is available at www.ptmconline.com while information about the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship can be found at www.wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the championship Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.
- ENDS -
Issued 10th July 2017
NOTE Credit for image should be given to Rallysport Media
Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship. For more information contact 07768 095156