21/03/2023 Off By admin

The Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship returns into action with its season opener at the Get Jerky Rally North Wales (March 25), this popular event will signal the start of the 2023 season where a strong line-up of seven events will feature on the calendar.

Relocating to its new Rally HQ in Welshpool, Rally North Wales will once again as expected, playout over those classic world-class gravel stages which have been synonymous with Britain’s World Rally Championship round in the past. With a route consisting of 8 stages (4 run twice), the event starts with a stage in Dyfnant Forest before heading west for a further three stages in the Dyfi Forest Complex. This Wolverhampton & South Staffordshire Car Club organised event will offer up a compact 45-mile, yet challenging one-day rally for the Welsh crews to wipe those cobwebs away with.

Photos By Xlerate.Media

A few weeks later the series will relocate south to Builth Wells for the Midland Manor Motor Club’s Rally Nuts Stages (April 15), where a further batch of those infamous Welsh stages are on the menu. Stages such as Myherin, Hafren and Sweet Lamb along with the Sarnau Complex will await the Welsh crews. A month later the Knutsford and District Motor Club will host their Plains Rally (May 20), which will return with some of the northern stages out of Bala, for which we expect will resemble much the same as last year’s route.

There will be a pause in the action after the Plains until the midpoint in the season is reached at the Nicky Grist Stages (July 8); where Builth Wells will host its second rally of the season. The Quinton Motor Club organised event will make use of some of the epic military gravel roads which are some of the best that the region has to offer.

Photos By Xlerate.Media

The Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club will offer up the stages on the Anglo-Welsh border such as Radnor and Haye Park at the Woodpecker Stages rally on the 9th of September, which is a week later than it typically is held. After another short pause, the action will resume in October where the penultimate round of the season in the Forest of Dean (The Wyedean Rally – Oct 14) will set things up nicely for the season climax at the Cambrian Rally in North Wales at the end of the month (October 28) where our Champions will be crowned.

Last year’s Rally North Wales winners Matthew Hirst and Declan Dear will return to defend their 2022 Welsh National Title this year. After an extensive rebuild to their Ford Fiesta R5 car since the end of the last season, the pair will be hoping to add the 2023 Welsh title once again to their CV for the third time. The reigning Champs will most definitely be the ones for the rest of the field to chase down and there will be a whole host of other talents across the classes all looking to get in the mix this season.

Photo: Matthew Hirst & Declan Dear – Welsh Rally Championship Media Day 2023 | By Andrew Scott

Another of our 2022 title holders to return to defend their crown is Kewi, Boyd Kershaw alongside Co-Driver Keegan Reese, they will be back out on the stages in their Ford Escort MK2 to defend the 2WD honours. But there will be plenty of other Escorts and crews for them to contend with, including last year’s Rear Wheel Drive Award Winners Geoff Phelps & Colin Jenkins and Rudi Lancaster & Guy Weaver in their RS1800 who will be amongst the pack. It’s not just the MK2 Escort that will be represented by the Ford rear wheel drive variety at the opening round, there will be a number of MK1’s out competing; including the father-son pairing of Ben and Steven Smith, Jonathan Brace, Jeremy Easson and Andrew Stokes to name but a few.

Photo Body Kershaw & Keegan Reese – Welsh Rally Championship Media Day 2023 | By Andrew Scott

This season the Subaru Impreza appears to be a bit of a weapon of choice, the likes of Paul Walker who finished 8th in the standings last year and Wug Utting will both be making their return to Championship in search of an improvement on last season’s results. They will be joined at the season opener by World Rally Championships PR man Tommi Meadows who will step into the Scooby from the Ford Fiesta R2 which he had a number of outings in last year.

Almost 60 registered Welsh crews across an array of classes will begin their season’s assault at the opening round, The Get Jurky Rally North Wales; where approx 45 stage miles lay in wait for them after they leave the ceremonial start in Welshpool town centre.

The full seeded entry list for Round 1 – Rally North Wales can be found here

GALLERY / Welsh Rally Championship Media Day 2023

Photos By Andrew Scott

Feature Photo: Matthew Hirst & Declan Dear – Welsh Rally Championship Media Day 2023 By Andrew Scott