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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)

A Touch of Class!….

  MAXXIS MSA ENGLISH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP – A TOUCH OF CLASS!….
The new-look MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship set sail on the Somerset Stages and competitors have a wide-ranging calendar of events to look forward to, including a mid-season trio of forays on to asphalt. The Championship has been opened-up to cater for all rally cars compliant with the MSA’s technical regulations and, as is the case with any class-based series, the eventual winner could come from any one of them. It’s also the case that, following the first round, there will be a tie for the lead, i.e. all those who scored maximum points in their respective classes will feature at the top of the points table, and it’s only when the season gets into its swing that talent will out….

So, after just the opening encounter, 62 crews have been credited with points in the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship and, unsurprisingly, Stephen Petch/ Michael Wilkinson were the highest-placed runners home in their Fiesta WRC. In their particular class (E8), the Fiestas of Callum Black/Elliott Edmondson and Connor McCloskey are the cars/crews they need to be most wary of, but it’s already obvious that there are others with designs on the silverware!  Class E7 is led by Toni Carannante/Simon Coates who took a class win and a top twenty finish on the event itself in their Subaru Impreza STi.  Whereas class E6 includes many of the BTRDA Production Cup front-runners; Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence, Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy and Richard Hill/Steffan Evans lead the charge, but there are plenty more of these evenly matched cars where they came from!  Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham rule the roost in class E5 (over 2-litre) in their Escort, while class E4 (up to 2-litre) sees a couple more Escorts in the hands of Rob Dennis/Andy Boswell and Theo Bengry/Les Forsbrook demoting defending ERC champion Sam Bilham (Fiesta ST) and codriver Cameron Fair down into 3rd place at present.

Dave Bennett/Alistair McNeil’s splendid run in their Corsa in Somerset sees them leading fellow 1600cc runners Barry Jordan/James Gratton-Smith (Hillman Avenger BRM) and Bob Vardy/Simon Rogers (Fiesta) in class E3, while the driving forces in the 1400 Championship hold sway in class E2. The current top three are Ed Fossey/Chris SharpeSimkiss (Toyota Yaris), Tommi Meadows/Ian Oakey (Ford Ka) and Rob & Michael Evett (MG ZR), while class E1 is a ZR closed-shop! Chris Hickman/Alex Stanbury, Sheldon Furby/Carrie Rogers and Ian Wollacott/ Simon Stanbury will all currently be dining out on their success but their – and everyone else mentioned above! – joy will be tempered by the knowledge that, with up to 25 points on offer on each of the remaining seven rounds, in the blink of an eye the look of the leaderboard could change significantly!   The complete points table after the first round can be found under the Competitor Section > HERE

Next stop is the Carlisle Stages on 10th June. The event is based at the premises of H&H Auctions in Carlisle close to Jct 43 of the M6, and will cover 43 stage miles in the Kershope and Newcastleton forests, with a 15 mile stage as a finale. These stages are only used on the Carlisle Stages and with a small proportion of double usage it should ensure the best possible road conditions.  For more information and to enter, follow the link to the DMack Carlisle Stages in the Events section.

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 one of the early leaders in the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship – Patrick Naylor / Ian Lawrence  (courtesy of ralliphotoswales)

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.
CLASSES
• 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 http://www.btrdarally.com/information

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

SAM’s ON A CHARGE !

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

BACK TO WORK on the WOODPECKER!…

Following its traditional summer break, the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship moves into the second half of its season with the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages on Saturday 3rd September. All of the leading championship crews are entered in the event including the current leaders Cameron Davies / Lee Taylor (Fiesta ST) who have a 5 point advantage over Kit and Tim Leigh (Fiesta R200).  However, when you consider that it is the best 5 scores to count and the potential points that are available from the last 3 rounds, then there are at least 15 crews (possibly 20) still in with a chance of taking the title.   A full list of all the points scores can be found in the Competitors Section.    Championship Points

The current class leaders Emily & Eliot Retallick (Peugeot 205) in Class E1 and Freddy and Toby Brick (Nova) in Class E2 each have the advantage of having 3 scores but their main rivals Dominic Hodge / Stephan Arndt (Micra) and Jordan and Paul Hone (Satria) benefit from maximum scores which may tell at the end of the season. 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 is a straight fight between Gavin Edwards and Boyd Kershaw, both in Mk2 Ford Escorts, who currently have equal points.

The Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages, which is based at Ludlow Racecourse, has attracted 50 MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship crews. The first car starts at 8.31am on Saturday and returns for Service during the day before the crews begin returning to Ludlow Racecourse for the finish from 3.15pm.
PS: Both Dave Brick and his son Freddy Brick, both driving Novas, will want to make their local knowledge on the Woodpecker Rally pay; you can see their farm from Rally HQ !

Photo is Richard Wells /Calvin Houldsworth (Class RF1.6) Photo courtesy of Ralliphotoswales