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Somerset Stages - (Sat) 16 Apr 16

Posted: November 13, 2016 5:41 AM - 2413 Hits

Round 3 - 2016 BTRDA Rally Series
Round 2 - 2016 MSA English Rally Championship
Round 1 - BTRDA Rally Challenge

Special Stage TV Program on Line

Posted: November 13, 2016 5:41 AM

Francis/Roberts take dominant Somerset victory

Posted: June 19, 2016 9:49 AM

After a fierce battle across 13 stages in the Exmoor forests, Rhuddlan’s Luke Francis and John H Roberts took a start to finish victory at the Somerset Stages Rally on Saturday (16th April). The Mitsubishi E9 pilot headed to the Minehead based event after a recent Rally North Wales victory and stamped his mark firmly on the top step of the podium to take the win by eight seconds from pre event favourites Charlie Payne and Carl Williamson.

Over 130 crews from across the UK headed to the North Somerset coast for Burnham-on-Sea Motor Club and Minehead Motor Club organised event which formed the third round of the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series and Maxxis Tyres MSA English Rally Championship. Picking a winner from the strong entry list would always be a challenge but Francis and Payne were all set to resume their battle which started on the Cambrian Rally back in February.

Despite the treacherous conditions on the opening loop, the pace at the head of the field saw no sign of slowing and Francis would take first blood over the short 1.5 mile opening Timberscombe stage. From here, he would never be headed and it would take until stage 3 for Payne to begin to claw some time back on the Mitsubishi pilot. However it would never quite be enough and despite reducing the gap to four seconds after the two run over the asphalt Porlock Hill Toll Road, Payne would play second fiddle for the rest of the day.

Francis was pleased with his performance which now sees him edge towards the front of the BTRDA series standings. “
It’s been a really great battle with Charlie (Payne) all event and especially satisfying thanks to the tricky conditions today” said Francis at the finish. “John (Roberts) has been pushing me on all day which has undoubtedly helped our place today and on top of that the new car is feeling fantastic. I have lots of confidence in it now and the new engine is working well. It’s been a good day all round”.

The battle for the final podium spot was a little simpler. Peter Stephenson and Giles Dykes set an impressive early pace in their Ford Focus WRC to take third on the opening two stages. However, the Subaru Impreza crew of Karl and Guy Simmons woke up on stage three to take over the spot and there they stayed for the remainder of the day; an impressive performance on their first outing since October last year.

Fourth spot went to Taunton crew Martyn and Dawn England who debuted their brand new Ford Fiesta R5+ on gravel at the event. Trying hard to acclimatise to the new steed, the husband and wife team increased their pace throughout the day and showed how at home they were on asphalt by setting fastest overall stage time on the first Porlock Hill test. This would vault them up the leader board to their best ever finish on the event. This left Stephenson to slip down the order to fifth but was nevertheless happy with the day’s performance at the finish ramp on the Minehead seafront.

Gavin Edwards and Caron Tomlinson continued their fine form in the BTRDA series to take the two-wheel drive and Silver Star honours in their Ford Escort MK2. They lead from the off but were chased hard by Boyd Kershaw and Bryan Hull in their similar machine who finished the event just 10 seconds in arrears.

Another rapid local, Julian Wilkes from Taunton was the leading 1400cc contender in his Vauxhall Nova with Will Rutherford Child alongside. Dave Brick and Keaton Williams in their similar Nova took the battle to Wilkes throughout the mornings stages and emerged with a seven second advantage at first service, but retired early in the afternoon to hand victory to Wilkes who finished in a creditable 16th overall.

This year’s event has been particularly tough on crews and only 84 competitors completed the route which wound its way across forests in Croydon, Chargot and Knowle, just south of the Minehead rally base. The event was faced with a major re-route thanks to the inclement weather of the past few months but the small and dedicated team pulled out all the stops to ensure the rally took place, one of only a handful left in England.

“It’s been a really challenging event to organise this year and it’s thanks to all the hard work, dedication and many late nights from everyone in the organising committee and supporting motor clubs, that we could run a successful event once again” said Clerk of the Course Jason Hayes. “After winning the BTRDA Rally of the Year in 2015, we knew we have all the ingredients for a good event and I have to say thank you to The Beach Hotel, Minehead Town Council, West Somerset Council, Exmoor National Park, Avon and Somerset Police, The Forestry Commission, The Crown Estate and Somerset County Council for all their help once again. We look forward to seeing you all again next year”

Top-class entry for Somerset Stages Rally

Posted: April 12, 2016 6:21 AM

An exciting entry of over 130 cars head to Minehead for the Ravenol BTRDA qualifier One of the most exciting top ten in recent history will head a 130 strong field away from Minehead this weekend, as the Somerset Stages rally returns once again to the seaside resort on Saturday 16th April. Competitors across the country will descend on the town as crews contest almost 40 miles of competitive stages in the North of the county.

Organised by Burnham-on-Sea Motor Club and Minehead Motor Club, the event forms the third round of the RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series and the Maxxis Tyres MSA English Rally Championship. Coupled with competitors from the ASWMC Loose Surface Rally Championship, rally fans and casual spectators are guaranteed a full day of action in the Exmoor forests.

Charlie Payne, partnered by Carl Williamson in their Ford Fiesta will head the field away from the Minehead seafront as number one seed this year. The Yorkshireman currently tops the BTRDA Rally Series standing after a maximum points haul at last month's Malcolm Wilson Rally.

Luke Francis from Rhuddlan and John H Roberts are second on the road in their rapid Mitsubishi E9 and will undoubtedly take the fight to Payne throughout the 13 stages during the day. Durham ace Steve Petch partnered by Michael Wilkinson will start at number four in their Ford Fiesta R5+ and Paul Benn makes an outing in his Ford Focus 02 WRC with Richard Cooke alongside at number five. Welsh duo Steven Clarke and Steve Pugh are at six in their Mitsubishi E6.

Eyes will be firmly on Thomas Preston at car seven, as he debuts his brand new Skoda Fabia R5 on the event, along with co- driver Jack Morton. The Skoda is a rare sight on UK events and more akin to the British Rally Championship, but the Lancashire man has chosen the Somerset Stages Rally to get acclimatised to loose surface rallying in the machine.

Leading local crew Tristan Bailey and James How, both from Taunton will bring their stunning Mitsubishi WRC 04 to the event. They will be hoping to better their seventh overall on the event achieved back in 2010, making a rare appearance in the car.

Another crew to debut the car on gravel are Martyn and Dawn England from Illminster who will take their brand new Ford Fiesta R5+ into the forests for the first time this weekend. They too will aim to better a ninth overall in 2015 with their new machine.

There have also been several entries lodged over the past week which could make an appearance towards the top of the leader board on Saturday, despite not being early enough to make the final seeded entry list. Mark Donnelly could make the trip from Ireland in his Impreza WRC and Steve Simpson is waiting for a spare part for his Fiesta before he makes the trip to Minehead.
Two-wheel-drive front runner Julian Wilkes from Taunton returns to the event in his Vauxhall Nova with co-driver Will Rutherford-Child in a bid to keep the regular contenders from the Thomas Panels BTRDA 1400cc at bay. The bulk of the event mileage takes place in the Exmoor forests but the now traditional Porlock Toll Road stage will also provide a challenge for the predominately loose surface contenders. Once again The Beach Hotel will play host to Rally Headquarters during the event and the teams will base themselves along the Minehead seafront for the scheduled services throughout the day.

There will be plenty of opportunities for fans to get a slice of the action or even up close and personal with the cars throughout the day. The field will be flagged away from the ceremonial start on Warren Road Seafront bright and early at 08.00 on Saturday 16th. Crews will be returning to the seafront service area throughout the day for routine maintenance and repairs.

For something a bit more fast paced, the spectator stage in the Kennisham forest complex is the place to go, offering the chance to see the action twice during the day. The first run through the stage kicks off at around 09.30 and provides over two hours of action. The second run of the stage sees crews returning just after lunch at 13.40.

Those fortunate enough to complete the event will get the chance to celebrate at 15.30 with the ceremonial finish on the Minehead Seafront (Warren Road), with the winning crews spraying champagne to celebrate victory.

More spectator information is available at www.somersetstagesrally.com and you can keep up to date with all the latest news on the event Facebook and Twitter feeds.
www.facebook.com/somersetstages
www.twitter.com/somersetstages

Seeded Entry List

Posted: April 12, 2016 3:45 AM

Entries roll in for Somerset Stages Rally

Posted: March 16, 2016 10:21 AM

Entries levels for this year's Somerset Stages Rally have already exceeded the 100 mark and organisers are predicting another bumper year for the 16th April event. After winning the BTRDA Rally of the Year in 2015, the Minehead based event is preparing for yet another top class entry of 150 crews who will tackle the now familiar forest roads across North Somerset and Exmoor.

Playing host to the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, the 38th running of the event sees the popular forests of Croydon, Chargot, Timberscombe, Kennisham and Knowle being used, as well as the now traditional all-asphalt Porlock Toll Road stage. Organisers have faced a battle with Mother Nature during the past few weeks as severe rain on Exmoor during the Autumn and Winter months have made a significant impact on the forest roads in the area. The team have been working hard to arrange repairs and in some cases, route changes in the stages.

Jason Hayes Clerk of the Course is keeping a close eye on the weather in the area to ensure minimum disruption to the event. "We are working closely with the Forestry Commission and landowners to ensure the rally can use the best roads possible in the forests" he says. "We are pretty much checking them every day so whilst this may mean some last minute route changes, we are of course on track to offer a successful Somerset Stages for both competitors and spectators alike." As a result, the Burnham-on-Sea Motor Club and Minehead Motor Club organised event has held entry fees at the 2015 level despite many other fees increasing and the Committee are keen to welcome crews to the only loose surface rally in the South of England. "Forest Stage rallies are becoming scarce in England so we are really proud to host the Somerset Stages for the 38th time" says Hayes. "We would encourage anyone who is thinking of entering to do so as soon as possible to ensure they secure a place on the entry list."

The Somerset Stages Rally will also play host to a wide range of other popular championships including the MAXXIS Tyres MSA English Rally Championship, the second year of the BTRDA Rally Challenge and the ASWMC Loose Surface Stage Rally Championship.

More information will be published closer to the event at www.somersetstagesrally.com and you can keep up to date with all the latest news on the event Facebook and Twitter feeds. http://www.facebook.com/somersetstagesrally www.twitter.com/somersetstages

Somerset Stages all set to continue award-winning format

Posted: February 24, 2016 9:48 AM

Voted BTRDA Rally of Year in 2015, the Somerset Stages Rally has released its regulations this week and opens its entries to around 160 of the UK's best rally drivers who will descend on Minehead for the 2nd April event. Playing host to the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, the rally will once again return to the seaside town after its success in 2015 netted the event the coveted award.

Offering 40 competitive stage miles comprising of the familiar forest roads across Croydon, Chargot, Timberscombe, Kennisham and Knowle, the 2016 Somerset Stages will also consist of the unique 3.73 mile test along the all-asphalt Porlock Toll Road (run twice) which inevitably provides a challenge for the predominately loose surface contenders. Once again The Beach Hotel will play host to Rally Headquarters during the event and the teams will base themselves along the Minehead seafront for the scheduled services throughout the day.

Teams competing on the biggest rally series in the country will contest the April event as part of the seven round BTRDA championship and event organisers Burnham-on-Sea Motor Club and Minehead Motor Club are overjoyed to be back at the resort for 2016.
"Minehead really does provide the event with great character and the organising committee are indebted to Somerset County Council and Minehead Town Council for allowing us back again this year" says Jason Hayes, Clerk of the Course.

"We truly believe the key to our BTRDA award was down to the town really 'adopting' the rally as its own and we think that shone through last year. It will be a tough task to make it better still in 2016 but we are working as hard as we can to make that happen" he says. "We have faced a few challenges over the last few months due to various forestry works but we now have a route that should appeal to crews across the board."

The Somerset Stages Rally will also play host to a wide range of other popular championships including the MAXXIS Tyres MSA English Rally Championship, the second year of the BTRDA Rally Challenge and the REIS ASWMC Loose Surface Stage Rally Championship. A broad range of crews will head to the only forest rally in the South West, including top-flight world rally cars, a host of crowd pleasing Historic rally cars and the ultra-competitive 1400 screamers.

There will be plenty of opportunities for fans to get a slice of the action with a spectator stage in the Kennisham forest complex offering the chance to see the action twice during the day.

More information will be published closer to the event at www.somersetstagesrally.com and you can keep up to date with all the latest news on the event Facebook and Twitter feeds.
www.facebook.com/thesomersetstagesrally
www.twitter.com/somersetstages

On Line Entry / Regulations / Event Website

Posted: February 6, 2016 4:39 PM

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