Competitors in the 2016 Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship tackle the penultimate event of their season this Saturday, The Ludlow based Eventsigns Woodpecker Rally, says Peter Hughes.
John H Roberts from Colwyn Bay has already clinched the overall co-drivers’ title but his driver, Rhuddlan’s Luke Francis needs to finish today’s event to secure the overall drivers’ title. Meanwhile, there are still plenty more honours yet to be settled.
Luke and John have taken maximum points on each of the five rounds that they have contested to date and the North Wales duo would love to keep that 100% record going this weekend in their Mitsubishi Evo IX.
They will face some stiff opposition, however. Surrey‘s Wug Utting is the man who could yet deny Luke Francis top honours but he is also involved in a fierce battle for the overall runners-up spot with Escort driver Andrew Jones. The Pwllheli youngster has already claimed the Vital Equipment junior title for drivers aged under 25 and holds a healthy lead in the two wheel drive category. Second place overall would provide him with a healthy haul of trophies at the end of season awards ceremony.
Other drivers aiming for top honours will include Steve Simpson in his S2000 Ford Fiesta, the Manchester man currently leads Class WRC1, and Somerset couple Martyn and Dawn England in their R5+ version. Meanwhile, Lampeter’s Andy Davies will be keen to bounce back from successive non-finishes in his Subaru Impreza while his co-driver Max Freeman, from Stafford, will want to extend his lead in a tight battle for the Vital Equipment junior co-drivers’ title.
Max also currently leads the co-driver category in Group N, for less modified cars, with Andy Davies and Wug Utting battling it out for the driver’s title.
In Class 6, Flying Kiwi Boyd Kershaw will be looking to consolidate his lead in the title race. The Escort driver is vying for that honour with the Peugeot 309 of Shropshire driver Tim Cains.
Despite a sometimes frustrating season to date, Warwick based driver Matthew Jackson and his co-driver Clare Williams, from Ammanford, remain in contention in Class 3 but need to bring their Nissan Micra home this weekend ahead of the Ford Ka of current class leader, Cenarth’s James Williams.
|Also still to be settled is the destination of the £3000 prize fund in the Ravenol Welsh Challenge.
With points awarded based on drivers’ performances within their class, Luke Francis currently leads on 71 points ahead of Andrew Jones on 64 while no fewer than four drivers, Worcester’s Colin Griffiths, Hywel Davies of Machynlleth, Jake McKenna (Birmingham) and Boyd Kershaw are tied on 52 points with Wug Utting two points further back.
Championship contenders have a break before the final round of the year, the Wyedean Rally in November, so expect them to pushing hard right from the start this weekend.
You can find out more about the event on the rally website www.woodpecker-rally.co.uk and about the Championship, including full Championship and Ravenol Welsh Challenge points, on www.wnrc.wamc.org.uk. You can also keep up to date with the Championship on the Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.
|Teams will leave the Ludlow Racecourse start from 8.30 on Saturday morning and spectators are welcome at two locations, Haye Park near Ludlow and Radnor Forest in mid Wales.
Access to the spectator car park costs £10 per car and includes a Programme and Entry List. This will allow you access to all spectator car parks on the day.
The Haye Park car park entrance is on the minor road between Ludlow and Wigmore (OS Map 137 / 474732, post code SY8 2HE). Catering, toilet facilities and a commentary will be available. The cars visit Haye Park twice, first car due for SS2 at 09:00 and first car due for SS6 at 14:30.
The Radnor Forest car park entrance is on the A488 between Knighton and Penybont (OS Map 148 / 189683, nearest post code LD7 1PA). Parking is on forest tracks. The cars visit Radnor Forest once, with first car due for SS4 at 11:50.