Author Archives: Howard Wilcock

Stephen Petch & Michael Wilkinson are 2017 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Champions

The final round of the 2017 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship, the Trackrod Forest Stages, was this year based in Filey and included a visit to all the traditional Yorkshire forest stages. There were 52 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship crews who started the event.

Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson (Fiesta WRC) confirmed their 2017 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship title with another excellent performance on the Trackrod Forest Stages, eventually finishing just 0.2 seconds behind the event winners Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson (FiestaWRC).

The hotly contested E6 class for Group NR4 cars was a three-way battle between Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy, (Evo 9) Sacha Kakad/Simon Aldridge (Evo X) and Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence (Evo 9).  Thompson had the misfortune to retired at the end of the first stage but it still remained a very close contest throughout the day, with Naylor/Lawrence eventually coming out just 6 seconds ahead. This result earned them sufficient points to move up to second overall in the championship.

Ashley Davies and Sam Fordham (Escort RS) were the highest placed crew in class E5 just ahead of Richard Sykes/Steve Link (Citroen DS3 R3), whilst Daniel Beckham/Howard Pridmore in their RWD Fiesta were 15th overall and winners of the very large E4 class. However, Andy Davison/Tom Murphy (Talbot Sunbeam) still scored sufficient points on the Trackrod to confirm their class E4 championship.

In class E2 for cars up to 1400ccc, the pre-event favourites Dave and Toby Brick (Nova) were leading the class until the last stage when they succumbed to mechanical issues, allowing 19-year-old Ed Fossey accompanied by Chris Sharpe-Simkiss (Toyota Yaris) to take the class win on the event and in the final championship standings.

So, at the end of another very competitive season it is Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson who are crowned the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Champions.  The leading English Rally Championship Junior driver was Bart Lang whilst the leading Junior Co-driver was Tom Murphy.

A full list of all the award winners in the 2017 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship can be found HERE  and a the final championship points table (113 drivers and 93 co-drivers) can be found HERE

In 2017 the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship was opened up to all types of rally car and included 8 championship classes but retained a scoring system which reflected achievement against other competitors in the same class.

The awards for the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship will be presented along with the BTRDA Rally Series awards at the 2017 Dinner and Awards Ceremony which will take place on Saturday 6th January 2018 at the RAMADA Penns Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands. B76 1LH.    Ticket Application forms will be available soon.

The photo above is of the 2017 MSA English Rally Champions Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson on the Trackrod Forest Stages (note the new Gold roof).     The inset photo is Pay Naylor / Ian Lawrence at the finish of the event.       Photos courtesy of ralliphotoswales

THE END GAME !

The 2017 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship reaches the final round on Saturday 30th September with a visit to the Trackrod Forest Stages in North Yorkshire.

Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson (Fiesta WRC) have been among the leaders of the Championship since the Somerset Stages back in April, and they have continued to pile the pressure on all their rivals with a string of excellent results on both gravel and asphalt surfaces.  So much so that they arrive at the Trackrod Forest Stages as the de facto English Rally Champions, as the only remaining crew who had an outside chance of overhauling them if they had a problem on the final round, Callum Black/Elliott Edmondson (Fiesta R5+), have elected to focus their attention on their forthcoming Wales Rally GB entry and have excused themselves from the trip to Filey.

A maximum of 20 points can be awarded in each of the eight English championship classes and with additional points available up to a maximum of 25, Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence (Mitsubishi Evo 9) could still find themselves overhauling Black/Edmundson for the runners-up spot.

The permutations for most of the class awards are even more complicated but, in addition to those already mentioned, the names of Bart LangWilliam HillBarry JordanAndy DavisonRobert DennisAshley DavisRichard SykesRuss Thompson and Sacha Kakad among many others, are certain to all be in the mix.  Calculators at the ready!…

The event, which is also the final round of the 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series and the MINTEX British Historic Rally Championship, has attracted an entry of over 130 crews. The first car leaves the start of the Trackrod Forest Stages from Filey Country Park at 8.30am on 30th September. On the menu are 45 miles of single-use special stages in Langdale, Staindale, Gale Rigg Cropton, finishing off with a final blast through 11.6 miles of Dalby Forest.

Answers to all the questions posed above will hopefully be available shortly after the cars begin arriving back at the finish, down on the sea front at Filey, from around 3.00pm onwards!

Stephen Petch / Michael Wilkinson on the recent Woodpecker Stages.   Courtesy of ralliphotoswales.

FOREST RETURNS….!

As far as contenders for the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship are concerned, the Woodpecker Stages represents a return to forest rallying after the option of three consecutive asphalt events. This year’s Championship has been completely revamped and, while still class based, crews in any vehicle complying with MSA Technical Regulations are eligible to score championship points.

After a good run on the Tyneside Stages over the Otterburn Military Ranges, Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson currently hold sway at the top of the Drivers and Co-drivers points tables but, as every competitor is pitted against those in his/her class, it’s just as feasible that the eventual winner could come from one of the smaller capacity classes.  In 2016 Sam Bilham, in his 2-litre two-wheel drive Fiesta ST, was victorious and there’s no saying that a similar giant-killing act will not be performed by someone this time. We’ll know all by the end of September!…

Thanks to the continuing support from the organisers of Dayinsure Wales Rally GB and their Road to Wales initiative, there is also a super additional prize of a free entry in the 2017 Wales Rally GB National Rally on 28th – 29th October for the winner of the 2017 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship.

Bart Lang / Sinclair Young (Micra) have now secured an unassailable lead in class E1, but in the seven other competition classes it is still all to play for with the Woodpecker and the Trackrod Forest Rally to come.   All the latest championship points can be viewed in the Competitors section. (best 6 scores to count)

Photo is Robert Dennis / Andrew Boswell on the Carlisle Stages. (Courtesy of ralliphotoswales)

The leaders head to Carlisle…!

After setting out on the Somerset Stages Rally in mid-April, contenders for the 2017 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship reconvene in Carlisle for the second event in the new eight-round calendar, and it’s from here that the ties in the points table, always experienced after the first round of a class-based series, will begin to disappear.
Following the opening encounter Ed Fossey (Yaris), David Bennett (Corsa), Pat Naylor (Lancer EVO 9), Stephen Petch (Fiesta WRC), Rob Dennis (Escort Mk2) and Toni Carannante (Subaru Impreza) have all been dining out on the strength of their joint leadership of the MAXXIS MSA English Championship. Now, as Round 2 is upon them, they’ve got to do it all again to stand any chance of maintaining their positions at the top. Close behind them, those competitors sharing 7th place are only two points behind, those sharing 12th place three points behind, those sharing 16th place four points in arrears and so on. Hence, either a calculator or considerable aptitude for mental arithmetic will be a prerequisite on the day!

All of the current leaders are also leading their respective classes, whilst last year’s English Rally Champion Sam Bilham is the leading Junior driver and Tom Murphy is the leading Junior co-driver.
A full list of all the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship points is published in the Competitors Section.
The first car leaves the start of the Carlisle Stages at 8.00am on Saturday 10th June and cars are due to begin arriving back at the finish at H & H Auctions on the outskirts of the city from 3.00pm.  Further details of the event at: http://racrally.org/dmack-carlisle-stages/index

After the Carlisle Stages the championship then moves to the unique double header weekend on 9th / 10th July which gives competitors the choice to compete on either or both the Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday) and the new Nicky Grist Acropolis Rally offering 74 miles of asphalt stages on the Epynt Ranges (Sunday).

Thanks to the continuing support from the organisers of Dayinsure Wales Rally GB and their Road to Wales initiative, there is now a super prize of a free entry in the 2017 Wales Rally GB National Rally on 27th – 29th October for the winner of the 2017 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship.

Photo is Stephen Petch / Micheal Wilkinson on the recent Plains Rally.  (courtesy of ralliphotoswales)