Scottish rally driver Euan Thorburn continued the perfect start to his 2019 rallying season at the Rallynuts Stages today (13th April 2019) by taking a start-to-finish victory in his Ford Focus WRC with Paul Beaton on the notes.
Thorburn, from Duns in the Scottish borders, stunned his rivals by taking fastest stage time on each of the event’s six special stages, to win the Builth Wells based event by winning margin of 59 seconds. This victory ensures the duo maintain their 100% winning record this year, winning each of the four events contested.
Northern Ireland driver Mark Donnelly made an impressive return to the sport after two years away by taking second place with Welshman Dai Roberts alongside in their Fiesta R5+, dropping Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson to third on the final stage in their Fiesta WRC.
Over 130 crews would start the 46th running of the popular rally, one of the biggest in the history of the Midland Manor Motor Club-organised event. Over 44 miles of competitive driving lay ahead for the crews in the dry and dusty forests of Hafren, Sweet Lamb and Coed Sarnau, mixing classic tests with rarely used stages, challenging even the most experienced of crews.
Not only would the event start with a healthy number of competitors, but the quality was also an enviable prospect thanks to the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Championship joining the event once again.
Mark Donnelly impressed on his return to the sport with 2nd
– Image credit: RallySport Media – Click to download high res image
The event was also a qualifying round of the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Rally Championship, West Wales Rally Spares HRCR Stage Masters, Brian Dennis Motorsport / Jelf Motorsport Welsh Historic Rally Championship and the FMP Rally Challenge.
Stopping the clocks with the fastest time over the opening Hafren South stage was perhaps unsurprisingly Thorburn, but he was joined at the head of the leader board by 2017 event winner Connor McCloskey, another to make the trip across the Irish sea with Noel O’ Sullivan alongside in their Fiesta R5.
Ian Joel and Graeme Wood were second fastest in their Escort Cosworth but would not make that stick throughout the remaining tests. Thorburn picked up the pace on the next three tests to end the opening loop with a 29-second lead heading into service and well in control of the rally. That lead would do nothing but grow, and the Scotsman blasted through the remaining two stages of the day to win by almost a minute to his nearest rival.
Thorburn was delighted with yet another rally win and maximum BTRDA points.
“It’s great to have taken the win here today and maintain such a great winning record, I really didn’t expect that after taking a year out last season,” he said.
“I was expecting to perhaps get a win at the end of the year, not the start so four on the bounce was a bit unexpected, but we will take it nevertheless. The stages have been brilliant down here today and the weather has played ball, Paul has done a great job on the notes so all round its been an excellent day’s rallying.”
Behind him however, the battle would certainly be on for the remaining podium places with Petch taking second place on the Sweet Lamb stage, a place he would hold onto until the final test.
McCloskey resumed third but would drop into the clutches of Donnelly by the mid-point, the two Northern Irishmen locked in a battle over the closing two tests of the day.
Donnelly would bed in nicely to his new surrounds and as the miles progressed, he became quicker.
Stephen Petch scored a much needed podium– Image credit: RallySport Media – Click to download high res image
Edging away from McCloskey, he had his sights set further up the leader board and on the final 13.4 mile Hafren North stage, launched himself into second spot, demoting Petch in the process.
McCloskey netted fourth with Charles Payne and Carl Williamson rounding out the top five in their Fiesta WRC with a handful of top five times throughout the day.
Phillip and Simon Morrow were another crew to return to the sport after several years away, beating much more powerful machinery throughout the day in their Mitsubishi Evo IX. They would be heading for a potential top-five result, only to roll on the final corner of the final stage and having to retire on the spot.
Sam Bilham and Patrick Walsh recovered from an early puncture to secure sixth in their Fiesta R5 with Scott Faulkner and Gareth Parry leading a line of four Mitsubishi’s home, taking seventh place to win the BTRDA NR4 battle and taking maximum points in the Welsh Rally Championship to boot. Matthew Hirst / Declan Dear, Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence and Richard Sykes/Simon Taylor rounded off the top ten in their Evo IX examples.
Managing Director of Rallynuts Motorsport Paul Bonas, also contested the event bringing his Subaru Impreza home in 64th spot after being away from the drivers seat for over eight months.
Despite the challenging stages on offer during the day, 102 cars would make it to the ceremonial finish at Builth Wells Showground.
What they said:
Mark Donnelly – 2nd place
“I`m very surprised at the result to be honest. We were just coming here for a finish and make sure we didn’t damage the car, but to finish second was great. It was getting better the more miles we did in the Fiesta and its fantastic to be back.”
Stephen Petch – 3rd place
“A podium result is certainly what we needed to do today, and we delivered that. We had an anti-roll bar link snap on the final stage which cost us some time, but to be fair we are happy with the result, and we have both really enjoyed it.”
Full results can be found at www.rallynutsrally.co.uk
Rally sponsor Paul Bonas enjoyed a strong run
– Image credit: RallySport Media – click to download high res image –
ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT RallySport Media
The 2019 Rallynuts Stages Rally is set to be one of the biggest in its 46–year history as over 130 crews head to Builth Wells this weekend for the popular annual forest stage rally (13th April).
A top-quality entry will assemble on Saturday to tackle over 44 miles of competitive driving in the nearby forests, many of which have been made famous by Britain’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB in the past. Names such as Hafren, Sweet Lamb and Coed Sarnau Forests will offer an action-packed day’s motorsport in the region.
The rally is once again sponsored by established racewear and accessory firm Rallynuts Motorsport, who enter their fourth year as title sponsors. Their support, coupled with a progressive format helped to secure the event in the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Championship calendar in 2018, returning after a long break.
The event is also joined by the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Rally Championship, West Wales Rally Spares HRCR Stage Masters, Brian Dennis Motorsport /Jelf Motorsport Welsh Historic Rally Championship and the FMP Rally Challenge.
In a change to the format of previous years, crews with smaller engined cars and Historic Category vehicles will lead the crews away from Builth Wells Showground on Saturday morning in a reverse seeded order, followed by the main field in a “fastest first” running order.
This means Joseph Keen and Paul Barbet will be the first to be flagged away from the ceremonial start at the Showground in their MG ZR, followed by 30 or so two-wheel-drive contenders all eager to make use of the prime road conditions ahead.
Undoubtedly though, all eyes will be on the main field of protagonists which will be led away by current Scottish Rally Champions Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton in their Focus WRC. Wearing the coveted number one on the door, the duo has won every event contested so far in 2019 and will aim to continue their winning ways at the Rallynuts Stages, despite having never contested the event previously.
Winning the event in 2017, Northern Irishman Connor McCloskey returns in a bid to engrave his name on the trophy once again this year, ably co-driven by Noel O Sullivan in a Fiesta R5+. His pace on the mid-Wales stages is proven, but such is the strength of the entry this year, a second win is far from guaranteed.
Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson bring their Fiesta WRC from Durham and will be aiming to put their three retirements this season behind them and gain some valuable BTRDA points.
Ollie Mellors will bring one of the latest FIA specification R5 machines to the event, as the Proton Iriz R5 heads to Wales. Co-driven by Max Freeman, the Proton is well proven with second place on the Riponian Rally already this year.
Rounding out the top five is Charles Payne and Carl Williamson in their Fiesta WRC. They are followed by a gaggle of front runners who are all capable of taking overall rally victory.
George Lepley/Arwel Jenkins are tipped for two wheel drive honours
– Image credit: BTRDA/Kevin Money – click to download high res image
Other notable names include British Historic front-runners Ben Friend and Cliff Simmons in their Ford Escort MK2 whilst George Lepley and Arwel Jenkins will vie for BTRDA Historic and Silver Star honours in their Hillman Avenger. Directors of event sponsors Rallynuts Motorsport, Paul Bonas and Craig Cameron will also contest the event together in their familiar Subaru Impreza.
Spectators will be well catered for this weekend and have plenty of opportunities to catch the action both on and off the stages. The Royal Welsh Showground will house all pre-event checks and documentation from 13:00 – 19:00 on Friday 12th. It will also play host to the ceremonial start (08:30), finish (16:00) and mid-event service (12:00) halt during the day on Saturday 13th.
Fans can head into the woods at two locations on Saturday, with the famous Sweet Lamb stage offering two opportunities to watch the field. This test located just off the A44 near Llangurig, gets underway at 10:05 and 14:46, whilst the Cwmysgawen stage runs once at 11:04 and is located off the A483 north of Crossgates.
Follow the event’s social media feeds for all the latest news, action and updates throughout the weekend.
Full spectator information and entry list can be found at www.rallynutsrally.co.uk
Rally sponsors Paul Bonas and Craig Cameron will contest event
– click to download high res image –
Edwards and co-driver Darren Garrod dominated the event in their Ford Fiesta R5 to win by 40 seconds from Luke Francis and John Roberts in their WRC example. Paul Bird and Jack Morton secured the final podium spot in their Ford Focus WRC, to further extend their lead of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series.
One of the biggest entries in many years headed for the Midland Manor Motor Club organised event which took in classic tests in the Cefn, Crychan, Gwibedog and Radnor forests. 44 stage miles would lie ahead for the 130 competitors who had entered the event and despite the shift of the events traditional June date to April, were greeted by warm spring sunshine during the day.
The opening loop of three stages would see Edwards build a 19 second lead to Francis after 15 miles of competitive driving and despite the lack of power in the Welshman’s R5 version compared to the world car of Francis, had no intention of leaving it there for the rest of the day.
True to his word, Edwards ensured his preparation for the forthcoming British Championship round in a fortnight’s time was a valuable step forward by taking a convincing win over some much more powerful machinery.
Francis was the model of consistency throughout the seven stages, settling in to his runner up spot from the very first stage. In only his second ever event in the Fiesta WRC, Francis could not overhaul a flying Edwards, but ensured he remained in safe second place to put right his early exit from the Cambrian Rally in February.
Bird would start his Rallynuts Stages with fourth quickest on the opening test, briefly remaining outside the podium places until the third stage when he picked off Hugh Hunter and Rob Fagg’s Fiesta WRC to move into third. There he would stay for the rest of the event. Hunter was happy with his early pace, but couldn’t quite match Bird’s two-litre Focus and settled for fourth at the finish.
Number one seed, Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson couldn’t quite live up to the expectation of the starting order with a slower than normal start for the Northumbrian. His Fiesta WRC would act as road sweeper for the remaining crews and as the stages were repeated in the afternoon, his times tumbled. Petch ended the event with second quickest time, to finish fifth.
Julian Reynolds and Patrick Walsh took their Fiesta R5 to an impressive sixth spot in just their second event in the car with British Rally Championship star Tom Cave, with Dale Bowen alongside just two seconds behind in seventh in his aging but rapid Subaru Impreza.
Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson (Fiesta WRC), Martyn/Dawn England (Fiesta R5+) and Dylan Davies/Llion Williams (Subaru Impreza) rounded off the top ten.
Formally known as the Severn Valley Stages, thanks to a long-term partnership with race wear and accessory supplier Rallynuts Motorsport, the event was renamed at the end of 2017, ensuring the stability of the rally into at least 2023.
The event was a round of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Rally Championship, West Wales Rally Spares HRCR Stage Masters and the Brian Dennis Motorsport Welsh Historic Rally Championship.
More information on the event and provisional results can be found at www.rallynutsrally.co.uk
An impressive line-up of around 130 crews will head to Builth Wells this weekend as some of the best drivers in national rallying compete in the 45th running of the Rallynuts Stages Rally (14th April).
Formally known as the Severn Valley Stages, the Midland Manor Motor Club organised rally has seen a name, date and championship change in 2018 which has helped to bring one of the biggest entries in a number of years to the popular forest event.
Thanks to a long-term partnership with race wear and accessory supplier Rallynuts Motorsport, the event was renamed at the end of 2017, ensuring the stability of the rally which offers 45 miles of classic rallying in the Cefn, Crychan, Gwibedog and Radnor forests.
Returning after a break of 27 years, the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Championship has attracted a diverse and exciting entry, from World Rally Cars to historic specification machines. Also heading to the Royal Welsh Showground at the weekend are crews from the Pirelli MSA Welsh Rally Championship, West Wales Rally Spares HRCR Stage Masters and the Brian Dennis Motorsport Welsh Historic Rally Championship.
Picking a winner from the notable entry would be a difficult task with any one of the top ten in with a shout for overall glory. 2017 BTRDA Champions Steve Petch/Michael Wilkinson could arguably be considered as favourites to better their third spot on the Cambrian Rally in their Fiesta WRC, but series leaders Paul Bird/Jack Morton will have something to say about that prediction. They will bring their older but equally as glorious Ford Focus WRC to Wales.
British Rally Championship hopefuls Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod will also be eying victory in their less powerful but nimble Ford Fiesta R5. The Welsh driver is dovetailing his BRC commitments with a BTRDA campaign. 2014 event winner and two-time runner up Luke Francis has swapped his Mitsubishi for a Fiesta WRC in 2018 and will want to take the winner’s trophy back to Denbighshire with John Roberts alongside.
Ruthin driver Hugh Hunter will wheel out his Fiesta WRC with Robb Fagg alongside and will also be one of the top Welsh Championship contenders amongst the leaders. Tom Cave from Aberdovey makes a welcome return to the stages after several months away from UK Rallying and will drive his own Subaru Impreza with Dale Bowen in the co-drivers seat.
Such is a quality of the entry, you will need to look outside the top twenty to find the first two wheel drive crew and that honour goes to last year’s Historic event winners Nick Elliott and Dave Price in their Ford Escort Mk2. Fellow British Historic Rally Championship crew Rudi Lancaster and Guy Weaver will take the fight to Elliott in their similar machine.
Spectators eager to catch the action on the stages will be well catered for this year, with three opportunities to view the cars in full flight during the day. The Crychan stage, just a few miles North East of Cynghordy, offers the chance to see two passes of the stage, at both 09:18 and 14:34.
The Radnor test, just off the A488 at Monaughty is visited just once at 12:09. For those fans who want to get a little closer to the cars and drivers, the rally base at the Royal Welsh Showground is the ideal place to visit.
Technical checks take place from 13:00 on Friday 13th at the venue. The ceremonial start gets underway from 08:30 on Saturday 14th, with the service halt scheduled for 10:43 and 13:02. Crews will start to return for the ceremonial finish from around 15:55.
Jamie Anderson sets six from seven fastest times in British Championship shakedown outing
MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) contenders Jamie Anderson and Ross Whittock took a dominant victory at the Rallynuts Motorsport Severn Valley Stages on Saturday (4th June) in their Ford Fiesta R5. Anderson headed to the event as a shakedown to the forthcoming British Championship round which utilises similar forests and his efforts were rewarded with a 14 second victory from nearest rivals Luke Francis and John Roberts in their Mitsubishi E9. Fellow BRC challengers Ollie Mellors and Ian Windress also had the same idea and were also pleased to have taken third overall in their Proton Satria Neo S2000.
With a revised route and a host of top-line championships joining the Midland Manor Motor Club organised event, competitors were treated to 45 stage miles of classic Welsh forests across Powys including a return to the Radnor forest complex after a break of six years, attracting a substantial 120 car entry in the process. Dust would be the talking point of the day as the dry conditions and lack of a breeze meant it was lingering in the trees and creating an issue for much of the field.
Anderson, from Leicestershire took first blood on the opening five mile Gwibedog test with a six second gap from Pirelli MSA Welsh Rally Championship front runner Francis. That lead would never be challenged as Anderson put in a string of fastest stage times to dominate the event and take his first rally win since the Woodpecker in October 2015. Francis would be his closest challenger all day long and despite clawing four seconds back on the fifth stage, could not overhaul the on-form Anderson. Francis from Rhuddlan had complained about the dust issue from the first loop which would scupper any chargeback he may have had on the rally leader. A solid second and maximum Welsh Championship points were his reward.
Ollie Mellors had a trouble free run to third despite suffering from a lack of power on the long straights of Radnor forest. Dylan Davies and Mark Glennerster recovered from a slow start, languishing down at eighth overall on the opening loop to take a well-deserved fourth in their Subaru Impreza and a solid Welsh Championship points haul. Sacha Kakad and James Aldridge also had an impressive comeback from 17th to end the day fifth overall in their Mitsubishi E10.
“It’s been a really perfect day to be honest” commented Anderson at the finish. “We have had no dramas all day long and to have come away with a rally win was a bonus. The stages are fantastic and it’s certainly been different running at first car on the road, I’ve never had that honour before and sweeping the stages is hard work. But we have done what we set out to do and gaining some experience ahead of Julys Nicky Grist was important.”
The battle for Mintex MSA British Historic Championship honors was nowhere near as straight forward as the top three however and there was a shock leader after stage one. Adam Milner and Roy Jarvis stormed to third overall in the event and Historic leader in their Category 2 Ford Escort Mk1, taking many by surprise.
But Milner gradually slipped down the leaderboard before retiring on the penultimate stage of the event. Taking over from top spot on stage two were Joe Price and Chris Brooks who settled in nicely to the head of the pack, picking up nicely where they left off from last month’s Pirelli Rally. Nick Elliott and Dave Price battled long and hard with Paul Barrett and Dai Roberts for second throughout the day after challengers and local stars Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke rolled out of the event on stage four.
It was far from a done deal for Price, as his Escort MK2 became stuck in gear on the penultimate test to hand the lead to Elliott in his similar machine. That lasted for just one stage however as on the final run Elliott picked up a puncture, dropping behind a chasing Barrett to second. Barrett’s newly inherited win further extends his lead in the series with Rudi Lancaster and George Gwynn taking a well-deserved third.
There was another Ford Escort one, two, three in the HRCR Stage Masters Rally Challenge with Ben Friend and Cliffy Simmons heading the runners after Shaun Rayner and Guy Weaver had an “up and down” day to take second. Stanley Orr and Declan Dear claimed the final podium spot despite a series of punctures throughout the event.
Despite the challenging and unusually dry conditions, 86 of the 120 starters finished the event which took crews through seven forestry stages. Clerk of the Course Chris Ashley believes this has been one of the best Severn Valley Stages for many years. “The organising team has had to overcome several issues before the event but thanks to the help and support of so many people, we believe we have delivered a first class event in 2016” he says. “Huge thanks must go to our title sponsor Rallynuts Motorsport who has supported the event for the first time this year. We do hope this is just the start of a long and prosperous relationship”.
Pic: Jucy Rally Photography
Regulations are released for the Saturday 4th June event which includes a new-look route
Regulations for this year’s Rallynuts Motorsport Severn Valley Stages are now available to download from their brand new website, www.severnvalleystages.co.uk
After securing a new sponsorship deal with Rallynuts Motorsport Ltd, the organisers have worked hard to bring a fresh new look to the 2016 rally, by offering nearly 45 miles of stages in some of the best forest locations that Wales has to offer. After a break of six years, the Saturday 4th June event will return to Radnor Forest for a fast and flowing stage before returning to the forests of Cefn, Crychan and Gwibedog. This offers competitors 64% of single stage usage and all for an entry fee of £525.
The Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells will once again host the rally and provide an unrivalled venue for Rally HQ, Scrutineering, Attended Overnight Parking, Start/Finish, Service Area and the Awards Ceremony. Competitors will be flagged away at 8.30am on Saturday 4th by the Lord Mayor, to tackle seven challenging stages, before returning for a champagne finish just after 3.30pm.
The event is proud to be a round of the Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship, Pirelli MSA Welsh Rally Championship, the new HRCR Stage Masters Challenge and is a reserve round of the FMP Rally Challenge.
With various payment methods, including “staged payments” and the offer of a full refund should competitors find themselves unable to compete, (until 23rd May 2016), there is no reason to delay in entering this year’s rally.
Entries Secretary, Dave Lancaster, said “Over the past few weeks we have had many enquiries about this year’s rally, including some from overseas competitors. Our first entry came until minutes of the Regulations being published, so I urge all competitors who are thinking about entering, not to delay. Our online system is very easy to use, but I’m here to help should you have any difficulties”.
The 2016 Rallynuts Motorsport Severn Valley Stages event regulations and online entry form are available on the brand new event website, visit www.severnvalleystages.co.uk