Author Archives: Howard Wilcock

COMPREHENSIVE COVER !

As permit holders of the Motorsport UK English Rally Championship, the BTRDA is delighted to welcome Reis Motorsport Insurance back into the fold, not only as headline sponsors of the 2024 English Rally Championship but also the BTRDA Rally Series Historic Cup.
Neil Cross, Chair of BTRDA Rallies Committee, commented, ‘We’re proud to be associated with such an iconic brand in motorsport as Reis and look forward to working with them this season, both with the Motorsport UK English Rally Championship and BTRDA Rally Series Historic Cup.’

The Championship’s class-based format sees competitors pitted against those in similar vehicles such that out-and-out power isn’t necessarily the key to success. Ernie Graham’s Escort RS1600 came out on top last season and former champions have included Nick Dobson (Escort Mk2), Steve Black (1400cc Suzuki Swift), Ian Joel (Escort Cosworth) and Sam Bilham (Fiesta R2).    (The featured image is Ernie & Karen Graham (Escort RS1600) – the 2023 Motorsport UK English Rally Champions)    

                                                  Previous Champions Steve Black  and Nick Dobson  >>>>>>

The 2024 Reis MSUK English Rally Championship calendar includes seven forest events, beginning with the Malcolm Wilson Rally in March and working its way round the country to finish on the Grizedale Stages over the first weekend in December.  The full 2024 Reis MSUK English Rally Championship calendar is outlined below : – 

    • MALCOLM WILSON RALLY    8th/9th MARCH    Cockermouth / Lake District
    • BORDER COUNTIES RALLY    11th MAY    Jedburgh / Tweed Valley
    • KIELDER FOREST RALLY    15th JUNE    Hexham / Northumberland
    • WOODPECKER STAGES    7th SEPTEMBER    Newtown / Powys
    • TRACKROD FOREST STAGES    28th SEPTEMBER    Filey / Yorkshire Forests
    • WYEDEAN FOREST RALLY    16th NOVEMBER    Coleford / Forest of Dean
    • GRIZEDALE STAGES RALLY    6th/7th DECEMBER    Ambleside / Lake District

* 5 Best Scores to Count

Following the opening round, there are likley to be several joint leaders – i.e. all those who have scored maximum points in their respective classes – and it’s only as the season progresses that further success will pay dividends in terms of overall positions.  Further information on the Reis MSUK English Rally Championship including the Championship Regulations will be published shortly.  Championship Registrations will be included as part of the 2024 BTRDA Rally Series registration.

Photos courtesy of Kevin Money / Malcolm Almond

GRAND GRIZEDALE FINALE!…

Once again the Coppermines Grizedale Stages Rally (1st / 2nd December) signals the conclusion of the Motorsport UK English Rally Championship in association with Seacon UK and, although this year’s title has already been claimed, there’s still plenty of unfinished business to be taken care of in the Lake District.
                      The featured image above is Elliot Payne (Fiesta Rally2) on his way to maximum English Championship points on the Trackrod Forest Rally
Elliot Payne, who has Patrick Walsh to guide him through the stages in his Fiesta Rally2 on this occasion, currently occupies runner-up spot, while recent Cambrian Rally winners, Russ Thompson / Steve Link (Lancer EVO9), are 3rd.

However, should Robert Proudlock and Steven Brown (Peugeot 208R4), who have a score in hand over their rivals, take a maximum – a feat they’ve already managed this season – they could move into the Top Three!                      >>>> 

Proudlock and Brown’s efforts thus far have made sure of an English Championship class win – ahead of Liam Clark who, himself, is stepping up to a Fiesta Rally2 on this event – but another good run could still pay dividends.

Then there are Nigel & Kaz Jenkins whose Nova has had a barn-storming season, winning the Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA Bronze Star Championship with a ‘full-house’ – six maximum scores. Unfortunately, they’ve come up against 2023 English Championship winners, Ernie & Karen Graham (Escort RS1600), in their class but, depending to an extent on the fate of others, a good run could see them improve on their current 6th place in the table…

<<<<<   Nigel & Kaz Jenkins – Vauxhall Nova

Rob Wright / Mark Fisher (Escort MkII) leave the start of the Grizedale Stages one minute ahead of Andy Davison / Tom Murphy whose Sunbeam VXR is in front of the Ford in its class. However, should something untoward happen to the latter crew during the day, that situation could well alter!
Andy Davison / Tom Murphy (Sunbeam VXR) – English Championship Class Leaders

The Grizedale Stages is based in Ambleside and boasts a compact route containing five special stages, totalling 42 miles, with 53 road miles between them.

SPECTATORS : The first car leaves the start at 5.30pm on Friday 2nd December and full details are available via the website:  https://www.grizedalestages.co.uk/index.php/spectators

Photos courtesy of Kevin money and Malcolm Almond

ERNIE’S PREMIUM SCORES PAY DIVIDENDS!…

Following the Wyedean Forest Rally, the penultimate round of the Motorsport UK English Rally Championship, in association with Seacon UK, Ernie Graham is confirmed as the 2023 Champion. Co-driven by his wife Karen, they missed the opening event in the calendar, the Malcolm Wilson Rally, but then proceeded to take maximum scores on each of the next five rounds in the immaculate MkI Ford Escort RS1600 (featured image on the Wyedean Stages) to claim the title with an event to spare.

11th overall in the Forest of Dean, just four seconds off a Top Ten finish, was enough for the Walton-on-Thames crew to take another English Championship class win which, in turn, deposed erstwhile leader Elliot Payne (Fiesta Rally2) from top spot.

 

 

 

Recent winners of the English Rally title are listed below which illustrates that it is possible to take this title with a car from any of the classes in this ‘class based’ stage rally championship.

  • 2023 Ernie Graham     Escort Mk1
  • 2022 Nick Dobson       Escort Mk2
  • 2019 Steve Black        Suzuki Swift 1400cc
  • 2018 Ian Joel              Escort Cosworth
  • 2017 Steve Petch       Fiesta WRC
  • 2016 Sam Bilham       Fiesta R2

All eyes now turn to the Coppermines Grizedale Stages (1st/2nd December) for the final event in the 2023 calendar and, while the Champion has been crowned, 2nd and 3rd places are still far from certain. The aforementioned Elliot Payne currently occupies 2nd place, while Russ Thompson’s Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 is 3rd, but the presence in the Lake District of both Robert Proudlock (Opel Adam) and Nigel Jenkins (Nova) could quite possibly change all that!

<<<<<<   Robert Proudlock’s Opel Adam

It’ll be calculators at the ready in Ambleside as, should Elliot fail to improve on his current total and Robert come away with a maximum score, he could just finish the season in runner-up spot!…

All photos © Kevin Money & Malcolm Almond