Author Archives: Howard Wilcock


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:

Photos courtesy of Kevin money and Malcolm Almond


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


Wyedean Stages Rally Preview:  (18th November)

The Forest of Dean plays host to the penultimate round of the 2023 Motorsport UK English Rally Championship, in association with Seacon UK, the Wyedean Stages Rally on 18th November. From its base in Coleford the event takes in seven special stages within the Forest of Dean and pressure is mounting as the race to succeed 2022 MSUK English Rally Champion Nick Dobson heads towards its conclusion.

Following a recent run of bad luck which saw them retire from the Trackrod Forest Stages and not actually make it to the start line of the Woodpecker Stages, winners of the last two Wyedean Stages Rallies, Matthew Hirst and Declan Dear (featured image on their way to winning the 2022 Wyedean Forest Rally) will be hoping their troubles are now behind them and that their Fiesta R5 will carry them to a hat-trick of victories. They’ve not actually finished an English Championship round since the Kielder Forest Rally back in June, but they did come away with a maximum on that occasion!…

On the subject of maximums, having missed the opening round of this year’s English Championship, Ernie & Karen Graham (Escort RS1600) have taken maximum scores on the next four – with each competitor’s five best scores to count towards their final tally in this class based championship they are in a strong position and one more from either of the remaining two rounds will see them finish with a ‘full-house’!

<<<<   Ernie & Karen Graham (Escort RS1600)

If local knowledge counts for anything, Nigel & Kaz Jenkins live in Lydney and, from years of experience, know the Forest of Dean very well. The husband-and-wife team’s 1400cc Nova (pictured right) took a class win on the 2022 event and, in a class-based series such as the English Championship, it’s performances such as that which can really pay dividends – Steve Black claimed the ERC title in 2019 in his 1400cc Suzuki Swift!….

Luke Watts, Kaz Jenkins’ son, hails from Coleford and his MG ZR is less than a maximum score behind the class leader, while Steve Ward / Phil Sandham (Escort Mk2) are also in the mix at this stage of the proceedings.


Rob Wilson’s Mitsubishi Lancer EVO7 (seeded car 2) finished runner-up, behind Hirst / Dear, on last year’s Wyedean Stages and, having already experienced both extremes of the sport – a retirement and a maximum points score – so far this season, will obviously be hoping to go one better this time…

<<<<     Rob Wilson pressing on in his Lancer EVO7!

Although using vastly different cars for their individual campaigns, Ashley Francis-Adams (Nissan Micra)          >>>>>>>              and Colin Minton (Fiesta R5) are tied on points as they set off on the Wyedean Forest Rally, but will that still be the case at the end of the day?…

SPECTATORS : The first car leaves the start in Coleford at 8.00am on Saturday 18th November and full details will be available via the website :

All photos © Kevin Money / Malcolm Almond