This idea of an English Rally Championship was first promoted by Keith Baud in the 1990’s. However it was not into 2005 when the BTRDA created a specific English Rally Challenge over the 6 English based rallies in the BTRDA Rally Series.
In late 2005 the BTRDA made an application to the MSA for a permit to run an official English Rally Championship. This was approved by the MSA who hold the rights to the ‘country’ titles and so the MSA English Rally Championship came into being in 2006.
The championship has always had a class based format to enable competitors with smaller engined cars to have an equal chance of becoming English Rally Champions. This was ably demonstrated when Neil Weaver and Mick Thornton became the inaugural MSA English Rally Champions using a 1400cc Corsa, whilst in 2007 and 2008 Champions Tristan Pye and Keith Turner both used Class N4 cars.
The current format of a class based championship for 2 wheel drive cars up to a maximum of 2 litres was introduced in 2009, along with the inclusion of the Trackrod Rally and Tempest 2 Rally. Jon Ballinger / Alistair Douglas won the championship in 2009 in a 2 litre Class 5 Opel Manta whilst in 2010 the most competitive class was for cars up to 1400cc where there were many close contests between Matt Edwards / Sam Collis (MG ZR) and Darren Pinchin / Karen Watts (Proton Satria).
Scotsman Alan McDowall in a class 5 Opel Kadett was 2011 English Champion whilst in the last 2 years it has been Julian Wilkes and Will Rutherford-Child (Class 2 Vauxhall Nova) who have been dominant, winning successive championships with a maximum points score.