Author Archives: Howard Wilcock

Relaunch of the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship in 2017

In response to a recent competitor survey the BTRDA Rally Committee have expanded the 2017 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship to provide a greater variety of Nat B events and opened it up to all types of rally car that comply with the 2017 MSA Safety and Technical Regulations for Special Stage Rallies.

The 2017 Championship will include a selection of the best one day forest and asphalt events in England, with the addition of a unique double header weekend which gives competitors the choice to compete on either or both the Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday) and the new Nicky Grist Asphalt Stages (Sunday). The asphalt element of the calendar sees the three events grouped together in the middle of the year and includes the Dukeries Rally which takes place within the confines of Donington Park and provides an excellent opportunity for sponsors and spectators to see more of the action.

CALENDAR          (Best 6 scores to count)
Somerset Stages –  8th April – West Somerset – 80% Gravel
Carlisle Stages Rally – 10th June – Kielder Forest West – Gravel
Nicky Grist Stages 8th – July – Mid Wales Forests – Gravel
Nicky Grist Asphalt Stages – 9th July – Epynt Ranges – Asphalt
Tyneside Stages 6th – August – Otterburn Ranges – Asphalt
58th Dukeries Rally – 20th August – Donington Park – Asphalt
Woodpecker Stages – 2nd September – Shropshire – Gravel
Trackrod Forest Rally – 30th September – North Yorkshire – Gravel

Once again, MAXXIS Tyres take on the mantle of headline sponsor of the MSA English Rally Championship which is now open to all rally cars complying with the 2017 MSA Safety and Technical Regulations for Special Stage Rallies. The Championship will be split into 8 championship classes with the scoring system reflecting achievement against other competitors in the same class. Success in the Overall, Class & Junior categories will all be recognised at the annual Awards Presentation Dinner.
• Class 1 BTRDA Rally First cars up to and including 1400cc and FIA R1A and N1
• Class 2 All cars up to 1400cc not eligible for class 1 and RF1.6 cars
• Class 3 Over 1400cc and up to and including 1600cc, including all FIA R2B cars
• Class 4 Over 1600cc and up and including to 2000cc
• Class 5 Over 2000cc 2 Wheel Drive
• Class 6 Current and former FIA Group N / NR4 cars over 2000cc
• Class 7 Over 2000cc 4 Wheel Drive
• Class 8 All WRC, RRC, R5 and S2000 cars and all derivatives

Championship Regulations are now published here > Championship Regulations and on-line Championship Registrations are available via the BTRDA membership system at  BTRDA on-line Membership / Registration    NB: The Maxxis MSA English Rally Championship registration will also cover the 2017 RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series and will include membership of BTRDA which is an invited club to all the events.

Photo is Dylan Davies in a Subaru Impreza. (courtesy of Ralliphotoswales)   Note that all types of rally cars are eligible to score points on the 2017 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship.

Sam Bilham takes the 2016 English Rally Championship title


The final round of the 2016 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship, the MEM Malton Forest Rally, took place on a very wet and windy day in the North Yorkshire forests on Sunday.  The event was set to the Championship decider with both Sam Bilham (Fiesta ST) and Robert Vardy, in last years championship winning Fiesta R2, vying for the Drivers title.

At the end of a very challenging event Vardy along with Caron Tomlinson who was a last minute stand in co-driver, finished just 14 seconds and one place ahead but that result was still sufficient for Sam Bilham to maintain his championship lead and take the 2016 drivers title with Robert Vardy finishing in the runners up spot.

Amongst the other MSA English Championship crews to do well on the event were Paul Street and Ian Jones (Escort Mk2) who were the leading Class E5 crew, and Charlie Barlow and Dale Furness (Micra) who won their class and took maximum points in Class E2.

So, at the end of another competitive season it is Sam Bilham who is the Maxxis MSA English Rally Champion driver, with Ron Roughead taking the co-drivers title. Meanwhile in the English Junior Drivers table Robert Vardy came out just ahead of Sam Bilham.

A list of all the award winners in the 2016 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship can be found HERE  and a the final championship points table (82 drivers and 63 co-drivers) can be found HERE

The awards for the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship will be presented along with the BTRDA Rally Series awards at the 2016 Dinner and Awards Ceremony which will take place on Saturday 7th January 2017 at the Radisson Penns Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands. B76 1LH.     Ticket Application forms can be downloaded at

The photo attached is of the 2016 MSA English Rally Champion Sam Bilham with James Whitaker, taken on the MEM Malton Forest Rally. Photo courtesy of Kevin Money


The Trackrod Forest Stages was the penultimate round of the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship and the ferocious pace of the event in the Yorkshire forests resulted in a significant change in the fortunes of some of the leading championship contenders. Sam Bilham’s consistency, and a class win on the Trackrod in his Fiesta ST, saw him move into the lead just when it matters!

In the hotly contested E5 class the expected battle between two of the leading championship crews Gavin Edwards / Carron Tomlinson and Boyd Kershaw / Bryan Hull, both in Mk 2 Ford Escorts, did not materialise when Kershaw rolled on the first stage and Edwards retired later in Dalby. This allowed Jody Bowcott / David Millard, also in a Mk 2 Ford Escort, to score a well-deserved class win. Cameron Davies (Fiesta ST), the championship leader prior to the start of the Trackrod, was sidelined when a driveshaft snapped in Cropton which gave the opportunity to Sam Bilham in an identical Fiesta ST to win class E4 and take over the championship lead.

Class E3 for cars up to 1600cc was won by the experienced Barry Jordan / James Gratton-Smith in their Avenger ahead of Bob Vardy / Simon Rogers (Fiesta R2).  Meanwhile the son and father partnership of Jordan and Paul Hone (Proton Satria) were dominant in class E2 to give them their third maximum score and put them in a strong position as the championship reaches its finale.
In the E1 class for standard cars up to 1400cc it was Dominic Hodge / Stefan Arndt (Micra) who led from the start and extended their class lead when Emily and Eliot Retallick retired their Peugeot 205 in the Dalby stage.

In the Junior driver category of the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship, Cameron Davies and Sam Bilham both have 84 points ahead of Bob Vardy whilst in the Junior co-drivers it is Tom Murphy who leads the way.

With just one round remaining the championship contest is still wide open with 9 drivers still in with a chance of taking the title. The final round of the 2016 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship is the MEM Malton Forest Rally on Sunday 6th November.

All the latest MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship points can be found in the Competitors section > MAXXIS MSA English championship points

Photo is Sam Bilham and James Whitaker on the Trackrod Forest Stages.     Courtesy of RalliPhotosWales

Trackrod Forest Stages – Preview

The MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship reaches its penultimate round with a visit to the Trackrod Forest Stages in North Yorkshire on Saturday 1st October.
With five scores from the seven events to count, there are still any number of competitors who could yet add ‘2016 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Champion’ to their motorsport CVs, and there’s no saying from which of the classes they will come.

Cameron Davies continues to lead the drivers’ championship but fellow Fiesta ST Trophy contender George Lepley, who is currently in equal 9th place, is only 25 points behind – and there are 25 points on offer from each of the last two events. Hence, it’s not rocket science to see that there is plenty of scope for a huge turnaround in fortunes before the flag drops for the final time this season.  All of the leading championship crews are entered in the event including the current leaders Cameron Davies / Lee Taylor (Fiesta ST) who have a 4 point advantage over Kit and Tim Leigh (Fiesta R200).

The current class E1 leaders are Emily & Eliot Retallick (Peugeot 205) but their main rivals Dominic Hodge / Stephan Arndt (Micra) have the theoretical advantage of being able to score well on both the remaining rounds. In class E2 Jordan and Paul Hone (Satria) currently lead and benefit from two maximum scores which may tell at the end of the season, but they have no opportunity for any retirements. In classes E3 and E4 it is the aforementioned Kit Leigh and Cameron Davies who have the lead whilst in the up to 2000cc Class E5 it has become a straight fight between Gavin Edwards and Boyd Kershaw, both in Mk2 Ford Escorts.
A full list of all the points scores can be found in the Competitors Section.  Latest Championship Points

The Trackrod Forest Stages is based at Scampston Hall near Malton but all the action takes place in the North Yorkshire Forests with the Central Service Area at Adderstone Field located between Staindale and Dalby stages. The first car starts from Adderstone Field at 9.30am on Saturday and returns for Service twice during the day before the crews begin returning to Scampston Hall for the finish from 3.18pm.

Photo is Kit and Tim Leigh (Fiesta R200) on the recent Woodpecker Stages.   Courtesy of ralliphotoswales