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Woodpecker Stages - (Sat) 2 Sep 17

Posted: November 6, 2017 6:07 AM - 3183 Hits

Round 7 - 2017 BTRDA Rally Series
Round 7 - 2017 Welsh Rally Championship
Round 7 - 2017 MSA English Rally Championship

Bird/Edwards bag Woodpecker Stages win

Posted: November 6, 2017 6:07 AM

Paul Bird makes a worthwhile rallying return to take emphatic EVENTSIGNS Woodpecker Stages Rally victory

Ford Focus WRC pilot Paul Bird ensured his return to the sport was a successful one by taking victory at the EVENTSIGNS Woodpecker Stages Rally (2nd September) in Ludlow with co-driver Jamie Edwards alongside.

Bird, contesting only his second event since 2015 would dominate much of the six-stage event in the Welsh Marches and Shropshire forests, edging out a 30-second win over a hard charging Callum Black and Elliott Edmondson who took a worthy second spot in their Fiesta R5. Last year’s winners Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson rounded off the top three, taking the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series title in the process.

Rewind to the opening loop of stages in the Radnor Forest however, and the leader board would be a very much different picture to that of the podium back at Ludlow Racecourse on Saturday afternoon. A new format greeted the 150 strong entry and predicting an outcome would be a tricky affair, with several previous event winners in the top 5 seeds.

British Championship regular Jamie Anderson opened proceedings with the fastest time through the first two Radnor tests to lead the event into the first service of the day. But with third gear failing on the Mitsubishi WRC 04, Bird was left to pick up the pieces and despite not setting an overall fastest time until the final test of the day, had opened up a big enough gap to cross the finish ramp with a significant margin.

“It's good to be back,” said Bird at the finish. “It’s been a fantastic rally and the stages have been great today, they have really suited the Focus and me, to be honest. Two years is a long time out of the sport but I did a rally in Scotland a few weeks ago which eased me back in. It’s been great having Jamie (Edwards) with me today to push me on. I’ve really enjoyed this one”.

Black, however, would do his best to take his inaugural BTRDA round win at the event and would never feature outside of the top three all day long. Losing 30 seconds in stage four would hamper any further progress however, meaning Black and Edmondson would have to settle for runner up spot. Their efforts were rewarded with maximum points in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Rally Championship.

Last year’s winner Stephen Petch got off to a slow start thanks to two time-consuming overshoots in the morning's stages and the Fiesta WRC driver would be playing catch up for the rest of the day. Fastest time in Haye Park showed promise, but he was unable to catch Black over the closing stages to take the final podium place. The BTRDA title was a substantial consolation for the Northumbrian however.

Featuring as high as second during the day, Hugh Hunter and Rob Fagg were enjoying their first foray in a Fiesta World Rally Car but couldn’t quite match the more experienced runners out front. Hunter was a happy fourth at the Ludlow finish.

Rounding off the top five was Luke Francis and John Roberts in the first non-Ford home. Francis had been out of action since the Carlisle Stages in June and fired in an equal fastest time though Haye Park but he simply could not live with the frontrunners on the day.

Ludlow favourite Shaun Gardener was forced to withdraw before the event, leaving the honour of first local home to the Ford Escort Mk2 pilot Roger Chilman from Hereford. Chilman and co-driver Bryan Thomas took 14th overall and scooped the Historic category and two-wheel drive honours in the process.

John Perrott and Dan Petrie from Leominster rounded off the top 20, with Ludlow’s Dave and Toby Brick taking the 1400 class win.

The Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club organised event is one of the most popular on the UK rallying calendar and is now in its 34th year.

The rally was once again sponsored once again by Midlands based signage specialists EVENTSIGNS and was joined by an abundance of national and regional rally championships.

As well as the BTRDA and Welsh Championships, the event is a round of the Maxxis Tyres MSA English Rally Championship, www.jelfmotorsport.com Welsh Clubman’s 2WD Forest Rally Championship, ANWCC Forest Rally Championship and the Reis Motorsport Insurance ASWMC Loose Surface Stage Rally Championship.

In Car

Posted: November 6, 2017 6:01 AM

Ashley Davies & Sam Fordham (Ford Escort Mk II) SS3

Special Stage TV Program on Line

Posted: November 6, 2017 5:37 AM

Bird/Edwards Win Woodpecker Stages Rally

Posted: November 6, 2017 4:43 AM

Fresh from his podium success in Scotland last month following two years away from the sport, Paul BirdCumbrian rally driver Paul Bird got back to winning ways when he took a convincing victory on today’s Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally based in Shropshire.

Bird, from Langwathby near Penrith in Cumbria, along with Welsh co-driver Jamie Edwards from Wrexham were contesting the penultimate round of the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series which comprised the majority of stages in and around the Radnor forest complex in mid-Wales and saw a strong field assembled for the event.

In the Dom Buckley Motorsport/IRS-prepared Ford Focus WRC07, with backing from Frank Bird Poultry, Be Wiser Insurance, Hager, WIX Filters, Silkolene and Loco Energy Drink, the pair made a great start to the event, setting second fastest time on the opening 8.6-mile test.

Joint fastest time on SS2 saw the 2005 ANCRO National Rally champion locked in battle with Jamie Anderson (Mitsubishi) but following his demise on SS3, Bird hit the front from where he was never headed. Paul BirdAn eight second advantage after SS3 was increased to 27 seconds after a storming run through Haye Park (SS4) and after dropping a few seconds to Callum Black in SS5, Bird beat the bogey on the final test in Radnor to seal the win.

At the Ludlow racecourse finish, the winning margin was 31 seconds over Black with newly-crowned BTRDA champion Stephen Petch finishing third and the result meant a second Woodpecker victory for the British Superbike team boss after winning the 2014 event.

Paul Bird: “I’m absolutely over the moon with this result as I wasn’t sure what the pace would be like but it was just as fast as I expected. I was really nervous beforehand which wasn’t like me but we were soon into our stride and I felt I was driving good. Jamie did a fantastic job on the notes and really pushed me on which is what I need so all credit to him and to Neil Buckley and the team, Paul Birdthe car never missed a beat all day. I was humbled by the amount of people who came up to me and welcomed me back to the stages, the support was phenomenal, so thanks to everyone for that. It’s a shame Jamie’s car broke as we would have had a great battle and well done to Stephen for winning the title. He and the SGP team deserve that as they have worked so hard over the years. I’m not sure when I’m out next as the rallying has to take a back seat with my team’s British Superbike Championship commitments and that of my son Frank’s Formula Renault Eurocup series, but I hope to fit in a couple more events before the end of the year if possible.”

Seeded Entry List

Posted: August 30, 2017 3:57 AM

All change for the EventSigns Woodpecker Stages

Posted: July 14, 2017 9:03 AM

One of the most popular events in the UK rallying calendar will see a new route for 2017, as organisers shake up the format of the EventSigns Woodpecker Stages Rally on 2nd September in Ludlow, Shropshire.

Now in its 34th year, the Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club organised event is once again a qualifying round of the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series and Pirelli MSA Welsh Stage Rally Championship, offering around 44 stage miles across classic stages in the Welsh Marches and Shropshire forests.

But this year, the event will see a change in the familiar route, offering the best of the Welsh and English border forests for competitors. The variation from previous years will allow crews to sample some of the best quality stages in the country. Organisers will utilise just nine miles of double usage, meaning competitors throughout the field can sample the highest quality and smooth conditions during the day.

Sponsored once again by Midlands based signage specialists EventSigns, the event is joined by an abundance of national and regional rally championships. As well as the BTRDA and Welsh Championships, the event is a round of the Maxxis Tyres MSA English Rally Championship, www.jelfmotorsport.com Welsh Clubman’s 2WD Forest Rally Championship, ANWCC Forest Rally Championship and the Reis Motorsport Insurance ASWMC Loose Surface Stage Rally Championship.

As in previous years, the event will be based at Ludlow Racecourse and the location will play host to pre-event scrutiny, documentation and Rally HQ, as well as the service area throughout Saturday 2nd September. Competitors will leave from the Racecourse start ramp that morning, before heading to the Radnor forest complex for two stages.

Returning to Ludlow for service, they will tackle two stages in the Welsh Marches before the second service halt of the day. The Hopton test and an epic 14 mile Radnor stage will round off a challenging day in the forests before the ceremonial finish back the Racecourse later that afternoon, with prizes being handed out on the finish ramp.

With another quality entry anticipated to head to Ludlow in early September, event organisers are confident of providing yet another classic rally for all.

“The Event Signs Woodpecker Stages has long been regarded as one of the best events in the UK rallying calendar and we have done everything possible to ensure we live up to that reputation,” says Clerk of the Course Pete Wood.

“The organising team have adapted to the requests of competitors for limited double use mileage so have ensured that is kept to a minimum whilst retaining great stages such as Hopton and Radnor. It’s also important that the event does not stand still, so we felt it was the right time to change the format and give competitors a new challenge. It’s shaping up to be another fantastic event and we would like to thank our sponsors EventSigns for their continued support.”

Entries Received / On Line Entry / Regulations / Details

Posted: June 14, 2017 9:32 AM

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