BHRC contenders head back to Wales

The 2015 Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship heads back to Wales for round four, the Severn Valley Stages (Saturday 30 May).Overall championship leaders Nick Elliott and Dave Price will bid for a hat-trick of wins and the Ford Escort Mk2 crew will lead 70 historic crews away from Builth Wells on Saturday morning. The event has attracted another excellent historic field despite the Category 1 entry dropping to only six cars after the recent changes in event running order. Taking the battle to Elliott and Price will be former championship leaders Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke (Ford Escort Mk2). They compete in the Holton Homes Category K for cars running to Appendix K specification and Clarke will be eager to score his third major co-driving victory in less than a month.Up against Pritchard are two more very quick Escorts running to FIA specification. Meirion Evans and Steffan Evans are overdue a big result after showing excellent pace this season, while Tomas Davies and Eurig Davies will be right in contention.Ranged against the Category K cars will be a host of front-running Escort Mk2s in the RSR Historic Engineering Category 3, topped by title contenders Matthew Robinson/Sam Collis, Joe Price/Chris Brooks and Richard Hill/Iwan Jones. Back in the field after missing the trip to Kielder will be strong contenders Terry Brown/Den Golding and Ben Llewellin/Ross Whittock. The quality of the D5 field is outstanding and includes more rapid crews like Rudi Lancaster/George Gwynn, Tim Freeman/Paul Williams, Steve Bennett/Paul Wakely and Simon Webster/Jez Rogers. Taking the fight to the Escort pack in class D5 are Peter Smith and Patrick Walsh in their Opel Kadett.Class D3 will be headed by flying Irishman Paul Barrett and his Welsh co-driver Dai Roberts. Barrett has set some incredible times this season and will be right up among the class D5 cars in his Pinto-powered Escort. Barrett will be chased by Ben Friend/Sean Kennedy and Ian Jones/Iestyn Williams. In class D2, Chris Skill and Captain Thompson should set the mark in their 1600cc Escort Mk2.Another strong entry will contest the Capital Construction Category 2, with David Stokes and Guy Weaver currently heading the points in their Escort Mk1. Stokes will again be the Category 2 benchmark, but the opposition in stronger than ever in 2015 with a number of Escort Mk1s chasing the current BHRC champion. It was very close last time out in Kielder as Stokes hit clutch problems and the chasing pack is certainly getting closer.Ernie and Will Graham and John Perrott/Keaton Williams are the main threats to Stokes on the Severn Valley and have already enjoyed some mighty contests over the opening events. The class C3 battle is also hotting up nicely as the BMW 2002 of Terry Cree/Richard Shores goes up against the Escorts of James Slaughter/Keegan Rees and Nick Danks/Martin Corbett.The fierce three-way battle among the 1600cc cars in Category 2 will continue as the Escort Mk1s of Robin Shuttleworth/Ronnie Roughead and Dave Watkins/Tom Jordan take on the flying Hillman Avenger of Barry Jordan/James Gratton-Smith.Sadly the entry in the Walker Diecastings Category 1 for pre ’68 cars is smaller than expected as these cars can no longer run at the head of the field and just six cars will contest the category. Welsh crews Bob and Dale Gibbons (Ford Cortina GT) and Malcolm Rich/Jonathan Hawkins (Ford Anglia) should be to the fore along Paul Mankin/Desmond Bell (Lotus Cortina), while Mike Barratt and Elliott Retallick field their Ford Cortina GT. In class B2, Phil Harris and Paul Price (Mini Cooper S) will take the MG Midget of championship newcomers Robert Seager and Simon Hannam.Finally, running in the Jondel Engines Category 4 is the MG Metro of Trevor Hancock/Jody Watson.The rally will be based at the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells. The first car will start at 8.30am and return to the finish at around 3pm.