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Bulldog International Rally - 28 Mar 09

Posted: April 1, 2009 6:38 PM - 18482 Hits

Round 1 - 2009 British Rally Championship
Round 1 - 2009 MSA British Historic Rally Championship
Round 2 - 2009 Fiesta SportingTrophy UK

  • Cronin/Shinnors win first round of the BRC

Posted: April 2, 2009 9:29 AM

Photo: John Bayly

Video Clips

Posted: April 1, 2009 6:38 PM


Posted: March 30, 2009 5:51 PM

BHRC report

Posted: March 30, 2009 5:46 PM

The 2009 Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship got off to a fantastic start on the Bulldog Historic Rally (Saturday 28 March) as a fabulous field of cars made a fine spectacle in the Welsh forests.
The big winners of the day were category victors Jonathan Gale/Graham Gale (Sunbeam Tiger), David Higgins/Ieuan Thomas (Ford Escort Mk1) and Nick Elliott/Dave Price (Ford Escort Mk2).

The response to the historic event from the fans out in the forests was overwhelming and the Bulldog has set the scene for a great season of historic rallying. The event received widespread acclaim from the BHRC contenders, with the only negative comments relating to a section of re-graded stage in Dyfi.

Category 1
It was tricky to predict how Jonathan Gale would get on during his first event in the ex-Patrick Watts Sunbeam Tiger, but that question was emphatically answered at the end of the opening eight-mile stage in Aberhirnant. The Messagelabs-backed Tiger was a massive 27s faster than the rest of category one and that set the seal on victory, adding to the celebrations for Graham Gale's 69th birthday. However, this was never an easy victory for the Gales as Stuart Rolt/Richard Pomfret (Porsche 911) gave valiant chase. But an error on the opening stage cost Rolt a chance of victory on one of his rare forays into the BHRC. "I knocked the ignition switch off on the first stage," admitted Rolt after dropping 25s. "After that we went very well." However, even a stall on a hairpin in Dyfi didn’t unsettle Gale on his way to a fine victory. Graham Waite/Gill Cotton (Volvo Amazon) clinched class B4 victory as well as third in the category with a mighty performance, finishing half a minute up on Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911). "A few hairy moments, but a really good day," said Waite.

Only father and son crew Phil and Stuart Smith made it to the finish from the class B2 field, with Phil driving his Mini Cooper for the first time in four years. A broken wishbone sidelined the MG Midget of James Stait/Fin Mackintosh.

One of the battles of the rally came in B1 as Gary and Jane Edgington scored a mighty last stage victory in their Singer Chamois. Over the first three stages Geoff Taylor and Steve Greenhill set a cracking pace in their Sunbeam Imp, and going into the final eight miles in Dyfnant they were 14s ahead. But Edgington drove an amazing stage to be 26s faster and take the class. Their stage time was third fastest in category one. "I drove better than I ever have in my life," said Edgington. "He took his brain out," added Taylor as he congratulated his rival.

Category 2
David Higgins nearly didn’t make his BHRC debut after injuring his hand in the workshop on Thursday, but after spending Friday morning at hospital, he managed to make the start. However, gripping the wheel was still a problem as he led the field into the four long stages.
Getting used to route notes rather than their own pace notes was another adjustment for Higgins and Ieuan Thomas, and was a factor in them going off at high-speed in Dyfi. They dropped two minutes and damaged the back of the car, but got out of the stage with a slender lead over Rupert Lomax/David Alcock (Escort Mk1). Higgins then went quickest in Dyfnant to settle the result by 15s. "It wasn't a great rally for us, but it was great fun," said Higgins.
Lomax was very happy with his result, but it was a bad day for David Stokes/Guy Weaver who went off at the same place at Higgins and badly damaged their Escort Mk1.
Third in category two, and first in class C4, went to the wonderful Ford Capri RS3100 of Jeremy Easson/Alun Cook after a great BHRC debut. "It's been a proper rally and a real laugh," said Easson after a fine run. However, Tim Mason/Graham Wild (Porsche 911) had been looking good for C4 spoils until forced to stop and change a puncture in Dyfi.

The tremendous C3 field made it one of the toughest classes on the event and it was a great performance from Tim Jones and Don James that netted victory, as well as fourth overall in category two. Driving out of Dyfi on a front puncture cost them around 20s, but they were still 1m27s up on Drew Wylie/Howard Pridmore as Andrew Siddall/Captain Thompson took second and third ahead of Ken Forster/John Stanger-Leathes, who took their freshly built Escort Mk1 to fourth.

Series newcomers Richard Williams/Richard Ekin made a great start to their BHRC campaign by winning C2 by over a minute from Neil Rudd/Brian Hodgson.

Category 3
The line-up in category three was amazing, and the pace was fierce right from the start as Elliott/Price attacked Aberhirnant to take an immediate eight-second lead over Julian Reynolds/Ian Oakey. That set the tone for the rally, and Elliott continued to attack through the two long stages in Gartheiniog and Dyfi to build his lead to 26s before the final Dyfnant stage. "We put a marker down for ourselves on the first stage, but it was the long stages that really mattered," said Elliott after his second win in two BHRC outings.

Having had a late engine change immediately before the rally, Reynolds was running without a rev counter and rev limiter, which forced a degree of caution. "That unsettled us a bit, but Nick was flying," said Reynolds.

Gwyndaf Evans/Clive Jenkins were getting quicker and quicker over the early miles of the rally in the Escort Mk2 from Viking Motorsport, but a spin in Dyfi left the car beached and they were OTL by the time they found enough spectators to get the car running again.

Into a fine third came Seamus O'Connell and Dai Roberts in their Escort Mk2, with the Irishman loving the flowing Welsh stages. Also new to the area was Darren Moon who, with Chris Parsons alongside for the first time, was on a steep learning curve but bagged a good fourth.

Simon Tysoe/Cliff Simmons, Will Onions/Tim Hobbs and Stuart Clarke/Nigel Gardner packed out the next places in their Escorts as top quality ran well beyond the top 10. Best of the non-Escorts, despite a wing-crunching off was the Vauxhall Chevette of Roger Kilty/Lynette Banks.

Local crew David Lloyd-Robert/Dei Jones bagged a fine class D3 win on their BHRC debut, though the charging Adrian Young/Keith Fellowes were never far away in their Escort.

Finally, championship newcomers Jacob Scannell/Nina Thompson clinched D2 with a good performance in their Escort Mk2.

Fiesta SportTrophy - Edwards tames the Bulldog on home ground

Posted: March 30, 2009 5:43 PM

The second round of the Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy (FST) was won by 2009 rookie, Matt Edwards (24) from Cockermouth, Cumbria and long time navigator Andy Murphy, the pair won the event by an impressive 25.1 seconds and also win the overall BRC Challenge rally by 2:47.0, both incredible achievements.

19 Fiesta ST’s lined up on Saturday morning for the start of the event, the first time that the FST series has run in it’s new ‘dual format’ with eleven of these crews tackling the full International event whilst the remaining eight crews took on the stages of the Challenge event. The event based in Bala, saw the FST crews tackle four of the best stages in the country with the longest stage an incredible 16 miles in length.

The first stage was the 8.84 miles of Dyfnant. The first FST crew into the stage was 19-year old Kris Hall from Appleby, Cumbria with co-driver Robbie Durant. With the stages reported to be slippier than seen on the recce, Hall stopped the clocks on 9:33.0. Second into the stage was Craig Breen (19) from Waterford, and navigator Gareth Roberts. Breen was competing on the event knowing a finish was vital not only for his title fight, but also because his car would be leaving for Portugal the following day so he could compete in the first round of the Fiesta SportTrophy International series. Breen completed the stage 3.1 seconds slower than Hall. With the International field running before the crews in the Challenge field it was Mark Donnelly (17) from Omagh and co-driver Paddy Robinson who were third fastest International competitor on the opening stage. Edwards who was the first of the Challenge runners then posted a time of 9.32.8, 0.2 seconds quicker than Hall stunning everyone and showing that Edwards second overall on the first round was a result he was keen to repeat and maybe even beat. However, it was not good news for one FST crew, Patrick Malley (24) from Auckland, New Zealand had made a 12,000 mile journey to the get to the event, only for an under-bonnet fire on the first stage meaning an early retirement and a long journey home - Malley has however already commented on looking forward to the next round of the series - The Pirelli International Rally in April.

The second test for the competitors was the 8.48 miles of Aberhirnant. Edwards would again take the fastest stage time, 2.5 seconds quicker than Breen, with Hall a further 2.5 seconds adrift. Kyle Orr (19) from Dromore, with last minute stand in navigator Rob Fagg would take fourth quickest on the stage. Orr was taking the event steady as he was keen for a good points finish. Donnelly dropped some time in stage two and moved on to the first service of the day in fourth place overall.

As the crews all headed back to service the main talking point was of Edwards speed over the first two tests. The only problem reported in service was 17 year old Jamie Brown from Norwich who had passed his driving test only the day before the event, who suffered a broken hub which was replaced with seconds to spare by his hard-working team.

Gartheiniog at 15.57 miles in length would be a real tester for the drivers. Edwards would continue his trend and finish the stage quickest with a time of 16:17.8, a whole 13.6 seconds quicker than any other crew. Breen was second quickest with Hall third, despite running wide and hitting a post causing minor damage to the car. Donnelly was fourth quickest and local driver Luke Francis (19) from Denbighshire would be fifth quickest on his first FST round of the year. The penultimate stage would also unfortunately see the demise of two other FST challenge crews. Neil Coalter (26) from Glanamman and co-driver Hannah Cessford would be forced to retire with a driveshaft failure whilst newcomer to the series for this event Robbie Barrable (21) from Dublin would see what was becoming a successful debut in the Fiesta ST come to a premature end when he left the road and was unable to get the car back onto the stage.

With the crews heading for the final stage Edwards held a healthy lead of 19 seconds over Breen with Hall only 6.1 seconds further behind in third and with the longest stage of the event left (Big-Ray at 16.85 miles) the result was set to go down to the wire.

Away from the leading crews a number of other competitors were having successful runs. In the International event the Billy Coleman Award winner Ross Forde (25) from Galway and new navigator Gary McElhinney, were posting increasingly faster stage times and with no problems throughout the rally they would finish the FST event sixth overall. Rory Hall (26) from Fishguard and co-driver Lee Burgess couldn’t complete the whole recce after sustaining a puncture on their car which they could not get changed, and ultimately drove all but the first stage blind without their own pacenotes, a seventh overall would see the crew happy after this problem. Francis would eventually take eighth overall in the event and the final prize money for the event. Ninth would go to Barry Greer (21) from Carryduff and navigator John Lemon, with Stevie Brown (21) from Aberdeen and navigator Andrew Roughead rounding out the top 10.

Meanwhile back on the final stage, with the International crews completing the test first it would be Breen who recorded a time of 19:27.4. Hall would sustain a puncture within the first few corners of the start of the stage dropping him out of overall contention and allowing Donnelly to leapfrog him and finish 3rd overall in the FST event with Hall ending up fourth. It was then a nervous time for Breen as he waited for news on Edwards final stage time. As the time of 19:21.3 emerged it would mean Edwards would take the FST win by 25.1 seconds. Breen was devastated but acknowledged the superb drive from Edwards who apart from the FST win would also claim the challenge rally overall win, and with four quickest stage times from a possible four stages he also took the Castrol Hard Charger award.

With the FST results declared final after four stages it also meant the end to the BRC Challenge rally, where FST crews would take the top four places. Edwards was outright winner, with Francis second, John Boyd (22) and Fred Bell from West Linton third and Harry Hunt (20) from London with navigator Tudor Jenkins fourth overall.

As Edwards sprayed his champagne, nine of the FST crews went out to complete the last two stages of the International event. Breen would finish the day an incredible tenth overall in the International event and second two-wheel drive home beating a number of other highly powerful cars back. Hall would leapfrog back in front of Donnelly to finish 15th overall with Donnelly taking 16th overall. Orr would finish 17th overall and Rory Hall would round out the top 20.

The new format of the Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy UK 2009 came to an exciting end on the first round of the British Rally Championship and not only produced an FST winner from the Challenge rally event, but the Fiesta ST dominated the International rally results and proved what a winning package the car really is.

Event Winner, Matt Edwards, said:
“We are obviously delighted with this result, its a dream come true to win both our first Fiesta event and take our first Overall event win here on these stages; its definitely a weekend I will remember, and arguably the best weekend I’ve had in the sport for the four years I have been competing. It's the ideal reward for all the hard work that goes in behind the scenes, and I'd like to congratulate Andy on a great job reigning me in today, as I have been more fired up for today's stages than I can ever remember being!”

Promising start for JR Motorsports Rally Team

Posted: March 30, 2009 5:41 PM

David Bogie and co-driver Kevin Rae brought the brand new JR Motorsports built Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X home in fifth place on this weekend's opening round of the MSA British Rally Championship, the Bulldog International Rally of North Wales.

Although many members of JRM are familiar with participation in the British Championship, Saturday's rally was a first in many respects: It was the first event for the team as JR Motorsports, the first event for the new Evo X and the first event for David in respect of his prize drive after winning last year's Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge - the UK's one-make series for Group N Lancer Evolutions.

Following a successful test and shakedown earlier in the week, the team prepared the new Lancer in readiness for its BRC debut, the car appearing in striking JRM/Mitsubishi Ralliart livery.

Starting and finishing in Bala the event featured a competitive distance of 80 miles, split into three loops of two stages in the forests of North Wales. With intermittent rain throughout the day, the gravel roads proved to be more slippery than many crews had anticipated and, with this in mind, David and Kevin opted for a cautious approach to the first of the day's tests - a nine-mile run through Dyfnant Forest.

However, with the time sheets showing the team in seventh place following SS1, it appeared that their pace was a little too cautious. On inspection at the service halt following SS2 it was discovered that the car's turbo-charger was not producing the right amount of boost and therefore the engine was down on power.

Although the component was replaced as a precaution following the pre-event test, it appeared there was problem with the new unit and, although a few adjustments were made, there was not enough time for the team's technicians to change the turbo within the service time allowed.

David headed to the next two stages intending to make the most of the Evo X's impressive handling in order to compensate for the reduction in straight-line speed, a course of action he executed well - albeit with his progress punctuated by a few edgy moments. The plan proved successful, as he emerged from SS3 in fifth.

Still getting used to his new car's characteristics, the engine stalled as David went to leave the start-line of stage four, the delay costing 20 seconds and seeing his good work in SS3 undone.

At the second service halt of the day David reported that he was confident that the car's stability and speed through the corners would see him make up the lost time in the final two stages and, as others experienced problems, his prediction proved right and he crossed the finish line in Bala in a creditable fifth place.

"I'm really pleased with the way things went today and if someone had told me this morning that we would finish fifth in our first event with the new team and the new car, I would have been more than happy", said David. "It is a credit to the whole team that, apart from the unexpected turbo problem, there were no other issues at all. In fact, because of the way the car handles and the performance it showed on the test, I know there is great potential for the season ahead and I'm already looking forward to the next event."

Prior to the Bulldog Rally JR Motorsports joined forces with the Lico sponsored Mitsubishi team of Stuart Jones and co-driver Andy Bull - who finished third - to form Team JRM Lico. This two-car association means that both crews scored points for the MSA British Teams Championship and, following round one, Team JRM Lico lies second in the standings.

Following the outcome of the weekend, JR Motorsports is confident that its Evolution X has the ability to challenge for the leading positions and is intending to further develop the car in advance of round two of the British series, the Pirelli International Rally, which takes place in Kielder Forest on 17th & 18th April.

JR Motorsports' 2009 British Rally Championship campaign is supported by: Oakbank Services, Exe-tc competition suspension, Lico, Opie Oils, PPG Transmissions and SJS Designs.

Challenging season debut for Tom Cave in local event

Posted: March 30, 2009 4:59 PM

The UK’s first minor international rally driver, Tom Cave, enjoyed a challenging season-opener this weekend on his local event, the Bulldog Rally. Using a hired car, Tom and co-driver Gemma Price finished the event, the first round of the British Rally Championship, 17th overall and as the fourth Group N Ford Fiesta.

This was Tom’s first event since he completed his FIA World Rally Championship debut in December of last year, when he became the youngest driver ever to compete on Wales Rally GB. And although the stages would be familiar to him, he was using a car hired from former British Rally Champion Gwyndaf Evans, as his car was travelling to Portugal for the next rally in his 2009 campaign.

The Welsh event began well for the pair; they set the second fastest stage time for the brace of Group N Fiesta competing in the British one-make series and had a clean run through the first pair of stages. However, they suffered a slight scare on the third timed test, when smoke began to enter the car from below the handbrake lever. Despite a brief pause to establish there was no danger of fire, the pair arrived at the day’s first service as the third-placed Fiesta, a position they were more than happy with.

However, the smoking problem reappeared on the first of the next two stages and Tom was forced to drive four miles of the stage blind, while Gemma poured water into the transmission tunnel of the car to prevent smoke entering. The following stage passed without incident and at the following service halt, the crew made several adjustments to the Fiesta’s suspension, to cope with the two final stages, repeated runs over increasingly rutted and cut up gravel roads.

Four miles into the penultimate stage, Tom was approaching a tight hairpin left corner rather too ambitiously, by his own admission. The Fiesta spun and stalled and the engine would not restart immediately, costing the crew some 45 seconds and a position.

Hoping that their dramas for the day were now behind them, Tom and Gemma started the final stage, the 18mile Dovey test. However, there would be a sting in the tail for the pair, as three miles into the stage, the car hit a huge rock and the intercom failed. Gemma was forced to resorting to indicating the corners by pointing left or right and holding up fingers to show the severity of the corner for the final 12 miles of the stage. Despite this adaptive technique, the pair still managed to set the third-fastest time of the Fiestas on the event, to round out what Tom went on to describe as a challenging day’s rallying.

Commenting on the day’s action, Tom said; “It was a challenging day, that’s for sure. However, even with the issues we had to work around, I definitely enjoyed it and I’m pleased with the result. We managed to set top three Fiesta times, which is where I hoped we would be and that is very encouraging, considering the competition we were up against.

“The GemSport team did a great job on the car, giving us what we needed for the weekend and the Yokohama tyres also worked very well. It was a perfect rally to set us up for the WRC round in Portugal, which I know will be a much tougher proposition altogether.”

There was almost no chance for Tom to draw breadth, as almost as soon as he finished the Bulldog, he flew to the Algarve in Portugal to begin preparations for his next event, the Vodafone Rally de Portugal. Running from the 2nd to the 5th of April, the fourth round of the WRC again features the Fiesta one-make series, this time the international version supporting the WRC and three solid days of competition, a prospect Tom is relishing.

Cronin edges out Higgins to take maiden British Rally Championship Victory.

Posted: March 29, 2009 12:08 AM

For the second time in as many weeks there was an historic Irish Victory on Welsh soil. Last week it was the rugby heroes who overcame their Welsh counterparts to claim their first grand slam for 61 years. This time it was the turn of a young West Cork rally driver to triumph over adversaries from throughout Great Britain, as Keith Cronin and his Limerick co-driver, Greg Shinnors swept to victory on this years opening round of the British Rally Championship(BRC).

Their victory in Bala in North Wales means that for the only the third time in its fifty year history an Irishman leads the BRC.

At just 23 years of age, Keith has been acknowledged for some time, as Irelands most talented young Rally Driver. Last year, in a mixed season he had some great results as he competed in the UK Evo Challenge, but he also had some disappointing retirements. His most outstanding result last year was also on the BRC, when he contested the International Trackrod Rally of Yorkshire. On that occasion he finished a fine third overall, being beaten only by double British Champion Guy Wilks and triple Champion, Mark Higgins.

It was decided that this year he would contest the entire BRC in an effort to hone his driving skills further. On the opening stage of the rally, and the Championship, he was a mere 1.1 seconds off the pace of Mark Higgins, who is on a quest for his fourth British title. He quickly cancelled out this deficit by taking the same margin from Higgins on the second stage, so when the entered the first service the pair were jointly leading the rally. This was already shaping up to be a two horse race as there was nearly a twenty second gap to third placed driver Andreas Sjolander.

On the next test Higgins eked out a two second lead. He further extended this lead on stage four where he beat the Ballylickey driver by 7.5 seconds to lead by 9.5 seconds as they entered the second service. By now, the gap to third had extended to over two minutes, and it was Stuart Jones who now occupied that position. Keith was optimistic that he could beat Higgins on stage 5, which was a re-run of stage 3. He thought however, that the final stage was more suited to the Subaru of Higgins.

Back out on the stages it was the Irishman who was quickest on the penultimate test when he took 6.5 seconds from Higgins to let the gap at 3 seconds entering the final stage. Keith was worried about a rear wheel that he had bent on that fifth stage, but he did not share these concerns with Higgins, who he was hoping would push hard on the last stage and make a mistake. Higgins did indeed have an incident on that final stage where he bent a suspension when he hit a deep rut. Ironically, Keith too, damaged his car in the same place, but he did not drop much time as a result and arrived at the stage finish 12 seconds faster that Higgins to take victory by 9 seconds.

Speaking at the finish, Keith said “It’s not quite sunk in yet but I couldn’t really ask for more at the start of the season.” When it was pointed out to Keith that Billy Coleman and Austin McHale were the only other Irishmnn to lead the championship, he quipped “ I’d prefer to be leading at the end of the year like Billy was!”

Cronin Pips Higgins to Claim Bulldog International Rally Victory

Posted: March 29, 2009 12:04 AM

After a titanic battle, the Bulldog International Rally of North Wales has been won by Irishmen Keith Cronin and Greg Shinnors in their Mitsubishi Evo 9 as they finished a narrow nine seconds ahead of former champion Mark Higgins and co-driver Bryan Thomas in their Subaru Impreza N11 on the 82-mile Bala-based event.

Cronin pushed Higgins throughout the entire day in a close battle, with Higgins having a three second advantage heading into the sixth and final test after leading from the outset. But Higgins encountered a problem in the final stage when they hit a pothole and damaged the suspension, which allowed Cronin to push ahead to claim his first ever victory in the UK forests and maximum points in round one of the BRC on their debut in the series.

The victory puts Cronin and Shinnors in the lead of the British Rally Championship (BRC) and the driver, who crashed out of the event in 2008, said: "It's not quite sunk in yet but I couldn't ask for more really at the start of the season. We've never had any luck much over in the UK until today, but luck was on our side. On the penultimate stage we bent the back wheel and it was hard to drive but we made it."

Welshman Stuart Jones and co-driver Andy Bull were third in their Mitsubishi and made it home despite having a roll on stage three, in which they only sustained superficial damage, as well as a puncture on stage one. Fourth place went to Adam Gould and Sebastian Marshall in their Subaru Impreza followed by the Scottish pair of David Bogie and Kevin Rae in their Mitsubishi and fellow Scotsmen Dave Weston Jnr and Neil Shanks in their Impreza.

There were three winners in the Bulldog Historic Rally, the opening round of the Dunlop/Gambia 2009 British Historic Rally Championship.

Nick Elliot and Dave Price took the overall victory in their Mk2 Ford Escort and claimed the win in Category D. They set the pace over three of the four stages on the 50-mile event. Category C was won by former British champion David Higgins and Ieuan Thomas in their Ford Escort, who also finished fifth overall. The crew had an off on one stage and lost a bit of time. Higgins also battled on despite putting a metal rod through his hand at work midweek and was driving more or less one-handed. Son and father crew, Jonathan and Graham Gale, won Category B in their Sunbeam Tiger and were 15th overall.

The Bulldog Challenge followed the International Rally over a shorter route and was won by Welsh crew Matt Edwards and Andy Murphy who also took the honours in the Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy in their Ford Fiesta ST. They finished a comfortable two and three quarter minutes ahead of the Fiesta of Luke Francis and Jon Madoc-Jones.

The fourth and final event on the oversubscribed rally was the Bulldog Clubman Rally, which featured many local club rally drivers. Michael O'Brien and Ian Allsop took the honours in their Ford Focus WRC. They finished over a minute ahead of the Ford Escort Cosworth of Ian Joel and Graeme Wood.

The event was a credit to the organisers, who turned it around into an International status event to be included in the BRC in just five months since the last time it was run.

It was Clerk of the Course Kevin Witton's first time in charge on an International event and he commented: "It's gone really well and it's been an exciting rally with the close battle for the win. I'd like to thank all the marshals, organising committee, officials and competitors for making it a good day and our sponsors Bulldog."


Posted: March 28, 2009 11:56 PM

1. Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 1:20:59.7
2. Mark Higgins/Bryan Thomas (Subaru Impreza N11) 1:21.08.7
3. Stuart Jones/Andy Bull (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 1:23:20.3
4. Adam Gould/Sebastian Marshall (Subaru Impreza N14) 1:24:09.9
5. David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) 1:24:30.6

Leaders After
SS1 Mark Higgins/Bryan Thomas (Subaru Impreza N11)
SS2 Mark Higgins/Bryan Thomas (Subaru Impreza N11)
& Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)
SS3-5 Mark Higgins/Bryan Thomas (Subaru Impreza N11)
SS6 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)

Stage Winners:
SS1 Mark Higgins/Bryan Thomas (Subaru Impreza N11)
SS2 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)
SS3 Mark Higgins/Bryan Thomas (Subaru Impreza N11)
SS4 Mark Higgins/Bryan Thomas (Subaru Impreza N11)
SS5 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)
SS6 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)

Preview and Testing Video Clips

Posted: March 26, 2009 10:36 PM

Cronin Motorsport launches attack on BRC.

Posted: March 26, 2009 9:02 PM

For Cronin Motorsport the 2009 season begins in earnest this weekend in North Wales as the year’s main objective the British Rally Championship, begins with the Bulldog International Rally. Despite having done two events already this year, the main purpose in choosing to do these events was to have both the car and crew in top shape for this weekend and the beginning of their assault on the BRC.

Keith Cronin is probably the most rapid young driver that his island has produced in the last number of years and he has a trait that is vital for success in this sport and that is that his speed is proven on both Gravel and Tarmac. This was illustrated last year, when competing on the Evo Challenge UK, when having been seen by most commentators as a gravel specialist, he dumfounded the critics by winning the two tarmac rounds in the most resounding fashion possible. His speed on the forestry track was also unquestioned and although some non-finishes meant that he finished only 4th in the Evo Challenge, he still recorded more fastest times than any other competitor during the year.

Towards the latter end of last year he competed on his first ever round of the BRC on the International Rally Yorkshire or ‘Trackrod’ rally. As the pacenotes are supplied on Irish gravel events and also on the Evo Challenge rallies, this was the very first time that he had made his own pacenotes for a gravel event. This was possibly even beneficial to him and he gave an outstanding display of driving and finished third overall, being beaten only by double British Rally Champion Guy Wilks and Triple Champion Mark Higgins. He beat a number of ‘works’ drivers on the weekend and their appreciation of his achievement was not unrecognised as many of them approached him after the event to comment on his fine drive.

Keith is not under any illusions about the task ahead of him and knows that No. 1 seed Mark Higgins should be the pacesetter. It is also rumoured that last years British Rally Champion, Guy Wilks has entered the rally in the last few days and it is possible that he will be driving an S2000. Although on the reserve list, he can be expected to run first or second on the road. Wilks speed is legendary and if he is competing in one of this potent new breed of cars, he will not be easily beaten. It will be important for the Cronin Motorsport crew to gain further experience at this level of competition, although Greg Shinnors has competed at this level in the past, he acknowledges that the sport becomes more competitive and speeds increase almost annually.

There are numerous drivers who are capable of creating an upset with Stuart Jones, David Bogie and Adam Gould all pushing for a good result on the opening round of the championship.

They will leave Parc Ferme at 8.30am on Saturday morning and tackle two stages totalling 17 Stage miles and 50 road miles before the first service. A thirty minute service will then be followed by a loop of two stages consisting of 32 stage miles and 63 road miles before returning to headquarters for the final service. The crews will tackle the same loop again before they are due to arrive at the finish ramp at about 6pm.

Forde Hopes for Bulldog Rally Success

Posted: March 25, 2009 3:01 PM

Following on from a problematic run on the Malcolm Wilson rally, Galway driver Ross Forde is hoping for better luck when round two of the Kick Energy Fiesta Sport Trophy UK gets underway on this weekend's Bulldog Rally.

Forde is contesting a full season in the series this year in his Motorsport Ireland and Irish Sports Council-backed M-Sport-run Ford Fiesta with the support of Global Group Ireland as his prize for winning the 2008 Billy Coleman Award.

"We are testing the car today to check if the problems we had on the MWR have been fixed. All the brake parts have been changed just in case, so fingers crossed. I'm looking forward to getting to do a recce for this one so it should make a big difference as I started making my own notes to the end of last year.

"We are competing in the full international and have joined the full BRC International championship this year with thanks to IRISH SPORTS COUNCIL and MOTORSPORT IRELAND and GLOBAL GROUP IRELAND.

"I hope to spend some time with Mark Higgins tomorrow at the rally school to give the car and myself another shakedown. Another co-driver change this weekend will see me with Gary McElhinney but we know each other well, he has sat with me on many rallies and I have even co-driven for him five or six times. Gary co-drove me in the past to a joint overall win in the Midland Moto Stages Junior Rally 2007. He has a lot of experience in co-driving for the last eight years and has even sat with Dermot Carnegie as a 00 car for Rally Ireland 2009."

David Higgins takes part in Historic Championship - Event Preview

Posted: March 23, 2009 7:33 PM


Posted: March 23, 2009 9:19 AM

Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire Car Club are delighted at the response to the first Bulldog International Rally of North Wales, which takes place next weekend, and has attracted a capacity entry.

With almost 200 applications for the 180 places received, the organising team has been overwhelmed by the excitement that has greeted the new event. There are seven previous British Champions (Russell Brookes, Gwyndaf Evans, David Higgins, Mark Higgins, Dessie Nutt, Steve Perez and David Stokes) but only two past winners of the Bulldog (Brookes and Julian Reynolds) in the line up.

Mark Higgins, from Abermule, has been given the top seed in the international event. Mark, a previous double British Champion, leads the International field in his TEG Sport Subaru. Chasing the Subaru will be over thirty of the UK's top junior (under 25) drivers all out to prove they can topple the previous champ. The international entry is swelled with contestants coming from as far away as Australia, Sweden, New Zealand and Finland. In addition the rally hosts three popular one-make series: The VK Energy Fiesta Sport Trophy UK; The Swift Sport Cup and The Citroen C2R2 Cup.

The Historic Rally is crammed with the cream of established rally drivers who will be competing in no less than 27 different models of car from the bygone era. 2004 British Historic Champion, Dessie Nutt, leads the field away in his Porsche 911.

Backing up each of the two major Championship events are two Clubman Rallies. The new 2009 BRC Challenge for two-wheel drive cars and the prestigious Welsh National Championship for local amateur crews. Young Julian Wilkes from Taunton in his Vauxhall Nova will make history by being the first driver ever to start a BRC Challenge Rally. In the Welsh National Series it is local driver Hugh Hunter from Ruthin in his Ford Focus WRC that will lead the cars away.

Kevin Witton, Bulldog Event Manager said "It is vindication of all the hard work and commitment of the organising team and our partner motor clubs of North Wales to see such a fantastic entry attracted to the superb local forest roads. We are sure that the event will attract many spectators and supporters to the area over the weekend and this can only bring benefits to the local economy."

The event kicks off with scrutineering at Llangollen on Friday afternoon and a charity rally forum on Friday evening. The historic cars are first away from Llangollen at 07.45 on Saturday morning and the International rally starts from Bala at 08.30.

Seeded Entry Lists

Posted: March 22, 2009 12:18 AM

Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy confronts the Bulldog

Posted: March 20, 2009 3:13 PM

The second round of the Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy (FST) will take place next weekend at the first round of the British Rally Championship, the Bulldog International Rally of North Wales. The event run by the Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire Car Club will be the first event where the Kick Energy FST will take advantage of its multi event entry format with competitors given the chance to compete in either the full BRC International event or the shorter BRC Challenge event, whilst still scoring FST points regardless of the event they enter.

19 Fiesta ST’s will line up for the start of the event with eleven crews tackling the full International event and the remaining eight competitors taking on the stages of the Challenge event. The International event will see the competitor’s tackle 82 stage miles of arguably the best forest roads in the UK, whilst the Challenge competitors will have 50 stage miles over which to do battle. With the FST results being declared final after the culmination of the Challenge event, those competing in the International event will then complete the remainder of the rally in a bid to score overall British Rally Championship points and the opportunity to be nominated for the Pirelli Star Driver competition.

Kris Hall (19) from Appleby, Cumbria, will be the top FST seed in the International event. Hall, co-driven by Robbie Durant, claimed victory on the opening round of the season, the Malcolm Wilson Rally, after an impressive show of speed. Hall will be going into the event hoping to repeat this performance in addition to collecting a healthy number of points to start his 2009 BRC campaign.

Craig Breen (19) from Waterford and co-driver Gareth Roberts were in an impressive second place overall on the first round of the series when a transmission problem forced their retirement from the event. Breen will aim to take the challenge back to Hall on the Bulldog.

Stefan Davis from Aylesford made an impressive debut on the first round of the championship, setting an equal fastest stage time and actually leading the event in their first outing in the Fiesta, before retiring. Davis will push hard from the start of the Bulldog and look to score his first FST event win.

Barry Greer (21) from Carryduff and navigator John Lemon, Kyle Orr (19) from Dromore with new co-driver Sorcha Kelly, Mark Donnelly (17) from Omagh and co-driver Paddy Robinson and the Billy Coleman Award winner Ross Forde (25) from Galway and another new co-driver Gary McElhinney all make the trip over from Ireland to compete on the Bulldog International Rally. Greer finished fifth on Round 1 with Donnelly fourth and Orr second. It was an impressive show from the Irish and they will all look to reproduce this, as well as starting an Irish assault on the BRC. Forde suffered technical problems on his first outing in the car and hopes a clear run next weekend will help him get his championship back on track.

Stevie Brown (21) from Aberdeen unites with regular co-driver Andrew Roughead for the event. Brown had a challenging first round with a crash during a pre-event test, which almost prevented him getting to the start of the event. He managed to finish the event, however, and in the process gained nine championship points. Brown’s goal will be to get to the end of the event and score more points to aid his title bid.

Manxman Martyn Jones (22) and navigator Kris Killip finished sixth on their first event in a Fiesta and will look to finish further up the leaderboard in their Manx Motorsport Youth Trust car in the forests of Wales. Rory Hall (26) from Fishguard has decided to enter the International event in a bid to gain more mileage and take the fight to some of the other FST crews.

Patrick Malley and co-driver Malcolm Read are the final entrants in the International event. Malley will travel all the way from New Zealand in order to extend his knowledge of the British forestry roads, having already competed in the 2008 FST International Shootout.

Meanwhile, the leading entrant in the Challenge section will be Matt Edwards (24) from Cockermouth, Cumbria. Edwards and co-driver Andy Murphy finished an impressive second overall on their debut in the Fiesta at the Malcolm Wilson Rally and will want to repeat this in Wales.

Harry Hunt (20) from London, will start his second ever event in a bid to improve on eighth place achieved on Round 1, whilst John Boyd (22) from West Linton and co-driver Fred Bell took a cautious approach to finish ninth overall on Round 1 and will look to increase their experience of gravel rallying having been a former karting champion.

Neil Coalter (26) and navigator Hannah Cessford and Thomas Watson (18) from Glanamman and co-driver Elgan Davies both return to the second round looking for finishes after retiring from Round 1. Neil is adapting to the Fiesta well after many years of competing in Hondas. Thomas is using the FST series to learn to compete on four wheels as opposed to the two wheels of motocross which is the sport that the young Welshman cut his teeth in.

Rounding off the Challenge entries are three new crews that did not feature at Round 1: Luke Francis (19) from Denbighshire with navigator Jon-Madoc Jones will be happy to be on ‘home ground’ on this event having to cancel his entry on the Malcolm Wilson when the young Welshman sustained a broken jaw. Jamie Brown (17) and co-driver Craig Burgess from Norwich were also forced to sit out the first round and both will hope for a successful run on their first outings of 2009. Finally Robert Barrable (21) from Dublin and co-driver Seamus O’Grady begin their rallying campaign at the Bulldog. Barrable, an Irish Formula Ford champion and widely regarded as one of the fastest circuit drivers in Ireland has decided to switch codes to rallying and will make his FST debut in Wales hoping to translate his Tarmac winning ways onto the gravel stages.

The Kick Energy FST UK has a prize fund in excess of £18,000, with £750 for the winner of each round down to £75 for eighth place.

Championship Leader, Kris Hall, said:
“The Malcolm Wilson was a perfect start for me and I hope to hit the ground running on the Bulldog. I am really looking forward to the event and being able to make my own notes on the recce for the first time on gravel will be a tremendous experience. Now Robbie [Durant] and me are a team for the year I think we will learn and progress a lot. I think the pace will be faster than ever in the Fiesta's with the new format. I hope everyone can have a good run and we get a clean fight for the rally”

BHRC preview, round one: Bulldog Historic Rally

Posted: March 20, 2009 2:35 PM

The opening round of the Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship has attracted a sensational 83-car field to the Bulldog Historic Rally (Saturday 28 March).
Three former British champions and four former British historic champions are all in the entry for the event that tackles 50 miles of prime Welsh forest roads in just four special stages. It promises to be a fabulous start to the 2009 season.

Category 1
Category one is for the oldest cars, from the pre '68 era, and they run first on the road with a short gap before the rest of the historic field. Top of the tree is the Porsche 911 of former champions Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride, but they can expect a stern challenge from the similar car of team mates Stuart Rolt/Richard Pomfret, making a rare but welcome BHRC appearance.
Lining up against the Porsches will be the former championship winning Sunbeam Tiger, now in the hands of Jonathan Gale, who is co-driven by his father Graham for his debut rally in the ex-Patrick Watts car. Meanwhile, Russell Brookes, a winner of this rally 20 years ago, is having a one-off run in the Porsche 911 of Steve Perez, with Neil Wilson alongside.

Local driver Gwilym Roberts heads the B4 field in his Lotus Cortina, partnered by Gwawr Hughes, but the amazing Volvo Amazon of Graham Waite/Gill Cotton will be hustled through the forests in fine style. James Stait heads the B2 pack in his MG Midget, while local crew Gary and Jane Edgington from Corwen top the B1 field in their wonderful Singer Chamois.

Category 2
In category two, for the post-historic cars, it is Ford Escort Mk1s against Porsche 911s at the head of the category. In the Escort brigade, BHRC debutant David Higgins, partnered by Ieuan Thomas, should really fly in one of Mark Solloway's Mk1 Escorts. David Stokes and Guy Weaver have already scored two great results this season in warm-up events, so they will be fully match fit. But with rivalry from Rupert Lomax/David Alcock and Rikki Proffitt/Phill Harrison, it will be very hard fought. Also in C5 is the beautiful Lancia Stratos of Steve Perez/Paul Spooner.

Jeremy Easson has switched to his stunning Ford Capri RS3100 and will be a real crowd favourite, but goes up against at least five Porsche 911s in class C4. Tim Mason/Graham Wild and Andrew Haddon/Mark Crisp are established pacesetters, while the newly completed 911 of Peter Smith/Russ Langthorne could also be a major contender. Class C3 is dominated by the 2-litre Pinto-powered Escort Mk1s and there are as many as seven potential class winners in what will surely be one of the most competitive classes of the rally. Pick a winner from Ken Forster/John Stanger-Leathes, Russell Morgan/Martin Kenyon, James Young/David Young, Neal James/Kevin Jones, Tim Jones/Don James, Andrew Siddall/Captain Thompson and Robin Shuttleworth/Mark Midgley. It will be a fierce contest!

In class C2 for the 1600cc cars, championship newcomers Richard Williams/Richard Ekin take on the similar Mk1 Escort of Tony Ginns/Mark Ellis.

Category 3
Leading the category three competitors away will be Gwyndaf Evans, partnered by Gareth Roberts in a fresh Mk2 Escort from the new company set up by World champion co-driver Phil Mills. No one knows these stages better than Gwyndaf, so expect him to fly on what is, at least initially, a one-off outing.

The line-up of established BHRC contenders is hugely impressive and it is the Ford Escort Mk2 crews of Darren Moon/Chris Parsons, Richard Hill/Patrick Cooper, Nick Elliott/Dave Price, Gareth Lloyd/Ryland James, Will Onions/Tim Hobbs and Simon Tysoe/Cliff Simmons that will be right on the pace. Then there is the Mk2 of Julian Reynolds/Ian Oakey, which could be the quickest of the lot. What is certain is that the pace in class D5 is going to be ferocious.

But no one should see D5 as just about Ford Escorts. The Vauxhall Chevette of Rob Smith/Shaun O'Gorman is sure to fly on its BHRC debut, with the car more than capable of shaking up the Escort ranks. Then there is the class D4 Triumph TR7 V8 of Mike Anderson/Alan Brown as the driver returns to forest rallying after a lengthy break.

In D3, for the Pinto-powered Escorts, Guy Woodcock/Iwan Jones should go well even though Guy has done very little gravel rallying in his long career. The D3 benchmark should be the similar Mk2 Escort of Richard Lane/Frank Richer. In D2, Jacob Scannell and Nina Thompson make their BHRC debut in a 1600cc Escort Mk2.

The Bulldog Historic Rally is organised by Wolverhampton and South Staffs Car Club and starts at 7.45am on Saturday 28 March from Llangollen. For more details about the event, please visit the website. (Link Below)

Gwyndaf Evans Enters Bulldog Historic Rally

Posted: March 20, 2009 1:45 PM

The latest recruit to historic rallying is former British Rally Champion, Gwyndaf Evans, who has entered the Bulldog Historic Rally in a Ford Escort Mk 11. The car is the first rally car to come out of the stable of former World Rally Champion Co-Driver Phil Mills' newly formed preparation company - Phil Mills Historic Motorsport.

"We are a new little historic rally preparation team in Wales and we thought it would be nice to enter Wales’ number one driver on the Bulldog Rally of North Wales. When I mentioned this to Gwyndaf he was keen to do it and he even cancelled a ski-ing holiday to take part so it is coming together well." Phil explained.

Phil continued, “ As a new company we aspire to build cars that are something a little bit special and this one will be extra special as it is our first. It will be a brand new car built up from a 1979 Mk11 shell. It will be as good as possible and as near as possible to being an exact replica of the escorts of the 70's and 80's. We are using as much period stuff as we can to keep it as authentic as possible to that era."

"It is fantastic of Phil to give me this opportunity to go out on the wonderful Welsh stages and have some fun!" enthused Gwyndaf.

"Entries for the Bulldog Historic Rally are flooding in. Gwyndaf is our 50th entry, with four weeks still to go. This appears to be one area of rallying holding its own in the current economic downturn," commented Bulldog Entry Secretary, Jim Male.


Posted: March 16, 2009 2:21 PM

The organisers of the Bulldog International Rally of North Wales are holding a forum in the Royal International Pavilion in Llangollen on the evening of Friday 27th March.

The forum will start at 8.00pm and the compere is Pat Flynn. Admission is free but there will be a collection in aid of the Welsh Air Ambulance.

Panellists include 2003 World Rally Champion Co-Driver Phil Mills; former BRC Champions Russell Brookes, Gwyndaf Evans and Mark Higgins; ex BHRC Champions from 2004 and 2007 respectively, Dessie Nutt and David Stokes, Motorsport News' controversial columnist Jerry Williams and 2002 Bulldog Winner Julian Reynolds.

Representing the next generation of top flight rally stars will be the youngest ever driver to compete on Wales Rally GB, 17 year old Tom Cave; former Peugeot Cup Champion, Stuart Jones (23); 2008 BRC Challenge winner, David Harrison (22); 2008 C2R2 Cup Champion, Jason Pritchard (20); 2008 Mitsubishi Evo Challenge winner, Dave Bogie (21) and current British Rally Academy members Euan Thorburn (22) and Dave Weston Jnr (18).

The Clubman drivers will be represented by top BTRDA runners, James Belton and Damian Cole; with Formula 1000 Club founder and the instigator of the UK Young Rally Driver Initiative, Tristan Dodd. Also in attendance will be the Welsh National Rally Championship's leading lady rally driver, SaraWilliams.

Dilys Trevethick, the forum organiser,
explained, "Wolverhanpton and South Staffs Car Club wanted to do something for the many rally supporters and service crews that will be in the area that evening. The teams can get their cars scrutineered in the afternoon, have a meal and then come back to the Royal Pavilion in the evening for a drink and some rally entertainment. With Pat Flynn in charge it is guaranteed to be a fun evening. We decided not to make a charge for admission given the current economic situation and the fact that rallying is an expensive hobby anyway. This is our way of saying 'Thank You' to the people who support our sport. However, we hope that everyone will give generously to our chosen charity, the Welsh Air Ambulance."

"I am delighted that the guys from the Welsh Air Ambulance will be present to receive a cheque from Phil Mills for money raised at a special Rally Evening in Welshpool at New Year. Hopefully we can add to this total. We all hope that rally competitors never have a serious accident but if they do the Air Ambulance is never slow to respond so let's show them that rally people in Wales are grateful for the service they provide."

List of Entries to date:

Posted: March 9, 2009 2:54 PM


Posted: March 1, 2009 9:54 PM

Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire Car Club has invited Bala and District Motor Club to help organise and provide additional manpower for the Bulldog International Rally North Wales, which takes place on 28th March.

The two clubs will join forces to make sure that the event has sufficient personnel to run in these tough times.

Within the main event there are four separate rallies: The Bulldog International Rally, The Bulldog Challenge, The Bulldog Historic Rally and the Bulldog Clubmans Rally. In order to provide sufficient space, near to the stages, the International and Challenge events will be based entirely in Bala, whilst the Historic and Clubman rallies will start and finish in Llangollen with a service area in Dolgellau. Having two rally headquarters and two service areas, means that the event requires more experienced personnel than ever.

Wolverhampton's Event Manager Kevin Witton says " I am really excited by the prospect of teaming up with the members of Bala and District Motor Club. So far they have been great to work with and their contacts in the local area has made everything so much easier. No one can ask more than that and I am optimistic that this working relationship will continue in future years. We at Wolverhampton and South Staffs CC have always prided ourselves in organising a very well run event and we will not lower our aspirations but it is becoming harder to find people willing to spend their own time and money working on the event, and given the current economic climate, who can blame them? Rallying isn't going through an easy time at the moment with several events being cancelled already this year so maybe pooling resources is the way forward."

The event's Staffing Officer, Becky Hinton, explained: "Up until now, Wolverhampton and South Staffs Car Club members have always been able to stand alone and found sufficient personnel to organise and marshal our event, but not this year. Running the opening round of the two championships at the pinnacle of British Rallying, the BRC and BHRC, this was always going to mean more work and require extra staffing. Joining forces with other local clubs seemed a logical move so recruiting help from members of Bala and District Motor Club seemed the best solution. I'd like to thank Bala and District Motor Club for accepting the role and hope they have an enjoyable day. For anyone else who wishes to come along and help there are many more jobs to be filled so please get in touch; you can find my details on the rally website.

Roger Evans, Vice Chairman of Bala and District Motor Club commented: " When Wolverhampton Car Club first approached us we were happy to help out. It makes good sense as the event is on our doorstep. As a motor club we are known for organising road rallies so it will be good to gain experience in another branch of rallying. We are looking forward to doing something different."


Posted: February 21, 2009 4:17 PM

Gareth Wyn Parry, a first year student at Coleg Menai, Bangor, North Wales, has chosen to base a unit of his coursework on the forthcoming Bulldog International Rally of North Wales.

Gareth, who is studying for a BTEC National Diploma in Media Production, specialising in Film and Television, aims to produce a five-minute video on the event, which will form the basis of one of the units, needed to pass his first year in college. Ultimately Gareth aims to go to university and to become a Sports Cameraman.

Fellow student Cari Ann Roberts who has recently won a scholarship with local broadcasting company Barcud Derwen will assist Gareth on the day. The pair are already planning their video presentation.

Gareth said: "I've been interested in rallying since I was very young. I must have been about five or six years of age when I went to see my first rally. I have chosen to make my film on the Bulldog Rally because I'm a regular spectator every year on this event and their date change this year has really suited the timetable we were set in college. I'm really looking forward to it."

Rally Manager Kevin Witton commented: "We as event organisers are always keen to work with the local community, so when Coleg Menai student Gareth approached us about using the Bulldog Rally in his project we were only too happy to assist."

Bulldog Rally Links Up With Writtle Photographic and The VK Vodka Kick Chatsworth Rally Show

Posted: February 15, 2009 9:47 AM

One talented young photographer is set to benefit from a tie up between The Bulldog Rally, Writtle Photographic and the VK Chatsworth Rally Show when the rally, on 28th March, hosts a Photographic Competition.

The competition is open to any amateur photographer aged 21 and under, who takes pictures on the event and submits them to the organisers within 14 days for judging. The winner will receive a framed print of their winning photograph donated by Writtle Photographic and a pair of complimentary tickets for both days of the VK Chatsworth Rally Show kindly given by the show's promoter, Malcolm Neill.

The competition is the brainchild of professional photographer Mark Writtle of Writtle Photographics in Bridgnorth, who are the official photographers for the Bulldog Rally.

"I decided to do something for the many spectators who take photographs on events," explained Mark Writtle. "I am someone who as a 17-year-old picked up my camera, drove to a rally and stood in the forests for hours taking pictures of the cars. I can therefore empathise with them and understand the passion they have for their hobby. In my case my hobby became my profession and I consider myself very lucky to be making a living from doing something that I enjoy so much. This competition is all about giving an incentive to some young person who might be looking to follow that route or might simply enjoy rallying and photography."

Malcolm Neill stated, "I am delighted to tie up with the Bulldog Rally and Writtle Photographic in this venture to encourage young photographers to become involved within our great sport. By providing them with tickets to both days of the VK Vodka Kick Chatsworth Rally Show on 6th and 7th June, we will be giving them the opportunity to get snap happy with the spectacular display of classic and modern rally cars we shall have both on show and on the timed rally stages. It should be like putting them in heaven!"

More details


Posted: February 6, 2009 11:16 AM

Rally legend Russell Brookes will compete on this year's Bulldog Historic Rally in a Porsche owned by former National and Historic Champion, Steve Perez.

The deal came about due to a chance remark made by Russell on stage at the Bulldog Rally's 50th birthday forum in October 2008. Russell was extolling the virtues of rallying a Porsche when fellow panellist, Steve Perez, promptly offered him the use of his historic rally Porsche for this year's event.

Always a gentleman of his word, Steve has since contacted Russell and arranged for him to drive the car on the Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire Car Club's event, which is the season opener for the British Historic Rally Championship.

The Porsche that Russell will drive will be '15VK', the 1967 911S that Steve drove to win the British Historic Rally Championship in 2003. Previous to this it had won the Killarney Historic Rally in Steve's hands in 2002.

"It is quite a precious little car that is very close to my heart," admitted Steve.

"However, I have admired Russell Brookes as one of the greatest British rally drivers of all times. I enjoyed watching him when I was a boy, that shows you how young I am!, on the same stages as the Bulldog will be using this year so it is a great privilege to have such a legendary driver competing in my car," Steve explained.

Russell will have his former co-driver Neil Wilson alongside for this event. Neil was Russell's regular co-driver from 1988 to 1991 and together they won the 1988 Audi Sport International Rally (forerunner of the Bulldog) in a Ford Sierra Cosworth and the 1990 event in a Ford Sapphire Cosworth. Russell also won the event as far back as 1976 in a Ford Escort Mexico co-driven by John Brown.

With three event wins under his bonnet, Russell is already one of the most successful drivers in the long history of the event, which had its 50th birthday last year. He currently shares this honour with Malcolm Wilson who also has three wins in 1984, 1993 and 1994.

"It is fantastic of Steve to loan me this wonderful car, I cannot thank him enough. The car will run under the VK banner. Dunlop are kindly supporting us and we have some additional support, for old times sake, from elsewhere so I am really looking forward to the event which features some of my favourite stages which are always a joy to drive," enthused Russell.


Posted: January 31, 2009 2:59 PM

Members of Wolverhampton and South Staffs Car Club face one of their biggest challenges ever as they organise The Bulldog International Rally of North Wales.

This event, which takes place on March 28th, incorporates for the first time, the opening rounds of two of the UK's two major rally championships, The British Rally Championship and The Dunlop/Gambia British Historic Rally Championship.

In addition, the event will comprise a qualifying round of several regional clubman's championships including the prestigious Rallying UK.com Welsh National Stage Rally Championship and the BRC Challenge.

The West Midlands-based organising team, under rally manager Kevin Witton, have faced a tough challenge in order to get the event up and running as it is only a few months since they ran the much-acclaimed Bulldog National and Clubman Rally in October 2008.

The high profile event will create quite a spectacle for motorsport fans. At the head of the field will run the beautiful historic cars from past eras, before the modern, state-of-the-art four-wheel drive machinery. There will also be a trio of manufacturer-promoted, single-make championships in which Britain's next generation of world class rally stars go head to head in hot hatchbacks. The popular clubman drivers are also catered for and can always be relied upon to provide plenty of entertainment in a wide variety of vehicles.

Kevin Witton explained: "The organising team spent most of their Christmas break driving around North Wales to find the best possible places for the rally start and finish. We need venues close to the motorway network for ease of access as this is an international event and people will be coming from all over the UK and abroad. We also need hundreds of hotel rooms for the weekend as well as large areas of hard standing where the competitors can safely service their cars. The workload to source all of this is enormous, especially as it is borne by motor club members who do it voluntarily for their love of rallying in their spare time."

Witton continued: "With so many crews expected to compete on this season opener, we have decided to split the events between two main towns. The International event will be based at Bala whilst the Historic and National crews will run from Llangollen. This should ensure there is sufficient space for everyone. All competitive driving will take place on the forest tracks in the classic Welsh stages of Aberhirnant, Dyfi, Dyfnant and Gartheiniog which are universally recognised as being some of the best gravel rally stages in the world. Although there is work to be done I am confident the event will live up to expectations."

Regulations Available/Event Website

Posted: January 31, 2009 2:56 PM

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