Anderson/ Scott take last minute victory at Woodpecker Rally thriller
Posted: November 13, 2016 9:17 AM
Mitsubishi WRC pilot Jamie Anderson took a last gasp victory on the final stage of the 2015 Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally in Ludlow. Recovering from a second stage puncture which dropped the Leicestershire man down towards the bottom of the top 10, Anderson and Ludlow co-driver Jon Scott had a three way battle all day long with fellow Mitsubishi driver Luke Francis/John Roberts and Fiesta R5+ pilot Stephen Petch/Ian Windress to take the win by just three seconds from a trying Petch. Early event leader Francis was disappointed to lose out on overall honours on the final stage to take third, just two seconds further back.
The Ludlow Racecourse based event was a qualifying round of the REIS-Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series and it would be a pretty sure fire bet that the winner of this year's fondly named "Woody" would come from the front runners in the series. But with championship leaders David Weston Jnr electing to stay away and last year's winner Paul Bird busy with World Superbike commitments, a new winner would be hard to predict from the 180 crews which started the event.
First blood went to Francis who opened up a four second lead over Petch on the slippery three mile opener. An overshoot and driving like a "handbag" would see a change of leader into the first service of the day as Petch grabbed the lead from a slowing Francis. Still getting used to the newly built Mitsubishi, Francis soon got his mojo back and topped the leader board after the Radnor loop of stages across the border in Wales. It was nip and tuck between the two in the penultimate stage and they were all set for a last stage battle. But minding his own business, Anderson crept up behind them both to record a time eight seconds quicker than Francis, netting a four second victory on the very last stage.
"To come back from a 24 second deficit to win, makes this victory even more special and it's a great place to take our first BTRDA win" said a pleased Anderson. "It's also the perfect win for Jon (Scott) as well; I know he has always wanted to win the Woodpecker ever since he started the event from the back of the field many years ago. Winning your home event must be a great feeling."
Petch was still happy with his result and at leading the event overall for a time, with a slightly more despondent Francis buoyed by the somewhat successful debut of his newly built car ? only tested days before the event. Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson secured a solid run to fourth in their Fiesta with Ludlow driver Shaun Gardener and co-driver Ben Innes taking fifth in their Mitsubishi Evo 5.9.2; Gardener returning to the sport after several years away with back problems.
The battle for Pirelli MSA Welsh Rally Championship honours was a similar tale to the overall results, Anderson topping the points from Francis. Bob Ceen/Andy Bull took the third place point's haul which tops a successful year for the duo and also sees Ceen become 2015 Welsh Champion.
First two wheel drive crew home was another returnee Matt Edwards who was co-driven by Phil Clarke. Edwards recovering from an enforced sabbatical after an accident earlier in the year, showing he has lost none of his pace with victory in his Escort Mk2. Boyd Kershaw/Bryan Hall took second in their similar machine, also taking BTRDA Silver Star honours to boot. Early favourites Callum Black/Paul Wakely secured the runner up spot in third in their potent Citroen DS3 R3MAX.
The Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally saw 180 crews from across the country tackle stages across the Shropshire and Powys forests, battling for seconds in the search for victory. Pete Wood, Clerk of the Course of the Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club organised event has dubbed this year's rally as one of the best yet. "It's a true credit to all the hard work of the organising committee that we have had one of the best entries to the event in its 32 year history" he says. "It's a mammoth task to get everything in place at the right time and I have to say a huge thank you to all the marshals, officials and volunteers for enabling us to put on an action packed day of motorsport with some of the best drivers in the country."
Events Signs Woodpecker Stages opens for business with flurry of entries
Posted: July 21, 2015 6:40 AM
One of the most popular events in the BTRDA National gravel rally championship, The Event Signs
Woodpecker Stages Rally has released its event regulations this week and event organisers were
rewarded with a brimming entry list within four days of entries opening. At the time of writing (20th July)
over 150 entries have been received for the maximum allocation of 180. The September 5th event will
see the 32nd running of the Ludlow Racecourse based rally which offers 43 stage miles across six classic
stages in the Welsh and Shropshire forests. Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club organisers anticipate
2015 will be one of the best events in its history with some of the best drivers in the UK heading to
Ludlow to enjoy the all gravel rally.
Sponsored one again by Midlands based signage specialists Event Signs and supported by Hills Ford, the
event plays host to a raft of national rally championships including the REIS-Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series,
MSA English Rally Championship and Pirelli MSA Welsh Rally Championship. Joining them is regional
championships including the Jelf Motorsport 2WD Welsh Clubmans Rally Championship, FMP Motor
Factors Rally Challenge, Brian Dennis Motorsport Welsh Historic Rally Championship, REIS ASWMC Rally
Championship and ANWCC Forest Rally Championship.
Event organisers have listened to the feedback from crews during 2015 and to ensure all competitors
can take advantage of the fantastic conditions of the forests, will run all the stages only once aside from
the popular spectator stage, Haye Park. Clerk of the Course Pete Wood believes this will benefit
competitors throughout the anticipated 180 strong field. "With the running order changing this year?s
its really important to us that everyone gets a run across the stages in the best possible condition" he
says. "We have made the decision to restrict double usage to just Haye Park so that even those towards
the rear of the field should still be able to enjoy the amazing roads we have on offer this year. I know the
running order changes have been controversial so hopefully this will go some way to alleviate any
concerns competitors may have. Radnor will run differently to previous years as well so it should provide
a challenge for everyone".
The 2015 Event Signs Woodpecker Stages Rally will kick off on Friday 4th September for pre-event
Scrutiny and signing on at Ludlow Racecourse. The first competitors will leave the start ramp at 8.30am
on Saturday morning for 43 competitive stage miles in the Radnor, Wigmore, Haye Park and Bringewood
forests. Competitors will return to Ludlow Racecourse for two services through the day, before heading
back to the ceremonial finish later that afternoon. More information on the event, regulations and entry
forms can be found on the event website.
Spectator access, times and locations will be issued on the event website in August.