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Woodpecker Stages - (Sat) 1 Sep 18

Posted: July 22, 2019 7:14 AM - 1329 Hits

Round 7 - 2018 BTRDA Rally Series
Round 8 - 2018 Welsh Rally Championship

Unstoppable Edwards/Garrod storm to Woodpecker Rally victory

Posted: July 22, 2019 7:14 AM

Current British Rally Championship leader Matt Edwards dominated the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally at the weekend (1st September) to win the Ludlow based event and seal the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA title in the process.

Edwards, guided in the co-driver’s seat by Darren Garrod, overcame a puncture on the Haye Park test to take victory in his Fiesta R5 by over 30 seconds from Luke Francis and John Roberts in their WRC version of the Ford. Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson rounded off the top three in their similar machine, making it a Fiesta podium lockout that sprayed the champagne at Ludlow Racecourse on Saturday evening.

Around 140 rally crews left the start line on Saturday morning with competitors from around the world enjoying a new format with two-wheel-drive crews running first on the road, followed by the four-wheel-drive versions soon after. Organised by Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club, the weekend marked the 35th anniversary of the rally which took crews into the Marches and Powys forests.

All eyes were on the battle for overall honours as a decent result for Edwards would mean he could seal the BTRDA honours with a decent finish in Shropshire.

Edwards wasted no time in stamping his authority on the pack, setting a time 14 second faster than anyone else in the opening stage, High Vinnalls. Francis would be second quickest but at a loss to explain the deficit after just six miles of competitive action. Petch stopped the clocks a further six seconds back and that would be how they would finish some 44 miles later. Hugh Hunter was an early casualty with engine failure in his Fiesta, as was Ian Joel who took a wheel off his Ford Escort Cosworth.

There would be no change to the leader board through the opening loop and despite Edwards’ suffering a puncture in the fourth test, his lead into the last three stages was a confident 27 seconds. By the penultimate stage, his lead had increased to almost a minute and try as they might, Francis or Petch could do nothing about the pace of the North Walian.

A last-minute scare for the Swift Group baked driver didn’t dent his ambition any, dropping over 30 seconds on the final stage with a puncture. But Edwards crossed the finish ramp to spray the champagne with five fastest stage times from seven, taking a well earned win, scooping the BTRDA title with a round to spare in the process.

“This is such a sentimental title for me” said Edwards the finish.

“You know, with my Dad working on events in the championship and competing here for so many years and its such a great championship to win. I love all the events in the series but this one is fantastic and has some amazing stages. It’s a real honour to win this one and get the title in the bag.

"The car looks bad doesn't it? We must have had a slow puncture somewhere and on the first corner of the last stage it almost went all wrong and it almost swapped ends on us. It de-laminated and took the bodywork with it so its looks worse than it is.”

Martyn and Dawn England found a late spurt of pace to secure fourth overall in their Fiesta R5, taking that position away from Dylan Davies and Llion Wiiliams on the penultimate stage. They eventually took their Subaru Impreza to fifth.

Local crews also enjoyed success on the stages, with Ludlow’s Joe Price and Chris Brooks sealing the class B11 honours and first two-wheel-drive home. Price had not been out in his Ford Escort MK2 since the Pirelli Rally in April so was pleased to bring it home safely with a top result to boot.

Also from Ludlow, John Antony Caine drove his Subaru Impreza to 13th spot with co-driver Lucy Wilding from Wigmore alongside. Dave and Toby Brick took first 1400S crew home in their Vauxhall Nova after a tussle with local returnee Neil Weaver. However, Weaver and co-driver Nick Thornton didn’t emerge from the final test, handing the victory to Brick despite leading into the final loop.

There was an international flavour to the 2018 rally, thanks to competitors from Italy, Iceland and South Africa.

Dave Harris made the 12,000 mile return trip from South Africa worthwhile one, bringing his RallyMe Subaru Impreza home to finish his first rally in around 35 years with Dood Pearce alongside. He also was awarded the Spirit of the Rally for his efforts.

Icelandic legend Palli Halldar Halldarsson and Johannes Johannesson celebrated 20 years since winning the Icelandic National Championship by taking 55th overall in their Subaru Impreza.

Sponsored once again by Midlands-based signage specialists Eventsigns, the event was a qualifying round of the the BTRDA and Welsh Championships, the Maxxis Tyres MSA English Rally Championship, the Restruct Ltd & www.jelfmotorsport.com Welsh Clubman’s Mixed Surface Rally Championship, the ANWCC Forest Rally Championship FMP Rally Challenge and the Brian Dennis Motorsport Welsh Historic Rally Championship.

Stage is set for action-packed Woodpecker Rally

Posted: August 27, 2018 3:57 PM

Over 140 rally crews are set to head to Ludlow this weekend (1st September) for the 35th running of the award winning Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally.

Organised by Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club, the popular motorsport event will see a shift in format this year, with all two-wheel drive crews running at the front of the field, ensuring the best possible road conditions for those in lesser powered examples.

The new format, coupled with a bumper entry from crews contesting the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series and Pirelli MSA Welsh Stage Rally Championship, will see an action-packed day in the Shropshire and Powys forests.

Starting from the traditional Ludlow Racecourse base on Saturday morning, the two-wheel-drive crews will leave first in reverse seeded order, followed by a short gap and the remaining four-wheel-drive contenders in their anticipated order of performance. Whilst the lesser powered machines will be the first on the road, eyes will undoubtedly be on the battle for the overall rally honours which has further implications than just the rally win.

Current BTRDA Series leaders Matt Edwards (North Wales) and Darren Garrod will wear the coveted number one on the door thanks to last year’s event winner Paul Bird being absent from the list. Edwards is gunning for a decent result on the “Woody” in which he hopes to seal the BTRDA title in the process. The current British Championship leader will be looking to take both titles this season in his Ford Fiesta R5 and the Ludlow event could prove to be the first step of that aim.

Luke Francis/John H Roberts (North Wales) will be doing all they can to stall that process, leading a trio of WRC versions of the Fiesta. Francis will run at number two and has twice made the podium on the event but never lifted the trophy. He will be hoping this year will mark the change in his fortune.

Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Durham) start at three and having won the event in 2016, Petch will pushing hard to thwart Edwards’ title and event hopes. Hugh Hunter (North Wales)/Rob Fagg bring their version to the event and as a noted asphalt expert, Hunter is rapidly gaining confidence on the gravel and will start at four.

Sacha Kakad (Chepstow) will have the benefit of having 2017 Woodpecker winner Jamie Edwards (Wrexham) in the co-drivers seat at five. Kakad is aiming to break his current run of form, retiring from the last three events entered.

Local drivers will also be out in force in the forests this weekend. Joe Price/Chris Brooks (Ludlow) will head the two-wheel drive charge in their rapid Ford Escort Mk2. A favorite with the spectators thanks to his flamboyant driving style, Price has not contested the event since 2015 and will be aiming to repeat his class podium from 2014.

Famed for his exploits in the BTRDA 1400 series in the early 2000’s, Neil Weaver (Ludlow) returns to the drivers seat of his Vauxhall Corsa after a 12 year sabbatical from the category. Nick Thornton will co-drive and the duo will be a welcome sight on the stages during the day. Father and Son crew Dave and Toby Brick (Ludlow) will also be competing on the event in their TNT Tyres backed Vauxhall Nova.

It’s not just UK crews who are heading to Ludlow at the weekend. This year’s event will see competitors travelling from as far afield as South Africa and Iceland to contest the rally.

Dave Harris will make the 12,000 mile return trip from South Africa to Shropshire contest the Woodpecker, fulfilling a 35 year ambition to contest the event. Harris was a keen competitor in the 60’s and 70’s from his home in Worcester, but moved to the country in 1982. He returns in a RallyMe Subaru Impreza and hopes to the make the finish, despite having never driven a four wheel drive in anger.

Hereford preparation firm Quick Motorsport will field Icelandic legend Pall Halldar Halldarsson (sometimes known as Rally Palli). Palli's Co-driver is a former rival named Johannes Johannesson and together they became national champions in 1998 rallying a Quick Motorsport Lancer. They will head to the Woodpecker to celebrate 20 years since winning the Icelandic National Championship and 30 years since Rally Palli made his rallying debut. Pill and Johannes last competed together in 2000 before retiring.

After technical checks and documentation at the rally’s now traditional rally base at Ludlow Racecourse during the afternoon of Friday 31st August, competitors will be flagged at 8.30am on Saturday morning from the venue.

Spectators will be able to catch the action at several points throughout the day with access to the spectator car parks costing £10 per car, including a programme and entry list. The rally kicks off with the familiar and spectator friendly Haye Park forest at 08:45. Crews return to the stage at 12:45 in the reverse direction. Catering, toilet facilities and a commentary will be available.

The rally will also visit Radnor Forest, near Knighton in Mid Wales twice throughout the day, The first car due for the first pass will be at 10:20 followed by the second at 15:25. The Racecourse will be busy throughout the day as crews arrive at two service halts, followed by the ceremonial finish at 16:30.

Sponsored once again by Midlands-based signage specialists Eventsigns, the event is joined by a wealth of national and regional rally championships. As well as the BTRDA and Welsh Championships, the event is a round of the Maxxis Tyres MSA English Rally Championship, the Restruct Ltd & www.jelfmotorsport.com Welsh Clubman’s Mixed Surface Rally Championship, the ANWCC Forest Rally Championship FMP Rally Challenge and the Brian Dennis Motorsport Welsh Historic Rally Championship.

Seeded Entry List

Posted: August 27, 2018 6:48 AM

Woodpecker Stages Rally brings two wheel drive's to the fore

Posted: July 28, 2018 11:55 AM

The Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally have launched the details of the 2018 event, and organisers have announced a change in format for the 1st September event, offering two-wheel-drive crews the chance to run first on the road.

After winning best BTRDA and Welsh Rally Championship event in 2017, organisers Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club will take advantage of the new regulations laid out by the Motor Sports Association (MSA) on 1st July, bringing front and rear wheel drive cars to the head of the field at the Ludlow based rally.

This offers crews in lower powered and historic cars the opportunity to sample some of the best road conditions possible.

The 35th running of the popular all-gravel rally, is once again a qualifying round of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series and Pirelli MSA Welsh Stage Rally Championship, offering around 45 stage miles across high-quality stages in the Welsh Marches and Shropshire forests.

As well as the change in running order, there will be a new-look to the route ensuring crews can enjoy the best of the Welsh and English border forests during the day. After technical checks and documentation at the rally’s now traditional rally base at Ludlow Racecourse on Friday 31st August, competitors will be flagged away early on Saturday 1st September from the venue. Ahead of them, seven classic stages are on offer kicking off with the familiar and spectator friendly Haye Park forest.

After another special stage in the Marches, competitors will head to the legendary Radnor test before returning for a short service at Ludlow Racecourse. A reverse run through Haye Park gives fans another chance to watch the action before a return to service. The rally concludes with an additional Marches test, prior to two blasts through Radnor ahead of the ceremonial finish at the Racecourse.

Sponsored once again by Midlands-based signage specialists Eventsigns, the event is joined by a wealth of national and regional rally championships. As well as the BTRDA and Welsh Championships, the event is a round of the Maxxis Tyres MSA English Rally Championship, the Restruct Ltd & www.jelfmotorsport.com Welsh Clubman’s Mixed Surface Rally Championship, the ANWCC Forest Rally Championship, FMP Rally Challenge and the Brian Dennis Motorsport Welsh Historic Rally Championship.

“Winning the best event in both the BTRDA and Welsh championships last year was a real honour but we simply cannot rest on our laurels,” says Clerk of the Course Pete Wood. “The organising team have worked really hard to bring a new look to this years event, making sure it is still a challenge for our returning competitors whilst giving new crews the chance to compete across some great stages. Running two-wheel drive’s at the head of the field will allow them to have the best possible conditions and we have reverse seeded that category, ensuring the safest possible running order. With the new route as well, It’s shaping up to be another fantastic event and we would like to thank our sponsors Eventsigns for their continued support.” More information on the event, regulations and entry forms can be found on the event website:

On Line Entry / Regulations / Website

Posted: July 28, 2018 11:54 AM

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