MSA English Rally Championship, Woodpecker Stages

Round 5: Woodpecker Stages

Julian Wilkes and Will Rutherford (Vauxhall Nova) became the first crew to retain the MSA English Rally Championship titles following another excellent result on the Woodpecker Stages, the fifth round of the MSA English Rally Championship, that took place in the forests of Shropshire and the Welsh Borders on Saturday.  The event included 49 MSA English Rally Championship crews.

However it was certainly not easy for the champions who were involved in a tense 3 way battle in class E2 with Mat Smith / Giles Dykes (Ford Ka) and Dave Bennett / Alistair McNeil (Corsa).  It was Bennett who set the pace on the first stage but put the car on its side on the second stage losing more than 3 minutes and bending a stub axel in the process.  This allowed Smith to grab the lead but Wilkes fought back on stage three to be only a few seconds in arrears.  At the Service halt Bennetts rather battered car was in desperate need of a replacement stub axel which was happily supplied by his rival Wilkes.  Smith set another very quick time in the long Radnor stage with Bennett fastest on the final stage in Haye Park.   So the maximum class E2 points went to Smith / Dykes but second place was just good enough for Wilkes and Rutherford to retain their championship tiles.

Class E1 for the standard BTRDA Rally First cars was won by James West / Steve Eggington (VW Lupo) after an all-day battle with Joe Evett / Calvin Houldsworth (MG ZR) which was only decided when the latter crew had problems on the long Radnor stage.

18 year old Cameron Davies accompanied by Michael Gilby (Fiesta ST) again scored maximum points in Class E4 and moved to the top of the Junior Drivers table whilst Thomas Lloyd / Craig Maggs (Peugeot 205 GTi) took the maximum points in Class E3.  Meanwhile, Matthew Robinson / Nigel Hutchinson (Escort Mk2) won the up to 2000cc class on the event and with it maximum points in Class E5 ahead of the 2009 English Drivers Champion Jon Ballinger in the trusty Opel Manta.

Class winners on the Woodpecker StagesClass E1   James West / Steve Eggington      VW Lupo    52m 08sClass E2   Mat Smith / Giles Dykes        Ford Ka        48m 17s                Class E3   Thomas Lloyd / Craig Maggs      Peugeot 205GTi    51m 35sClass E4    Cameron Davies / Michael Gilby     Fiesta ST      49m 26sClass E5    Matthew Robinson / Nigel Hutchinson   Escort Mk2    46m 45s

Championship standings after Round 5

1. Julian Wilkes          Taunton      123 2. Roger Priestnall      Doncaster   1073. Peter Smith             Driffield     1034. James West             London         94 5. Robert Smith       Aldermarston  886. Cameron Davies     Llandovery    83= Robert Dennis        Leigh             83

The next round of the MSA English Rally Championship will be the Trackrod Forest Rally on Sat 28th September based at Pickering, North Yorkshire.