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’!
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…
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 : https://www.wyedeanstages.co.uk/spectators
All photos © Kevin Money / Malcolm Almond