13/10/2023 Off By admin

The MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series arrived in North Yorkshire for the penultimate round of its 2023 season. From the seaside town of Filey, five gravel tests in and around the Pickering area would feature on the route, with stages such as Dalby, Cropton, Gale Rigg, Langdale and Staindale all on the menu for this 45-stage mile event.

Photo By Xlerate.Media


Last time out on the Woodpecker Stages, whilst disaster struck for Matthew Hirst in having to retire before the off, Arron Newby romped home to pick up his second victory of the season. Arriving in Yorkshire as the Championship leader Elliot Payne was, however, the man who was poised and ready to secure the BTRDA GoldStar title on his home event.

Photo: Mathew Hirst & Declan Dear | By Andy Cook – Xlerate.Media

This time around Hirst would once again be missing lady luck as on the very first stage of the event through Gale Rigg he had an off after getting distracted by an alarm on the dash of the Ford Fiesta R5 car. Although he and Co-Driver Declan Dear were able to continue on to finish the stage, they were forced to retire from the rally, adding their second DNF under the 2023 season on their CVs.

It was a much better opening stage for Woodpecker winner Arron Newby, in the Skoda Fabia R5 alongside Co-Driver Jamie Edwards  

“It is slippy out there but we’ve got good grip actually, it will be interesting to see what we’ve done, everything feels good, the first stage of the day, so I just got into it and everything is working well so I’m happy” 

but when he heard that his time was just a second slower compared to M-Sports works driver Adrien Fourmaux who was contesting the British Rally Championship he simply said, “Wow, that’ll do!”

Photo: Arron Newby & Jamie Edwards | By Andrew Scott

Newby and Edwards stopped the clocks 1.5 seconds quicker than Elliot Payne & Tom Woodburn who took the cautious approach on the first stage of the day whilst they got settled in, ready to chase down the GoldStar title. But It wasn’t long before Payne got his eye in, as he reacted to Newby in the very next stage across the road in Cropton taking 1.4 back off him.

Payne did not stop there and despite not appearing to be too happy at the stop line of Staindale, he did however up his game “Just miles too early with the braking, gear too low everywhere, dropped a lot of time in there”. 

He and Co-Driver Woodburn had however, secured their second stage win in a row and with it took the lead of the GoldStar heading into the mid-day service halt back in Finley with a lead of 3.7 seconds over Newby & Edwards.

Photo: Elliot Payne & Tom Woodburn | By Black Mountains Media

Newby and Edwards had begun the day with a good opening two stages in Gale Rigg and Cropton, however, the Staindale test was a little different in character.

“Stage 1 & 2 were good, I was a little bit cautious maybe through there on the squares, I felt cautious through that one but I was going to do that in there. We’re going to Dalby and Langdale now and will get our heads down.”

Arron Newby

Payne believed that he had a bit of a bad one in Dalby

“Crap, just messy through there, half spins, up banking inside, just way off it. We got through but dropped a hell of a lot of time in there, depends on what Newby does dont it” 

Regardless of what he thought, his time was still plenty enough to better Newby, in fact, he had extended his lead now by about 9.5 seconds with just one to go.

In stark contrast, Newby absolutely loved that Dalby Stage but the time just wasn’t there to challenge Payne & Woodburn for the win.

Photo: Arron Newby & Jamie Edwards | By Andrew Scott

“What a stage, what a stage! I tell you what, it doesn’t matter where you are, it just puts a smile on your face doesn’t it every time? What a stage that is, you’re just flat out everywhere, and ya braking and my heads telling me am I going to stop but somehow I made it around everyone so we’ve done alright there.”

Arron Newby

Arron Newby and Jamie Edwards signed off their TrackRod with the final stage win to add to their name, however, the day and the 2023 GoldStar title belonged to Elliot Payne and Tom Woodburn.

The pair crossed the finish line in their Ford Fiesta with five and half seconds in hand to pick up their fourth victory of the season which secured them the 2023 MRF Tyres BTRDA Championship title for the second year running.

Photo: Elliot Payne & Tom Woodburn | By Andy Cook – Xlerate.Media

Hasn’t been the easiest of years, kept on our toes all the way to the last stage of the TrackRod Forest Stages by Arron & Jamie, but we managed to take the Championship win on Elliot’s home rally.

Thank you to the Payne family and the whole team for putting 110% effort in for every event and making sure we had a car underneath us capable of fighting for event wins.

A mention has to go to my chauffeur for the year, Elliot, as he’s said all year, not bad for a couple of plonkers!

Tom Woodburn (Co-Driver to Elliot Payne)
Photo: David Henderson & Chris Lee | By Andy Cook – Xlerate.Media

Scottish Rally Championship contenders David Henderson & Chris Lee rounded out the GoldStar top three in their Rally2 Spec Ford Fiesta, having just been off the pace of Newby and Payne for much of the day.

MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series – GoldStar Champions 2023

Photo: Elliot Payne & Tom Woodburn | By Andy Cook – Xlerate.Media


As the series entered the penultimate round in Yorkshire, the race for the 2023 SilverStar title resumed on the North Yorkshire gravel at Round 7. Previously on the Woodpecker Stages, Ben Friend & Cliffy Simmons secured their second win of the season, whilst Championship leaders, Boyd Kershaw & Keegan Rees failed to finish, retiring in the fourth stage of the event.

The Kiwi would need a strong finish on the TrackRod to maintain his title hopes, and for Friend, the target was to carry that momentum on from Woodpecker in the hope of repeating the success and challenging Kershaw for the title.

Photo: Ben Friend & Cliff Simmons | By Andy Cook – Xlerate.Media

After the opening stage of the event, the 6 miles through Gale Rigg, Kershaw and Rees were off the pace and it was Friend and Simmons in their MK2 Escort who were off to a flyer, despite the slightly rougher than expected conditions.

By posting a time that was 1.5 seconds quicker than the Opel Adam R2 spec car of Robert Proudlock & Stephen Brown, Friend and Simmons had signaled their intent from the get-go. The pair were able to ekk out another 6 seconds in Cropton and then a further 2 in Staindale to boost their overall lead.

Photo: Ben Friend & Cliff Simmons | By Black Mountains Media

After the morning’s loop of three tests, the pair were leading the SilverStar field and heading back to the service halt in Filey with a margin of 13.4 seconds over second-placed Andy Davison & Tom Murphy in the Sunbeam VXR; with Ernie & Karen Graham in the MK1 Ford Escort rounding out the top three of the SilverStar crews.

Photo: Andy Davison & Tom Murphy | By Andy Cook – Xlerate.Media

With just two, but long stages remaining in the afternoon’s loop, Friend and Simmons would set their sights firmly on the win, with 12 miles through Dalby Forest the pair perhaps shored that up with yet another fastest stage time which was some 7 seconds quicker than Barry Jordon.

Photo: Barry Jordan & Arwell Jenkins | By Andrew Scott

Jordan and Co-Driver Arwell Jenkins must have been waiting in the wings patiently for these two longer stages to come and were also on a bit of a charge of their own. Passing the Sunbeam of Davison in Dalby to take up the third position behind Graham heading into the final stage of the event.

Ben Friend and Cliff Simmons would enter that final and longest test of the rally, the 13 miles of Langdale Forest with a tad over 32 seconds in their glovebox. The pair would sign off their TrackRod in style with that final stage win, completing their full house of SilverStar stage wins to cross the finish line back in Filey for their third SilverStar victory of the year.

Photo: Ben Friend & Cliff Simmons | By Andrew Scott

Behind the victors, the scrap for the runners-up spot would be decided in the final stage of the event in Langdale. Baz Jordon and Arwell Jenkins would put in yet another great time to snatch the second spot on the podium to complete the rally just 4.3 seconds quicker than Earnie & Karen Graham who would round out the SilverStar podium.

Photo: Ernie & Karen Graham | By Andy Cook – Xlerat.Media

Boyde Kershaw and Keegan Rees brought their MK2 Escort home in fourth missing out on the podium by 7 seconds, but fear not, all is not lost as they do still lead the SilverStar standings. However, with just one final event remaining the SilverStar title will go down to the wire at the Cambrian rally where Friend and Kershaw will go head to head in one final shootout for the 2023 SilverStar title.


Having suffered an engine failure to their Vauxhall Nova last time out on the Woodpecker Stages, BronzeStar leaders Nigel and Karen Jenkins were looking to wrap up their title bid in Yorkshire. With four wins under their belt heading into the TrackRod surely another was possible and would be the way to secure that title in style?

After the times were recorded for the opening stage through Gale Rigg it was clear that the Jenkins pairing was out for only one thing. By posting a time that was over 5 seconds quicker than Chris & James Greenall, they had got their day and quest off to the ideal start.

Photo: Nigel & Karen Jenkins | By Andrew Scott

Over the following two morning tests in Cropton and Staindale the Nova driven by Jenkins never missed a beat, securing the fastest BronzeStar times on all three stages, the Greenall boys just couldn’t seem to get close. The pair would lead the pack by a tad over 30 seconds at the midpoint in the rally and with just two stages remaining they were on course to take the title.

Photo: Nigel & Karen Jenkins | By Black Mountains Media

Back out after service and Dalby was a chance for the Jenkins pair to get their heads down, setting themselves up nicely, by adding their fourth stage win to their tally. There was no chance of nobody but themselves from stopping them from getting their hands on the prize.

Nigel & Karen Jenkins would firmly put the disappointment of the Woodpecker behind them and would successfully navigate the final 13 miles of the rally through Langdale Forest to not only pick up their fifth win of the year but also scoop up the 2023 MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally BronzeStar title.

Photo: Nigel & Karen Jenkins | By Andrew Scott

What can I say, what a cracking event. We decided to just go for it an that we certainly did. Awesome stages and Nigel drove superb. Nigel deserves this so much, all of his hard work between rallies has finally paid off. The little green machine has done it”

Kaz Jenkins
Photo: Chris & James Greenall | By Andy Cook – Xlerate.Media

Chris and James Greenall brought their Vauxhall Nova home in second but were well over a 1-minute 17 down on the pace and they had secured the bridesmaid honors for the third time this season. Rounding out the BronzeStar podium were Aaron Rix and Abi Hancock in their MK2 Ford Escort.

Photo: Aaron Rix & Abi Hancock | By Andrew Scott

With just one final round to go at the Cambrian Rally, Chris Greenall is now level with Lewis Hooper on points, so the runners-up award is still up for debate as the series heads to North Wales in October.


Elsewhere in the Historics, Ben Friend and Cliff Simmons also took the Historic Cup (+H3/4) honors in Yorkshire. Ernie & Karen Graham took the H1/2 Class honors with Baz Jordan & Arwell Jenkins (H3/4) rounding out the Historic Cup top three.

MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series – BronzeStar Champions 2023

Photo: Nigel & Karen Jenkins | By Andy Cook – Xlerate.Media

Words & Feature Photo By Andy Cook | Xlerate.Media