Preview of the Wyedean Stages Rally (15th October)
As the 2022 Motorsport UK English Rally Championship, in association with Seacon UK, takes contenders into the Forest of Dean on Saturday 15th October for its penultimate round, the Wyedean Stages Rally, Nick Dobson (Escort Mk2) is just one point behind Richard Hill’s Lancer EVO9 in the race for the title. Having scored maximum points on the first two events in the calendar, Dobson (featured photo from the recent Trackrod Forest Rally) held pride of place at the top of the table throughout the summer, but a lacklustre run – by his standards – on the Woodpecker Stages in early September allowed Hill to overhaul him, albeit by the narrowest of margins. However, the Ilkley driver now has an opportunity to redress the balance….
Richard Hill / Patrick Cooper on the Trackrod Forest Rally >>>>
The class-based series sees competitors pitting their skills against those with vehicles of a similar engine capacity to their own in the battle for points, not only in their particular class but also for overall supremacy. In this way, it’s not necessarily the most powerful cars that come out on top – exemplified by the fact that, although the past couple of years have been blighted by Covid, the last English Rally Champion (2019) was Steve Black at the wheel of his 1400cc Suzuki Swift…
Having retired from the Woodpecker Stages, the hard charging Matthew Hirst and Declan Dear (Fiesta R5) will be looking to regain some lost ground, while local knowledge should be of assistance to Forest of Dean residents Bob Morgan / Ade Williams (Fabia R5).
<<<< Matthew Hirst / Declan Dear (Fiesta R5)
Four-wheel drive machinery also appears in the hands of Ledbury’s Rob Wilson (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO7), co-driven by Martin Haggett, while James Giddings / Aled Davies opt for an EVO9. Meanwhile, Colin Minton is pinning his hopes of success on a Subaru Impreza.
Aiming to give Nick Dobson a run for his money in their own Escorts, Irishmen Michael McDaid / Declan Casey and ‘The Flying Kiwi’ Boyd Kershaw, co-driven by Keegan Rees, have already scored one maximum apiece and are eminently capable of repeating the feat this time out, while Tim Jones / Liam Whiteley will be doing their best to join them….
Hoping that the English Rally Championship title remains in the hands of a 1400cc car in 2022, Lydney’s Nigel & Kaz Jenkins’ rapid Nova came out on top of its class last time out on the Trackrod Forest Stages which utilised the super-fast stages on the North York Moors. Although they were absent from the first couple of events, the husband-and-wife crew have since made their presence felt and, once again, ‘home’ advantage and a proven turn of speed – not to mention a slice of good luck! – could pay dividends.
Nigel & Kaz Jenkins – 1400cc Vauxhall Nova >>>>
Also relying on a 1400cc car, although a less highly-tuned version than the Jenkins’ Nova, Adrian & Matt Walk’s Ford Ka has proved on a number of occasions in the past that reliability is the key to success. However, while retirement on the Trackrod Forest Stages wasn’t part of the plan, good performances on the final two rounds of the series would put them in the running for a class win.
SPECTATORS : The first car leaves the start in Coleford at 8.30am on Saturday 15th October and full details will be available via the website: https://www.wyedeanstages.co.uk/spectators
All photos © Kevin Money / Malcom Almond.