Preview of the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally.
Defending BTRDA Gold Star® Rally Champion Elliot Payne and co-driver Patrick Walsh start the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally as leaders of both the Fuchs Lubricants Gold Star Championship and the Reis Motorsport Insurance English Rally Championship – by the narrowest of margins!   In the 2024 Gold Star contest Their Fiesta Rally2 is currently a single point ahead of the Lancer EVO9 of Russ Thompson / Steve Link, with the winners of the recent Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages, Matthew Hirst and Declan Dear (Fiesta R5), in 3rd place.

The featured image is Elliot Payne/Patrick Walsh (Fiesta Rally2) – Reis Motorsport Insurance English Rally Championship Leaders, seen here on the Malcolm Wilson Rally. 

Although Elliot was victorious on the 2023 Border Counties, he’ll be mindful of the fact that not only were Hirst / Dear a mere 12s behind him as they arrived back in Jedburgh at the conclusion of the event, but also that Thompson / Link were just over a minute adrift.

Securing 5th overall on each of the first two BTRDA Series events this season, Scott Beattie (Fiesta R5) is right behind Hirst in the table while Vivian Hamill (Polo R5), who secured runner-up spot on the Malcolm Wilson Rally but then retired on the opening stage of the Rallynuts, could do with a result to maintain the pressure on the opposition. Liam Clark / Emily Easton-Page (Fiesta Rally2) have returned two solid performances so far and another in the Borders will do their Championship standing no harm whatsoever!

Steve Ward (Escort Mk2) will be aiming to consolidate his lead in the Protyre BTRDA Silver Star® Championship but, at the same time, Andy Davison / Tom Murphy (Sunbeam VXR) and Ben Jemison (Chevette HSR) renew their rivalry which saw the former take maximum points on the Malcolm Wilson Rally. However, Jemison did come up trumps in the Reis Motorsport Insurance BTRDA Historic Cup in which, although also currently headed by Ward courtesy of his two scores, he will be handily placed to progress – provided, obviously, that his early-season form is maintained!

<< Ben Jemison (Vauxhall Chevette HSR), the Reis Motorsport Insurance BTRDA Historic Cup Winner on the Malcolm Wilson Rally

The 2023 BTRDA Historic Cup-winning car, Ernie Graham’s MkI Escort RS1600, is now in the hands of his son, Will, who was 2nd in class on the Rallynuts, while a DNF on the Malcolm Wilson leaves Ernie & Patricia Lee (BMW325i) just looking for a finish!
Former Class B11 winner – and 2022 Motorsport UK English Rally Champion! – Nick Dobson (Escort) is back but, having missed the season-opener, continued where he’d left off by taking maximum BTRDA class points on the Rallynuts. The Ilkley driver will now be looking for a similar haul on the Border Counties!…

Having had a false start in their bid for BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup glory, with retirement on the Malcolm Wilson Rally, Lewis Hooper / Rhys Edwards (Fiesta) have begun the fight-back with a ‘win’ in Wales and now have to deal with the similar cars of Garry Whitney / Karl Keating and Alfie Hammond if this trend is to continue…

By dint of class wins in his 1400C Nova on both Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA Bronze Star® Championship events to-date, Will Banks’ name is in lights at the top of the table! Another performance of a similar calibre could well consolidate his and Matt Baddeley’s positions as, on the one hand, neither of the category winners so far (Callum & Steve Black – Suzuki Swift) will be present this time and, following a troubled run on the Severn Valley Stages, defending Bronze Star Champions Nigel & Kaz Jenkins (Nova) are left with some catching-up to do…

                                   Will Banks/Matt Baddeley (Nova) – Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA Bronze Star Championship Leaders   >>>>

Chris Greenall (Nova) and Chris Bush / Robert Bryn (Corsa) will be approaching the event from very different perspectives – Greenall has maintained a 100% finishing record over the first quarter of the season and will be looking to move that forward, while Bush / Bryn have yet to see a finish line…. The BTRDA Rally First Cup still features a Peugeot 205 monopoly but, this time, Giles Armitage will be endeavouring to turn the tables on Rallynuts winner Martin Beech…

The Reis Motorsport Insurance Motorsport UK English Rally Championship takes to the stages once more on the Border Counties Rally. Following the opening encounter there were joint leaders with Elliot Payne (Fiesta Rally2) and Callum Black (Suzuki Swift) both coming away from the Malcolm Wilson Rally with maximum scores. However, while the aforementioned absence of
Black from Round 2 leaves Payne out in front on his own, we’re at an early enough stage of the season for any number of other drivers to step up to the plate and join – or even overhaul! – him at the top of the table.

<<<   Elliot Payne and Patrick Walsh (Fiesta Rally2) – Reis Motorsport Insurance English Rally Championship Leaders

Prior to the start the Top Ten drivers are separated by a mere three points, as are 10th-20th places! Including the Border Counties, there are six more events in the calendar and it goes without saying that there is bound to be a fair amount of jockeying for position between now and the Grizedale Stages at the beginning of December…

The Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally takes in six special stages and the first car leaves the start at Jedburgh Abbey at 8.00am on Saturday 11th May. Prospective spectators should consult : www.bordercountiesrally.co.uk/spectators/

All photos © Kevin Money & Malcolm Almond.   Further information on the Protyre BTRDA Rally Series @ www.btrdarally.com & Reis Motorsport Insurance English Rally Championship @ www.englishrally.co.uk          – ENDS –